dr-dark-140Dr. Dark
by Robert E. Hamilton (Ethiopia 1965–67)
Amazon Digital, $.99
356 pages
October, 2012

Reviewed by R J Huddy (Morocco 1981-83)

The set-up for Robert Hamilton’s novel Dr. Dark is an event that many of us might have encountered at one time or another. One day you’re tooling along, minding your own business, when, without warning, some startling event occurs, and suddenly someone needs your immediate assistance. Sometimes it even means life or death. Maybe someone needs a Heimlich maneuver, or CPR. Or maybe, as in Dr. Dark, it’s a car accident. You may find-as did Hamilton’s Dr. Barbara Kelly-that someone else, a total stranger, has appeared at your side, and for a few moments you are irrevocably linked with this stranger in the immense effort to save the life of another stranger. Perhaps, like Dr. Kelly, you are more calm and rational in that tense effort than you’d ever dreamed you might be under such circumstances. You may even, like Dr. Kelly, turn to your Good Samaritan counterpart, your teammate in a life-saving drama, and say goodbye, never expecting to see or hear from him or her again.

What probably won’t happen to you or to me is that we pick up the newspaper the next morning to find an account of the death of a stranger in town, a man who answers to the exact description of your Good Samaritan counterpart. If that isn’t nerve-shattering enough, what if the body was found on the college campus where you’ve just accepted a new position?

This is the pivotal point of this story of academic intrigue and belligerence, of intellectual pursuits driven by small-minded men with oversized egos. It’s aimed at the reader who enjoys mysteries and whodunits within the cloistered halls of a university, where brilliant minds that should be directed toward higher purposes can instead be focused on plans as evil as they are selfish.

R J Huddy is the pen name of Bob Cochrane (Morocco 1981-83), Kentucky-born author of The Verse of the Sword, Learn Thai with Me, and No Senator’s Son. His new book, Death to the Rescue: A Twisting Creek Mystery, has been described as “To Kill a Mockingbird, but directed by Alfred Hitchcock.”