"Cold War" (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 25th September 2000 (5)

Summary: If you were Lee Brackett, and you were being pursued by an implacable killer, and you saw a road-sign that said "Cascade", well, what would you do?
This story is rather hard to categorise: if I called it a comedy of kidnappings, you'd get the wrong idea. Pehaps it's like one of those "fortunately-unfortunately" jokes. Blair here is not a wimp, and it isn't his fault that things keep on going wrong; he just isn't superman -- more like Everyman; a clever and resourceful Everyman, who, even so, isn't cold and stoic either, and still retains his warmheartedness. I like the wry, dark humour in this.
    Brackett untied Blair's wrists and put a burger and fries down in front of him.
    "Here you go. I spilled your coffee. So shoot me."
    "Happy to. Lend me your gun?"

    "Shut up, Sandburg."
    "Oh. OK. But--"
    "I want you to imagine that I'm homicidal, ragged from lack of sleep, and holding you hostage. And that if you don't shut up, I'm going to take this gun, here, and put it against your foot, there, and start shooting bits off you. Are you imagining it?"
    "And are you going to shut up now?"
    And he did.

Dark humour? Perhaps black humour is a better phrase. There are certainly some awful things that happen, but Blair manages to come though it all with his soul intact. Worth reading.

"Dharma & Jim" (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 8th February 2002

I was somewhat dissappointed with this story, not because there was anything really wrong with it -- it's just that there wasn't enough of it. I love crossovers, and this one sounded like it might be fun -- I've never seen Dharma & Greg, but I've certainly seen enough ads on TV when it was first on to gather that it was about the marriage of a straightlaced guy with an impulsive flowerchild -- the potential interactions with Blair and Jim could only be imagined...

It certainly opens promisingly enough, with the kind of dark humour that this author is so good at.
    "Does this guy have a ..."
    "... a gun?"
    "Yeah. Does this guy actually have a gun in my ear?"
    "Um, yes, sorry, I think so. At least, his friend has one in mine. Ow!"

Unfortunately, I felt as if, despite the author's reassurances at the start of the story that one didn't have to have seen Dharma & Greg, that I was missing out on something -- like descriptions of the characters. I also felt as if some scenes, which I would have liked to have seen in their glorious detail, were just glossed over, and that it all ended too soon. But the dialogue was certainly good.