Featuring endless action and a fast-paced narrative, this amusing and heartfelt book fleshes out the world of the Las Vegas police force.
Frank-3 Enroute: The Streets of Las Vegas, written by Rod Harris and Norma Hood, is an action-packed thriller that provides a slice-of-life perspective on police work in Sin City. Set in the early 1980s, Frank-3 Enroute follows Officer Rod Randel as he patrols of the streets. The novel consists of a series of vignettes, with each chapter detailing another arrest, another chase, another interview, another date, another day in the office.
Because of the novel’s structure, it relies heavily on a myriad of colorful, unique characters to carry the story’s momentum. Although almost every chapter introduces new players, usually in the form of criminals that Randel is chasing down, there are also a number of recurring characters that provide stability. Randel’s different partners are the most memorable because of their strange quirks and mannerisms. For example, Sam Sikes, aka Grumpy, has a penchant for threatening to cut people “long, hard and deep” with one of his many knives, and Kimmie Love proves to Randel that even rookies can be capable and clever.
Inevitably, with such a large cast, the majority of characters remain mere caricatures, never becoming fully developed; this is especially true of the book’s criminals, who are often portrayed as unintelligent or ignorant, and deserving of whatever violence Officer Randel deems necessary. With the exception of Officer Love and two of Randel’s love interests, the women are given the same treatment. They are often there to fawn over Randel and praise his bravery and good work, or simply to serve endless glasses of iced tea.
The protagonist’s characterization seems likewise incomplete. Randel walks a fine line between caricature and character, embodying multiple cop stereotypes. He is at once an exceptional, hardened, no-nonsense officer who is feared by criminals, and also a polite, kind man who is well-loved by the women around him and respected by his peers. Randel seems to be able to do no wrong, as demonstrated by his relationship with his superior, Lieutenant Arnold. The lieutenant constantly attempts to write Randel up for various complaints and breaking policy, yet is portrayed as an antagonist who victimizes Randel.
The language of Frank-3 Enroute adds to the authenticity of the Las Vegas and police environment. Rod Harris, having served as a policeman for more than twenty years, employs police lingo and slang, enhancing the believability of the novel’s events. Despite minor typos, the novel has a seamless flow that makes the story smooth and easy to follow.
Frank-3 Enroute features endless action and a fast-paced narrative. It is both amusing and heartfelt, fleshing out the world of the Las Vegas police force and the life of Officer Rod Randel.
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