Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Prison Guard's Son (Finn Harding) by Trace Conger

Unlicensed PI Finn Harding is back in his third novel. He is hired by the father of a kid who was brutally murdered by two other kids years ago. The father wants Harding to track down the two killers who, after a short stay in a juvenile detention facility went into a WITSEC program and as such very hard to find. He promises Harding he will make sure justice will be done when he knows their locations.
What follows is a fascinating journey into databases, PI tricks and some very creative investigating. It's just amazing how Trace describes this, he'd be one hell of a PI himself.
Of course, there's some brutal action as well, this is not a police procedural but a PI novel.
I enjoyed the earlier novels in this series but I liked this one the best because the writing is much tighter. There's just a better rhythm to it, less padding and better pacing. I just couldn't put it down.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Rough Trade (Boo Malone) by Todd Robinson

We had to wait a very long 4 years for the follow-up to Todd Robinson's Hard Bounce (my ) but here it is and it is worth the wait.
Our favorite bouncers Boo and Junior are back, playing white knight for a friend of a friend who is being stalked. When the stalker is killed and Junior is the suspect the trouble really starts. It takes the help of their friends Ollie and psycho sidekick Twitch to survive this adventure.
There's brutal fights, some sex and a lot of bad jokes. All the good stuff dudes like. What there also is, however, and this is what makes this such a wonderful book, is a hard look at how macho males perceive the gay community as Boo finds out his world is way different from what he thought.
As fun as it is moving this is another example how you can write a very different and original modern day PI novel without making it about zombies.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Zero Tolerance Game (Frank Boff) by Nathan Gottlieb

I have been following the Frank Boff series from the start, loving the unique PI and seeing the writer grow. So, a new one always goes on top of the review pile.
In this latest novel, Boff sees a car of a client explode very near him, prompting him to investigate. Also, an old friend who just came out of jail asks Boff to find the man who was really behind the killlings he was imprisoned for.
Supercool, alcoholic tough ex-cop Emily Lynch is asked to help him out and soon they are battling with wits and fists against snipers, mobsters and more.
As usual in the Boff stories the main plot is satisfying enough, but what makes it stand out is the funny banter between ultra-original PI Boff and the other characters. Add the incredible but vulnerable superwoman Lynch to the mix and it gets even better.
Another entertaining entry in this series with an action-packed ending that will remind you of Lee Child.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Dread Line (Liam Mulligan) by Bruce DeSilva

Liam Mulligan started out as a fairly standard hardboiled reporter, but since last novel he's a PI AND a bookmaker. That earns the guy some extra cool points. Add the banter and pretty hardboiled attitude he and his pals share and this is one interesting book in the series. It takes the series in a new direction that makes sure Mulligan isn't just an imitation of those who came before but an unique character all his own.
There's a lot of cases he's taking on in this one too. There's a serial-killer cat, some creep torturing animals, and a background check on a football player.
Some moments are cute, like the scenes with his new dog. Some moments are harsh, like when he encounters the tortured animals or faces some scumballs with extreme prejudice. It's a mix that makes this novel a joy to read. It never gets too bleak or too Spenser-cute.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Free Fiction: Runaway Bride Part Five (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. For earlier episodes click here.


Lenny managed to work out a plan with Casey. She had nothing to do that morning and offered her help. Like most of the others in the band she liked the excitement of helping a real PI with his work. Since Lenny was the closest to one they knew they chipped in every now and then when Lenny needed some help on a case.
Lenny had parked his car across the street from Larry Thunder’s place, a bungalow in the heart of Northpark. The neighborhood didn’t look like it had a lot pimps living there. Obviously, Larry was a very successful pimp.
Lenny was watching the bungalow from the car, using the powerful zoom lens of his Nikon. Casey was sitting next to him, eating a bag of Cheetos.
“I can see Larry is in there. Looks like he’s playing around with an iPad. No sign of Jill but it’s hard to look inside,” Lenny said.
“That’s where I come in, right?” Casey said.
“I’m not really sure if it’s such a good idea you suggested. Thunder is a really nasty guy, you know. And he’s got a history of hurting women. Also, I’m not sure he’s going to believe you in the role you want to play.”
“Trust me. I can take of myself and I’m probably a better actress than you think. For one, I’ve been pretending to be straight for the first sixteen years of my life with big success.”
She wiped her Cheetos-stained hands on my jeans and left the car. Lenny watched her walk over to the door to Thunder’s bungalow and ring the bell. It took a few minutes before the door was opened and Thunder appeared in the doorway. He was shirtless, his muscles impressive. A gold chain was around his neck. Lenny watched Casey do her act, playing the part of a beauty product saleswoman, asking for the lady of the house.
Thunder just shook his head. Casey brushed a hand through her hair and change her posture, sticking out her boobs, her shirt lifting just high enough to show her belly button. The full charm offensive. Lenny worried Thunder might want to put Casey into his stable so to speak.
After a brief conversation the door was shut and Casey was left alone on the doorstep. She walked back to the car and got in.
“Maybe you should have thought about bringing some samples or something to sell the act a little bit better,” Lenny suggested.
“Fuck that. He told me there were no ladies in his home. When I flirted with him a bit, suggesting he’d offer me a drink he didn’t blink. Guess he’s not straight either,” Casey said.
“I think he’s just used to seeing a lot of hot women, being a pimp and all. Don’t take it personally.”
Casey leaned back. “Right. So now what do we do?”
“I guess we wait. He has to leave the house sometime. We try and find Jill then,” Lenny said.
“Cool. Put on some Death Angel then,” Casey said.
“Sure,” Lenny said and fiddled with the buttons of the car stereo, looking for the right MP3.
“Lenny?” Casey said.
“Yeah, just a minute,” Lenny said, continuing to search through the playlist of his stereo.
“Yeah, yeah. Hang on.”
“LENNY!” Casey yelled.
“What?” Lenny said, slightly annoyed and looked up at Casey. Casey was pointing out the window.
Lenny looked out of the window and say Larry Thunder walk over, a big gun in his hand. Lenny knew it was a Desert Eagle from one of his favorite PS4 games.
“Shit! Shit!” Lenny said.
Thunder pointed the gun at the car and yelled at them. Lenny was pretty sure it was something like, “Get the fuck outta here.”
Maybe it wasn’t the smartest move to park in front of Thunder’s home in the same car he used when he first encountered the pimp. Lenny thought it best to follow Thunder’s advice and indeed got the fuck out of there, driving away with rubber burning.