A JIM NESBITT review.
When you pick up a George Snyder book, get ready for the nuanced subtlety of a sledgehammer slamming into a brick wall. Delicate, they ain’t. Bloody, they are. And the latest in his Logan Sand series, Torn Yesterdays, is no exception.
Great title for the dominant theme in this story – Sand is blown out of his house and into Puget Sound during a drive-by rocket grenade attack that also dismembers his girlfriend, Grace. He’s fished out of the water by the crew of a passing fishing boat and taken to a small town further up the coast of Washington state, his body broken and his memory gone.
Yes, that sounds like the opening scenes of The Bourne Identity. But in this case, the rescue lands the clueless and relatively helpless Sand in a logging-and-fishing burg dominated by bad actors who may be big fish in this little pond but are about to find out they aren’t at the top of the food chain. The town marshal’s a bully and crook in a black Stetson. Even the town doctor is bent – he tries to poison Sand instead of heal him. The only big player who isn’t a total dirtbag is the guy who owns the town and changed its name to his own – he’s only a power-hungry money whore who doesn’t seem to care that his daughter is the town punch.
The marshal, the doc and a couple of other bad actors have killed off a rogue Columbian cartel member who has ripped off 65 kilos of coke from his masters to sell to Russian mobsters. And they want to rip off the Russians willing to pay $6 million for the coke. They also plan to pin some killings on Sand, an ex-Navy SEAL who they see as a gimpy and not-too-bright patsy, not realizing he’s slowly gaining back his memory, strength and considerable mastery of the art of killing.
Snyder refers to his novels as ‘shoot and screw’ books. And there’s plenty of body count in both categories. He doesn’t aim for high literary art – just a good, bloody tale. Still, he uncorks some fine turns of phrase and snappy dialogue. This novel very much reminds me of the pulp fiction of yesteryear – the good guys are scarred and semi-tragic and the bad guys truly deserve their violently just sendoffs. It may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but I enjoyed this fast, bloody ride with Logan Sand.