David Morrell,
(Vanguard, 2007)

Scavenger continues the adventures of Frank Balenger, and makes reference to what happened in the previous novel, Creepers, in ways that are relevant to what is happening now. History is important, and Balenger is forced to solve a puzzle from the past with the clock ticking down.

The story follows Amanda and Frank as they work their ways through puzzles and obstacles to find a time capsule. The deadlines they face in order to survive the game keep them moving constantly. It is this pacing that keeps the story moving -- there are constantly more obstacles to overcome. The man behind the game they are in keeps putting the pressure on them and giving them clues to get through along the way.

Neither Frank nor Amanda starts off alone, and those with them are either a part of the game or are very quickly caught up in it. And it is a game, or at least it is to the person in control of it. A very lethal, all too real game, but some of the questions that are touched on in the story focus on what is real and what is time.

The various characters have their own strengths and weaknesses and issues from the past to deal with -- some you are more aware of than others, but you do see how many of them play out. All the players in the game are very intelligent and resourceful. And while the gamemaster can be quite sadistic, the conversations with him are always interesting and sparkled with tidbits worth thinking on more.

The notes at the end of the book are also worth reading, building on some of the ideas in the book.

David Morrell has written a novel that is both a joy to read and tickles the intellect along the way.

[ visit the author's website ]

review by
Paul de Bruijn

1 December 2007

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