Review

Too Far Gone

by John Ramsey Miller



John Ramsey Miller would be an interesting study even to one
unfamiliar with his rapidly growing body of work. He is one of
those individuals who seems to hover around the woodwork in a large
gathering but whose breadth of knowledge on topics as diverse as
photography and firearms quickly brings him to the forefront. His
Winter Massey novels --- INSIDE OUT, UPSIDE DOWN and SIDE BY SIDE
--- reintroduced him to readers familiar with THE LAST FAMILY, his
stand-alone debut novel, and enlarged and broadened his audience
with each successive work. I knew he had achieved a breakthrough of
sorts when a shop at Disney World displayed all of his works among
an otherwise sparse variety of paperbacks.

intriguing, enigmatic foil to former U.S. Marshal Massey. TOO FAR
GONE is ostensibly a stand-alone work (we'll see about that)
featuring Keen in a solo performance in which Massey is only
mentioned indirectly. It is, interestingly enough, Miller's best
work to date. TOO FAR GONE is set in New Orleans, with Hurricane
Katrina just a few days from an uncertain landfall. Keen, ready to
leave the city, is asked to assist the local authorities in the
investigation of an apparent abduction. Given that Keen's forte is
locating kidnapping victims before they are killed, she jumps into
the case immediately, even as storm clouds gather from both within
and without the investigation.

Gary West is the apparent abductee who is the subject of the case.
He's the husband of Casey LePointe West, the heiress to a fortune
of unimaginable wealth. Though Casey and Keen come from
radically disparate backgrounds, their respective childhood traumas
cause them to form an unlikely bond as Keen follows a murky trail
that leads not only through untamed swampland but also the corrupt
and tangled politics of the Crescent City. All the while, however,
the threat of Hurricane Katrina lends an additional ticking clock
to the narrative, though Miller wisely keeps the storm itself as a
potent but invisible threat until literally the very end of TOO FAR
GONE.

Keen is an able but believable protagonist, pursuing both victim
and villain with a determined doggedness, and her quietly complex
psyche adds a dimension to her not often found in protagonists of
this type. It is the villains, however, who almost steal the show.
Miller can create bad guys of every shade and stripe who are the
stuff of waking, walking nightmares, and the ones in TOO FAR GONE
are worth the price of admission alone.

Miller's prose sparkles and shines with understated brilliance ---
his crime scene descriptions and verbal swamp tour will make your
skin jump up and leave the room --- and while plot is in the
driver's seat in this fine work, each of Miller's characters is
vivid and real. Please be assured: if you were hoping for another
Winter Massey novel you will not feel shortchanged in the least by
TOO FAR GONE. Miller may in fact have done his job too well in that
regard, as his presentation of Keen made this reader forget all
about Massey. Keen is far too good a character to consign
to solitary stand-alone. It would be good to see more of her.
And soon.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 23, 2011

Too Far Gone
by John Ramsey Miller

  • Publication Date: August 29, 2006
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Dell
  • ISBN-10: 0440243092
  • ISBN-13: 9780440243090