Review: Philippine Fever
Author: Bruce R. Cook Publisher: Capital Crime Press ISBN: 0977627675 The following review was contributed by: NORM GOLDMAN: Editor of Bookpleasures. CLICK TO VIEW Norm Goldman's Re...
Author: Bruce R. Cook
Publisher: Capital Crime Press
Bruce R. Cook’s debut novel, Philippine Fever, is an engrossing and entertaining quick read, although at times a trifle gory. Mystery novels are usually corpse-driven, and this one is no exception with its sleuth of suspects.
Set in Manila in the Philippines, where the author had worked and where he researched the material for the book, the story centers on an American from Texas, Harvey Tucker, who is found dead in a dumpster behind a sex club. Apparently, he had been brutally beaten and taser prongs had been hooked to his testicles. Not a pleasant sight!
As a result, Sam Haine from the Los Angeles division of Homeland Security (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) is assigned to the case to find why and who killed Tucker. Haine is not overjoyed about traveling to Manila, however, as he states, “it was better to be busy in the field, rather than be stuck behind an analyst's desk.”
Our protagonist soon finds out that his time in Manila will be more than he bargained for, as he synchronizes his investigation with the local authorities, Detectives Lorenzano and Garcia. Haine discovers that Tucker had been mixed up in a world of unsavory characters involving questionable and sometimes horrendous business activities as the selling of Chinese immigrants. Apparently, Tucker was selling roosters for cockfights- a legitimate sporting event in the Philippines. With the profits, however, Tucker would purchase arms, such as automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and perhaps satchel mines, selling them to various para-military groups. One such group of terrorists was from Texas that were in the process of purchasing from him a cargo of Chinese AK-47's. It was now up to Haine and his colleagues to sniff out and track down Tucker's killer and prevent the shipment.
Thrown into the investigation are a series of events and clues that are difficult to connect and don't seem to go anywhere, although all are in one way or another connected to Tucker and his murder. Further complicating matters is that the stunning Jennifer Santos from the office of the fiscal, whom Haine falls for, is asked to drop the case by a prominent congressman.
Philippine Fever is well paced storytelling with convincing characters, geographical setting and story plot at its best. Cook has made the most of his working years in Manila, as he succeeds in offering his readers a glimpse of a corner of the world with a unique culture and social context which effectively enhances the novel's many thrilling scenes. Moreover, Cook provides his readers with clues without surprising coincidences that very often mar mystery and detective novels. This one should prove to be a winner and I look forward to more from Bruce Cook- perhaps a series of Sam Haine mysteries?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Norm Goldman is the Editor of the book reviewing and author interviewing site Bookpleasures.com and the travel site, Sketchandtravel.com. Bookpleasures.com comprises over 25 international reviewers who come from all walks of life and who review all genre.