Wednesday, 22 February 2017

PATRICK E. McLEAN - THE LUCKY DIME (2017)



Synopsis/blurb…..

Hobbs is a professional thief who takes on a heist even though the money doesn't match the risk....but the woman behind the job does. It's a bad play that blows his world apart.

This novella is a prequel to THE SOAK, a searing crime novel that introduces an exhilarating new voice in noir fiction that’s as sharp, cruel, and relentless as the story’s unforgettable hero.

A quick and exciting 29 page read from a new-to-me author courtesy of Brash Books (and my wife – who is signed up to receive the publishers’ newsletter. The Lucky Dime being a February FREEBIE.)

I do like novels and stories featuring thieves and Patrick McLean’s man Hobbs is an interesting addition to my gang of favourites – Max Allan Collins and his character Nolan, Garry Disher’s Wyatt, Westlake/Stark’s Dortmunder and Parker to mention a few.

Hobbs has a sidekick here Brogna, who provides a bit of muscle and some solid back-up. The job itself is a take-down of a family laundry business, planned by one of the owners. Teddy Ida is dissatisfied with his sibling, Ervin and his running of the chain of laundries. Teddy’s fed-up being ignored and fancies a bit of pay back.

Add Grace, Teddy’s current floozy to the mix – a floozy he pinched from Ervin and who within half an hour of meeting Hobbs is get down and dirty with our thief and Teddy might be regretting getting some ideas above his station. Hobbs takes what he wants from who he wants, especially if they’re weak.

Sexual tension, violence, confrontation, a bit of safe blowing, a plan thwarted and a twist in the tale. Book buying embargo or not, I’m tempted to check out The Soak a bit later in the year.

Hobbs is my kind of character and Patrick E. McLean an author I reckon I’d enjoy in the longer format.

4.5 from 5

Patrick McLean has his website here. Not too sure where he originally hails from which is a bit frustrating for my OCD reading stats.


Read in February, 2017
Source - Brash Books Freebie
Published - 2017
Length – 29 pages

Format - Kindle

Thursday, 16 February 2017

JOHN MURRAY (as told to SHARON MURRAY with ABBY JONES) - CODE NAME: PAPA (2015)

Image result for code name papa


Synopsis/blurb.....

Who’d have thought a bright, but fairly ordinary young man from middle class America who got just above average grades, dated the same girl throughout high school and went to church most Sundays, would grow up to eventually head a very secretive band of brave individuals-both men and women-who regularly put their lives on the line because they wanted to protect the rest of you. Yet that’s what we did, often sacrificing our personal lives (four marriages for me, all in the book) and our health (countless broken bones, major surgeries, even death) to do it.

Meanwhile you’re just going to have to call me “Papa” like everyone else around the globe has through most of those wildly unpredictable and dangerous years.

Not a memorable read by any stretch of the imagination, I'm afraid. Code Name: Boring would be a fitting alternate title in my opinion.

"Papa" went to Vietnam, made a couple of life-long friends in combat and was recruited along with them to a shadowy, secretive organisation which set about eliminating threats to Joe Public's well-being all around the globe.

Corrupt American Generals, dodgy politicians, Mafioso types, drug-runners, human traffickers......BOOM, because with Papa and his trusty crew on the case......they're going down!

In between our missions, we have chapters spent training, recruiting, planning and living a far from normal family life.........dull, dull, dull.

Early on - maybe chapter 5 from a total of 43, I knew I wasn't going to be thrilled by this book, but was still minded to complete - albeit at a pace of a couple of chapters a day while enjoying a couple of more entertaining reads.

Missions described were vague and sometimes seemed a bit too fanciful to be true. Conversations recalled and reported seemed incredibly wooden......

He said, "Very good sir, would you like me to have the kitchen fix you anything to take with you?" I declined.

"You do know the plane has been waiting for you for approximately an hour?"

I replied I knew.

He said, "Sir, we will miss him also, but we understand you are our primary concern from now on. We will do our best to meet your needs."

I softly thanked him. After he closed the doors, I walked over and picked up my briefcase. I opened it, checked my revolver, and put it back, along with some papers I needed.

True - false? Who cares? Memoirs or fantasy? I'm not sure, at times it read like The Man Who Saved The World meets The X-Files.

Disappointing and 2 stars from 5.
(In fairness, a few folk over on Amazon.com seemed to enjoy this a lot more than me....24 reviews - 14 @ 5 STARS, only 1 @ 2!)

After finishing chapter 43, page 313, I softly closed the book.....plucked the skewer from my eyeball - implanted around 200 pages earlier, so I could experience a different kind of pain while reading, whispered "thank fuck" to myself and went off to make a sandwich.... (turn the page to discover just what type of lunch I made for myself)......yawnsville.

Read in February, 2017
Source - Book Publicity Services review copy. (Cheers Kelsey)
Published - 2015
Length - 326 pages
Format - trade paperback

Monday, 14 November 2016

OCTOBER 2016 - READING LIST AND PICK OF THE MONTH

October's reading in summary. 

I kind of struggled in the month to concentrate on my reading which might explain why I watched so many films instead. A break towards the end of October with a few days away with my wife, saw me spending more time loitering in book shops and the book sections of charity shops than actually reading. Hopefully November sees an improvement.

Nick Triplow - Frank's Wild Years - best book in the month!

A bit of a stretch considering the length of some of these, but hey hoh - my blog, my rules - 11 books read in the month.

They were....

Andrew Nette - Gunshine State (2016) (4.5)

Nick Triplow - Frank's Wild Years (2012) (5)

Stephen Puleston - The Devil's Kitchen (2016) (3)

Aidan Thorn - Criminal Thoughts (2013) (4)

Eric Beetner - The Year I Died Seven Times Book 1 (2014) (4)

Garnett Elliott - The Drifter Detective: Volume 1 (2013) (4)

William Marshall - Yellowthread Street (1975) (4)

Martin Stanley - The Curious Case of the Missing Moolah (A Stanton Brothers thriller) (2014) (4.5)

K. A. LaityHard Boiled Witch: Toil & Trouble (Hard-Boiled Witch Book 2) (2014) (4)

K. A. Laity - Hard Boiled Witch: Charms O'erthrown (Hard-Boiled Witch Book 3) (2014) (4)

Adam Maxwell - The Defective Detective: Murder on the Links (2011) (3.5)

Book of the month - Nick Triplow - Frank's Wild Years - October's only 5 star read. 

2 x 4.5 stars - Andrew Nette and Martin Stanley. 
6 x 4 star ratings,
1 x 3.5 and 1 x 3 stars - another month where they all entertained me and nothing was a struggle to enjoy.

A bit more trivia or data........

10 different authors.

5 of the 10 were new-to-me authors........  Stephen Puleston, Aidan Thorn, Garnett Elliott, William Marshall, and Martin Stanley - I have more from all of them in the library.

5 authors have been read before - Andrew Nette and Nick Triplow have been read one time previously,  Eric Beetner has half a book credit to his name - I read Over Their Heads - a novel he co-authored with J.B. Kohl earlier this year. Third go for Adam Maxwell and fourth and fifth time around the block with K.A. Laity.

Gender analysis - no surprises here - 9 dudes, 1 lady - up on September! The lady was read twice.
Could do better Mr Keane.

3 authors hail from the US, 3 from England, 2 from Australia, 1 from Wales, 1 British (Welsh, Scottish or English but unconfirmed.)

All 11 reads were fiction.

1 was a paperback read, 10 were Kindle books.

10 from this decade - with 2 from this year. 1 book from the 1970s.

10 of the 11 books were pre-owned!
Though at a glance a few of them would have been Amazon Freebies when bought.

1 was received from the publisher 280 Steps via an early reviewing website - Edelweiss.

Favourite cover? Gunshine State - Andrew Nette




Garnett Elliott's The Drifter Detective is probably my second favourite cover.










My reads were this long 306 - 216 - 70 - 61 - 41 - 106 - 128 - 106 - 27 - 27 - 27
Total page count =  1115 (1789 in September)



4 < 50,
2 between 51 < 100,
3 between 101 < 200,
1 between 201 < 300,
1 between 301 < 400,
0 > 400 pages

Andrew Nette's Gunshine State was the longest @ 306.







Sunday, 13 November 2016

GARNETT ELLIOTT - THE DRIFTER DETECTIVE: VOLUME 1 (2013)


Synopsis/blurb......

A DRIFTER DETECTIVE LONG SHORT STORY. #1. (Paperback and eBook include the bonus short story “Fighting Chance.” Paperback also contains a preview of Hell Up in Houston, the second book in the Drifter Detective series.) -- Jack Laramie, grandson of the legendary U.S. Marshal Cash Laramie, is a tough-as-nails WWII vet roaming the modern West. He lives out of a horse trailer hitched to the back of a DeSoto, searching out P.I. gigs to keep him afloat. With his car limping along, Jack barely makes it to the sleepy town of Clyde, Texas, where he stops at a garage. While waiting for repairs, he accepts a job from the sheriff, pulling surveillance on a local oilman allegedly running liquor to Indian reservations in Oklahoma. When Jack runs afoul of several locals and becomes dangerously close to the oilman’s hot-to-trot wife, he wonders if the money is worth his life.

A PI novella here with a difference. Instead of the gloomy office with the desk and the obligatory bottle in the bottom drawer, we have a travelling PI, Jack Laramie. Laramie is driving through Texas, trying to eke out a living picking up cases town to town. Our setting is post-WWII.

Arriving in Clyde, he lays up while his car receives some necessary repairs. A trip to the saloon, a drink with the sheriff and he has a new case. He's hired to keep watch on the comings and goings at an out-of-town ranch owned by a rancher turned oilman Thomas McFaull. The sheriff suspects McFaull of running illegal booze to an Indian reservation. A few days in and Laramie thinks he's been sold a pup.

An interesting story; we have a small town with the gossiping inhabitants, each with a whisper in the stranger's ear about the sheriff, there's obvious friction between him and his deputy which Laramie finds himself in the middle of. A couple of dames adding to the mix. Laramie is rooming at the boarding house run by the lonely widow woman, where a few night-time shenanigans occur,  and McFaull has an attractive buxom wife, one who is quite generous with her favours to a couple of the locals.

Great sense of time and place and a decent twist at the end. Elliott has created an intriguing character in Jack Laramie and drops just enough snippets about his history to make me want to read the next Drifter Detective tale and discover a bit more.

At the back of this 106 page e-book there's a great bonus story - Fighting Chance. A boxer gets slipped a mickey while celebrating his acquittal in a court case. He wakes up in the ring, where he has to fight for his life literally, his mob boss displeased at recent events.


Excellent reading fare - 4 from 5

Garnett Elliott has penned a few more Jack Laramie tales, some of which I have on the kindle. There's eight in the series so far with three of them penned by other authors. BEAT TO A PULP is the publisher.

I can't find an author website, but he's on Twitter@TonyAmtrak


Read in October, 2016.
Bought a year or two ago for Kindle.
106 pages









Saturday, 12 November 2016

ADAM MAXWELL - THE DEFECTIVE DETECTIVE: MURDER ON THE LINKS (2011)


Synopsis/blurb.....

Clint had woken up in some strange places in his time. Narcolepsy is like that. But even he had never woken up on a golf course next to a dead body. Until today.

When one of his friends reveals himself to be a detective Clint jumps at the chance to tag along. But his friend is an idiot. And the police are beginning to suspect that he was involved. The identity of the killer seems obvious but can Clint get to the bottom of the mystery and save his own skin before the stag party catches him?

Murder. Intrigue. Alcohol. Detectives. Clues. Golf. Laxatives. What else do you need?

Another short story/book to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Best story ever? No but I do like Adam Maxwell's entertaining writing style.

We have our man Clint, a narcoleptic plotting revenge on a group of friends on a stag do - a bit of schoolboy humour and a prank with some strong laxatives. All goes to plan, but fast forward and Clint wakes up in a bunker on the golf course next to a corpse.

The police fancy him for the murder, but with some questioning of the witnesses in the vicinity, some applied logic and a bit of luck Clint can clear himself........always assuming he can stay awake long enough.

A couple of lines I really liked.....

Waking up in public with subtlety is something that's difficult to achieve.

It's amazing how much information you can glean from an idiot with a personality bypass.

3.5 from 5

I've read Adam Maxwell previously - Dial M for Monkey (short stories) and his novel The Dali Deception.

Adam has his website here. He's on Twitter - @LostBookshop


Read in October, 2016
Copy received from author after a sign-up on his blog/website
Kindle read - 27 pages.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

K. A. LAITY - HARD-BOILED WITCH: TOIL AND TROUBLE (BOOK 2) (2014)


Synopsis/blurb......

Hecate Sidlaw finds herself caught between a wannabe witch and one of the oldest hereditary powers in the land. When she and her familiar Henry end up as seconds in a magical duel, will anyone be left standing at the end of the shootout? Enter the dark streets and weird magic of HARD-BOILED WITCH and your life will never be quite the same. This is the second episode in the short story series.

In truth, not a book that will live long in the memory but you know what - it was short, (27 pages), it was seasonal - I read it around Halloween, it had witches and it was a lot shorter than Rowling's HP offerings.


Hecate's working away, her new neighbours turn up and introduce themselves. They're interrupted by the arrival of a young woman done up in her best Stevie Nicks clobber. A young witch is being harassed - drum roll please - Hecate Sidlaw and her cat Henry to the rescue.

Spells turning cobwebs into intruder alarms, pin-sticking magic in beeswax figurines, protection charms and a silent toad called Elvis, we climax with some duelling witches and a granny riding to the rescue.

An enjoyable half-hour or so's reading. A few cultural references, a bit of history and a bit of humour interjected into a narrative fuelled by an over-active imagination.

4 from 5

I read the first in the series of short Hard-Boiled Witch tales - Hocus Pocus You're Dead last year.

K. A Laity has her website here. Catch her on Twitter - @katelaity

An author I'll be reading more from in the future.

Read in October, 2016
Bought on Amazon for Kindle.
27 pages.