runner

runner

I live in Bristol UK horror dark fiction and crime are my books of choice and when not reading I like to run

Review
4 Stars
A tough but essential read
When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kalanithi, Abraham Verghese

The story of neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi and how he comes to terms with the news that he has terminal lung cancer. How can a young life so full of promise, a young man blessed with intellect and warmness be so cruelly cut short. The story is concluded by his wife Lucy and though the writing is sad and the ending inevitable the way and manner that the author faces his nemesis makes for poignant, thoughtful yet compulsive reading.

Review
4 Stars
Great collection but why the long story?
Blue World - Robert R. McCammon
The only real problem I have with this enjoyable collection is the last story....Blue World. It is in fact more of a novella and in that respect is not a comfortable companion with the preceding 12 short stories, it upsets the complete rhythm of those that have gone before and whilst an interesting tale in its own way is totally out of context. It is the story of a priest John Lancaster who finds himself attracted to blue movie phenomenon Debra Rocks and the resulting moral dilemma that ensues. At some 200 pages long this one story although interesting and amusing soon runs out of ideas after the initial premise of "will he or won't he" loses its appeal. In contrast to this "Night Calls the Green Falcon" is a work of pure magic! Creighton Flint is an old retired movie star and in his prime the afternoon movie and in particular the black and white weekly adventure series (you know where the hero is attempting to rescue a beautiful damsel in distress who has been tied to the railway line with an express train fast approaching...the action stopped at an impossible moment/cliff-hanger and a whole week had to be waited until hopefully our hero rescues said damsel) An old and somewhat weary Green Falcon is called into service again when his neighbour and friend is murdered. The Green Falcon must don his outfit and go in search of The Fliptop Killer. The real genius of this story is the way Robert McCammon divides the action into chapters with nail biting dastardly misadventure concluding each akin to the old black and white movies of days gone by...."Hey, amigo the man said, and flame shot from the barrel of the small pistol he'd just drawn" (my goodness has our hero been shot!)....now read on to start of next chapter..."The Hispanic man lit his cigarette with the flame"....phew that was close! "Yellowjacket Summer" is not a story to read if you possess a bee phobia. The author uses both the desert heat and fear of yellowjacket bees to great effect in this "stinger" of a story. "Nightcrawlers" a tale of murder and intrigue that happens in Cheryl's diner and the mystery that unfolds with the arrival of a Vietnam veteran called Price. Nightmares, mental awareness, and the fear of the unknown are issues hidden within. "He'll come knocking at your door" A very clever tale in which Dan Burgess lives the ideal life with a beautiful wife and daughter. This family wants for nothing but when Dan is summoned to an urgent Halloween meeting with some town locals he learns that there is no such thing as a free ride. A wonderful story with spooky folk lore overtones. Virgil Sykes and his odd family move into their newly painted "The Red House" What is the significance of the colour red? and why does it so upset Bobby Deaken? How is Sykes able to work faster and smarter than all his colleagues....all will be revealed in this quirky, bubbly fun tale. A great collection which would have been even better if "Blue World" the final story had either been replaced or somewhat edited.
Review
4 Stars
A wonderful complex, charismatic, and sad detective
A Time of Torment: A Charlie Parker Thriller - John Connolly

This is the 14th book in the Charlie Parker series and possibly not the strongest best remembered. A strange community "The Cut" are an enclosed society within Plassey County in West Virginia. They resist all help and do not welcome interference from an outside world, preferring to administer their own archaic form of justice by extortion, bullying and annihilation of perceived enemies, and those who would seek to undermine their way of life. Into this complex and dangerous situation enters our hero Charlie Parker tasked with locating a vanished girl and unmasking the legend of The Dead King. As ever he is accompanied by his able assistants Angel and Louis always with potential to call for assistance from the "Fulci" brothers if life becomes tough!

 

It is however the tormented and restless soul of Parker that we the reader love. This flawed hero not only laments and worships the loss of his family but also communicates with his dead daughter Jennifer always hoping to find some peace and perhaps soon to be with her on the other side. It is this dark aspect to Connolly's novels that make his books so readable, the sadness that is a permanent companion to a still great detective...."But it was his gaze that was most altered. If it were true what they said about the eyes being the windows to the soul, then Parker's soul burned with a new fire. His eyes held a calm conviction that Dave had not seen in them before. This was a fundamentally changed man, one who had come back strengthened, not weakened, by what he had endured, but who was also both less and more than he once had been.

 

In a long running series there will naturally be preferential novels more liked and suited to different readers. Whilst no John Connolly story is anything less than excellent my own personal favourites are A Song of Shadow, The Wrath of Angels and Every Dead Thing (where it all began) JC is a truly unique talent, and having made his acquaintance at a book gathering in Bath UK last year, a most genuine and gracious man always showing great respect and reverence to his adoring public!

Review
1 Stars
Woeful
Children of the Dark - Jonathan Janz
What an utter disappointment this horror story has proved to be! The start was lively and exciting and I had great hopes that this coming of age saga with 15 year old Will Burgess would have lots of memorable moments as our young hero and his friends coped with the sometimes traumatic experience of maturing from children to adults. Until we got to some 40% in it was all shaping up nicely, the usual teenage angst mixed with troublesome bullies and pretty "first love" girlfriends"........and then it all went wrong.... A rampaging criminal "The Moonlight Killer" had escaped and was terrorizing the locals, green eyed monsters with long pale arms (I kid you not!) were spotted and gradually commenced eating the good citizens and to add to the misery hurricane force weather was forecast! The second half of this sorry story disintegrated into a pathetic picture of green eyed monsters devouring anyone and anything that stood in their way......yawn...yawn.....................zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz The only reason I felt the story worthy of 1 star was the unusual and unpredictable ending. So will our charismatic hero emerge from his troubled childhood, ( and in truth there were many obstacles, no father figure and a alcoholic mother) will he keep his young 5 year old sister from turning into a midday "monster" meal and will he gain the love of Mia, the girl of his dreams. As Rhett would have said..."Frankly my dear I don't give a dam*" and you may choose to disagree dear readers but for me this story was almost as bad as "Night of the Nazi Zombies".....and that's saying something.....................
Review
3 Stars
Did not quite work for me
Wicked Stepmother - Dennis Schuetz, Axel Young, Michael P. Kube-McDowell
I have mixed feelings about Michael McDowell and yet I know that many of my friends on goodreads enjoy every word he has ever put into print. I had great trouble with the southern gothic tale "The Elementals" thought "Toplin" a work of great intrigue mystery and strangeness and yet was enthralled by "Cold Moon over Babylon" and saw it as one of the great horror stories of the last 30+ years. Wicked Stepmother is somewhat difficult to categorize and I certainly find it hard to identify with the writing style of McDowell. It is without doubt not meant to be serious but more a satirical and somewhat camp study of a Bostonian family, their social standing, and their murdering attempts to maintain that social status. It has lots of fun moments, a few little surprises but ultimately did not dazzle me in the same way that Cold Moon did.
Review
4 Stars
The violent world of PI Frank Behr
Signature Kill: A Novel (Frank Behr) - David Levien

It's probably true to say that this book reads a little like a movie or tv series and therefore no surprise to learn that the author David Levien is both a screenwriter and Director. This is the third book I have read starring PI Frank Behr ; ex cop now private eye, a real loner with a sad past, broken relations and a dead son. We now discover him in a relationship ( I use the term loosely) with Susan and a son they have together...Trevor (unusual to find anyone naming a son Trevor! and so great respect to Susan as my name is Trevor!) Frank spots a billboard, the originator is searching for her lost daughter Kendra Gibbons, and he decides to help, attracted by the large reward money on offer. This leads him into a cat and mouse game with the perpetrator as this psychopath continues to kidnap and torture, in the most horrific way, innocent young girls. Will Frank be able to bring the killer to justice and at the same time find some peace and reconciliation in his private life?

 

David Levien's books are easy to read with a very uncomplicated singular plot which probably reflects on his movie and tv background. They are not works of great literary acclaim but this is not always a bad thing as we often read for fun and escapism. For me what really dragged this book up to a 4 star rating was the completely unexpected last few chapters and an ending which although may have been out of character for Frank Behr, surely asks a lot of questions about his own mental state? To say more might disclose the plot in what proved to be once again an enjoyable excursion into the curious, complicated and often violent world of PI F Behr.

Review
5 Stars
Tim Weaver just gets better and better
Broken Heart: David Raker #7 - Joe Coen, Penguin Books LTD, Tim Weaver, John Chancer

Tim Weaver is a truly original, elegant, articulate author whose style, finesse and shear story telling ability gets better with each new book. Broken Heart is a superb example of how to draw a reader in from the first page and to maintain his interest right to the closing paragraph. It is essentially a crime novel that openly portrays the author's meticulous attention to detail, creating a multi layered plot which is never too complicated or over ambitious. David Raker, missing persons investigator, receives a telephone call from the sister of Linda Korin and the request is simple.....please find Linda!

 

For those of you who have followed the David Raker investigations in previous books  ("What Remains" book 6 is an equally outstanding story with imagery of old wooden piers and the thrill and sound of Victorian amusement arcades) you will be well aware that his novels contain many facets, multiple characters with endless twists turns and surprises. We learn much of the life of Linda Korin and her marriage to the multi talented movie producer Robert Hosterlitz. Hosterlitz had been a sad and drunken individual who kept one big secret form his beautiful wife and as Raker begins to unfold the tangled layers to discover where the truth lies, his own life will be in mortal danger. Tim Weaver's love of cinema and in particular "noir" adds an authentic old Hollywood feel to the story as it progresses relentlessly in the search to find Linda before it is too late.

 

My highest recommendation for this book and to an author who grows more confident and exciting with each new publication. I look forward immensely to the next in the series.

Review
1 Stars
Confusing and shambolic
Five Stories High: One House, Five Hauntings, Five Chilling Stories - Tade Thompson, Sarah Lotz, Nina Allan, Robert Shearman, K.J. Parker, Jonathan Oliver

I am perplexed by this story and think that the content is almost too clever for the events that they purport to represent.

 

Irongrove Lodge is a house of mystery and intrigue where five separate happenings or ghostly chilling stories unfold so says the blurb.......What actually unfolds is well nothing!! words and events happen and escalate past my eyes and mind with no particular order, sense or meaning. So frustrated did I become with the style of writing and the content that (for my own sanity) I desisted from reading, just before the midpoint having attempted to digest (and failing) two of the novellas within the five.

 

I find it even hard to explain what it was I had actually read? In the second of the two stories the narrator, a shapeshifter, ( a person or being with the ability to change their physical form at will) markets himself as in individual who, for a price,  will supply you the client with an alibi. In addition to this he "becomes" you by physically adopting your appearance and character. Centered around this unusual occupation are thoughts and observations on the narrator's wife (an artist of some repute who has deserted him) and his father, a mathematical genius and the author/originator of a calculus/mathematical solution which has greatly added to his credibility and fame (until an Indian professor disputes the theory) During these events our narrator purchases a suit of armour (don't ask me why) and finds solace and content within a small room in his flat at Irongrove Lodge....ah Irongrove Lodge....remember it was the subject of this collection of 5 novellas.

 

Having requested this book from netgalley I was excited about the possibility of reading five separate ghostly adventures around the beautifully named, the historical and stately, Irongrove Lodge. What I read was a confusing literary mess with the actual Lodge playing a secondary role to the rambling and overfed egos of so called writers masquerading as horror authors! A reader must be honest and fair in his thoughts when reviewing, especially if he received that book free in return for an honest review.  His thoughts and words must be impartial and not be influenced as the recipient of a "gratis" copy. I rarely dismiss a book at the midway point, but on this occasion the text, form and content proved much too confusing and abstract for me to continue. A great disappointment and a book I do not recommend to anyone!

Review
3 Stars
Cosmic horror
Siren of Depravity - Gary Fry

Gary Fry's writing always takes place around his native North East and interweaves good storytelling with frightening horror elements and outer worldly cosmic happenings.

 

Siren of Depravity introduces us to Harry Keyes, his wife Olivia and daughter Eva, but all is not normal in the Keyes Household. During his daughter's 7th birthday he receives a call from his brother Dexter who he last had contact with some 10 years ago. His brother requests help to locate his mother (not the same as Harry's mum) and this investigation will send Harry on a path of no return....a path of depravity and torture...a path that will see Harry come face to face with "ancient entities existing underground in the North York Moors".....and more especially...."the notion of occult practices, of creatures living under the earth in North Yorkshire, and of attempts to resummon such entities through dark practices."

 

An enjoyable and well paced story with a slow and well written introduction culminating and concluding in scenes of depravity, but never overdone and essential to the overall structure of the narrative. I think at heart this is a novel about the importance of family and how the destructive influence of an evil and abusive parent (Harry and Dexter's cruel father) can be used to intimidate and threaten.

Review
2 Stars
I think it's time for retirement Detective Superintendent Roy Grace
Love You Dead (Roy Grace) - Peter James

I have long been a fan of Peter James and before the emergence of his Roy Grace detective series he had written some notable horror stories, most memorable Sweet Heart and Prophecy. Unfortunately  Love You Dead (Roy Grace 12) has all the hallmarks of an author attempting to keep not only his fans happy (really?) but also his publisher content by writing a formulaic story with poor content and laughable plot.

 

A black widow Jodie Carmichael is set upon marrying the super rich and then immediately disposing of them thereby inheriting all their wealth. She is active in Brighton and our ever vigilant Roy Grace is tasked with the job of bringing her to justice. In a scene reminiscent of a 70's cop show detective Norman Potting is sent undercover as a rich single American to flush out the merry widow. Equally ridiculous a villain called Tooth has been sent by a group of Russian gangsters to retrieve a valuable memory stick (stolen by Mz Carmichael) which is said to contain information and addresses relating to gangsters throughout Europe.....his task to annihilate Mz Carmichael. In order to accomplish this he disguises himself as an elderly doting little old lady called Thelma Darby!

 

So a story that I presume is to be a half serious attempt as a Detective novel is turned into farce reminiscent of a British Ealing Comedy. If you add to this the fact that DS Roy Grace does not actually make a real appearance or contribution until 150 pages in then you can see why I am disappointed in an author I have great respect for producing such a mediocre piece of fiction. I am only thankful that I did not actually purchase this book but rather borrowed from my local library and I shall be returning it there post-haste!!

Review
4 Stars
Classic story still one of the best
Dracula - Bram Stoker

The true original, where it all started and a phenomenon that spawned a generation and more of copy cat stories and movies. Yes of course it is off its age, and the descriptive prose/language can take a short time and a little concentration to adjust to....but persevere and you will be rewarded with an exciting introduction to Nosferatu, the Un-Dead, and in particular the evil of Count Dracula.

 

Not only did Bram Stoker write an exciting adventure full of horror but the characters were colourful/strong and the descriptive eerie atmosphere added a wonderful mood and sense of doom to a highly charged story.....

 

"How sweet it was to see the clouds race by, and the passing gleams of the moonlight between the scudding clouds crossing and passing-like the gladness and sorrow of a man's life; how sweet it was to breathe the fresh air, that had no taint of death and decay."

 

"Never did tombs look so ghastly white; never did cypress, or yew, or juniper so seem the embodiment of funereal gloom; never did tree or grass wave or rustle so ominously; never did bough creak so mysteriously; and never did the far-away howling of dogs send such a woeful presage through the night."

 

"The mist grew thicker and I could see now how it came in, for I could see it like smoke-or with the white energy of boiling water-pouring in, not through the window, but through the joinings of the door."

 

In particular the characters of Mina and Van Helsing proved a joy for the reader to encounter and behold. Jonathan Harker's beautiful and intelligent bride Mina with her delicate pale femininity and the almost swash buckling elder professor and Vampire Hunter Van Helsing who positively jumps out of the pages with his vitality and passion as he searches out and races against time to rid the world of the evil Dracula. The excitement and action traverse the UK and Europe culminating in a classic showdown at the Counts evil lair....Castle Dracula. So forget True Blood and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and just try to understand how it all started and what a great debt we owe to the creator of this pure evil!

Review
4 Stars
There's life in the old Rebus yet!
Rather be the Devil - Ian Rankin

For an avid crime reader one of the greatest fictional characters to have emerged in almost 30 years is undoubtedly John Rebus. In so many ways he is the archetypal detective. He plays the game of cops and robbers under his rules and is not adverse to a little underhand dealing if it means a successful outcome to the criminal case.  A divorced loner he has always lived a solitary existence at his flat in Arden Street Marchmont,  surrounded by his memories and a vast LP collection (no modern cd's here) overpopulated by Bob Dylan, Jethro Tull, John Martyn and Van Morrison....to name but a few. Since the publication of Knots and Crosses in 1987 the personification and emergence of John Rebus as a "reality" rather than a writers creation has become blurred and for most Rankin fans he is a living breathing legend.

 

Rather be the Devil sees a retired JR doing what he does best, refusing to give into the inevitable pull of retirement, having been assigned to a cold case; the murder of Maria Turquand some 40 years previously. All the familiar characters are there; old time crime boss Big Ger Cafferty and the attractive career driven DI Siobhan Clarke. She has never doubted the great analytical and solving ability of our hero but has grave misgivings over his methodology, manners and approach to bringing a killer to justice. Clarke meantime is involved in solving a vicious attack on a young crime pretender Darryl Christie who appears to be at the heart of a money laundering scheme....soon to come to the attention of Cafferty.

 

It is however the characters, language and humour of modern day Edinburgh that is the real winner rather than the plot and storyline, from the past and present, which at times is a little confusing. There is also an inevitability and concern about the fate of John Rebus and the questioning of Rankin's writing in an attempt to discern how our great detective might finally make an exit...."He'd had a coughing fit in the toilet five minutes back, hawking gobbets into the sink then running the tap, rinsing away the evidence before dabbing sweat from his brow while thinking that next time maybe he'd remember to bring his inhaler. His face in the mirror told its own story, with  little to indicate that the ending would be happy."

 

The interplay between Rebus and the characters and suspects he meets during the course of his investigation is always a joy and a pleasure to behold showcasing the crisp and delightful writing skills of Mr Rankin....."Thought you'd been put out to pasture? I'm here for a bit of a graze, Rebus replied"........"Tea or coffee? Then, to Fox specifically: And how do you take it? Without Saliva, preferably."........."You snatched some of my business cards, Fox said eventually. Of course I did- sometimes people need to think they're talking to a cop. But they're not, John, and impersonating a police officer is an offence. I know guys who spent their whole lives on the force doing not much more than impersonating cops."

 

Rather be the Devil once again proves that even in retirement there is still great mileage and stories to be had from the pen of Ian Rankin and the stubborn inquiring mind of John Rebus. It will be a sad day when our great detective finally brings to an end his long and colourful career a time of great lament and perhaps in Scotland a day of national mourning!

Review
2 Stars
Ponderous
Devil In The Darkness - Archie Roy

Our lovely delectable fragrant newly married couple, Paul and Carol, are off for a night of knee-trembling passion following their very recent marriage. Unfortunately travelling towards the holiday cottage in the Highlands of Scotland becomes impossible due to adverse weather conditions and they are diverted to the ghostly Gothic pile known as Ardvreck House. Here they encounter an assortment of misfits who are attempting to unveil the house's evil past and our young, innocent, naive couple become involved even trapped, unaware of the evil and the dangers that lurk...close by...in the shadows.....boo!!

 

This story is somewhere west of Margaret Rutherford and east of Agatha Christie where most of the players debate the merits and wickedness of previous owners whilst attempting to keep each other warm (Paul and Carol had no trouble there :) and relatively sane as a ghostly coldness makes its presence known. Will our heroes survive? Will the house remain intact? Will the secrets of the previous owners be laid bare....do I care? This was a very run of the mill story, slow and ponderous with wooden stilted characters and felt at times like the board game cluedo or the finale gathering in a Hercule Poirot adventure. Not a story I would recommend.

Memorable thoughtful perplexing intelligent
The Brains of Rats (Valancourt 20th Century Classics) - Michael Blumlein, Michael P. Kube-McDowell

It's hard to categorize this book, certainly a mixture of SF, horror and most certainly weird fiction. It is however memorable with some of the stories so vivid and shocking in their imagery that they stay long in the mind after completion. Having learned that the author Michael Blumlein is by profession a physician it is not surprising that the content of many of the stories showcases his background, and this alone makes them all the more difficult to read and digest!

 

"The Brains of Rats" is an analysis of our genetic makeup, "Around the fifth week a single gene turns on, initiating a cascade of events that ultimately gives rise to testicle or ovary. In the male this gene is associated with the Y chromosome; in the female, with the X. An XY pair normally gives rise to a male; an XX pair, to a female."  It is difficult to understand if the narrator is more male than female and in the same way his wife causes concern over the nature of her own sexuality..."My wife, a laborer, wear only pants. She drives a truck."

 

"Tissue Ablation and Variant Regeneration: a Case Report" This story has a real disturbing edge, it is the harvesting of a human body whilst the donor is kept fully awake and aware of the process. The coldness and the narrator's total lack of empathy with the patient Mr Reagan makes for very uncomfortable yet memorable and essential reading..."The patient was offered the choice of an Eastern mode of anesthesia, but he demurred. Mr Regan has an obdurate faith in things American."

"Shed His Grace" Once again the narrator in this story appears to have issues with his sexuality and gender and the fact that he is only ever referred to by the letter "T" adds an eerie detached quality to the writing. The story is set during the Reagan administration of 1984 an ostentatious and extravagant time as the US is represented to the rest of the world by an actor and his equally flamboyant wife, the demure and sensitive Nancy. As we begin to understand the life of "T" this odd individual living a lonely existence is soon to shock us with a conclusion of some defiance. He has an almost obsessive (and possibly unhealthy) fascination with Nancy Reagan her slim, petite, nubile body occupying his thoughts often.."She wore a purple silk dress with a pink floral pattern across the bodice. The neck was high and ruffled, the sleeves short. Around the wrist she wore a gold bracelet...Her lips were red and smiling, her eyes bright. She made a demure gesture and turned down a long hall. The hem of the dress brushed against her calves, stroking them only inches above the mound of her heels."  This is also the time of the 1984 Olympics and "T" has a a preoccupation with the well muscled and toned athletes on display. His use of a razor to mark and shape his body leads to a disturbing final scene.

 

"The Wet Suit" is a gentle memorable story about family, love and death. Cam's father has died and his mother Fran wants him to help maintain/repair the family home and to inspect a rather odd cardboard that his father kept. This is a story that openly states we are all not what we seem, we all keep secrets from our loved ones....but at the end of the day does that really matter? We all need time out, our own space to indulge in our own pastimes and not be judged by others. What does it matter if it makes us happy, harms no one and helps maintain family harmony.

 

"Bestseller" continues the theme of selling/harvesting body parts. The narrator, an unsuccessful writer, slipping into poverty, is faced with a difficult decision when his son Nick is diagnosed with cancer. How can he afford the treatment? By chance he sees an advertisement "Donors Needed" and when a delightful woman answers the phone he is intrigued enough to agree to visit her medical organisation, as she only requires a survey to be completed and for this privilege he will be handsomely remunerated...."she explained that their research was in the field of organ transplantation , though she was quick to reassure me that the study only required a questionnaire and simple blood test. They were offering two hundred dollars to all those who enrolled." The allure of easy money persuades our narrator to return many times to the medical centre where the lovely Devora convinces him that if he continues to help them with their studies/program he will be richly rewarded. Events appear now to spiral out of control when his body parts are sought.....but he has a wife Claire and a sick son to support..how can he refuse! The horror creeps in as the story reaches its inevitable conclusion.

 

I judge a good book often by its ability to make me think and ask questions. There are many stories in this collection that are highly visual in the message they are promoting. At times uncomfortable to read, sometimes a little perplexing and puzzling but equally very memorable. A great thanks to the good people at Valancourt books for supplying me with a gratis copy. They are doing so much to promote and publish rare, neglected and out of print fiction and for their kindness I have written a fair and honest review.

 

Review
4 Stars
Exciting new name in the thriller genre
The Butcher's Son - Bentley Little;P. Gardner Goldsmith;Lorne Dixon;Michael A. Arnzen;Pat MacEwen;Ray Garton;Ian Withrow;John F.D. Taff;Jeff Strand;Kevin Lucia;Benjamin Kane Ethridge;Shane McKenzie;Steve Vernon;Charles Colyott;Taylor Grant;Dev Jarrett;Eric J. Guignard;J. S.

There are many and varied reasons why we read but paramount above all others is the simple premise, we want to be amused...we want to be thrilled and for a little time....no matter how short, we want to be transported to another dimension lost in the writing, thoughts and creations of a good author. Grant McKenzie is certainly an emerging star in the thriller genre!

 

Meet Ian Quinn, a child protection officer with his own sad past. He was there when his daughter Emily died, crossing the road to meet her dad Ian after school. How does one over get over such a tragedy, quite simply you don't but if you are to go on you must learn to live with the guilt. So in some ways Ian's job can help ease his conscience as he tries to give to those children that which he failed to deliver to his own child....."When I think about how Helena and I ripped our marriage apart after losing Emily."

 

An unexpected inheritance comes his way, his grandfather Augustus bequeaths Ian his Butchers shop and the mystery that unravels forces our hero to question every value that he has ever held to be true. He will learn the truth but his sister's disappearance, the dreadful death and wonderful work accomplished by his grandfather. He will come to know evil in the form of Walter Zilig as he attempts to discover the relationship between Zelig and Augustus, and tries to piece together the jigsaw concerning the disappearance of Zelig's own daughter Constance. It may all sound a little complicated but it is not and once started I devoured every word hoping that Ian Quinn would finally have some peace in his life. I did however find that his romantic relationship with Rosella Ragano ,solicitor, a little incredible. His first meeting was not quite the professional affair I expected, they appeared to have and want an immediate sexual encounter within minutes of meeting. Having said that this is perhaps just me being a little jealous :)

 

Many thanks to the good people at "edelweiss" for supplying me with a gratis copy for a full and honest review, and that is what I have written. I really enjoyed this introduction to the working mind of Grant McKenzie and I look forward to reading many more of his novels.

Review
3 Stars
Cracking dialogue crime noir
Falling Angel (18 Years Classic) - William Hjortsberg

This book was recommended to me on a bookmark called "50 of the best horror novels" and it is technically incorrect as I would not refer to it as horror more crime noir with grizzly undertones. It's the story of Harry Angel, tough New York PI, and his search for Johnny Favorite one time crooner who sang with the Spider Simpson orchestra in the 1940's. What I enjoy about noir crime is not so much the story but the setting, the characters, and the language used. We get to meet Spider Simpson, Evangeline Proudfoot, Madame Zora, Toots Sweet all coming under the suspicious and watchful eye of our great PI Harry Angel! Of course as every Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett fan will know it is always the fast and furious cracking dialogue that makes the story buzz...."She had large breasts and slim hips and emphasized them with a pink angora sweater and a tight black skirt. Her hair was on the brassy side of platinum"..."A million square feet of office space sheathed in embossed aluminium panels. It looked like a forty-story cheese grater."...."She was dressed all in black, like a weekend bohemian in a Village coffeehouse"...." The curtainrod was bent in a V and the drapes sagged like the stockings of a hooker on a weeklong drunk".

 

The story moves at a furious pace and give the impression and smells of downtown NYC in the late 1950's with all its undertones, underlife and seedy jazz clubs.."I found a stool at the bar and ordered a snifter of Remy Martin. The band was playing a blues, the guitar darting in and out of the melody like a hummingbird. The piano throbbed and thundered. Toot's Sweet's left hand was every bit as good as Kenny Pomeroy had promised". Unfortunately, at times, with the introduction of so many characters, the main storyline became a little confused and I sometimes found it necessary to backtrack before continuing. Having said that the effort of completing the story was certainly rewarded with an intelligent and somewhat horrific ending.

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