Saturday, November 16, 2013

Ed Kovacs

Ed Kovacs is the author of the critically-acclaimed Cliff St. James mystery/crime series published by St. Martin’s Press. He spent two and half years living in New Orleans beginning in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and he co-founded a security company there that taught defensive tactics and other techniques. Kovacs has studied martial arts, holds many weapons-related licenses, certifications and permits, and is a certified medical First Responder. He is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, American Legion Post 299, the International Thriller Writers association, and the Mystery Writers of America.

Late last month I asked Kovacs about what he was reading. His reply:
I've been in a brief pause between projects: I'm prepping for the release of Burnt Black:, #3 in the Cliff St. James series; St. Martin's Minotaur just accepted my manuscript launching a new conspiracy/espionage thriller series; and I'm about to start writing a stand-alone thriller spec novel. Hence it was a good time to read a book.

My agent suggested I read a novel written by one of his other clients, F.J. Chase, a.k.a. William Christie, called Darkness Under Heaven. An American security consultant working in China, Peter Avakian, gets into a lot of trouble during an international crisis and has to fight his way out to avoid imprisonment.

Sounded interesting, so I downloaded it onto my e-book reader. It's a straightforward, page-turning action/adventure thriller with a keen understanding of how the Chinese police/military apparatus thinks and operates.

There was a lot more banter than I was expecting; make no mistake, the dialogue is snappy and often funny, but I was shocked by the amount of repartee that didn't advance the plot. This wasn't a problem, but would have been if Chase weren't so good with patter.

I wasn't shocked to learn that the author is a former US Marine, considering how the hero Avakian operates. While he's a complete gentleman and PC in his romantic relationship, he's totally un-PC when it comes to eliminating any obstacles to his escape from the Chinese authorities.

Since there is no war between the US and China in the book, I can't see how some of the killings and actions committed by Avakian wouldn't constitute outright murder and terrorism. I don't have the balls to write my heroes doing those kinds of killings, but Marines have balls to spare!

This book is clever, and Avakian employs plenty of textbook escape and evasion guerrilla tactics against the overwhelming Chinese forces who keep tightening the noose around him.

For those who are ultra-Politically Correct concerning violence, this might not be the novel for you, but it's a good, fun read for the rest of us. Darkness Under Heaven is a rich, well-written thriller that I recommend.
Visit Ed Kovacs's website.

My Book, The Movie: Storm Damage.

The Page 69 Test: Storm Damage.

The Page 69 Test: Good Junk.

--Marshal Zeringue