I really am going to have to be careful in the issuance of my Duff Corker Awards which at the moment are highly prized and eagerly awaited by the entire pulp fiction publishing industry. However, to give out two in less than a week risks devaluation. Even so, honesty impels me to make the announcement because yesterday I came across a character who, and I know you will find this hard to believe, actually rivals Jack Reacher!
He is called Mike Byrne and is the creation of a new writer to me - well, I'm so out of date virtually everyone is new to me - called Felix Riley and his book, his first, I believe, is The Set-Up. On Tuesday, I awarded a Duff Corker Prize to Mr. Gregg Hurwitz for his book, The Survivor, not least because by the end of chapter three the body count stood at six and was very nearly seven because I almost died through holding my breath with excitement! Mr. Riley does even better, or worse, depending how you look upon the morals of these things, because by the end of chapter three in his book the body count is eight!
Now, Mr. Hurwitz's hero is your average (well, not exactly but you know what I mean!) Joe thrown into a dangerous situation and rising magnificantly to the occasion in the way we all love to think we would, too, in similar circs. But Mr. Riley's creation is in the James Bond/Jack Reacher mold. A former agent for the US Treasury who pushes Mauser automatics rather than pens but who knows his way around the esoteric world of international banks and finance. I haven't even finished his book yet but I have no hesitation in giving him a Duff Corker Award immediately whilst urging him to hurry up and write another one! And Lee Child, you and 'Jack Reacher' had better look out, there's a new kid on the block!