Friday, August 28, 2020

The Desecration of All Saints (August McKenzie) by Alan Lee


When I started reading this one I wasn't sure I was going to like it. I'd already read the first in this series which I'd enjoyed but couldn't remember the "voice'' being so influenced by Crais and Parker. You know, the whole witty, self-depreciating one. As the story progresses the voice becomes more its own though.

What is left is a fairly solid detective story where PI Mackenzie August is hired to prove a clergyman is not the gay sex fiend he is being accused of being. During his investigation August has to switch sides and gets involved with a kidnap case. There is a nice deeper layer about the nature of evil and the position of religion and the church in modern day society.

Some things that made the read extra enjoyable were the talks August has with his adopted baby Kix and with his sidekick, US Marshal Manny. As an interesting subplot we have August's relationship with his big love Ronnie.

Billed as a standalone somewhat outside the series (taking place between the first two novels I understand) this is a nice pretty quick read. Alan Lee won me over to check out more in this series.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The Wanted (Elvis Cole) by Robert Crais


Of course Elvis Cole and Joe Pike rule. They may be updated versions of Spenser and Hawk but I think they are fun characters/ This particular novel isn't the best one in the series though.

Elvis is hired by the mother of a teenage kid who seems to have some way too expensive stuff. It is sort of like my own 2013 story featuring Lenny Parker, but besides the concept it is a very different story. 

Anyway, the kid turns out to be in a new life of petty crime but has gotten his hands on something two thugs are after. Cole enlists the aid of his sidekick Joe Pike of course and sets out to find the kid (and his girlfriend) before the bad guys find them.

The bad guys are pretty interesting. They start out as basic everyday thugs but get a backstory which makes them less standard evil. 

There's some fun banter between Cole and a hacker kid. Besides that there is some emotional scenes concerning Cole's old love Lucy and her kid, Ben.

Crais knows how to write a fast-paced story and I like how he is economical in his prose. The story itself is a bit thin for the number of pages it is. I would have fit it in a novella. 

Friday, August 14, 2020

Free Fiction: The Albino Assassin (A Lenny Parker serial) by Jochem Vandersteen

 Lenny Parker, PI / roadie / metalhead is back in a new serial. He’s my slightly more humorous version of the PI. He doesn’t exactly know what he’s doing and sure as hell isn’t the martial arts master my Noah Milano is.

For more Lenny Parker stories look here.




Lenny heard the bullet dig into one of the wooden crates in front of him. He’d taken cover behind a stack of those crates a few minutes ago. The warehouse was full of them. He knew they wouldn’t be much of a cover though and one of the bullets might dig through the wood and into his flesh. He didn’t really know what to do besides taking cover though. His cases usually didn’t often require carrying a gun, so he had nothing to shoot back with. The assassin taking shots at him was a professional. As tall as she was dangerous. So odds were he was going to die right there, in a warehouse in San Diego by a 9mm fired by a sexy albino assassin. He couldn’t believe how he’d ended up here….



Casey was the drummer in Lenny’s thrash/death band The Necromantic Poets. The day she asked for his help as a private investigator she wore her hair blue. It might be pink the next day and he wasn’t sure but thought it had been purple a week ago. They were having a drink in their favorite metal bar, The San Diego Batcave. He was on his second Corona, she was drinking vodka. There was some Lamb Of God coming from the speakers.

“I’m still sorry the original drummer left the band. Chris was awesome,” Casey said.

“I was never a big fan of their sound. Although I like what Morton does solo,” Lenny shared.

“Too soft for me,” Casey said. “Lenny, buddy… I didn’t just ask you over here for just a drink today. I kind of need your professional services.”

Lenny held up his Corona. “I already was suspicious you paid for my beer.”

“You calling me cheap?”

“I’m not calling you anything. Just showing my professional investigation skills.”

“Yeah, I’ll need those. I need you to find a missing person for me.”

“That’s part of my gig, sure.”

“I’ve been dating this really hot chick, Jenna, for a few weeks now. We were supposed to go to a Dollyrots show two days ago but she never showed up. Doesn’t answer my phone, doesn’t open the door…”

“I don’t want to bruise your fragile ego, but couldn’t it be possible she’s just not into you anymore?”

“Fuck you, Lenny. Only fucking thing fragile about me is my clit. I’ve never ever been dumped after I went down on a girl anyways. Chicks don’t leave me, I leave them. That’s just not an option, dude.”

Lenny shook his head. “Shit, I wish I had your confidence. I wouldn’t have to spend my night Netflixing and chilling with just my right hand then.”

“Aww, fer chrissake… I won’t be able to burn that image out of my head now.”

“Drink some more of that vodka, that might help. But what, you want to hire me to track her down?”


“That’s 400 a day plus expenses.”

Casey almost choked on her drink. “Four-what?”

“I’m a professional investigator, remember.”

“Fuck you once again, you fat slob! You’ve worked for Black Sabbath records, bottles of Blackened whiskey and Amazon discount codes. What are you charging me full price for?”

“I remember having to pay full price for that time I visited that Ravenscroft show where you were asked to fill in on drums for.”

“I wasn’t allowed to put anyone on the guest list, dude. I was just a hired gun. Come on, how many times have I helped you out with your cases for free? You owe me some.”

Lenny sighed. He had to admit she’d been helpful a couple of times. And although she could give him shit every now and then she was probably one of his best friends. “All right. Quit your whining. You just hired a private eye. It will cost you a buck a day.”

“Sixty cents.”

Lenny rolled his eyes. “Sheesh, fine… And another Corona. I think they’re going to play some Vader next.”


Monday, August 10, 2020

Chasing Shadows (Drew Patrick) by Jason Richards

 Faithful readers of my blog know I don't mind a book with a lot of the standard tropes. After all, the tropes are what make the PI genre great. This one might have done well to add something new to the mix though.

Ex-FBI agent Drew Patrick is hired to find out if indeed a woman's daughter is being led down the wrong path by a young man. It turns out she is right which has him up against some thugs. There's  a sidekick in the Joe Pike / Hawk mode who shows up all of a sudden. The story and the thugs reminded me of The Wanted by Robert Crais which I will soon review. The writing style is very much in the Robert B. Parker / Robert Crais style as well. Perhaps a bit too much.

It sounds interesting Patrick's girlfriend is a PI herself but she just shows up as a Susan clone to Patrick's Spenser.

I'm afraid this one just didn't do it for me. The writing was fast-paced enough to finish, but the action, plot, mystery or characters didn't stand out.