December 23, 2015 at 6:40 pm (Reads) (, )

JackalsJackals by Charles L. Grant


Earlier this year, when I was making my way through Charles Grant’s fiction via ebooks, Jackals wasn’t available. I found a paperback copy at a local used bookstore, putting it into my normal reading rotation, but last week I stumbled across this in the Kindle store, so it got bumped up in my rotation. I kind of see why it was late getting the ebook conversion, though.

The premise for Jackals is pretty good; it asks the reader to contemplate why you see so many stranded cards on the side of the road. Grant takes that idea and creates a family who preys on the kind-hearted people who stop to help those in need. The story opens with one of their victims escaping and finding some real help.

From all of his previous works, I’m accustomed to Grant’s slow, lyrical style, but it seems to be missing in this novel. It’s not a fast-paced work by any means, but there’s a lot missing from this book that I’ve come to like in his previous stories. Grant is an “It’s the singer, not the song” author, where his style is more important than the story itself, and here, where the story itself takes priority over his style, it winds up being lackluster, at best. This was one of his later works, where he may have been influenced by the more contemporary styles that were developing around him, and it shows that his strength was in how he wrote a story, not the story itself. There’s nothing particularly notable or memorable about Jackals.

I still have a handful of other Grant books to read, and I’m hoping that those will go back to the style he used before Jackals. This book feels like an anomaly compared with everything that came before it. Hardcore Grant fans will probably appreciate it, but it will make them long for his earlier works.

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