by Ernie Lindsey
Sledge is a fast-paced suspenseful thriller featuring author Ernie Lindsey's main character from his novel White Mountain. Private investigator Mary Walker was crippled five years ago by a serial cop killer nicknamed "Sledge" for obvious and uncomfortable reasons. In this short, we catch up with Walker, who left the force after surviving an encounter with Sledge to become a private detective, as she is conducting late night surveillance of a warehouse whose owner suspects his employees of stealing merchandise. Inevitably Sledge reappears, and Walker must confront the psychopath who crippled her and ended her career.
This book belongs squarely in the suspense and thriller genres and pulls off both fairly well. Once I began this piece I was compelled to finish it, especially after Sledge showed up in the narrative. This story has a bit of a creep factor too if you try to put yourself in the character's shoes and imagine what you would do in a situation with a sledgehammer-wielding maniac. Lindsey's writing in Sledge is not particularly stylistic and this has the advantage of resonating easily to the modern reader and not distracting from any of the action. Don't think that I am saying his writing is amateurish in the slightest, as it is very professional and polished. I believe that there is a certain style and tone that works with this genre, and the author nailed it. My one criticism of this piece is some of the dialogue, which I felt could be a little out of place given the dire situation. I think it falls into the familiar trap of the villain pausing to have an extended 20/20-esque interview about why he did it. Even though I'm not a huge fan of that method of exposition, Lindsey successfully manages to work in a fair amount of character development for a short story, and it makes me wonder what he can do with a full length novel. I expect that White Mountain (which calls itself A Mary Walker mystery and not A Mary Walker short story), will have a goodly amount of substance and plot, not to mention action. If you're a fan of Jeff Deaver, Patricia Cornwell, or novelists in that vein, I highly recommend Sledge.