FUN & GAMES, Duane Swierczynski
Another high-octane actioner from the guy who brought us The Wheelman, Severance Package and The Blonde, among others. This one finds former cop “consultant” and high-end house sitter Charlie Hardie in a fight for his life against The Accident People—a shady crew with unlimited resources who set up tragic deaths. Along with a washed-up young actress, Charlie struggles to stay one step ahead of the bad guys. Basically, FUN & GAMES is one amazingly suspenseful set piece after another. The thrills just keep coming and the fights, escapes, and close calls are relentless. It’s the literary equivalent a big-budget action movie.
A brutal but funny MF of a novella from Charlie Williams, GRAVEN IMAGE seems designed to keep the reader always a little off-kilter. The protagonist, Leon, tears across the pages in a mad search for his daughter, and he won’t allow anything to stand in his way. The real strength of this story is the slowly creeping realization that there is something… wrong… with Leon and his perception of events. About three-fourths of the way through, you start to get some ideas about what’s really happening, but that doesn’t lessen the horrible blow that comes when Leon finally realizes it himself. A different tone from Charlie’s Mangel novels, but equally compelling.
RAISE A HOLLER, Jason Stuart
This mad-cap romp through the backwoods of Colleden County is an amazingly fun page-turner. Redneck teens Hank and Billy, on a half-ass quest to find a cache of hidden bootleg booze, wind up on a—really, there’s no other way to put it—journey of self-discovery, encountering a family of vile females looking for a baby-daddy, a gaggle of drugged-out hippies, an escape by hot-air balloon, corrupt law, an insane swamp man, a bad-ass Chevy and a pampered tiger among other things. It’s a nicely episodic novel, one that makes it impossible to guess what madness the boys will stumble into next.
The Devil’s Music: When You’re a Stranger, Julia Madeleine
Julia Madeleine’s latest story of Sadie, the Devil’s daughter, claims another rock icon into the 27 Club. It’s Paris, 1971, and Sadie has come to claim her mad poet Jim this time. But WHEN YOU’RE A STRANGER is not just a simple appreciation of Jim Morrison, because that would be too easy. It’s a heartfelt meditation on the nature of love, beauty and loss that somehow still manages to avoid being maudlin or sentimental.