A Travesty, by Donald Westlake

Tags:  crime-fiction detective-fiction
A Travesty is the first of two short novels in Donald Westlake’s Double Feature. The story opens with New York film critic Carey Thorpe looking down at the body of the girlfriend he’s just accidentally killed in her own apartment. A series of thoughts run through his mind, most of them converging on self-preservation: how can he get out of this mess without being fingered as the killer? Well, no one saw him walk in.

The Case of the Velvet Claws

Tags:  crime-fiction detective-fiction
Perry Mason makes his first appearance in The Case of the Velvet Claws. The book begins with a Mrs. Eva Griffin approaching Mason for a favor. She’d been out on a date the night before with a man who wasn’t her husband. The police showed up to investigate a robbery at the hotel where said date occurred, and they took statements from witnesses. Eva Griffin’s date was a powerful local politician, powerful enough to get the police to exclude his name from the witness list.

Kill Romeo is Now Available

Tags:  crime-fiction detective-fiction mystery
Kill Romeo is now available on Amazon.com. “What begins as a puzzling murder,” writes Diane Donovan of the Midwest Book Review, “turns into something unexpectedly even more complex on many levels… The story provides a riveting blend of personal and investigative conundrums that keep Freddy and his readers on their toes.” The book has picked up good advance reviews on NetGalley : “This was a really enjoyable read that was fast paced, well written and had a cast of well developed characters that I liked.

Kill Romeo

Tags:  crime-fiction detective-fiction mystery
The second book in the Freddy Ferguson series, Kill Romeo, goes on sale July 2, 2022. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon . Advance review copies are available on NetGalley . This is a sequel to Gate 76 , which was named a 2018 best book of the year by both Kirkus Reviews and BestThrillers.com. Summary Not since he saw a woman hurry off of a jetliner shortly before it exploded in mid-air (Gate 76) has detective and former boxer Freddy Ferguson faced such a deadly puzzle as when he comes across the body of a well-dressed young woman, nameless and unidentifiable, deep in the woods of rural Virginia.

Cropper's Cabin by Jim Thompson

Tags:  crime-fiction
Jim Thompson sure can be bleak. Cropper’s Cabin takes place in the author’s home state of Oklahoma, in the 1940s or early fifties. Tommy Carver is the son of a mean-spirited, resentful sharecropper who is barely getting by. Tom is a bright student in his final year of high school. He’s a favorite of his teachers and of the school principal. His girlfriend, Donna Ontime, is the beautiful daughter of the county’s richest man, a Creek Indian who owns the thousands of acres surrounding Tom’s father’s ten-acre plot.

Devil in a Blue Dress

Tags:  crime-fiction detective-fiction mystery
Devil in a Blue Dress is the first installment in Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins series. The story opens in Joppy Shag’s near-empty bar above a butcher shop in Watts, Los Angeles. The time is 1948. Easy Rawlins, just fired from his manufacturing job at Champion Aircraft, is having an afternoon drink, wondering how he’s going to cover his next mortgage payment, when a white man walks in and makes him an offer.

The Late Monsieur Gallet

Tags:  crime-fiction detective-fiction mystery
This is the first I’ve read of Simenon’s Maigret series. I can’t believe the author was only twenty-eight when he wrote this. His writing has a surety and solidness that many never achieve. The few who do find it take many years to get there. This case involves what appears to be the simple murder of a traveling salesman in a Loire Valley hotel during the hot summer of 1930. Maigret approaches the investigation with the dread of one assigned a sordid, depressing, and tedious task.

The Girl with a Clock For a Heart

Tags:  crime-fiction
The title alone made me want to read this one. It’s supposed to be a noir thriller, though it lacks the brooding spell and the sense of inevitable, darkening fate that distinguish the classic noirs. The book has a number of glaring flaws, but the story has enough twists to keep you reading. The Good There’s only one, and that’s the plot. It’s full of unexpected twists and it keeps thickening.

Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett

Tags:  crime-fiction
Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest is mayhem from beginning to end. The book opens with The Continental Op (an unnamed detective from the Continental Detective Agency) arriving in the corrupt Utah mining town of Personville (aka Poisonville) at the request of newspaper editor Donald Willsson. Willsson is gunned down before the Op has a chance to speak with him, and this sets the tone for the rest of the book, which is an orgy of unrestrained killing.

Blood on the Moon by James Ellroy

Tags:  crime-fiction noir
James Ellroy’s Blood on the Moon introduces LAPD Detective Sargent Lloyd Hopkins, a “genius” homicide investigator with a reputation for solving tough cases. First published in 1984, the book contains what are now a set of common tropes. Hopkins is a rogue cop working against the strictures of the department that employs him. His self-sworn duty to protect the innocent is born of his own childhood trauma. He can be as single-minded, violent, and relentless as the killers her pursues.
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