6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2001
As an action thriller and murder mystery, author H.A. Covington's novel Fire and Rain has all the suspense, drama, sex, violence and acidic dialogue one could manage between the covers of a book.
The story may be as good as anything Ian Fleming concocted for James Bond. But it's hard to imagine Sean Connery or Roger Moore playing the lead in Fire and Rain. Covington's two-fisted, gunslinging, fedora-bedecked Matt Redmond conjures images of a cornpone Stacy Keach with an acrimonious attitude coupled with a neurotic Arnold Schwsarzenegger sporting a bazooka. If this book reaches the silver screen, Mel Gibson may be considered too namby-pamby for the role.
The story oozes with testosterone, but it also exudes tenderness and compassion tempered with old fashioned chivalry and gallantry. After years of mayhem and surreptitious sleuthing, detective Matt Redmond returns to his hometown to solve the 26-year-old murders of his high school sweetheart and her girlfriend.
His teen-angel heartthrob was sexually assaulted and dispatched with calculating precision, while the other girl was brutally tortured to death. The then 17-year-old protagonist swears an oath to one day exact a terrible retribution against the psychopathic perpetrators.
In 1996 Matt Redmond teams up with his future squeeze and her teenybopper daughter, and together they explore the events of 1970 to expose ghosts in the attic, old family vendettas, clandestine sexual liaisons, deliberately botched investigations, Russian spies, communist conspirators, Vietnam War protesters and corrupt FBI officials. Covington's hero dons the cloak of the "Southern Sherlock Holmes" while his girlfriend becomes his contemplative "Dr. Watson."
The author blends his story with a message. As the mystery unfolds he draws some political and ethical lines in the sand. Fence-sitters, confronted with blistering rhetoric, will not be able to read this book without taking a moral stand on the volatile social issues of our times.
If you're a hippie or flower child from circa 1968, you'll enjoy a nostalgic trip down memory lane. But at routine intervals Covington's biting, witty discourse will make your pacifist blood boil. If you're a right-wing chauvinist or a macho homophobe, you'll be at home with the politically incorrect dialogue, but you'll frequently be betrayed with less than subtle undercurrents of compromise. Liberals and feminists will be both titillated and infuriated.
Covington makes the story absorbing and illuminating by contrasting current events and fictional episodes with historical epochs. He draws on Western literature to illustrate metaphorical and cryptic exigencies that are germane to the plot. In doing so he supposes the reader to have some degree of cultural literacy, and these diversions are thoroughly rewarding.
The web of intrigue begins to tighten as Redmond and his lover uncover layers of long-buried treachery, treason and betrayal. As ghosts of the murdered girls light the way and the puzzle crystallizes, the reader is treated to frightful and mind-numbing revelations. The twisted minds of the demented butchers and the motivations of their libertine co-conspirators give the reader a mortifying glimpse into contemporary world history, the power of ill-begotten money and the mechanics of a cruel political expediency.
The startling climax culminates in a fast-paced orgy of violence and bloodshed that would make Attila the Hun squeamish. Comeuppance is administered with death-defying acuity, but some perps escape to wreak havoc another day. Perhaps H.A. Covington saved them for his sequel, Slow Coming Dark.
If Mel Gibson doesn't seem right to fill Matt Redmond's shoes on the big screen, and Keach and Schwsarzenegger combined wouldn't fit the bill, who would? This writer nominates Bruce Willis. When Hollywood knocks on Covington's door, let's hope Willis is still young and politically incorrect enough to meet the challenge of Fire and Rain. And perhaps if he and Demi Moore kiss and make up, she could step into the picture to play the role of Redmond's versatile sidekick and tawdry squeeze.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2001
This novel fascinates me. It's obviously based on real events in Chapel Hill. I consider the author's solution to the crimes somewhat unlikely, but very dramatic and satisfying as a fictional device. This is probably purposefully done on his part. I suspect the real murders were never solved and he understandably wants to leave himself some leeway if there ever are any future developments, as eventually occurred in the Martha Moxley case. You can tell that he means this book as a monument and a farewell to someone he once knew and probably cared for, and like Tori in the book, I think that's "way cool." Buy this one and allocate yourself some time to read it, because once you get into it you won't be able to put it down. Looking forward to reading "Slow Coming Dark" next.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2001
You would think that a novel mixing elements of the supernatural and "action" would have serious identity problems from the start, but H. A. Covington has succeeded in melding the two into a fascinating and fast paced novel of the kind that one starts reading in bed at night and ends up calling in sick to work the next day in order to finish.
Covington is a master story teller and he has that indispensable ability to make the reader BE THERE. This talent is increasingly rare among modern writers and I am very pleasantly surprised indeed to observe that it has not disappeared from modern American fiction.
The story is especially gripping to those of us who are of the Vietnam generation, as I would assume is Covington from his ease and comfort with the era. Covington speaks for many of us, for whom that whole sordid mess left a very bad taste which has not yet left our mouths even thirty years after it wound down.
His hero, Matt Redmond, is a man with unfinished business from that time to attend do, and that is a sub rosa feeling shared by more Americans than the current politically correct order might care to admit. We all have some unfinished business from back then. When he turns back the clock to hunt down the killers of two young girls in Chapel Hill in 1970, he is in a sense hunting down the killers of a whole generation's pride and honor, and that is something a good many of us would like to see come about. There is a debt yet unpaid from the Sixties, and if it cannot be paid in reality, it is wonderful for someone my age to enter fleetingly into an imaginary world where the good guys win one at long last.
Mr. Covington, thank you. Reading "Fire and Rain" was an experience and it gave me a lift where I could best use one.
on February 19, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Mr. Covington truely is a wordsmith. His characters devlope to life and with each and every one you can picture them as people we have all met or seen. The story grows and brings all these different people from all walks of life right together, but not by chance. No there is something more sinister at play here. I highly recomend this book and any book by the author. He is an amazing writer and to not read his works is to not fully enjoy literature.Try the Brigade
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2001
Mr. covington has the ability to mix fact and fiction. while I sit here and try to describe this way of writing I am at a loss for words.I have recomended this book to friends and family as simply "a must read" ,therefore I can only do the same to you.get a copy and surround yourself in the story line and you will do the same
on March 23, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
It's a great political thriller. Touching and nostalgic as well. Well-written with developed characters. Politically incorrect. There are some minor flaws. For example the Soviet / Russian intelligence guy is really decent person ready to violate his country's policy to do the right thing. It doesn't seem very believable to me. The real GRU / KGB types are not like that. I loved the book though. Recommended!
on May 16, 2001
The book Fire and Rain by H.A. Covington was the first book I have read in a long time. When I started reading the book I was unable to put the book down, I finished reading it in two days. It is a great book and I have shared my copy with my family and friends so they could read it as well. My mom says she loved the book as well. I absolutely loved the book and recommend that you read it as well.
on July 12, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Harold Covington shows that he can write good straight fiction here, with an interesting mystery involving a long-ago double murder of two girls and a detective who once loved one of them.
on April 23, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Harold Covington is a decent writer even if you don't like his views. Fire and Rain is a bit hokey with reliance on the supernatural to solve a double murder, but hey - how many Americans enjoyed watching Ghost Whisperer?