Jim Monday, a retired Vietnam veteran, thought he was happily in love. He was wrong. His wife has left him for Bernd Kohler, a rather slippery German doctor; they're suing him for all the money and property in sight; and his best friend and lawyer has just been killed by a hit and run driver. Monday, convinced that the accident was a set-up intended to kill him, attacks Kohler and finds himself in jail for his trouble. When the murder attempts continue inside the jail, Monday knows he was right. He escapes calling on his long dormant but now instinctive Vietnam survival and killing skills.
In the opening paragraphs, Jack Priest shows himself to be a pretty darn capable spinner of that typical fast-paced police procedural or suspense thriller. But then Monday hears voices in his head. Somehow he's in communication with the spirit of Donna Tuhiwai, a young Maori woman who needs to be rescued from the same evil doctor who stole Monday's wife. As Monday searches for Donna and evades the ongoing police search, the killings continue and Priest begins to litter the landscape with a series of odd gecko sightings, brilliantly foreshadowing the really creepy stuff that has yet to happen. But, come it does, and "Gecko" makes the transition from suspense to horror.
"Gecko" is an ambitious horror novel and covers a lot of ground in a relatively small number of pages - pornography, murder, rogue police officers, white slave trade, mental telepathic communication, gruesome oversized lizards, Maori legends and more. Priest has certainly succeeded to the extent that he's produced a fast-paced enjoyable goose-bumper that will put a smile on the face of anyone who enjoys a good horror story but "Gecko" does have a couple of noticeable shortcomings. Unresolved loose threads at the end of the novel will leave the reader frustratingly puzzled about what happened to two major characters that simply disappear from the plot line with nary a trace. Monday's ability to move from one seemingly perfect romantic relationship into another without a shred of remorse or concern could most charitably be called unrealistic.
That said, "Gecko" was enjoyable and Jack Priest has made it onto the list of authors that I'll look for in the future. Recommended.