Tuesday, April 30, 2019

#23: Shoot McAllister by Matt Chisholm

As a favor to a friend, gun-hand McAllister becomes sheriff of a dangerous, booming mining town, only to go up against a secret organization of killers, in Matt Chisholm's Shoot McAllister.

Chisholm was Peter Watts, a highly prolific western writer from England whose work I have enjoyed under his various names.  I like his McAllister series especially, always written in a lean style with colorful characters and sardonic humor.  Recommended for western readers.

I am always happy to come across McAllister stories in the wild.  This one I found at a Half Price Books in Bloomington, Indiana for a goodbye price.

Monday, April 29, 2019

#22: The Pirate Loop by Simon Guerrier

The Doctor and his companion Martha Jones decide to find out what happened to a luxury space liner that disappeared, only to quickly find themselves up against some dim-witted space pirates, in Simon Guerrier's The Pirate Loop, a Doctor Who adventure.

This story takes place during the David Tennant/Freema Agyeman era of the contemporary series, and it has a distinctly television-sized air. 

An experimental spaceship engine that, naturally, was used ill-advisedly makes up the rest of the slender plot. Fine for fans.

I checked this out from the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library in Richmond, Indiana and enjoyed the audiobook reading by Freema Agyeman.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

#21: The Nearest Exit by Owen Steinhauer

A reluctant spy and more reluctant double agent is asked to kill a teenage girl under mysterious circumstances; when he refuses, thinking of his own daughter, murderous dominoes begin to fall all across the world in Owen Steinhauer's The Nearest Exit.

This worthy sequel to Steinhauer's The Tourist once again dives into the gnarled politics of the secret Department of Tourism, seemingly largely staffed by emotionally crippled "Tourists" whose black ops on behalf of the U.S. cause shenanigans all across the globe.

Steinhauer writes with the density of John le Carré  and the tough action of  Len Deighton;  if you like either or both of these writers, Steinhauer is a great contemporary addition to the spy canon.

This is the second of a trilogy and I am looking forward to finishing it.

I bought this at a goodbye price from Half Price Books in Bloomington, Indiana on audiobook, and David Pittu's reading added value.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

#20: Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen

A private eye gets a job hunting a missing woman from a half-sister he never met in Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen.  Soon our aging but determined PI is mixed up with a motorcycle gang and a long-buried sexual assault amidst a myriad of other crimes.

Staalesen is riffing on Raymond Chandler, from the title (cribbed from The Little Sister) on through to his terse style and murky family dynamics. 

I enjoyed this thoroughly and was deeply surprised to find out this story was some twenty novels in, and that Staalesen and his protagonist are huge in Norway, having also spawned a dozen or more movies and a commemorative statue (seen in a photo at the beginning of this book!).   I would definitely say more of Stallesen's writings need to be translated into English as only a few seem available. 

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

Sunday, April 7, 2019

#19: Blood of the Mountain Born by Frank Leslie

Colter Farrow is on the run after killing a crooked sheriff, but family trouble--and an old flame--back home return him to his mountain roots in Blood of the Mountain Born by Frank Leslie.

Leslie is actually Peter Brandvold, a very prolific contemporary western writer.  Brandvold writes a lot of what are called "Adult Westerns"--with amplified sex and violence--but this one has the bones of an old-fashioned western.

The settings and situations are well-drawn, and Farrow is a very likeable character, a good-hearted kid with an alarmingly fast gun whose complicated romantic and family ties create interest.

This one is part of a series of Farrow's adventures, and I would be interested in reading more.

I bought this one for my beloved Kindle and read it quickly.

Monday, April 1, 2019

#18: Cold Trail from Fort Smith by Robert Bell

An owlhoot turned lawman, who works for a hanging judge, becomes focused on bringing in a murderous gang at all costs in Robert Bell's Cold Trail from Fort Smith.

I picked this up on a whim from the Parker City Library in Parker City, Indiana, without recognizing Bell's name.  As is often the case, Robert Vaughn Bell turned out to be a prolific writer who I just hadn't stumbled across yet.

Although Bell's storyline and characters aren't particularly shaded in nuance, this oater cooks right along and never takes itself too seriously, introducing colorful characters and situations along the way for a quick read.

I ended up liking Bell's style and would look for more from him.