Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Reviews from the 86th Floor: Barry Reese looks at Diamondback: It Seemed Like a Good Idea At the Time

Derrick Ferguson
Pulpwork Press
ISBN 978-0-9797-3298-0

Derrick Ferguson is well-known in the pulp community, primarily for his character Dillon. But he's also the creator of Fortune McCall, Sebastian Red and... Diamondback Vogel. It's that last character who gets the spotlight here, in a story set in the shared world of Denbrook. No prior knowledge of Denbrook is required, however, as Ferguson capably gives you all the required information.

This is a place full of bad people and evil deeds. Overrun by crime and corruption, Denbrook is thrown for a loop when Diamondback arrives, selling his rapid-fire gunhands and keen skills for the right price. Word has gotten around that Diamonback should already be dead and, indeed, we're given information from the very first chapter that causes us to doubt if our protagonist is who he says he is. To be honest, it's this identity crisis that sets the story apart from other "badass" action adventure fests that are so common.

Ferguson's trademark skills are well represented: well-drawn characters, fun dialogue and the sense that you're reading a tough-guy novel.

I have to comment on the names the characters sport because I was alternately laughing my ass off and rolling my eyes every time a new one was introduced: the aforementioned Diamondback Vogel, Baby Delroy, Titus Hegemon and (my favorite) Nickleby LaLoosh. I loved this and it helped set the tone considerably.

There's a sequel promised at the end of this one and given the lingering questions about the main character, it's a well-deserved one. This is a high-octane thriller. It doesn't take itself too seriously and that's a good thing. Will it change your life? No -- but it's not meant to. It's meant to entertain and make you crack a smile along the way.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.