Friday, November 29, 2013

#43: Poisons Unknown by Frank Kane

Swinging P.I. Johnny Liddell is in bad old New Orleans, where he quickly gets mixed up in a voodoo sex cult at the center of multiple blackmail and murder schemes in Frank Kane's Poisons Unknown.

Liddell was a popular creation of the pulp era who appeared in many slam-bang thrillers, quick with a snappy retort, prone to fisticuffs and gunplay, and easy with the dames.

I had forgotten that I had read another Frank Kane some time ago and instead got hooked by a lurid paperback cover I glimpsed at a little used bookstore in Muncie, Indiana.  I picked this up on a whim and chewed through it quickly.

A fun read, but definitely a product of its time and place for more prudent readers.

Monday, November 25, 2013

#42: Solo by William Boyd

James Bond gets involved in African post-colonial politics in William Boyd's Solo, set firmly (and enjoyably) in the time of the original 1960s James Bond series.

Boyd is the second author, after Sebastian Faulks and his novel Devil May Care, to root his contemporary Bond tale in Ian Fleming's timeline.  Faulks' novel gave off more of that swinging 60s vibe--including a villain with a monkey's paw for a hand--than Boyd's more sober meat-and-potatoes Bond, but it is a grand adventure nonetheless (with some potentially politically incorrect elements given a more contemporary spin).

I have enjoyed William Boyd as more of a literary author so I was quite surprised to see him tackle a James Bond book.  It is a worthy addition to Fleming's canon as well as a good spy novel in its own right.

I checked this out from the Morrisson-Reeves Library in Richmond, Indiana and read it quickly.  Recommended for fans.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

#41: 10,000 Ways To Die by Alex Cox

After visiting Italy three summers in a row I renewed my interest in Italian cinema, especially on the pulpy side; spaghetti westerns, poliziotteschi (police films), sword and sandal epics, giallo, eurohorror. 

I came to a strange intersection where I learned that offbeat film director Alex Cox, whose film Repo Man was a touchstone of my teen years, was also considered somewhat of a spaghetti western expert.

This lead me to 10,000 Ways To Die, Cox's opinionated but notable collection of essays about the genre.  His depth of knowledge, and his love of the work (presented without irony), makes this an important work for readers who find the names Django, Ringo, and Sabata bringing a smile to their faces.

I enjoyed this book as much as his filmmaking book I read earlier this year, another tome that should be on the shelf of any filmmaker.  Cox is an engaging writer and probably a pretty interesting person, and fans of the spaghetti western genre will not be disappointed with this purchase.

I found this on Amazon and consumed it quickly.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

#40: The Prophet by Michael Koryta

Two brothers who have gone their separate ways--one, a highly respected high school football coach, the other a bail bondsman with an unfulfilled life--find their lives crashing together once more as a young woman's killing mirrors their own sister's death years before in Michael Koryta's The Prophet.

The Prophet is a big, solid thriller, in a beach read vein, but with rich, intriguing characters and a compelling plot.  Of most interest is the relationship between the two brothers--the coach, on the cusp of a state football championship, his brother on the edge of darkness--and the memories of their sister that have pulled them together even as they try to tear each other apart.

This is the first novel by Koryta that I have read, although I have been interested in him for some time as I know he is a fellow Hoosier.  I will definitely look for more of his thrillers after enjoying this one.

I listened to this on audio book on loan from the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library in Richmond, Indiana.