Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Below The Line (Mike Millek) by Steven Jankowski


As many of our favorite hardboiled characters do, Mike Millek has a boat. He's also a limo driver for the stars in Hollywood. When one of  his client, a music producer, ends up dead he also ends up with a lot of cash in his hands. He decides to keep it, which gets him into all sorts of trouble. 

Not so much a PI story as a noirish tale this one is full of people who only think about money and sex. Millek is a nice enough guy, but has some characters flaws when it comes to his morals. Of course Hollywood is a great place to be the background for this kind of tale. The fact the author has inside knowledge of Hollywood and owned a boat himself brings some authenticity to the book, which I enjoyed.

There seemed to be a bit too much of ''tell instead of show'' in some places and it took quite some pages to get the story started. A bit too much time was spend talking about Millek's background in my opinion. Still, there is some atmosphere to the story and enough action and double crossing to make it a good read.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Blood On Canvas (C.T. Ferguson) by Tom Fowler

 The C.T. Ferguson series always reads like you are watching a TV show and this one does more then ever. 

In this one Ferguson tries to find a stolen painting that is exceptionally bad. Why would anyone steal that is one of the biggest mysteries.. What follows is a fast-paced story with Ferguson taking on some drugrunners ending in an action-packed finale.

I love the concept where Ferguson works for his clients without pay, but gets paid after closing the case by his rich parents. This concept, and the pacing of the series always keeps me coming back.

This one might go a bit overboard for me in the NCIS-routine though. Just a bit too much Feds showing up, almost too much action and too much computer wizardry. It just became more of a thriller than the kind of PI mystery I love. I should say though, that the computer stuff is believable (Fowler works in IT) and not the Sci-Fi stuff you see in the Magnum reboot and the NCIS shows. Also, I will admit Tom Fowler writes great action scenes. What I like about how he does that is that he uses minimal description of the fights which really makes you ''see'' the action in your mind without slowing down the scene. There's some nice ass-kicking in this one.

You can pick up this novella as part of this bundle: https://books2read.com/deadsilent/

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Favorite Sons of 2020

 In 2020 I read more horror and biographies than PI fiction. Still, I read enough to have some favorites. So, as every year, here they are.

BEST PI NOVEL: Rolling Thunder (Hammerhead Jed Ounstead) by A.J. Devlin

BEST NEW PI: Arch Dixon (in One Mississippi) by Steve Ulfelder

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

PI Tales Double Feature: Crimson Smile (Rick Malone) by Michael Pool & The Path of Jackals (Fennec Suleiman) by Hunter Eden

 I am a sucker for novellas, having written quite a few myself. I think it is a great idea to combine two novellas in one book. This way you have the page count and price tag to help the book get noticed on Amazon and still can tell strong, shorter stories. What I like about the novella format is you can get right to the story, keep the action going without boring the reader. 

The first tale is a Rick Malone one by Michael Pool. The fact Michael is a real-life PI gives the story a nice authentic feeling. Malone is hired to prove a wealthy woman killed her husband in self-defense. What follows is an interesting tale with a nice surprise ending. Although Malone's character isn't very unique, the plot and investigation was pretty enjoyable.

The second tale features a very original PI. Not only is the story situated in Egypt, but the protagonist, Fennec Suleiman is one of a kind. He's got some kind of brain damage that causes him to see the form of Anubis. This Egyptian mythological character gives him advice during his investigation of a missing young American girl. The story isn't for the faint of heart and veers a bit into horror territory sometimes. Not surprising as the author, Hunter Eden, has been writing in that genre a lot. It gives a nice dark look at our current Youtuber-culture in a chilling and exciting story. This should win a Shamus Award!

Great, fast-paced reads. Looking forward to more in this format.