The Devil’s Disciple by Shiro Hamao

Two very entertaining thriller/mysteries by an author you’ve probably never heard of translated here by J. Keith Vincent. Both stories, “The Devil’s Disciple” and the novella length “Did He Kill Them” are really psychological studies as much as noir detective thrillers. In both, the “killer” has already been caught so there’s not that much of investigating to be done.  However, in each the confession is … Continue reading The Devil’s Disciple by Shiro Hamao

Sunday Rant and Ramble: Lionel Shriver Makes me Mad; A New Cat Arrives; Tournament of Books Results

What makes a book a classic? Lionel Shriver was a guest on my favorite BBC program A Good Read.  You can listen to the program here.  It was the dullest episode of my favorite program ever. Knowing something of what Ms. Shriver is like in person, I almost didn’t listen, but I thought I’d be open-minded, give it a try. The conceit of A Good … Continue reading Sunday Rant and Ramble: Lionel Shriver Makes me Mad; A New Cat Arrives; Tournament of Books Results

The Game of Thirty by William Kotzwinkle

William Kotzwinkle is funny.  His wonderful novel, The Midnight Examiner, is one of the funniest books, certainly the funniest detective novel I’ve read.  Why he doesn’t have a wider audience is beyond me. Mr. Kotzwinkle doesn’t break new ground in his mystery novels: he’s not a pioneer of anything in particular.  What he does is springboard off of accepted tropes of the genre, things seen … Continue reading The Game of Thirty by William Kotzwinkle

Murder in Memoriam by Didier Daeninckx

On October 17, 1961, thousands of Algerians took to the streets of Paris in a peaceful demonstration against a curfew that had been imposed only on them.  At the time, Algeria was engaged in a struggle for Independence from France which had long held the nation as a colony. The demonstrators were met with extreme violence from the police who opened fire on them without … Continue reading Murder in Memoriam by Didier Daeninckx

The Big Clock by Kenneth Fearing

Journalist George Stroud is assigned to find a missing man.  The missing man is a suspect in the murder of a powerful magazine publisher’s mistress.  The missing man was the last person to see her alive.  He’s also the only man who knows that the powerful magazine publisher is the real killer.  He’s also the journalist George Stroud. How can the journalist escape from himself? … Continue reading The Big Clock by Kenneth Fearing

Hard Rain Falling by Don Carpenter

The main character, Jack Leavitt, deserves no sympathy.  True, he was born into a terrible situation, orphaned by his mother who abandoned him to the state in secret just to keep his father from ever finding him.  He grows up under very bad circumstances; faces young adulthood without anyone to help him steer a path through the mean streets of Portland and Seattle where the … Continue reading Hard Rain Falling by Don Carpenter

In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes

In 1947, an excellent thriller needed only four characters: two women, one a respectable policeman’s wife the other a woman of questionable character, and two men, one a police detective the other a serial killer.  With these four characters and a small supporting cast, Dorothy Hughes created an excellent noir thriller In A Lonely Place that can more than hold its own against any of … Continue reading In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes

Double Indemnity by James M. Cain

Man, what a ride! Back when the giant “Hollywood” sign still ended in”Land,” Walter Huff, long time agent for a small time Los Angeles insurance company stops at the Nirdlinger home to get Mr. Nirdlinger’s signature on a routine renewal form.  Nirdlinger’s wife Phyllis informs Huff that she’s alone.  The two quickly begin an affair that ends with a plot to kill Mr. Nirdlinger and … Continue reading Double Indemnity by James M. Cain

His Blody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

Graeme Macrae Burnet brings multiple voices to life in his historical crime thriller His Bloody Project. Give credit where it is due. I was very impressed by how well he evokes various types of writing and by how well they work together. The novel opens with a first person account, written by the accused, a 17-year-old farmer, or crofter, accused of multiple homicide.  Just how did young … Continue reading His Blody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

Maigret in New York by Georges Simenon

The trouble with Maigret in New York is clearly stated in the title. Inspector Maigret should stay in France, preferable in Paris.  I suppose over the course of 75 novels Maigret was bound to leave the country at least once, but I much prefer him when he is at home. Certain books are associated with certain places–that becomes part of the fun, maybe part of the … Continue reading Maigret in New York by Georges Simenon

The Laughing Policeman by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo

This year I’ve been reading all ten of the Martin Beck mystery series by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo.  All but one.  The Laughing Policeman was my first exposure to the Martin Beck Series.  I read it back in October of 2009.  While I decided not to re-read it, I did think it would be worth my while to re-read my review of it and to … Continue reading The Laughing Policeman by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo