Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Deadly Negatives-Russell Hill

Deadly Negatives

Russell Hill

Pleasure Boat Studio/Caravel, May 15 2012, $16.00

ISBN 9781929355846

In California, photographer Michael McSwain visits Bill Fosberg’s camera shop. Both are throwbacks to an era when a camera used film. Nonagenarian Bill worked for the San Francisco Call Bulletin and was a combat photographer in WWII; while Michael shoots B&W portraits.

Michael is euphoric when he notices a classic Leica M3 camera, which was made between 1954 and 1966. Bill says a friend’s widow brought it in so he can sell it to a thirty-five years old dinosaur smelling of dark room chemicals. The camera belonged to Aaron Sturgis who made history with his photos. Inside the original box, Michael finds hidden negatives. He visits Aaron’s widow Emma, who pleads with him to destroy the negatives before they destroy him. Unable to resist, he develops the film in his dark room. To his horror Michael realizes Sturgis captured American atrocities in Viet Nam to include a young soldier turned wealthy politician. Emma’s daughter Olivia persuades Michael to team up with her in a blackmail scheme, but psychopathic Skinner makes a move to extort the money but hides his agenda while thugs continue to assault Michael.

Deadly Negatives is an exhilarating hard boiled amateur sleuth thriller from the moment the “messenger” visits Michael at his home and never slows down until the final confrontation. Action-packed while also displaying a fondness for a by-gone era, readers will enjoy Michael’s escapades to learn the truth about what happened in Viet Nam decades ago that has made him a target of dangerous people.

Harriet Klausner

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