George Chesbro,
Second Horseman Out of Eden
(Atheneum, 1989;
Apache Beach, 1999)

Dear Santa, please give me a puppy and stop Armageddon.

This is another great and bizarre action-adventure-mystery with a touch of science fiction and horror novels, in a grand series by George Chesbro. Robert "Mongo" Fredericksen is a criminologist/private investigator who has a black belt in martial arts and happens also to be a dwarf and former star acrobat in a circus. Strange? Oh, it's only begun to be strange!

Mongo and his 6-foot-3-inch brother, Garth (retired NYPD detective) are well-to-do, well-connected private eyes, looking to put the horrors of their past cases behind them and enjoy the holidays. They go to the NYC Post Office to pick up five "Dear Santa" letters each, but end up picking just one, in which a little girl wants a puppy -- and an end to being molested by a religious fanatic. Their mission to find the girl and save her leads to a doomsday cult, a billionaire recluse, former professional athletes who are ex-convicts, stolen Amazon topsoil and wayward biospheres. Can Garth and Mongo prevent Armageddon and get a puppy for the girl, plus end the molestation? They succeed at only two of those three things before the end of the book.

As with all of Chesbro's Mongo novels, this is fast-paced, well-written, full of action and replete with bizarre characters. This story takes place several years after The Beasts of Valhalla and is just as good. What a thrill ride!

by Chris McCallister
22 April 2006

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