Tuesday, 23 September 2014


Herbert Lieberman is the author of over 10 novels, most of which reside on the shelves of my library. My first encounter with him was when I read CITY OF THE DEAD (1976) sometime in the 80’s. It’s a novel concerning a medical examiner in New York whose daughter has been kidnapped. My memories of the book are dim and fuzzy and probably less than totally coherent, but I can vaguely recall being amazed, enthralled and absolutely terrified as I read it. Enough so that I was moved to collect most of his other books over a period of time. CITY OF THE DEAD is scheduled for a re-read at some point as is CRAWLSPACE. If I’ve read any of the others, I can’t really recall them.

Lieberman, born in 1933 and now in his 80’s is still with us living with his wife in Los Angeles according to Fantastic Fiction’s website. He may have been well on the road to becoming a forgotten author but Open Road Media have republished most if not all of his books in the past year or so in Kindle editions.


"They say I'm dead. - Shot in a cafe in Asuncion. Lured into Brasil and mown down by an Israeli assassin team. dredged out of the Iguacu Falls, my throat slashed." : Words spoken by the Death Angel of Auschwitz - Dr.Grigori - who lives and thrives in the corrupt, crumbling dictatorship of Paraguay where he continues his murderous, inhuman experiments. One man still pursues Grigori, though. A man of cold persistence, a man of violence...


In this novel of mounting suspense from award-winning author Herbert Lieberman, a terrifying surprise waits beneath a couple's New England home
Albert and Alice Graves live a normal, if monotonous, domestic life. They've never had children; they spend their days tending to their home and enjoying their time together. One day, when the oil man, Richard, is refilling their furnace, Alice invites him to dinner, never suspecting that a casual act of charity will lead to a horrifying, morbid discovery in the crawlspace underneath their beloved house.

The Graves take Richard into their lives, becoming attached to his presence as though to the son they never had. Their town, though, is not nearly so welcoming. When the locals lash out against the Graves and their strange houseguest, the contented household is irrevocably drawn into a darkness they could not have imagined.

Monday, 22 September 2014


Last month's starred book was Canadian author Dietrich Kalteis' debut Ride the Lightning.

Review here

Dietrich has taken his turn answering a few questions for me.

Is the writing a full-time or a sideline-passion-hobby? If not, whatʼs the day job?

I write every day, and for me, itʼs the best job in the world. Five years ago, my wife convinced me it was time to close my graphics business and start writing full time, something Iʼd talked about for a long time. And thatʼs what I did.

Whatʼs been the most satisfying moment of your writing career so far?

Coming home one day two years ago and finding out I had a book deal. After I finished my first novel Ride the Lightning, I sent several queries to agents and publishers that accepted submissions over the transom. A few weeks later I heard from Jack David at ECW Press, and he liked the story and offered me a contract. As far as high points in my life, that was right up there.

From start to finish how long did “Ride the Lightning” take from conception to completion? 

I started with a single scene and just started writing. That first draft was finished in about three months. After a short break, I went back over it with fresh eyes and started editing, taking out anything that didnʼt work and adding in some new details. I ended up going back over it three/four times over the next nine months before I was satisfied that everything flowed the way I wanted.

How close was the end result to the book you envisaged writing at the beginning? Did you have a beginning and end in mind before you started, or is it a case of making it up as you go along?

I write by the seat of my pants. For Ride the Lightning, I started with the spark of an idea based on an article I read a few years ago, and it set the overall theme for the story. The article talked about the incredible number of illegal grow-ops here in British Columbia: an industry generating billions annually. It claimed our pot industry was bigger than fishing or lumber or tourism. It fascinated me, and so I started putting scenes together and forming ideas for the story. I borrowed my lead character, Karl Morgen from a short story I wrote a couple of years earlier about a process server who tries to serve up divorce papers on the manager of a travel agency. He has a hard time getting past the
guyʼs pretty receptionist, and I liked the way the dialogue between the two sizzled. Dropping Karl into a scene, I just started writing, letting his character develop along with the story. I didnʼt work to a tight outline, rather letting the story unfold.

Whatʼs your typical writing schedule? 

Itʼs very simple: Walk dog, eat, write. Repeat. I do throw in some strong coffee and loud music, writing every morning until noon, often coming back to it later in the day, but morning is the best time for me. Iʼm sharp, focused and more energetic then.

Do you insert family, friends and colleagues into your characters? Would they recognise themselves?

I havenʼt modeled characters after family members, friends or colleagues, although I may have borrowed a trait here and there. The characters are pure fiction, true Frankensteins in the sense that theyʼre a little of this and a little of that.

Are there any subjects off limits as far as your writing is concerned?

I write the kind of books I like to read, and for me, crime fiction with elements of dark humour fits the bill. I donʼt think I could write something I consider morbid, depressing or completely horrifying. Something the length of a novel takes many months to complete, so I have to feel fully committed in order to stay enthused for that length of time.

What are the last five books youʼve read?    
I just finished Tourist Season by Carl Hiassen. Before that, my summer readings
included Black Rock by John McFetridge, White Jazz by James Ellroy, American
Detective by Walter Mosley, Forty Lashes Less One by Elmore Leonard (the only book of his that I hadnʼt read at least once).

Who do you read and enjoy? 

I read a lot, both fiction as well as non-fiction, and enjoy anything that is well written, with a lean toward crime fiction. Old favorites in the genre are Elmore Leonard, James Ellroy, George V. Higgins and Robert B. Parker. Thereʼs also a whole sea of great contemporary crime-fiction writers: Robert Crais, Carl Hiaasen, John McFetridge, Peter Leonard, just to throw a few names around. 

Outside the genre, I like anything by Hunter S. Thompson, Patti Smith, Jack Kerouac, Leonard Cohen, William Burroughs, Charles Bukowski, Tom Wolfe, Ken Kesey, Allen Ginsberg, as well as classics by Hemmingway, Salinger, Steinbeck, Twain …

Is there any one book you wish you had written?

I canʼt say thereʼs any one book I wish Iʼd written. But there are many great books that I admire, writers with jaw-dropping voices that inspire and leave me in awe.

Favourite activity when not working?   

I like to paint, play with cameras and guitars, watch football (soccer) and go for long walks and longer trips. And, of course, I read a lot.

Whatʼs the current work in progress? Howʼs it going?

I just handed over the final edits for my second novel, due out next year: itʼs a crime story called The Deadbeat Club, set in Whistler, BC. The story was never intended to be
part of a series, but it does borrow a minor character from Ride the Lightning. Dara Addie becomes a main character in the new story. Sheʼs a year older, just as edgy and ready for the deep end. I also have a third crime novel complete and am presently working on some historical fiction.

Have you done much meeting and greeting in an effort to get the book in front of people? Do you enjoy that aspect of being an author? (Me - I can think of few things worse, TBH)

Iʼve attended conferences, been on panels and taken part in interviews and readings. Along with several local writers, we put on a Noir at the Bar, Vancouver-style, and are getting ready for our next one in November. Itʼs all a lot of fun.

If I check back in a couple of yearʼs time, where do you hope to be with the writing?

Book ten – still getting up every morning, keeping to my schedule: walk the dog, eat, write and repeat.

And lastly, I want to thank you for inviting me to be your guest, Col. I wish you and your readers all the best.



Many thanks to Dietrich for his time. You can catch up with him here on his website or over on Facebook here.

Friday, 19 September 2014


Judy Nedry was the latest author kind enough to tolerate a few questions from yours truly. Judy has written a couple of mysteries with a 50-something main character - Emma Golden

The first - An Unholy Alliance was read and enjoyed recently. The second - The Difficult Sister sits on the pile waiting for its turn.  

My review appeared yesterday and is here.

Here we go .........

Is the writing a full-time or a sideline-passion-hobby?  What’s the day job?

•        At this point, the writing is a sideline/passion. I lost most of my retirement funds in the crash of 2008, and therefore am working at a couple of part-time jobs just to keep in the game. So I write when I can. I worked as a full-time writer/editor for many years, and have been addicted to writing since I was very young.

What’s been the most satisfying moment of your writing career so far?

•        Probably the most satisfying moment was when I published my first novel, An Unholy Alliance, at age 60. Imperfect though it is, this was the fulfillment of a life-long dream. Although I’d always wanted to be a novelist, my career was in journalism.

From start to finish how long did An Unholy Alliance take from conception to completion?
•        10 years from conception to completion. Seven of those years was noodling around in my head while I did other things—including writing two nonfiction books. When finally the story started to gel, it took me about three years to get it written and published.

You have written a second novel featuring Emma Golden, the main protagonist in An Unholy Alliance  – The Difficult Sister (it’s on my TBR pile), without  spoilers is Emma someone you anticipate writing about for the considerable future? Is there plenty of legs in her character yet?

•        Currently I am working on the third novel in the Emma Golden series—set in wine country again, after her adventure at the coast with Melody Wyatt for The Difficult Sister.  I am contemplating a prequel. Emma was a wine writer for 20 years, and I just think the industry was more fun/interesting back in the early years. I can see her having some hair-raising adventures in the Oregon wine country’s early years. She’s also well-versed in the wine regions of several European sites—particularly Burgundy, but also Alsace, Bordeaux, Portugal, northern Italy, and all over the U.S. These could be a lot of fun.

Do you have any unpolished diamonds tucked away in the bottom drawer or your writing desk?

•        Nothing in the bottom drawer. However, I have a biographical tale of my year as an anarchist—a bumbling anarchist—editing a counter-culture magazine in Eugene, Oregon in the early 1970s. That could be quite hilarious. Right now it is interfering with the progress of novel #3.

You have a non-fiction book to your name, how does the writing process vary between factual stuff  and your fiction? (Oregon Wine Country and Washington Wine Country, if readers are interested)

•        They actually are two separate books—Oregon Wine Country (1998) and Washington Wine Country (2000). They are very out of date but wonderful histories of the Washington and Oregon wine industries from their beginnings up to the years they were published. Plus, they have stunning photos by my colleague Robert Reynolds.  Fiction or non-fiction, the process does not change. For me there is the plan/research, very rough outline, more or less sectioned into topics and sub-topics. And then I sit my butt in a chair and write. When I really get going it’s magic. One of the joys of being a trained journalist who also did most of my journalism/freelancing while I juggled a job and family and household management, is that I could write anywhere at any time whenever time was available. So…once I get going, I’m able to write whenever I can squeeze in a few minutes.

Do you insert family, friends and colleagues into your characters? Would they recognise themselves?

•        Most of my characters are made up. There are hints and bits of people I’ve known or have encountered or characteristics of people I’ve encountered, but the characters themselves are products of my imagination. In An Unholy Alliance, a lot of people thought they “recognized” people in the book. Well, good luck. One woman thought I’d used her B&B as the setting. Nope, not even close. The one whose B&B inspired me didn’t recognize it. Fiction is so tricky that way.
•        There is one exception: Melody Wyatt. She is directly inspired by a very dear friend of mine, who is very pleased to be so recognized. They are not the same person, but if people who know Jessie are told she was the inspiration for Melody, they instantly get it. You can check out my website, judynedry.com and read the blog, “The Making of Melody Wyatt”. I even have a picture of her.

Are there any subjects off limits as far as your writing is concerned?

•        The idea of Emma ever touching a gun doesn’t work for me. She wouldn’t do it. She’s too much of a wuss. She’d make a complete hash of it. I do not envision myself writing graphically about rape or any violence toward women or children, although plenty happens off-stage. I think the sex scene in The Difficult Sister is probably as far as I will go depicting sex. In the bigger picture, I can promise you there will be no vampires, zombies, or dystopian fantasy post-apocalypse hoo-haw of any sort. Oh, and I won’t kill animals in my books.

What are the last five books you’ve read?

•        The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin
•        A Most Wanted Man by John LeCarre
•        The Fatal Gift of Beauty by Nina Burleigh
•        A Murder in Tuscany by Christobel Kent
•        The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

Who do you read and enjoy?
•        Since I write mystery/suspense, the mystery/suspense genre is my drug of choice. However, I really enjoy good biographies of celebrated people (I’m Your Man about Leonard Cohen for example) and non-fiction, particularly historical (In the Garden of Beasts about pre-WWII Berlin,or Seabiscuit or The Boys in the Boat…things like that).

Is there any one book you wish you had written?

•        To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald—both quintessential American fiction. I re-read them both every couple years.

Favourite activity when not working?

•        Reading—it goes without saying, film, cooking/baking, gardening, food, walking, and travel when I could afford it.

What’s the current project in progress? How’s it going?

•        The third novel in the Emma Golden mystery series has been a struggle to date. I’ve had problems with a couple of the characters. Also, promoting Sister has taken up a fair amount of my time, so I haven’t had the time I’d like to devote to writing.

What’s the best thing about writing-publishing?

•        I enjoy the process of writing, revising, editing, re-editing, and seeing a project to its completion. I co-founded a wine and food magazine in the 1980s and I always loved all aspects of the process. I’ve self-published both my novels and love selecting the cover art and tweaking the design. As for the writing, once I am into it I lose consciousness of everything else. It is like I’m out of my body and in another dimension where I am living the story. It’s complete escape for me.

What’s the worst?

•        All the dithering up in my head before I hit that vein of gold.

If I check back in a couple of years’ time, where do you hope to be with the writing?

•        The third book in the series will be published and I hope to be well into the anarchist project.

Thanks to Judy for her time.



"Like many women in their fifties, Emma Golden feels invisible. She lives quietly in her Portland, Oregon bungalow and minds her own business. But her tranquil life is about to change. She is asked to return to the rolling hills of her former wine country home south of the city to supervise a friend’s bed and breakfast inn near Dundee.

Emma arrives at the Westerly Inn during grape harvest. She is under contract to write a book about Oregon wineries, and it’s business as usual until she discovers one of her subjects dead in a wine vat—murdered at his own dinner party.

Cougar Crossing Winery owner Ted Maxell was a ruthless and dishonest newcomer to the northern Willamette Valley wine scene. Many people wanted him gone—including his son, many local winegrowers, and even Emma’s ex-husband, Dwight. Then Maxell’s daughter, Tiffany, calls Emma and begs for assistance. “I know who killed my father,” she wails. When Emma answers Tiffany’s cry for help, she finds herself drawn into the search for a murderer or murderers with secrets worth killing for."

On the face of it, this book isn’t something that would typically attract my attention, but having previously acknowledged that I don’t read a sufficient number of books by females and that most of my books are tilted towards the edgier extremes of the genre I thought I would redress the balance on both scores. When offered the chance to read this and the second Emma Golden mystery, The Difficult Sister I said yes.   

A wise decision. I started and finished this 320-odd page book in a day, not something that happens particularly often these days. Cliché time….a bit of a page-turner then.

Our setting is the wine country of Oregon, a subject and setting our author has a familiarity with, which shows. I learned a bit about the process of wine production and how a winery operates without getting drowned in a glut of facts and technical detail.

Our main character; Emma is interesting, capable, intelligent but not without her issues or baggage. Emma is returning to her painful past, trying to pick up the pieces of a damaged friendship and help a friend overcome the same difficulties with alcohol that Emma herself has beaten. She’s immersed back into a familiar community including an ex-husband, but it’s a community and a circle that she previously turned her back on and fled from. This in itself carries a threat for Emma, exposing herself back to the temptations of the bottle.  

Our victim, a winery owner is a pretty loathsome individual, so we have no shortage of candidates for the crime. Ted Maxell is beaten and drowned in a vat of his own wine. As the story progresses, Emma under the guise of researching her forthcoming book, discovers more about Maxell and both his business dealings and personal behaviour and relationship. Hell after half the book, I would have been tempted to kill him myself if someone hadn’t beaten me to the punch. A second death follows and the plot deepens.

Judy Nedry
Overall – a really interesting book and something a bit different from my usual crime fiction reads. The sideshow with Emma’s involvement in her friend’s troubles helped fleshed the story out and give it more meat on the bones and added to my overall enjoyment. I’m looking forward to Nedry’s second book – The Difficult Sister (I could say that’s something I know all about, but that would be mean, so I won’t……oops, already have)

4 from 5 

Judy Nedry’s website is here.

Thanks to the author for my copy.    

Thursday, 18 September 2014



Treasure Coast is the wild new thriller from Tom Kakonis, the acclaimed author of Criss Cross and Michigan Roll.

A compulsive gambler goes to his sister's funeral on Florida's Treasure Coast and gets saddled with her loser-son, who is deep in debt to a vicious loan shark who sends a pair of sociopathic thugs to collect on the loan. But things go horribly awry...and soon the gambler finds himself in the center of an outrageous kidnapping plot involving a conman selling mail-order tombstones, a psychic who channels the dead and the erotically super-charged wife of a wealthy businessman. As if that wasn't bad enough, a killer hurricane is looming...

It's "Get Shorty" meets "No Country for Old Men" on a sunny Florida coast teeming with conmen and killers, the vapid and the vain, and where violent death is just a heartbeat away.

"Kakonis is a sharp new gambler in the literary crap game -- he just takes the pot." The New York Times

"Aptly compared to Elmore Leonard, Kakonis builds exquisite tension...steamy with a high-rent, low-life atmosphere...and an unforgettable cast." Publishers Weekly

"Tom Kakonis is a master of the low-life novel. Nobody does it better." Ross Thomas

Tom Kakonis is one of my favourite authors of all time; a judgement I have arrived at on the strength of reading 4 of his books. Kakonis first came to my attention in the late 80’s with the superb Michigan Roll – a tale about a former college professor-cum-professional gambler-cum-ex jailbird.
After a fairly long absence from the publishing scene and now thanks to the dynamic duo of Lee Goldberg and Joel Goldman and their recently spawned love-child - Brash Books – he’s back.

Treasure Coast is fast, funny, black, violent, irreverent and politically incorrect……populated by a cast of predominantly misfits, losers and failures. In short my kind of book.

We cross paths with Jim Merriman, a failed gambler and reluctant uncle, assuming responsibility for his naïve and bewildered nephew, Leon who just happens to owe 45k. Jim and Leon are soon to meet Morris Biggs, Jr. - a racist and misogynistic, debt collecting ex-con and Hector, his Hispanic side-kick. Leon’s unlicensed lender has just enlisted his collection agents to come and collect.

We happen upon Bryce Bott an opportunistic chancer and grifter selling the recently bereaved a conduit to their dear departed, in tandem with his sick-note partner, Waneta. Bryce’s previous scams may not match the potential his current scheme offers, though Waneta does seem to be acting rather strangely.
Added to the mix is the sexy temptress, Billy Swett – the head-turning, third wife of the fabulously wealthy “Big Lonnie” Swett.

Billy keeps bumping into our central protagonist Jim, seemingly at every turn. Jim not immune to the charms of the lovely lady is surprised to meet her at Bott’s. Billy’s been contributing to Bott’s wallet in return for messages from the other side, regarding something troubling her from her past. Whereas Jim, slightly less believing in Bott’s spirit world connections is trying to recover some funds the witless Leon has palmed over, in the belief his recently deceased mother can offer him some guidance on how to escape the clutches of the neanderthal, Junior Biggs.    

When our grifter, debt collectors, uncle and nephew collide; Bott hatches a plan on the hoof to kidnap, Billy and relieve “Big Lonnie” of some of his fortune to everyone’s mutual advantage. Jim, stalling for time and with limited options reluctantly goes along with it, shrewd enough to understand that Biggs won’t be willing to settle for a share of the 5 million when he has to tools and inclination to eliminate his accomplices for a bigger share of the pie. Big Lonnie’s unwillingness to part with his cash in return for Billy without further enquiries introduces another dynamic to the mix – “Cheetah” McReedy an ex-cop turned investigator.       

With Cheetah closing in on the kidnap gang and Junior Biggs running light on patience, we reach a climax just as a hurricane strikes.   

Overall verdict – really enjoyable. Perhaps feelings of nostalgia cloud my judgement, as I scored it slightly lower than the much loved debut, Michigan Roll. It’s been one of the highlights of my year seeing Tom Kakonis back in print after all this time.

4 from 5

Many thanks to Lee at Brash for an ARC of this. Brash are in the process of republishing all of Tom’s previous books, including a couple previously published under the pseudonym of Adam Barrow. Several are available now, with more to come in February 2015. More details on their website.

There's a couple of blog posts by Tom on the Brash site - Creating Waverley and The Story Behind Treasure Coast.

Kings River Life Magazine have a review and interview with Tom here.

Can you tell I'm a fan?

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


John's book, An American Outlaw was read and enjoyed last month.

Set in the Texas desert the setting among other things was a big part of the story. John sent over some fantastic photographs below to help illustrate the tale.

John Stonehouse

John was kind enough to submit himself to my usual interrogation.

Is the writing full-time or a sideline-passion-hobby? What’s the day job?

I write full-time. I've been writing professionally for a long time – my first career was writing lyrics and songs – now I'm doing full-length fiction, which I love. But writing is writing – it's all related.  No idea why I do it. And I'd probably go crazy if I couldn't.

What’s been the most satisfying moment of your writing career so far?

Probably An American Outlaw coming out and picking up so many great reviews from both seasoned reviewers (like yourself) and also regular 'rank and file' readers – people who don't basically write reviews, but felt moved to. Then there's the unexpected things that happen out of the blue – like being singled out by CSI/Forensics organisation ForensicOutreach.com as one of the best crime writers to watch in 2014, alongside the likes of Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane and James Ellroy (!)  I'm truly grateful for all of it.

From start to finish how long did An American Outlaw take from conception to completion?

I don't know, I stopped counting. When I started the book I was writing in between doing other things, the same way most people start out. So it took time. I did a lot of drafts before I got an agent. I signed to a big agency, and they asked me to do a major re-write. So I did that. Then we got the boss of one of the major publishing houses on board, and she wanted yet another major re-write. So I did that.  I was re-writing it forever. I honestly have no idea, but we're talking years rather than months.

I believe you self-published your book, was that your chosen route?

It wasn't, (see above answer) but while I was working on the book, the entire industry was changing, the big houses becoming more and more risk-averse, and agents having a hard time selling projects by new writers. In the end, the publisher pulled out, saying they weren't confident they could make it a big enough hit. A minor hit would've been good enough for me – I was just looking for a place to start, and a way to begin building a readership. But the up-side to all the changes going on in the industry was that I could still get the book out there, in the end. And maybe I'll sell it to another house one day...

Publishing traditionally is still a good option I'd look to for other books I do. But the landscape has changed, and I'll probably take the same 'hybrid' route most writers do these days – some books trade-published, some self-released.

How difficult is it getting people to pay some attention and getting your book noticed, without the support of a publisher?

It's difficult. But it's difficult for trade-published writers, too. Unless you're a front-list writer with a major house (a Lee Child or a Harlan Coben) you don't really get very much in the way of promotion. The vast majority of writers are all in the same boat when it comes to marketing and selling; they have to hustle. You've got to work it. You've got to do whatever you can.

How do you edit your book? Do you have a support network that can provide constructive feedback for you?

I had my agent, plus the rest of the staff at the agency, plus the director of publishing at said major. Editorial support is probably the main benefit of being trade-published right now - unless you're being offered a fat advance!  I love to work with editors.  I also have people I trust for feedback. And I'm pretty ruthless, too. I'm always cutting.

What’s your typical writing schedule?

I write full-time, five days a week, try to take weekends off if the schedule allows.

Are there any subjects off limits as far as your writing is concerned?

Not really any subjects off-limits, but I'm wary of using subjects in an expoitative way. There's so much pressure to grab attention in the world of arts and entertainment, the market's so saturated that shock-tactics are seen as an easy sell. But you have a responsibility to the culture you're helping to create. And in addition, great power often comes from the very smallest moments in a story – a look, an image, a single word that sends shivers down your spine – that can be the moment you always retain. You don't need fourteen car chases in a movie to keep it interesting, you don't need a dozen graphic murders in a book.  I'm not saying you can't have them. But power and meaning don't come from that.

What are the last five books you’ve read?

The Black Box by Michael Connelly, The Son by Philipp Meyer,  A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway,
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith and Gravesend by William Boyle

Favourite activity when not working?

I like to get outside and move. Love the great outdoors, travel, the sea.

What’s the current project in progress? How’s it going?

Always multiple projects fighting for attention – but right now I'm concentrating on the follow-up to An American Outlaw.

If I check back in a couple of year’s time, where do you hope to be with the writing?

I'd love to say selling a ton of books, and selling the rights to TV and Film – a lot of people have told me they think An American Outlaw has a natural cinematic quality. Realistically, I hope I'll be building a bigger and bigger readership, and producing good work that entertains people and ends up meaning something to them. A storyteller can ask for no more...

An American Outlaw can be found at Amazon UK here and on Amazon.com here.

You can find John on Facebook and on Twitter @JohnStonehouse2 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


I don’t think I have assembled any book lists on my blog to date, but after a bit of encouragement from Moira over at Clothes in Books, I have put together a list of 10 crime novels that are important to me on a personal level.

Important insofar as each one went some way towards firmly entrenching my reading habits within the crime fiction genre, sometime late 80’s or very early 90’s. My reading then was typically Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker, a bit of Frederick Forsyth. A King blurb on an Elmore Leonard Penguin paperback changed all that.  

I have read more by each and every author on this list. 

Three of the authors are sadly deceased; Willeford, Leonard and Izzi - the last in fairly bizarre-suspicious circumstances

Eugene Izzi
Two of them have had new books out in August and September, 2014 which I will be reading - Kakonis (already done) and Koenig

A couple of the authors, I have consciously decided to stop reading, even though they attract fairly universal acclaim - Burke and Ellroy
Charles Willeford

A couple of them I haven’t picked up a book by in years.

All of the authors are American.

None of them have been reviewed on the blog. 

8 of them are still lurking in the shelves somewhere, ready for a re-read. 

4 of them, kicked off the start of some enduring series characters with Dave Robicheaux - though I always preferred Clete Purcell myself, Burke, Thorn PI and Timothy Waverley.

From the dates of publication, I obviously love the 80's (apart from the music and the fashion)! 

Andrew Vachss
1987 was a particularly good year, though 1988 was better - I got married!

In no particular order, with links to the books on the Fantastic Fiction website where you can find out a bit more if you choose.

Carl Hiaasen – Tourist Season (1986)

Joseph Koenig – Floater (1986)

Charles Willeford – Kiss Your Ass Goodbye (1987)

Andrew Vacchs – Flood (1985)

James Ellroy – The Black Dahlia (1987)

Elmore Leonard – The Switch (1978)

James W. Hall – Under Cover of Daylight (1987)

Tom Kakonis – Michigan Roll (1988)

Eugene Izzi – The Take (1987)

James Lee Burke – The Neon Rain (1987)

Carl Hiaasen
James W. Hall