Point and Shoot
A Lock Tourmaline Mystery by G. D. Baum
Review: G. D. Baum's debut novel, Point and Shoot, introduces ex-cop, private investigator, and martial arts expert Lothar "Lock" Tourmaline in an action-packed, though somewhat aimless, mystery of a high-level Korean mob meeting gone wrong.
In an attempt to solidify their power and political influence in northern New Jersey, two powerful Korean mob families agree to meet to discuss joining ranks. Neither side trusts the other, and insists that bodyguards of their own choosing be present. Lock and his ex-cop partner Henry Cho are hired to specifically protect Susan, daughter of the patriarch of the Heung family, all of whom are meeting with their primary rival, Cousin Bodacious. Midway through their discussions, Lock and Cho are dispatched to deal with a police presence outside during which time Susan's father is assasinated. Did the killers take advantage of Lock's absense to strike, or were the police a clever diversion intended to get Lock out of the way?
There are a lot of action sequences in Point and Shoot, all of which are meticulously written and feature carefully choreographed martial arts moves with details on the execution of the move and what is expected to be accomplished as a result. And characters are defined more by their martial arts abilities than anything else; the "Grandfather" character is god-like and seems to have supernatural powers. But there isn't much of a plot to link everything together. It's as if Baum made a list of martial arts moves and characters that could perform them, and then came up with a series of vignettes in which he could incorporate both. There are several stories here of which only one could be termed a mystery: who killed Mr. Heung. But while most of the various storylines have some sort of resolution, including the "and, oh, by the way, it's a book about a man who loves a woman who's dying of cancer", the mystery does not. Who did kill Mr. Heung?
As a mystery, Point and Shoot is a disappointment made more so since Baum could have easily written a proper conclusion without being unreasonably ambiguous. As a martial arts action, adventure fantasy, it works well: no plot required. As a love story, the jury is still out.
Acknowledgment: Author Marketing Experts provided a copy of Point and Shoot for this review.
Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Point and Shoot: New Jersey
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Point and Shoot by G. D. Baum — A Lock Tourmaline Mystery
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: September 2006
List Price: $14.95