A FLASH OF RED by Clay Harvey


Email this review


 Good old boys from the Bible Belt put paid to the vengeful plans of alien weapons traffickers in this preachy debut thriller. One fateful day, Tyler Vance (a North Carolina freelance writer who churns out books and articles for the guns and ammo market) finds himself in the middle of a bank robbery while on his way to deposit a sizable royalty check. Pistol-packing Ty drops two of the bandits with a few well-aimed shots, but two others escape with a hostage. One of the holdup men who got away is a Bosnian Serb named Valentin Resovic, and his brother Mikhail was a victim of Vance's accurate fire. A transnational gun-runner and racketeer with a lengthy Interpol file, the surviving Resovic vows to make Ty pay for his loss. But Vance, a veteran of a hush-hush Army unit that trained him in a variety of lethal arts and employed his talents in Korea during the '70s, is not without his resources. Though day care is a constant problem, the straight-arrow widower who single-parents a clever five-year-old son quickly recruits a special force of family members, friends, and volunteers from his old military unit (now at Fort Bragg) to help him provide a solution to the Resovic problem. Hunters and hunted have at each other in a series of bloody encounters in the Tarheel State and points south. At length, the ever armed and dangerous Ty (who seldom misses an opportunity to deliver a sermonette against smoking or in favor of wholesome family values and prayer) finds God on the side of the big guns as he confronts his Serbian nemesis at a rural farmstead where Cullen is held captive. Whatever momentum the wildly improbable narrative manages to gather--thanks to Harvey's modest gift for scenes of violent action--is braked by constant moralizing and posturing. For readers with a high tolerance for redneck self-righteousness and machismo.

Pub Date: May 21st, 1996
ISBN: 0-399-14156-1
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1996