I was really ready for this book – an antidote to all the high-tech, here’s-how-you-change-the-oil-in-a-submarine technobabble, wooden-charactered, missing-historical-keys-to-the-end-of-the-world, non-thrilling thriller novels inundating the current bookshelves.
Baby Shark, set in 1952, but written in 2006 (followed by Baby Shark's Beaumont Blues and Baby Shark's High Plains Redemption) is a straight ahead revenge tale with biker bad guys and heroine just tough enough to break your heart. I loved it. It’s as if author Robert Fate had discovered an unpublished Gold Medal original and delivered it to the world – if you don’t know what a Gold Medal original is, then stop reading this blog right now and don’t return until you are suitably versed. Charles Ardai, the Hard Case Crime publisher, should pick Fate up in a heartbeat.
In a roadside pool hall out west of Abilene, Kristin Van Dijk, 17, is forced by four biker thugs to watch the murder of three men, including her pool hustler father. She’s assaulted and beaten and left for dead as Henry Chin, a Chinese immigrant whose grown son was one of those murdered, saves her and secretly helps her recover. Because the local police show no interest in solving the pool hall crime, Henry hires a private investigator — more set on justice than law – to start a search for the nomadic killers.
Then Henry hires two vets to teach Kristin how to protect herself. She develops into one tough package of trouble as she also perfects her pool. At eighteen, she looks for the thugs as she hustles pool in west Texas and earns the nickname Baby Shark.
Revenge is difficult, but satisfying.
Baby Shark is a pure shot of stripped down adrenaline – a modern, old fashioned, kick-ass, blood, guts, and bullets good time.