PositiveBooklistPanowich is a terrific storyteller with a way with words. Clayton’s mountain, he muses, is \'a wheel of tragedy that never stops rolling.\' Fine country noir.
MixedBooklist\"... beautiful, maddening ... The writing is intermittently gorgeous ... The final confrontation between cop and killer isn’t just written; it’s orchestrated. The problem? We get so much of such quality that it smothers the narrative, rather like the Vienna Philharmonic tearing into a polka. The novel will be best enjoyed by readers who don’t expect a fast-action rip and can appreciate lines like, \'to squeeze history through a prism so the colors may speak.\'\
RaveBooklistA Brad Parks novel offers two pleasures. One is watching a stunning talent at work. The other—operating almost apart from the first— is getting wrapped in the coils of a fiendishly clever thriller. Parks here works his magic ... The prose is hypnotic, the emotions genuine, the characters warm and alive. And the revelations as the masks drop are for Parks to reveal. Readers are not likely to scorn Tommy because he got fooled. So will they.
Jonathan De Shalit
PositiveBooklist...[a] challenging novel ... For many, this gripping premise will overcome the trudging pace and the overabundance of detail, and there are fascinating bits of tradecraft along the way. It’s the portrait of a stone killer—\'a complex, dark and violent soul\'—and her world, miles away from Fleming’s romanticized capers and le Carré’s meditations on love and betrayal, that linger in the mind.
MixedBooklistHart’s magical way with language is still in evidence here, but too many of the stories taper off without going anywhere. Still, there are some high points: \'The Gift of the Wiseguy\' leaves a delightfully bitter aftertaste, and \'Foodies\' will deliver a special jolt to anyone who’s read Stanley Ellin’s The Specialty of the House. Keep paying attention to Hart: the breakout is coming.
Erle Stanley Gardner
PositiveBooklistThis newly reissued novel is nearly 80 years old and inevitably dated in places ... Still, Gardner has a way of moving the story forward that is almost a lost art: great stretches of dialogue alternate with lively chunks of exposition, and the two work together perfectly, without sacrificing momentum. And the expanded courtroom scene at the end, with Mason’s bravura methods on full display, cleverly rehashes the novel’s plot and makes it easy to follow. Oh, and don’t worry (sorry for the spoiler, but this is important): The kitten survives and even helps solve the case.
PositiveBooklist\"A novel’s opening moments are there to rivet readers’ attention; this one begins with a dazzler ... This story is a mix of beautiful writing and a maddeningly slow, overly complex plot. Still, we’re hooked.\
PositiveBooklistReaders will content themselves with Post’s rich, atmospheric prose and displays of dark magic ... the ending, with animal howls of rage, is all the more effective for the suddenly understated prose.
Ed. by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger
PositiveBooklistThere are 13 stories plus one ringer, an engaging comic set in a bug world and featuring Inspector Mantis, complete with deerstalker and calabash pipe, bringing down the evil Spangleworm. The others vary a bit in quality, with the best being Zoë Sharp’s \'Hounded,\' a retelling of the Baskerville story by a PI who was on the moor for her own reasons. It honors the source, and so, curiously, does Inspector Mantis, sounding most Holmesian as he denounces the \'miscreant\' and tells Watson (called Hooper here) that he remains alone because, \'My courtship is with crime.\'
Hideo Yokoyama, Trans. by Louise Heal Kawai
MixedBooklistBe careful about recommending this one. It is not much of a thriller ... Readers interested in understanding the waning days of the newspaper business will find much to ponder in this darkly humorous tale, but steer mainstream thriller fans in another direction.
Warren C. Easley
PositiveBooklistIt\'s a perennial mystery theme ... greedy oligarchs overbuild high-rises...decimate neighborhoods ... It’s a familiar trail of crime syndicates, money laundering, and contract killers, but what’s most interesting is Claxton himself—good-natured, superficially dull as dishwater, not at all deft with the ladies. He’s generally slow to anger, too, but when the greedheads, on top of their international scams, crank up a loud gravel quarry outside Claxton’s home, things change. They should have known better.
PositiveBooklistSome readers will be happy to go with Carter’s languorous pace, relishing every particle of vividly described landscape. Others will wish the talented author had sharpened the scenes a bit, reduced the number of characters, sparked the dialogue, and decomplicated the plot ... Still, Carter’s world is a bit like that of Ann Cleeves, and this might well appeal to the latter’s fans
RaveBooklist\"Harris has a remarkable talent for world building...Here, the world she’s building is a phantasmagoric U.S., shattered by war and the assassination of FDR. Mexico has retaken Texas, Canada has claimed the Northwest, Russia has California. Through this brutal landscape, with its street killings and public hangings, moves 19-year-old Lizbeth Rose, who discovered early on she was good with guns and so became a \'gunnie,\' a shootist selling her skills to people seeking protection. This time she is hired by a Russian pair searching for a descendant of Rasputin whose blood could save their czar’s life ... In all, this looks like another winning series from a sure-bet author.
MixedBooklistAlternates bravura passages and sludgy sequences that can leave readers feeling they’re forging through the same chapter over and over. It all comes together in the last 50 pages, which are distinguished by fine writing, rousing action, and an especially haunting confrontation with \'the results of pure evil.\'
PositiveBooklist Online...Narrator David Hazard has returned to his fogbound New England village to care for Grandma and tend his own secret, which will stay secret here, just in time to encounter a murder. Grandma’s pal, the octogenarian lady next door, has had her skull bashed in. Getting a grip on what happened means probing layers of betrayal as well as murder. Turns out the past half-century has been an elaborate smokescreen, a carefully orchestrated flimflam to cover up something that shouldn’t have happened. Burgess handles the revelations with an effective mix of wry humor and tough-guy violence.
PositiveBooklistAuthor Moreci attempts to mix a conspiracy novel with an actioner, and it works most times, though we wonder how Mark manages to survive car crashes, near-drownings, and ferocious beatings and still turn up for the next chapter. Still, we don’t wonder all that much because we’re caught up in what is, finally, a fast-moving, entertaining read.
MixedBooklist Online\"The launchpad for this challenging novel is familiar ... The beautiful turns of phrase stall the narrative and, as they pile atop one another, start calling attention to themselves rather than the people, places, and events they’re meant to describe. Still, as an effort to blend literary style with crime-fiction content, the novel, while not entirely successful, should prove satisfying to those more interested in the former than the latter.\
MixedBooklist...this is an attempt to fuse a literary novel with a crime thriller and—also like the earlier novel—its success depends upon reader reaction to the blending of the two approaches ... the novel gets lost in a sea of introspection ... There is fine, thoughtful prose here, but it is never entirely in sync with the action around it.
RaveBooklist\"This splendid offering is tagged ‘a caper novel,’ but watch out. Anyone expecting a romp, like Donald E. Westlake’s Dortmunder novels, is in for a surprise. The thieves are a collection of maladroits, and the dialogue zings, as in Westlake and numerous other caper crafters, but there’s also something much darker lurking below the immensely readable surface of this powerhouse of a novel … The revelations in the twisty finale are backdropped by a conflagration that is a magnificent piece of writing purely on its own. In all, a fiercely beautiful novel.\
PositiveBooklist\"The attraction here is watching the publishing world catch on to what readers have always known: these are not detective stories but \'stories about a detective\' ... The canon of critical and biographical material on Holmes and Doyle is massive, of course, but even so, this latest entry makes a significant contribution to our understanding of how a bloodhound called Sherlock took over the world.\