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One and one half moon gifAwe-Struck Books (Ebook) , ISBN 1928670733

Which could of course be the verbalization of one of Lamar's elusive Sasquatch. Or possibly Diamond Norwell's description after being shot. Or maybe even Bayard Russell's comment when the phone rang on his 227th push up. 

Sigh. No such luck, it was my first review for The Gentle Giant -- which my editor returned. She doesn't like one word reviews. 

The Gentle Giant mishmashes elements of romantic lust, psycho killers and sci-fi as two of the most unlikely scientists on the planet go in search of the aforementioned Sasquatch. The events all take place around Crater Lake in backwoods America. The main characters, Dr. Diamond Norwell and Dr. Bayard Russell, respond to a sighting of the fabled Sasquatch like two hounds leaping after the scent of a fox.  

From the beginning the pair fight like demented cockerels whilst inwardly lusting after each other's bodies. This aggressive display becomes heightened when they camp alone in the woods. Diamond (or Dia), an experienced camper and Bayard, a complete rookie, fumble their way through more than a few problems.  

Then two country hicks, Harvey and Lennie, get involved. Well, to be precise, one country hick (Lennie) and his psycho-killer, ex-military vet, brother Harvey get involved. Harvey, an experienced hunter and tracker locates the Sasquatch tracks first and decides he wants to kill a Sasquatch and somehow get rich out of the deal. But Harvey, touted as a pro tracker, can't seem to track the creatures himself. So Harvey makes an anonymous call to Dia's office to get her to come and find the Sasquatch for him. 

Naturally, Diamond and Bayard have no problem finding the Sasquatch lair. Naturally, they stumble on a Sasquatch trapped by Harvey (who follows them to the lair) and naturally Dia and Bayard release the creature and naturally Harvey decides he wants to kill the two scientists instead.  

Why didn't I like the story? Virtually every scene with Dia and Bayard oozes juvenile metaphorical lust and teenage wet dreams. Worse -- the scenes repeat themselves to favor us with his and her viewpoints -- a double perspective I could've easily done without. Do women really get orgasmic wondering what color underpants a man wears? Maybe I just don't know the right girls? 

Yet in spite of this overpowering attraction, and a tempestuous campside kiss, the characters don't consummate their love until the very end, displaying an unbelievable level of self-control under the circumstances.  

Another annoyance -- the two lustful scientists get stranded in the woods with psycho killer Harvey. Of course this brainless pair decide to stay in their tent for the night, ignoring the opportunities for escape presented by their car. They don't even think about making a wild dash for the nearest hospital, police station etc. Apparently, they wanted Psycho Harvey to take a few more potshots at them in the dawn's early light. 

Unfortunately, this brief list barely scratches the surface of the book's flaws. And I mean "unfortunately," because underneath the hokum The Gentle Giant boasts a damn good story line. The plotting and character motivation (other than their controlled uncontrollable juvenile lust) work well. If Melinda Lamar could develop her writing and give it some maturity, she might soon write some very good books. 

Stephen Smith

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