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…

No Shred of Evidence – Charles Todd
Fiction , Historical , Mystery , Suspense / February 10, 2017

Charles Todd continues his thrilling sequence of Ian Rutledge mystery novels with No Shred of Evidence, published by HarperCollins Publishers, copyright 2016. Ian Rutledge is an inspector for Scotland Yard.  In the summer of 1914 he was engaged to be married to Jean Gordon.  Five years later he released her from that promise after he’d seen the shock and horror in her eyes as she looked at the shell of a man who had returned from France and been in the hospital for months with some undisclosed affliction.  Rutledge broke that proposal because he knew that his injury was not one that a woman should have to live with.  More of a psychological disability, his condition plagued him in most of his personal thoughts and his reasoning on the job, and yet it helped him to see sides of the crimes he investigated that would not be perceived by most detectives.  This so-called affliction would haunt him for the rest of his life and affect any relationships he had, whether they were professional or personal.  He would always be challenged with having to deal with what his duty was to do in the First World War. So he decided to…

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