RON ELY – East Beach. Jake Sands #2. Simon & Schuster, hardcover, 1995. Worldwide, paperback, 1997.

   This is the same Ron Ely who played Tarzan. I haven’t read the first in the series, Night Shadows, but I read at least one review panning it. You never know, though.

   Jake Sands has just about healed from the physical and emotional injuries sustained in the last book, though he still grieves for the wife and family lost earlier still. He has no desire to get back into his old dangerous line of “work,” but fate is against him.

   He meets a beautiful young waitress while watching a beach volleyball game, and she promises to call him that night. She doesn’t, but he doesn’t think much about it — he really didn’t expect her to. A few days later he learns she was beaten and killed that night. Reluctantly he finds himself drawn deeper into finding out what happened to her, and more people die.

   I thought this was surprisingly good. It’s a standard loner-with-tragic-past-avenging wrongs type of book, but it’s well done and I liked the character. Ely has a good feel for Santa Barbara (he lives there) and the Southern California beach life.

   He tells his story first=person, and paces it well. There’s the usual problem of the police being ignored, but hell, Travis McGee did that, too. It comes with this kind of territory. This makes no pretensions to being anything other than an action/crime story, but if you like those I think you’ll like this.

— Reprinted from Ah Sweet Mysteries #17, January 1995.

Bibliographic Update:   There were only the two books in the Jake Sands series.