Lancaster, PA, United States | Member Since 2010
I read Max Allan Collins novels way back in the 80s. Fortunately he wrote about the 30s & 40s…keeping his stuff as fresh as the morning's catch then as it is right now. Collins was one of, maybe the first, hard-boiled detective creator to plop his lead character, Nathan Heller, among real historical folks, some still notorious, others with names that niggle at the back of your memory, where something vouches for their credentials as actual denizens of a nasty Chicago.
OK… lemme keep this short. True Detective is a wonderful trip down in a time bathysphere into a murky place. Yep… WONDERFUL. And Dan John Miller brings it all back to me, creating a vivid sense of that place in my mind again just as perfectly as I imagined it when as a youngster I read Max Allen Collins novels way back in the 80s………...
Corny: old-fashioned, trite, or lacking in subtlety. Yeah, that's got it. Calumny: a false and malicious statement designed to injure the reputation of someone or something. Uh-huh, laser focused.
Mark Sullivan's plot's dead're than Ian Flemming. Worse, this guy figures if one stereotype is useful, he'll treble's every one. Of course the hero.. Robin... as in hood... is plucked from those cartoons where characters run over by a 20 ton roller truck, re-inflate like air-bags and run marathons.
Holes in the plot? Well, duh.Odd that it's not labeled "Made In Switzerland." There's a law, right? But worse, once again a US writer hates his country. Imagine, this is an international thriller and the engine of evil is a senior exec with the American government. Well, no need to imagine - go watch any of the Bourne movies. Moral... America leadership's a corrupt puppets of sinister billionaires. Sigh. Mark Sullivan checks that box... over and over. And the rest of the cast... the "good guys" are all fallen-way patriots. Hey, maybe they'll make this into a movie so we can export the message world wide, huh? Calumny.
Jeff Gurner reads good. Look for him, stay away from Sullivan. Unless you're 12 and never read or heard any of this a couple of thousand times.
If you haven't read first in this Sean Lynch series, stop this review now and look for "Wounded Prey"! This is the second in what Sean Lynch describes as a trilogy in a Bob Farrell and Kevin Kearns hard boiled private eye epic. While this book stands on its own bottom, it will ruin "Wounded Prey" for you… Don't let that happen, K?
In a way, I found "The Fourth Motive" better than "Wounded Prey" largely because first novels have to allow the new writer to discorge so many thoughts s/he've had in thinking up the first go at getting a publisher's attention. In "The Fourth Motive" Lynch is freed to build upon the dense characterizations of his tough-guy heroes and their motivations. Which allows even more pace to get packed into the narrative.
This book is faster (not shorter - faster) than the first but leaves you coughing up GSR, eye-dazzled from flashing gun muzzles. The book's violent, just, and satisfying if a BIG TAD non-PC.
If you can live with a Batman who works on the the darker side of the law… You'll live contentedly with Farrell and Kearns. I'm going to preorder "Officer Involved" the third in this trilogy due out this Spring.
Can't wait for another Jeff Harding creation of a Sean Lynch ensemble. Harding rocks!
Here's a series that needs starting at the beginning, and this is IT! Wuddan' openert! Here's the private eye that the great authors of the 30s, 40s, and 50s should have imagined if the censors and cultural gatekeepers would have permitted. Bob Farrell is HARD BOILED and his sidekick Kevin Kearns is tougher than a diner's 2 buck blue plate steak.
Yeah, there's a lot of gore, gristle, and groaning in scenes fogged grim in gun smoke and blood spatter. And then there are the rules… Well, that's the point… There ain't no rules. Just vigilante crowbars prying through the thick doors of procedure, hardened steel of judicial precedent, and impregnable cop culture.
I just finished the second in the Farrell/Kearns epic… "The Fourth Motive"... since I couldn't wait to listen to Jeff Harding read these two books in succession. In a lot of ways, "Fourth" is a sequel to "Wounded Prey" and may be a tad better. Which is high praise, I enjoyed "Wounded Prey" that much.
Oh, if you're squeamish, maybe you'd like something else. Fair warning, eh?
Yeah, there're grissley moments here. but unlike some authors who wallow in the stuff (getting off on the cretin's pleasure) you won't find a sadist's high in either "Wounded Prey" or "The Fourth Motive."
Here's tough stuff from a new favorite author of mine.
Unlike a lot of reviewers I enjoyed the first two books in this series enough to track down and read the ghost writer of the early Tanenbaum books (Michael Gruber). This time, not so much. Okay, the plot's so far over the top that my nose bled. But hey, that's true of the first two in this series that I'd liked. And yeah, once again Gruber has written a high farce, which like puns, appeal to a thin audience. Hey, I like them both.
The problem with shark jumping though is that a tooth can snag, tear, and release all of a plot's air. That happens here and unlike its predecessors, "Immoral Uncertainty" is just ordinary. But hey, ordinary's a lot better than mediocre, bad, or awful, right? I recommend that you start this series with "No Lesser Plea" and decide if you have an appetite for the bombastic Michael Gruber. It's an acquired taste and one that after "Immoral Uncertainty" I think I've lost.
Dennis Lehane is a brilliant writer to whom I've given passels of stars in the past. "Live by Night" is probably better crafted with more character insight than many of his books I've previously read. But…
In the past two years since downloading "Live by Night" I've thrice restarted the work from its beginning, hoping each time it'd fire my imagination. But frankly I disliked every one of the characters in the book. I find them grim and complexly depressing. The novel begins with what appears to be the assassination of the protagonist in the first moments followed by hours of flashbacks to his path to this opening moment.
Perhaps, if it began with his execution and ended right there… Well it doesn't. And so each time I revisited "Live by Night" I gave the book another five or six hours, and each time I left these people overwhelmed by melancholy. This time I asked "Why you doing this Ted?" The answer? Hit the stop button on my iPod followed by dropping this title from the little machine.
But, you might really find this a masterpiece in characterization and sense of place (early 20th century Boston among others). A masterpiece masterfully performed by Jim Frangione. If so…
Me, I'm off to enjoy shallower characters with socially redeeming characteristics that overwhelm their ability to coat my feelings in a thick syrup of darkness. Call me an optimist while I call "Live by Night" sadder than a pessimist who finds his dark dreams come true.
Here' the story. Murder happens. Police investigate. THEY WORK AS A TEAM! Bad guys are totally bad.
Reeeeely different from everything else in this genre? Well yeah… See that third point… The one where the police work as a team? Where the lead detective doesn't get more grief from his or her bosses than from the really bad guys? Where he's actually supported? Now that's refreshing. Imagine, the brass and the detectives and the beat cops all liking and supporting and professionally interacting like… like… friends? Well that's astonishing.
Yet odd as it is to the police procedural, Roger Stelljes makes it work. I mean… it's almost revolutionary. Makes me wanna get another Mike McRyan book. Hey! I will, especially if it's read as well as Johnny Peppers performs this one.
Never listened to Tami Hoag before, but kept getting recommendations from Audible. Soooo.... I figured that with David Colacci reading it might not be aimed entirely at a bodice buster market.
Nope, wrong. Square jawed FBI super-star but tragically-at-war-with-his-inner-angst-hunk John Quinn, and drop-dead-gorgeous-blonde FBI agent turned fiesty victim/witness-advocate Kate Conlan are THROWN together in Minneapolis to look too far-and-wide (when they should have looked near-and-dear) for the ghastly cretin, THE CREMATOR. And (startle, surprise) they seem to ignite old embers of a long ago love which - inexplicably to me - went cool in Washington.
Is there a surprise anywhere in all of this? Well yeah, Hoag's bad-guy is made so predictable to make room for multi-page make-up sex scenes that are a sort of squishy fem-porn.
Okay, this wasn't aimed at male readers. And judging by Hoag's sales, there are lots of ladies who get off on this stuff. So if you do, and like your love rough... Hey, enjoy. Me? Not so much.
Oh Colacci reads well, keeps the characters in their own spaces, but lapses from time to time into a Scott Brick impersonation. I don't think that's a recommendation, but lots of folks do... So, it's your call. Mine is to never listen or read another Hoag.
I just listened to Patrick Lawlor narrate, L.J. Seller's novel named "Wrongful Death". Which Audible/Amazon's computers have confused and mixed with reviews of Dan John Miller's read of Robert Dugoni's book entitled, "Wrongful Death". So this is a review of Seller's novel about a cop murdered outside of a homeless settlement. It's a police procedural that's just OK.
There are some interesting twists, but Seller's is interested in dramatizing alleged harassment of America's homeless by police. He's also very uncomfortable with social drinking as a gateway to alcoholism. Oh, and he's uncritical of the political correctness movement in general. Now each of these can make for interesting cultural tension and riveting plot while paying off the larger narrative.
Unfortunately Seller's narrative wags the dog of plot producing predictable results. And Patrick Lawlor's flat reading doesn't help much to add tension to the various (and not particularly interesting) sub plots designed to either develop unnecessary character depth or pad out what really is a short murder mystery..
OK, the book was a kind of elevator music while I did chores, and kept me listening until the end. But I wish I'd invested this credit more wisely.
Wealth is a heat seeking missile.
Once again, Patterson and Karp cranked up the heat. Look, start this series at the beginning with NYPD/RED, then NYPD/RED2 before kicking up the volume on this installment. The relationship between Detectives Zack Gordon and Kylie MacDonald deserve to get savored from the start.
Except for that old… "The rich are different from you and me because they can afford to be" theme, there're are no cosmic issues here, no tours through the human psych, no complex internal monologues and dark introspection. Nope… These are forgettable fun police procedurals written by two gordo commercial artists at the peak of their powers.
There ain't nothin' NOT to like here if one of the reasons you read thrillers is to turn off the world for a time and let craftsmen (including the brilliant Edoardo Ballerini) entertain you.
Recommendation… Get it, listen, then pre-order the next installment of NYPD/RED. It's my fave series du jure.
My score so far… 15 stars for each book X 3 = 45 stars. Whoa!
It's Bertrand's thesis that the Huston Police Department's a dysfunctional family. Oh, and that Roland March, his lead character, has a dysfunctional family. And that the society around him is, well, dysfunctional. March's life is a schizzo's irritating dreamworld. Mrch is essentially without emotional support from anyone. And yet…
Bertrand is a powerfully strong writer. The characters are deeper than saucepan grease, and get heated sufficiently to sizzle the story into your appetite to keep on listening. Still, it's such a cliché to include the detective's bosses among a book's heavies. It'd be nice to read a procedural novel today where the team supported one another.
MAJOR ALERT… This is Part Two of an epic novel which Bertrand started in "Back In Murder" a book I enjoyed. But, this plot is so dependent upon the earlier novel that YOU MUST READ IT FIRST, and perhaps review it before starting "Pattern Of Wounds". I'm a busy guy and frankly the dependence of this book upon that one really reduced my enjoyment since, well, I didn't want to work so hard to review all of the characters and details to follow this one.
So, on balance, I may buy another Bertrand book. But if he waits too long to write the next Roland March novel, I'll probably pass… I know that I'll forget too much of the plot to make the next in this series accessible.
Mel Foster did an OK job, but once again, the list of characters is sufficiently large that Foster had difficulty keeping their voices sufficiently distinct.
Report Inappropriate Content