Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New Today: Blind Fall by Christopher Rice

Thrillers are sexy. By now, everyone knows that. And, just in case you weren’t sure, there’s a newish organization ready to pounce and set you straight. Not sure where a book fits? Call it a thriller and those in the know will be certain to stand in the right line to buy the thrilling book.

The problem, of course, is that the plan is flawed from the get go. Christopher Rice’s lovely new Blind Fall is the perfect example. It’s not a thriller by any but the loosest definition. Yet it’s a great book with strong, memorable characters. More: young Rice has, once again, illustrated that he is a writer with something to say and the chops to say it well.

In Rice’s fourth novel we meet Iraq veteran John Houck who, upon returning stateside, discovers that his old captain has been horribly slain. He quickly discovers that his captain was gay and that the man’s partner may be the killer’s next target.

Despite all these thrillerish trappings – an ex-military protagonist, killers, targets and so on -- the most engaging aspects of Blind Fall have more to do with the book’s human elements -- notably homophobia and the morality of war.

Here’s hoping that with Rice’s next effort, he won’t feel tempted by the call of the faddish thriller. Rice’s vision is true and his pen is strong, he doesn’t need some of the gimmicks he’s delivered to us here.



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