by Jerry Smith
Whitehorse Press, 1998
189 Pages, $12.95
by Victor Wanchena
Imagine you’re riding on a mountain road. You are on your way to a race when you come across an accident. You recognize the wreckage of the motorcycle involved and rush to where the body of rider lays. It is your brother! This is the opening scene in Jerry Smith’s new book, Deadman’s Throttle.
The main character is Jason Street, a writer for the magazine curiously named Motorcycle Monthly. His brother, who worked for a rival publication, died in what was supposed to look like an accident. But a mysterious phone call leads Jason to believe that it was murder.
This series of events launches the reader into a world of industry insiders wrapped up in a classic whodunit murder mystery. The author does make the world of motojournalism a lot more intriguing than the usual day-to-day grind at a computer rushing to meet deadlines, but that’s the fun of this book.
The only real criticism of the book I have is that the author follows a fairly predictable path with the plot. A few suspects, all with possible motives, are slowly exonerated until the end when a couple of twists are thrown at the reader. (Agatha Christie would be proud.) This is also what makes this book so easy to read. It doesn’t demand much from the reader, and the plot moves fast enough to keep you interested.
In short, Jerry Smith, a long time motojournalist who has written for Rider, Motorcyclist, and Cycle Guide, applies the classic mystery formula to the world of motorcycle journalism with the result being a piece of good, light fiction in the all too small niche of motorcycle fiction. Look for a second Jason Street mystery from Jerry Smith this fall.