Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Bard Reviews: Tiger Paw by Charles A. Cornell

What do Wall Street, rogue CIA assassins, and Hindu cult worship have in common?

That’s what Scott Forrester has to find out in Charles A. Cornell’s fast moving thriller, Tiger Paw. Cornell proves he has the goods as a crime/thriller novelist as he navigates Forrester through a truly tangled web of deceit, torture, murder and betrayal that turns the investigator’s world not only upside down but inside out as well. It’s a race against time as he’s on the run from shadowy assassins, his own agency, and cult conspirators who have infiltrated the very infrastructure of society.

At first glance Tiger Paw appears to be a formulaic display of cliché’s from a crime writer’s checklist. World-weary FBI agent? Check. Sexy but tough female partner? Check. Grouchy boss who shouts a lot demanding results? Check. Femme fatale? Check.
Hindu cultists torturing and assassinating in the name of the Goddess of Death?


Gotta hand to Cornell, I don’t think we’ve seen that one before. To think, he could have easily went the Dan Brown wannabe route and tried to milk the whole ‘Catholic Conspiracy’ thing, but instead Cornell takes us an entirely different route. And he’s done his homework. I’m no expert, but Cornell’s writing style feels like he’s in his comfort zone with details on Wall Street marketing, Hindu religion, federal investigation, and the lifestyles of the rich and famous. He navigates the reader through a convoluted maze without losing us on the way to the climatic finish. And even though I guessed the identity of the Tiger Paw killer about 75% in the tale, I enjoyed the way that he wrapped it up. Tiger Paw is very cinematic, and I can imagine it as a Hollywood film one day.

Bottom line: If you like crime novels in the style of Patterson or Deaver then Tiger’s Paw will do quite nicely. Four out of five stars.

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