Book Review: “The Wrecker” by Clive Cussler with Justin Scott (2009)

The Wrecker (Isaac Bell, #2)Book Number Two in the Isaac Bell series, The Wrecker takes Cussler’s readers back in time once more to the turn of the 20th Century. While the West Coast thrives in own wild way, railroad men across the country fight for the longest lines, the strongest books, and fullest pockets. Meanwhile, an unknown saboteur and anarchist seeks to derail the largest conglomerate of all, the Southern Pacific. Soon Isaac Bell, the famed detective from the Van Dorn Detective Agency, is hot on his trail, and there’s no telling what scrapes he’ll endure before he’s able to close this case once and for all.

Several things I really enjoyed about this particular book were the bits of gritty wisdom and the high-stakes card game Bell endures aboard a moving train with a carload of wealthy potential suspects. The bits of wisdom are these, quoted from chapters 7 and 10:
“Bloody noses are a sure sign of progress. You know you’re close when you quarry pokes you in the snoot.”
“You can’t think when you’re mad, and that goes double when you’re mad at yourself.”
The card game is one of the best I’ve ever read, not simply for its high stakes (which admittedly became unreasonably high by the end), but for the way it all unfolds to reveal a battle of wits between two evenly matched, stubborn, life-and-limb type of characters. I could read that portion again and again, and probably still feel my heart try to match the speed of the train as I wait for the men to lay down.

Judging by Cussler’s Epilogue to The Wrecker, this sort-of-sequel to The Chase could have been a full series of books in its own right. Why he chose to conclude this way, I’m not sure. The only reason I can imagine is that Clive Cussler is just so brimming with convoluted plotlines for his many lead characters that he simply doesn’t have the time or the patience for a long, drawn-out series starring the same villains over and again.

“Wouldn’t that be nice!” we writers all sing in chorus.

©2015 E.T.

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One Response to Book Review: “The Wrecker” by Clive Cussler with Justin Scott (2009)

  1. Ralph Seher says:

    OK Most of his books start somewhere way back when. I have not read this one yet, I have a few like that. Saw a C Span show which involved an author who was /had a co author. They explained, like for Cussler, Cussler would write an outline, the co author would do a lot of the writing. Cussler would then tweak /change / modify until both were happy, or Clive was happy. Perhaps the other author does not have the time, or Clive is too demanding, or some other good reason not to continue. That may be the reason for not continuing a series. And with Clive having so many different co authors including Dirk, maybe its just a case of time.

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