Monday, May 25, 2020

Lost Tomorrows (Rick Cahill) by Matt Coyle

I have read all books in this series and the ride over to this one has been great. The series started with PI Rick Cahill being suspected of killing his wife and him quitting the force as a result. Now he gets the chance to avenge her death.
When his former partner gets killed in a hit and run he's hired by her sister who suspects her death might not have been an accident. This has him investigating his own wife's death again and forces him to discover if he is willing to act as judge, jury and executioner.
As always Matt Coyle writes a well-paced crime novel that has room for mystery, action but also good characterization. Rick Cahill is a true anti-hero, always having to choose between right and wrong like my own Noah Milano. Always an inspiring read.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

The King of Tides (Lancaster and Daniels) by James Swain

James Swain is back with a new series. In this one ex-Navy Seal Jon Lancaster, somewhat a celebrity after shooting a kidnapper is hired to protect a young woman. His price? A new fridge. You see, he doesn't work for money but goods. Another quirk: he looks fat but is as tough as any action hero. Those are the most unusual traits for the hero. Note he is fleshed out well enough to never seem too one-dimensional.
The girl he needs to protect has an alarming number of stalkers for a regular girl. The reason behind this is quite surprising and leads Lancaster to team-up with FBI agent Beth Daniels who has a personal reason for doing her work. You see, Beth was abducted when she was young.
What follows is an exciting search for the reasons the girl is being stalked which takes Lancaster and Daniels to some uncomfortable areas.
There's huge load of twists and turns in this one, which reminded me a bit of a Harlan Coben novel. I figure this one to be a bit more of a thriller than a standard hardboiled PI novel. I must say that was part of the fun. It's really a page-turner. Sometimes I had to struggle to suspend my disbelief, but I admit I read this one in just a few days.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Free Fiction: Doggone Part Eight (A Lenny Parker serial) by Jochem Vandersteen

Lenny Parker, PI / roadie / metalhead is back in a new serial, blending a bit of comedy with a hardboiled detective story, one feet into metal culture. This time he is hired to track down a missing dog. Read the other parts here.

Lenny parked his truck near Market Street and killed the lights. Casey was with him, sitting next to him.
“You take the wheel. When I come out you get us away from here as quick as you can,” Lenny told her.
“Expecting trouble?” she asked him.
“I’m going undercover at an illegal dogfighting ring. If shit goes sour it will probably get real sour,” Lenny explained.
Casey nodded. “Sounds logical. Be careful, Len.”
“Sure,” he said and left the car.
The street was quiet, but a little further ahead he noticed a high number of parked cars. That had to be near the warehouse. He walked closer. Indeed, the cars were parked near a big abandoned warehouse. The windows of the building were boarded shut, but there was some light coming through the wood. Two big dudes were in front of the warehouse’s door, arms folded, all attitude.
“Hey,” Lenny said by way of introduction.
One of the big guys, a muscular black man with a sleeveless green shirt and camo-pants gave him a dirty look. “Move along.”
“Scooby Doo,” Lenny said, feeling a bit silly as he did.
The other guy at the door, a Caucasian dude with a hipster beard and a shitload of tattoos frowned. “I haven’t seen you before.”
“I’m new. But eager to spend some money,” Lenny said.
The black man shrugged. “He’s got the password right.”
“I guess,” the hipster said. “Arms up, spread your legs.”
“Huh?” Lenny went, but before he could say anything else the hipster was frisking him.
“Clean,” the hipster said.
The black guy opened the door. Lenny walked into the warehouse, saying thanks.
There had to be at least forty guys in the warehouse. They were seated on wooden benches that surrounded an impromptu fighting ring created by wooden gates. Next to the gates stood half a dozen cages. In the cages Lenny spotted ferocious looking dogs. He couldn’t be sure if Ozzy was in there too, though.
A Hispanic man with slicked back hair and a long leather jacket approached him. “You’re new, right?”
“Yeah,” Lenny admitted.
“I’m Luis. I will take your bets,” the Hispanic man said.
“Okay. I’m Lenny. Cool.”
“Already have any favorites?” Luis asked.
“Not yet. But I usually root for the underdog.”
Luis laughed. “Quite funny! But seriously, going for the less popular fighter will get you the most profit in case it wins.”
“All right, twenty bucks on the least popular then,” Lenny said.
“Minimum bet is a hundred,” Luis told the roadie.
Lenny sighed. This case was costing him a lot. He forked it over, though.  “Okay, here’s a hundred.”
“Great. A hundred on Cujo.”
Cujo? Seriously? Originality wasn’t these guys strong suit, Lenny thought. He walked over to the cages.
“What are you doing?” Luis asked.
“Getting a better look at the dogs,” Lenny told him. “I want to know what I just bet on.”
“Take a seat please. We don’t want you to get too close to the fighters. For your own safety. And of course, we don’t want anyone sabotaging the fight, you understand?”
“Sounds logical,” Lenny agreed and went over to the benches. The bench slightly creaked under his weight. Obviously, profits didn’t go into the furniture.
Lenny was sitting next to a guy in his fifties with a moustache and a scarred eyebrow. The man gave Lenny a look. He refrained from asking if he was new, but Lenny had no doubt that was going through the man’s mind. Obviously this case catered to a regular audience.
From his bench Lenny tried to get a better look the dogs in the cages, but the light lower than at a black metal concert, obscuring the animals from his view.
Luis walked into the gates and turned out to be the ringmaster of the evening. “Ladies and gentlemen, get ready for the first match!”
There was some excited applause. Lenny tried to muster up some as well, imagining he was watching Exhumed or Testament on stage.
“In one corner we have Cujo, in the other we have the great Cerberus!” Luis announced.
Two guys in coveralls opened two cages and led the dogs at their collars into the ring. The dogs wore muzzles. The men in coveralls removed the muzzles and quickly got behind the gates. To Lenny’s horror the dogs rapidly went at each other’s throats. Ozzy wasn’t one of the dogs but Lenny felt compelled to break it up. He figured Luis and his men wouldn’t exactly be too happy about that, not to mention the forty spectators.
Lenny started to wonder what exactly he was going to do when in fact he found Ozzy here. He’d come in there to find that dog. But it didn’t look like he had any way to get the dog out of there without losing his own life. Maybe he should have thought this over better.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Farewell, Las Vegas (Joe Roddick) by Grant Bywaters.

Grant Bywaters, author of The Red Storm (winner of PWA Best First PI Novel contest in 2015) is back. In this novel (a standalone?) we meet Las Vegas PI Joe Roddick who takes on a case for a casino. We meet his daughter who is quite good with computers. There's also a ruthless hitman called Scorpion. As the the story unfolds it moves in some surprising directions. While at first I figured this would be a story about Joe with a minor role for his daughter to give him some more background and emotional baggage as I have seen in many other PI stories Bywaters manages to throw me for a loop. It's hard to say who is the main protagonist of the book in the end; Joe, his daughter or Scorpion.
All in all an enjoyable read. Especially the action of Scorpion and the fact Roddick's daughter might be a cool role for a younger popular actress made me think this could be a good Netflix movie or something.