Category: Books

THE BIG BLOWDOWN by George P. Pelecanos / Z-View

The Big Blowdown by George P. Pelecanos

Trade Paperback: ‎ 314 pages
Publisher: ‎ Minotaur Books; First Edition (first (September 24, 1999)

First sentence…

Pete Karras dreamed.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Peter Karras, Joe Recevo, Jimmy Boyle and Perry Angelos are four kids growing up together in Washington, D.C. in the 1930s.  Their lives will separate and then come back together in ways none of them could imagine.  Boyle will become a cop and Angelos an accountant.  Karras and Recevo will become collectors for a loan shark named Burke.

When Burke becomes upset with Karras’ disrespectful attitude and unwillingness to come down hard on some families struggling to repay their high interest loans, Burke orders Recevo to betray Karras.  Recevo sets up his childhood friend and lures him into an alley where another of Burke’s goons is waiting with a baseball bat.  Karras is badly beaten and left to survive or not.

Karras, Recevo and Burke along with Jimmy Boyle and Perry Angelos will cross paths again in bloody confrontation that will leave many of them dead.  Pelecanos creates a story that has layers and substance.  None of his characters are without flaws.  They come across as real people.  The “good” guys don’t always win or survive.  If you’ve read other of Pelecanos’ novels you may recognize some characters which adds to the realism of the universe he’s created.

The Big Blowdown is another winner from George P. Pelecanos.  It rates 4 of 5 stars.

The Big Blowdown Hardcover
The Big Blowdown Trade Paperback


ICE STATION by Matthew J. Reilly / Z-View

Ice Station by Matthew Reilly

Hardcover: ‎ 390 pages
Publisher: St. Martins Press (September 1, 1999)

First sentence…

It had been three hours since they had lost radio contact with the two divers.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

When a team of American scientists at a remote Antarctic ice station send a radio message that they have discovered a metal ship buried deep in the ice, the race is on.  Military units from several countries are quickly dispatched to claim the discovery.  Lieutenant Shane Schofield and his small team of marines are the US’ closest squad so they are sent to secure the discovery at all costs until reinforcements arrive.

When they arrive at the ice station they discover the three divers who went down to the ship are missing. To make matters worse, a hostile military force is quickly approaching.  Soon Schofield and his team are fighting against military units from two countries, unknown creatures from below and the possibility of a traitor on their team!

If you’re a fan of non-stop action that would tire Indiana Jones, then Ice Station is for you.  Once Reilly gets the ball rolling (and he does quickly), the action never lets up.  Reilly puts in his characters in crazy situations and they survive by skill, wit or luck… that is, if they survive.

I kid you not when I say after reading a Matthew Reilly book, you’ll feel like you’ve been put through the ringer.  But if you’re a fan of non-stop over-the-top action (and from time to time I am), then you cannot go wrong with Ice Station.  It earns 5 of 5 stars.

Ice Station Hardcover

Ice Station Paperback

Ice Station Kindle

Ice Station Mass Market Paperback


JACK REACHER: NO PLAN B by Lee Child and Andrew Child is Coming!

Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novel are already best seller and with the popularity of the Reacher television series, they should sell even more.  We’ll find out this October 25th, when No Plan B, the new Jack Reacher novel premieres.

The gripping new Jack Reacher thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling authors Lee Child and Andrew Child. The plan: It’s coming Fall 2022. No Plan B.

In Gerrardsville, Colorado, two witnesses to the same tragedy give two different accounts. One guy sees a woman throw herself in front of a bus in what authorities will call a suicide. The other witness is Jack Reacher. And he sees what actually happened: A man in a gray hoodie and jeans, moving like a shadow, pushed the victim to her death—before swiftly grabbing the dead woman’s purse and strolling away.

Reacher follows the killer on foot, not knowing that he is part of something much bigger and far-reaching . . . a secret conspiracy with many moving parts, with powerful people on the take, all involved in an undertaking that leaves no room for error. If any step is compromised, the threat will have to be quickly and quietly and permanently removed.

Because when the threat is Reacher, there is No Plan B….

THE DEVIL TAKES YOU HOME by Gabino Iglesias!

The Devil Takes You Home by Gabino Iglesias is on my to-be-read list.  I’m a fan of Iglesias’ Zero Saints and love the plot of The Devil Takes You Home.  Check it out and see what you think,

From Bram Stoker, Anthony, and Locus award-nominated author, Gabino Iglesias, comes a genre-defying thriller about a father desperate to salvage what’s left of his family, even if it means a descent into violence –both supernatural and of our own terrifying world.

Buried in debt due to his young daughter’s illness, his marriage at the brink, Mario reluctantly takes a job as a hitman, surprising himself with his proclivity for violence. After tragedy destroys the life he knew, Mario agrees to one final job: hijack a cartel’s cash shipment before it reaches Mexico. Along with an old friend and a cartel-insider named Juanca, Mario sets off on the near-suicidal mission, which will leave him with either a cool $200,000 or a bullet in the skull. But the path to reward or ruin is never as straight as it seems. As the three complicated men travel through the endless landscape of Texas, across the border and back, their hidden motivations are laid bare alongside nightmarish encounters that defy explanation. One thing is certain: even if Mario makes it out alive, he won’t return the same.

The Devil Takes You Home is a panoramic odyssey for fans of S.A. Cosby’s southern noir, Blacktop Wasteland, by way of the boundary-defying storytelling of Stephen Graham Jones and Sylvia Moreno-Garcia.

Evidence Points to NEW Suspect as the ZODIAC KILLER!

Speculation as to who the Zodiac Killer was, is always a popular topic.  There are so many folks who have done extensive research and most often they come up with the usual suspects.  Not so with Jarett Kobek.  Kobek did the research, but facts led him down a different path to a new, viable suspect named Paul Doerr. 

Tim Molloy at MovieMaker provides an excellent overview of Kobek’s findings in his piece Zodiac Killer Revealed by His Love of Comic Books, Author Says.  Molloy’s article is definitely worth a read.  It details how a card sent to police/newspapers listed four ways the Zodiac planned to kill: “By Fire, By Gun, By Knife, By Rope”.  Many Zodiac researchers linked the quote to the 1952 Western comic book, Tim Holt #30.  Kobek took this finding and ran with it.

Kobek realized that the number of comic book collectors at that time was relatively small.  His next step was to start researching comic book fanzines of the era.  Paul Doerr’s name came up in letters to the fan magazines.  His writing style and the content of his letters struck Kobek as being similar to the Zodiac’s.  Then Kobek discovered that Doerr was on the mailing list for renaissance fairs.  Of course in one of the Zodiac attacks he was wearing a Medieval executioner’s hood.  In other letters Doerr talks of killing and making a bomb.  Click over to Molloy’s piece for full details.

Jarett Kobek’s book, How to Find Zodiac lays out the evidence leading to his belief that Doerr was the Zodiac Killer.  Here’s the synopsis…

“A scruffy masterpiece of criminology. It seems to me that either Kobek’s painstaking deductions are correct, or we must urgently revise the laws of probability.” – Alan Moore, author of From Hell

Dear Reader,

This is not the Zodiac speaking. The one thing that I ask of you is this, please read this book. It is called How to Find Zodiac. Being that this book is about the Zodiac, it offers a new suspect. The theory is probably correct. At the moment the theory is unproven. But the idea is a bomb waiting to go massive. Can you see the flaws in the hunting method or will you just agree and say case closed. Either way one thing is true. Zodiac can never look and seem the same after you read this book. It was written by Jarett Kobek.

It will be interesting to see how Zodiac researchers react to Kobek’s research and suspect.


Usually I like my crime fiction to be hardboiled and serious.  But there are times when a bigger helping of humor is a nice change of pace.  Murder in Grease Paint by Whiskey Leavins looks to be a prime example.  I loved Leavins’ The Devil’s Own Piss and Other Stories. So picking up his latest offering is a no-brainer.  Check out the synopsis and see what you think.

Washed up pitching prospect, Rock Cobbler, now a hotshot detective with the Santa Lacrimosa PD likes working alone as much as he likes bourbon. That is to say, a lot. One rainy night at Santa Lacrimosa Clown College he finds himself looking out a dorm room window. Down below lay the hilariously twisted body of Mr. Rubadubdub, apparently tossed from that very same window.

The investigation into the defenestration of the promising young clown will lead Rock through dive bars, contemporary Christian clowning performances, and down into the seedy underbelly of clown lore. He will discover what no non-clown should know; like the existence of dangerous, rival clown factions that will stop at nothing in search of clown dominance and the possession of one particular venerated clown relic. To crack the case, he will have to match wits, and game, with the alluring Professor Wiggles. Will Rock take a pie to the face? Or will he solve the case before more clowns die?

Murder in Greasepaint is equal parts Chandler, Christopher Moore, Bozo, and Bourbon.

HELL CHOSE ME by Angel Luis Colón

I’ve been on a roll finding new (at least to me) excellent crime fiction authors/books.  Today we have Hell Chose Me by Angel Luis Colón. My order is in.  Check out the synopsis and see what you think.

Bryan Walsh is a killer for hire. He is haunted by those who have fallen by his hand. He will stop at nothing to avenge his brother’s death.

When a lifetime of bad karma finally lands on Bryan’s doorstep and leaves his brother dead, he must survive long enough to find the killers and get his revenge, but as the path only grows bloodier, Bryan may not be able to handle the steps he’ll need to take against his enemies.

As he becomes more unstable and his past crashes into his present, Bryan must decide if vengeance is worth becoming the monster he always denied or if he could find a another path; one that could lead to something like redemption.

AT THEIR OWN GAME by Frank Zafiro

At Their Own Game by Frank Zafiro arrived at my house yesterday.  If it sounds like something you’d like, you know what to do.

Book #1 in the SpoCompton Series

Jake Stankovic has been flying below the radar for years, dealing safely in stolen property crime with his two-man crew. But times are tough, so he decides to step up to the big money with a drug deal. Everything that can go wrong, does. The deal goes bad, a vengeful detective sets his sights on Jake, one of his crew might be a turncoat, and a woman from a long past affair suddenly reappears. All of this would be complicated enough on its own, but for Jake, it’s even worse.

The woman is the detective’s ex-wife.

And Jake Stankovic used to be a cop.

Now Jake must face new problems and old vendettas in an all-in proposition with lives on the line. He has to find a way to get his money back, keep the girl, and beat everyone involved… At Their Own Game.

CARBON by Andrew Vachss!

Andrew Vachss with his Burke crime novel series instantly became one of my must-read authors.  That was over 35 years ago.  As time went on Vachss continued to write about Burke and his crime family, but he also branched out into other genres and formats.

When I recently saw that Mr. Vachss had a new novel, Carbon, coming out, I was excited to see what it would be about.

I was surprised to read that it would be a futuristic tale.  Then I read the synopsis…


In The City, government is God—in The Sector, anarchy rules.

The Membrane stands between those worlds. Some cross it to The Sector, seeking the forbidden. Some cross it to The City, seeking a chance to see the sky. Some try to stay. Most die trying.

In a world without paper, names are earned. Sector-born Carbon once risked everything for a chance to live in The City, a world with fresh paper and retinal enhancements that required a price beyond the ability of any Sector-born to earn alone. Captured, he entered prison.

Now, released to find a killer whose pattern threatens the government itself, Carbon’s real search is for the money stashed by his former gang.

But only one woman knows that location, and she isn’t willing to trade information unless she gets something in return—her abducted child. The child is somewhere in the Pure Zone, a wild place where sorcery works but firearms do not.

Trapped between hostile worlds, Carbon will enter the Pure Zone—hyper-focused and fatal to anyone blocking his path.

Carbon, sounded a bit too fantastic for my taste… yet it was Andrew Vachss.  So I read the free sample at Amazon and Carbon is now on my “get list”.  Check it out and perhaps Carbon will be on yours as well.

FRANK LEE, AFTER ALCATRAZ by David Hasteda and Ludovic Chesno is Coming!

Frank Lee, After Alcatraz by writer, David Hasteda and artist, Ludovic Chesno looks and sounds interesting.

In June 1962, Frank Lee Morris did the unthinkable and broke free from Alcatraz prison! Celebrating the 60th anniversary of his incredible escape, this thrilling graphic novel imagines what Frank Lee did next…

Bank Robber. Escape Artist. Genius.

But on June 11th 1962, Frank Lee Morris performed the most daring feat of them all: escaping from Alcatraz. He was never found, presumed to have drowned in San Francisco Bay. The FBI’s case remains open to this day.

But what if he survived that fateful night? A free man. A second chance. What did he do then? Follow Frank in this stunning graphic novel on his journey from villainous convict to finding sanctuary and starting a new life, full of heartache, sorrow and a profound bittersweet acceptance.

Immortalized by Clint Eastwood in the 1979 film, Escape From Alcatraz, writer David Hasteda and artist Ludovic Chesnot imagine just what Frank’s life might have been like after performing one of the most dangerous escapes of all time.

Below are a couple of preview pages.  You can see more on Amazon and if you’re so inclined pre-orderFrank Lee, After Alcatraz will be released on June 28, 2022.

SILVER: Of TREASURES and THIEVES by Stephan Franck is Coming!

If you missed out on the Silver Kickstarter, you’re in luck because a new edition is coming.  Silver: Of Treasures and Thieves (Silver Book #1) will be released on October 18, 2022.  Here’s the lowdown…

A rollicking vampire-filled graphic novel heist that will keep you guessing until the very end for fans of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Ocean’s Eleven from award-nominated animator and comic book creator Stephan Franck

There are only two kinds of objects in this world. The ones that shine and the ones that don’t.

Silver’s protagonist, James Finnigan, only concerns himself with objects from the first category. Those objects don’t hide in plain sight. They hide in dark places.

When Finnigan loses his grifter gang’s lifetime fortune in a heist gone wrong, he stumbles on a consolation prize in the crypt of the Harker Foundation—a notebook that tells of an ancient, immeasurable treasure, accompanied by a bar of pure silver to prove it. It’s a tall tale, but also Finnigan’s only lead. In an effort to make up for what he’s lost, he mounts the heist of the millennium in search of the Silver Dragon. Just one catch: The famed treasure is said to be hidden in a castle full of vampires.

Set in the noir-pulp era of the 1930s, award-nominated animator Stephan Franck’s Silver is a rip-roaring, genre-bending graphic novel that draws on the best of gothic horror and heist tropes to tell a story that is pure adventure. Silver offers the captivating dynamics of an ensemble cast of misfits, while inviting us to accept that Bram Stoker’s Dracula was a tale of fact, not fiction. The result is a smart, innovative story complete with world-class visuals and sharply drawn characters that’s equal parts action, humor, and heart.

If this sounds like a ride you’d like to take, Silver: Of Treasures and Thieves pre-orders are here!

I’m Going to the GUNSHINE STATE (by Andrew Nette)

Gunshine State by Andrew Nette has been getting props for a while now and I actually meant to order it before now.  Gunshine State currently has no rating below 3 of 5 stars and 89% rate it 4 or 5!  Here’s the synopsis…

Gary Chance is a former Australian army driver, ex-bouncer and thief. His latest job takes him to Surfers Paradise, Queensland, working for aging standover man, Dennis Curry. Curry runs off-site, non-casino poker games, and wants to rob one of his best customers, a high roller called Freddie Gao.

The job seems straightforward but Curry’s crew is anything but. Frank Dormer is a secretive ex-soldier turned private security contractor. Sophia Lekakis is a highly-strung receptionist at the hotel where Gao stays when he visits Surfers Paradise. Amber, Curry’s female housemate, is part of the lure for Gao. Chance knows he can’t trust anyone, but nothing prepares him for what unfolds when Curry’s plan goes wrong.

If you like what you’ve read and want in, click here!

PAYBACK IS FOREVER by Nick Kolakowski!

I just learned that Nick Kolakowski has a new novella coming out tomorrow.  Yep, the author of Love & Bullets Megabomb Edition, Boise Longpig Hunting Club and Rattlesnake Rodeo has a new crime story called Payback is Forever.  Here’s the lowdown…

Miller thought it was the perfect heist: Five minutes to hit the cash room of an amusement park, then another two minutes to the getaway car, then gone. As a professional thief, he’d done jobs like that dozens of times. But Miller’s partners had other ideas. When things go bad and bloody, Miller is forced to flee back to familiar territory: New York City’s West Village, where even the target of a nationwide manhunt can hide out amidst the freaks.

But Miller’s refuge might prove even more dangerous. Approached by an old friend about a shady protection job, Miller finds himself thrown into a bizarre world of pint-sized gangsters, aging war criminals, and shady government agents… all of whom are pursuing a prize beyond imagination.

Sounds like my jam.  Maybe yours too.  You can get it on Kindle or as a paperback if you’re so inclined.

DEAD DOGS by Manny Torres!

I want to pass along a crime novel I just learned about (and ordered).  Dead Dogs by Manny Torres sounds like a wild ride, I’d like to take.

Two Atlanta misfits in debt to notorious dog fighter and drug dealer Boots Tumbler are coerced into handling his dirty work. Phobos and Chuck, desperate to pay him back, go elbow deep in blood, dirt, and gristle, cleaning up dog fights, delivering drugs, and disposing of dead bodies. Regardless of the haul, they shovel it, bag it up, stuff it in the trunk of their 1982 Cadillac Deville and drive it off for disposal. The misfit pair fumble their way through dangerous circumstances and criminal adventures. Desperation eventually drives them out of the city, across lost highways, encountering a circus of outlaws and revolutionaries living on the margins of morality.

Dead Dogs currently has a near-perfect 4.9 star rating on Amazon from 22 reviewers!  As I said, I’ve ordered my copy.

If you’re interested you can get an autographed copy from Mr. Torres!

Or if you prefer Amazon, here’s a link!

“Tokyo Vice” Starring Ansel Elgort and Ken Watanabe – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

Tokyo Vice – the poster and trailer for the new series starring Ansel Elgort and Ken Watanabe are here.  Deal me in.

Based on Jake Adelstein’s non-fiction first-hand account of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police beat, starring Ansel Elgort and Ken Watanabe. The drama captures Adelstein’s daily descent into the neon-soaked underbelly of Tokyo, where nothing and no one is truly what or who they seem. Streaming April 7 on HBO Max.