Books by Don Davis

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 22, 1999

A hokey autobiography of American astronaut and moon-walker Cernan. Cernan commanded the last of the Apollo missions, number 17, destination Moon, where he and mission geologist Jack Schmitt took a walk. It was a long haul of a career to make those few steps—in all likelihood, a career exquisitely nuanced, serendipitous, and with a few tales to tell, but what gets served up here is Cernan the hayseed patriot. "The Cold War became the crucible in which my military career was forged" will tip readers off early as to where things are headed. Training in California, he experiences an earthquake and interprets it as "God's way of saying, ‘Welcome to the real world, you nugget.' " Vietnam rages in the background, and Cernan makes note of it with such comments as, "the bloody battle of the Ia Drang Valley proved those little guys could fight us to a standstill." He briefly hits a stride chronicling his space walk on an earlier mission—a truly hellacious, slow-motion episode, in which a welter of little glitches nearly kills him—and his profiles of the other pilots in the space program are easily the most entertaining parts of the book, although they too can be facile (of Walter Schirra, "He was a cold-nerved pilot, by God"). When he steps off the ladder of the lunar module and treads upon the surface of the Moon, he stays true to form—no poetry, just "Oh, my golly." And questions of tone aside, there is too much lumber passing as prose in these pages ("Roger was a workaholic, and I guess we all were, but off-duty, he had a great sense of humor"), despite the assistance of amanuensis Daavis Even if Cernan is an aw-shucks kind of guy, this much corn makes his story a bland affair. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen) (Author tour) Read full book review >
THE GRIS-GRIS MAN by Don Davis
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: April 1, 1997

Wade Broussard is the Louisiana state trooper you call when your case involves voodoo. He's a former carny magician raised by mambo priestess Stella Laveau, a man who renounced the magical forces inside him only when the lord of the dead, Baron Samedi, demanded he sacrifice an innocent to assure his followers of his power—and he's just the cop to investigate the ritual slaying of Bobbi Devereaux, the wild New Orleans socialite who opened her hotel room door one time too many. Wade knows the killer isn't any of the obvious suspects—Bobbi's industrialist father Wendell Devereaux, her vacuous quarterback boyfriend Lightning Joe Stallings, or any of a dozen drug mules or magicians. In fact, the killer isn't even human: It's Wade's nemesis Baron Samedi, who's assumed human form (but which human?) to establish dark sovereignty via a Haitian-connected drug ring. Since the police could never defeat the lord of death, Wade quits the force, grabs the fat paycheck Wyn Devereaux has been dangling in front of him, and goes up against Baron Samedi, who's just kidnapped his Yankee girlfriend, with a handpicked team of Devereaux recruits, some heavy artillery, and all Maman Stella's voodoo magic backing him up. A knockabout thriller from rolling-stone Davis (Appointment with the Squire, 1995, etc.) that combines voodoo, special forces, police work, and the steamy atmosphere of the Big Easy with the surrealistic pace of a Nintendo game. Read full book review >
APPOINTMENT WITH THE SQUIRE by Don Davis
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 1, 1995

It's 1945, and the focus of this readable and absorbing first thriller is a Nazi commando in the US with direct orders from Hitler to assassinate President Roosevelt. Variations of this story have been told before, of course, whether the intended victim was de Gaulle or Churchill or the president. We know the effort doesn't succeed, so the trick lies in the telling: Why does the villain fail? Former newsman Davis keeps the reader guessing about that with a few nifty twists. William Miller (nÇ Wilhelm Mueller) is a most competent agent, rapidly insinuating himself into the populace of Warm Springs, Ga., FDR's popular retreat, and putting into place a well-designed plan that will draw FDR into a death trap. When the OSS learns of the plot, the only man in the U.S. intelligence community who can identify Mueller is young officer Jack Cole, whom Mueller shot and left for dead in a Belgian forest during a brutal massacre of captured American troops. Cole is a relatively bland character compared to the would-be killer, who's human enough almost to decide to turn his back on his mission—until the firebombing of Dresden, which kills his mother, strengthens his resolve. But Cole's story is fascinating because of the self-serving efforts of J. Edgar Hoover to promote the FBI, even if it means risking the president's life. This subplot ties in nicely with Davis's neatest touch: Rather than acting solely alone, Mueller is supported by a pair of fellow spies, in place for years, who implement several false attacks that lead the Secret Service virtually to deliver the president to his killer. Many readers may anticipate the final surprise, but few will be disappointed by this engrossing read. Very plausible, very possible, and very well done. Read full book review >