The Venom Business is the second of eight John Lange novels that I’ve read and intend to review; however, I think some context needs to be given before I jump into the actual review. You see, my literate young ‘moochadores, many moons agos (sometime between 1966 and 1972) Michael Chrichton wrote of series of suspense novels under the pen name John Lange. Sure Chrichton went on to be a famous author and gave us books like Jurassic Park, and TV shows like ER, but the John Lange novels were mostly forgotten; that is until now. Now Hard Case Crime has brought back all of the John Lange novels, two of which were personnally re-edited by Chrichton. One of these hard boiled fictions is the story of smuggler, Charles Raynaud. Who gets mixed up in a dangerous world of family fortunes and murderous intent. Here’s the synopsis:

As an expert handler of venomous snakes – and a smuggler of rare artifacts – Charles Raynaud is accustomed to danger. So the job bodyguarding an old acquaintance about to come into a fortune shouldn’t make him break a sweat. But when the attempts on the man’s life nearly get Raynaud killed, he’s left wondering: is he the killers’ real target…?

Though stories of a wealthy family stabbing each other in the back for an inheritance may not be new; Chrichton adds a some excitement and intrigue to this familiar story. Starting with the character of Charles Raynaud, a smuggler of rare artifacts, who is the definition of macho. He’s a real “man’s man” taking on venomous snakes, sly women, and wealthy bullies. He’s like a “more” badass version of TV’s Don Draper; complete with all the drinking, smoking, and womanizing. Other elements that stack up (to make this book a fun read) is the shear deviousness of nearly everyone involved with the family fortune. Nearly everyone is a bastard! Including Raynaud. There’s half a billion dollars at stake and that’s more than enough motivation for some brilliant scheming! Okay, I know I’m being a more than a little vague in this review, but I don’t want to spoil anything! So, just know that I very much recommend this novel, especially if you want a 1960’s era hard boiled crime novel that promises to be fun!

The Venom Business is available now in all major books stores or you can get your copy at the Titan Books online store! Now, I’m in the mood for a cigarette, some scotch, and blonde bombshell. Ah, who am I kidding. I don’t smoke.

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