Thursday, February 28, 2013

#10: Double Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

Serial killer Dexter Morgan, who tries to prey only on Miami's criminal element, is caught in the act of dispatching a child murderer; soon he has to contend with the rather curious motives of an onlooker as well as a vicious cop killer in Double Dexter.

This long-standing series of novels has been running concurrently with a Showtime television series, but the two have followed very divergent paths at this point with people alive in the books and dead in the series (and vice versa) as well as other notable differences.

I think in general those who enjoy the series will enjoy the novels, although the novels have been wildly uneven (with at least one genuine dud and one or two very strong entries).

I listened to this one on audiobook from Morrisson-Reeves Public Library, read rather credibly by the author himself.

This one was a fairly good thriller, despite the fact that the murderous mastermind Dexter seems a step or two behind the reader through the whole story.  It had the right blend of cold-blooded homicide and Dexter's coldly humorous commentaries and is recommended for fans of either the books or the TV series.

Friday, February 22, 2013

#9: The Freeloaders by Ed Lacy

A struggling scriptwriter in Nice, France, finds his TV project going bust and is suddenly at loose ends; slowly, and then quickly, he falls in with a shady group of characters in Ed Lacy's The Freeloaders.

Ed Lacy was a prolific pulp fiction writers whose output I have always found interesting when I come across it.  This one I found for my beloved Kindle from Prologue Books.

This is a rollicking first-person story from the early 60s written in a rat-a-tat style that I found enjoyable. The narrator has a lot of sardonic observations about the time and place and there are some interesting crime threads running throughout, up to a rather chilling conclusion.

Recommended for pulp fiction fans.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

#8: I'm Not Scared by Niccolo Ammaniti

A child living in a remote Italian village during a long, hot summer finds another child trapped in a hole; what is gradually revealed about the two boys and their relationships is at the heart of Niccolo Ammaniti's I'm Not Scared.

I saw the film version of this novel some years ago and recommend it to anyone as a very solid, suspenseful thriller.  If I had not already known the story from the film I would have thought this book, at the outset, was more of a chiller along the lines of Thomas Tryon's The Other.  The novel has an eerie, unsettling feeling and almost dreamlike qualities at times.

But there is a practical side to the story as you learn more about Italian politics and lifestyles, and the narrator has an interesting, reflective role looking back from adulthood.  The sketch of family life in this time and place seems authentic.

I thoroughly enjoyed this change-of-pace thriller after being surprised with it on the shelf of a used bookstore in Palatine, Illinois.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

#7: Kill Clock by Allan Guthrie

A Scottish tough is trying to stay on the straight and narrow, but when they mess with his three-legged dog he is pushed too far in Allan Guthrie's Kill Clock.

I am a devout reader of Guthrie's thrillers, and this one I would recommend to fans as it features characters and situations that have populated his other writing (without there being a barrier for new readers).  In addition there are a couple of ex girlfriends, some smart-mouthed kids, some fringe personalities with murky intentions, and the aforementioned dog.

Despite a pretty tough-minded finale, this one surprises with a bit more levity than some of his other novels. Kill Clock is lighter and in some ways a bit slighter, but is a quick and enjoyable read.

I received this for my beloved Kindle and consumed it quickly.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

#6: The Storm Without by Tony Black

A Belfast cop drummed out under mysterious circumstances returns to his hometown of Ayr; and  before he hits the city limits he is involved in solving a young woman's murder (and a young man's framing for it) in Tony Black's The Storm Without.

Hard-boiled detective novel with increased interest provided by the setting, so fully realized as to be a character on its own.  Curiously, this was originally serialized in a local newspaper, which I found surprising; Black's description of poor weather, a poorer economy, vigilante cops, and crooked politicians would seem to discourage local tourism.

This was the first featuring this character, and I would be interested to see what happens to him next.

I received this from Blasted Heath for my beloved Kindle and read it quickly.