Brett Battles is just like a carnival juggler. Imagine one of those burly guys with a bare oiled chest, juggling impossible objects in front of a stunned crowd by torchlight. Imagine a chainsaw, a sabre, a fiery club, all flying in air at the same time, and Battles below keeping the whole thing spinning with a confident grin on his face. OK, maybe I’m going overboard with the bare oiled chest image. But my point is this: Brett Battles is a prolific wonder of a writer. He has embraced wholeheartedly the e-book publishing craze, and he seems to be doing it pretty well. In the last year alone he has written and self-published seven books, four from four different ongoing series, and three stand-alone novels. This doesn’t include three short stories, one mass market paperback published in April (The Silenced) and another forthcoming e-book by the end of the year. His plan for 2012 is to publish at least five more novels. So you can understand my juggling metaphor.
Every Precious Thing is the second book in the Logan Harper series. The first, Little Girl Gone, is about an ex-military garage mechanic living in Cambria, California who inadvertently gets caught up in the search for a missing child and gets more action than he bargains for. This time around, Logan is once again called upon to help find someone: the wife of a friend’s client who disappeared during a trip to San Diego. Sara, newly wed and the mother of a two-year-old girl, manages to evade her husband at the Mexican border, leaving a cryptic note telling him not to look for her. And so the chase begins, as Logan, his father Harp, and their friends Dev and Barney find and pursue the trail of the elusive Sara. Along the way they run into two other groups who are also on her tail, and things really start to get interesting.
Unlike some of Brett’s other books, Every Precious Thing is light on action, and the body count is virtually nonexistent. At some point the guns do come out, but their effect is mild compared to say, Brett’s Quinn novels, where the blood runs thick and people drop like flies. Logan is not your typical gun-wielding Battles character, and he doesn’t need to be. Instead of violence, we get suspense, as the various factions tracking Sara head east toward the Grand Canyon for the final showdown. Short, terse chapters also help to quickly move the story along. And there is a fair bit of humor here as well. Harp and his crony friends, who call themselves “Wise Ass Old Men,” lighten the tension with their constant bickering. And when a close friend dies in the beginning of the story, a poignant subplot is revealed when Harp receives an old copy of Lost Horizons and a mysterious letter from his friend.
Although the pace of the story takes a while to get going, and the reader is kept in the dark too long about Sara’s reason for running, this book is a fun ride that will keep you turning pages. And don’t worry if you haven’t read Little Girl Gone. Every Precious Thing stands on its own very nicely. I’m looking forward to seeing what Logan gets up to next.