David Morrell is a powerhouse writer. In the world of the thriller genre, few are his equal and when he's at his best, none can top him. He'll probably always be remembered as 'the man that created Rambo' and I guess that's a good thing. At least Morrell created a household name character; one that holds an iconic place in society. And I'm guessing that Mr. Morrell has received a lot of money from his debut novel, First Blood, over the years.

One of the things that sets David Morrell's work above the majority of his peers is his intimate knowledge of the things he writes about. Survival, weaponry, martial arts, history, corporate security and world travel are things he is well acquainted in. He is s relentless researcher and his fiction works all the better for it.

Morrell saw a great deal of success with his the novel he wrote prvious to Scavenger, Creepers. Written in a darker tone than many of his subsequent books, Creepers deals with a group of urban explorers that engage in the illegal exploration of old abandoned buildings. It's a dark book and one that appealed to many horror readers. It won a Stoker Award and a Shocker (which I was proud to give to him).

Scavenger features two of the survivors from Creepers. Frank Balenger and Amanda Evert are battered, damaged and emotionally frayed after the devastating events in the Paragon Hotel. They attend a lecture about time capsules, but the whole thing turns out to be a trick and they find themselves separated and in another life-threatening scenario. They have been manipulated by The Game Master, a psychologically maladjusted individual that is obsessed with the finding of a particular time capsule. In a race against time, using their wits they must ascend the levels of the demented game that they are trapped in.

I don't think Scavenger is Morrell's best work, but I still think it's better than 90% of what the horror genre normally has to offer. It seems that the author's intent to to grab the reader's attention and pull him or her through the book without allowing them to catch their breathe for even a minute. Reading this novel is like watching an exceptional action movie or maybe even playing a fast-paced video game. Along the way Morrell ponders the ramifications of our culture's obsession with gaming and the importance that history continues to play in everyone's lives. Most of the chapters are short, enticing one to read just one more until you've spent more time with the book that you intended to. Before you know it, you're done and left with a craving for more.

As prolific as David Morrell is, the wait for more won't be long. He says that his next novel is a return to the spy genre, where he saw great success with books like The Brotherhood of the Rose. And for those that haven't read his past books, you won't find better action fiction than Testament, Last Reveille, The Totem, Desperate Measures or Long Lost (to list a few of my favorites).

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