Monday, May 24, 2010

Big Bang (Mike Hammer) by Mickey Spillane & Max Allan Collins

Max Allan Collins, probably Mr. Spillane's biggest fan finishes an old novel-in-progress by the master himself and delivers one hell of a read.
Mike Hammer gets involved in a big and dangerous heroin smuggling ring and delivers his usual hardboiled brand of justice. The story is quite sexist, violent and crude... Just like a Mike Hammer story should be. A particular delight is the comic book style, trippy and hallucogenic ending.
I heard there's more Spillane-goodness on Mr. Collin's desk... Let's hope they find their way to us as well.

Vanilla Ride (Hap & Leonard) by Joe Lansdale

Get ready for an insane, fastpaced ride because the original blue collar amateur PI tagteam Hap & Leonard are back. The two friends help out an old friend whose daughter is caught up with a drugdealer. When they try to get her away from him they tangle with the Dixie mafia however and get caught up in a bloodbath. The only way not to get their asses slammed in jail is help out the FBI. Lucky for them they've got a few badass characters to help them along. And then they meet Vanilla, the blonde hitwoman that gives the novel it's title...
The chapters are short, the plot is thin and the action is as furious as the jokes are funny. Don't read this if you're hoping to read a literary work of art... DO read this if you Spenser's quips aren't dirty enough and Lee Child's action is too tame.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Reapers (Charlie Parker) by John Connolly

Louis and Angel usually spent their time as Charlie Parker’s psychotic sidekicks, but this time they get to take center stage. At least, during a big part of the story, because a lot of page-time is devoted to their friends and enemies. Every character gets the chance to shine with extensive pages of backstory devoted to them. Often before they get killed… John is a fan of Stephen King and that trick of making us learn more about relatively minor characters before they bite the dust is something Mr. King excels in of course. Where John doesn’t emulate King this time is the use of the supernatural. More and more his stories started to include these elements, but this time they are totally absent.
What we do get is the story of how Louis and Angel are targeted by a hitman, called Bliss and the backstory of Louis, told in flashback. We find out Louis used to be part of special band of hitmen called Reapers and we are shown how he grew up to be a natural killer.
Charlie Parker makes a few appearances at the end, under the name The Detective. It is interesting to see him described from the point of view of other characters than Charlie himself.
The plot itself seemed to be a bit shallow to me and the book could have been a lot thinner without the excessive backstories. An enjoyable book, but Mr. Connolly has shown he can do better.