Blog Archives

The Missing and the Dead by Stuart MacBride — Review

August 12, 2016
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All the minutiae of policing on a local level permeate the almost 600 pages of this Logan McRae crime novel. Bumped down to duty sergeant from acting DI, he now supervises the operations of B Division from Banff in northeastern Scotland, not only chasing drug dealers, shoplifters, vandals and disqualified drivers, but facing the...

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Pimp by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr — Review

June 18, 2016
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After a long lull, Ken Bruen and Jason Starr turned their attention to another Max Fisher novel, and it was well worth the wait. “Pimp” is not only a fantastic noir creation, but a funny, satirical put-on, filled with some of the most creative writing this reader has seen in a long time. Before...

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Gun Street Girl by Adrian McKinty — Review

February 18, 2016
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Detective Sean Duffy is a well-established character, with the Troubles in Northern Ireland the background for his efforts. This novel takes place in 1985 and ostensibly begins as a murder inquiry and evolves into a wider case involving gun smuggling. Duffy, a Catholic in Protestant Belfast, is akin to all the iconic protagonists much...

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Saints of New York by R.J. Ellory — review

January 7, 2016
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This lengthy novel could easily have been split into two or three books: a police procedural, a psychological study of a troubled man, or even a look into the lives of a troubled family or two. Instead, it wraps up all three themes in a single volume with Frank Parrish, a gifted but undisciplined...

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The Hot Countries by Timothy Hallinan — review

October 4, 2015
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Bringing the story begun in two previous novels and concluding what the author terms an “informal” trilogy, “The Hot Countries” conveys more information about Poke Rafferty and his way of life in Bangkok than in the previous six books in the series. At the same time, a look into his friends and attitudes is...

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Wayfaring Stranger by James Lee Burke — review

September 13, 2015
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At the heart of this superb novel is a chronicle covering one man’s life from boyhood in the 1930’s to his service during World War II and the years following when he started an oil pipeline business. During each phase of his life he encounters what is the essence of the novel, the evil...

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Blood on Snow By Jo Nesbo — review

September 13, 2015
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This novel is offered as a standalone by the author of the popular Harry Hole series, creating a new, very different type of protagonist, a contract killer with a convoluted personality full of paradoxes. His name is Olav Johansen and he is a solitary person who acts as a fixer, getting rid of persons...

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Spider Woman’s Daughter by Anne Hillerman — review

August 20, 2015
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Until now, only Felix Francis has prominently authored novels in a series created by his father. Other series, like those of Robert B. Parker, have been authored by writers unrelated to the deceased creators. However, Anne Hillerman now joins Felix in the distinguished company of an offspring continuing a popular series, undertaking to continue...

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Windigo Island by William Kent Krueger — review

June 27, 2015
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When the body of a 14-year-old Ojibwe girl washes up on Windigo Island, a rocky outcrop on Lake Superior, Cork O’Connor and his daughter, Jenny, embark on a crusade to rescue another teenager, Mariah, who had run away from home with her, ending up as prostitutes in Duluth, pimped by a man known, strangely...

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The Hollow Girl by Reed Farrel Coleman — review

June 22, 2015
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The final novel in the Moe Prager series demonstrates again why these books and their protagonist are so popular with readers. Moe, a dyed-in-the-wool Brooklynite, ex-cop, PI and homespun philosopher who has beat stomach cancer, undertakes his final caper when Nancy Lustig, a figure from his very first case, retains him to find her...

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The Farm by Tom Rob Smith — review

May 21, 2015
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This novel has many of the aspects of banality, but it is anything but trite. In fact, it bristles with originality. The plot centers on Daniel, the homosexual son of a couple who worked hard all their lives only to end up with almost nothing because of investments destroyed during poor economic times. They...

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Killer by Jonathan Kellerman — review

May 20, 2015
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After many years of training and working in hospitals, followed by establishing his private practice, Dr. Alex Delaware was contacted by a family court judge with a new approach: He was asked to undertake work ascertaining the facts surrounding divorce proceedings, evaluating the effects on children. Specifically a particularly complicated case. Alex was hesitant...

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Moving Target by J.A. Jance — review

May 18, 2015
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The usual setting of an Arizona mystery is not enough to keep Ali Reynolds and B. Simpson busy, so in this entry in the long-standing series, they have to solve two murder/mysteries on both sides of the Atlantic. And on this side, it isn’t even in Arizona, but in Texas, where a brainy young...

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Black Horizon by James Grippando — review

March 23, 2015
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Jack Swyteck, the book’s protagonist, is an accomplished defense lawyer, demonstrated in numerous previous novels in the series. However, in this entry his role as an attorney, bringing suit for wrongful death for the young widow of a man apparently killed when an offshore rig exploded, is merely peripheral to a wide-ranging thriller and...

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Blind Spot by Reed Farrel Coleman — review

March 3, 2015
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When an author is asked to write a novel continuing a series originated by someone else, much less a master like Robert B. Parker, fundamental questions must be decided: try to imitate the style and writing, how to maintain the integrity of the characters, and the like. Alternatively, Reed Farrel Coleman, a successful author...

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Black Horizon By James Grippando – review

October 14, 2014
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Jack Swyteck, the book’s protagonist, is an accomplished defense lawyer, demonstrated in numerous previous novels in the series. However, in this entry his role as an attorney, bringing suit for wrongful death for the young widow of a man apparently killed when an offshore rig exploded, is merely peripheral to a wide-ranging thriller and...

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The Absent One by Jussi Adler-Olsen – review

January 23, 2013
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This follow-up novel in the Department Q series, in which Carl Morck made his debut in “The Keeper of Lost Causes,” is quite different from the introductory book. It is more complicated, while the character of the protagonist and his assistant, Assad, essentially remain the same. And to spice things up, another “assistant” is...

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The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen – review

January 21, 2013
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There are all kinds of Scandinavian protagonists, but Carl Morsck, the irascible Danish detective introduced to readers in this novel, is up there with the best of them. An iconoclast, the homicide chief doesn’t know what to do with him, as Carl insults and ignores his fellow police officers in Copenhagen. And when in...

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Standing in Another Man’s Grave by Ian Rankin – review

January 21, 2013
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Old soldiers may never die and John Rebus hopefully will never fade away. After a couple of years in retirement he’s back as a civilian consultant on cold cases (which seems to be becoming a trend in resurrecting protagonists in crime fiction). In the course of this work he is informed by the mother...

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The Cut by George Pelecanos – review

June 9, 2012
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In the first novel of a new series, we are introduced to Spero Lucas, a just-returned Iraq war veteran, working as an investigator for a Washington, D.C. defense attorney with a sideline of recovering “lost” property fort a 40 per cent cut of its value. In the caper he undertakes in this initial foray,...

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