Sun 26 Jun 2016
CHARLES KNIEF – Emerald Flash. St. Martin’s, hardcover, April, 1999; paperback, May 2000.
Telling the story is ex-SEAL and now Hawaii-based private eye John Caine. Emerald Flash is the third of four recorded adventures.
Chasing Margo Halliday is her ex-husband:
Caine doesn’t see Margo again until seven months later, when she is accused of killing her ex-husband. Not only that, but hard on her trail is a gang of Colombian thugs, and for good reason. They think she is somehow in possession of a fortune in stolen emeralds. She remembers Caine, and she calls on him for help.
He does, but it isn’t easy. I was reminded of John D. MacDonald in a couple of ways, not only the obvious one, but Caine also has a philosophy of life very similar to that of a certain Travis McGee. But there is a difference: no matter how close he and Margo get as man and woman, they sleep in separate beds, and none of the McGee books had the same amount of firepower that is called upon in this one: rifles, grenades, Glocks, even an elephant gun.
Somewhat toward the end of the book:
And now it was over.
It’s not a perfect book. Too much of the story depends on things that happened in earlier ones, for example, and a long, lengthy portion of the book consists of Caine and Margo on the run, which with all of the aforementioned firepower is exciting enough for two or three books, but crammed into just this one, it somehow managed to slow the pace down rather than enhance it.
On the other hand, when things are going a little slower, Caine manages to get along with a brain as well as brawn, and is as quick with a quip as Jon Stewart on a good night, and that’s very good indeed.
The John Caine series –
Diamond Head (1996)
Sand Dollars (1998)
Emerald Flash (1999)