Locked Rooms – Laurie R. King
Fiction , Hardboiled , Mystery / April 6, 2017

Laurie R. King has done a masterful job of bringing Sherlock Holmes back through her Mary Russell series of novels in Locked Rooms, a psychological thriller as well as a cultural primer, published by Bantam Books, copyright 2005.  Russell is presented as the only woman who would match wits with the great detective of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s acclaimed Sherlock Holmes mystery series.  Holmes declares her to be “one of the most competent natural investigators he had ever known”.  So Holmes married her and together they solve any and all mysteries they encounter in their travels.   Mary Russell is troubled by her recurring dreams while on a ship headed for San Francisco where she had grown up.  She and her husband, the great Sherlock Holmes, are headed there so she can settle some affairs regarding her father Charles Russell’s estate which she had inherited upon his death ten years before.  She feels she may want to sell the house and liquidate some other assets she owns.  Both of her parents and her toddler brother had been killed in a tragic motor car accident while she was thrown to the side of the road before the automobile plummeted over a cliff…

Now You See It – Stuart Kaminsky
Fiction , Mystery , Suspense / April 3, 2017

Stuart Kaminsky has not only given a tribute to one of the world’s greatest magicians, he has reopened a world of entertainment that gave moral and entertaining shows to the people who served in the war to end all wars, as they called it at the time, in Now You See It, by Stuart Kaminsky, published by Carroll & Graf Publishers and the Avalon Publishing Group, copyright 2004. In my youth I was attracted to the people who performed works of magic, as many of us were and still are today.  One of the most famous and sought after magicians is one Harry Blackstone.  Billed as the world’s greatest living magician Harry Blackstone is scheduled to perform a show on the stage of the famous Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles.  Harry’s brother, Jeremy Bouton, was busy setting up the stage as he had done for years.  After retiring from the on-stage work of being Blackstone’s assistant along with doing a comical version of the act that Blackstone had just performed, Peter decided he would be much more useful building the stage props and coaching the assistants that Blackstone relied on to present the finest magic show on the planet.  Which it truly…

Everybody Dies – Lawrence Block
Fiction , Hardboiled , Mystery , Suspense / March 31, 2017

Lawrence Block continues the growing tale of his crime fighting protagonist Matthew Scudder in Everybody Dies, published by William Morrow and Company, copyright 1998.   Block begins this intense tale with Matthew Scudder and his well known hoodlum friend Mick Ballou who have taken a drive out to Mick’s farm in the northern forests of New York State.  The friends are on a mission to bring the dead bodies of two Irish lads out to Mick’s farm and bury them where they’ll never be found.  How they came to be dead is yet to be discovered but a few bullet holes tell an interesting history as to their demise.  The lads were Mick’s employees; Matt and Mick had discovered them when they did not return after Mick had asked them to go to his storage unit and pick up a few cases of various liquors, spirits, and soda water that regularly sold at Mick’s bar.  Named “Grogan’s”, the bar has been the favored watering hole and eatery for the many generations of Irish immigrants who have settled in New York City.   In addition to the bodies of Mick’s employees, the storage unit was completely empty except for the remains of a liquor…

Watch Your Back – Donald E. Westlake
Fiction , Mystery , Suspense , Thriller / March 27, 2017

Donald Westlake extends his Dortmunder series of comedy-mystery novels with Watch Your Back, published by Mysterious Press, copyright 2005.   Westlake begins this captivating caper with an introduction to John Dortmunder as he walks into his favorite watering hole, the O.J. Bar and Grill to the greeting of Rollo the bartender.  Dortmunder attends a regular poker game in the back room of the O.J. Bar with his friends Stan, Kelp, and a huge man called Tiny.  On this night it’s different though as Dortmunder has been propositioned by an obnoxious art trader named Arnie Albright who has just returned from the Caribbean Club Med after attending a seminar promising to cure his obnoxiousness.  Arnie swears it worked so Dortmunder decides to listen to his proposal.  While at the Club Med Arnie had met Preston Fareweather, a known art collector, who owns a Park View penthouse in New York City.  He is also a huge womanizer with many ex-wives.  Arnie hates this guy because Arnie can hardly get a date, which is no surprise to Dortmunder or anyone else at the back room game.   The players assemble as usual, not for poker but to discuss the feasibility of Arnie’s proposal.  Fareweather is expected to…

Even Dogs in the Wild – Ian Rankin
Fiction , Hardboiled / March 22, 2017

Ian Rankin once again brings us a tale of Inspector Rebus in the 20th novel of the series, Even Dogs in the Wild, published by Little, Brown and Company, copyright 2015.   The novel begins with a prologue featuring two would-be murderers who intend to bury a dead body.  They open the trunk of the car and the body springs out and runs into the woods.  They fear for their lives if they don’t catch and kill this runaway “corpse”, and if their boss finds out about their screw-up, so they set out after the fleeing “dead body”.   Rankin then switches us to the activities of the detectives who are assigned to investigate the murder of David Minton, aka Lord Minton, who was found dead on the floor of his office by the lady who cleans his mansion for him twice a week.  Lord Advocate Minton had been beaten around the head and then throttled by his attacker and beaten again post-mortem.  Nothing is stolen from the home or Minton’s person, so investigators conclude it’s not a robbery gone bad, but possibly a revenge killing.  Assigned to the investigation are detective inspector Siobhan (pronounced she-vohn) Clarke and detective constable Malcolm Fox.  They…

The Big Both Ways – John Straley
Crime Thriller , Fiction , Hardboiled / March 21, 2017

John Straley ties the characters of this cleverly written novel into the setting of his previous work, Cold Storage, Alaska, in The Big Both Ways, published by Soho Press, copyright 2008.   The Big Both Ways begins with a logger by the name of Slip Wilson who has just quit his job after witnessing a fellow logger killed in an accident on the job.  On the road out of Seattle he encounters a woman by the name of Ellie Hobbes whose car is stuck in a ditch.  So after helping her get it out she offers him a ride and although he had no destination in mind he accepts the offer and finds there is a young girl, Ellie’s niece Annabelle, who is travelling with her.  He also learns that Ellie is a communist, or what was referred to in those times as a ‘red’, or anarcho-syndicalist, from the docks of Seattle.  Her husband had left her for another young woman and after a house fire killed Ellie’s sister and brother in-law, Annabelle ended up in Ellie’s care.   While travelling up the coast Ellie decides to get rid of the car because, as it is discovered later, there is a dead body…

Cold Storage, Alaska – John Straley
Crime Thriller , Fiction , Mystery , Uncategorized / March 15, 2017

John Straley brings a novel filled with mystery and drama in Cold Storage, Alaska, published by Soho Press, copyright 2014.   Straley starts this wonderful novel out with the remembrances of an elderly woman, Annabelle, about her oldest son Clive McCahon, who on the same day in April, 2000 has just been released after serving seven years on drug related charges in a federal prison and is looking for a way to get home to Cold Storage, Alaska.  On his way he stops in Los Angeles and picks up his cold weather parka which has thousands upon thousands of dollars sown into its lining.  The man he picks up the parka from also gives him a dog who is the meanest mutt anyone has ever seen.  Clive has always had this surreal talent where animals talk to him, though this mutt says nothing until the end of the book.   So Clive and this scary mutt, who he decides to call Little Brother, find their way with great difficulty to Clive’s brother Miles who was waiting for him at the short runway of the village airport to bring him home to the terrible news that their mother had passed away just two…

Blonde Faith – Walter Mosley
Fiction , Mystery / March 13, 2017

Walter Mosely leads us on a thrilling tale in Blonde Faith, published by Little, Brown and Company, copyright 2007.   In this continuation of the series about the investigations of a man known to the world as Easy Rawlins, we are treated to more insights and revelations as to what life was like in the nineteen sixties.  Easy is a man who always feels the need to help others and see justice done.  He carries many emotional scars from the time he fought for our country in World War II and had to murder many in the interest of preserving the lives of his brothers in arms.  He was never happy with his ability to kill, and at one point he had shot a sniper who was killing many of his fellow troops.  When he went to check the sniper’s body he found an eleven year old boy with a rifle who had been chained to a tree by his sixteen year old commander.   Easy Rawlins hated war and he hated killing but as a black private detective he was often introduced to situations where his clients, the friends and children he protected, needed his skills of deadly force.  A…

Murder Inside the Beltway – Margaret Truman
Fiction , Mystery / March 6, 2017

Margaret Truman’s Capital Crimes series brings another thrilling mystery in Murder Inside the Beltway, published by Ballantine Books, copyright 2008.   When Washington D.C. resident Rosalie Curzon is brutally beaten and strangled, officers Matt Jackson and Walt Hatcher are called to the scene to do their initial detective work.  They quickly figure out that she was a high priced call girl and when Mary Hall, a senior detective, comes to oversee the investigation they discover that Rosalie had video taped several of her liaisons with her clients.  These detectives hope that the camera was running when she was brutally murdered and that a possible image of the killer could lead to a quick solving of the crime.  Another aspect of these videos would be to identify some of her clients who may have an idea as to who might be motivated to commit such a violent act.  Things get seriously intense when the three detectives are able to identify some of Rosalie’s clients and who they represent in political, as well as police, society.   The detectives begin to question these possible suspects and are met with a large amount of resistance.  The first of the interviews is a congressman…

In A Strange City – Laura Lippman
Fiction , Mystery / March 2, 2017

Laura Lippman has again written an exciting and entrancing novel with In a Strange City, one of her Tess Monaghan series of detective novels, published by William Morrow and Co. of HarperCollins Publishers, copyright 2001.   Edgar Allen Poe has been credited with writing some of the first murder mysteries that we enjoy and recommend to our friends.  In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania there is a grave site which calls itself Poe’s final resting place.  This is something that has been debated by many people throughout the years as there is also a tomb that bears his name at the other side of the graveyard.  The life of Poe is in itself an enchanting mystery that has involved many writers and fans of his works.  Monsiour Dupin was the investigator in his first detective fiction novel “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, a story that enthralled his readers and fans as well as set a standard for crime fiction novels for the coming century.   Mystery loves company!  This novel is not about Poe as much as it is about the people who honor and pay tribute to his writing and poetry; specifically the Visitor, as he is known to all who have lived in…

© San Juan Web, Inc. 2020 | Hosted at Orcas Web