Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Review All God’s Children by Arthur Lyons (No Exit Press, 1975)

Jacob Asch works as a private investigator in Los Angeles.  He’s hired by Robert Haynes to search for his eighteen year old step-daughter, Susan Gurney.  Susan has a history of running away.  As a child she fled to her real father, who has a new family, and used to pack her off back home.  The last time was to religious commune, The Word of God.  Haynes had her rescued and deprogrammed but fears she might have returned to the cult.  It seems a straightforward enough case, though the commune is openly hostile to Asch’s enquiries, he finds the deprogrammer dead, and it appears that Susan was dating a motorcycle gang member.  Despite warnings to drop the case, Asch soldiers on, determined to track the young woman down.

All God’s Children is a fairly glib affair that felt like a fairly standard episode of the Rockford Files or Columbo -- more small screen than big; more everyday than exceptional -- but with a lead character who lacks warmth, depth and vitality.  At the one level, this provides a degree of social realism -- Asch is a fairly ordinary guy working as a private investigator.  At another, it took a mix of rich family searching for a runaway child, a cultish commune, and a thuggish motorcycle gang, and made them pretty mundane.  Moreover the denouement felt weak.  The result was an okay, run-of-the-mill story that lacked sparkle and edge.

1 comment:

Rick Robinson said...

Sounds like one of those "you read it so I don't have to" books. Thanks, Rob.