The Rainbow Runner

John M. Cunningham, Author Tor Books $19.95 (275p) ISBN 978-0-312-85163-7
The first novel in three decades by the author of Warhorse has some of B. Traven's bleakness in its portrayal of a brooding hero. In L.A. in 1913, Jacko O'Donohue and his wife May are locked in a fierce siege: he waiting for her eventual adultery or desertion, she for him to inherit his family's orange groves. Jacko's detective agency is going broke, though his blackmailing partner Mike has lots of money. Lured by a $60,000 reward promised by the Mexican consul, Jacko and Mike set out to recover a jeweled monstrance that Pancho Villa's rebels have stolen from a church in Mexico City. But things go awry: the consul is killed and the detectives must flee the consul's murderous half-brother Herculano. Mike runs off with May, his wife Becky's bearer bonds, and--he thinks--the monstrance. Jacko and Becky set out in pursuit, enduring harrowing dangers, and reach Guaymas in time for a violent encounter with Herculano. Cunningham adroitly manipulates a series of dizzying plot twists and offers vivid background detail about the Mexican revolution. A distinctive touch is the characters' elaborate Mexican politesse (Jacko's grandfather was born O'Donohue y Quinones). Jacko is not an entirely successful protagonist, however. His ruminations are labored, and his and Becky's transformation into lovers does not ring true. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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