Saturday, January 27, 2018

Miami Burn (Titus) by John D. Patten

Former detective Titus (no first name in a clear homage to Spenser) is in Miami to avenge his lover, meanwhile working in a bar. Asked by the wife of a politician to find her missing daughter he gets involved with some other missing person cases and clashes with a dangerous hitman. There's also some romance when he falls for a beautiful and tough cop.
This could be a Men's Adventure paperback the way Titus violently face off against foes and beds beautiful women. But there's also a deceptively good mystery story with a lot of twists and Lew Archer like family secrets.
Folks who want Spenser to be more hardboiled or fans of Lee Child will enjoy this one. I pretty much did.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

New Jersey Noir (Jack Colt) by William Baer

This is a book you should read in as little sittings as possible if you want to follow the story. You see, there's a literary bend in here with not alway linear storytelling, a lot of characters and some surprising twists and turns. It's also written in a style that is most of the time pretty much conventional for a PI story but every now and then gets way more creative. Don't worry though, Jack Colt is also a very cool protagonist, always wearing a black suit and shades and a gun. He's also a descendant of the famous gun maker, ain't that cool?
The whole story which follows Colt's investigation of his uncle's murder and a lot of other surrounding cases can also be read as a love story about New Jersey, full of references to places, people and events there.
The author is a poet as well as a crime witer and that shows in this original and literary PI tale.

Pro Bono: Tales of a Reluctant Detective (C.T. Ferguson) by Tom Fowler

I just love it when a writer manages to find a unique little twist on the PI profession without doing outlandish stuff (you know, making him a zombie or a robot). C.T. Ferguson is unique because he's not a grizzled ex-cop but a hacker and the son of some rich folks. He takes case for free but is paid afterwords by his parents who want him to do good. Cool, huh?
What's also cool is that this book contains three neat self-contained stories featuring this character. It's a nice and quick introduction to this enjoyable character.
Missing persons and murders are investigated by the talented young hacker and resolved in fast-paced little mysteries.
A nice and quick read I recommend.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Darkness Sing Me A Song (Holland Taylor) by David Housewright

I first got to know David Housewright's writing via his Holland Taylor novels. I loved those although I had to admit his Rush McKenzie novel were better and just a bit more original. To my surprise Holland Taylor is back and better than ever. He's a bit more gritty and the writing is a bit tighter and the plot thicker.
In this one Taylor is working for an attorney representing socialite Eleanor Barrington, accused of murdering her son’s fiancee. What follows is an investigation in a family that makes those in a Lew Archer novel look sane and healthy. He also gets involved with fracking in a small town and a bunch of righ-wing crazies who make sure Taylor gets in some action.
A subplot and theme is how Taylor has lost many friends and how sometimes regrets his loner status.
As we rush to the ending there's a very nice amount of dark twist and turns that make this a novel that will stay with you for days after you finish it.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Background Check on Velvet on a Tuesday Afternoon (Eddie Collins) by Clive E. Rosengren

Clive E. Rosengren has written a new novel featuring actor/PI Eddie Collins. I'm a sucker for PI's who have a sidejob (like my own Lenny Parker, the roadie / PI). That's why I had to ask him some questions about it...

Tell us what the novel is about.
Carla Rizzoli and actor/PI Eddie Collins were once cast in the same TV show. He has never forgotten her. Now Carla needs Eddie to find her missing brother, who warned her in a note to “watch her back.” Carla, now an exotic dancer with the stage name of Velvet La Rose, has a role in a B-movie, and Eddie is driven by more than a paycheck to protect her, no matter what the risks.

How long did it take you to write the novel?
I’m not exactly sure, but somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 months.

Did it take a lot of research?
 Not really. I spent 18 years in Hollywood working as an actor, so the inner workings of that town and that business are still fresh in my memory.

 What inspired you to write the story?
 My nephew’s wife, in an offhand bit of conversation, uttered the words of the title. They rattled around in my head until a story gradually started to come together.

What scenes did you enjoy writing the most?
The scenes involving Carla Rizzoli. She’s a new character in the series, and the exploration of her “voice” was fun to flesh out.

Who is your favorite among the characters in the novel?
I would have to say that it’s still Eddie Collins, the PI. He is still revealing parts of himself to me, and remains an intriguing character.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Blind Eye (Marker) by Marcus Pelegrimas

I was expecting a good crime novel featuring some amusing hitmen when I first heard about this book. What I got was something way more original. Sort of a thinking man's Jack Reacher.
Cecil is both a hitman as a ''cleaner'' for the mob. He's also quite a nerd but still good with a knife. He's also known as "Marker'' because a lot of people owe him favors that he cashes in by having them help him out with his missions. He's asked to have another, more brutal hitman, Eddie along with him when he's hired by a mob figure known as the Greek. He has to teach Eddie the special skills he has.
This story blew me away. First of all Cecil/Marker is one of the most unique characters in crime fiction. He might be a geek, good with computers, awkward around girls, he's also very ruthless when he needs to be and not afraid and unable to kill. His talks with the rougher Eddie are very funny and rival any buddy action movie. And on the subject of action... The novel kicks off with one of the best action scenes and gunbattles I've read in quite some time. Very cinematic! In fact, this whole thing screams movie adaption by Tarantino or Michael Mann.
I hope to see Marker return very, very soon...

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Blood Truth (Rick Cahill) by Matt Coyle

Few so traditional PI series are as succesful currently as the Rick Cahill series. Matt Coyle really knows his stuff and manages to tell a great PI story without going out of his way to avoid the familiar tropes. In this latest novel in the series Rick encounters his most personal cases ever. Not only is he asked by his ex-wife to find out if her new husband is cheating on her, he also investigates why his dad was thrown out of the police force.
Trying to deal with his past and upbringing, clashing with the cops and trying to be a friend to a female PI Rick has a lot of challenges thrown on his path.
It's an emotional ride with just the right amount of action and mystery thrown in, written in clear and well-paced prose.