Red Joan by Jennie Rooney

As a reader, I’m kind of a sucker. It’s easy to take me by surprise. I didn’t see any of it coming in Gone Girl. Life of Pi  came to me from far out in left field.  And I admit it, it never even occurred to me that he would sell his precious pocket watch to buy his wife a beautiful hair pin. My jaw has hit the floor … Continue reading Red Joan by Jennie Rooney

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

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

DNF: Three Weeks in December by Audrey Schulman

First off, is this not a beautiful cover? Don’t you want this to be a terrific book?  With a cover like this? It wasn’t the book, it was me. Most likely. The books two narratives are well told, it’s two lead characters interesting and three-dimensional.  I just felt I had been down this road before. In one, an 19th century American engineer has been hired … Continue reading DNF: Three Weeks in December by Audrey Schulman

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

Occupied City by David Peace

On January 26, 1948, someone posing as a health officer entered the Teikoku Bank in a Tokyo suburb and simultaneously poisoned 16 people, 12 of whom died.  After an extensive police investigation, Hirasawa Sadamichi, a tempera painter, was arrested and convicted of the murders.   His guilt was immediately called into question.  While he was never executed for the murders, he did eventually die in … Continue reading Occupied City by David Peace

The Silent Land by Graham Joyce

Graham Joyce’s novel, The Silent Land, is an entertaining supernatural thriller that delivers the goods. Jake and Zoe Bennett are on a ski vacation in the French alps when both are caught in an early morning avalanche.  Fortunately, Jake is able to dig Zoe free from the snow before it’s too late.  Having lost their skis, they wait as long as the can for a … Continue reading The Silent Land by Graham Joyce