Without question, the best thing about any novel by Clive
Cussler is that the reader is hooked by the end of the first
chapter. Another given is that you will be introduced to many forms
of transportation, most of them unique, historic and classic. THE
CHASE, a stand-alone historical thriller, is no exception.
Back in the Old West in 1906, there were stagecoaches, gold mines
and, of course, the occasional holdup. It was also the year that
all hell breaks loose in San Francisco. The real action starts when
a bank is robbed by a man who the townsfolk think is a derelict.
Actually he is a bank robber in disguise. A ruthless, intelligent
and crafty individual, he has quite a history of successful bank
robberies. The hunt is on as the Van Dorn Detective Agency is
engaged to find and bring the culprit to justice.
As detectives try to follow the clues, a beautiful and deceptive
woman appears. Will she have a bearing on the case? Which side is
she on, and what will her role be in this adventure? Eliah Ruskin,
the notorious Butcher Bandit, is an amazing criminal. He is adept,
creative and ruthless, qualities you don’t necessarily want
to see in an expert bank robber. His plans are very detailed, well
orchestrated and foolproof --- that is, unless you are being hunted
by the great detective, Isaac Bell, of the Van Dorn Detective
Agency, an equally adept and creative individual.
“Yes, indeed, he thought, as he dressed in his evening
clothes, it had been a productive week. One more success to add to
his growing sense of invincibility.” Working his way
westward, from Utah to Arizona to Colorado to San Francisco, where
he owned a bank, Ruskin returns home.
“Nothing was ever left to chance. Every move was carefully
thought out, and then rehearsed again and again. All possible
contingencies were considered and dealt with. Nothing escaped
Cromwell’s attention, down to the last detail. No bandit in
the history of the United States, including Jesse James and Butch
Cassidy put together, came close to matching him in the number of
successful robberies he pulled off and the amount of loot he
collected. Or the number of people killed.” Not only is the
Butcher Bandit crafty and elusive, he is also wealthy and clever
regarding his role in society.
I have read everything that Clive Cussler has written, and
I’ve been a big fan through the years. THE CHASE is
by far the most enchanting of his works. It is so creative and fun
to read about Ruskin eluding Bell and Bell trying to outwit Ruskin.
It is a very quick read, but also detailed and precise. We are even
treated to outstanding motor cars, the Mercedes Simplex, a
Rolls-Royce limousine and a Locomobile!
Romance proves to be an interesting and unexpected theme here, as
Bell uses his creative wile in a more enchanting way. He certainly
provides a very resourceful and multi-faceted hero to date, one of
Cussler’s most ingenious. This is truly a book that will take
you back in time.
Reviewed by Marge Fletcher on December 26, 2010