In conjunction with Alan R. Warren and The House of Mystery Radio Show, I have a new page for movie reviews. I’ll give you the skinny on the best and worst movies to stream. Now that theaters are opening back up, I’ll also cover theatrical releases whenever possible. I hope you’ll bookmark the page and come back again and again.
A modern two-fisted pulp, loaded with action, mystery, style, intelligence, and humor.
In this fourth book in the series, Boss heads to Seattle to take on Organized Retail Crime (ORC). Heavily researched, and highly detailed, we’re treated to firsthand descriptions of the seedier side of the Emerald City, and delve deeply into the world of ORC. Also heavily researched are the “Armless Arms” —weapons disguised as ordinary everyday objects. “Toyless is Joyless.”
Grounded firmly in the heavily researched word MacRath has created, we can gleefully enjoy a pulp romp with Boss and his colorful team as they go from one wild situation to the next. Boss tends to play the jester, but he never plays the fool. Rounding out the MacRathian trinity of tricksters is a an old geisha—or is she?—and the spirit of Mae West appearing in the most unexpected of locations.
As an aside, I have to comment on the Glenfiddich 21 Boss quaffs. I thought the author had inverted the numbers—but no! Boss drinks some really high-end stuff. And why shouldn’t he? Not only because he’s rich, but because we get to live vicariously through his good taste, and in so doing, we’re not even set back the price of a bottle!
MacRath never writes down to his audience, bringing in both pop culture and literary allusions. Authentic Seattle-speak also included! It is rare to find an action thriller/mystery this smart and also this fun.
If you like the snappy dialog of Elmore Leonard, and enjoy Quentin Tarantino’s brand of film making, you are going to go gaga over Boss MacTavin. Highly recommended.
Hank Schwaeble’s Jake Hatcher is back in his third novel, The Angel of the Abyss. As always, and just like his short fiction, Schwaeble crafts a rollicking good tale that will keep you turning the pages.
The beginning of this tale has Hatcher facing a demon, although it’s more complicated than that, giving Hatcher time to exercise his sarcastic wit. Fans of Supernatural and Ash vs. the Evil Dead will definitely appreciate the humor.
The mood becomes more serious and dire in the second act. The middle of the book, unlike many writers who get bogged down at this point, is where Schwaeble really shines. He does a great job writing from the perspective of Amy, Jake’s true love, who is also a former cop. I actually enjoyed Amy’s scenes even more than Hatcher’s. The two of them fight like the proverbial married couple, of which, I’m sure, many readers will be able to relate.
Schweable also does a fine job of taking on the perspective of a young boy. We meet the boy while he’s in a precarious situation, and we know from the beginning that the boy will converge with Hatcher and Amy at some point in the story. I won’t spoil it for you, but I think you’ll be racing to the end to find out what happens.
Hatcher’s past is constantly catching up with him, complicating things, and fans of the series will get some closure on events that were set up in the previous volumes. New readers can start here; Hank does a great job of bringing you into Hatcher’s world. You won’t feel left out or confused.
The last third of the book builds up to a hellish crescendo leaving this reader wanting more. There are questions left unanswered, promising a fourth book in this popular series. The Angel of the Abyss has it all: likable characters, demons, black magic, possession, secret military installations, cults, and lots of action. If you want a story to get you in the mood for Halloween and beyond, pick up The Angel of the Abyss. You won’t be disappointed. Highly recommended.
Hank Schwaeble delivers the goods in this collection of short noir fiction. Each story is compelling and masterfully crafted. There isn’t a bad story in the bunch. Plus you get to read the amazing introduction by Jonathan Maberry.
Here are some of my favorites:
American Nocturne – A dime store detective attempts to solve the most baffling case of his life. This tale will leave you questioning reality.
Midnight Bogey Blues – How do you get rid of a boogeyman? Read this story and find out. You might not like the answer, but you’ll enjoy reading it.
Gomorrah – A story about the darker side of destiny. An initiation ritual gone wrong leads a participant down a very dark path.
Bone Daddy – This twisted tale goes into very dark territory. Made me feel a little queasy while reading it. A guilty pleasure for sure.
Phantom Hill – A weird western with a unique and compelling twist.
A Murmur of Evil – Who doesn’t like an officially sanctioned Kolchak: The Night Stalker novella?
Nurture – The argument between nature vs. nurture played out literarily and in the darkest sense. A bleak and disturbing tale with just a touch of politically incorrect humor.
There’s plenty more to enjoy. I can’t recommend this collection enough. Absolutely fantastic! If you like noir, have at it. You won’t be disappointed.
Buy american Nocturne here.
Caesar’s Ghost is a well-written mystery or mhistory (mystery + history—-do you see what MacRath did there?) with a splash of the speculative. What would happen if Julius Cesar returned—-could live again in our current time? A man with that type of ambition and cunning would surely set his sights on some amazing conquest, wouldn’t he?
Along the way, Caesar is reunited with Cleopatra (Cleo), and teams up with some colorful characters, including a college professor, a private investigator, and even a mob boss. Yes, as you will see, they all become very close as Caesar works out a grand scheme to the benefit of all… Well, maybe not all. But—-at least—-to some!
I’m being a little cryptic here. I don’t want to spoil it for you. This is such a unique book, and it has something for the mystery lover, the lover of noir, and for those who have an interest in history.
Absolutely fantastic! Hayder is an amazing writer. Her attention to detail, both in characterization and setting, is awe inspiring. Birdman is a very dark book, and many will find it too disturbing. She elegantly handled all the gory details, cutting away most of the time, leaving a great deal to the imagination. Highly recommended. Get it here.