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.
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.