Monday, November 29, 2004


RED JUNGLE Kent Harrington. McMillan (, $30 (336p) ISBN 0-939767-50-3Set in Guatemala, Harrington's entertaining noir political thriller boasts a hero, Russell Cruz-Price, whose biography bears some not-so-coincidental parallels to the author's. While working in Central America as a financial journalist, Cruz-Price finds himself passionately involved with two women, an American working for a U.N. housing affiliate and the beautiful wife of Carlos Selva, the head of Guatemalan intelligence. He's also mixed up with a ruthless and ambitious Guatemalan strongman aiming to take over the country and a venal German archeologist, improbably named Gustav Mahler, who seeks a legendary immense jade jaguar. Flashbacks to 1988 and the dreadful final end of Cruz-Price's mother, a member of Guatemala's social elite, nicely serve to heighten suspense by interrupting and prolonging the present-day narrative. The author's occasional use of an omniscient point of view to leap forward in time to describe a character's ultimate fate helps to distinguish this tale from the typical Latin American coup saga. Despite his slightly enigmatic central figure and an underdeveloped supporting cast, the author (Dark Ride, etc.) does a nice job of painting a grim picture of the Third World and the corruption of the powerful. (Dec.)

This is a powerful novel. It's better than PW would have you to believe. Harrington's writing quickly draws you in and you become part of the story.

Another Review of Red Jungle by Terry D'Auray

The Agony Column is one of my favorite reads every week. What follows is an excellent review of Kent Harrington's RED JUNGLE.....

By Terry D'Auray
D-Ray knows the way! I love knowing what's next-to-come in publisher's line-ups and spend a lot of time scouring the usual sources for upcoming books, looking closely, of course, for books from my favorite authors. Mostly, when I find them (we're never talking in the singular here), they go on my "to-buy" list, along with a smile and a sense of anticipation. But some future releases, very few, generate an embarrassing salivating response where anticipation morphs into near trembling fervor. I call them "be still my heart" books, and I stumbled across one as I was reading the November issue of 'Firsts" Magazine. Right there on page 63, in the ad for Dennis McMillan Publications, is the announcement of a first edition printing of 'Red Jungle' by Kent Harrington. McMillan's website (which I check far more often that he updates it) makes no reference to this book, coming in late November. But having been on the "loved-it" side of Harrington's 'Dia de los Muertos' earlier this year, I simply can't wait to get my hands on his new one.Here's what McMillan has to say about it:"Better even than his 'Dia de los Muertos', 'Red Jungle' is, indeed, a masterpiece, in the tradition of Graham Greene's 'The Power and the Glory' and B. Traven's 'Treasure of the Sierra Madre'. It's that good. Set in modern Guatemala, Kent tells the story of Russell Cruz-Price, a lost soul who's come back to the land of his birth, on a journey to discover his own history, and also to search for the Red Jaguar – a legendary Mayan temple deity whose size alone puts it in the "priceless" category of antiquities. When he starts these quests, he has no inkling that his heart and soul will be captured by one of the ultimate sirens of modern fiction, and with her as his polestar, he navigates a course through both the strange, family-based web of landed gentry, which, because of his dead mother's position, he finds himself bizarrely welcomed into, and the brutal, death-squad-riddled social and political fabric of the still-feudal "modern" Guatemalan state, in an attempt to come to terms with what his mother's blood has bequeathed him, both intellectually and in his heart-and-gut-feelings for the country of his birth. It's a hell of a trip and beautifully written."
Interior maps by McMillan favorite artist Joseph Servello.McMillan clearly has a passion for this work – and he's a thoroughly reliable judge of noirish works of exceptional quality. Equally clear, McMillan has a strong aversion to the use of the period in his sentences.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Plots With Guns...Final Issue, Oh God, Say It Isn't So!!!!

Yes folk, Plot With Guns latest and final issue is now up. Featuring my man Charlie Stella (Stey-lla for you non Italians and West Coast folk), Reed Farrel Coleman (Yes, Save Moe), Scott Wolven, Mary Anna Evans & Lillian Sellers and Paul A. Toth. Yes, they explain themselves and tell us what the future holds. Damn, what a shame. An as a final insult, read Trev Maviano's parting words (Attaboy Trev!)

I'm working on the final touches for Crime Spree about PWG.

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