"Suicide Squeeze" by Steve Hagood
What starts off as a Jane Doe body mystery gradually increases in tension and menace, in this gripping, lighthearted semi-action detective thriller. With a seedy underbelly emerging to the victim’s life, and the progressive sense of a bigger and more organized threat on the horizon, Suicide Squeeze is formula three-act action, in the mould of Hollywood blockbusters – the type starring Mel Gibson, Will Smith and Bruce Willis – if perhaps a little lighter on the action than may be expected. In fact, frequent self-conscious references are made toward the movie genre by the book’s two mismatched buddy protagonists, Chase and Tom – one a grizzled ex-cop; the other a baseball star, framed for murder – who, it has to be said, share a good banter and chemistry throughout, even humorously comparing themselves to the characters in the T.V. show Magnum P.I. For the most part, the book is a credible formula, fully conscious of its own genuinely amusing sense of humour, as the bickering pair face tough guy foes and inept backwater cops, with perhaps less humility than would be expected if crossing over into the real world.
Hagood clearly has a good knowledge and love for the action movie genre and its standard formula, and this is a well-written, expertly crafted example of it. It is also a glowing example of how a book doesn’t have to take itself too seriously, yet can still be an engrossing, gripping and enjoyable. There is not a great deal of violence, some entertaining scuffles and a few punch-ups – all done in the best spirit of fun. It is fair to say that whilst perhaps not my preferred genre in a movie, I actually enjoyed the book a great deal, keen to know where it was leading, and in fact read the whole thing in one enjoyable sitting. If you’re expecting high-octane, gung-ho action, or likewise a gripping psychological thriller, you won’t find it here. If, however, you want a fun way to spend an afternoon, or an evening or two, without having to invest too much which taxes mentally – a la Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, if without the adrenalin – then I recommend it. I do hope that Hagood keeps to this style in the upcoming sequels, which are teased in his afterword; it is a refreshing change to see a book with its own style of easy-going fiction. There is a small handful of grammatical errors – enough to notice – primarily relating to the odd punctuation misdemeanour, but otherwise Suicide Squeeze is a well-written and engaging book, by a proficient and very entertaining author; I look forward to reading more in the Chase P.I. series.
In : Book Reviews
Tags: steve-hagood action thriller formula buddy crime detective