Saturday, April 25, 2009

#16: Little Girl Lost by Richard Aleas

P.I. John Blake finds out a murdered stripper, found on the roof of a seedy NYC strip joint, was his former high school girlfriend last seen heading for medical school ten years' past.  Blake decides to dig into the murder, much to his regret, in Richard Aleas' Hard Case Crime novel Little Girl Lost.

I actually read Aleas' second John Blake novel, Songs of Innocence, first, and found it to be one of my favorite of the contemporary entries in the Hard Case Crime series, mostly reprints of lost noir with attractive retro pulp covers.  As well it should be, as Richard Aleas is actually Charles Ardai, the editor of Hard Case Crime and no slouch himself, as it turns out, in hard-boiled writing.

In fact, his John Blake mysteries are pretty seamy and downbeat, even by the high standards of the Hard Case Crime line.  Overall, the two Aleas books are among the stronger on the contemporary side of the Hard Case Crime house.

I checked this out from the Morrison-Reeves Public Library in Richmond, Indiana, and was surprised to find it amidst their small paperback collection.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

#15: An Evil Guest by Gene Wolfe

A Broadway stage star is convinced by a wizard detective to spy on a powerful industrialist recently returned from an alien planet, causing romantic and dramatic complications, in Gene Wolfe's genre-bending pulpfest An Evil Guest.

Wolfe's wholly original Book of the New Sun opus (which begins with The Shadow of the Torturer) stands as one of my favorite sci-fi/fantasy series, though its density may not be for all tastes.  The same might be said of this stand-alone outing, a tribute of sorts to the pulp era, an oddball mash-up that might have happened if H.P. Lovecraft and Cornell Woolrich decided to put on Ziegfield's Follies.  If you know what I'm talking about, rush out and get this right away.

I'm a big fan of Gene Wolfe and thought this was a solid entry to his, I think, somewhat underrated body of work.

I checked this out from the Morrison-Reeves Library in Richmond, Indiana.