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Reviewed by Ray Simmons for Readers' Favorite
The Beast of Tsunam: Rev Smalley: Galactic P.I. Book 1 is a detective story told in the classic pulp fiction style of the thirties. But it just happens to take place in the far future. Reading as much as I do, I have come across a few stories told like this. I usually forget them rather quickly. The only one I can remember clearly right now is the female detective in Hyperion by Dan Simmons. The mother of God is hard to forget. Anyway, I’m familiar with this style of storytelling and I like it. I can also happily report that Scott A. Combs does a great job in this genre. Rev Smalley is hard boiled enough, hard cased enough, and hard headed enough to compete with any of the detectives created in the pulp days. Throw him together with the most interesting sidekick since Doctor Watson, and you have not only a great story, but maybe a great continuing series.
The actual mystery that Rev is sent to investigate has world shattering consequences for an entire planet. But the personal connections are what make the story intense and touching. The love of his life is missing. His former friend/former boss may be involved. On top of that, someone has unleashed a murderous monster on a world where murder is, for all practical purposes, extinct. The whole scenario was enough for a weekend, and that’s exactly what I had wished for. Scott A. Combs should be proud of this one. I hope we see these characters some more.