Feb 062015
 
Every time I seem to think I am tiring of the PI genre maybe another novel like this one pops up and affirms my love of the genre.
I loved the first one in this series so I was excited to read this one and it didn't disappoint. In fact, I loved it even more than the first book. The story flows better and faster, the prose is even tighter and the mystery more interesting.
Haunted by the memories of the man he killed and the death of his wife Rick Cahill now works as a PI for a larger firm, snapping pictures of cheating husbands and wives. When a lawyer (great, fun character) asks him to prove a young man did not murder his family he gets involved with a dangerous group of bikers.
As he investigates the case gets more and more personal and in the end Cahill is forced to face his demons and embrace his dark side. The ending might really surprise you and had me anxiously awaiting book 3.
This is shaping up to be one of my favorite new series.
Jan 272015
 
I pretty much enjoyed the first one in this series so I was eager enough to read this one.
When a parking cop is killed Jules Landau is hired to find out who did it. Jules is still pretty new at this game, but he's got a good mentor who is unfortunately very old so might not be around for long.
His investigation takes him into Chicago corruption and has him falling for a beautiful Georgian baker while he is forced to take on the Georgian Mob as well.
It's all pretty standard modern day PI stuff but written with heart and I fell in love with the Georgian baker a bit. I have to admit I didn't enjoy it as much as the first novel which had that special first novel energy this one lacks.
Still, if you want a solid PI series that ticks all the necessary boxes of the genre you will like this one.
Dec 302014
 
This is one dark tale...
Protagonist Bird is an information broker, not an official PI. In this book he is hired to find a missing daughter but ends up investigating her father's death.
While that in itself is not the most original plot the satisfying slow but gritty way the story is told as well as the originality of Bird's occupation and the sheer coolness of this character makes this one a great read.
Often I was reminded of Vachss' Burke novels or Lawrence Block's Scudder series. Yep, that good.
Bird is really a hardboiled detective, owing more to the Black Mask boys then Parker or Crais. The story is set in the nineties which makes sure the internet and cell phones don't spoil some of the story, so Bird has to knock on a lot of doors to find the answers he needs.
Dec 132014
 
I'm not known for reviewing non-fiction but sometimes I read a book that makes such great background material / research for PI writers I make an exception. And hey, there's a blurb by PI writing star Sue Grafton on the cover.
In this book we read how amateur investigators manage to help solve crimes while surfing the web.
The author details in an engaging almost thriller-like style how citizens helped give the Trent Girl a name and solved other mysteries. The focus isn't just on the cases though, we also get to know the dedicated sleuths that dedicate their free time to these investigations.
An interesting, easy to read book that will inspire my fellow writers for sure, written by a true crime writer that Vance Custer would look up to.
Dec 132014
 
Michael ''Gypsy" Moran returns home to the town called Wink after a few years as a PI in Vegas. One of his sister's students' dad has killed himself... At least that's the official story. Gypsy is asked to unravel the truth about this death, an investigation that has him investigating the sheriff's department and missing female illegal immigrants.
Aside from those investigations he also has to deal with his ex-wife making life hard for him as well as his feelings for a beautiful reporter...And then there's this nasty snake.
This is the winner of this year's PWA Best First Private Eye Novel, so it has to be good, right? Right.
What this one has going for itself are a PI that is very human and fallible, but still a good professional investigator AND some pretty good character development / depth.
Lynn writes in a very convincing male voice, but manages to give it all just that bit extra with her female insights, making the female characters just that extra bit believable.

Dec 042014
 
Here's another fun AND dark novel in this enjoyable series.
Dev Haskell spots and old flame (he seems to have had thousands) in a bar. She's called Crickett and has a kid that has him wondering if he's the dad. Crickett's sometime lover was arrested with a whole lot of drugs. Dev is asked to prove his innocense, getting into a conflict with crime lord Tubby Gustafson and his psychopathic enforcer, Bulldog.
That's where stuff gets pretty dark as our hero has to survive a very dangerous situation. A situation involving a large special kind of bubble in a very cinematic and creepy scene that is the most exciting part of the novel.
Enjoyable as always.
Dec 042014
 
I have to applaud Brash Books for bringing back some awesome PI novels like the Streeter-series and this one...
Korean War vet and ex-reporter Peter Bragg is hired by retired mobster Armando Barker to find out who is threatening his daughter. The investigation takes Bragg to small California desert town that seems to be at war.
This is one 100% classic hardboiled PI novel that really echoes books like Red Harvest. There is little to distinguish tough and cynical romantic Bragg from any other PI but that's part of what made this one so enjoyable. It's simply everything you want in a PI novel if you're a fan. Tough guys, hot babes, mystery, gun fights... You get the picture.
I'm already looking forward to more Bragg...
Nov 122014
 
Cyril Landry is ex-Special Forces. He also has a wife and kid who think he's dead. In reality he's gone underground after a drama in Florida. When his daughter's boyfriend is killed by a high school shooter he tries to find out why this man suddenly shot all those kids. What he finds is the interesting culture of Insane Clown Posse fans, several old pals and enemies from his Special Forces days as well as a female deputy that was part of the drama in Florida.
This will surely appeal to fans of Lee Child / Jack Reacher. Landry is a macho guy who sleeps around and knows how to investigate a crime. What sets Landry apart from Reacher is his psychological development. Now, make no mistake I thought Landry was even more of a hardass than Reacher, but his feelings towards his past and family are investigated in a subtle but effective way. I also thought the female characters were very well written. Turns out author J. Carson Black IS female, so that might have something to do with it.
Hardboiled action fans, fear not though. This is not the work of a romantic suspense author, not even comparable to harderboiled female writers such as Slaughter or Hayder. No, this is a real, tough action and adventure story with a good mystery most fans of my blog will enjoy.

Nov 072014
 
This is one solid series. While the stories don't stay with me for long, these books are always solid, dependable PI stories.
LA PI Burnside is hired to investigate some thefts from a warehouse. Meanwhile, he also takes on a case for a woman who got scammed by a contractor.
Burnside goes undercover to install cable, which makes for an interesting insight into that business. I was afraid the story might get a bit boring with the undercover work, but this actually was a small part of the book. There's enough plot twists and danger to keep the pacing up. Also, there's some big developments between Burnside and the love of his life and the football player background is played up in a few scenes sports fans should love.
Solid, enjoyable stuff for fans of  writers like Les Roberts, Robert Randisi, David Housewright.

Nov 072014
 
This is the perfect way to get into the Dev Haskell series. It captures the tone of the novels perfectly and will cost you just a buck! What's not to like.
Anyway, as usual PI Dev Haskell gets into trouble due to a woman. This time it's his old love Zoe, who is kidnapped. Trying to track her down he enlists an ex-NLF player to do the heavy lifting.
The tone is funny but never goes into parody style.
Groundbreaking? No. Short, enjoyable and witty? Yes.