DarkEcho Horror
deccoclock by Rick Berry
Book Review

by Lucy Taylor
Onyx/ $5.99/ 352 pages
ISBN: 0451409906

On one hand, I was thrilled that commercial publishing finally gave Lucy Taylor a shot. She certainly deserves a wider audience (and more money) than the horror specialty press can offer. On the other hand, I was worried the perceived needs of the mass populous might stifle Taylor's vital, primal prose. Then there was the worry that she wouldn't be allowed to work professional wrestling into the plot.

Cover Never fear. Taylor comes through with a dark tough suspense novel that even works in wrestling. Although there's some interesting flavors, NAILED is more straight whiskey and Marlboros than anything fancy with fruit. No-nonsense protag, Matt Engstrom's middle name seems to be bad luck. Engstrom's already served a prison term for accidentally killing a no-good-s.o.b. who was stalking Calla, his wife. Once out of jail, Calla divorces him and is promptly murdered leaving Engstrom as single parent to son Shawn. Now he's suddenly the prime suspect in a murder, someone is playing fast and loose with his construction company's finances, he may have been exposed to a deadly disease, and more bodies pile up. Engstrom knows he has to save himself because nobody else will. He starts trying to unravel the tangle only to find everything is tied into the still-unsolved murder of his ex-wife and her wealthy but eccentric family.

The dialogue is occasionally a little too pat and Engstrom' s relationship with his son is a bit unreal, but with a fast-paced thriller like NAILED neither is too noticeable. What is noticeable is the thoroughly male Matt Engstrom, a man's man who should lay to rest any misconception that a female "can't write" a male character. In fact, NAILED's biggest problem is in packaging -- any publisher who doesn't exploit Lucy Taylor's good looks with an author picture has to be misguided. But that's proven anyway by a vague cover emphasizing a closed construction site.

Anyone reviewing NAILED is going to be hard-pressed not to say, "You'll be NAILED to the edge of your seat reading this one." I won't resist either. (July 2001) -- Paula Guran (From "Waves of Fear", Cemetery Dance #36

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Copyright © 2002 Paula Guran. All Rights Reserved.