Saturday, February 2, 2008

Snowbird's Blood-Joe Hensley

Snowbird's Blood
Joe Hensley
St. Martin's, Feb 2008, $24.95
ISBN: 9780312241117

While her spouse Charlie Cannert was in a Chicago hospital being tested for what proved to be untreatable stomach cancer, his wife Martha went to Florida to find a new home for them. Charlie received one post card from Martha, which is not like her before she disappeared. Now he is driving to Lake City where that post card was sent from almost a month ago.

Martha resides at Tepsicon Rest Hospital, a state mental facility, under the name Jane Doe having suffered amnesia and multiple body injuries from a particular vicious assault. Meanwhile Charlie believes someone murdered his long time spouse. However, as he continues his search, Martha begins to recover slowly some of her memories especially with her Charlie. She flees Tepsicon knowing Charlie is looking for her so she searches for him. Charlie was once a guardian angel vigilante; starting with his Nam "tunnel rat" days to his bringing violence to sociopath attackers of the helpless. He works with local cop Tom Ryan to find those who assaulted his Martha and other missing Snowbirds.

Joe Hensley provides a powerful stand alone thriller that focuses on the predators who take advantage of the elderly; especially still grieving Snowbirds. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Charlie asks his Florida host whether he and his wife killed his Martha. Although the climax seems a bit weak readers will appreciate this fine tale from the late Mr. Hensley (the back cover mentions he passed away last year) whose underlying theme is condemnation of a society that allows the elderly and the young to be unprotected victims of amoral soul suckers.

Harriet Klausner