Wednesday, 27 July 2016

LARRY D. SWEAZY - SEE ALSO DECEPTION (2016)


Synopsis/blurb….

In a small North Dakota town in 1964, indexer Marjorie Trumaine investigates the alleged suicide of the local librarian, uncovering a web of secrets that puts her own life in jeopardy.
October 1964 just months after freelance indexer Marjorie Trumaine helped solve a series of murders in Dickinson, North Dakota, she is faced with another death that pulls her into an unwanted investigation. Calla Eltmore, the local librarian, is found dead at work and everyone considers it suicide. But Marjorie can't believe that Calla would be capable of doing such a thing.

Marjorie's suspicions are further aroused when she notices something amiss at Calla's wake, but the police seem uninterested in her observations.

Despite pressing job commitments and the burden of caring for a husband in declining health, Marjorie sets out to uncover the truth. What she finds is a labyrinth of secrets and threats from someone who will kill to keep these secrets hidden."

Following on from Sweazy’s See Also Murder which introduced indexer Marjorie Truman, See Also Deception brings another case and more heartache for Marjorie. Her best friend, librarian Calla Eltmore has inexplicably committed suicide – or has she?

Another enjoyable and satisfying read. I did like the first with slight reservations, second time around I had no such qualms.   

Marjorie has it tough. It’s the mid-60s in rural North Dakota and after her husband’s paralysis following a hunting accident Marjorie is trying to care for him, keep the family farm afloat, as well as contend with the pressures from her New York editor for her to meet her indexing deadlines.

There’s still time to comfort Calla’s friend, Herbert – the war-damaged library janitor and rumour has it – Calla’s secret beau. Time to take an instant dislike to the temporary replacement at the library – Delia Finch. Time to fret over her deceased neighbours’ son, Jaeger Knudson and his romance with Betty Walsh – she of the twenty five cent perfume!  

Time to start asking a few awkward questions herself, after the police won’t take action on the anomaly she’s noticed when viewing Calla at the funeral home. Time to wonder who was it she bumped into, fleeing the library in a panic when she arrived there. Time to become jealous of Betty when she finds her joking with her bed-stricken husband conspiratorially, whilst she minds him.

Time to put herself and Hank in danger when the police eventually take notice and reluctantly start an investigation. Time to worry when she discovers all four of her truck tyres have been slashed and her phone line’s been cut!  

Great sense of time and place. Sweazy brings to life the isolation of Marjorie’s out-of-town farm as well as the struggle to maintain it and endure the vagaries of the seasons and the fears of crop failure and economic reality.

Great sense of small community – the gossiping, the listening in on the party phone lines, the town rumour factory, the neighbourliness, the frowning at the lady entering the bar or smoking in public.

Great main character – Marjorie – a 60s Superwoman – headstrong, determined, loyal, brave and admirable.

Not everyone’s a fan of the amateur sleuth, but I enjoyed it and think it’s well worth a read.   
  
4 from 5


See Also Murder was reviewed here.

Larry D. Sweazy has his website here.

Thanks to the publisher Seventh Street Books for the copy of this one.


Read in May, 2016.   

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

2 BY TODD MORR

2 from the Kindle this week and author Todd Morr.



Not an author I know a lot about if I’m truthful, only that he seems to be writing the kind of stuff I want to read. I’ve read the first chapter or two from each of these and it was a struggle to set them aside and get back to the three other books currently on the go.

He did have an earlier novel out which no longer seems to be available - Captain Cooker - I suppose I ought to worry about these two bad boys first and then the other 5000-odd books in the library before fretting over the one that got away!


Todd Morr has a Facebook page here and you can catch him on Twitter - @toddmorr1











Jesus Saves Satan Invests (2014)

IT STARTED with a message on her answering machine: ‘JESUS SAVES SATAN INVESTS.’ Living comfortably off the spoils of her ill-gotten gain as the centerpiece of a blackmail ring, Janet did not need to know the caller was currently sharing trunk space with a fresh corpse.

How could the day get any worse?

Easily... Jesus Saves, Satan invests is an action packed warp-speed rollercoaster ride through hell with a few pit-stops to load up on ammo along the way.

ABOUT TODD MORR

"The man has an ear for great dialogue. It was compelling just enough to read the characters stab back and forth with their words. The scenes were well-constructed and tight. Morr managed to keep the lead character floating in that shade of grey where yeah, he was exonerated, but does it really matter? I want another book out of this guy. Tomorrow." - Ryan Sayles

"Todd Morr has done something incredible with Jesus Saves, Satan Invests. He's written a crime book that almost seems like instead of being written, it was choreographed like some massive movie fight or action sequence, or really, directed like the ultimate chase movie. I mean, wow, with some kind of plot genius, he created about 20 fascinating and dangerous characters -- all engaged in a desperate chase of the one main and completely fascinating and very dangerous character -- Janet, or Margarita Corona. No need for boring back story or descriptions of setting Morr just keeps things moving from start to finish while managing to somehow slip in back story and vivid details without the reader even noticing that the action has slowed for a moment, like some kind of magician. So do you get what I am saying? This book is simply one of the most wonderful crime books I've ever read." - Mike Monson.

"Fast and freaking furious." - James Newman

Upon graduating from Adams State College with a degree in fine art Todd Morr decided if he was going to be a starving artist, he preferred music and writing. Morr lives in Salinas, California with his wife and children. He has published short stories in Out of the Gutter, Shotgun Honey and Death Throes Webzine. His first novel Captain Cooker, is out with Snubnose Press.

If You’re Not One Percent (2016)

Rem had found a girlfriend, work as a handyman and settled into anonymous life in a small mountain town.

Unfortunately, some young locals have decided to go on a killing spree, and Rem knows it. It would be nice to go the law, but Rem has secrets of his own, and decides to stop them himself.
Even in a small personal war things rarely go as planned, and Rem did not intend to end up trapped in a house with his girlfriend Delany, her best friend Denise, and a gutshot tourist--surrounded by a group of murderous rednecks who would be happy to add Rem's name to their growing list of victims.

Another amazing 280 Steps cover!

Monday, 25 July 2016

LOGGING THE LIBRARY - PART SEVENTY-SIX

Could possibly be the tub of The Vietnam War this week.....

I had a big fascination with this conflict, probably because I could dimly recall seeing news reports in the TV as I was growing up. Back in the 80s and early 90s I used to read a lot about it both memoirs and fiction. I can't recall the last Vietnam book I read. I ought to read something related soon - does the fascination still hold or have I moved on?
Tub 76

Ian Rankin x 2, David Corbett, David Mark, Tom Kakonis,

One of my all time favourite authors!
“A cracking good crime thriller that resurrects both the gambling hero of Kakonis' Michigan Roll and the exhilaratingly tough, yet deeply humane, storytelling that made that first novel one of the most memorable in recent crime fiction,” Kirkus Reviews

A mob boss has given professional gambler Timothy Waverly two weeks to make good on a $300,000 debt…or die at the hands of two hit men. Waverly’s only hope is convince a pill-popping, ex-girlfriend and her loser husband to set him up in a series of high-stakes poker games in Palm Beach with a rich Arab prince who cheats at cards. But that’s not the only game that’s rigged. Waverly knows he’s going to be killed as soon as he pays his debt…and that somehow he’s got to cheat death in the ultimate gamble.

Charles Cumming, Frances FitzGerald, Pete Dexter, Peter Temple, Tom Mangold/John Penycate,

Pete Dexter - not an author I have tried yet.

Ian Rankin x 3, Pete Dexter, Ryan David Jahn,

3 x Rebus, probaby not one for bedtime reading! I'll break my arm.

Ryan David Jahn 
From the author of the award-winning debut crime novel Good Neighbors-a white-knuckle thriller about the lengths a man will go to for his daughter.

The phone rings. It's your daughter. She's been dead for four months.

So begins East Texas police dispatcher Ian Hunt's fight to get his daughter back. The call is cut off by the man who snatched her from her bedroom seven years ago, and a basic description of the kidnapper is all Ian has to go on. What follows is a bullet-strewn cross-country chase from Texas to California along Interstate 10- a wild ride in a 1965 Mustang that passes through the outlaw territory of No Country for Old Men and is shot through with moments of macabre violence that call to mind the novels of Thomas Harris.
Justin Rose, Robert Newman, Martina Cole, Rick Gekoski, Andrew Weist (ed.)

Sporting diary following Coventry City's fortunes!

Justin Scott and a series book

Harlan Coben, Tonino Benacquista, Sebastian Faulks, Anthony Horowitz, Blaine Harden,

Fun times in North Korea



Made into a film starring De Niro
Imagine The Sopranos transplanted to the French countryside... .

This thrillingly comic, internationally bestselling Mafia farce is the inspiration for the major motion picture The Family starring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Tommy Lee Jones, and produced by Martin Scorsese.

The Blakes are newcomers to a small town in Normandy. Fred is a historian researching the Allied landings, Maggie enjoys charity work, and their kids are looking forward to meeting other teenagers at the local lycee. Or so it seems.

In fact, Fred is really Giovanni Manzoni, an ex-goodfella turned stool pigeon who's been relocated from New Jersey to France by the FBI's witness protection program. He's got a two-million-dollar bounty on his head, but he and his family can't help attracting attention (imagine the Sopranos in Normandy). And when imprisoned mobster Don Mimino gets wind of their location, it's Mafia mayhem a la Josh Bazell's Beat the Reaper, or like The Godfather as if written by Carl Hiaasen. Because while you can take the man out of the Mafia, you can't take the Mafia out of the man.

Time-Life Vietnam series books
One from a 25 book series, I didn't manage to stay subscribed for the whole run.

Part-work magazine on Nam - 36 episodes in all. Published 1990 - I suppose I ought to start reading them! 







James W. Hall, Oliver Stark, Harry Crews, John Lanchester,

Harry Crews - quite a rare book!
Straight out of college, a guy joins a karate troupe on a Florida beach, The "Karatekas." Action adventure w/ babes, sun & sand.
Poetry in the tubs! James W. Hall better known for his Thorn mysteries! 

Dick Francis x 3, Val McDermid, William Marsden/Julian Sher

Tony Hill/Carol Jordan

Francis 3-fer from the 60s

Adam Blade, James Patterson, Breece D'J Pancake, Stephen King


Collection of short stories from short-lived author.

Tub 76 - put to bed!



HIGHLIGHTS....... Ryan David Jahn, a bit of Ian Rankin, David Corbett, Tom Kakonis


LOWLIGHTS....... a couple of children's books I seem to have hoovered up from my son's collection when he was a lot younger. If I read them I read them, but unlikely.




FULL LIST OF 50 AS FOLLOWS:

AUTHOR TITLE YEAR SERIES
(NTVE-10)  NAM: THE VIETNAM EXPERIENCE 10 THE AFTERMATH 1990 10
(NTVE-11) BAKER MARK NAM: THE VIETNAM EXPERIENCE 11 NAM 1990 11
(NTVE-12) MASON ROBERT NAM: THE VIETNAM EXPERIENCE 12 CHICKENHAWK 1990 12
(NTVE-8)  NAM: THE VIETNAM EXPERIENCE 8 CAMBODIA AND THE EASTER INVASION 1990 8
(NTVE-9)  NAM: THE VIETNAM EXPERIENCE 9 AIR WAR AND THE SOUTH ABANDONED 1990 9
(NVTE-13) CHANOFF/VAN TOAI DAVID/DOAN NAM: THE VIETNAM EXPERIENCE 13 PORTRAIT OF THE ENEMY 1990 13
(NVTE-14) O'BRIEN TIM NAM: THE VIETNAM EXPERIENCE 14 IF I DIE IN A COMBAT ZONE 1990 14
(TVE-10) MILLS NICK THE VIETNAM EXPERIENCE: A NATION DIVIDED 1984 10
(TVE-12) DOUGAN CLARK THE VIETNAM EXPERIENCE: A COLLISION OF CULTURES 1985 12
(TVE-13) DOLEMAN  EDGAR C. THE VIETNAM EXPERIENCE: TOOLS OF WAR 1985 13
(TVE-17) FISCHER J. THE VIETNAM EXPERIENCE: IMAGES OF WAR 1986 17
(TVE-8) DOYLE EDWARD THE VIETNAM EXPERIENCE: COMBAT PHOTOGRAPHER 1984 8
BENACQUISTA TONINO BADFELLAS 2010
BLADE ADAM NANOOK THE SNOW MONSTER 2007 BQ5
COBEN HARLAN CAUGHT 2010
COLE MARTINA BROKEN 2000
CORBETT DAVID THE DEVIL'S REDHEAD 2002
CREWS HARRY KARATE IS A THING OF THE SPIRIT 1972
CUMMING CHARLES THE TRINITY SIX 2011
DEXTER PETE BROTHERLY LOVE 1991
DEXTER PETE THE PAPERBOY 1995
FAULKS SEBASTIAN BIRDSONG 1993
FITZGERALD FRANCES FIRE IN THE LAKE 1972
FRANCIS DICK BLOOD SPORT 1967
FRANCIS DICK FLYING FINISH 1966
FRANCIS DICK ODDS AGAINST 1965 SH1
GEKOSKI RICK STAYING UP: A FAN BEHIND THE SCENES IN THE PREMIERSHIP 1998
HALL JAMES W. THE MATING REFLEX 1980
HARDEN BLAINE ESCAPE FROM CAMP 14 2012
HOROWITZ ANTHONY ARK ANGEL 2005 AR6
JAHN RYAN DAVID THE DISPATCHER 2011
KAKONIS TOM DOUBLE DOWN 1991 TW3
KING STEPHEN BAG OF BONES 1998
LANCHESTER JOHN CAPITAL 2012
MANGOLD/PENYCATE TOM/JOHN THE TUNNELS OF CU CHI 1985
MARK DAVID ORIGINAL SKIN 2013 DSAMA2
MARSDEN/SHER WILLIAM/JULIAN ANGELS OF DEATH 2006
McDERMID VAL THE TORMENT OF OTHERS 2004 TH+CJ4
NEWMAN ROBERT DEPENDENCE DAY 1994
PANCAKE BREECE D. TRILOBITES & OTHER STORIES 1992
PATTERSON JAMES MARY MARY 2005 AC11
RANKIN IAN A QUESTION OF BLOOD 2003 JR14
RANKIN IAN STRIP JACK 1992 JR4
RANKIN IAN THE BLACK BOOK 1993 JR5
RANKIN IAN MORTAL CAUSES 1994 JR6
RANKIN IAN RESURRECTION MAN 2002 JR13
SCOTT JUSTIN STONEDUST 1995 BA2
STARK OLIVER 88 KILLER 2011 H+L2
TEMPLE PETER IN THE EVIL DAY 2002
WIEST ANDREW ROLLING THUNDER: IN A GENTLE LAND (ed.) 2006

Sunday, 24 July 2016

JUNE 2016 - READING LIST AND PICK OF THE MONTH



Back on track with a great month's reading after a couple of months in the doldrums. Assisted by a lazy week sitting around a pool in Spain, sipping cold San Miguel's, I read 13 books in the month - only a few of which I've managed to pen some thoughts on.

The full list of reads were.......

Steven Hayward - Jammed Up (A Debt Gone Bad Novella) (2016) (4)

Robin Yocum - A Brilliant Death (2016) (5)

Sarah M. Chen - Cleaning Up Finn (2016) (4.5)

Stephen Jay Schwartz - Boulevard (2009) (4)

Robert Campbell - Plugged Nickel (1988) (4)

Kenneth Cook - Fear is the Rider (2016) (4.5)

Iain Ryan - Four Days (2015) (4.5)

Augusto De Angelis - The Hotel of the Three Roses (1936/2016) (3.5)

J. Frank James - Lou Malloy: The Run Begins (2013) (4)

Lou Berney - Whiplash River (2012) (4)

Harry Dolan - Bad Things Happen (2009) (4)

Patrick Hoffman - Every Man a Menace (2016) (4)

Duane Swierczynski - Canary (2015) (4.5)


Book of the Month - Robin Yocum's A Brilliant Death - the only book scoring top marks.

4 reads a shade below at 4.5, 7 rating 4 stars and 1 slightly less - Augusto De Angelis at 3.5. Nothing sucked, nothing wasted my time.

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

9 of the 13 were new-to-me authors, 4 have been read before - Robert Campbell, Iain Ryan, Lou Berney and Duane Swierczynski.

No surprises here - 12 dudes, only 1 dudess - but Sarah M. Chen more than held her own.

9 authors hail from the US, 2 from Australia, 1 from Italy, 1 from England

All 13 were fiction.

7 were paperback reads, 5 were Kindle editions, 1 was a PDF - printed and read (sod the trees!)

1 originally published in the 1930s, 1 from the 1980s, 2 from the noughties, 9 from this decade - 5 from this year.

5 of the 13 books I pre-owned, 1 was accessed via Net Galley, 1 was accessed via Edelweiss, 4 were sent to me by publishers and 2 from the authors/publicists on their behalf.

Favourite cover? A few contenders - Yocum's isn't too bad. Swierczynski's is fun and eye-catching. Campbell's is quite interesting, Sarah M. Chen's is cool.

A couple I really don't like - sorry Mr Hayward and Mr James, though I probably haven't done Steven Hayward any favours using a crappy out of focus image - sorry!

On balance, Patrick Hoffman's Every Man a Menace is a winner, with a lot more going on there than at first glance!