The Chase (Isaac Bell Series #1)

The Chase (Isaac Bell Series #1)

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by Clive Cussler

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A remarkable adventure from the limitless imagination of Clive Cussler. See more details below


A remarkable adventure from the limitless imagination of Clive Cussler.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Cussler takes a breather from his several ongoing series with this historical thriller set in the western states, circa 1906. The U.S. government hires the renowned Van Dorn Detective Agency and its equally renowned lead agent, Isaac Bell, to capture the bank robber known as the Butcher Bandit. The Butcher has gunned down 38 men and women and two children, leaving behind neither witnesses nor clues. Bell heads the manhunt and finally figures out the Butcher's true identity, which is when the real chase begins. Unfortunately, Cussler's style is patterned on the clunky dialogue ("I pray you catch the murdering scum") and improbable characters of the period's dime novels, and his in-depth research makes his descriptions sound like advertising. Once San Francisco gets hit by the 1906 earthquake and the principals climb aboard a pair of fire-breathing locomotives, the novel cranks up a head of steam and some high-speed thrills. (Nov.)

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Library Journal

Dirk Pitt takes a vacation and Cussler gives us Isaac Bell, a detective with the Van Dorn Agency operating in the early years of the 20th century. This New York Times best seller begins with a contemporary discovery of an old railroad engine in a Montana lake and then takes listeners back to a time when the West was in its last throes of being considered "wild." Isaac is on the trail of a murderous bank robber who has earned the nickname "The Butcher Bandit" because of his habit of killing everyone who might be a potential witness. After an abortive attempt to lure the robber to Telluride, CO, Isaac comes into possession of clues that leads him to believe that the robber might indeed be another banker and that he might reside in San Francisco. The tale is typical Cussler, and while his florid prose might be the literary equivalent of warm milk, he is dependable and presents a darn good adventure story with plenty of twists, bad guys, and breathtaking action. Scott Brick does his usual outstanding job of narrating, not in a monotonous recitation but in a slow, almost laconic manner that captures the listener's attention even when characters "hiss" and "snarl" and villains are referred to as "dastardly." Cussler fans will welcome the arrival of Isaac, the new hero on the block, even as they await the next Dirk Pitt novel. Recommended.
—Joseph L. Carlson

Kirkus Reviews
The smartest shamus on earth tracks the planet's cleverest lowlife in the latest to roll from the Cussler assembly line (Polar Shift, 2005, etc.). In 1906, they didn't come any nastier than the Butcher Bandit, who, when the book opens, has already racked up 38 kills, a goodly number of them women and children. He robs banks, murdering-remorselessly-any unfortunate who happens to be on the premises at the time. So adept at the work is he, we're told exhaustively, that he's commonly believed to be uncatchable. Which is why Isaac ("He always gets his man") Bell of the Van Dorn Detective Agency is assigned the case. But the Butcher Bandit is a slippery one indeed. Not only brilliant, audacious and cold-blooded beyond measure, he is also not the stuff of which bottom-feeders are usually made. For it turns out that the master criminal who has robbed banks all over the Southwest is actually a bank president himself. In San Francisco, the extremely solvent Cromwell Bank is a byword for respectability, its founder and chief executive a pillar of the community. That would be Jacob Cromwell, aka the much sought after Butcher Bandit. So how to explain Cromwell's deep, dark plunge into criminality? He loves the challenge, he says. There's also that new word, Bell explains to an understandably puzzled colleague, that psychology professionals are beginning to use: sociopath. At any rate, the game's afoot, the antagonists perfectly matched, with Cromwell convinced he can rob, kill and elude capture, and Bell promising not to rest "until I capture the man responsible for these hideous crimes."Thin characters, fat plot-holes, sluggish pacing and Cussler's signature clunky prose. First printing of 750,000

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Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Isaac Bell Series, #1
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

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