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Heat from Another Sun by David L. Lindsey
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Heat from Another Sun

by David L. Lindsey

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Series: Stuart Haydon (2)

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Heat From Another Sun is the second novel in the Stuart Hadyon series; Haydon is a scion of a wealthy Texas family who works as a homicide detective for the Houston Police Department. I originally read it in the 1980s (it was published in 1984) and re-read it in the second week of August 2008.

Upon second reading I didn't dislike it as much as I did the first time, but I still think that the book fell far short of what it could've been. Haydon is enjoying several months of leave owing to the events in the first novel in the series, A Cold Mind, blowing through his fortune by ordering scads of books (which aren't specified), gallery-hopping in search of fine art (Klimt is a favorite), and renovating and restocking the family greenhouse, when his old friend and mentor Bob Dystal drops by to talk him into some consultancy work on a puzzling murder: an aging surfer dude-cum-video technician and camera jockey is found dead in one of the developer sinks at the video lab of the ad agency where he works, his throat cut, a couple of deep stab wounds in his chest. From here Haydon is gradually drawn into a much broader and grimmer mystery revolving around a legendary combat photographer, the boyhood chum who runs the aforementioned ad agency, and a reclusive tycoon of sufficiently unusual physiognomy and dark appetites as to make him worthy of being a James Bond villain. (The tycoon's name, Roeg, has significance on more than one level, the most obvious of which is the fact that it rhymes with "rogue.")

This should make for a much more gripping story than is actually here, which accounts for my frustration with this book. The subject of Heat From Another Sun is the allure of violence (the title comes from a spiel that Roeg gives Haydon about two-thirds of the way through the book, and describes how he thinks of violence), and it's clear that Lindsey wants to probe the dark corners of this allure without falling into the trap of writing an exploitative pot-boiler. This intention is admirable, but one wonders if it can be consciously accomplished in a crime novel rather than in a clinical work of psychology or sociology. (And besides, sometimes an exploitative potboiler is exactly what the doctor ordered; writing them didn't seem to hurt Mickey Spillane's career any.) The moral outrage expressed by at least two of the characters at the goings-on comes off as preaching to the choir: like-minded readers shouldn't need to murmur "Amen" in response to the characters' revulsion, while readers who are more than a little sympathetic with Roeg's tastes may well be unwilling or unable to do so.

The last chapter muddies the waters even further, and casts serious doubts upon Haydon's moral authority. Unfortunately, the novel doesn't so much as conclude as fizzle out, as though Lindsey was finally anxious to be shut of it.

Lindsey overdoes the descriptions of how refined and cultured Haydon and his (gorgeous, exotic, and an architect) wife are to provide further contrast with the violence in the world; I was incredulous that none of Haydon's fellow cops felt the slightest twinge of jealousy over his house, his wife, his car, his wealth -- he certainly doesn't have to work -- or didn't twit him, even just a little, over his fancy-pants, highfalutin and expensive hobbies. For all that Haydon's deceased father was one of the four main powers in Houston back in the day, he must seem as absurd and anachronistic a figure to his fellow detectives as Sherlock Holmes.

Lindsey's real strengths here are his running descriptions of Houston; one gets a sense of the city's astonishing growth, its oppressive, maddening climate, and its uneasy melange of the dirt poor and the fabulously wealthy. (He also manages a nicely sinister descriptive turn in one of his crime scenes. Don't worry: you'll know it when you read it.)

According to the author's website (http://www.davidlindsey.com), there are at least four or five other Stuart Haydon mysteries; after my second reading of Heat From Another Sun, I can safely say that I feel no burning need to track down any more of the books in the series in the near future. ( )
  uvula_fr_b4 | Aug 15, 2008 |
I have very positive memories of this book. It is a rather hard boiled detective story with one of the creepiest antagonists ever.
  www.snigel.nu | Aug 19, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David L. Lindseyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Daly, GerryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 055356790X, Mass Market Paperback)

When No Price Is Too High, Pleasure Knows No Limit....

For homicide detective Stuart Haydon, murder is just the beginning. His investigation into the brutal slaying of a cameraman in a Houston ad agency's darkroom sets him on the trail of a most bizarre and twisted series of crimes...the kind that only money can buy.

"Brutally straightforward...this book is filled with violence, but it's all very well done."

-- People

At the heat of the case sits a man of enormous wealth. power, and resources -- a brilliant, perverse, and reclusive magnate who dreams of the ultimate evil...and whose financial resources can make his dreams a reality. But to what depths do his obsessions reach...and to what lengths is he willing to go to satisfy them?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:21 -0400)

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