Monthly Archives: December 2015

A Different Take on St. Nick

StNick_FrontCover-200x300St. Nick
Alan Russell
Thomas & Mercer
Paper $14.99
ebook $3.99

I was looking for a noir novel with a Christmas theme.  Something similar to the book I reviewed last year.  While browsing some of Amazon’s Christmas offerings, I came across St. Nick by Alan Russell.  It wasn’t quite what I was looking for, but I’ll get to that.

The book opens on Thanksgiving afternoon.  Disgraced San Diego cop Nick Pappas has gotten up and is trying to decide what to eat, the bowl of cereal he’s just poured…or his service revolver.

So far, so good.  This is a good opening, and I’m wondering what is going to keep Pappas from offing himself.  The phone rings, and it’s his first partner, who is retired from the force and is in charge of security at a large mall.  There have been some violent muggings at the mall.  Can Nick go undergover? Continue reading

Happy Birthday, Cornell Woolrich

cornell woolrich smokingMystery and suspense author Cornell Woolrich was born on this day (December 4) in 1903.  He died in 1968.

Although he started out in the 1920s writing jazz age stories in the vein of F. Scott Fitzgerald, he soon began writing stories of crime and suspense.

His work is characterized by protagonists who often feel as though they are at the mercy of forces beyond their control.  In much of his work from the 1930s, the Depression was a major theme.  Few writers were capable of ratcheting up the tension like Woolrich.  He never wrote a sequel, so there was never a guarantee that any of the characters would survive until the end of the story, including the protagonist. Continue reading