Saturday, August 13, 2016
Pick Up A Pulp : THE VENOM BUSINESS by Michael Crichton
Hardcase Crime, did the reader world a favor when they reprinted Michael Crichton's foray into pulp writing under the pen name John Lange. ODDS ON, DRUG OF CHOICE, and GRAVE DESCEND are all very good reads. Naturally I had high hopes for VENOM BUSINESS, the largest (in page count) of the reprinted / rebranded books. It stated off great but tapered...
This book was tracking as a 5 star read for me around the halfway mark but a change in direction soiled the story to a degree.
Charles Raynaud reads as a James Bond type character; introduced as a professional snake handler, he knows his way around a forest almost as good as a knows his way around women. He's a protagonist full of mystery and intrigue. Equally adapt at smuggling priceless artifacts as he is undertaking murder for hire, his thirst for money lands him in the middle of a scandal that is a little hard to decipher.
THE VENOM BUSINESS lacks clarity to how Raynaud gets mixed up in a family drama centered around a big inheritance and relatives with murderous intent. Add to the mix a couple of attractive and willing women and what was a decent read turns murky.
I'm not sure if author Michael Crichton during his pulp phase published any more books featuring Raynaud but THE VENOM BUSINESS protagonist has a lot of potential and was the most enjoyable aspect to the book.