Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Short Review: GUILT BY ASSOCIATION by Marcia Clark

Guilt by Association (Rachel Knight #1)From the back of the book
Los Angeles D.A. Rachel Knight is a tenacious, wise-cracking, and fiercely intelligent prosecutor in the city's most elite division. When her colleague, Jake, is found dead at a grisly crime scene, Rachel is shaken to the core. She must take over his toughest case: the assault of a young woman from a prominent family.

But she can't stop herself from digging deeper into Jake's death, a decision that exposes a world of power and violence and will have her risking her reputation and her life to find the truth.

My Review
There are two core plot threads to GUILT BY ASSOCIATION; the murder of DA Rachel Knight's colleague Jake - initially staged as a murder-suicide, and the rape of a young woman who's doctor father has strong political ties. Jake was involved in the rape case which was reassigned to Knight following his death which links the two threads.  

Whilst not being a bad book, I found GUILT BY ASSOCIATION to be an average read. I didn't connect with any of the characters and found the mundane day-to-day actives depicting Rachel getting dressed, eating lunch/dinner, and drinking at the hotel bar distracting and little more than filler content. The street slang dialogue was also a cause for annoyance with a 'BG' (baby gangster) heavily involved in proceedings. As for the crime aspect, the cases themselves resolved all too convenient with the ending feeling rushed despite some enjoyable passages. Not one I'd recommend but I can see how it would be appealing to more casual readers. 

Verdict - there are better mainstream crime reads out there. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey. In order to get some consistency to my posting I thought I’d jump on board this great idea. As a self-proclaimed bookaholic, I love talking about my books and finding out what others are reading.

I recovered my reading mojo last week and was able to finish three books - the first time that has happened in the past couple of months! Click on the links below to read the reviews:

DESOLATION GAME by Greg McLean

THIEVES FALL OUT by Gore Vidal

ALL THE LITTLE PIECES by Jillian Hoffman

This week I'm reading GUILT BY ASSOCIATION by Marcia Clark 

Guilt by Association (Rachel Knight #1)

Los Angeles D.A. Rachel Knight is a tenacious, wise-cracking, and fiercely intelligent prosecutor in the city's most elite division. When her colleague, Jake, is found dead at a grisly crime scene, Rachel is shaken to the core. She must take over his toughest case: the assault of a young woman from a prominent family.

But she can't stop herself from digging deeper into Jake's death, a decision that exposes a world of power and violence and will have her risking her reputation--and her life--to find the truth.

With her tremendous expertise in the nuances of L.A. courts and crime, and with a vibrant ensemble cast of characters, Marcia Clark combines intimate detail, riotous humor, and visceral action in a debut thriller that marks the launch of a major new figure on the crime-writing scene. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Review: ALL THE LITTLE PIECES by Jillian Hoffman

All the Little PiecesVery rarely do I read mainstream crime fiction that I simply don't want to end. ALL THE LITTLE PIECES by Jillian Hoffman is one such rarity. 

Faith Saunders is a mother and wife, trying to put the shattered pieces of her life together following her husbands infidelity and the troubles the couple is having with their young daughter Maggie - both at school and home, when all sense of normalcy is destroyed by a chance encounter with a pair of serial killers and a victim who managed to escape. 

Escape, only to find a locked car door and a reluctant Faith determined to keep the outside night terrors at bay from her semi drunk self and sleeping daughter in the back seat of their parked car. The middle of the night small town stop off to rest her head following a heated argument with her sister wasn't meant to be the thing that would threaten everything she'd ever known - that was meant to be done with, the cheating husband outed, the broken marriage sticky-tapped together. This one event, the pleading in the young woman's eyes, the harshness of the man who snatched her away - the fear of repercussion and endangerment too much to bare. Two weeks later her actions are out in the open for all to judge, and for the killers to remedy their mistake of letting a witness live. Of letting two witnesses live.

ALL THE LITTLE PIECES switches gears from family drama to police procedural to family drama and back again without missing a beat. The murder police and the Saunders family don't battle for page time with each character type complimentary to the plot. This book has a real human feel to it which adds layers of depth and emotional characterization that accurately portrays three sides of a criminal investigation; the suspected, the witness, and the law, not to mention victims and public backlash Faith experiences. The story just feels well-rounded and real. 

I couldn't help but think ALL THE LITTLE PIECES is beginning of a new series - fingers crossed on that one. 

ALL THE LITTLE PIECES was published this month by Harper Collins and is a book I strongly recommend for readers of crime fiction and legal dramas. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Review: THIEVES FALL OUT by Gore Vidal

Thieves Fall OutThink adventure, grifters, and pulp amid a backdrop of post WWII era Egypt where chivalry and romance abound influenced by thievery and black-market prosperity and you'll get a somewhat cracked and faded picture of the atmospheric piece of fiction author Gore Vidal has craftily created. 

THIEVES FALL OUT follows Peter, a former army lieutenant who tried his hand at oil prospecting in America before heading to Egypt where he's approached by a duo to smuggle goods out of the country. Always on the take and out for easy money, Peter quickly agrees and in no time finds himself thrust into a peculiar and highly mysterious arrangement between an odd couple, an entertainer, and a country in turmoil. 

I had a great time reading THIEVES FALL OUT. Not only did the book cater to my pulpier reading tastes but the story was in constant motion; the character circle's typecast ever changing with each turn of chapter and proceeding event. Not knowing who the good guys are from the bad (though they're all bad to some extent) makes for interesting reading. 

THIEVES FALL OUT is another quality read from Hardcase Crime. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Review: DESOLATION GAME by Greg McLean

Desolation Game (Wolf Creek, #2)The second of the Wolf Creek prequel novels continues to expand upon the murderous figure that is Mick Taylor and his blood letting escapades in the Australian outback. DESOLATION GAME takes readers to Mick's time in 'Nam as he hones his kill skills, steadily developing an unrivaled prowess in the art of murder which provide the foundation for the 1968-era blood bath DESOLATION GAME focuses on. 

When a tour group fall in Micks's sights, there was never going to be a happy ending. Surrounded by the nothingness of the harsh outback and reliant upon the kindness of strangers, the tour group find themselves at Mick's mercy when their van succumbs to mechanical problems. From there author Greg McLean crafts a deadly game of cat and mouse as, one by one, the group meet their death. 

DESOLATION GAME is not for the faint of heart. It's bloody, violent and blends elements of R-rated thriller with survival horror. Mick is perhaps the most terrifying bad guy I've read or seen on the silver screen. His laid-back Aussie accent and unassuming facade make him that much more menacing, especially when he's lost to the voices inside his head and dancing around wearing human hide. 

I'm not sure if there are plans for anymore prequel novels continuing the Wolf Creek story but I do have my fingers crossed for more. There is a whole world of pain out there waiting for Mick to explore and exploit. Highly recommended. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey. In order to get some consistency to my posting I thought I’d jump on board this great idea. As a self-proclaimed bookaholic, I love talking about my books and finding out what others are reading.

Below is my read for the week: 


Desolation Game (Wolf Creek, #2)DESOLATION GAME by Greg McLean (the second Wolf Creek prequel novel)

Mick's learning, and his schoolroom is a war

When sharpshooter and killer Mick Taylor searches for a place to keep a low profile, he finds somewhere where his peculiar talents are appreciated: a war. And in Vietnam, an out-of-control sergeant takes the amateur murderer and turns him into a pro.

Back home, Mick makes use of the sick lessons the army taught him, when hapless tour operators bring a Kombi-load of sightseers out his way into the Western Australian desert. Two suspicious flat tyres deliver an engaged Japanese couple, a father and son, a US army vet and his girlfriend, and a couple of cute girls to Mick's lair. Middle of nowhere, population one. The group finds themselves in hell, as Mick makes sure their once-in-a-lifetime tour stays that way. And though one of the drivers escapes and goes for help, Mick sees no reason to stop the killing spree.

In the second Wolf Creek prequel novel, the cult film's writer/director Greg Mclean and horror writer Brett McBean get to the heart of Australian horror's most terrifying psycho killer. Is Mick Taylor possessed by some dark power in the landscape itself? Something ancient? Does the Red Centre demand blood?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Short Review: NOBODY MOVE by Denis Johnson

Nobody Move
From the back of the book
Jimmy Luntz owes money to a man called Juarez. Trouble is, Juarez isn't the most patient of men. And when he gets bored of waiting, he sends someone round to collect. Luntz doesn't actually plan to shoot the guy, but the way he sees it, it's shoot or be shot. Either way, though, Luntz is out of his league, and he knows it: nobody messes with Juarez - or, at least, nobody messes with Juarez and lives to tell the tale. 

My review
A tightly constructed noir that relies almost exclusively on dialogue to tell the story, luckily the method doesn't hinder the atmosphere providing just enough description to cater to the readers imagination. It also helps that author Denis Johnson is gifted at delivering smooth and crisp dialogue not dissimilar to crime fiction grand-master Elmore Leonard.