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by Patrick Hasburgh
St Martin's Minotaur, December 2004
304 pages
ISBN: 0312331835

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Jake Wheeler is hired by a now-wealthy former snow-bunny named Laura "Post or Kellogg or some name like that. She married a guy whose great grandfather invented shredded wheat or something" to find her step-daughter Tinker Mellon. Tinker is a troubled teen who happens to have some major basketball talent, and a proclivity for sex. This isn't the first time Tinker has disappeared.

Laura gives Jake some pictures she found in one of Tinker's boots. The pictures are of Tinker and two men, in various sexual poses. On his way home from Laura's house, someone tries to shoot Jake. Then he is arrested. The chief of police in Aspen is Rick Rankin, an old friend of Jake's. Chief Rick gets Jake out of the slammer, and Jake begins to discuss the case with Rick but changes his mind when it becomes apparent that one of the men in the pictures with Tinker is Chief Rick's son.

In trying to track down Tinker, Jake finds out that the other man in the pictures is Richard Dupre, Tinker's high school French teacher. Eventually, Mr Dupre winds up dead. This is relevant.

Jake acquires a malamute named Winston, and tangentially, a young woman named Laser/Lynda. Laser used to date Rick Rankin, until Tinker took an interest in Rick. There is no love lost between Laser and Tinker.

The plot continues to be convoluted. The characters keep coming out of the snowbanks; some of them are people one might like to know, some are definitely not. Jake does eventually find Tinker, but that doesn't mean the story is over. There's more to life in Aspen than missing high school basketball stars, and a lot of that "more" is connected to drugs and big money.

My take? I read this book about two weeks ago, and (foolishly) did not write the review immediately. I don't remember much more than what I've written, and that's with reviewing some chapters. I know I enjoyed it when I read it. I laughed more than I expected to; Hasburgh has, at times, a dry sense of humor which appealed to me.

It's a little violent here and there, bullets fly with stunning regularity, and Jake is in harm's way more than once or twice. If you enjoy reading about the seamier side(s) of the "rich-n-famous", if you like the Aspen area and skiing, if you like protagonists who are flawed but still have some moral core . . . you'll probably enjoy ASPEN PULP. This is Hasburgh's first novel, although his screen-writing credits are enviable. I'd read more, given the chance.

Reviewed by P. J. Coldren, February 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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