Saturday, February 20, 2016

BOOK REVIEW - Savage Highway - Richard Godwin

Savage HighwaySavage Highway by Richard Godwin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

DISCLAIMER: I received, at my request, an ARC of Savage Highway from the publisher. This has in no way influenced my review. I give only honest reviews; my reputation depends on it. Thank you. vmls

Richard Godwin’s Savage Highway is an intense, shocking and riveting blend of contemporary noir fiction and Faustian drama. Sparingly drawn characters and short, sharp dialogue, trademarks of the master storyteller that Richard is, tell a story so brutal and visceral one hopes that such things could take place only in the realm of the fiction writer’s dark mind.

The thing about fiction though… it all springs from at least a grain of truth.

The setting for Savage Highway is a desolate area of the American Southwest where a group of men, yearning for “more than earthly meat and drink" take their fill from the lost souls unfortunate enough to stumble across their path. These men, from both sides of the law, have little regard for women, seeing in them little more than an entrée to satisfy their twisted appetites.

From the beginning of the story and Patty’s ‘encounter’ in a truck stop restroom to the startling conclusion, the pace of Savage Highway is not unlike that of one journeying one of the highways in the American Southwest. One moment moving at breakneck speed as the protagonists race to prevent another death… or escape their own… and then slowing for the curves and hills of the rolling landscape ahead as Richard introduces another twist and turn to the story.

The duality of several of the characters… constantly shifting between responsible, law-abiding citizens and sexual sadists… is something that the author does quite well and is one reason his stories are so absorbing and memorable. The characters Richard draws are indelible and one of my favorite parts of any Godwin tale.

Well-paced action, sharp dialogue, and terse descriptions of both character and place make Savage Highway a story not easy to put down and will leave imagery in the reader’s head long after.

I hesitate to use such over-played phrases as ‘pulse-pounding’, but it is apt in this case as Richard brings us a story filled with suspense, danger and virtually non-stop action. If this doesn’t get the adrenaline surging through your veins, you’re probably dead and just haven’t fallen over yet.

Savage Highway is ‘five-star’ in every sense of the word and well-deserving of accolades. This is classic noir… taut and unapologetic.

Savage Highway is Richard Godwin at his ‘noirest’. A must-read story I recommend without hesitation.

Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
27 January 2016

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