Dark Passages: Many Adventures with Gabriel Hunt

At the LA Times, my newest Dark Passages column focuses on the first two installments of the adventures of modern-day globetrotter Gabriel Hunt, the brainchild of Charles Ardai (who wrote book #2) but fleshed out by James Reasoner (#1) and soon, Christa Faust, Nicholas Kaufmann, Raymond Benson and David Schow. Here’s how it opens:

One need not list example after example of bad news dominating the
headlines of late, but the desire for escapism has never seemed
stronger. Economic woes and the success of genre fiction, time and time
again, are directly correlated, which explains why romance novels are
booming, why vampires and other supernatural beings have permeated
American culture, and why big commercial fiction titles by Richard
Russo, Thomas Pynchon, Pat Conroy and Stieg Larsson have ridden high on
the bestseller lists in August.

But what to do when the mood strikes for a flat-out adventure story, of
the type first popularized by H. Rider Haggard, captured on celluloid
in Saturday afternoon serials and satirized by Michael Palin in his
underrated 1970s series “Ripping Yarns”?
The opening day lines around the block for "Indiana Jones and the
Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" — not to mention the crestfallen faces
of those leaving the theater more than two hours later — demonstrated
with utter clarity how much people still yearn for reluctant heroes to
save the world from epic-style danger as they move from sea to shining
sea through a carnival of worldly wonders….

  Read on for the rest, and thanks also to J. Kingston Pierce for <a href="http://killercoversoftheweek.blogspot.com/2009/08/crime-on-his-hands.html">his excellent interview with Ardai </a>earlier this week at his Killer Covers of the Week blog for providing me with that very helpful quote!