Saturday, April 26, 2014
WHAT COMES AROUND, AN ALEX HAWKE NOVELLA, by TED BELL
This novella serves as my introduction to Alex Hawke, a sort of 007 type of hero who gets into unspeakably horrific situations and still manages to save the day. He has his ancestral home in England but spends as much time as possible at Teakettle Cottage, a secluded place on the south shore of Bermuda. He is in his early 30s with black hair and glacial blue eyes. He is always accompanied by his lifelong manservant, Pelham Grenville, and has a young son, Alexei. The boy's mother died in a previous episode, but Alex dotes on him.
In this story former CIA VIPs are being killed, no mean feat for men who are still fit and alert. The first one lives on Penobscot Bay in Maine. He is a gruff but soft-hearted old man who we immediately care about but fear for. In this kind of book anyone who looks to have a great life is sure to be killed. And so he is in what is meant to look like an accident. He was a special friend of Alex Hawke's.
I can't really tell any more about the story, but you know there will be more deaths and that in the end Hawke will get the bad guy and have a drink with his buddy sort of over the dead body. Suffice to say that I was mistaken in thinking this might reacquaint me favorably with a genre that I find unbelievable and formulaic. In my younger days I loved these spy novels but sad to say, I'm over that now.
However, I think you should ignore that last paragraph if this is your kind of book. Alex Hawke is a wildly popular hero and any episode in the series is well received by lovers of the genre. I'm like the curmudgeon in Penobscot Bay who was the first to be murdered in What Comes Around. Perhaps that explains my antagonism toward the rest of the book.
I must say Hawke is an appealing character who has anything and everything he wants (with the exception of his dead wife) and yet is ready to risk his life on a moment's notice to save the world from evil. You can't dislike the guy. As a novella, this is a good way to find out if the series is for you.
Recommended only for lovers of this genre
Source: William Morrow Imprint, HarperCollins