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Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

The Last Stand by Mickey Spillane

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Having been a Mickey Spillane fan back in the 40s and 50s I was looking forward to The Last Stand when I read about how the manuscript supposedly was found in good condition and ready to be published. I feel certain that there was some work done to it by Max Collins who wrote the introduction.

Overall the book is pretty good but not exactly what I expected. To begin with it is in fact two separate stories. The first one, A Bullet for Satisfaction, is a Spillane type and basically centers around a police officer, Captain Dexter, who is heading up an investigation into the killing of a major political figure. Dexter and his partner, Fred Jenkins, begin digging into the case and find several attorneys who are politically active seem to have had some encounters with Mayes Rogers, the murdered politician. Read the rest of this entry »

Illegal Holdings (A Valentin Vemeulen Thriller) by Michael Niemann

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

Illegal HoldingsGlobal Alternatives is an NGO funding agricultural improvements in Mozambique by a small charity named Nossa Terra. Trouble brews when a nearly 5 million dollar outlay from Global is suddenly nowhere to be found. Nossa Terra insists they never the full amount, while Global claims the opposite. Since the original source of the funds is the United Nations, the Secretary General sends in veteran investigator Valentin Vermeulen to determine what happened to the money. It isn’t long before Vermeulen realizes that Nossa Terra is correct and that something very irregular is happening. As Vermeulen doggedly pursues the truth, he becomes the target of someone who doesn’t want Vermeulen to succeed and will try to stop him at any cost.

Illegal Holdings by Michael Niemann is the third book in the Valentin Vermeulen series and the first one that I have read. Niemann is a new author for me and one that I will be returning ­ to in order to read his other books. I believe that this new series has great potential because Niemann draws on his real life experiences, both as a child in Germany and in academia from his work on South Africa. This allows him to create characters and plots that are both engaging and realistic. I look forward to future books in this series and give this one 4/5 stars.

*A copy of this book was the only consideration given in exchange for this review.*

Written in Blood by Layton Green

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Written in BloodIn Written in Blood, author Green introduces readers to Detective Joe “Preach” Everson. Following a common path, Green has given readers a flawed protagonist, though Preach’s baggage goes well beyond the ordinary. After suffering a tragedy as a young man, he had a sort of breakdown and fled his hometown of Creeksville, North Carolina. His life path from then until the book opens took him to Bible college, time as a church preacher, a prison chaplain and then as a police officer in Atlanta, where another incident led to another breakdown.

Here we reach the first thing about the novel that just doesn’t quite work. Pearch has returned to his hometown and has been hired as a police detective even though he has not been cleared to work from his breakdown. He promises to see a therapist who happens to be a relative. One has to question what police force would hire an emotionally unstable person as a detective and what therapist would risk his or her reputation and licensing to sign off on a deeply troubled soul who has suffered at least two emotional breakdowns to serve as a detective. But let’s accept this as written for the sake of the story. Read the rest of this entry »

Mayhem, Murder and Marijuana: The Los Angeles Marijuana War by Arik Kaplan

Reviewed by Ray Palen

Mayhem, Murder and MarijuanaThe back cover of this novel tells a story almost as chilling as the one found between the covers. The author — Arik Kaplan is a pseudonym to maintain his true identity— literally lived this story. In 2011, immediately following the relaxing of laws in the State of California allowing medicinal marijuana dispensaries to open, he began aggressively purchasing legal medical marijuana locations in Los Angeles county.

The problem with things that sound too good to be true is that they usually are — or, at the very least, they come at a big price. ‘Kaplan’ found out that his involvement in this new industry was the literal equivalent of drawing a target on his own back. If he went through even a smidgen of what the characters in his novel experience it is indeed a wonder he lived to tell this tale.

MAYHEM, MURDER AND MARIJUANA: The Los Angeles Marijuana War makes “Boyz In the Hood” look like an episode of “Sanford and Son”. The fact that our humble author has received death threats at the mere thought of revealing what is contained in this book speaks to his and the stories credibility. Read the rest of this entry »

Nothing Stays Buried (A Monkeewrench Novel) by P.T. Tracy

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Nothing Stays BuriedHomicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth are called to the scene of a murder in a park where a young woman is found strangled. A playing card has been left on her body. Before long, the detectives realize their murder is probably tied to another where a card was also left with the body. Because of the face of the cards are two numbers apart, they fear there are yet two more victims. Are their bodies yet to be found or were their cases investigated without anything tipping off they were tied to a bigger crime wave?

Meanwhile, the Monkeewrench Crew has been asked to investigate the disappearance of a young woman on her way to visit her father in rural Minnesota. Her car was found near the road, the dogs picked up her scent but lost it at a tree in the woods where her ring was found. Had she left the ring as a clue to let people know she had been there? Read the rest of this entry »

The Cold Kiss by John Rector (Review #2)

Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

The Cold KissI must admit there aren’t too many books that really grab my attention and keep hold of it all the way to the end. The Cold Kiss is an exception.

Nate and his pregnant girlfriend Sara leave Minnesota and plan to drive to Reno to get married and start a new life. They are both trying to forget their past lives and begin new ones.

When Nate and Sara stop at a diner, they noticed a man who had a terrible cough. As they were leaving the diner, the man confronted them and offered to pay $500 for a ride. Nate did not want to take the man in the car but Sara’s eyes lit up when she started thinking about what she could do with $500. So, against Nate’s judgment, they agreed to take Syl in their car. It started snowing.

Along the way, Syl sounded deathly sick with his constant coughing and even at times spitting up blood. The snowstorm got worse and Nate pulled into a motel. At first it didn’t look like the motel was open. When Nate turned to look at Syl, he believed he was dead in the backseat. Read the rest of this entry »

No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories by Lee Child

Reviewed by Allen Hott

No Middle NameThis one is not a normal book but is a collection of several novellas and then even more short stories. All of the tales do feature Jack Reacher, who has been the main character in many of Child’s works. No doubt that the title No Middle Name pertains to Jack Reacher. That always comes up in all of the stories that Child writes. Someone invariably asks his name and they cannot get over the fact that he doesn’t have a middle name. Even without a middle name Jack Reacher is a very interesting character. These stories carry that character forward as he makes his trek not only across the United States but even on occasion into Europe.

Reacher is a retired Military Police officer who has a very astute mind when it comes to looking into situations that would probably stymie the minds of most people. Wherever he goes he seems to not only run into things that happen to be at least a bit illegal or scary but then he always seems to also solve the problems or assist in solving them. Read the rest of this entry »

Camino Island: A Novel by John Grisham

Camino IslandReviewed by Allen HottCamino Island is a very interesting story by one of the top story tellers of the day. John Grisham writes about law in some fashion or another but the real fashion of his writing is just plain good writing. He gets your interest and keeps it throughout by using great description, good dialogue, and little if any sex or profanity.

Five bad guys steal some priceless original F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts from Princeton University. The originals are worth many, many big bucks and these five not only carry off the crime but know who and where to put the manuscripts to keep them safe for a period but also to make their value go even higher.

However they, like most criminals, are not perfect and make several big mistakes which cause them big problems. But they have done the job well enough that no one knows where the papers are so that is in their favor. Read the rest of this entry »

This is a Bust by Ed Lin

Reviewed by Mark Moderson

This is a BustA mystery wrapped around a character’s internal struggle to do better for himself.

Robert Chow is the main character in the Ed Lin novel titled This Is a Bust. Chow is a tormented soul similar to Connelly’s Harry Bosch. He is a beat cop who because of his ethnicity is pigeon holed into a role as a glorified public relations officer.

The novel does a good job introducing us to the character who is battling the internal demons of alcoholism and Vietnam. While the novel falls into the mystery genre it is more about Chow’s relationships and his battle with his demons, and the author does a good job highlighting those. Read the rest of this entry »

Watching the Dark: An Inspector Banks Novel by Peter Robinson (Review #2)

Reviewed by Mark Moderson

Watching the DarkI was excited to find a new mystery writer to read, and based on some reviews was excited to read this book. Unfortunately this book was not what I expected. It was an extremely slow and hard read that could not hold my interest. I have read thousands of books and this was the longest it ever took to complete the book.

The novel starts out intriguing with a police officer being murdered. Unfortunately the author then spends more time focusing on describing small, inconsequential details of each scene then he does working on the main mystery of the novel. The novel itself is also convoluted because there are multiple different characters following multiple different story lines. Read the rest of this entry »