Showing posts with label Hard-boiled. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hard-boiled. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

A Super Rare #BlackMystery Book

 

This 1974 gem came in the mail today. I’ve been hunting it down for about five months now, unable to commit to the usual $79-$100 price tag this sucker usually costs on second-hand sites. Somehow. Somewhere. In the world of dreams and fantasies, I managed to find this rarity on Thriftbooks.com for only $15. You know I grabbed this thing sooooooo FAST. Anyway, as contained within the cover art, the book is called Good Girls Don’t Get Murdered by Percy Spurlark Parker It’s about a woman seeking help from a black man named Bull. When she is found murdered, the police aim their investigation upon Bull who, of course, sets about traversing the local community to clear his name. I can’t speak too much of the commentary expressed in the work (considering I haven’t read it yet), but I’m certain it’s there for me to speak on in the future. Anyway, the point of today is to celebrate having obtained a copy of this book. The joy. The joy. The freakin’ JOY!

Monday, May 4, 2020

A Special Video Blog Exclusive: "Build Your Investigator" TAG


What's up those who've managed to read this. I'm doing something a little unusual here in two or three ways. First: I've created a TAG video. Two: This video was suppose to be up in March as my last #MarchMysteryMadness video. The lag has to do with me deciding to take some time to be "still" in regards to this virus business ripping up the world. And to spend a little time off BookTube to focus on just life (or preparation in this case) and family matters. I hope everyone is doing okay during this time. Stay safe and keep your prayers up! As for the TAG questions: 1. Name Your Investigator 2. How would your investigator get involved with his/her first crime/case? 3. What's your investigator's appearance like? 4. What's your investigator's financial status and goals like? 5. What's your investigator's background like? 6. What's your investigator's talents, skills and values? 7. What's your investigator's personality like?

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

50 Pages a Day Keep the Good Reading... I Don't Know What Goes Here...


What’s on my reading plate after abandoning half of my October TBR?


"When V.I. Warshawski gets word that her close friend and mentor Lotty Herschel’s nephew has become a murder suspect, the legendary detective will do everything to save him. The cops found Felix Herschel’s name and phone number on the unknown victim’s remains, but Felix insists he doesn’t know why. Soon Vic discovers that the dead man was obsessed with Middle Eastern archaeology—the first clue in a bewildering case. 
But the trouble multiplies when Vic’s long-lost niece, Reno, goes missing. Reno is harboring a secret that may cost her her life. V.I. can hear the clock ticking on her niece’s safety and is frantic in her efforts to find her. She won’t leave any stone unturned until these very personal cases are cleared—a complex investigation that will entangle the Russian mob, ISIS backers, rogue ICE agents, a nefarious corporation preying on the poor, and a shady network of stock scams and stolen antiquities stretching from Chicago to the East Indies and the Middle East."

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

{Spotlight Release} A Killing Fire by Faye Snowden



Hel-looo-oooooooo.  What's up, y'all?  What is everyone over yonder reading?  Trust you're all doing well out there in this summer heat.

All right...



A Light (Spotlight) on author Faye Snowden's book, A Killing Fire.
"As a child forced to witness her father’s crimes, homicide Detective Raven Burns dedicates every waking moment to proving that she is not her father’s child. But when she shoots a suspect who has what turns out to be an unloaded weapon, Raven finds that she must confront both the demons of her past and the stains on her soul in order to stop a killer."

Thursday, March 29, 2018

3 Female Sleuth Debuts | #MarchMysteryMadness


3 Female Sleuth Debuts (Well, technically 2).

Amazon Affiliate Links:

1.  Contents Under Pressure by Edna Buchanan: https://amzn.to/2IfoEXQ

With a police cover-up and citywide outrage brewing in the wake of a black football star's suspicious death while under police custody, Cuban-American crime reporter Britt Montero steps in to uncover the truth. Tour.

2.  The Silent Dead by Tetsuya Honda: https://amzn.to/2GlBYh6

When a body wrapped in a blue plastic tarp and tied up with twine is discovered near the bushes near a quiet suburban Tokyo neighborhood, Lt. Reiko Himekawa and her squad take the case. The victim was slaughtered brutally---his wounds are bizarre, and no one can figure out the "what" or the "why" of this crime.

3.  Blue Moon by Walter Wager: https://amzn.to/2J4NLxZ

Alison B. Gordon finds herself aiding a Mafia ganglord whose Las Vegas interests are threatened by an international terrorist group that will destroy the city's casinos and hotels if its demand for five million dollars is not met. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

2017 #MarchMysteryMadness Challenge



GROUP & LINKS
#MarchMysteryMadness GOODREADS GROUP
#MarchMysteryMadness on TWITTER

CO-HOSTS ON YOUTUBE
~~~~~ The Classic Mystery 50 Years or Older~~~~~
(Read a classic mystery from or before 1967)
“But suppose one doesn't quite know which one wants to put first. Suppose," said Harriet, falling back on words which were not her own, "suppose one is cursed with both a heart and a brain?

'You can usually tell,' said Miss de Vine, "by seeing what kind of mistakes you make. I'm quite sure that one never makes fundamental mistakes about the thing one really wants to do. Fundamental mistakes arise out of lack of genuine interest. In my opinion, that is.” 


Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers

There’s a phrase that’s been popular at lot less longer than these old classic pioneers of the mystery genre. It’s “she gets it from her mamma.” In this case, we’ve tumbled deep into getting it from our great-grandmothers and fathers. Now I’m not one to manage numbers well, but anyone shooting for Patricia Wentworth or Mary Roberts Rinehart will nail this one. Unless I’ve miscalculated once again.

But hey. The default is anything by Poe or Christie, right?

They’re always a safe bet. But who wants to be safe this year?
~~~~~ The First or Sequel~~~~~
(Read the first book in a series, or the sequel to another) 
“Even at a glance, even in this light, I could tell my friend was dead. He lay on his side in what common sense told me must be blood. Only it didn’t smell like blood.

My fingers clutched the flash. I stood for a moment, several moments. It seemed like hours. Finally I knelt and dipped my finger into the pool of liquid. It was thick and sticky. Paint. Bright-red house paint.

I straightened, wiping my finger on my jeans before I realized what I was doing.

‘Oh, Jake,’ I said, louder. My words echoed in the cavernous room, and then the old house enveloped me in ponderous silence. From outside came the bellow of foghorns on San Francisco Bay.


The Cheshire Cat’s Eye by Marcia Muller

The question everyone wants to know is what happens next to our sleuth? What is the next logical or illogical step? Should the sleuth immediately call the police? Should the sleuth exam the body and, effectively, tamper evidence? Or the most important question: what is our sleuth's background? Or are you acquainted with his or her background and here for the next row of shenanigans? Or are you totally new to his or her system?

I guess the question is would you rather have new shoes or stick with your old hats?

Monday, April 11, 2016

Now I Know Where Kinsey GETS It | Marcia Muller Pushes Through! PART TWO

So let’s get into those quotes/passages I mentioned in my previous post on Marcia Muller’s Edwin of the Iron Shoes.  But if you haven’t followed me to this post, these are the stand-out lines I loved.  They're the lines where I received a flood of realization on how Muller’s protagonist, Sharon McCone, gave roots to women investigators in hard-boiled in crime fiction.  Particularly roots for Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone and Sara Paretsky’s V. I. Warshawski characters.  For more information, please refer to the previous post.  I’m going to have to try to reduce this down to a few, though.  If not, I’d probably serve up the entire book.
So let’s go!
“He was pushing too hard.  I kept my voice level.  ‘I’m not on my own; I’m an employee of All Souls.  I joined them after the detective agency fired me for refusing to jump at a special assignment that would have humiliated me and set up an innocent man for a very messy and expensive divorce.  And I don’t know about being what you call a “super-sleuth.”  I’m competent.  I’d say my strong point is knowing how to ask the right questions.  Without trying to cram my words into other people’s mouths.’”
Four chapters in and I already love McCone.  She has morals.  She has limits.  She has genuine concern for the individuals involved in her profession.  Most of all, she’s humble.  Yet brassy in a subtle way.
“On my way out of the kitchen, I grabbed a handful of cookies from the big jar that was always full of chocolate chips.  They would be my dinner.  Hank grinned and led me down the central hall to the second office on the right.”
This screamed Kinsey Millhone to me.  Anyone familiar with the character knows she’s obsessed with cheese/peanut butter and pickled sandwiches.  As well as Quarter Pounders.  (For a good while, I actually ate a few myself.  Didn't like them, but since Kinsey did....)  However, just the fluidity of McCone’s voice and actions in this scene stole me.  

I would say between the three, Warshawski has the best appetite.  Though she drinks too much.

Now I Know Where Kinsey GETS It | Marcia Muller Pushes Through! PART ONE

I would not have believed it until seen.  Actually, that’s not the case.  I believed it!  Intrigued it!  Embraced it!  Ran with it on my Amazon wishlist for about two and a half years (pitiful of me).  Put it on my Kindle for over a year (double pitiful of me).  And just this  past February finally received it!  You’re probably wondering what in the world am I talking about.  So let me just get to the point: I finally read the first book in Marcia Muller’s Sharon McCone hard-boiled private-eye series, Edwin of the Iron Shoes.  I know.  I know.  Big deal, right?  Well for me–a female-controlled crime fiction junkie–it most certainly is a big deal!  Though I'm awfully late about it...

Most of you guys know I LIVE for Sue Grafton’s California private-eye, Kinsey Millhone.  ("LIVE" is an extreme, extreme understatement).  And you’re also familiar with my apathetic, strange off/on relationship with Sara Paretsky tough ‘n’ tumble Chicago-based woman of the same profession, V. I. Warshawski.  But here’s the thing.  The ticket.  The point of this erratic and fervent post–beginning with a little history lesson. 

In the early 80’s, Grafton and Paretsky transformed the voice of crime fiction.  Through, respectively, their characters Millhone and Warshawski; the authors released the female private-eye alone into the playgrounds of her male counterparts.  And their leading ladies came in just as hard-hitting, proficient, and uncompromising as the male investigators.  But, thankfully, their characteristics weren’t channeled through the virility associated with men.  

Millhone and Warshawski utilized a certain degree of wiles, ingenuity, and vocal consensus to turn a given case in her favor.  Though also dogged at times for answers, they would see cases to the end with just as much profession and dedication as men.  Yet, when push came to shove, they were sometimes afraid to shove back.  They had concerns about the use of violence, as it was first considered a defense and hardly a course of action.  So as level-headed and determined as they could be, force and violence always seemed a final recourse.  Neither were always necessary in the end–as the ladies were likely to have already outsmarted a criminal.  Nevertheless, what I described is precisely why I love the female detective.  She’s afforded an unassuming element that serves as a lethal surprise that never gets old when it's called upon.  Basically, I love a calculating bad-ass woman.


So the opportunities for the lone female private-eye to take stage arrived from Marcia Muller’s 1977 influential debut, Edwin of the Iron Shoes.  It's here Muller introduced the world to private detective Sharon McCone.  McCone was the first unshackled female detective to toss conventions previous held by women in her profession.  She wasn't a side-kick to the male private-eye.  She didn't use anything other than her brains and interrogating acrobatics to mine for information.  She had a voice–a retort–for societal affairs.  She had a heart, though took the zero nonsense approach.  She was brave.  She also meant business, needed to get paid with as little moral compromising, and was well-adjusted to standing alone.  And, well, she had a gun in her purse just in case.  You know, for those occasions she just may have to shoot somebody in the face for her own protection.  
So Muller opened the doors to this new field of detective fiction.  (I'll get into P. D. James' same decade debut of Cordelia Grey at another date.)  She employed a modern, realistic, and liberated woman to traverse the minefields of deception and murder.  All of which beamed on me as I finally read McCone’s first case.  

After the last page, I understood where Kinsey and Warshawski got her voice.  And Muller reminded me–so clearly–why it is that I love this genre when led by women.  Seriously, I highlighted a bucket of passages as I read the book.  Passages that screamed to me, “Kinsey would do/say this.”  Or, “This sounds like an argument Warshawski would find herself in.”  The revelation was too plain not to acknowledge and recognize.
So yes.  I’ve finally gotten down to the root of the modern, free-sprinting, hard-boiled female detective.  And clearly, I'm dedicated to moving forward with Muller and McCone.  I have a long way to go to catch up but, as of now, I’ve found myself a new place to find radiance for my passions.
Part of me wants to review the book, but the other half of me simply wants to share some of those passages I mentioned.  Only because they excited me, and I'm not to hard to please when I've found something special.  But just to be clear, I loved Edwin of the Iron Shoes once I got over having to read it on the Kindle (not good with e-readers).  It was watery in some areas.  Yet, McCone's voice was solid.  But what the hell can I say?  There's a certain respect and credit due to Muller's first book.  To me, that's good enough.

Friday, February 19, 2016

#MarchMysteryMadness Challenge List

Goodreads Group: March Mystery Madness
(#MarchMysteryMadness)
*Challenges*
~~~~~ The Food/Craft/Hobby Cozy~~~~~
1.       “It wasn’t the way that Hannah preferred to attract new clientele, but she had to admit that finding Ron’s body had been good for business.  The Cookie Jar was jam-packed with customers.  Some of them were even standing while they munched their cookies, and every one of them wanted her opinion on what happened to Ron LasSalle.”
Everybody has a craft–a hobby.  Whether it’s baking sugar cookies or crocheting Forget-Me-Not dollies.  Maybe even culturing herbs for organic dishes.  Or are you into nature photography and are a dedicated bibliophile?  Now imagine engaging with your day-to-day passions when a body suddenly crosses your path.  What would you do?  Do you have what it takes to balance your craft with solving murders?  Explore the possibilities by reading a cozy mystery with a food/craft/hobby theme.
~~~~~ The Get Christie Love Lead~~~~~
2.       “Finally, after all my procrastinating and avoiding Bessie’s calls, I was able to put the finishing touches on my report, explaining exactly how I had spent her money (I didn’t include the manicure), apologizing for what I hadn’t been able to find out, but pointing out that her involvement may have sparked the cops’ renewed interest in the case.  I included the name of the lawyer that Jake had given me as well as the contact for the program for Rayshawn.  I also warned her in strong language that Rayshawn had been on the verge of committing a serious felony and had some serious problems that had to be dealt with, and if she and Viola didn’t make sure he got help, I’d be forced to go to the authorities with information that would result in his arrest.”
Find and follow your inner Christie Love and Foxy Brown.  Read a mystery/crime fiction novel powered by an African (-American) female sleuth.  Or, from Tokyo to Seoul.  Shanghai to Kolkata.  Or even New York to Los Angles.  Read a mystery/crime fiction novel featuring a sleuth with an Eastern perspective on matters.  (In general, a book featuring a person of color taking lead.)
~~~~~ The Christie/Poe Complex~~~~~
3.      “I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.”
“Dogs are wise. They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more.”

Did you know Edgar Allan Poe did mystery and crime fiction before mystery and crime fiction were even a thing?  Let’s face it; he’s the godfather of the genre.  He’s the seed to this entire challenge.  Therefore, your challenge is simple: indulge in one or all three of Poe’s mystery shorts…
A.     The Murders in the Rue Morgue
B.     The Mystery of Marie Roget
C.     The Purloined Letter
Or how about the matriarch of mystery and crime fiction, Agatha Christie?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Unbox Me


Here we go.  Time to unbox the latest batch of BookOutlet books.  I suppose I can't resist a deal, and saving $10 when you spend a total of $30 is too good a deal to ignore.  Especially when the books are less than $7.  So you can look at it two ways: either you're getting free shipping or a free book.  Makes no difference.  You must indulge yourself!


Freshly opened and free of packing paper (and mysteriously missing a packing slip).  I'm already super excited at this point.  I like how BookOutlet always makes it seems like there are less books than you actually ordered.  But still, I can already tell I'll need to rearrange my bookshelves again.  Including placing the remainders of my last order off my desk and somewhere appropriate until I find the mood to read them.


As I mentioned in a recent POST, I finished the first book [Hotel Paradise] in Martha Grimes's Emma Graham series.  Immediately, I just had to have the remaining three books in Emma's series.  Like... it was that serious.  So I'm happy I found them all in one go!  The series order goes as: Hotel Paradise, Cold Flat Junction, Belle Ruin, and Fadeaway Girl.  Still, I'm going to wait before I jump into book two.  I have to catch up on another author first, then it's back to Emma Graham's world.



Two copies of Sue Grafton's A is for Alibi suddenly popped up on the BookOutlet's listings.  They're the original hardbacks–which is extra, extra cool.  And made for a quick, compulsive snatched.  The original hardbacks have tons more character than the current paperbacks (speaking about the covers).  So what better way to start collecting them in this form than with the first book in the Kinsey Millhone series?  A Mind to Murder is book two in P. D. James's Adam Dalgliesh series.  After reading the first book, Cover Her Face, finding book two screams WIN!


Max Gladstone's Two Serpents Rise is the second book in his Craft Sequence series.  Released in October of 2013, I've waited this long to finally pick it up.  Why?  Because book three, Full Fathom Five, just released and I'm behind.  Basically, I have to catch up.  Max Gladstone is great.  Like Steve Bein, I'm starting to notice that I like male urban fantasy writers more than female–which is very unusual.  But it has to do with how the romance aspects are mostly snuffed off by male authors.  That's just the damn truth.  Give me the great characters, the world-building, the unique plotting.  Leave all the sex chat and werewolf gazing out.  

Nonetheless, Gladstone's series reflects the democracies of corporate America (but not necessarily American) inside urban fantasy, extreme world-building fantasy, and a few other genre-bending elements.  As I await my copy of Full Fathom Five, I'm sinking my teeth into this one.  I'll be back Emma Graham.

Thanks, everyone.  Do you love BookOutlet?  And what're you reading this summer?  Share in the comment section below!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Paretsky's Orders

A startling event happened after reading the third book in Sara Paretsky’s V. I. Warshawski hard-boiled P.I. series--I wasn't overwhelmed by her normally convoluted mystery set up.  This go-round it revolved around stock certificates and thoughtful correlations between the Chicago mob and the Catholic church.  However, let me push aside the latter two to focus on the stock certificates ingredient.  Oh, and how that mixed into stock shares, securities, bond markets, and other sprinkled financial components.  While I am exaggerating, I do have to say that the subject matter in Killing Orders was handled a lot less intricately than the subjects of Paretsky’s previous two offerings, which entertained insurance fraud [Indemnity Only] the Chicago shipping industry [Deadlock].  Some may get what Paretsky is laying down the first time, but for me, I had to study the topics her P.I. delved into to understand and follow what’s unfolding in her books.  Especially because her topics pertain so closely to her murder mystery.  Luckily, Killing Orders was the easiest of the three to follow.

It all began when St. Albert’s Priory decided to retrieve their stock certificates to cash in for a new roof.  Unfortunately, those stock certificates turned out as fakes.  So naturally, the church’s treasurer member is taken to task.  Said treasurer happens to be V. I. Warshawski’s nasty, venom-dribbling great-aunt, Rosa.  And she's a woman who has held a grudge worth a millennium against V. I.--or specifically, V.I.’s mother Gabriella.  Nevertheless, as the treasurer of St. Albert’s Priory, Rosa finds herself under investigation by the FBI and SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) on suspicions of exchanging the church’s real stock certificates for counterfeits.  Acknowledging how somber her situation is, the bitter, grudge-soaked Rosa swallows a wedge of her pride and sends for her niece.  Thankfully, her niece happens to be Chicago’s hot-shot female P.I., V.I. Warshawski.  And this shit only gets better!


So, sworn by her dying mother to always, always look after her aunt should she need help, V. I. takes on her aunt Rosa as a client.  Almost regrettably, it turns out that Rosa’s situation is anything but undemanding.  The further V.I. uncovers the truth behind the counterfeit stock certificates, the further the stakes are raised in her direction.  And when an odd phone call threatens to throw acid in V.I.’s eyes, the case becomes very personal.  V. I. calculates how the Chicago mob and the Catholic church are two potent institutions hosting a number of potential aggressors to their individual causes.  Therefore, she quickly learns to traverse around their deadly paths, while uncovering deep family secrets and some of the finer examples of greed and murder by desperation.

Easily a five-star read!  I have to tell you, I couldn't put this book down.  Out of the three I've read so far in this series, Killing Orders is my favorite!  And I should also add that I think I'm finally won on V. I. Warshawski.  However, to be totally honest, I had the intention of cramming her down my throat until I did like her enough.  Therefore, while I've always delighted in V.I.’s ability to shoot a gun and kick ass, it finally dawned on me in Killing Orders exactly how vulnerable and human V.I. actually is.  Much to my complete and utter satisfaction.  

First let’s do away with her appealing ability to make many bad decisions and mistakes, as well as the spring of curse words she has in her arsenal (confrontational scenes are one of my favorites in P.I. novels because of this).  Instead, I stress her vulnerability in light of how this book dedicated itself to illuminating pieces of V. I.’s family history to help develop her as a multi-dimensional character, and not just a woman on a mission.  

You would think that because V.I.'s parents have long passed that there is only room for a solitary, one-note existence contained by her profession as a private investigator.  However, she actually has stand-ins for a mother and father who save her from the miffed, cynical woman she could've become.  Her “mother” is a Viennese physician named Lotty.  And her “father” is a police officer named Bobby Mallory, who worked alongside V. I.’s actual father on the Chicago police force.  Both Lotty and Mallory devoted themselves to V.I.’s well-being, as evident in Killing Orders by their ability to see beyond V.I. herself.  They were the characters who wholly disagreed, argued, and fought with her and her lifestyle as a P.I.  They drew her riling mind in with reason and force, determined to appeal against her magnetism for danger.  All that can be considered when V.I.’s actual blood relative, Rosa, rather have no relationship with her because of her decades old grudge with V.I.’s mother (the same can be said for V.I. who rather not have a relationship with Rosa either).  Added to the fact that Rosa drew V.I. into danger, as opposed to against it.  And even more of an addition, Rosa was a thoroughly religious woman, but could not practice forgiveness for a wrong V.I. didn't even commit.  One thing I can say is that Rosa and V. I. are alike in both their fire and stubbornness.  But thankfully that's about the sum of their connection.

Readers may not recognize this, but there’s a difference between plot and story.  Plot is all that the character does.  Story is all that a character becomes by the end of the novel.  Killing Orders did each of these so, tense, stylishly, and balanced that even I wanted to cry for V.I. toward the end.

A must read if you love hard-boiled detective fiction! 


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