Book Review - The Conch Killers by Chip Giles
As I get further behind in my reading, I find myself saying "no" to more book offers than I used to. It takes a bit more to break through my "I'd like to, but..." now. But I'm a sucker for a good Florida crime genre novel, especially if it has a touch of Dorsey or Hiaasen in it. When Chip Giles mentioned those two names in his email to offer me The Conch Killers, I had to relent and say yes to a copy. And it was worth the read... Tad Hunter and Ramon Garcia are two humorous additions to the wacky characters that make up the Florida literary landscape, and Giles could turn out to be a writer that I enjoy reading on a regular basis.
In Conch Killers, Hunter and Garcia are two ex-military drifters who live for sailing. They've gotten out of "the life", which means they are no longer doing jobs for shadowy characters that skirt the boundaries of the law. But they are drawn back when they are offered a large payout for a "simple" job... deliver a package in exchange for a kidnap victim, and bring the victim back to her family. But of course, nothing is simple in the Florida Keys, and the job turns into a full-fledged mission with terrorists, guns, and dead bodies. Along the way, there are luxury sailboats, obnoxious owners, people who aren't who they seem to be, and enough craziness to keep everyone confused and amused...
Giles has done a good job for a first novel. Hunter and Garcia are a good character mix, with Hunter playing the semi-rational partner to Garcia's off-the-wall (and sometimes deadly) antics. Given the type of characters they are, the dialog works well. It's not how you'd talk or carry on every day yourself, but it fits the personalities. The only major knock I have on the book is a situation that many self-published authors fall into... the lack of a solid editor to clean up the book. It wasn't so much the story that needed help as the grammar and word usage. I expect most books to have an incorrect word or two, such as their vs. there or bear vs. bare. But The Conch Killers has far too many. When I encountered the first one, I just let it go. The second one about ten pages later gave me pause. But when it got to be one every five pages or so, it really started to bug me. Most of these could have been caught with a single reading by a relatively careful reader. It's too bad, as it otherwise mars what would be a really good first novel.
Giles is in the process of writing his next novel, and I would look forward to reading it. The Conch Killers was a nice diversion to the Florida Keys, and I hope Giles continues to flesh out Hunter and Garcia, and add to their list of adventures.
Obtained From: Author