Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Robert B. Parker's The Hangman's Sonnet (Jesse Stone) by Reed Farrel Coleman

I was convinced Reed wouldn't take the easy way out with this series and he doesn't disappoint. You see, it would have been easy to take the premise Robert B. Parker left him with and just tell the same story over and over again, never changing the character. Reed however manages to make Jesse Stone grow with each novel. I feel like Reed understands, knows, the character almost better than Parker himself did.
Struggling with alchohol and the death of his great love Jesse still manages to act as police chief, although his friends frequently need to cover his ass.
When a bulgary ends up in murder Jess investigates and becomes involved with the search for a missing master tape of a folk singer's biggest record.
For fans of Spenser (and who reading this blog isn't) there's also a cool short scene with the wisecracking PI that makes the book worth your purchase already.
There is absolutely a nice mystery within these pages that is wrapped up quite neatly. We see Jess clash with several authority figures and there's some wonderful characters walking around.  The highlight, however is how Jess moves on with his life and his struggles.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Courage Resurrected (Ray Courage) by R. Scott Mackey

College professor turned PI Ray Courage's wife was killed in an accident 13 years ago. Now he receives e-mails from her. Is she really still alive? When he investigates he becomes a suspect in her death. Evading the authorities he tries to find out who is sending them these e-mails and what the truth is behind the accident. He ends up tangling with an ex-MMA fighter who's now a succesful but ruthless business man.
Ray starts out as more or less an everyman character but ends up a bit more hardboiled in this story. It's pretty fast-paced and the villains are interesting. The mystery is solid enough too.
Absolutely good enough to have me interested in more.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Midnight Lullaby (Henry Malone) by James D.F. Hannah

I discovered this one via Kevin Burton Smith's awesome Thrilling Detective website. Kevin of course knows his PI's so if he says this is one to watch I take not. Man, was he right!
Former State Trooper Henry Malone is kind of a mix between Spenser and C.W. Sughrue or better yet, a darker version of Rafferty. He's not an official PI but does some favors for friends, aided by his buddy and AA sponsor Woody. That's the kind of team I've loved since Spenser.
In this first novel he is asked to track down a missing young mother. He gets involved with neo-Nazis, meth labs and sleazy lawyers.
What makes this one such a winner is the way Hannah walks the line between the action-packed and witty style of Robert B. Parker with the dark style of say James Lee Burke and Andrew Vachss. He manages to tick every box I like in PI fiction, making me probably his biggest fan.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Q & A with Ed Robinson

There's a long line of Florida adventurers that started with the great Travis McGee. I'm always interested in learning about new ones.  Ed Robinson introduced us to Meade Breeze in his Trawler Trash series that I wanted to know more about...

Q: What makes Meade Breeze different from other hardboiled  characters?  
He lives off the grid, on a boat. No cell phone or computer, no license, no bank account. He deals with the fringes of society, but somehow manages to get into trouble no matter where he goes. Additionally, he’s more often the criminal than the hero. 

Q: How did you come up with the character? 
There’s a lot of myself in Breeze. I live on a boat, mostly at anchor, and travel all over Florida and the Bahamas. Toss in a little Travis McGee and James Hall’s Thorn character, and you end up with a guy like Breeze.

Q: What are your thoughts on the whole eBook revolution? 
I sell 100 ebooks for every paperback, so obviously I’m all for it. Convenience, price, and our ever-growing dependence on electronic devices tells me ebooks are the future. 

Q: What's next for you and your characters? 
I’m working on the tenth book in the Trawler Trash Series, and hope to keep Breeze alive for many more. Every time we travel on our boat, we meet new and interesting characters which become fodder for more story lines. 

Q: What do you do when you're not writing? 
Boat, beachcomb, and beer. 

Q: How do you promote your work? 
Almost exclusively through Facebook. My fan page has over 10,000 followers. 
https://www.facebook.com/quityourjobandliveonaboat/?ref=bookmarks

Q: What other genres besides crime do you like? 
Anything and everything Florida. There’s a whole subset of Florida writers that I enjoy; Randy Wayne White, Carl Hiassen, Tim Dorsey, Wayne Stinnett, etc. 

Q: In the last century we've seen new waves of PI writers, first influenced by Hammett, then Chandler, Macdonald, Parker, later Lehane. Who do you think will influence the coming generation?
Ed Robinson, of course! Actually it’s hard to say, but I think some of the current indy writers with big followings will change the future of writing and authorship. 

Q: Why do you write in this genre?
Write what you know, right? 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Dead Man's Hand (Calvin Watters) by Luke Murphy

Calvin Watters used to be an NFL star but when he was forced to quit he became a debt collector in Las Vegas. When they try to frame him for the murder of a casino owner he sets out to prove he's an innocent man.
Detective Dale Dayton's marriage is going through a rough time as he is charged with solving this murder. As he investigates he becomes convinced Calvin didn't do it, even if a lot evidence seems to say he did.
Dale is pretty much your average crime novel hardnosed cop with a bad marriage and the police procedural aspect of things didn't appeal to me much. Calvin hower is a very unique character. He starts out as more of villain than hero and the sadistic ways he collects the debts make him a very unlikely protagonist. He's got some very good computer skills, is a good marksman and very intelligent. That makes him a pretty good detective which he shows here.
The story is in part a set-up as well for the second novel in which it seems there's a bad guy returning and Calvin will start a different career.