Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Favorites of 2009

It's almost the end of the year so it's time to tell you which were my favorites of 2009:

BEST PI NOVEL: The Lost Sister by Russel D. McLean
BEST DEBUT: A Tight Lie by Don Dahler
BEST NEW PI: Jared McKean (in Racing the Devil) by E. Michael Terrell
BEST ACTION SCENES: Judgement & Wrath by Matt Hilton

Thank you, dear authors for entertaining me.

I wish all visitors of my blog a great 2010! See you next year!

Racing the Devil (Jared McKean) by E. Michael Terrell


Is it because the person behind the writer's name is a woman that protagonist Jared McKean is one of the most emotionally developed of new private eyes? With a gay friend, a son with Down's syndrome and a gothic nephew Jared McKean has plenty of baggage to keep his personal life interesting.
The story starts off with a bang though when Jared picks up a woman in a bar and sleeps with her only to find out it was all a setup to turn him into a murders suspect. Jared shows he can take of himself, using Tae Kwando moves to keep fellow prisoners away from him when he's temporarily incarcerated.
He also shows he's a pretty dogged investigator when he sets out to prove his innocence. The successful merging of the personal side of Jared's life and the murder mystery made this an absolute favorite of 2009 for me.

The Lost Sister (McNee) by Russel McLean


I was already pretty impressed by the first novel but this one surpasses that one.
A more confident and structured writer now, Russell gives us everything I like in the genre. The pacing is better this time, the story less complicated and maybe because of that more dramatic and involving.
Starting off with a missing persons case McNee shows himself a worthy successor of Lew Archer, dealing with dirty family secrets, not being able to help himself but get involved in some personal dramas.
While actively acknowledging the clich├ęs of the genre and telling us that's not how a real PI's life works he also manages to show us the traditional PI is not dead yet when written in the right way.
McNee is a man looking for justice, not just out to nab the bad guys. We're shown that in the end of the novel where the shades between black and white blur like in the best examples of the hardboiled genre.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The First Rule (Joe Pike) by Robert Crais


Every new book by Robert Crais is a reason to celebrate and especially when it features Joe Pike or Elvis Cole. This one's no exception. I liked it a bit less than Chasing Darkness but it's still a great ride.
Joe Pike's old mercenary buddy Frank Meyer is killed by a home invasion group. When he investigates he finds out there's more to it than it seems. He gets involved with East-European gangsters, the ATF and his biggest challenge ever... Taking care of a baby.
As ever, Pike is the Ultimate Action Hero, shooting baddies, jumping out of windows and kicking ass. There's some great tender moments though, like when he takes care of the baby he saved or when he shows his commitment to his old crew.
With the action and total premise of the novel this is one Crais-vehicle screaming for a movie adaption.

The Ragged End of Nowhere (Bodo Hagen) by Roy Chaney


Bodo Hagen used to work for the CIA. With his brother killed in Las Vegas he travels to Sin City, intent on avenging him
There's a colorful cast of suspects, ranging from Legionnaires to mobsters. Bodo didn't really come alive for me as a character.
I did enjoy the feel that reminded me of classic "Get Carter". The Legionnaire background surely gives the story something extra but didn't interest me much.
The plot contains little twists and turns but the action flows nicely and the dialogues are natural enough.
All in all an average read, but not a candidate for the Best PI Novel of 2009.

Free signed book offer Ian Vasquez

Here's something you might be interested in:

Signed Book Special Offer Ian Vasquez, Winner of a 2009 Shamus Award.
To celebrate Ian Vasquez's Best First P.I. Novel Shamus Award, Regal Literary is giving away five signed copies of both the winning novel, In the Heat, and Lonesome Point, Ian's latest novel. All you have to do to enter the contest is join Ian's Facebook page and send an e-mail to vasquez@regal-literary.com with the subject line I'm a Facebook Fan! by December 31.
Ian's Facebook Page: http://www.tinyurl.com/ianvasquez
Ian's Homepage: http://www.ianvasquez.net