In order to give my thoughts on various bits of media, perhaps shedding a little light on my mind, or maybe it’s just the aching of my journalist backbone I routinely write reviews. This time I’m reviewing Derrick Ferguson’s First Dillon Book, The Voice of Odin.
You really don’t need to have read any of the Dillon Books to get an idea of who this man is, and how any of his adventures roll along. The novels really tend to be self-explanatory. If you’ve ever read James Bond, Jason Bourne, Doc Savage or ‘Man of action’ style globetrotting hero for hire sort of book, then you know the sort of fair. That is not to say Dillon is simply a carbon copy of these classic heroes. But he’s ripped from same mold, but the substance is a little different. But is Dillon different enough to deliver an enjoyable experience, or does The Voice of Odin, hit a sour note? Read on.
Going into this novel, I had a slight understanding as to what I was getting myself into. Having read my share of old pulp novels, and other books by Derrick Ferguson (I did a review on Diamondback ages ago) I was not all surprised by what I got. But I didn’t keep turning the pages of The Voice of Odin because of Dillion, which may or may not have been the point—much in the realm of Hideyuki Kikuchi’s Vampire Hunter D novels, or Robert E Howard’s Conan stories, the stoic stone faced unbeatable protagonist is hardly there for the reader to relate to. On the contrary Derrick Ferguson delivers a story that begs you latch onto the supporting cast, and antagonists. Because everything in Dillon’s world are two dimensional set pieces. It’s only the people who collide into this world that can give us that connection we ultimately desire. And it’s that very addition, that makes The Voice of Odin work, and allows us to digest this fantasy of blood and bullets.
The story begins in a similar fashion to any James Bond film or novel. We are instantly transported into a frenzy of pain and death. We are instantly drawn into Dillon’s world as he escapes certain death with the treasure he sought out. Ferguson tells us very little in this opening sequence, but we know enough about Dillon in the first few pages to draw conclusions. He’s a mercenary whose services are hired out to the largest bidder. Of course through all of this I couldn’t help but see Dillon as someone who is not so much as a hero, but more of a working stiff. He doesn’t care who he has to kill and what sort of pain and misery he inflicts on others. As long as he gets a paycheque, all is right in the world and the man can sleep soundly. At least that is what I got from this. But Ferguson has other plans for his merc. In a leap from that we are shown he does have a moral code, and backs up from our second of many antagonists (the first one was dispatched within 1,000 words) Lady Thelma and tells her no on this item he almost died retrieving.
Of course this scene sets up one of the most important characters in the whole story Kris who is the readers eyes and ears and that my friends is the moment we are finally given access into this world. And through the Personal Assistant, we can gain some foothold as we are thrust into a masterly woven plot of mystery and danger. Though Kris is the most accessible of the supporting cast, there are many other characters introduced mainly that drives for attention and show us that despite Dillon’s rather stony visage, Derrick Ferguson knows how to write characters. From the rough and tumble femme fatale of a Chinese general Chew Mi who despite the horrible spelling tends to be quite interesting, to the hardened sometimes partner Eli (who should get his own novel one day) Dillon’s world is peppered with interesting people to make up for Dillon’s rather one sided situation.
So should you read Dillon and the Voice of Odin? I do think if you are a fan of old pulp action adventure, and you like your blood pumping as you turn the pages then you can’t go wrong with Dillon. With the etchings of Dillon’s Mythical past in the mountains of Tibet, and other interesting teases as what is to come, I think we’ve just scratched the surface of this strange fellow. And if the characters in the other books of the series are as interesting and the ones we got this round, I think the best stories are still to come.