Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Less Than Human - by Gary Raisor - An oldie, but a goodie
This twenty-year old novel from Gary Raisor packs quite a punch. Released just a few months ago as an ebook, it reads as fresh as anything being published today.
Less Than Human starts with a couple of pool hustlers arriving at Leon's Pool Emporium in Carruthers, Texas looking for a game with local hot-shot D. A. Fontaine. The hustlers, Steven Adler and Earl Jacobs, were a bit disappointed when they discovered D. A. was actually Dorinda, a 17 year-old girl. When Steven and the girl were getting ready to play, "Dorinda felt a slight tingle of fear when she looked into his green eyes. Something wasn't right about them. They seemed way to old for his face. And there was some kind of hidden rage swirling around in their depths. She looked away, and when she looked back, his eyes were okay. It must have been the light, she decided." After a few games the two were asked to leave, which they did, but when Adler went to pick up his special cue stick, he found it was gone. Not a good thing for the people of Carruthers.
I found the whole first chapter in the pool hall to be tense, dark and totally entertaining and it only got better from there. Raisor does a very nice job of developing the characters who comprise this small Texas town, but the villains are what make the story. Steve and Earl are truly memorable characters and get some of the best dialog. Earl to Steve, "You killed the guy's daughter, cut off her hand and stuck it in a jar of pig's feet, and then you tell him you're not exactly human. I think he's already figured that out."
Less Than Human includes plenty of violence as well as an original take on a vampire-like character and no he doesn't "sparkle." Not recommended for the young'uns or easily offended, but it was right in my wheelhouse and a great way to spend a few nights reading.
If you haven't read it before, go ahead and take a chance on Less Than Human. It accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it rather well.