SAVAGE NIGHTS (Tarkus Press 2010)
Author: W.D. Gagliani
This book starts right off looking like a high-voltage suspenseful read, even though the first scene takes place in a jam-packed suburban mall a couple of days before Christmas. Plucky off-beat protagonist Kit, a college student, has been persuaded by her consumerist roommate Irina to brave the holiday shopping crowd. A weird incident involving someone Kit calls Pervy Man ensues. He separates the two women and Irina disappears. Kit looks for her in vain. While she's looking, someone snatches her. Kit's taken away and held captive for nefarious purposes, along with a number of other women.
Meanwhile, Kit's father is losing it. Kit's uncle Rick Brant is required to step up and take charge of the situation. Pulling Kit's dad along, reluctantly, Brant investigates. And guess who they end up talking to first? Irina. The roommate. WTF? Something smells fishy. Irina herself, maybe? (Ha ha.)
Brant, a strong but suffering Vietnam war vet who suffers nightmarish memories of his time as a "Tunnel Rat" (checking for booby trapped tunnels), is more of a father to Kit than her own dad, the almost comically pathetic Ralph. Brant must also deal with other ghosts from his past, including Zimmerman, a police lieutenant on the case who has hated Brant since back in the day.
Add into the mix a beautiful female sergeant named Colgrave assigned to work the case, who wants to believe Brant, but who takes her orders from Zimmerman, who happens to be her ex-lover (how awkward).
Meanwhile, is Kit sitting by idly waiting to be rescued? No! She's planning her escape, even though the odds seem almost insurmountable.
But have no fear. Not only does Brant have investigative resources, but he has this uncanny sixth sense that served him well as a Tunnel Rat, which seems to provide a psychic link of sorts with Kit. Assuring him to a degree that she's alive (maybe) and that he's heading in the right direction (maybe).
Not only that, but Brant eventually assembles a team of old chums from his days in Nam to effect Kit's rescue. This all leads up to a big bang-up finish worthy of the big screen.
W.D. Gagliani writes with an almost stream of consciousness style of prose that pulled me right into the story. The characters are living, breathing masses of contradiction. The plotting is exceptional. The action is non-stop.
Picture this. If Sam Peckinpah wrote a novel, how would it read? Probably like this one.
This book is available as an ebook only. Download it now. Read it and hold on tight.