Monday, November 23, 2020

The Mechanic (John Tyler) by Tom Fowler


Having enjoyed Tom Fowler's C.T. Ferguson books for some time now I was excited to read the first full-length John Tyler novel. Somewhat of a departure from the PI novels that the Ferguson series consists of I did enjoy it. This is more of a straight action thriller kind of book in the Lee Child/Jack Reacher vein.

John Tyler is a single dad. He retired from the army some years ago. Recovering from PTSD, he now works as a mechanic. When his former commander, who has a big bone to pick with Tyler gets out of jail and threatens Tyler's loved ones he has to pick up arms once again.

While the plot is rather thin and John is perhaps a bit less original a character than C.T. Ferguson the pacing is enjoyably fast. What Fowler excels in, is describing really cool action scenes. He hands you just the correct amount of detail so you can see the action in your hand without slowing down too much.

And though the plot is a bit thin, it does set up the stage for the series quite nicely. I am interested in finding out how Tyler gets involved in a new adventure in the second book. I do hope the plot will be a bit more interesting.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Blood Sisters (Shea Stevens) by Dharma Kelleher

A woman is on the run from her powerful husband, asking former confidential informer Shea and her Athena Sisterhood Motorcycle Club for help. That causes quite some trouble, just like the rival biker gang that the Athena Sisterhood helped put in prison getting back on the streets. And then there's the matter of Shea's adopted child who is feeling ill.

What follows is a gritty, action-packed story with my favorite lesbian protagonist. I love how Shea is both tough and vulnerable. The feelings she has for a female cop are so well described. The love she feels for her stepdaughter are so genuine. Shea is such a kind and loving woman as well as a tough biker/warrior. The combination works. Not your standard PI character and infused with a huge dose of rock 'n' roll attitude her adventures are a delight to read.

I loved the first two entries in the series. This one is even better.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Free Fiction: The Albino Assassin (A Lenny Parker serial) by Jochem Vandersteen

 Lenny Parker, PI / roadie / metalhead is back in a new serial. He’s my slightly more humorous version of the PI. He doesn’t exactly know what he’s doing and sure as hell isn’t the martial arts master my Noah Milano is.

For the other parts of this story click here.



Casey updated Lenny about her new love, Jenna while they were in his Dodge Ram. They were heading for Jenna’s place. Jenna, last name Collins, had a job at a local sex shop. Turns out Casey met her there, shopping for a strap-on. Lenny had stopped feeling shocked about Casey’s openness about her sex life. The conversation had turned to if Casey had someone to use it on and before you knew it they were at the back of the shop doing the nasty. Eat that, Penthouse Forum. They discovered they had more to offer each other than just pure lust, like the same crude sense of humor and a  fondness of riot grrl bands and medieval poetry.

“Did she ever mention something to you about not liking San Diego, or her work?” Lenny asked Casey.

“No. She loved her job. She just liked meeting all the freaks and embarrassing the housewives who shopped there. She wasn’t thinking about leaving. I know what you’re suggesting, Len. But she didn’t just leave on her own accord. There’s something wrong.”

“Okay, okay. But most often when an adult disappears she usually turns up after a few weeks, drunk, broke or in love with someone else.”

“This is not one of those causes, okay?”

“Sure.” Lenny pointed ahead. “This her place?”


“Great. Let me park and we’ll have a look over there.”

Lenny parked the Dodge next to a battered Volvo. Together with Casey he walked over to the apartment complex. It had three stories, white balconies and walls painted red to mask the fact the building was pretty old.

“You don’t have a key, right?” Lenny asked.

“If I had a key I would have gone over to have a look myself, don’t you think? No, I need your fancy PI lockpicking skills.”

“I’m actually not very good at that. I’m not Magnum, you know?”

“You can always put some of your weight against the door.”

“Hey! Stop picking on me about my weight!”

“Pick locks, not on Lennies,” Casey chuckled.

A young woman with pink shorts and a black tank top moved past them on rollerblades, over to the apartment’s main door. A blonde ponytail stuck out from her white cap.

“Quick, let’s move in behind her,” Lenny said.

Casey wiggled her eyebrows. “Not a punishment.” Lenny shook his head in despair. Casey was so much worse than even most men he knew.

Walking as fast as they could without looking suspicious they moved to the door. Just before the young woman could close it, Lenny put a foot against it.

The woman looked behind her, missing the sound of a closing door. “Oh, hi. Didn’t see you there.”

“No worries,” Lenny said. “Nice weather for some rollerblading, right?”

The woman smiled. “Absolutely. I haven’t seen you before here, are you new?”

Casey put an arm around Lenny and kissed his cheek. “Yeah, we just moved into our little love nest here.”

Lenny was caught a bit unaware by Casey’s act but had to admit it didn’t feel bad to get a kiss from his beautiful friend. “Yeah. We’ve got a friend living here as well. Jenna Collins, you know her?”

“Jenna? Good looking girl? Lots of tattoos?”

“That’s her,” Casey said.

“Yeah, I’ve run into her every now and then. She usually tries to get me in bed when she does. Some people have been complaining about the loud music she plays.”

“That sounds like her as well,” Casey agreed. Lenny wondered if it bothered her that her girlfriend tried to pick up women in the apartment building.

The young woman took off her rollerblades, quite a balancing act. Lenny was a gentlemen and offered her a hand as she did. “Haven’t seen her in days, though. Maybe she’s on holiday or something? You know about that?”

“No, haven’t heard about that,” Casey said.

“Well, I’m going to take a shower. Sweating my ass off. Nice to mee you folks,” the woman said. “I’m Tiffany.”

“Nice to meet you too,” Lenny agreed.

“For sure,” Casey said.

They watched Tiffany go up the stairs.

“And what a nice sweaty ass it is,” Casey said.

“I guess you have no reason to be mad at Jenna for trying to pick her up,” Lenny told his friend.

“She probably just wanted to arrange a trio.”

“Right, probably. Well, that was the first door. Now let’s head over to the second.”

The two metalheads went up the stairs to the third floor where Jenna’s apartment was.


Friday, August 28, 2020

The Desecration of All Saints (August McKenzie) by Alan Lee


When I started reading this one I wasn't sure I was going to like it. I'd already read the first in this series which I'd enjoyed but couldn't remember the "voice'' being so influenced by Crais and Parker. You know, the whole witty, self-depreciating one. As the story progresses the voice becomes more its own though.

What is left is a fairly solid detective story where PI Mackenzie August is hired to prove a clergyman is not the gay sex fiend he is being accused of being. During his investigation August has to switch sides and gets involved with a kidnap case. There is a nice deeper layer about the nature of evil and the position of religion and the church in modern day society.

Some things that made the read extra enjoyable were the talks August has with his adopted baby Kix and with his sidekick, US Marshal Manny. As an interesting subplot we have August's relationship with his big love Ronnie.

Billed as a standalone somewhat outside the series (taking place between the first two novels I understand) this is a nice pretty quick read. Alan Lee won me over to check out more in this series.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The Wanted (Elvis Cole) by Robert Crais


Of course Elvis Cole and Joe Pike rule. They may be updated versions of Spenser and Hawk but I think they are fun characters/ This particular novel isn't the best one in the series though.

Elvis is hired by the mother of a teenage kid who seems to have some way too expensive stuff. It is sort of like my own 2013 story featuring Lenny Parker, but besides the concept it is a very different story. 

Anyway, the kid turns out to be in a new life of petty crime but has gotten his hands on something two thugs are after. Cole enlists the aid of his sidekick Joe Pike of course and sets out to find the kid (and his girlfriend) before the bad guys find them.

The bad guys are pretty interesting. They start out as basic everyday thugs but get a backstory which makes them less standard evil. 

There's some fun banter between Cole and a hacker kid. Besides that there is some emotional scenes concerning Cole's old love Lucy and her kid, Ben.

Crais knows how to write a fast-paced story and I like how he is economical in his prose. The story itself is a bit thin for the number of pages it is. I would have fit it in a novella.