Thursday, May 30, 2013

Epitaph for Emily (Jim Wolf) by Tim Wohlforth

I've enjoyed Tim's work online for years now, I even did a split with him (which you can get for free here) featuring his PI Jim Wolf and my own Noah Milano.
I liked reading about Jim Wolf in this full length story. Jim sleeps with an attractive young girl that ends up murdered. Suspected of this murder he is forced to investigate in order to prove his innocense. If that isn't enough he's also visited by his mother who's in trouble with the mob and leads him to another mystery to be solved.
Jim Wolf is a classic PI with a few cool characteristics like the snake on his houseboat featured in a classic mystery which shows the best motives for murder can be found in the past.
If you like mysteries that take it easy (don't expect Mike Hammer pacing) and feature characters with deeper feelings and a plot with historical plot points this one is for you.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Q & A with Matt Coyle

Matt Coyle is one of the hottest new crime writers so I just had to interview him...

Q: What makes Rick Cahill different from other hardboiled characters?
      I think Rick is a bit more introspective than other hardbolied protagonists and carries around more guilt than most. He also doubts himself more than other hardboiled characters.

Q: What inspired the character?
     I think all first novels are a bit autobiographical, particularly ones written in first person, so there's a bit of me in Rick. However, the more drafts I wrote, the less of me was left in him. I really started to get the character when I came up with a line that ended up being the opening sentence to the book:
The first time I saw her, she made me remember and she made me forget.
This line made me ask questions about Rick that I had to answer to really know him.
What had been so bad in his life that he desperately needed to forget? And what good had been covered up by the bad that he desperately wanted to remember. Once I answered these questions, Rick's back story filled in for me and I had my protagonist.

Q: What are your thoughts on the whole eBook revolution?
     I think the eBook revolution is good for both writers and readers. It gives authors another avenue to reach readers and readers greater diversity for reading content. I do think that traditional publishing is still a way for readers to know that the book they buy has gone through a vetting process and several gatekeepers before it hit the market. This helps the author gain trust from the reader that will be rewarded should he or she chose to self-publish in the future.
     The eBook revolution has hurt brick and mortar booksellers and that is unfortunate. However, a lot of people, myself included, will always want to go into bookstores and buy printed books. Nothing can quite replace the feel of a cracking open a new book in your hands. Smart booksellers are finding ways to compete with eBooks through customer service, loyalty discounts, having their own online presence, and by holding book signings in their stores. Book signings are invaluable for new authors as it gives them an opportunity to interact personally with readers and build a fan base.

Q: What's next for you and Rick? Will he return?
     I am currently writing the next Rick Cahill crime novel that I hope will be out in 2014. Rick's life has changed and he now has a career more in keeping with his law enforcement roots.

Q: How do you promote your work?
     I've gotten a lot of help from my publisher, Oceanview Publishing, in promoting Yesterday's Echo. They sent out over 100 ARCs (advance reader copies) to booksellers and reviewers. That has really helped me garner a lot of reviews which is very helpful in getting the word out about my book. I've had some online interviews as well as one in a local newspaper. I hired a publicist in the Los Angeles who got me an interview with Connie Martinson on Talking Books. We also went around to bookstores and gave away copies to employees who were the top mystery fans. I'm currently on a self-funded book tour and I'm going to the California Crime Writers Conference and Bouchercon.

Q: What other genres besides crime do you like?
     I mainly stick to crime fiction and some non-fiction about culture and politics and some true crime.

Q: What's your idea about the psychotic sidekick in PI novels like Hawk and Joe Pike?
     I'm a huge Robert Crais fan so, of course, I like Joe Pike. I don't see him as psychotic because I don't think he commits violence for self-gratification. I think he has a set of principles he lives by and, to uphold them, he sometimes has to commit violence on people who cannot be stopped any other way.

      Rick Cahill doesn't have a sidekick. I like to keep him isolated and unable to rely on anyone else when it comes to violence. This makes him wrestle with the justifications of his actions which plays a prominent role in the book I'm now writing.

Q: In the last century we've seen new waves of PI writers, first influenced by Hammett, then Chandler, Macdonald, Parker, later Lehane. Who do you think will influence the coming generation?
     I think Robert Crais, who I just mentioned, will influence the coming generation as he has for some of us late-bloomers to this generation. As you mentioned, Dennis Lehane is also a good choice. In a broader sense of crime fiction, you'd have to include T. Jeffereson

Parker and Michael Connelly, as well as an under-recognized auther, C.J. Box.

Q: Why do you write in this genre?
     I've read crime fiction all my life. It is what I love. When I think about a story, there is a crime involved. Crime allows you to examine varous levels of society merely by having your protagonist follow a clue. I think some of the best American writing has been done in the crime genre.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Free Fiction: Girl Gone Wild part 7 (A Lenny Parker serial) by Jochem Vandersteen

I'm pleased to offer the fans of my blog part seven of a brand-new crime story that features roadie / PI Lenny Parker, a fat tattooed slob with a heart of gold.

Girl Gone Wild part 7 (A Lenny Parker serial)
by Jochem Vandersteen
I had my Dodge Ram parked a few blocks from the convenience store. Mikey had agreed to stake out the store from his Chevy. Nina was around the corner in her Mini Cooper. With me now known to Melissa I figured it would be best if people she didn’t know kept an eye on her. My friends are great.
My cell phone played a riff of Black Sabbath’s Iron Man. I answered it. Nina told me Melissa had just been picked up by a man that fit Beck’s description.
“Good,” I said. “I will ask Mikey to follow them.”
“Okay, see you around. Good luck with the case.”
I called Mikey and told him what I expected.
“Already on it, Lenny,” Mikey answered. “I’m right behind them.”
A few minutes later I saw Mikey’s Chevy pass. He was right behind Beck’s Audi. I started my car and drove away, keeping a few cars behind Mikey. Old Man Jackson would have been proud.
Every now and then I slowed down a bit. Sometimes I parked the car a few minutes. After a while Mohawk picked up the tail from Mikey and gave me a call of their location.
After a while it was Mikey again who called me to tell Beck and Melissa had parked their car at a fleabag motel in Culver City.
I drove over there. Mikey was still in his Chevy, parked in front of the motel. I parked next to his car and got out. Mike opened the door of his Chevy and I sat next to him.
“Thanks for doing this, dude!” I told him.
“Sure, no problem. I enjoy this stuff. Makes me feel like I’m Spenser for Hire or something. Besides, if that dude is boffing that chick he needs to go down.”
“Yeah. So they went in there how long ago?”
“Fifteen minutes I guess. Going into a seedy motel room together sound like enough evidence for you?”
I thought about that. “Guess not. I’m not sure how her dad’s going to explain it, but he’s so dead-set against the idea he’s probably going to find a way. I figure I need to get better proof.”
“Sounds like you’re planning on catching them in the act.”
“That might be the only way, yeah.”
“So, what’s the plan? Are you going to ninja your way to their room’s window and snap a few pictures?”
I patted my stomach. “Maybe you haven’t noticed, but I lack the physique to ninja much. I thought I might take a more direct approach.”
Mikey ran his fingers through his hair and looked up. “Not sure I like that idea, Lenny. Sounds like you’re planning to get yourself in trouble.”
“Don’t worry, it will work out. Just be here with the motor running when I come back.”
Mike laughed, shaking his head. “Shit, Lenny… You’re a piece of work…”

The Last Kind Word (Rush McKenzie) by David Housewright

A new Rushmore McKenzie novel always gets to the top of my TBR-list. Alwasy entertaining and easy to read it is the perfect series for fans of Spenser or earlier Elvis Cole novels. I wasn't disappointed by the latest entry in the series.
McKenzie is asked by the ATF to infiltrate a gang of smalltime and smalltime bank robbers so he can find out who is supplying them with assault rifles. Channeling his inner-Parker (from Richard Stark's great series) he plays a hardboiled criminal called Dyson. This role gives him the chance to really give in to his wild side which made for enjoyable reading. Luckily there's also a bit more about his relationship with his best friend's wife and his own girlfriend, bits I always enjoy.
David Housewright always manages to come up with original plots for his hero, by having his hero go undercover he was able to write a heist novel instead of a PI novel while still using all the great bits that compromised earlier novels of this series.

Monday, May 20, 2013

First Frank Boff novel for free!

Regular readers of my blog know by now how much I like the Frank Boff series... Well, good news: the first in the series is now available for free download! Get it here!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dirty Work (Gulliver Dowd) by Reed Farrel Coleman

I read this one in one sitting, and not just because it is a book in the Rapid Reads series, designed for fast and easy reading. I just loved the characters, the story and the writing style too much to put it down.
Main character Gulliver Dowd is a New York PI and a little person (ironic first name, right?). All good private eyes are outsiders, and Gulliver's size makes him just that. If you think he won't be able to take of himself because of the fact you're wrong, however. He shows himself to be just as tough as Spenser and tougher than Moe Prager!
Asked to track down the daughter of an old flame who seems to be his own daughter as well Gulliver clashes with a mobster that gives him the chance to strut his hardboiled stuff. It's all written in a nice crisp style which comes over a bit more pulpy than Reed's normal work.
I just loved Gulliver. Don't think his size is just a gimmick. It's integral in the way he does his work and I loved the fact his size was used to illustrate what a good manhunter he is, with his nose close to the ground.
Excellent stuff! We need more books like these. Fast-paced work, great for reluctant readers and just the stuff we need to get more PI fans! Looking forward to the second Dowd novel and hoping there will be many more!

Free Fiction: Girl Gone Wild part 6 (A Lenny Parker serial) by Jochem Vandersteen

I'm pleased to offer the fans of my blog part six of a brand-new crime story that features roadie / PI Lenny Parker, a fat tattooed slob with a heart of gold. You can check out the fourth part here.

Girl Gone Wild part 6 (A Lenny Parker serial)
by Jochem Vandersteen

I play bass in a lousy metal band called the Necromantic Poets. We practice infrequently and not often and perform even less frequent. I always like hanging out with the guys, though. We jam in our vocalist’s garage.

Mikey Taylor, our vocalist is a good looking guy with long brown hair. Our guitarist is a wiry guy with a Mohawk, that’s what we call him as well. Our drummer is a lesbian chick called Casey. She wears her hair in a different color every week and sports more tattoos on her arms than I do.

We were trying out a new song called Leatherface Please Kill Bieber when I fucked up the bass line once again.

“What the fuck, Lenny?” Casey said. “Where’s your head at?”

“Sorry babe, it’s about this case I’ve been working on. Can’t get it out of my head.”

“Spill it,” Casey said an put down her sticks.

I told her about Melinda, Beck and her dad.

“That’s kids for you,” Casey said. “Don’t know what’s good for them. Used to be just like that.”

“Used to?” Mohawk said, retuning his guitar.

Casey threw a stick at him, which he barely avoided. “Shut up, fuckhead.”

“I just don’t know what to do. I mean, I’m not hired anymore. The kid doesn’t want me involved. Still, I can’t let it rest. I just can’t. It’s wrong and I should do something about it.”

“Why don’t you just go to the cops?” Mikey asked and threw me a can of Coors.

I caught the can and popped the tab. “I can’t prove anything. It will be my word against all the others.”

“Yeah, you’re right. Sucks.” Mikey opened up a can of beer for himself and drank it.

“Maybe I should make sure I’ve got the evidence to back up my accusations,” I said. “And you guys might be able to help me out with that…”

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Good Junk (Cliff St. James) by Ed Kovacs

Cliff St. James is back in action in post-Kathrina New Orleans and carrying a ton of guilt caused by the death of a sparring partner during a MMA fight. A good murder investigation is just the thing to pull him out of depression and his old friend Honey Baybee offers him just that. The murder victims are two gay lovers, employees of NASA’s nearby Michoud facility.
Cliff is one tough dude, all guns, knives, gadgets and martial arts. Enlisted as a special consultant to the cops Cliff is endangered several times by his new reluctance to use deadly force. Aside from that he's still struggling with his feelings for Honey.
The investigation draws in a lot of suspects and other people interested in the outcome, from spies to the FBI. In fact, this is more of a David Baldacci style thriller than your average PI novel. It is that direction that will make this book a good read for fans of Lee Child and Baldacci but might dissapoint fans of the more classic stuff.
I do think his consultant-role is a good way to make a detective be able to investigate a murder but still remain a bit of a lone wolf. Not sure how realistic it is the NOPD would contract someon like Cliff, though.