Friday, 29 May 2015

STARK HOLBORN - NUNSLINGER 10: GOSPEL SHARP (2014)


Synopsis/blurb…..

The year is 1864. Sister Thomas Josephine is on her way from St Louis, Missouri, to Sacramento, California. During the course of her journey, however, she'll find that her faith requires her to take off her wimple and pick up a gun.

Once more Sister Thomas Josephine finds herself snatched from the jaws of death by a rescuer whose identity remains a mystery. Emerging from her ordeal she finds herself a figure of infamy. The legend of the 'Six Gun Sister' has set the country aflame. But not all the stories are true: someone has stolen her name, and is using it to commit murder...


Sister Thomas Josephine intended nothing more than a quiet journey out west, a trip filled with prayer, meditation, and ministering to those in need. What she got, however, was anything but. In the tenth story chronicling her adventures, Sister Thomas Josephine will face down a whole host of new problems - and the yellow-bellied scum who want to see her dead.

Nearing the end of her-our journey and still plenty of time for misdeeds and mishaps.

Josephine escapes the gallows – unsurprisingly and is again on the loose with Puttick and Abraham Muir. During the course of the tale we understand who has been killing in her name and why.
Former enemies become allies and our Nun gets to look her enemy in the face.

Probably the strangest premise for a book that I’ve read in a long time, ticks in most of the boxes.

Characters, setting, action, pace…. dare I suggest a touch of romance with feelings of jealousy, betrayal and bitterness never too far from the core.
2 instalments to go!


4 from 5

Mystery author Holborn - has a website here

Net Galley – Library book

Thursday, 28 May 2015

ANONYMOUS-9 - BITE HARDER (2014)


Synopsis/blurb…..

Some say he's a serial killer. Others, a vigilante doing what police can't or won't do. What's certain is that Dean Drayhart, a paraplegic, will soon sit on death row for killing hit-and-run drivers in Los Angeles. But not if the Mexican Mafia gets hold of him first. Somewhere, Dean's trained companion monkey Sid and girlfriend Cinda are outrunning the law in a fast '98 Trans Am. The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department wants Sid, dead or alive. Dean may be broken in body but his fierce spirit is determined to protect Sid and Cinda in the most creative ways imaginable. Hardboiled, funny, relentless, and unexpectedly tender-hearted, Bite Harder delivers riotous action all the way to a bombshell climax that could only have been written by Anonymous-9, the self-declared mad scientist of crime fiction.

My third time around the block with Elaine Ash – aka Anonymous-9. Bite Harder is the sequel to Hard Bite a novel which introduced us to Dean Drayhart. Dean is a paraplegic – the result of a hit and run accident; an accident that not only cost him his legs but his family. Since then he has been revenging himself, by tracking down other hit and run drivers and unleashing his trained carer monkey Sid on the guilty with the instruction “Hard Bite!”  Not a pretty way to die.

Drayhart is in prison now, but not for long. One of his victims was a member of a Mexican crime family and the matriarch wants him dead along with his trained monkey. The Mexicans unwilling to trust in the US justice system, bust him out of jail in order to kill him, as slowly and painfully as possible.

Drayhart has a semi-death-wish, wanting to be re-united with his wife and daughter, so he’s kind of philosophical about his intended fate. He does have a fierce loyalty towards his replacement family – Sid the monkey and Cinda, his sex-worker girlfriend. When they are threatened, he decides to live a bit longer.

Outlandish, pacy, furious, and funny by turn Anonymous serves up just the right blend of action, thrills and comedy.

Bribery, prison break, murder, cops, kidnapping, proposed sex-action with a rich geriatric, family – albeit a highly dysfunctional and inept criminal enterprise, with a hot Mexican widow mama and some less than capable off-spring, a few old people with a fondness for a kind-hearted hair-dyed helper primate, a scheming entrepreneurial nephew and lots more.

Only in LA, I think……..a fantastic read, obviously the product of a warped, disturbed but brilliant mind.
5 from 5

Hard Bite was reviewed here.

Some of Elaine’s short stories were reviewed here – JUST SO YOU KNOW I'M NOT DEAD.

The lady herself was kind enough to submit to a Q+A session last year, here.


You can catch up with here at her website – here

and on Twitter - @_Anonymous_9     


Anonymous 9 was kind enough to send me a copy of this and I subsequently bought my own afterwards.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

STARK HOLBORN - NUNSLINGER 9: HOMILY FOR THE DAMNED (2014)


Synopsis/blurb…….

Fetched up in the dangerous frontier town of Little Rock, Sister Thomas Josephine - the fabled 'Six-Gun Sister' - finally finds herself on the edge of Indian Territory. But she knows she can't brave her next adventure alone. Allying herself with a drunken bounty hunter and an eagle-eyed tracker, she sets off into the wilderness, drawing ever closer to Abe Muir.

And the more she hears about the gang he's joined, the more certain she becomes that he needs her help. For Abe has fallen in with a terrible man, a man who's committed unspeakable crimes... and word is, he's done it all with Abe by his side.

But as Sister Thomas Josephine will learn, the west is an uncivilized land, and not everything is as it seems.

Running out of things to say for fear of repeating myself, myself, myself, mys…..

Episode 9 – 50 more pages and to quote Blackadder – “more twists and turns than a twisty-turny thing”

If Sister Thomas Josephine was an animal – it would definitely be a cat, with the number of lives she has.

Josephine is seeking Abraham Muir, so must find the feared outlaw, Colm Puttick and his gang. Our resourceful nun enlists the services of a couple of trackers/bounty hunters – Macclehorse and Bird.

“Doesn’t pay to keep company with fools, Sister does it?”

Our trusting nun has been duped and when Bird reveals his true identity, Josephine realises she and Muir have been sold out to Marshall Reasoner. The gallows await……

Great characters, great action, another solid read – but only in the context of what has gone before.

4 from 5


Net Galley-Library book.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

2 BY JACK CLARK

2 this week from Chicago cab-driver, journalist and author Jack Clark. 

Ever heard of him? Me neither, until some browsing on Amazon a year or two ago when I hit upon his books.

I was reminded of Sam Reaves  and his Chicago cabbie series starring Cooper MacLeish.  Visit here for more info.

He’s written 4 novels in total including three in his Nick Acropolis series. The first of which – Westerfield’s Chain was published by St Martin’s back in 2002 and was a Shamus Award finalist.

There’s a nine year gap between Westerfield’s Chain and the second in the series, Dancing on Graves. Highway Side came out in 2011. His other novel was published by Hard Case Crime in 2010 – Nobody’s Angel.

He’s also written a couple of books with his mother - Mary Jo Ryan Clark. ON THE HOME FRONT and PRIVATE PATH. Studs Terkel said, "Jack Clark's wondrous celebration of his working-class mother and her natural gifts as a storyteller has touched me deeply. Hooray for Mary Jo Ryan Clark and her boy Jack."

Oh, and he’s also a singer-songwriter and plays gigs! (What doesn't he do?)


Clark’s website – Hack Writing is here.





Westerfield’s Chain



Westerfield's Chain was a finalist for the Shamus Award for Best First Private Eye Novel.

 "A pure delight for many reasons, not the least of which is the way Jack Clark celebrates and rings a few changes on the familiar private-eye script. There's a memorable moment [on] virtually every page." - Chicago Tribune

"Clark knows his city: the geography and flavor of the neighborhoods are vividly presented, and interesting, often quirky characters are introduced along this fascinating ride." - Chicago Reader

"Jack Clark's descriptions are beautifully haunting and his plotting is exceptional." - Romantic Times

"A likeable protagonist and spirited, uncluttered prose." - Kirkus Review "It's a great read."-Publishers Weekly


Hack Writing & Other Stories


These 17 stories which first appeared in the Chicago Reader, cover everything from art to taxicabs. In between you'll find stories about pauper burials, the newspaper business, a high school cheating scandal, accidents and saloons. One element the stories have in common is the city of Chicago.

Monday, 25 May 2015

LOGGING THE LIBRARY - PART THIRTY-THREE

Another week, another tub, another 50 and not even halfway yet.....
Pre-logging look!
Michael Craven. Harry Bingham. Christianna Brand, Henry Chang, Friedrich Durrenmatt,


New York Chinatown

A novel or a play?

US Crime!

Kirk Lake, Henry Sutton, James Craig, Graham Marks, Evan Hunter,

Author-cum-actor Kirk Lake.

EvanHunter (Ed McBain) 1950's book!

British author - Japan setting!

Kem Nunn, Day Keene, Eugene Izzi, John R. Maxim, Brian Freemantle,

British agent series book.

50's US pulp!

Johannes Mario Simmel. Brian Freemantle x 2, Bill James, Peter Robinson

Spies and intrigue!

Charlie Muffin series book>

Austrian author.

Ron Rash, Ruth Rendell, Brad Smith, Loren D Estleman, Ferdinand Von Schirach, 

More literary than crime, I think.

William Marshall, Bill Pronzini, Ed Lin, Geoffrey McGeachin, Brian Garfield,

Brian Garfield - two-fer!

Australian irreverence!

Hong Kong set series book! 

Nameless detective series book no.38!

Les Edgerton, Bill Pronzini, Julia Crouch, Carole Morin, Gavin Extence, 

Scottish author! 

A book my wife started, but never finished!

Bill Pronzini - standalone!

Seymour Shubin, Brian Garfield, Dorothy Uhnak, Alistair MacLeod, Peter Quinn,

Canadian author, I believe. Did Moira blog this one?

US author.

50's book from Mr Shubin.

Wiley Cash, Philip Reed, Peter Steiner,

US author, French set series.

Wiley Cash - this one my wife loved!

Oliver Stark, Henry Sutton, Tess Gerritsen,


Douglas Lindsay, Peter Millar, Peter May,

Barney Thompson series book!

One of a trilogy!

A bit of non-fiction!

Post-logging look!

Highlights.....I'm looking forward to a bit of Brian Freemantle though I will approach his Charlie Muffin series in order. Other highlights - some short stories from Les Edgerton, Peter Steiner's French set series, a bit of Bill Pronzini and some Brad Smith 

Lowlights.......nothing - a decent tub overall!


FULL LIST OF 50 AS FOLLOWS.......

AUTHOR TITLE YEAR SERIES FICTION/NON
BINGHAM HARRY LOVE STORY, WITH MURDERS 2013 FG2 F
BRAND CHRISTIANNA GREEN FOR DANGER 1944 IC2 F
CASH WILEY A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME 2012 F
CHANG HENRY RED JADE 2010 DJY3 F
CRAIG JAMES THE CIRCUS 2013 IC4 F
CRAVEN MICHAEL BODY COPY 2009 F
CROUCH JULIA CUCKOO 2011 F
DURRENMATT FRIEDRICH THE VISIT 1962 F
EDGERTON LES MONDAY'S MEAL 1997 F
ESTLEMAN LOREN D. ROSES ARE DEAD 1985 PM2 F
EXTENCE GAVIN THE UNIVERSE VERSUS ALEX WOODS 2013 F
FREEMANTLE BRIAN MADRIGAL FOR CHARLIE MUFFIN 1981 CM5 F
FREEMANTLE BRIAN SEE CHARLIE RUN 1987 CM7 F
FREEMANTLE BRIAN GOODBYE TO AN OLD FRIEND 1973 F
GARFIELD BRIAN THE HIT  1970 F
GARFIELD BRIAN CHECKPOINT CHARLIE 1981 F
GARFIELD BRIAN THE MARKSMAN 2003 F
GERRITSEN TESS WHISTLEBLOWER 1992 F
HUNTER EVAN THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE 1953 F
IZZI EUGENE THE BOOSTER 1989 F
JAMES BILL PANICKING RALPH 1997 H+I14 F
KEENE DAY THERE WAS A CROOKED MAN 1954 F
LAKE KIRK NEVER HIT THE GROUND 1997 F
LIN ED ONE RED BASTARD 2012 DRC3 F
LINDSAY DOUGLAS THE CUTTING EDGE OF BARNEY THOMPSON 2000 BT2 F
MACLEOD ALISTAIR NO GREAT MISCHIEF 1999 F
MARKS GRAHAM TOKYO 2006 F
MARSHALL WILLIAM ROADSHOW 1985 YS10 F
MAXIM JOHN R. BANNERMAN'S GHOST 2003 B5 F
MAY PETER THE CHESSMEN 2012 LT3 F
McGEACHIN GEOFFREY FAT FIFTY AND F***ED! 2004 F
MILLAR PETER 1989 THE BERLIN WALL: MY PART IN ITS DOWNFALL 1989 N
MORIN CAROLE SPYING OF STRANGE MEN 2012 F
NUNN KEM TAPPING THE SOURCE 1984 F
PRONZINI BILL NEMESIS 2013 N38 F
PRONZINI BILL BLUE LONESOME 1995 F
QUINN PETER THE MAN WHO NEVER RETURNED 2010 FD2 F
RASH RON ONE FOOT IN EDEN 2002 F
REED PHILIP THE MARQUIS DE FRAUD 2001 F
RENDELL RUTH A SIGHT FOR SORE EYES 1998 F
ROBINSON PETER NOT SAFE AFTER DARK 1998 F
SHUBIN SEYMOUR MANTA 1958 F
SIMMEL JOHANNES MARIO THE CAESAR CODE 1970 F
SMITH BRAD RED MEANS RUN 2012 VC1 F
STARK OLIVER AMERICAN DEVIL 2010 H+L1 F
STEINER PETER THE RESISTANCE 2012 LMM4 F
SUTTON HENRY GET ME OUT OF HERE 2010 F
SUTTON HENRY FLYING 2000 F
UHNAK DOROTHY THE WITNESS 1969 CO2 F
VON SCHIRACH FERDINAND CRIME & GUILT 2012 F