Scavenger by David Morrell
I'm a latecomer to the fiction of David Morrell. I have not yet read his classic thrillers from the 70s and 80s. I have them to look forward to in the future. From what I've heard, they may be a little more substantive than what Morrell is writing today--and that's not a criticism of his current work.
I read Scavenger, Morrell's follow-up to last year's thoroughly entertaining Creepers, in about four hours the other day. The novel comes in at 333 pages (plus some interesting afterwards), but it's a light 333 pages, with short chapters and lots of white space. And again, this is not a criticism. There's something really delightful about sitting down with a thriller that you just can't put down. It's entertainment. It's fun. You can actually finish the darn thing in a timely manner! Sure there's a little part of you that may want more, but it's sooo satisfying just gobbling the thing down whole!
As I mentioned above, I enjoyed Creepers and I thoroughly enjoyed Scavenger as well. I would also recommend reading Creepers first, just because that's my nature. But truthfully, you could easily get by without having read the prequel. The stories aren't that linked--other than the fact that the notoriety Frank and Amanda received in the wake of the first novel brought them to the attention of the antagonist in the second novel. Did you ever notice how some fictional characters just seem to attract psychopaths like flies to honey?
I have to agree, there isn't a lot of character development in this novel. That's not what the novel is about. Morrell has surrounded his two protagonists with almost archetypal characters. They do their job. A lot of detail and development just serves to slow the story down. He has given his characters conflict and obstacles. This novel is entirely plot-driven, and I felt it moved at a very satisfying pace. I thought the information on time capsules was interesting, and that it was an intriguing device to build a story around. I wondered if the stuff about video games was a little...dated. But you know what, I didn't care. This novel was my cotton candy on a dreary Saturday afternoon. I just ate it up.