I was in the mood for a thriller and this one caught my eye. I think it was the blurb about four unreliable narrators that did the trick, although the one about three plots twists didn’t hurt. (No, it wasn’t the nubile young woman silhouetted in the skimpy negligee. But that didn’t hurt.)
One of the blurbs compares the book to the work of Alfred Hitchcock, and I think that’s a fair comparison. Other than the twist on the first page of the second part, which would be darn hard to pull off in a visual medium, this novel has all the elements of a Hitchcock thriller. Continue reading →
I love noir, especially Depression Era noir, and most especially when it’s set in my home state of Texas. So A Thousand Falling Crows was my pint of hooch. Many thanks to the good folks at Seventh Street Books for the review copy. Seventh Street has an outstanding line, and I need to get caught up on a number of their titles.
Sonny Burton is a Texas Ranger in the Panhandle who has been forced to retire after a shootout with Bonnie and Clyde in which he took a bullet in his right arm. Now the arm has been amputated, Sonny is no longer a Ranger, and he’s got to figure out what to do with the rest of his life.
He befriends the janitor, Aldo Hernandez, at the hospital. Aldo’s daughter has stolen her father’s recipe for bathtub gin and run off with a couple of minor league bootleggers, twin brothers. Aldo is afraid she’s going to end up in serious trouble with the law. He’s right. His daughter and the brothers are about to set out on a Bonnie and Clyde crime spree that is only going to escalate. Continue reading →
A few months ago I reviewed the first volume in a new PI series, The Shadow Broker by Trace Conger. At the time it was a finalist for the Shamus Award for best independently published novel. Since then, it has won the award. So congratulations to Mr. Conger for the win. It was well deserved. I’d also like to say thank you to him for the review copy of Scar Tissue.
The story picks up about three months after the end of The Shadow Broker. Finn has moved from his house boat into an apartment in Cincinatti that he shares with his father. He still spends weekends with his daughter. He also spends a considerable amount of time with his new girlfriend, who just happens to be the nurse at his daughter’s school. His ex-wife is still living with the doctor she left him for, but that’s about to change. It seems the doctor has a little secret. Continue reading →
The Last Kind Words
trade paper $15.00
ebook $4.99 KindleNook
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 →
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 →