Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Black Hood # 1 (Black Hood) by Duane Swierczynski

Me, reviewing a comic on this blog? Yep! Why? Well writer Duane has been writing some awesome crime fiction and I am a fan of  Alex Segura's work who is the brain behind the whole Dark Circle line this comic is a part of, so why not. And this Black Hood guy is one hardboiled guy...
Philly cop Greg Hettinger is shot in the face as he takes down a vigilante killer. That makes him a hero, but also a scarred and disfigured man who plunges deeper and deeper into depression. In the end he pulls on the hood of The Black Hood which ends this origin issue.
The story of Hettinger is told at a brisk space and could have been a novel by Duane by itself. The dark, gritty art perfectly enhances the story and has me wanting more.


Shadow Boys (Jonathan Cantrell) by Harry Hunsicker

Former DEA contractor Jonathan Cantrell is now a fixit man for a big law firm, his ex Piper is working for the cops. At first glance live seems to be good for both, but as the story progresses we see that is not really the case.
Jon is asked to track down a missing boy but ends up tangling with a vigilante killer. Aside from Jon's story there's the story of Deputy Chief Raul Delgado who has lived an interesting life that is really important to the story and possibly outshines Jon's plotline. Sometimes it even seems there's two books in one, but it really all makes sense in the end.
What I really enjoyed in this one was the fact that Harry Hunsicker really outdoes himself with the hardboiled prose in this one. It really, really reads very tough and hardboiled, like listening to a good blues album. I also liked the fact that this was more of a crime novel than the first one in the series that seemed to be more of an action thriller.

The Death Dealing Game (Frank Boff) by Nathan Gottlieb

The most original PI of the decade, Frank Boff teams up with the most flawed, toughest female investigator of the decade as suspended, hard-drinking cop Emily Lynch debuts. They make a deal: Frank helps her with her murder investigation, she helps him with a missing person investigation. When the cases collide there is hell to pay!
The introduction of Emily Lynch really makes the plot more exciting. There's some very great lines from this politically incorrect character that had me chuckling quite a few times.
I wasn't sure about the ending though. It seems Boff might be moving away from the Dark Side more and more, which I thought made the character so cool and interesting.
Anyway, another great entry in the Boff series. If you want to know a bit more and aren't sure if my word is good enough you can pick up a free copy of the first one in the series here for 2 days.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fifty Shades of Fedora (Anthology) by Robert J. Randisi

One of the most important reasons I developed the Shamus Sampler series of anthologies was that the Private Eye Writers of America didn't seem to put out theirs anymore. Lucky for me, they're back with this one, as always expertly edited by Robert J. Randisi. I'm sorry he didn't do introductions for each tale, used to love those.
The running theme, as can be guessed a bit by the title is sex. Some graphic and kinky, some more implied. Some tales didn't really seem to be real PI tales to me, but of course that wasn't advertised either. A LOT of them are, I'm happy to say, though.
Among the writers are Carolina Garcia-Aquilera, Justin Scott, Gary Phillips, Jerry Kennealy, Michael Bracken, Christine Matthews, Robert J. Randisi, Warren Murphy, Ted Fitzgerald, Dick Lochte, and John Lutz. I loved seeing Max Allan Collins with a Nate Heller story and Jerry Kennealy put in a short and sweet Nick Polo tale. The fact there's a VI Warshawski tale in it should sell some extra copies. Some tales are a bit raunchier than others, Bracken's probably the more hardcore one. If you don't like that kind of stuff, don't worry, it is at the beginning but  not indicative to the rest.
Special mention should go to Ted Fitzgerald's Tex Texeira who is a PI that does background checks for a nudie magazine. I thought that idea was very original and the tale very enjoyable. @Ted: if you are reading this, be sure to contact me for an interview.

Storme Warning 0Wyatt Storme) by W.L. Ripley

Man, as much as I love Ace Atkins writing Spenser, here's a guy that would be able to continue that series really well. This is totally new book featuring Wyatt Storme that will have me pick up the reprints coming soon as well for sure.
Wyatt Storme is an ex-football player and Vietnam veteran who is visited by his old pal and psycho sidekick, the ex-CIA agent Chick Easton. Chick asks him for help protecting a bad boy movie-star during the shoot of a Western movie. There's also an old enemy of Storme lurking around.
Storme is a really cool guy, a real John Wayne kind of guy. Tall, honest, kind to women and a bit of a loner. He also gets in quite a few witty lines in the Spenser veign. Chick is an almost superhuman sidekick, where there's of course some comparisons to Hawk
The story is paced well with enough twists and action and a shift to the POV of Storme's old enemy that nevers confuses or annoys.
Great, old-fashioned PI writing and a MUST for fans of Spenser, Elvis Cole or my own Noah Milano.
One of my favorite books of the year so far.