by Barry Andrew Chambers
Pinnacle, April 2010
Randall Foster was a young schoolteacher who got dragged into a deadly clash of clans. When the dust settled, the teacher was hand picked by a covert government agency called The Service. Proving himself in a secret training program, Randall Foster soon has a new career, a code name “Rattler”, and a stubborn horse that does everything except obey.
In a mild-mannered disguise, Rattler come to Clearview, Kansas, in search of a depraved killer using the name Featherston – and walks straight into the ruthless killer’s crosshairs. People are getting slaughtered in cold blood, two other Service agents are already in deep, and Rattler’s cover is wearing thin. Now, amidst corruption, murder and betrayal, Rattler must turn from secret agent to bold-faced fighter – against an enemy with more cunning than anyone can possibly know…
The cover, the blurb, both indicate that this is an action packed read, even a quote on the back says the book is “loaded with action”. How wrong these can be… However that doesn’t mean it’s a bad story, just not quite what I expected.
Barry Andrew Chambers has written a very readable story, filled with people that you’ll warm to, probably due to his well-portrayed characterizations. The story is filled with beautifully observed studies of human nature, often told with gentle humour, such as how the mind says one thing but the mouth speaks another. More than being filled with action most of this book is about Foster falling in love. Lots of the story being taken up with him and Benita visiting the opera, county fairs and taking part in baking competitions. There is some action, and the whole book leads up to a dramatic shootout that doesn’t have the ending for some as you’d expect. Shame the tracking down of the killer takes up such little space within the story.
Chambers also includes quite a bit of, for me anyway, over-the-top humour, which I think would have been more at home if the whole book was a comedy. Most of this revolves around Foster’s horse, some of the antics it gets up to stretching my belief somewhat; such as it being able to pick up a heavy saddle in its teeth, toss it up in the air, over it’s head, so it flips and lands on its back in the correct position.
Still, as I’ve already said, the book is an easy read, and if started you’ll want to read to the end to find out what happens to the characters.