Oct 292014
 
Retired Navy SEAL Nate "Nasty" Jepson meets a man on the run, carrying a bag full of beef sticks. When the guy gets killed and Nate manages to get away safe with the beef things get dangerous. When his landlady gets kidnapped things get even more personal.
While he struggles to stay alive and tries to get to the bottom of things Nate Jepson also finds some time for romance.
Nate is a pretty cool and competent PI, but not the kind of superman you might expect if you read that he used to be a Navy SEAL. Sure, he can take care of himself but he also gets scared a little and is not a flawless fighter.
The book's biggest strength is also the weakness. We really get in the head of Nate as he tells the story. It's a nice voice, and I really liked the guy. In some places all his asides started to slow down the pacing a bit, though.
If the writer tightens the writing just a tad this will be a great new series.
Oct 292014
 
I was really happy with this novel, one of the best of this writer in years. Where most of the last few novels seemed a bit by-the-numbers and more of an episode of Law & Order then the great mystery series this used to be this one has Mr. Kellerman returning to form.
When psychologist Alex Delaware gets involved in a custody case the losing party bears him a lot of ill will, endangering his life. When people start getting killed and an innocent child goes missing he, together with gay detective Milo Sturgis investigates.
What makes this one so great is that we see Alex do more than just investigate crimes. There's a whole plot other than him just helping out Milo. It made the story more varied and enjoyable. Also, there was a bit more action than the endless theorizing and interviewing of the last few novels.
Here's hoping Mr. Kellerman continues in this way.
Oct 112014
 
I am a big fan of Reed Farrel Coleman's work. I am also a big fan of Robert B. Parker's work. So I figured Parker's characters in Coleman's hands should be a match made in heaven. Turns out I was right. So, after Michael Brandman now Mr. Colleman chronicles the story of Jesse Stone.
Reed seems to "get" Jesse Stone even better than Parker himself if that's even possible. By that I mean the character really, really came to life for me. The time Reed spend researching about the character to write an essay in the non-fiction "In Pursuit Of Spenser" pays off here.
When a young woman is murdered in Paradise police chief Jesse Stone finds a connection to his old baseball team. Falling in love with a pretty undercover Special Agent, saving damsels in distress from bikers, battling against the bottle all keep him pretty busy. In the end though, Jesse solves the case... Kind of.
Aside from great work on Parker's characters Coleman introduces a few great ones of his own creation, like the thug-in-love Breen. These characters are just as fascinating as Parker's.
Oct 082014
 
When you hear the main sleuth is a pastor you might think this is a cozy. Wrong! Pastor Jonah Borden is absolutely a Son of Spade. Just read the chapter where he takes on 3 tough guys in prison.
When a member of his church is arrested as a suspect in a vigilante killing Borden investigates. He learns, from the man's confession that he cannot be the killer. Bound by his oath he cannot tell the cops the man's secrets though, so he continues the investigation on his own, getting involved with a beautiful TV reporter.
I loved Borden's witty dialogue and Hilperts writing style. It reminded me of Robert B. Parker in his best days. The pacing was good, the characters cool, the action hardboiled. Everything I want in a crime novel. A winner!
Oct 082014
 
When the family of a 14-year old is slaughtered she and her boyfriend both confess. PI Lena Jones is hired by her the girl's biological mother to prove her innocense. Soon there's someone after Lena, going so far as torching her house.
Lena investigates the secrets of the girl's family, meeting a lot of suspects and finding out what a peculiar man the girl's father was.
Lena is a pretty lively character and the Arizona setting is brought to life very well. The mystery itself is pretty satisfying, and there's a nice amount of twists. I did however think the pacing was a bit slow, the book could have done with 50 pages less for me.
All in all, solid enough for fans of female PI's.
Sep 242014
 
This is a Ludlum action-adventure spy novel disguised as a PI novel... Think Barry Eisler, Eric Van Lustbader, Lee Child...
Jim Brodie is an antique dealer in San Fransisco who als inherited his dad's security firm based in Japan. He also consults for the local cops on matters Asian and antique.
When an entire family is slaughtered in the San Fran neigborhood called Japantown the cops ask him to show up because there's a mysterious Japanese character painted there. Brodie is more than interested because the last time he saw that character it was at the scene of his wife's death.
As he investigates he travels to New York and to Japan where he joins the guys from his dad's firm to find out who is behind the murders. What he encounters is an ancient and very dangerous group of assassins that endanger not only his life but that of his daughter as well.
There's a lot of mysterious ancient Japanese secrets and societies, martials arts and conspiracy stuff. Basically, the scale is a bit bigger and international than I usually like, but Brodie is a capable leading man and the story very well researched.
Read it if you're a fan of the authors mentioned at the beginning.

Sep 092014
 
The swansong of Moe Prager is here...
His bad luck never ends, after surviving a battle with cancer his girlfriend Pam is killed in an accident, sending Prager on a bender, crawling into the bottle to hide from his pain. Then a woman from his past shows up, asking him to track down her missing daughter, who used to be some kind of internet hype. Prager walks the streets of New York city, trying to find out where she is, encountering all sorts of people who loved and hated her. Finally, the stakes are raised when he has to race against a ticking clock, trying to save the girl where the FBI is failing.
This is a tragic book. You have to feel for Prager for who life is always so unfair. There's people who lose their soul when they try to improve their outer looks. There's guys getting paid for sex by lonely people. And there's madness of internet hypes.
In the end though, there seems to be some kind of happy end for Prager in sight. The only sad thing about that of course, is that we won't be seeing him around anymore. Luckily, by now we now we can look forward to more of Reed Coleman's hardboiled but poetic writing with a new series coming soon and the Jesse Stone series he's taking over.
Sep 092014
 
Daniel Rinaldi is a more two-fisted version of Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware and is a bit more of a Son of Spade because of that.
In this novel the psychologist and police consultant / ex-boxer gets involved with a kidnapping case when one of this patients is snatched from his office. The patient is an ex model and B-movie star, married to a guy who can really spare the ransom money. Time and time again the kidnappers manage to get Rinaldi involved with the case, resulting in some plot points that belong in a Hollywood movie but at times seem a bit too comic book like for a mystery like this one. In fact, this is absolutely more of a thriller than previous books in this series which made me like it less, but might appeal to a whole new group of readers.
Aug 262014
 
I bought this one years ago and finally got around to reading it... I got the original paperback copy but it is available for Kindle now as well.
Thomas Black is hired to find the son of an old racist who has inherited a lot of money. It is obvious the father is more interested in the money than the kid. Thomas discovers the son had a relationship with a beautiful black woman and had been living among the homeless for a long time.
As he delves deeper into the young man's life he encounters some dangerous people that want the money and gets closer to his friend, Kathy.
An enjoyable, well write, slightly standard PI novel. It was first published in 1985, a time where a lot of good PI novels were published. What makes this one rise out above the competition is the many interesting characters that are far from the usual stereotypes we often meet in these kind of books.

Aug 192014
 
Tom Lowe's Sean O'Brien goes Jack Reacher style in this one. It shows how versatile a character O'Brien is, working in more standard PI mysteries as well as more thriller oriented stories as this one. That's because he's got a background as a cop AND a Special Forces guy, so he's got the skills to investigate a murder AND fight terrorists.
During a fishing trip O'Brien discovers a downed submarine and material for a dirty bomb. When it becomes national news he's contacted by the granddaughter of a man who got killed sixty-seven years ago. It turns out the submarine and the murder are connected. O'Brien has to fight Russian mobsters and terrorists for the uranium and uncover the mystery behind the 67 year old murder, dealing with all kinds of agencies.
There's a lot of action in this book. I usually have a hard time with big budget action flicks style action in books because they're hard to read, but Tom pulls it of.
Looking forward to more of O'Brien, in many ways the ultimate series protagonist. He's got everything a hardboiled hero needs.