"Jack Hunter and the Jungle Lion" by Stephen Jared is a fast-paced 115-page novel that brings back the good ol' days when films were full of action, adventure and romance.
While on course to his new movie's shooting location, the famous Jack Hunter's plane crashes in the Amazon. Now he is marooned with the co-pilot, the movie set's beautiful animal trainer Maxine Daniels and her two children. When their situation calls for a hero, Jack Hunter must become the one he's always pretended to be in his movies. Will "Action" Jack Hunter save the day and their lives? Can "movie magic" help this hapless group get themselves out of a jam when they need it?
From the start of the novel, Stephen Jared captures the formula that has been lost to Hollywood since the movie studio system broke down in the 1960s. His novel is good ol' fun. It's wholesome. It's everything that classic film fans love about the classic films. It is, as they say, "The stuff dreams are made of."
"Action" Jack Hunter as well as the rest of Jared's group of characters, will make the reader want to see more of them once the book is finished. Hunter has the swagger and the personality to be in the league of classic pulp adventure characters. It is clear that through the narration, Stephen Jared knows classic film history and has clearly studied the action-adventure films of the 1930s in order to reanimate the genre in the novel. The novel itself is a reference to 1930s Hollywood at its peak of success with its characterization, it's plot and its environment. Jack Hunter himself, is all-too self-aware, that he is not the hero the world believes him to be. Much like Clark Gable never believing he was the "King of Hollywood" - Jack Hunter struggles with being the king of action-adventure films of the times. He is so self-aware, that the character provides clever one-liners that are both humorous and authentic to a 1930s film hero.
The rest of the characterizations are spot on. There's the bumbling co-pilot "Clancy"; the fiery and strong female animal trainer "Max." Also, the cameo appearance of Jack Hunter's wife and once-silent film icon "Theda Lomond." Of course, the novel takes place in somewhere exotic because the indigenous world was the focus of Hollywood and everyone's curiosity at the time.
Credit is also due to the fantastic, eye-catching book cover art done by multi-talented illustrator, designer and photographer Paul Shipper. Shipper captured the vintage-style influence of the old Hollywood film posters with alarming accuracy. One glance at the cover, and there is a sense of intrigue and excitement for the story behind it.
We hope that "Jack Hunter and the Jungle Lion" is only the first book and not the last we will see of Jack Hunter. Stephen Jared has created a character and a world that can easily be seen as a classic in the new wave of pulp fiction.
Now the question is, will there ever be a film adaptation of Stephen Jared's novel itself? This reviewer's answer is, "We hope so!"
*A copy of the book was provided by the author*