Monthly Archives: October 2013

A Few Kind Words About the Last Kind Words

the last kind words 2The Last Kind Words
Tom Piccirilli
trade paper $15.00
ebook $4.99 Kindle Nook

My reviewing schedule is in complete disarray, and it’s Tom Piccirilli’s fault. You see, I’d intended to start this novel sometime next month. But then I found myself with a brief bit of unexpected time on my hands. I had my phone with me, which of course has multiple ereader apps on it. I thought I’d check out the first few paragraphs.

Bad idea. Or rather, good idea. I was hooked. That science fiction novel, the one that came out last week that I’d intended to have the review up by release day? I’ve only read two chapters. The ARC of the forthcoming horror anthology with the really impressive lineup? Haven’t gotten to it. The collection for the next installment of Six Weeks of Scares I’m doing over at Amazing Stories? Still need to finish it. The post for Dispatches From the Lone Star Front about Teddy Roosevelt recruiting the Rough Riders at the Menger Bar in San Antonio? Haven’t started on it yet.

Yes, The Last Kind Words is that good. It’s a high water mark in modern crime writing. The story opens with Terry (short for Terrier) Rand visiting his older brother Collie on death row. About five years ago, Collie went on a killing spree one night, then turned himself in. No one has ever learned why, and Collie, thoroughly unrepentant, isn’t giving any explanations. Continue reading

Step Up to the Bar and Have a Shot of Sugar Pop Moon

Sugar Pop MoonSugar Pop Moon
John Florio
Seventh Street Books
Trade paper $15.95
Ebook $11.99  Kindle Nook

Sugar Pop Moon is a high class moonshine made from beets. It’s also a fine novel. Take your pick. Either way, it will be top notch.

Most of the story is set in New York during Christmas of 1930. (There’s a secondary plot taking place in 1906 filling in part of the backstory.) The country is sinking deeper into the Great Depression. Jersey Leo, AKA Snowball, is a young albino, the illegitimate son of a black boxer and a white gangster’s daughter. To make ends meet, he runs a speakeasy owned by Jimmy McCullough, a major gangster and bootlegger. Jimmy’s laying low after a raid when Snowball, in a bind because the regular supplier won’t deal with him directly, buys a shipment of what is supposed to be a high end moonshine known as sugar pop moon from a Philadelphia gangster. Only what he gets isn’t high end. It’s swill.

Now Snowball has to track down the gangster and get Jimmy’s money back before Jimmy returns. Easier said than done, when there are powerful people who don’t want Snowball to find the man he’s looking for. Throw in some members of a crazed voodoo sect who collect the bones of albinos, and Snowball will soon have his hands full. Continue reading