Wednesday, December 31, 2014

January Reading List

Along with my earlier post about which book I plan to be reading on day 1 of 2015 I thought I'd expand on the concept and list the books I think I might be reading in January. Of course, this is likely to change as review books and other books in my tbr take my interest - I've also not taken into consideration any audiobooks as I tend to go with the flow with those. 

The initial list is heavily populated by review book and longer over due reads but I think it's got a nice mix of genres and a couple of re-reads thrown in for good measure (something I'm continuing to do more of).

Perfidia   Mateship   Butterfly Skin

The Guards (Jack Taylor, #1)   Asylum CityThe Room 

Everybody Goes to Jimmy's: A Suspense Novel   The Waking Engine   Robopocalypse

Shaky Ground   Hunt at the Well of Eternity (Gabriel Hunt, #1)   Plunder of the Sun (Hard Case Crime #10)

So, 12 books (I usually read around that per month) it is. I wonder if I'll stick to this? I've also listed the books in projected reading order. As per my usual reading habit, it's an eclectic selection of books.     

The re-reads will be THE GUARDS by Ken Bruen and HUNT AT THE WALL OF ETERNITY. I'm keen to re-read both series and look forward to returning to the respective characters.  

Top-5: Tips To Happy Reading


This series of blog posts is a top 5 topical 'best-of' list for all things bookish - be it true crime, fiction, novels to novella etc. - pretty much whatever topic I want to post about on a given day. The aim being to reintroduce myself with some old favorites (books/authors) and also take a look at some books/genres I'm yet to read much of. This is a more casual series of posts as there is no defined scheduled unlike my regular Friday Finds and Monday Reads, feel free to join in and post your top-5 all things bookish and provide a link in the comments. 

This entry looks at my top tips to happy reading. 

Reading is an insular and solitary hobby. It's a form of escapism that allow the every day person to travel the world without having to leave the conforms of their own home. What makes reading such an enjoyable hobby? For me, the below are key to happiness between the pages:

1. Read what you want, when you want. 

As a book reviewer I get a lot of requests to review books, often by authors I haven't heard of and small indie publishes I know little of (as well as some of the better known names). It can be hard at times to say no to a review book. The thought of missing out on that next 5-star best-of-the-year read is something I don't take lightly. However, reading should be fun and without obligation - it should feel like a hobby, not like work. So read what you want, when you want. 

2. Don't be afraid of the D-N-F

Life is too short and there are so many books waiting to be read to have to suffer through a book that just isn't doing it for you. Take note that a DNF doesn't mean you can never return to it - case in point being LOLITA for me. I tried to read it and was creeped out by the subject matter and didn't like the writing a few years back. This year I gave it another shot and loved the book. Readers mature, tastes change - what doesn't work for you now doesn't mean it won't work for you later. Put down that book, pick up another - enjoy your reading.

3. Find that special reading spot

I've got a couple of these in my house - the best is a bean bag I sit on in a corner of my library nestled among my bookcases. A nice quiet and comfy place is essential for quality reading time.

4. Don't be afraid to try new genres

As readers of this blog know (and those who follow me on Goodreads), I have an eclectic taste when it comes to reading fiction. This year I've enjoyed some of the more literary books I own while branching out into family dramas, sci-fi etc. Variety is a good thing and keeps all those same-genre books you own feeling a little less same-same.

5. Research your reads

I put in a fair amount of research into my reads. I want to know what the author has written (if a new author), I want to know the circle of writers he or she is part of, I want to know more about them in general to get a feel for their style and influences. Doing this will lead you down a path to more books and a greater informed choice for that next read while hopefully limiting those dreaded but unavoidable DNF's. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Review: BRAINQUAKE by Samuel Fuller

BrainquakeFrom the back of the book:
The bagmen who transport money for organized crime live by a set of rules: no personal relationships, no ties, no women…and never, ever look inside the bag you’re carrying. Paul Page was the perfect bagman, despite suffering from a rare brain disorder. But that ended the day he saw a beautiful Mob wife become a Mob widow. Now Paul is going to break every rule he’s lived by–even if it means he might be left holding the bag.

My Review:
There is a lot to like about BRAINQUAKE; it's a mob book that goes beyond the stereotypical hit/murder/mayhem/gun mole type tales traditional to this genre, instead focusing on a formally mute bagman and his violent hallucinations aka 'brainquakes'.

Paul was born into the life of organised crime - his father worked in it and died in it. As a favor to Paul's father following his death, the Boss took Paul under her wing  and proceeded to turn this blank faced man into an exceptionally gifted bagman, one with a penchant for stopping 'pirates' and a fierce sense of loyalty.   

The key to being a successful bagman is to be an anonymous face in the crowd, have no attachment to friends/family/or partners beyond the occasional romp in the sack - Paul is fine with this, until he's not. When a chance encounter, one born of violence and death, unites single mother and former wife to a recently deceased underworld figure Michelle with Paul, he quickly succumbs to a feeling he hasn't felt before - shortly thereafter he's got a bag full of cash and a ticket out of the country. 

Written from multiple character perspectives, BRAINQUAKE kept me guessing the whole way through. It's one of those rare crime books where you know who the key players are but don't know who'll survive or where the next bullet will come from.

One of the best books Hardcase Crime has published without a doubt. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Pick Up A Pulp [8]: DOC SAVAGE SPECIAL 2014

From the back of the book:
Known as the cousin of world famous adventurer Doc Savage, Pat Savage wants nothing more than to prove she has what is takes to be a hero. What starts out as a thankless job as a babysitter, soon turns into an epic life-and-death struggle that finds Pat squaring off against sinister forces. It's a double-size tale of two-fisted action starring the first lady of pulp adventure, Pat Savage, Woman of Bronze.

My Review:
Doc Savage is one of those timeless iconic pulp heroes that for some reason I've never read in either medium of fiction, be it prose, comic, or graphic novel. 

The DOC SAVAGE SPECIAL 2014 is a double sized comic featuring a standalone story (readers not having needed to read the previously published 8-issue mini from Dynamite) focusing on the Woman of Bronze - a hard hitting pulp heroine who's just as dangerous as her male 'bronze' counterpart (as evidenced by the below image). 

This is a quick and easy one and done read that is pure action from the opening panel. Pat Savage is sassy, smart and doesn't shy away from a good old fashioned fist fight putting her on equal terms with her more well renowned male counterpart - who is little more than a bit player in this story.


The art work is superb and fits exceptionally well with the writing and stylistic theme of the book. Being a pulp, I would've liked some more dull/faded coloring but visually, there is nothing to complain about as the inks and layout work very well - the panels really do emphasize the action. 

The plot itself is pretty straight forward and lacks a little depth but that's ok within context of this standalone; Pat is hired to babysit a robotic engineers daughter who in turn ends up getting kidnapped with pat having to then chase down the bad guys and save the day - only this ending doesn't necessarily stick to the script.

Read it to find out more. 


  

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. Having been a long time reader of multiple blogs where the ‘It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?’ post is prevalent, I thought it a natural progression I’d add to the mix.

BrainquakeBRAINQUAKE by Samuel Fuller

The bagmen who transport money for organized crime live by a set of rules: no personal relationships, no ties, no women…and never, ever look inside the bag you’re carrying. Paul Page was the perfect bagman, despite suffering from a rare brain disorder. But that ended the day he saw a beautiful Mob wife become a Mob widow. Now Paul is going to break every rule he’s lived by–even if it means he might be left holding the bag.

PerfidiaPERFIDIA by James Ellroy (this is the book I plan to be reading coming Jan 1 2015)

It is December 6 1941. America stands at the brink of World War II. Last hopes for peace are shattered when Japanese squadrons bomb Pearl Harbor. Los Angeles has been a haven for loyal Japanese-Americans - but now, war fever and race hate grip the city and the Japanese internment begins. The hellish murder of a Japanese family summons three men and one woman. William H. Parker is a captain on the Los Angeles Police. He's superbly gifted, corrosively ambitious, liquored-up and consumed by dubious ideology. He is bitterly at odds with Sergeant Dudley Smith - Irish emigre, ex-IRA killer, fledgling war profiteer. Kay Lake is a 21-year-old dilettante looking for adventure. Hideo Ashida is a police chemist and the only Japanese on the L.A. cop payroll. The investigation throws them together and rips them apart. The crime becomes a political storm centre that brilliantly illuminates these four driven souls - comrades, rivals, lovers, history's pawns. Perfidia is a novel of astonishments. It is World War II as you have never seen it, and Los Angeles as James Ellroy has never written it before. Here, he gives us the party at the edge of the abyss and the precipice of America's ascendance. Perfidia is that moment, spellbindingly captured. It beckons us to solve a great crime that, in its turn, explicates the crime of war itself. It is a great American novel. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

My Favorite Reads of 2014

With the year almost over I thought I'd post my favorite reads of 2014. Unlike my earlier Year's Best in Crime Fiction list which focused on that genre and books published in 2014, this list is more eclectic and contains both new and older books. 

A couple of caveats: firstly, I didn't include re-reads nor did I include multiples of 'series' (with a certain trilogy being the exception).

Without further preamble and in no particular order, of the 150-ish books I read in 2014 - these were the cream of the crop: 

*click on the links below the covers for reviews

A Swollen Red Sun  American Psycho  El Gavilan

A SWOLLEN RED SUN by Matthew McBride

AMERICAN PSYCHO by Bret Eastern Ellis

EL GAVILAN by Craig McDonald

Seal of the Worm (Shadows of the Apt, #10)  The Fever  Lost Things: A Novella

SEAL OF THE WORM by Adrian Tchaikovsky

THE FEVER by Megan Abbott 

LOST THINGS by John Rector

Mona  The Cold Cold Ground  The Girl With All The Gifts




and... lastly, The Southern Reach Trilogy:

Annihilation (Southern Reach Trilogy, #1)  Authority (Southern Reach Trilogy, #2)  Acceptance (Southern Reach Trilogy, #3)

ANNIHILATION by Jeff Vandermeer

AUTHORITY by Jeff Vandermeer

ACCEPTANCE by Jeff Vandermeer

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Review: ANGELS OF THE NORTH by Ray Banks

Angels of The NorthFrom the back of the book:
Thatcher's Britain. A boom time for entrepreneurs, patriots ... and vigilantes.

Gateshead's notorious Derwent Hall estate. Crippled by unemployment, awash with drugs, and a no-go area for police and politicians alike.

Three men – a taxi driver with political aspirations, a soldier with black dreams, and the jobless victim of a brutal attack – come together to rid their estate of crime. But when conscience collides with ambition, it's not long before the streets turn bloody and their community burns.


My review:
ANGELS OF THE NORTH is more than a vigilante story; it's an in depth look at the lives of three middle aged men stuck in the lower rungs of the socioeconomic table. Each with family lives, that whilst different, bleed into one another by virtue of the their housing predicament. 

There's a feeling of community within the housing estate where the story takes place as the three men band together - albeit reluctantly - to rid the estate of drug addled squatters spilling poison on the street. It's a violent and bloody confrontation that spans multiple strikes as the men fight to take back the street. They succeed but at a terrible cost. 

Ray Banks has long been one of my favorite authors - his books are my go-to-reads when I need to indulge in something a little more colorful and edgier than every day crime reads.

ANGELS OF THE NORTH is a multifaceted noir that absorbs all that is dull, sullen and grey and turns everyday life on its head. Any step can be dangerous, any eye-to-eye a call to arms. Life isn't always sunshine and rainbows - this book, while fiction, could be a mere wee glimpse into any such housing estate - perhaps with a little more violence and destruction thrown in for good measure. 

Ray Banks makes this work on so many levels; the pacing is great, the plotting tight, the characters three dimensional, the action not without cause. We as readers get these characters and after all, isn't that what makes a good book? 

Check it out. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Planning to kick start 2015 with...

Some blogs I follow are talking about which books they plan to be reading on 1 January 2015; the parameters being you have to either start the book on the first day of the new year or be reading it already when the yearly calendar starts afresh. 

This is something I haven't given much thought to in years gone by as I tend to roll over my reading from the previous year into the next, Goodreads Challenge aside. But it's an interesting concept; one that got me thinking a fair bit as to how I want to start my reading in 2015. 

I decided on starting 2015 with PERFIDIA by James Ellroy. 

My reasons? It's a huge book with loads of characters (my edition clocks in at 720pgs) that sounds interesting and involved - a multifaceted crime read that explores the underbelly of America. I had intended to read it this year but other reads got in the way. I love Ellroy's style and want to start the new year with a deep crime novel and this fits the bill - despite some mixed reviews...

PerfidiaPERFIDIA by James Ellroy (published 2014)

It is December 6 1941. America stands at the brink of World War II. Last hopes for peace are shattered when Japanese squadrons bomb Pearl Harbor. Los Angeles has been a haven for loyal Japanese-Americans - but now, war fever and race hate grip the city and the Japanese internment begins. The hellish murder of a Japanese family summons three men and one woman. William H. Parker is a captain on the Los Angeles Police. He's superbly gifted, corrosively ambitious, liquored-up and consumed by dubious ideology. He is bitterly at odds with Sergeant Dudley Smith - Irish emigre, ex-IRA killer, fledgling war profiteer. Kay Lake is a 21-year-old dilettante looking for adventure. Hideo Ashida is a police chemist and the only Japanese on the L.A. cop payroll. The investigation throws them together and rips them apart. The crime becomes a political storm centre that brilliantly illuminates these four driven souls - comrades, rivals, lovers, history's pawns. Perfidia is a novel of astonishments. It is World War II as you have never seen it, and Los Angeles as James Ellroy has never written it before. Here, he gives us the party at the edge of the abyss and the precipice of America's ascendance. Perfidia is that moment, spellbindingly captured. It beckons us to solve a great crime that, in its turn, explicates the crime of war itself. It is a great American novel. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

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. Having been a long time reader of multiple blogs where the ‘It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?’ post is prevalent, I thought it a natural progression I’d add to the mix.

Last week I posted the following reviews:


THE GODFATHER'S REVENGE by Mario Winegardner (mafia)

AS BAD AS THEY COME by Orrie Hitt (sleaze pulp)

THE LITTLE DEATH by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (PI)

ENCORE FOR MURDER by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (PI)

ACCEPTANCE by Jeff VanderMeer (Sci-fi)

This week I'm reading the new book from Ray Banks, published earlier this month by Blasted Heath (the best crime e-book publisher going 'round) while also listening to the second Sean Duffy novel by Adrian McKinty narrated by Gerard Doyle, I HEAR SIRENS IN THE STREET.

Angels of The NorthANGELS OF THE NORTH by Ray Banks

Thatcher's Britain. A boom time for entrepreneurs, patriots ... and vigilantes.

Gateshead's notorious Derwent Hall estate. Crippled by unemployment, awash with drugs, and a no-go area for police and politicians alike.

Three men – a taxi driver with political aspirations, a soldier with black dreams, and the jobless victim of a brutal attack – come together to rid their estate of crime. But when conscience collides with ambition, it's not long before the streets turn bloody and their community burns.


I Hear the Sirens in the Street: A Detective Sean Duffy NovelI HEAR SIRENS IN THE STREET by Adrian McKinty (audio)

A torso in a suitcase looks like an impossible case. But Sean Duffy isn't easily deterred, especially when his floundering love life leaves him in need of distraction. So, with Detective Constables McCrabban and McBride, he goes to work identifying the victim. The torso turns out to be all that's left of an American tourist who once served in the US military. What was he doing in Northern Ireland in the midst of the 1982 Troubles? 

The trail leads to the doorstep of a beautiful, flame-haired, twenty-something widow, whose husband died at the hands of an IRA assassination team just a few months before. Suddenly, Duffy is caught between his romantic instincts, gross professional misconduct, and powerful men he should know better than to mess with. These include British intelligence, the FBI, and local paramilitary death squads, enough to keep even the savviest detective busy. 

Duffy's growing sense of self-doubt isn't helping. But, being a legendarily stubborn man, he doesn't let that stop him pursuing the case to its explosive conclusion.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Review: ENCORE FOR MURDER by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (audio)

Encore for MurderUnlike THE LITTLE DEATH, I felt the production of ENCORE FOR MURDER was a little off at times. That, coupled with some very cheesy dialog and uncharacteristic Hammer lines, made ENCORE FOR MURDER just an average take it or leave it Mike Hammer story for me. Which is a shame considering how much I enjoyed the other audio book I listened to recently. 

In ENCORE FOR MURDER Mike Hammer is hired by a former flame who is planning a comeback in the showbiz industry. Taking to the bright lights of Broadway, Hammer, in characteristic fashion turns out more lights than those that shine on him as bad guys from mob outfits get in the way and get knocked down. 

As you'd expect, Hammer rekindles his flame with the damsel in distress, though it's not as straightforward as you'd think - with the diva heavily focused on her career as opposed to the needs of a certain page 1 PI. Then, after receiving death threads in the post, which are subsequently leaked to the press, the diva goes missing. Here, Hammer heats up. His job turns deadly - from glorified bodyguard to doing what he does best - filling caskets with criminals. 

ENCORE FOR MURDER is a very quick listen, one that isn't complicated by deep plotting and deep characters. This is pop corn pulp PI - easily consumed, enjoy it for what it is. 

Related reviews:

THE LITTLE DEATH (audio)

Review: ACCEPTANCE by Jeff VanderMeer

Acceptance (Southern Reach Trilogy, #3)The conclusion to the Southern Reach trilogy continues to provider the reader with a diverse read, that, whilst part of a trilogy, is written in a distinctly distinguishable manner. 

*SOME SPOILERS IN REVIEW BELOW*

One of the hallmarks of the trilogy has been the mystery and omnipresent sense of horror lurking in the background. In ACCEPTANCE, this still remains, if not more so. For a final book, the mysteries of Area X and The Southern Reach are left satisfyingly open ended. This approach really worked for me. Sometimes stories aren't supposed to end, fully justifying the means - sometimes reason doesn't apply nor is prevalent. I'm glad author Jeff Vandermeer took this approach. Like the other books in the trilogy it didn't conform to any formula compounding the uniqueness and diverse manner of narration.

ACCEPTANCE takes us to Area X, right in the thick of the strange alien world. Ghost Bird, Control, the Biologist (yep, she makes a cameo and what a cameo it is - in the form of an incomprehensible organism), Saul - the lighthouse keeper, Grace, and the Director all feature prominently. As you can tell from the character list alone - things in Area X aren't quite right. Twins or twisted doppelganger copies are rife with even some back-story explained giving an insight into the early stages of Area X's history. 

I really liked ACCEPTANCE, but it was the weaker of the trilogy - which, overall, is fantastic. 

Related Reviews:

ANNIHILATION (Southern Reach book #1)

AUTHORITY (Southern Reach book #2)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Review: THE LITTLE DEATH by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (audio)

10444630This audio book is more of a radio serial than traditional audio book. The production quality is top notch with voice actors, lead by Stacy Keach as Mike Hammer, fitting perfectly with the characters I've come to read and love over the years in print. Velda, Pat and co are all here and they all sound as you'd expect them to. 

Readers of the Mike Hammer books should note, that this audio installment is set after the revelation that Velda is more than Mike's secretary and is an experienced and deadly PI in her own right - a role she doesn't full reprise but it is mentioned throughout the book.

Mike Hammer, once again, gets involved in a case (non-paying of course, much to Velda's disdain) that instantly becomes personal. The only thing that didn't quite work with the plot was how it got started. Hammer is called to a club for a meet and greet with a prospective client - what he ends up with is a dame in trouble, on the run from a gambling boss who wants his 10 million back - 10 million presumably stolen by the fleeing dame. From there it's traditional Hammer, goons pop up and get knocked down. Hammer knows not of remorse, it's all about putting bullet holes in whoever gets in his way - just as a Hammer story should be.

Listening to THE LITTLE DEATH, got me thinking about the perfect Hammer/Velda combination for the big screen - there really is one choice that best fits the description and voice acting in THE LITTLE DEATH:

Velda - Christina Hendricks



Hammer - Mickey Rourke




Pick Up A Pulp: AS BAD AS THEY COME by Orrie Hitt

As Bad As They ComeAS BAD AS THEY COME is trademark Orrie Hitt sleaze pulp, yet by today's standards it's rather tame. The book doesn't dwell on explicit erotica or hushed sinister sexual acts, preferring to hone in on the psyche of its central character,  Art, a salesman of sorts at a mail order agency - who, on his whim - have branched out to distributing semi and full nude pictures in the post. This is written long before such images were readily accessible to the pubic.

The kindle illustrated edition I read included some of these images at the beginning of each chapter, showcasing the character of focus in a provocative pose and adding a little realism to the fiction. Orrie Hitt need not provide the visual aid to enhance the experience yet it did help to distinguish the female characters from one another as each was generally typecast in the sex pot mold.

As you'd expect, the plot is heavily centered around Art's sexual conquests and the impact that has upon him and his wife. His adulterous ways also bleed over to his day job, ultimately costing him his well paying salary and nearly wrecking his marriage. Yet, for what seems shallow on the surface, AS BAD AS THEY COME is surprisingly deep with multiple plot threads and well fleshed out and independent characters (even if all the female leads do fall hopelessly over Art). 

AS BAD AS THEY COME was a nice find - one I wish I had the physical book copy of. Pulp enthusiasts should track this one down. While not as good as UNFAITHFUL WIVES, it's still an enjoyable fast paced read.  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Review: THE GODFATHER'S REVENGE by Mark Winegardner

The Godfather's RevengeFrom the back of the book:
It is 1963 in New York, and things have never been better for the Corleones. They've taken out their Mafia rivals, and legitimised the Family. Outside the fortified building owned by Michael Corleone, newly undisputed Boss of Bosses, a parade of people - among them former mob rivals and an emissary from the Mayor of New York - wait to ask the great man for favours.

Only one thing remains to be done. Traitorous former Corleone capo Nick Geraci has powerful friends and far too much to say, and needs to be brought in. But then everything changes. As fireworks explode over First Avenue, news arrives that Jimmy Shea, President of the United States and an old friend of the Corleone's, has been assassinated...


My Review:
The title of this book is somewhat misleading. Sure Michael Corleone has a revenge of sorts but mainly, THE GODFATHER'S REVENGE focuses on the political side of mafia life and traitor to the Corleone regime in Nick Geraci.

Reading the back of the book is more spoiler than synopsis - the events detailed don't happen until the final third of the book and by then, the reader is well aware they are coming and what the likely outcome is.  

I will say, that Tom Hagan, a crucial member and close friend of Don Corleone is well written. His part, along with Geraci's scenes make this book worth a read alone - unfortunately there isn't much more going for this book apart from that.

Monday, December 15, 2014

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. Having been a long time reader of multiple blogs where the ‘It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?’ post is prevalent, I thought it a natural progression I’d add to the mix.

Last week I posted the following reviews:


CONTROL FREAK by Christa Faust (crime/erotica) - audio edition

SEAL OF THE WORM by Adrian Tchaikovski (fantasy)

I also posted my year's best crime fiction list (those published in 2014).

This week is an eclectic mix of reads - from sci-fi to sleaze-pulp. 

The Godfather's RevengeMARIO PUZO'S THE GODFATHER'S REVENGE by Mark Winegardner ( I've almost finished this. For a book just shy of 600pgs it requires a lot of padding to get to the action which starts around page 300 - however, the slow burn is well worth it so far. A must read for Godfather fans.) 

It is 1963 in New York, and things have never been better for the Corleones. They've taken out their Mafia rivals, and legitimised the Family. Outside the fortified building owned by Michael Corleone, newly undisputed Boss of Bosses, a parade of people - among them former mob rivals and an emissary from the Mayor of New York - wait to ask the great man for favours.

Only one thing remains to be done. Traitorous former Corleone capo Nick Geraci has powerful friends and far too much to say, and needs to be brought in. But then everything changes. As fireworks explode over First Avenue, news arrives that Jimmy Shea, President of the United States and an old friend of the Corleone's, has been assassinated...

Acceptance (Southern Reach Trilogy, #3)ACCEPTANCE by Jeff VanderMeer (the third and final book in the Southern Reach trilogy. I've really enjoyed these books and can't wait to read this one.)

It is winter in Area X. A new team embarks across the border on a mission to find a member of a previous expedition who may have been left behind. As they press deeper into the unknown—navigating new terrain and new challenges—the threat to the outside world becomes more daunting. InAcceptance, the last installment of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy, the mysteries of Area X may have been solved, but their consequences and implications are no less profound—or terrifying.

The New Adventures of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer, Vol. 2: The Little DeathTHE LITTLE DEATH (The New Adventures of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer, Vol. 2) by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (audio)

Private eye Mike Hammer is no stranger to murder, but this time he has two to untangle: the killing of the Captain, a legless, homeless panhandler, dismissed by the police as "minor," and the slaying of gambling kingpin Marty Wellman. Marty's lady friend, Helen Venn, turns to the P.I. for help when the Mob fingers her for the next kill. Seems the new kingpin, Carmen Rich--with whom Hammer has a violent history--thinks Helen made off with ten mil in skim money courtesy of her late lover. But Mike Hammer knows a damsel in distress when he sees one and takes up Helen's cause, igniting a series of hit attempts on his life by a small army of out-of-town shooters. Such minor distractions can't prevent the toughest detective of them all from solving two murders and avenging a "little death" in a big way.

As Bad As They ComeAS BAD AS THEY COME by Orrie Hitt (I'm a big fan of sleaze pulp author Orrie Hitt and this looks to be another of his little known pulp gems)

Art is the main man at a mail order firm that peddles novelties. When the boss suggests they enter the smut trade, Art coordinates the whole affair. And most of the women he lines up as models, he’s already bedded, behind the back of his long-suffering wife, Alice. But is Alice finding satisfaction behind Art’s back? Throw in a pregnancy scare with a co-worker, and you’ve got another top-notch pulp potboiler from Orrie Hitt!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Finds (12 Dec 2014)


Friday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading where you share the book titles you discovered or heard about during the past week. These can be books you were told about, books you discovered while browsing blogs/bookstores (physical or online), or books that you actually purchased. I think this is a great idea and a way to share my enthusiasm of discovering new books.

This week's Friday Finds are all about crime fiction. A genre I recently posted my top reads of 2014. I was fortunate enough to receive three books for review - all from an international setting. This is great as it adds depth and diversity to the genre.

Asylum CityASYLUM CITY by Liad Shoham (many thanks to Scribe for the review copy!)

In this edgy thriller from the #1 international bestselling author of Lineup, which was described by New York Times bestselling author Joseph Finder as ‘a marvel of tight plotting, spare prose, and relentless pacing’, a young police officer’s investigation of a murder plunges her into the dark underworld of Tel Aviv.

When young social activist Michal Poleg is found dead in her Tel Aviv apartment, with her body showing signs of severe violence, officer Anat Nachmias is given the lead on her first murder investigation. Eager to find answers, the talented and sensitive cop looks to the victim’s past for clues, focussing on the last days before her death. Could one of the asylum-seekers Michal worked with be behind this crime?

Then a young African man confesses to the murder, and Anat’s commanders say the case is closed. But the cop isn’t convinced. She believes that Michal, a tiny girl with a gift for irritating people, got involved in something far too big and dangerous for her to handle.

Joined by Michal’s clumsy yet charming boss, Anat is pulled deep into a perplexing shadow world where war victims and criminals, angels and demons, idealists and cynics, aid organisations and criminal syndicates intersect. But the truth may be more than Anat can handle, bringing her face to face with an evil she’s never before experienced.


Butterfly Skin
BUTTERFLY SKIN by Sergey Kuznetsov (many thanks to New South Books/Titan Books for the review copy!)

A new psychological thriller that will take you into the dark depths of contemporary Russia.

Moscow is plagued with a series of gruesome murders. Ksenia, an ambitious young editor in the news department of a small but influential online journal decides to track down the serial killer, devising an elaborate website to entrap him and thereby boost her company's profile. She soon realises, however, that her obsession with the psychopath reflects something more deeply disturbing: her own unconscious mixture of horror and fascination with the sexual savagery of the murders.

Through his riveting plot and singular characters, Kuznetsov explores the sometimes pathological fallout resulting from our instant connectivity in the emerging world of emails, facebook, twitter, and other forms of electronic “intimacy.” The novel has enjoyed a cult following in Russia.  

Berlin BurningBERLIN BURNING by Damien Seaman (many thanks to Blasted Heath for the arc!)

Berlin, 1932…

Roving gangs of Nazi thugs terrorise the streets.

A weak government looks the other way.

A divided police force struggles against a rising tide of crime.

It's a powder keg waiting to explode. And when the slaying of a young Nazi provides the spark, Berlin detectives Trautmann and Roth must put aside their political differences to solve the murder.

Before the city they love succumbs to the flames of brutal retribution…