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.
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 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.
Fabian Nicieza’s Suburban Dicks opens with the murder of a gas station attendant in West Windsor, New Jersey. As a pair of inept young cops are trying to secure the crime scene, a minivan pulls into the station. The pregnant driver’s toddler has to pee, and she does… all over the evidence. The driver of the minivan, Andrea Stern, a once-promising criminal profiler whose career was cut short by motherhood, picks up more details in her brief survey of the scene than the cops can gather in weeks.
Hammett’s books are dense with action and full of twists. Snooze for a second and you’ll have to go back and re-read the whole chapter. While many have commented about Hammett’s hardboiled style and seedy underworld characters, what really struck me in this one was how the author keeps the reader grasping throughout. You never know what’s going to happen next, nor do you know the significance of events as they’re happening.
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.
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.
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 Troubled Man is the final installment in Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallander series, and the only one of the series I’ve read. I found the book in a Little Free Library in a park in Virginia. I picked it up, because I felt quite troubled at the time. I saw the title and thought, “That’s me.” In this book, Wallander, a police officer in a small coastal town in Sweden, is sixty years old and spends a lot of time reflecting on his life.
My designer, the brilliant and stunning Lindsay Heider Diamond , has come up with yet another excellent cover for my next book. We hope to have this one out sometime this summer. My last book, Wake Up, Wanda Wiley , a satire on the romance and thriller genres, was a bit of a departure. The Friday Cage is a return to my usual mystery/thriller story. The plot runs along the lines of Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, in which Cary Grant finds himself pursued by people he doesn’t know for reasons he doesn’t understand.
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