Monday, February 12, 2018

Slaughterhouse Blues (Bill & Fiona) by Nick Kolakowski

I first met Bill and Fiona, the con man and the killer in A Bunch of Heartbroken Saps and was delighted by the fun and fast crime story. The couple is back in this one, living in Havana and on the run for the mob since the events in that book. Via some detours they end up fighting an assassin couple and with a decades old loot.
What makes this one so fun is pretty much the same things as the first one. Bill and Fiona are so much fun and there's such a wonderful sense of humor that goes very right with the fast-paced action.
So don't be fooled by the dark and depressing (though very beautifully written) first chapter. There will be laughs along the way.
Not a mystery novel or the kind of PI stuff I usually review it IS a solid crime novella. Regular readers of my blog know how much I dig a novella.
Icing on the cake is the snarky references to Coldplay, kudos for those!

Free Fiction: Runaway Bride Part Nine (A Lenny Parker serial) by Jochem Vandersteen


Hired by a young man to find out why his fiancee ran away roadie / PI Lenny Parker finds her quickly and sees her drive away with a big black man who turns out to be a pimp called Larry Thunder. When he arranges to meet her in a motel the pimp shows up as well, armed and dangerous. Luckily Lenny convinces him to let her leave. Here's the last chapter in this serial. For earlier episodes click here


Lenny and Casey smiled happily at the couple in front of the altar. Lenny had managed to find a blazer he wore over a Metallica t-shirt and Casey actually turned out to own a modest black dress. They looked pretty respectable although a bit out of place among the other guests. Still, they felt honored to be invited to Tommy and Jill’s wedding. It had been a few weeks since their encounter with Larry Thunder and now Lenny’s nose only hurt when he sneezed.

Casey nodded at the two bridesmaids, dressed in pink dresses. “Wouldn’t mind hitting that.”

“Sheesh, you’re awful,” Lenny whispered.

Casey shrugged. “Living life to the fullest, that’s all.”

The metalheads listened as the couple said their vows and sealed their marriage with a kiss. There was so much love in both their eyes Lenny couldn’t help but be moved.

“Are you tearing up, you big wuss?” Casey said.

“It’s the incense,” Lenny said.

They headed out the church where the newlyweds were greeted with a handful of rice. Lenny and Casey shook their hands and congratulated them.

“I owe you so much,” Jill told them. “Tommy was so kind to me. We’ll have Larry paid off within a year.”

“That’s great,” Lenny said. “If he bothers you after that don’t hesitate to get in touch.”

“Thank you, thank you!” Jill said and hugged Lenny and Casey both.

The couple walked to the big white limousine with the cans and sign saying “Just Married” waiting in front of the church. They got in, waving at everybody. So much happiness, no sign of the hardships they went through. Lenny felt really good about that and told Casey so.

“You know what also felt good? That hug from Jill. What a body,” Casey said.

Lenny just shook his head, glad to have seen from the newlyweds that romance and true love wasn’t dead yet.

 

THE END


Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Confessional (C.T. Ferguson) by Tom Fowler

I really enjoyed the collection of short stories featuring C.T. Ferguson, the Reluctant Detective. I couldn't wait to read this novella because of it. After all, novellas are my favorite story form.
In this one
A man is found dead, stabbed in the chest. A blogger gets himself arrested when he gets himself involved a bit too much in the case. He asks C.T. Ferguson to prove he is innocent. This gets the reluctant detective involved with an abusive priest and a local bunch of thugs.
I still dig the idea that Ferguson isn't paid by his clients but instead by his rich parents whenever he closes a case. I love his hacker background and how he was taught how to fight because his parents wanted him to be able to fight off a schoolyard bully as a kid.
The story flows along at a nice speed and the ending is pretty clever.
If you want to read this one you don't have to pay anything for it. Just subscribe to Tom Fowler's newsletter here .

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Deep Six (Jake Longly) by D.P. Lyle

You would expect this to be a forensic heavy mystery as it is written by forensic expert D.P. Lyle. Well, it's not, not in any way. In fact, the procedures and bond between the main PI's and the cops sounds a bit unrealistic really. So, don't hesitate to read this one if you dislike stuff like the Scarpatta books or hate shows like Bones.
Jake Longly used to be a baseball player. Now he runs a beach bar and sometimes does some work for his dad, Ray who's a very succesful private eye. When he stakes out a woman living near his ex-wife he gets his car windows smashed in and meets a new love interest who turns out to be quite the amateur investigator herself. When the woman he was staking out gets killed Jake is compelled to investigate. Things get dangerous when he gets involved with a Ukrainian mobster who has a nice yacht and a trophy girlfriend.
There's a nice feel to this story, a bit breezy but still hardboiled enough. Sometimes there's a POV switch from first to third person, shining some light on the other characters. Personally, I didn't care for these switches. In my opinion they messed with the pacing too much and didn't add enough of to the story.
I loved the fun banter between the characters and Jake and his love interest Nicole are the Nick and Norah of this generation.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Battered Badge (Nero Wolfe) by Robert Goldsborough

I have a lot of respect for authors that dare to follow in the footsteps of succesful writers. So yeah, guys like Ace Atkins or Reed Coleman I do adore. Robert Goldsborough is among those as well. He's been writing quite a number of Nero Wolfe books and he really knows how to write the characters and the style of Rex Stout.
In this one Nero Wolfe and his sidekick and narrator Archie Goodwin investigate the death of an influential New Yorker to clear the name of their cop friend, Inspector Cramer.
This is not an angsty, noirish or very hardboiled PI novel. Stout didn't write those either. It IS an enjoyable ride with old friends, a nice mix between a cozy and more hardboiled fare.
There's also a nice twist in the end where Robert plays with the usual endings of Nero Wolfe novels, but I won't spoil it for you.
Entertaining but perhaps forgettable.

Broken Ground (Jay Porter) by Joe Clifford

Divorced from his wife Jay Porter now spends his days as an estate cleaner and at AA meetings. At such a meeting he is asked by a recovering addict to track down her sister who's last known address was a rehab center. When it turns out she didn't use drugs he finds out the real reason she went missing and encounters his old arch enemies once again.
Jay is one unique PI. He's an unlicensed one, more of a guy doing favors for friends like Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder, but at least Scudder was an ex-cop. Jay gets his edge from his anger, not his police background. In fact, it's that undertone of anger and frustration that makes Jay's voice such an interesting one to read about. Beware, this voice is so well-written you might get drawn into the story too much. Whenever I was reading it I felt a craving to smoke or drink, just like Jay. I had to be careful to be nice to my wife. There were times when I looked at my son and almost cried at the idea of having to be without him.
This is something special. And if you read or listen to interviews with Joe Clifford you will find out just how special. He really infused this novel with his own experiences and I have the deepest respect for how this man took his painful past and managed to create this wonderful novel from it and managed to start a wonderful family, holding on to all Jay lost.