Friday, August 26, 2011

Read: "Red, Red Robin" by Stephen Gallagher

Read: Red, Red Robin by Stephen Gallagher, 1995, 0345386442.

I reserved this Gallagher book and another one (title escapes me) after finishing that Phoenix book. This was good but long at 376 pages. A horror and suspense novel.

Ruth is a Brit living in Philadelphia who sells ad space for magazines. She is also fucking a married guy at work. She hires a male escort to accompany her to a major business event. Ruth ends up being enamored with the much younger man, Ruth is about 38 years old. Ruth goes with the moment and sleeps with the dude.

Ruth takes off early that night knowing that for her this was a one night screw. The guy calls her up. The guy sends a whole roomful, literally, of flowers. Ruth tells the guy, Tim, to buzz off. Tim kidnaps her and they drive off. Security guard, Aidan, in Ruth's work building has had a burning boner for Ruth and recognizes the abduction. Aidan follows and rescues her. Tim gets away when Ruth is unable to blast Tim's brains out on the side of the road.

Fast forward about 12 months. Ruth is a psychological mess. She lives with Aidan but has her own room. She will sometimes steal into his bed at night and do the deed. She locks everything. She buys an unlicensed heater. Ruth hangs out on street corners as if tempting Tim to return and attack. A body is found and reported as Tim's corpse. Ruth cannot believe it. Aidan tries to convince her to move on in life.

Tim, meanwhile, is still alive. Tim is actually Peter, son of a Louisiana serial killer. Peter finds out Ruth has been contacting reporters to keep story alive. Peter not happy, he wants to stay lost. Peter returns to Philadelphia. Ex-cop Aidan finds out that Peter took identity of Tim after a fire - probably a murder. Peter has been wooing and killing older women for years. Peter kidnaps and kills Aidan. Ruth heads to Louisiana. Ruth feels she is already dead. Ruth hunts for Peter. Peter finds Ruth. Cops involved. More things happen. Peter dead. WAIT - Aidan is still alive! Aidan and Ruth reunited.

1. That must be the longest novel summary I have ever written.
2. Gallagher immediately thanks Joe R. Lansdale in the Acknowledgments.
3. No mention of Lansdale's Kung FU-lery.
4. This has a number of twists and turns.
5. Gallagher focuses on character rather than action and tension from actions. Mainly told from an omniscient perspective of Ruth, Aidan, and a Philadelphia cop.
6. Or do I mean third person?
7. Good, not great.


Todd Mason said...

The cop is named Peter too? I usually like Gallagher, who loves the outre situation even in the compass of the "usual run" of suspense and horror...

Gerard Saylor said...

Correction made. Thanks for the note.

Remember the warning at the top of the page Grammatical errors are common.