Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Next Time You Die (Lee Henry Oswald) by Harry Hunsicker

The PI with the unfortunate last name returns and it's a hoot! Hired by a preacher to locate a missing file Oswald is confronted with this criminal childhood friend Billy Barringer. Along the way he drives through Texas in a Bentley facing thugs, lowlifes and fake tits.
There are several twists and turns in this incredibly fast-paced narrative. Much tighter, more efficiently written than the first novel you just can't put this one down. It had the whole '24' feel going. It reads like a mixture of a Roberto Rodriguez movie and a Spenser novel.
Oswald is again a very cool PI who's a bit of a bum sometimes, makes several stupid mistakes (like putting the batteries of nightvision goggles) in his remote but also know how to fight the baddies and how to take a punch.
Very, very enjoyable.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Prodigal Son of Spade Milan Jacovich (by Les Roberts)

In this new feature we track down the writers of Sons of Spade we haven't seen them in awhile and try to find out what's the score. First up is Les Roberts who we asked 3 questions:
1) Will Milan Jacovich return?
2) Why haven't you written about him for some time now?
3) What's up next for you?

Les had to say:
Interesting questions. FIrst of all, Milan Jacovich WILL be back early next year in "King of the Holly Hop," published by Gray and Company. I'm currently writing a screenplay based on one of Milan's past adventures, "The Irish Sports Pages," which will be flmed mostly in Cleveland next year and will probably be released in early 2009.

I haven't written about Milan "for some time" because I was deeply involved with writing other things. After my first 13 Milan books and my six Saxon books, I wanted to tackle something that was NOT a "private eye" novel.

While co-writing the screenplay I'm also working hard on a novel NOT about Jacovich, set in 1985 in Youngstown, Ohio during a period when the mob absolutely ruled the area and made Youngstown into "An Open City." KIt's called "The Youngstown Tune-Up" (at the moment), and I hope to finish it before the first of the year (2008).

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Killer Swell (Noah Braddock) by Jeff Shelby

As the writer of a younger PI named Noah I was pretty interested in this novel from the start. In many ways it doesn't dissapoint. It seems to do what I set out to do with my Noah Milano stories: entertaining PI-fans with a fresh protagonist with some action, some laughs and some soul-searching without going over the top.
Surfer Noah Braddock is hired by the mother of an old flame who is missing. As often is the case with missin person cases in which PI's get involved she turns up dead. In tracking down her killer Noah clashes with a gangster boss leading to some violent shoot-outs. Luckily he has a good looking female cop and a somewhat psychotic sidekick to help him out.
Yes, it's not the most original novel you're going to read but I found it very entertaining. I had some minor gripes, like exactly how did the sidekick character Carter become so dangerous and shady and the very brief almost Deux Ex Machine appearance of two twin psycho sidekicks. Or the way Noah just felled 'compelled' to open up a parked car to coincedentally discover a dead body.
Still, Noah Braddock is up there as a Favorite Son of Spade because I'm so eager to read his next adventure.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Witness Above (Frank Pavlicek) by Andy Straka

This is a nice, pretty traditional and straight-forward PI novel. Ex-cop Frank Pavlicek moves from the big city to Charlottesville, Virginia where he starts to work as a PI. When his daughter ends up in jail and a friend ends up killed he takes on gangsters and corrupt cops.
The story is made more interesting by Frank's hobby: falconing and the lean, effective prose.
Buy it if you're looking for a solid, standard PI-read. Pass it over when you're looking for something to stay with you for years to come.

King of Swords (Max Mingus) by Nick Stone

Nick Stone returns after his impressive debut with Mr. Clarinet. This time we are treated to a prequel of his first novel in which we learn how Max Mingus quit the force and met his wife. Also, we meet Solomon Boukman who has an important part to play in Mr. Clarinet as well.
The storyline is pretty challenging, weaving a web of different stories and characters in one coherent crime thriller. Basically it's about the battle Mingus and minor characters wage against Solomon Boukman and his allies. Where the first novel reminded me of James Lee Burke and Andrew Vachss this time I was reminded of George Pelecanos.
Max is as tough an anti-hero as he is in Mr. Clarinet and a very enjoyable character once again. The most interesting, original character in the novel however is the pimp called Carmine. He's a very believable, strangely criminal I really felt sorry for during the course of the novel.
Well written, original, haunting and interesting. You don't want to miss this one.