Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Athenaeum Inc. Door Number Three, by Dan Kemp: A Review

 Happy Tuesday, to all of us who have made it this far, and for family members who have dropped by: should I try the family reunion this year, or not?

I found this in my Kindle library. I don't remember ordering it, but my Amazon account says I did back in April, and Dan Kemp, the author, is friends with some of the authors I have reviewed in the past, so, mark it up to MY memory lapse. 

As I did in the past, I submitted a review to Amazon first, but they haven't published any of the reviews I've submitted since last Thursday, beginning with my review of Danny Trejo's book. THEREFORE, I'm dusting off my blog posts, and I might even have to resort to Goodreads.

Which is something I should do, regardless. And it's been so long since I was working my Review-fu that I've had to go look at the older ones to see if I'm doing it right. Wonder if I am?

 So: what follows is what I submitted to Amazon 


Don’t waste ANY time looking for the first two books in this series; they don’t exist. The ‘Door Number Three’ in the title references ‘The Price is Right’ game show, in which contestants can pick from one of three doors. Door Number Three is a bit like The Gripping Hand, in that there are two choices which are pretty nasty, and then a third choice, which is better for the narrator and his comrades.

The Professor is a former US military special ops person, now working for much more more money in a civilian agency which is also involved in special ops. Because they are civilians, they can get involved in things the government needs to remain distant from, and so they have come to rely on government contracts and funding to operate. The government links aren’t exclusive, though, and thus the private sector also provides them with some work. 

Taking the name Athenaeum Inc, with some associated links and influences elsewhere, the agency is governed by a small group of aging spooks, goons, happy guys, and whatever else seemed good at the time. As we enter the story, recent and impending death, plus a desire for a less active role, has resulted in The Professor getting drafted into heading the organization. 

A word about The Professor: he is solidly ensconced in middle age, but years spent doing physically damaging activities have left him with a body that is somewhat-almost-maybe near-crippled. Mentally, though, he’s still got what it takes; more importantly, he has some (unspecified, I believe) moral compass that is the real reason that the old guard are comfortable in hiring him. Perhaps most valuable is his ability to recognize that he REQUIRES help in some areas, both physical and intellectual.  

Nearly first in line among the required help appears in a flash of glitter bombs (not literally!) TA DA! As a financial genius who has been stealing LOTS of money from cartels. She’s about to get killed, or arrested, when The Professor appears in her bedroom holding a gun. Of course, she takes door number three (SWIDT?), and goes to work for the Professor at Athenaeum as their accountant.   

Quick plot summation: steal lots of money from very bad people, then meet bad people who are kind of good, who can help you turn lots of money into something useful (and hidden). Will it work? Read the book to find out!

The author is, I believe, a person who truly appreciates guns and gear. I know NOTHING about gear, but I do appreciate assorted firearms, and I found all of the passages in which they are discussed to be quite pleasant. By that, I mean that there are NONE of those goofy errors found all too often when it becomes bitterly clear that the author doesn’t know the difference between a Dan Wesson revolver and a Dan Wesson 1911, or even the fact that Dan Wesson exists. I believe this type of writing is referred to as ‘gun porn,’ and Mr. Kemp has my heartfelt thanks for getting it right. 

I have no means of assessing whether he gets the rest of the gear/equipment/transport/customs items right, EXCEPT that his writing style consistently deals with THOSE issues in the same way he discusses assembling a complete Ithaca 1911 from loose parts. So, I’m going to say he’s got it right.

I hope you don’t find those things boring. The ONLY things I found boring were the mind-numbing political debates he has with assorted semi-governmental drones in the latter part of the book. HOWEVER: I THINK those debates were really intended to prove just how stupid/incompetent/goofy the drones were, and they end badly for his opponents. 

Minor quibble: a person as damaged as The Professor is NOT going to easily engage in bedroom gymnastics. Fortunately for geezers (I’m one), mostly the bedroom door is closed on those scenes, anyway.

Minor (maybe) quibble: my Kindle says this book has 476 pages. I would have PREFERRED this to be more than one volume, and give me a better story of what happened in Dallas, and other background mentioned tangentially. Maybe that’s going to happen, as Door One and Door Two?

Peace be on your household.

1 comment:

  1. For those wondering about the events in Dallas, they're covered in Seth Bailey's 2016 novel "Edge of the City." That was the birth of the Professor as a character.