Relative Danger (Easyread Large Edition)by Charles Benoit
Picture a hotel room in 1948 Singapore. Picture a dispute between black marketer and thief Russell Pearce and an associate - one who opens fire and murders Russell Pearce. Fast forward to present-day Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Young Doug Pearce, just fired from his steady job in the brewery, has never strayed far from home. But he's always found stories of his Uncle… See more details below
Picture a hotel room in 1948 Singapore. Picture a dispute between black marketer and thief Russell Pearce and an associate - one who opens fire and murders Russell Pearce. Fast forward to present-day Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Young Doug Pearce, just fired from his steady job in the brewery, has never strayed far from home. But he's always found stories of his Uncle Russ, the family black sheep, fascinating. In comes a letter from an old friend of his dead uncle inviting him up to Toronto. Doug, at loose ends and bored with killing time, accepts. On arrival, he learns that wealthy and glamorous Edna wants Doug to solve the murder of Russell Pearce and exonerate the chief suspect. And what about the legendary red diamond he was thought to be smuggling? Doug, nervous but game, agrees to play detective. How bad can it be to jet off to a glamour spot or two and have an adventure? Whoa! By the end of his first day in Casablanca, Doug knows he's made a mistake. And while he meets people eager to help - a retired museum curator, a beautiful and self-absorbed heiress, and her elderly father, a colleague of Russell Pearce - it becomes clear that someone else is interested in Doug and his quest. From Morocco to Egypt to Bahrain to Singapore, Doug stumbles on. And whether he's escaping across Cairo rooftops, ducking bullets in a high-speed desert chase, or killing time in a crowded Egyptian jail cell, Doug is sure of one thing: He has no clue what he's doing. But surely he'll think of something as he's propelled full circle back to Singapore and the famed Raffles Hotel. He's definitely not 007 ... but will he prove to be a zero?.....A compulsive traveler, occasional scuba diver, and incurable beginner saxophonist, Charles Benoit has worked in education and advertising. He and his wife, Rose, currently live in exotic Rochester, New York. Relative Danger is his first novel.
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This is a good book. I was entertained. The author is smart and has an eloquent writing style. However, the characters lack depth, the three exotic countries the character travels to are covered only superficially, and the venues visited are the most popular tourist traps. It's as if the author traveled to Morocco, Egypt and Singapore for only about three days each, and then decided to write a fiction novel based on his limited experience. I studied in Egypt and live in Singapore now, so I was hoping for a little greater insight into these countries. I would also rate the book PG, because the action is mildly intense and no one dies. If you are looking for a gritty fiction thriller that takes place in an exotic locale and presents an Asian country with depth and insight drawn from years of in-country experience, check out The Opportunists by Yohann de Silva.
Relative Danger opened my eyes to looking at places and people allcentrically. I love to travel. 24 hours after reading Charles Benoit¿s Relative Danger, I did two things. One, I sat back, closed my eyes and tried to find fault with Benoit¿s book. Two, I gave up. Relative Danger takes you on a journey not just in your mind, but in your very heart and soul. It¿s a fun Mystery (That stumped a mystery lover like myself.) that will change your outlook on life¿s simple adventures. Relative Danger is going on my summer reading list as a number 1 must read for my college students. Thank you, Mr. Benoit, for the adventure. R. Jack Punch, PhD
If ever than was an anti-James Bond, it¿s Doug Pearce. He¿s just lost his job at the Pottsville, Pennsylvania brewery, he¿s spending his days watching TV and hanging out at the mall, and the one goal he¿s achieved since graduating from high school has been that he¿s now a bum. So when he receives an intriguing letter from a woman in Canada offering to give him information about his uncle ¿ a man mentioned in Doug¿s family only as an example of how not to be ¿ Doug has all the time and interest to see her. What he learns is that his Uncle Russell not only was murdered but possibly was a jewel thief as well. Edna Bowers then makes him an offer he can¿t refuse; she¿ll pay for him to travel to Casablanca and around the world to discover who killed Russell and maybe find the jewel as well. Once in Casablanca Doug finds himself living out the life of his dreams. Aided by a beautiful woman who may be a liar (Doug¿s willing to overlook this), he¿s thrown in jail for transporting drugs, attacked by muggers, and one of his sources gets murdered. Doug may not be particularly intelligent, skillful, or experienced, but he¿s having more adventure than he ever had in Pottsville. Doug also realizes that he¿s caring less about finding out who killed his uncle than he is in having the time of his life. This is a wonderful twist on the spy/caper novel, with the hero not really knowing what he¿s doing but willing to try anything. Doug is an extremely original and down-to-earth character whose fighting skill comes from weekends spent drinking and fighting and who¿s quite aware that he¿s in over his head. The plot moves quickly through Morocco, Egypt, and Singapore, and ultimately Doug proves himself to be much sharper than anyone, including himself, originally believes. Benoit has created a vastly entertaining novel full of wry humor, wit, and action.