Written by Steve Trotter – Surprisingly, despite all the violence that occurs in Steve Trotter’s Resurrected, it is hard to call it gritty. Trotter delivers the action in his self-published debut, but comes up short of delivering anything other than a shoot-’em-up. Those looking for a daydream punctuated by gunfire and explosions may want to try out this new voice.
As the book begins, Adam Wolf is living in Montreal writing young adult books. But Trotter’s protagonist has a much darker history: he was a CIA assassin. Wolf is happy to continue writing the autobiographical novels in lieu of resuming his previous career. But when he’s out celebrating his 60th birthday with his travel writer girlfriend the mob guns down another restaurant patron. Wolf witnesses the killing and decides to testify against the hitman.
As we know, gangsters don’t take this sort of thing lying down, so underboss Bruno DeVito puts a contract on Adam Wolf’s head, and the mafia’s biker allies start coming after him. But, underestimating him, they don’t know what he was before he wrote books for teenagers. And they will pay for it.
Trotter is certainly good at thinking up inventive ways for Adam Wolf to best his pursuers. This protagonist is capable with road flares, guitar amps and newspapers – not to mention heavy artillery. Aided by a couple of his special forces buddies, Wolf does more than defend himself against attacks meant to silence him. Instead, Wolf and co take the fight to the bad guys, never stopping until the explosive climax.
Resurrected may be an entertaining thriller, so long as expectations are tempered. The plot is mostly episodic, with smart alecky remarks interspersed between scenes where Wolf dispatches his enemies. And don’t expect much in the way of character development. The bad guys are killing machines beyond redemption. The good guys are all ciphers who exist to provide assistance for Adam Wolf even though he manages to do an awful lot by himself.
At its root, Resurrected is a (male) fantasy. Adam Wolf is a senior citizen who can still repulse his enemies almost single-handedly. In between bouts with mobsters and bikers, he finds time to have a jam session with his buddies and bed his younger girlfriend several times. Reading Resurrected, you get the distinct impression that Steve Trotter wants to be Adam Wolf. And who wouldn’t?
Fanciful escapism does not make for terribly sophisticated literature, but that should not necessarily deter readers from picking up Resurrected. Pulpy vengeance is a long-standing convention in crime fiction, and Trotter’s premise is inventive enough to avoid being derivative. However, the style of the prose may give readers pause. Resurrected is peppered with similes and metaphors that try to rise to the level of Chandler and consistently fail to do so. Trotter sometimes strains to turn a phrase, even if that means awkward syntax. And the constant attempts to sound clever are more wearying than Bruno DeVito’s henchmen.
Still, Steve Trotter has clearly done his research. The first Adam Wolf thriller is a straightforward, action-packed debut. If you enjoy stories of pulpy vengeance, then Trotter and Wolf are likely to satisfy you. Keep an eye out for further installments.
CFL Rating: 3 Stars