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.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

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

Hired by a young man to find out why his fiancee ran away roadie / PI Lenny Parker finds her quickly and sees her drive away with a big black man who turns out to be a pimp called Larry Thunder. When he arranges to meet her in a motel the pimp shows up as well, armed and dangerous. For earlier episodes click here.

“Take it easy,” Lenny pleaded. “We don’t mean her or you any harm.”

“And what the fuck do you mean then?” Thunder demanded.

“We just wanted to know why she left her fiancĂ©e,” Lenny said.

“Fuck that! You want her to marry him, right? I’m not going to lose my biggest moneymaker. And I don’t like getting fucked with!” Thunder aimed his gun at Lenny.

Jill jumped up, blocking his aim. Hands fending off potential gunfire, even if that would of course have no use. “Don’t, Larry! Don’t shoot! We’ll work something out!”

“Out of the way, bitch!” Thunder screamed, pulling back the hammer.

That’s when Casey kicked him in the balls. He let out a yelp as Mikey grabbed him by the wrist, pulling the gun down. Lenny moved in, and punched him in the face. His eyes rolled up, his knees buckled and down he went. Lenny wasn’t much of a fighter really but his fists are huge and there’s quite some strength behind it from schlepping around all those Marshall amplifiers and stuff like that.

Mikey had secured Thunder’s gun and aimed it at the pimp who was face down on the carpet.

Jill was crying, impressed by the violent little encounter that went on there. Casey was next to her, hand on her shoulder, telling her it was okay.

Thunder groaned and tried to get up. Mikey put the gun against his head and told him, “Easy, dude.”

“Fuck, you hurt my fucking nose,” Thunder complained to Lenny.

The roadie shrugged. “Seemed like the best thing to do at the time.”

“I’ll get you for that,” Thunder said, the hate in his voice almost palpable.

“Don’t forget I’m pointing a gun at you,” Mikey said. “That’s my best pal you’re threatening.”

“Look, I’m sorry I hit you,” Lenny apologized. “That gun just got me understandably nervous. Can’t we work something out together? Some way you let loose of Jill and forget about me punching you?”

“Wouldn’t know how,” Thunder said. Then he sneered at Mikey, “I don’t believe you would really shoot me anyway.”

“Sounds like you’re feeling lucky, punk!” Mikey said and started to put some pressure on the trigger.

“Wait!” Jill said. “Larry, what if I pay you off every year until I managed to approximate what you think I would have earned for you?”

“Where do you think you would get that kind of green?” Thunder wondered.

“By working hard for it. The clean and legal way,” she said.

“Tell Thomas about it,” Lenny said. “I’m sure he will help you pay him off as well.”

“I still don’t know I want to tell him about…” Jill said, voice shaking.

“Trust me,” Lenny said.

“Okay, I will,” she said.

Lenny crossed his arm, a smile on his face. “Great. What about it, Thunder? You get the money, she gets her freedom. How does that sound?”

“Not bad. That and I get to punch you in the nose,” Thunder said.

“What? No!” Jill said.

I shrugged. “Sounds fine.”

“Don’t let him do that,” Mikey says. “Should I shoot him?”

“No, let him take his shot at me,” Lenny said and spread his hands, offering the pimp a free shot at his face.

The shot came and it hurt like hell.