Tuesday, December 6, 2016

December Boys (Jay Porter) by Joe Clifford

Jay Porter, after some traumatic events involving his brother's death in Lamentation is back. He's working as an insurance investigator now. He learns while investigating a claim that a young boy went to a hardcore behavioral modification center for a minor crime. When he finds out there's a lot of similar cases he decides to find out what is going on, aided by an attractive young clerk. It turns out there's some ties to his brother's death as well.
This is a true hardboiled, noirish tale. Porter is having a hard time dealing with his relationship with his wife, his brother's death and just himself. An upbeat tale this is not. It is dark, moving and rich.
I do recommend reading Lamentation before you read this one though.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Debt to Pay (Jesse Stone) by Reed Farrel Coleman

Jesse Stone is invited by his ex-wife to be at her wedding. Loyal readers of this series might understand this will be challenging for him.  When Mr. Peepers, a recurring villain and psychopathic assassin is back with revenge on his mind Jesse understands he will have to be at the wedding, if only to protect his ex-wife from Mr. Peepers. Good thing his new girlfriend is ex-FBI and willing to go with him.
Mr. Peepers is almost to Jesse what The Joker is to Batman. Very skilled but also very crazy we see him in action a lot and are treated to his dangerous mind. I usually dislike to many POV's from the villain but Mr. Coleman made it work for me.
As alway, Reed shows an understanding of the Jesse Stone character that makes you forget no he, but Robert B. Parker created him. His development of formerly minor character Suit is impressive as well. I guess that's where this novel shines, not in the fairly standard plot but in the understanding of the characters in it.
I was shocked by the death of a long-running Parker / Spenser character in the first few pages that had me put down the book for a few minutes. Still not sure about what I think about that, although I must praise Mr. Coleman for his guts to shake things up a bit.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Stiff Arm Steal (Miami Jones) by A.J. Stewart

When a football prize is stolen from a media personality he hires Miami Jones to get it back. It turns out his isn't the only one that gets stolen and Miami Jones follows the tracks to the thief.
The relationship with Miami's deputy girlfriend is written pretty nicely and the book is easy to read. In the middle stuff gets a bit dark which almost seemed out of character for Miami but it sure gave it the hardboiled feel that I like.
What I am mystified about is why Miami also has a partner, Ron. This guy seems to have almost no personality or reason to be in the story.
Easy, beach read, even more so because it takes place in sunny Florida.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Prison Guard's Son (Finn Harding) by Trace Conger

Unlicensed PI Finn Harding is back in his third novel. He is hired by the father of a kid who was brutally murdered by two other kids years ago. The father wants Harding to track down the two killers who, after a short stay in a juvenile detention facility went into a WITSEC program and as such very hard to find. He promises Harding he will make sure justice will be done when he knows their locations.
What follows is a fascinating journey into databases, PI tricks and some very creative investigating. It's just amazing how Trace describes this, he'd be one hell of a PI himself.
Of course, there's some brutal action as well, this is not a police procedural but a PI novel.
I enjoyed the earlier novels in this series but I liked this one the best because the writing is much tighter. There's just a better rhythm to it, less padding and better pacing. I just couldn't put it down.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Rough Trade (Boo Malone) by Todd Robinson

We had to wait a very long 4 years for the follow-up to Todd Robinson's Hard Bounce (my ) but here it is and it is worth the wait.
Our favorite bouncers Boo and Junior are back, playing white knight for a friend of a friend who is being stalked. When the stalker is killed and Junior is the suspect the trouble really starts. It takes the help of their friends Ollie and psycho sidekick Twitch to survive this adventure.
There's brutal fights, some sex and a lot of bad jokes. All the good stuff dudes like. What there also is, however, and this is what makes this such a wonderful book, is a hard look at how macho males perceive the gay community as Boo finds out his world is way different from what he thought.
As fun as it is moving this is another example how you can write a very different and original modern day PI novel without making it about zombies.