Thursday, October 17, 2013
The MacGuffin by Michael Craft
Reviewer: Alan Chin
Publisher: Questover Press (Aug. 2011)
A cold-case murder of an alternative energy scientist, Dr. Brant, fifteen years ago halted promising developments in the quest for clean energy when the rumored prototype of a groundbreaking water engine was stolen or destroyed. Now Cooper Brant, still grieving his father’s murder, is the architect who designed the new Emery Energy headquarters outside of Palm Springs, California. Brant was selected to design the company compound because he’s married to the daughter of Bix Emery, the patriarch who controls the company, his family, and America’s move from being oil-centric to alternative fuels.
When Cooper discovers an old box his father hid, with what looks like a prototype machine and a stack of old files, the race is on to discover the secret to repower America. But another violent death in the family raises the stakes. When Cooper discovers how the two murders are linked, a grim message becomes clear. He’s next.
This book was recommended to me because the setting is my hometown, Palm Springs. As much as I enjoyed reading the author’s descriptions of this town I love, the real gem in this novel is the authors prose. Each word is chosen with care to give the prose a pleasing flow. It is a pleasure to read. It is what I term a ‘light read’ even though it deals with topical subjects that could have been highly political in another author’s hands. This novel never tries to be anything other than an entertaining read.
As enjoyable as I found the writing, I found the characters uninteresting, so I never grew to care what happened to them. They left me feeling flat. Also, I found the story much too predictable.
Michael Craft is best known for his “Mark Manning” and “Claire Gray” mystery series, both of which, I understand, fall into the category of gay fiction. The MacGuffin, is Craft’s first novel in six years, and is his first novel outside the “gay fiction’ genre.