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LOW RIDER
by Philip Reed

Pocket Books, HC, July 1998, $23

Reviewed by Anthony Smith

Well, the second novel featuring Reed's Harold Drodge (the first was Bird Dog) is everything it promises, which can be good or not-so-good depending on the reader.

It's fast and light hearted. It deals with some tough customers. It's got a lot of action.

If you like car talk, especially about the classics, you'll probably like this. Also, if you are a fan of tough-guy detectives (Drodge is an amatuer, though. I guess that's to make him seem "vulnerable."), put Low Rider on your list.

But here's something to keep in mind: I didn't like the attitude of the lead character throughout the book. He was a cliche at best, cold at worst. Nor did I like Vikki, the woman he "partners up" with here. They weren't convincing, even for plain old fun characters, in the way Elmore Leonard's loopy characters are convincing. The plot couldn't keep my attention, darting a few different places over a short period of time.

Every once in a while, I come across books that sound nice in theory, but which come across flat and uninteresting on the page. That's what I thought here. So, maybe it wasn't for me. I'm not so keen on the classic cars myself.


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