Buck Reilly wants only three things out of life: A plane to fly, a treasure to find, and a beautiful woman to rescue. He’ll get his chance at all three in the first of John H. Cunningham’s new thriller series, RED RIGHT RETURN. Set against the stunning scenery and freaky fabulousness of the Florida Keys, Cunningham joins the ranks of Carl Hiaasen, Randy Wayne White and Papa himself in a rich new series for thrill seekers everywhere.
But Buck Reilly’s no ordinary hero. A product of his times and ours, too, he’s laying low and trying to fly under the radar in the aftermath of economic catastrophe. Back in his bad old days on Wall Street, Buck ran e-Antiquity, plundering the world’s treasures, (and a few of his investors’ pockets) for some pretty handsome profit. He wasn’t a bad guy back then, he just didn’t know any better. But life turned ugly when the market crashed, the company cratered and the FBI investigated the bankruptcy. When his marriage ended and his parents were killed in a car crash, Buck found out for certain that business wasn’t just business anymore.
These days, Buck’s a lot like the rest of us—trying to make ends meet and hoping for better times. He operates The Last Resort Salvage and Charter Company, flying a 1946 amphibious Grumman Widgeon, hunting for sunken treasure and taking on an occasional passenger, no questions asked. But when he faces down the dark forces of Santero priests, the underbelly of the Havana underworld and a pissed-off FBI agent, Buck has nothing but ingenuity, guts and his ancient flying boat to save his skin, and the lives he put in peril.
Review: This turned out to be a fast moving action novel that started out very slowly and was hard to get into initially. Cunningham gave lots of background info while setting the stage in Key West and introducing all the bad guys (along with their nicknames) who were chasing after Buck. This was interspersed with some of Buck’s life story of why he was in Key West in the first place. This bogged down the story line when trying to keep the plot and characters straight. Add in the Santeros (those believing in Santeria) and Palo Mayomebe, it’s dark side, and it was made a little more difficult. Once you got past all the scene setting the action worked its magic and drew you into the story. There was lots of conflict and some romance which held my interest and kept reeling me in. Then the ending of the story was climatic which made it all worthwhile. I ended up enjoying this book, when I didn’t think I would, and look forward to reading others in the series that John Cunningham is planning to write. I would hope that in future books Buck will get into the story/action a lot quicker and therefore grab my interest from the start of the story instead of about 50 pages into the book.
Favorite Quote: “I rode past Seven Fish. Karen’s and my table was empty. My hands were numb on the handlebars. I’d spilled my guts, prattled on about my failed marriage and business, but I’d also discovered her secret ambition to write and some ways in which we were really alike. Plus I had the feel of my hands in hers, her saying I wasn’t alone and the halo of lilac still etched in my mind. And, damnit, her strikingly familiar protagonist. The ruthless salvage hunter.”