My taste in crime fiction learns towards the back alley, dark of night, blood smears-on-the-wall, tainted protagonist elements - messed up stories that delight in debauchery, deliver the devil in detail and leave little hope of a Hollywood feel good outcome. This is no truer expressed than in my most recent crime fiction read, THE FEVER KILL by Tom Piccirilli.
Tom Piccirilli exploits the deepest and most basic of human instinct; survival, in his noir entrenched tale of blood, easy murder, and heart ache. THE FEVER KILL introduces readers to a calm, calculated and devastatingly violent individual in Crease. A small town victim of circumstance in his youth, and a product of the undercover law enforcement system in adulthood. Crease is the perfect example of someone who has lost sight of the thin line between good and evil. His cop father was a drunk responsible for the death of a kidnapped child. He lived and died by the bottle. Crease suffered as a result of this absentee parent and vowed to return home to find out the events that culminated in the young girls death. Only, his return is complicated by the underworld gang he has infiltrated having caught wind of his venture and following him into the dark recesses of his past. In a word - brilliant. One of the best books I've ever read. High praise well deserved.
Ron McMillan's BANGKOK COWBOY is an entertaining crime thriller driven by enigmatic PI Mason and his lady boy and equally smart sidekick Dixie as they chase down a missing nightclub owner's farang accountant who has disappeared with a hard drive. The contents of which have severe ramifications to many people should they be released to the authorities and broader public. It's a fast paced chase that unlocks the serrated edges of mans desires and debauchery. I liked the elaborate staging and interlocking mysteries the protagonists encounter. BANGKOK COWBOY is very much a layered novel that unearths revelation upon revelation while still managing to be character centirc. For such an action packed book it was grest to read more of Masons' back story, expertly entwined into the core narrative as to not detract but enhance the present day setting. More of the same please.
STRIP FOR VIOLENCE is a multi faceted detective mystery that for some reason doesn't hit the mark. The pint size protagonist, while offering something a little different by virtue of his unassuming facade and skilled martial arts did seem to over compensate in order to don a Hammer like persona where Hal Mason, was really his own character, one prone to but not defined by violence. The mystery spans multiple compass points from the investigation of a rock thrown through a window, later turning to be a diamond, an inheritance chase down, and murder. All these are linked to form a broader spanning mystery yet the whodunit aspect was viod pretty early on. Ed Lacy has written some really good novels, this is mediocre but still worth a look for a light read.