A guest review by Jenre
A whirlwind of an action/adventure suspense plot, wrapped up in a tender romance.
Alex Connor and Greg Farris are investigative journalists on holiday in Jamaica for a romantic break. Their tranquility is shattered by their discovery of a skeleton in the wreck of a light aircraft. From then on, this confident and raunchy thriller never lets up, combining car chases, drug smuggling, hurricanes and plenty of sex.
Before I begin the review, I just want to talk about book editions. The copy of the book I read is the paperback copy of the picture above, with the great 1980’s type cover on it. However, the link in the title will take you to Amazon and the paperback from Dreamcraft with the re-released cover. The publisher link will take you to The Gay Men’s Press which also seems to still publish the book (I think). Alternatively you can click here and be taken to Mel Keegan’s web-page where you can buy a pdf copy of the book. Hope that’s helpful!
Ice, Wind and Fire was first published in 1990, and is set in 1988. It follows two lovers and journalists, who work for a political expose type magazine. Australian Alex and Brit Greg are jetting off on holiday to Jamaica for a much needed break after all the high risk stories they have researched and photographed recently. However, trouble just seems to find them as they discover a wrecked plane whilst diving and suddenly get caught up in a huge conspiracy which could put them both in danger.
There are three aspects to this book which combined to make it a really terrific read. Firstly is in the 1980s setting. This really is a book of its time. Not that it’s dated, just that it’s so rooted in the 80’s with its politics and social viewpoints that it’s almost like reading a historical – although I hesitate to apply that genre to the book, especially as I was a teenager when the book was set! The book reminded me of a time when political activism was strong, and people thought they could change the world. There are no mobile phones, no internet, no ‘culture of celebrity’ and non of the political apathy which seems to rule over everything now. Greg and Alex are men of action, of strong morals and a firm sense of right and wrong and it is this which leads them into trouble. The history of the 80’s in Britain is also featured within the book with events such as the Falkland’s War and the AIDS crisis all given space within the book as a way of setting the story and showing us how Alex particularly responded to that time in history. I came away with a strong sense of nostalgia and a reminder of some of the things that I had lived through as a child/teen.
The second aspect is in the characters of Greg and Alex and their relationship with each other. The first part of the book spends time setting up the characters of Greg and Alex; who they are, where they came from, and their social and political ideals. Although this makes the book a bit of a slow starter, it becomes necessary later as we follow the men into danger and understand their motivations as to why they act as they do, based on what we have learned about their past. The ‘romance’ in the story is that of an established couple. We get the history of how they met, and an insight into some of the difficulties they face as political journalists who are often apart from each other, but most of the romantic story is based on them as a couple and how they face up to the dangers in the book together. There’s a lot of sex in the book, but it’s sex between a loving established couple and as such is tender and beautiful in its description. I liked the way that theirs is a shared relationship both in and out of bed, with no rules or jostling for position. Instead are two men who love and still have a strong sexual desire for each other, even after 6 years. As Alex is the first person narrator, he often describes his feelings for Greg, his love, his desire, his admiration of Greg’s body and mind, and how that is reflected in the way Greg looks at him, so that mixed in with the action is this constant thread of how much the men care for each other. I thought it just delightful.
The final aspect is in the suspense/action plot – and what a lot of action there is! Once the men discover the boat the plot speeds up and never stops until the breathless finish. In between that are several car chases, fights, shoot-outs, hiding from the bad guys, captures, escapes, kidnappings, torture, fires, hurricanes and the constant running from place to place trying to stay one step ahead of the bad guys. Alex and Greg are tough men, who also share a love of words and a slightly twisted sense of humour. This does not endear them to the bad guys, especially when coupled with a strong moral compass and a determination to expose the bad guys and bring them down. A number of times I wondered how on earth they were going to escape from the situation they were in, but brains and a run of good luck always seems to see them through in the end. The action plot was so compelling, I could barely put the book down and raced through to find out how they were going to win the day.
I do have a slight niggle about the book, and it’s to do with something that happens to Greg right at the end of the book. Obviously, I can’t go into details, but the book ends shortly after this event with Greg, and I wasn’t wholly convinced that he was really as recovered from it as Alex thinks he is. It left a little bitter note at the end of the book – which could have been the author’s intention – and detracted a little from the exuberance of the high action that ends the book. However, this niggle wasn’t enough to spoil the book for me.
Overall, this was a fantastic action book with very likeable characters, a swift moving and exciting plot and a wonderful romance. I highly recommend it to anyone with a love of action and suspense books.