“But sleep was hard to come by. There was thinking to do, there was emotion to accommodate.”
One of Garfield’s many fine Westerns, Tripwire appears in 1973, just one year after his urban-vengeance touchstone novel Death Wish.
In ways this is a vengeance novel as well, but it is told in a stripped-down manner that calls to mind what I regard as Elmore Leonard’s best novel Valdez is Coming.
In Leonard’s novel, one man, Valdez, takes on many over a seemingly simple point of honor. The lead character’s doggedness and resourcefulness provide that lean mean narrative with an intriguing single-focused drive where what Valdez sees as responsibility cannot be side-stepped.
In Tripwire, the lead protagonist also single-handedly pursues an almost absurdly larger force for a single point of honor. Brian Garfield handles this David & Goliath disparity with skill where it never tips into super-heroics but always lies in the land of plausibility.
The novel is Leonard-esque not simply in theme but in style. The opening quote shows us the terse clipped tone used throughout and the incisive insight inside the venturing man’s skull.
For all who enjoy Elmore Leonard there is much to enjoy here.
For all who enjoy Garfield, well, this is one of the very good ones.