Apr 022015

ANN AGUIRRE – Wanderlust. Ace, paperback original; 1st printing, September 2008.

   I have no idea why I started this, the second in a six book series, before reading the first one, Grimspace, but somehow that is exactly what I managed to do. It didn’t seem to matter, though. Whatever I didn’t understand in terms of what happened in the first one, I ignored and plunged blithely on, and enjoyed myself immensely, surprisingly so.

   The leading protagonist throughout the series is a “jumper” named Sirantha Jax, but she’s not alone in her adventures. She has a entire crew of fellow shipmates, each of whom has their own identity and individual contributions to the cause. Allow me to be sketchy on the details, but March, her lover, is a telepath who is always politely in her head, but is left behind partway through this adventure. Others include an genetically enhanced fighter; an alien who wears the skin of a human; an mechanic who may also be an heiress; and another pilot, female, who joins them midway through this one, about the same time March is left behind.

   It seems as though Sirantha is the focal point of trouble wherever she goes — and that’s Trouble with a capital T. In Book One, she was responsible for bringing down the Farwan Corporation, which had ruled known space for quite some time, and thus putting the Conglomerate in control. At the beginning of Book Two (this one), they appoint her as ambassador to a planet that is making hints of leaving the Conglomerate.

   I have the feeling that the six books are all one long novel, and this is Chapter Two. It begins at Point A, as just described, and continues to Point B, the planet to which Sirantha is sent on her way.

   And in between? All kinds of captures and narrow escapes: landing on a emergency space station controlled by vicious man-eating aliens; being trapped in the middle of a civil war on their next port of call, initiated by their own arrival; and being held prisoner by the Syndicate, a science-fictional version of the Mob which thrives on chaos in the galaxy, not peaceful co-existence between worlds.

   Sirantha Jax tells her own story in a delightfully sassy and punkish sort of way. Again the details don”t matter all that much. What’s fun is the reading of what’s otherwise a good old-fashioned space opera/romance, gritty but without all of the military trappings so many authors think I’m interested in. I’m not.

   PS. A jumper is a space pilot who plugs her mind into the ship’s controls to help guide it through grimspace, an ability that also seems to be killing her in this adventure.

       The Sirantha Jax series –

1. Grimspace (2008)
2. Wanderlust (2008)
3. Doubleblind (2009)

4. Killbox (2010)
5. Aftermath (2011)
6. Endgame (2012)

 Posted by at 1:23 am
Apr 022015

81T8LIwDY6L._SL1500_Yes! The trade paperback edition of TCOOL is now available in the CreateSpace Online Store. In a matter of days you’ll be able to buy it on Amazon, and shortly thereafter it’ll be in stock at other online booksellers. But why wait?

I should point out that the CreateSpace retail store is a good place to buy any of my self-published trade paperbacks—Write For Your Life, The Night and the Music, A Walk Among the Tombstones, Defender of the Innocent, Catch and Release, and a few more, including as of today The Crime of Our Lives.


Apr 012015

By J. Kingston Pierce on March 31, 2015
My maternal grandfather is largely to blame for my interest in Erle Stanley Gardner and that California author’s best-remembered fictional creation, Los Angeles defense attorney Perry Mason. As boys, my brother and I would spend occasional nights at the home of our mother’s parents, while our own father and mother visited with their friends or dined out together. Our grandfather was a great fan of TV crime dramas, and evidently less concerned than our mother was about how television might corrupt young minds. So he let us sit with him while he watched such classic small-screen fare as Adam-12, The F.B.I., Cannon, Mannix and, of course, Perry Mason.
I didn’t realize back then how formulaic those Perry Mason episodes were. But they followed a familiar pattern: a murder takes place; an innocent person (most often a woman) is charged with the crime; and Mason (played so well by Raymond Burr) not only takes on the difficult defense of the accused, but manages in the end to convince the real killer to stand up in court and—tossing aside his or her Fifth Amendment rights—confess in a tearful or angry outburst. “I did it! And I’m glad I did!” that person might declare, much to the astonishment of District Attorney Hamilton Burger, whose haplessness somehow never lost him his high-profile job.
Not until many years later, after I’d added crime-fiction reviewing to my journalistic endeavors and begun collecting vintage mystery novels to study how the genre had evolved, did I discover that Gardner’s Mason books—at least the initial ones (he penned a total of 82!)—were rather different from the courtroom action-heavy pursuits of justice presented on the boob tube. Editor and New York City bookseller Otto Penzler got it right when he explained, in 1977’s The Private Lives of Private Eyes, Spies, Crime Fighters and Other Good Guys, that “Mason’s earliest cases are straightforward, action-filled thrillers which have little to do with jurisprudence.…A considerable disdain for the law is in evidence (as in most books about private detectives, particularly in the 1930s when Mason’s recorded career began), and results are more often obtained with a punch to the mouth or a blasting revolver than by a clever deduction.”

for the rest go here:
J. Kingston Pierce is both the editor of The Rap Sheet and the senior editor of January Magazine. You can link here to previous entries in his “rediscovered reads
Apr 012015
Me, reviewing a comic on this blog? Yep! Why? Well writer Duane has been writing some awesome crime fiction and I am a fan of  Alex Segura's work who is the brain behind the whole Dark Circle line this comic is a part of, so why not. And this Black Hood guy is one hardboiled guy...
Philly cop Greg Hettinger is shot in the face as he takes down a vigilante killer. That makes him a hero, but also a scarred and disfigured man who plunges deeper and deeper into depression. In the end he pulls on the hood of The Black Hood which ends this origin issue.
The story of Hettinger is told at a brisk space and could have been a novel by Duane by itself. The dark, gritty art perfectly enhances the story and has me wanting more.

Apr 012015
Former DEA contractor Jonathan Cantrell is now a fixit man for a big law firm, his ex Piper is working for the cops. At first glance live seems to be good for both, but as the story progresses we see that is not really the case.
Jon is asked to track down a missing boy but ends up tangling with a vigilante killer. Aside from Jon's story there's the story of Deputy Chief Raul Delgado who has lived an interesting life that is really important to the story and possibly outshines Jon's plotline. Sometimes it even seems there's two books in one, but it really all makes sense in the end.
What I really enjoyed in this one was the fact that Harry Hunsicker really outdoes himself with the hardboiled prose in this one. It really, really reads very tough and hardboiled, like listening to a good blues album. I also liked the fact that this was more of a crime novel than the first one in the series that seemed to be more of an action thriller.

Apr 012015
The most original PI of the decade, Frank Boff teams up with the most flawed, toughest female investigator of the decade as suspended, hard-drinking cop Emily Lynch debuts. They make a deal: Frank helps her with her murder investigation, she helps him with a missing person investigation. When the cases collide there is hell to pay!
The introduction of Emily Lynch really makes the plot more exciting. There's some very great lines from this politically incorrect character that had me chuckling quite a few times.
I wasn't sure about the ending though. It seems Boff might be moving away from the Dark Side more and more, which I thought made the character so cool and interesting.
Anyway, another great entry in the Boff series. If you want to know a bit more and aren't sure if my word is good enough you can pick up a free copy of the first one in the series here for 2 days.
Apr 012015

So here we are at April 1, when, we were assured by Mike Ripley, we would see his final "Getting Away with Murder" column for Shots eZine.

Not so fast there, pardner. That "final" column - column 100 - has just been published. And Ripley isn't going anywhere. He explains:

"Well if Richard III can make a triumphal comeback after 500 years, so can I, although I admit the circumstances are slightly different. After all the weeping down a hundred telephones, the thousands of letters (many in green crayon) and a petition with almost a million signatures demanding that Jeremy Clarkson be given my job (surely some mistake – Ed), I have decided to continue to write this monthly missive for the outstanding organ that is Shots."

May I see the hands of all those who are shocked and surprised? (Yes, thank you, Mrs. Ripley.) For the rest of us, however, who have become used to this entertaining monthly melange of news and gossip about the crime fiction scene, particularly in the UK, it is welcome news.

This month's column includes news and brief reviews of some new thrillers and other mysteries, including a couple of books based on (and written for) the actor George Sanders, short lists for a number of relevant awards, some intriguing-sounding spy thrillers by Alexander Wilson published before 1940, some thoughts on a recipe in the new Mystery Writers of America Cookbook, a new serial killer book being blurbed by Lee Child, previews of some more books due for publication in May, and republication of a 1953 "lost" pulp novel by Cameron Kay - a pen name for Gore Vidal. 

Whew. Can't wait to see what he'll have for next month - and glad he's sticking around to show it to us.