David Harry Walker Robin Winks - Essay

Robin Winks

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Walker was a good Canadian regional writer, and his Maritime Provinces were always convincing. Ever since Winter of Madness and Cab-Intersec, Walker has been writing like a parody of Ian Fleming crossed with Eric Ambler, and the latest, Ash, is a parody of himself. Almost literally so, in that Nigel Ash, "a traveler alone," a man who is driven "to defy the conventions and laws of society" (to be fair, these oldies but goodies are part of the dust jacket copy, and Walker may never have been given a chance to veto them), is writing a novel about a man who, having killed, is pursued through the Scottish Highlands, precisely the subject of Walker's own first novel, The Storm and the Silence. Now Ash is also pursued, in New Brunswick. If all of this also sounds like a pastiche from John Buchan, Walker leaves no doubt, for crucial action takes place at Hunting-tower. The problem is, the book is crowded with conversation, and Buchan's perception that fear arises best from an empty and silent landscape seems to be lacking. (pp. 29-30)

Robin Winks, "Robin Winks on Mysteries," in The New Republic (reprinted by permission of The New Republic; © 1976 The New Republic, Inc.), Vol. 174, No. 26, June 26, 1976, pp. 29-30.∗