A Dragon Lives Forever

John R. Riggs, Author Barricade Books $17.95 (344p) ISBN 978-0-942637-78-6
Riggs takes a big step forward with this eighth book in the Garth Ryland series, generally eschewing the talky narrative and unsatisfying conclusions that occcasionally diminished previous series entries. Ryland, the local newspaperman in Oakalla, Wis., a prime parcel of rural darkness, traces two crimes here. Two decades separate the still-unresolved disappearance of a teenage boy and the recent death--most likely a murder--of a washed-up stock-car racer. Both events are linked to the annual arrival of a carnival in Oakalla; the boy had been headed there to claim his manhood with a loose woman, and the racer had shown up with a carny friend. Naturally the crimes are interlocked, yet the solution is hidden in a cast of characters that includes the racer's lover, her abusive husband, the local cop (who loves the lover), the tough carny owner and the loose woman--who is still loose. The tangle of suspects leaves Ryland barely enough room to pontificate on the lost promise of childhood and the evils of paving rural alleyways. A fine addition to an always interesting series. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
Mass Market Paperbound - 214 pages - 978-0-425-14301-8
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