Sunday, June 13, 2010

From Cape Town with Love

Nothing but a potty break could pull me away in the last 100 pages.

From Cape Town with Love, the third Tennyson Hardwick novel is the most suspenseful yet. I was all set to complain about the S&M episode (bondage is a real turn-off for me) but all of that fell by the wayside when it came down to the story, just as the previous two novels in the series got the sex out of the way fairly early in the book. In spite of "Ten's" flaws, lack of control, and attempts to bargain with God, he is the hero we want him to be. I was on the edge of my seat wanting to know how Ten would solve the kidnapping.

I have previously likened Tennyson Hardwick to Walter Mosley's Ezekiel Rawlins, brought into the twenty-first century. Just as Mosley uses the racial conflict in LA in the 1950's and 60's as a backdrop for murder mystery, Underwood, Due, and Barnes use Hollywood of the Obama years, the election and recession as a backdrop. Mosley gave us "colorful" titles for his Easy Rawlins series. The Tennyson Hardwick series has titles that play on classic movies from Bogart, Poitier, and Bond.

There are points when the 2010 pop culture becomes a little distracting, but who knows, fifty years may prove that Paris Hilton, Jerry Seinfeld, and Jack Bauer are as timeless as Loretta Young and Clark Gable after all.

I know Tananarive Due's writing for her tender characterizations that make for people that I care about. Even minor characters and immortals who leave a trail of murder over centuries are the ones I look forward to reading more about. I know Steven Barnes only through my subscription to his daily inspirational emails for aspiring writers. They are full of references to eastern meditation, and to martial arts discipline and training. The martial arts sequences in Cape Town were spell-binding.

Now I'm hopeful that the next Tennyson Hardwick installment will come soon, but not before the next installment of Ms. Due's Ethiopian immortals. The cameo appearance in Cape Town of an Ethiopian named Dawit was a nice tidbit for fans like me.

I give the book 4 1/2 stars.

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