By Gilbert Cruz
Updated December 08, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST

Chris Grabenstein’s new novel Slay Ride falls squarely in that cottage industry of holiday-themed thrillers that hit airport terminals every December. Scott Wilkinson, an overly punctual ad exec, tattles on a late car-service driver who — surprise! — just happens to be a psychotic ex-Soviet Special Forces soldier. While Grabenstein stints on character development (the aforementioned descriptions are about as deep as he gets), there’s enough whacked-out gruesomeness and solid action to hook readers. And by the time you realize that said action scenes are patently absurd, you’ll probably have moved on to the latest Higgins Clark offering.