Some Clouds – Paco Ignacio Taibo II
Fiction , Hardboiled , Mystery / July 24, 2017

Famed author Paco Ignacio Taibo II has produced another thrilling tale of murder, intrigue, and corruption in Some Clouds, published by Penguin Group, copyright 1992.   On a peaceful day on the coast Hector sits in the shade of a palm tree that he has been contemplating while he sips his beer and tries to forget the events that he was caught up in just months ago.  Hector Balascoaran Shayne had been to engineering school but the thought of sitting behind a desk for the rest of his life designing bridges and sewer systems didn’t appeal to him.  He decided on something more exciting and started a private investigation business.  On one of his investigations, Hector got involved in a gun battle with a man who was trying to kill him.  He had to shoot the man dead, which didn’t bother him much, but a stray bullet had struck an eight year old boy and left him crippled for life with mental disabilities that reduced the poor boy to a vegetable.  Not knowing whose bullet had caused this terrible tragedy, Hector took himself to a beach near San Miguel Chepultepec and had been there for over six months, drinking beer and…

Naked in Death – J.D. Robb
Fiction , Hardboiled / April 25, 2017

J.D. Robb begins her In Death series of sci-fi murder mysteries with Naked in Death, published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, copyright 2004.   From the beginning of this novel we are introduced into a world that is slightly different from our own.  This world has computers and machines that reminded me of Star Trek, Isaac Asimov and other writings that suggest what the future might be like.  To speak to an android and have it bring back your favorite, perfectly mixed coffee had become a normality in this world.  The toast was a different story for detective Eve Dallas, who would eat it even though it was burnt and chase it down with the much needed coffee that she required for her busy day.  This morning would truly turn into a “busy day” because Eve is faced with the indescribably brutal murder of a woman who would be best described as a lady of the evening.   This all takes place in a time in the future where handguns and even assault rifles are considered antiquated so when Eve and her partner Ryan Feeney find a thirty eight caliber Model Ten Smith & Wessen revolver they had to remark that they had never…

The Murder Code – Steve Mosby

Steve Mosby, a master of thrilling crime, brings intriguing characters and interwoven plots in The Murder Code, published by Pegasus Books, copyright 2013.   Detective Hicks and his partner Laura Fellows are called to a murder scene and the first thing they notice is the screaming coming from the second-floor balcony.  Carla Gibson had been searching for her daughter Vicki who she had expected home earlier in the day.  Vicki’s face and skull had been beaten into a point where the face was not recognizable but her mother knew the clothes, the shoes, the handbag, and her hair.  She could see her daughter had been brutally murdered and was hysterical with grief.  Even after a large dose of sedatives, Carla was fairly incapable of giving any information to the police detectives beyond Vicki’s age, where she worked, and her last boyfriend’s name.   We are next treated to a slice of life in the home of detective Hicks and his wife Rachel.  His job is something he does not feel he should bring home with him, homicide investigations are not exactly talk for dinner time or preparing for bed.  Rachel had fallen into a pattern, the same thing every night, with a…

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…

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…

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…

One Good Turn – Kate Atkinson
Crime Thriller , Fiction , Hardboiled / February 18, 2017

Kate Atkinson’s private investigator hero, Jackson Brodie, returns in the enticing adventure One Good Turn, published by Little, Brown and Company, copyright 2006.   Jackson Brodie is on the scene when a small car accident occurs and the automobile owners are sent into a case of extreme road rage.  One of the drivers brings  a baseball bat out of his car and hits the other driver on his temple, knocking him unconscious.  Brodie comes to the aid of this unfortunate man and accompanies him to the hospital.  The hospital staff releases this man, a writer named Paul Bradley, into Brodie’s custody with a warning that he should be watched closely and given plenty of rest.   Brodie, who is an ex-cop, ex-private detective, and recently, through one of his client’s generous compensations, a millionaire, takes care of this unfortunate victim of senseless violence.  As a rule Brodie no longer involved himself in other peoples’ affairs as he himself had much to deal with now that he was an unemployed millionaire and he wanted to find a compatible caring woman to spend his life with. Yet for some reason he felt compelled to see to the well being of this beaten up man.  This…

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