Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Second Life of Nick Mason (Nick Mason) by Steve Hamilton

I was intrigued when I heard Steve Hamilton had a new series coming out. I've been enjoying his McKnight books forever.
Nick Mason manages to leave prison because of the intervention of criminal kingpin Darius Cole. As part of this deal he will have to answer his new cell phone at any time and do what Cole orders him to do.
At first I figured he would do some kind of detective work, allowing him to stay a heroic character. I was wrong. He's used as a hitman, killing people (although criminals) in cold blood. Still we are able to like him, partly because he was kind of suckered into this and the fact he deeply loves his child and protects his friends.
During the novel we follow his comeback to society, meeting a new love, struggling not to meddle to much into the life of his daughter and clash with the cops who think he's their ticket to nabbing a killer.
Nick Mason is the closest thing to Richard Stark's Parker we can find in novels right now and I love him.
I have to mention that Steve's writing is better than ever in this one. It's a bit tighter and cleaner than it used to be. The plot a bit more fast-paced.
Yeah, I guess he managed to top his Alex McKnight series!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Nickel Package (Burnside) by David Chill

I'm a loyal reader of the Burnside series, so of course I read this one as well. The LA PI is now a dad of a 3-year old kid and happily married. That makes for some nice warm scenes, making him very human an likable. He's hired to do a background check on an employee for a big company he gets involved in several murder investigations.
As always the story doesn't break much new ground, though of course Burnside being a married dad is a bit unusual for a PI. What it does do is entertain! Burnside investigates and solves the mysteries like a good PI should, trades some blows with thugs and clashes with the cops.
This sixth novel in the series satisfied me enough to be eager to read the 7th.

The Red Storm (William Fletcher) by Grant Bywaters

In 1930s New Orleans ex-boxer William Fletcher makes a living as a PI. He's a black man in an era not ready for black snoops but he makes the most of it.
An old criminal friend asks him to track down his missing daughter. As Fletcher investigates he soon has to do battle with both cops and robbers.
While the story takes place in the past the writing feels fresh and exciting. Fletcher is an enaging character and the ending has quite some nice pulpy action.
This one won the PWA Best First PI Novel contest in 2015 and I can see why. It ticks all the boxes a PI novel should tick while the era and race of the PI gives it that little extra to make it stand out.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Nocturne for Madness (Thomas Haftmann) by Robb White

This was one hard to read novel. Not because of the writing, but the fact it was so dark and sometimes shocking I had to put it away. Haftmann is not the light-hearted hero like Spenser or Elvis Cole and the bad guy is not an amusing mobster like Joe Broz.
Ex-cop Haftmann is a drinker, a gambler and mentally unstable. He's also on the trail of a serial killer that kills women who he picks up from swinger sites. Working with, but still hated by the police and FBI we follow Haftmann's descent further into insanity on his hunt for the killer.
The writing is dark and lyrical, gruesome details are not spared at all. The atmosphere unsettling.
So, if you that Andrew Vacchs writes too light-hearted and Spenser novels are too Disney for you, this is your book.

Honky Tonk Samurai (Hap & Leonard) by Joe R. Lansdale

There will probably be a lot of extra readers for this one because of the Sundance TV show based on this series. Well, let me tell you that it's not written for those new readers. It does give the loyal fans all the Dr. Peppers, vanilla cookies, laughs and outrageous characters they can want.
In this ninth novel in the series Hap (our narrator) and Leonard (a gay black tough guy) become official PI's. The first case involves the search for the missing daugther of an old lady. What they stumble upon is a used car dealership that is a cover for an escort service.
Their investigations lead them to do battle with the toughtest, craziest bunch of villains they ever faced. Luckily, they have some of the toughest, craziest bunch of partners to help them out.
This book is very violent, sometimes very funny, often in a crude way and yet still very endearing at times. This is one of my favorite series of all time and this one shows again why.
Beware, the ending of this one will very much surpise and sadden you.