Saturday, 25 May 2019

EUGENE MARTEN - WASTE (2008)


Synopsis/blurb.....

A spare and chilling account of the day-to-day experience of Sloper, a janitor in a big-city office building, WASTE explores the import of the discarded--for those who generate it, those who dispose of it, and those who are themselves discarded. From the humble prospect of his station, Sloper uncovers ominous possibility in lives he barely brushes. 

Brian Everson says, "Only Eugene Marten can keep a reader enthralled with the minutiae of a janitorial existence.... Precisely and exquisitely detailed, WASTE is a stark little masterpiece." 

And Dawn Raffel writes, "[P]itch-perfect. WASTE wastes nothing--not a syllable, a beat, a ragged breath." 

And Sam Lipsyte writes, "There is nothing quite like the controlled burn of Eugene Marten's prose."

Not rushing to the other Eugene Marten book on my shelves - In the Blind after reading this one.

Sloper is an office janitor and a strange one. He lives in the same building as his mother - him the basement, her upstairs with no interaction between the two. Initially we follow him on his nightly rounds, where he is rather partial to recovering and eating discarded food from the office bins. We learn his routine and the petty rules and bureaucracies that govern the cleaning crew and we witness his infrequent reactions with late working office staff and his colleagues.

One such female worker is inexplicably discovered dead in the rubbish chute of the building. Sloper recycles her and now has himself a somewhat passive girlfriend. Good job he's got a large fridge. Not such a good job that his mother decides to pay him an unannounced visit. More weirdness follows.

Other subsequent interactions follow with his girl and other tenants of the property including a care-giver and her wheelchair bound charge. Sloper contemplates a career change and marriage. (Not sure what the author was up to here as I kind of lost the thread of the novel.) 

In the end, Sloper's guilty little secret is discovered and he gets to enjoy some cold storage for himself, with company.

Overall, weird and not just a little bit disturbing. I didn't enjoy it necessarily, though it had it's moments. I didn't endure it, as it wasn't a painful slog - its relatively short which helped. I just don't think I totally understood parts of it, which always kind of frustrates me. It's definitely different which I give the author credit for.

3 from 5

Read - May, 2019
Published - 2008
Page count - 132
Source - owned copy
Format - paperback
  



Thursday, 23 May 2019

MICHAEL J. CLARK - MAHONEY'S CAMARO (2019)


Synopsis/blurb.....

Racing to find a killer before he strikes again, an unlikely investigator is haunted by an even more unlikely source in this gripping crime novel.

"Clark writes well and has created some amusingly zany characters." -- Publishers Weekly on Clean Sweep

It's the summer of 1985 and mechanic Steve Mahoney is dreaming big about owning his own shop. He's getting there as slowly as possible, working one night shift at a time for a local towing company. One night, called to retrieve a car from the murky Red River, Mahoney finds the replacement body to his prized but damaged '67 Camaro. There's also a body inside the car, handcuffed to the steering wheel. Mahoney's able to snap the Camaro up cheap at a salvage auction, but once he's restored the car to its former glory, he discovers that its last driver is standard spectral equipment on his new ride, and she's not leaving until she finds out who sent her to a watery grave.

Mahoney's Camaro is a gritty, fast-paced crime novel that will appeal to fans of Ron Corbett and Stuart MacBride. Combining expertise in the automotive world and a passion for storytelling, Michael J. Clark delivers an action-packed joyride that will grip you until the last page.

An enjoyable book, some crime fiction with a supernatural twist in the form of a couple of ghosts - mainly one - somewhat reluctant to depart this mortal coil; at least until someone has paid the price for causing their death. Usually, I'm not a massive fan of unexplainable, otherworldly type influences in my reading, but here I was happy to go with the flow.

Our main man is a graveyard shift, tow truck driver Steve Mahoney who is also a straight Joe, refusing to deal in drugs or girls, which form part of the seamier side of his employer's business.

Mahoney gets the call to fish a Camaro out of the river. Long story short, he acquires the car for himself and comes to the attention of the group who killed the woman in the vehicle and wanted the car for themselves to dispose of any evidence linking them to the body and whatever they had been cooking up with the book-keeping corpse when she was alive.

It's an interesting set-up. Mahoney has his car complete with spectral presence that won't leave, but who doesn't know what happened to her. In alternate parts of the narrative, we are in the company of the crims and we know who did her down and why.

Mahoney, his girlfriend and his car-crazy boys and the ghost of the dead woman try and solve her murder mystery - the cops seem to believe it's a suicide, while the opposition scheme away - new drug deals, smuggling, covering of tracks with attempted murder, double crossing each other, acquiring, selling and re-acquiring leases on roof top properties in preparation for making a killing when cell phones networks roll out across Canada.

After more death, both deliberate and accidental, a fake medium, attempted car theft, a ghostly bus trip, drug dealing, police involvement and a lot more our two parties inevitably collide.

Good fun, a bit of sex, plenty of humour and banter amongst Mahoney and his friends, lots of villainous scheming and plotting and an outcome that worked. There's a lot of love and detail for old cars and bodywork and engines, I think the author's a bit of a petrol-head. Most of it went over my head, but there wasn't so much that it felt like reading an engineer's manual.

I enjoyed the book. I liked the Canadian setting - Winnipeg and the time frame of the mid-80s, which Clark captured through the music Steve listened to. The plot was okay. The tale didn't have too many twists as the reader had an overview of what was going on. The characters were entertaining and I was invested in the outcome without ever being blown away by the quality or quirkiness of the writing. Probably not one that will live too long in the memory, but not one to regret reading either.


3.5 from 5

Michael J. Clark has another book - Clean Sweep - to his name, which I'll hopefully read at some point.

Read - May, 2019
Published - 2019
Page count - 314
Source - Net Galley, courtesy of publisher ECW Press
Format - ePub read on laptop



1967 Chevy Camaro

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

LEE MATTHEW GOLDBERG - THE DESIRE CARD (2019)



Synopsis/blurb.....

Any wish fulfilled for the right price. 

That's the promise the organization behind The Desire Card gives to its elite clients - but sometimes the price may be more menacing than anyone could ever imagine.

Harrison Stockton has lived an adult life of privilege and excess: a high-powered job on Wall Street fuels his fondness for alcohol and pills at the expense of a family he has no time for. Quite suddenly all of this comes crashing to a halt when he loses his job and at the same time discovers he almost certainly has only months left to live.

Desperate, and with seemingly nowhere else left to turn, Harrison activates his Desire Card. What follows is a gritty and gripping quest that takes him from New York City to the slums of Mumbai and forces him to take chances, and make decisions, he never thought he’d ever have to face. When his moral descent threatens his wife and children, Harrison must decide whether to save himself at any cost, or do what’s right and break his bargain with the mysterious group behind The Desire Card.

The Desire Card is a taut fast-paced thriller, from internationally acclaimed author Lee Matthew Goldberg, that explores what a man will do to survive when money isn’t always enough to get everything he desires.

Best book ever? No, but lots for me to enjoy here, despite the book being populated by hugely unlikable individuals, ranging from our main character - the self-absorbed Harrison Stockton to his annoying wife, irritating children, arsehole father-in-law, slimy former work colleagues and shifty former best friend, Nagesh. There's only one individual in the book that you'd be happy spending time in the company of  - an escort, Naelle - and not just because she rents out her body for money.

Despite the lack of sympathetic characters, Goldberg has written a compelling book. Stockton is an alcoholic, he's just lost his job, his marriage is failing as is his health. A collapse in the arms of Naelle, precipitates a hospital visit and a long overdue check-up. He's dying and in urgent need of a liver transplant. 

Ill-health, alcoholism, unemployment, relationship issues, old friendships resurrected, history of a friendship and a marriage, family, secrets, black market organ harvesting, Mumbai misery, greed, a scam, an unlikely ace in the hole - The Desire Card - wish fulfilment guaranteed - if you're prepared to pay the price. How much for a new liver? And who pays?

Stockton has a crappy hand dealt to him, but it's hard to sympathise with his predicament as the majority of it is self-inflicted caused by his alcohol consumption. There's a major turning point in the book, when he has a difficult choice to make, one which shows him to be more than a hedonistic, vacuous vessel. A simpler, happier life - still truncated - beckons, assuming his nemesis, the power behind The Desire Card permits it.

Its a difficult read in places, especially when exposed to the realities of the impoverished in Mumbai. There are some graphic illustrations of living conditions, with a stomach churning lack of sanitation, nourishment, shelter, health and most damning of all - hope. Its in sharp contrast to the New York lifestyles of the successful bankers and the privileged elite that are encountered in the book. It's an imbalanced world for sure.

An interesting theme, thought provoking in its contrasts and with a moral dilemna for a main character that kind of grows on you as the book and his story unfolds.

Goldberg has a second offering in The Desire Card series out later this year. I'd be curious to see where he goes next.

I've read Lee Matthew Goldberg previously, albeit in a shorter format.
De/tached was read back in 2015

Read - May, 2019
Published - 2019
Page count - 312
Source - review copy received from author
Format - paperback




Monday, 20 May 2019

2 BY DON WINSLOW

A couple from twenty-five years ago when current hot-shot (hot-shit?) Don Winslow was a newly published young pup of an author.






















Winslow wrote five books in his Neal Carey series. I've read the first - A Cool Breeze on the Underground, but remember nothing about it. Buddha's Mirror and High Lonely are the second and third Carey books.

I have read more from him - California Fire and Life and The Death and Life of Bobby Z - but not in the last ten years. I do keep hearing amazing things about his books and I've bought a few of them in the meantime, but never got around to reading them.

The current rage is his Power of the Dog trilogy, comprising The Power of the Dog, The Cartel and this year's The Border. Maybe when I've read some of his other books including these two, I'll find out.








The Trail to Buddha's Mirror (1992)

Robert Pendleton is a chemical genius with a fertilizer worth a fortune to whoever controls the formula. Not surprisingly, the Bank, his notoriously exclusive backer, wants to keep an eye on its investment. But so does the CIA. And the Chinese government. And a few shadier organizations. So when Pendleton disappears from a conference in San Francisco, along with all of his research, Neal Carey enters the picture.

Neal knows the Bank is calling in its chips in return for paying his grad school bills. He thinks this assignment will be a no-brainer -- until he meets the beguiling Li Lan and touches off a deadly game of hide-and-seek that will lead him from San Francisco's Chinatown to the lawless back streets of Hong Kong, and finally into the dark heart of China. In a world where no one is what they seem, Neal must unravel the mystery of a beautiful woman and reach the fabled Buddha's Mirror, a mist-shrouded lake where all secrets are revealed.

Way Down on the High Lonely (1993)

Neal Carey's third year of internment in a remote Chinese monastery is ended by a visit from Joe Graham, his one-armed mentor, bringing good news and bad: "Friends of the Family" have bought Neal's freedom - but before he can return to his beloved graduate studies, he has one small errand to run.

Without much choice or enthusiasm, Neal follows Graham to California to find two-year-old Cody McCall, who has been abducted by his father during a custodial visit. The trail leads Neal from Hollywood studios to the wilds of Nevada, where he must infiltrate a vicious group of white supremacists.

His undercover efforts require a saloon fight, a little cowboy work, and some survivalist training before he finds young Cody, and in the bargain learns more about human nature - including his own - than he ever wanted to know.

Weaving a modern private-eye story into an old-fashioned western, Don Winslow has written a gripping, unforgettable novel.

Monday, 13 May 2019

2 BY ROBERT DALEY

A couple from Robert Daley, that I've had on the shelves for more than 10 years, probably 20 and not yet got around to reading.























Robert Daley has written over 20 novels in a career that so far spans from 1959 and The World Beneath the City to The Red Squad in 2013, plus a host of non-fiction. A lot of his books concern the police, probably unsurprising seeing as he served as NYPD deputy commissioner in the early 70s
.


To Kill a Cop also spawned a TV movie of the same name, followed by a short-lived TV series, Eisheid in the late 70s.

I wonder if it will take me another 20 years to get around to finally reading them?
Hopefully not. Reactions and reviews are subjective but over on Goodreads, To Kill a Cop has an average score of 3.76 (7.5/10) from over 40 readers. Man With a Gun - similar - averaging 3.67 from 39 readers. What am I  waiting for?


To Kill a Cop (1976)


The assassination of two patrolmen has the tired, corrupt and cunning NYC Chief of Detectives Earl Eisheid scrambling not just to find the killers but to save his own career. The assassins are from a group called FEAR--the Freedom and Equality Revolution. Their dream is to make Chief Eisheid's worst nightmare come true.












Man With a Gun (1988)

Publisher's Weekly
This latest novel by the author of Prince of the City may end by focusing on the controversy over a green Deputy Commissioner who commits accidental homicide, but it is really about the fascinating distribution and realignment of power at the top of the nation's largest police force. Foreign correspondent Phil Keefe has been selected right-hand man to New York Police Commissioner Timothy J. Egan, a small, strong-minded former police academy instructor bent on reform of the department. Keefe is coached by a sergeant who has seen awful cruelties on the streets of New York. He is suspected by top brass who fear their power slipping into his hands. And he is resented by his girlfriend, an actress whom he leaves each night to visit the city's cops at work. He is in over his head, though, when police officials saddle him with a difficult hostage negotiation that results in the death of a distraught black trucker. Daley himself is on slightly unfamiliar ground when he brings to task an ambitious senator and assistant DA. And he sometimes pushes too far his recurring theme of the cop as society's martyr. But when Daley describes working cops, he makes clear the aggravation and ugliness of their jobs. And when he examines the methods by which major police officials quietly protect their careers and extend their grasp, he writes like a dazzling pre-glasnost Kremlinologist scrutinizing small changes in photos of Soviet leaders for revealing clues.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

APRIL 2019 - ADDITIONS TO THE LIBRARY - 6 OF THE BEST!

Some top books discovered this month - a few purchases, a couple of review copies received and some good reading ahead - always assuming I actually read them and don't just stash them away and forget them!

Antti Tuomainen - The Man Who Died (2017) - purchased copy

A bit of Scandi crime that grabbed my attention. I've heard good things about this author's books - time to make my own mind up!

A successful entrepreneur in the mushroom industry, Jaakko Kaunismaa is a man in his prime. At just 37 years of age, he is shocked when his doctor tells him that he's dying. What is more, the cause is discovered to be prolonged exposure to toxins; in other words, someone has slowly but surely been poisoning him. Determined to find out who wants him dead, Jaakko embarks on a suspenseful rollercoaster journey full of unusual characters, bizarre situations and unexpected twists. With a nod to Fargo and the best elements of the Scandinavian noir tradition, The Man Who Died is a page-turning thriller brimming with the blackest comedy surrounding life and death, and love and betrayal, marking a stunning new departure for the King of Helsinki Noir. 'Right up there with the best' Times Literary Supplement 'The Man Who Died is deftly plotted, poignant and perceptive in its wry reflections on mortality and very funny' Declan Hughes, Irish Times 'The deadpan icy sensibility of Nordic noir is combined here with warm-blooded, often surreal, humour. Like the death cap mushroom, Tuomainen's dark story manages to be as delicious as it is Toxic' Sunday Express 'The Man Who Died by Finnish author Antti Tuomainen isn't your standard Nordic noir. Told in a darkly funny, deadpan style ... The result is a rollercoaster read in which the farce has some serious and surprisingly philosophical underpinnings' Laura Wilson, Guardian

'An offbeat jewel' Don Crinklaw, Publishers Weekly


J.M. Green - Good Money (2016) - Edelweiss - Above the Treeline reviewer copy
I do like to venture Down Under for some crime fiction reading now and again, books being my own probable means of ever visiting the country. I harangue myself for not reading enough female penned crime fiction - so WIN/WIN here.

Good Money has been out for a while, but was recently uploaded to Edelweiss. Green has written a couple more in her Hardy series and I guess assuming this one goes well and I expect it too. I'll be adding Too Easy (#2) and Shoot Through (#3) to my wish list.

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2016 NED KELLY AWARDS, BEST FIRST FICTION

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2016 SISTERS IN CRIME’S DAVITT AWARDS FOR BEST DEBUT CRIME BOOK


Introducing Stella Hardy, a wisecracking social worker with a thirst for social justice, good laksa, and alcohol.


Stella’s phone rings. A young African boy, the son of one of her clients, has been murdered in a dingy back alley. Stella, in her forties and running low on empathy, heads into the night to comfort the grieving mother. But when she gets there, she makes a discovery that has the potential to uncover something terrible from her past — something she thought she’d gotten away with.


Then Stella’s neighbour Tania mysteriously vanishes. When Stella learns that Tania is the heir to a billion-dollar mining empire, Stella realises her glamorous young friend might have had more up her sleeve than just a perfectly toned arm. Who is behind her disappearance?


Enlisting the help of her friend Senior Constable Phuong Nguyen, Stella’s investigation draws her further and further into a dark world of drug dealers, sociopaths, and killers, such as the enigmatic Mr Funsail, whose name makes even hardened criminals run for cover.


One thing is clear: Stella needs to find answers fast — before the people she’s looking for find her instead.


Set in the bustling, multicultural inner west of Melbourne, Good Money reveals a daring and exciting new voice in Australian crime fiction.




Preston Lang - Load (2019) - purchased copy

One of my favourite crime fiction writers of recent times, though I can't claim to have read everything he's written. There's a reason for that - why rush to read them, when the anticipation of doing so offers me a warm, fuzzy glow. Once they're done they're done!

The Blind Rooster, The Carrier and Sunk Costs have been enjoyed. The Sin Tax and his collection of short stories - This One is Trouble are waiting.

Ana Luz is a wily Iraq War vet, getting by working at a laundromat and doing the occasional favor for a neighborhood drug dealer called Espada. Her mysterious boyfriend Cyril convinces her to rip off Espada and sell the product to one of Cyril’s old friends out in Iowa. 

But the old friend isn’t as reliable as he once was, and rather than a clean sale, Cyril and Ana Luz are forced to help move the drugs out west. But the customers are dangerous, the law is suspicious, and Espada doesn’t appreciate being ripped off by a woman who fixing dryers for a living. 



The result is a high-speed chase from the tenements of upper Manhattan to the flat heart of America. Ana Luz and Cyril find themselves pursued by corn-fed hustlers, Dominican gangsters, and some suspicious small-town cops. The couple will need all their cunning and muscle just to make one simple drug deal and come out alive.



Rafael Bernal - The Mongolian Conspiracy (1969) - review copy from publisher Pushkin Vertigo
Happy as a dog with two dicks when this rocked up in my mailbox a week or two back.  Francisco Goldman's tag-line certainly grabbing my attention. I'm looking forward to cracking the spine on this one.

A noir cult classic set in Mexico City during the Cold War

"THE BEST FUCKING NOVEL EVER WRITTEN ABOUT MEXICO CITY"

FRANCISCO GOLDMAN

Filiberto García is in over his head. An aging ex-hitman with a filthy mouth, he has three days to stop a rumored Mongolian plot to assassinate the President of the United States on his visit to Mexico.


Forced to work with agents from the FBI and the KGB, García must cut through international intrigue. But with bodies piling up and the investigation getting murkier, he starts to suspect shady dealings closer to home, and to wonder why the hell he was hired in the first place.



Rafael Bernal (1915–1972) was a Mexican diplomat and the author of many novels and plays. The Mongolian Conspiracy was published in 1969 and is regarded as his masterpiece.


Lanny Larcinese - I Detest All My Sins (2018) - purchased copy

A book I've seen a bit about on Facebook and one with some decent reviews - my kind of thing, I reckon.

Bill Conlon's lust for a high school girl has caught him a stretch at Graterford Prison and led to his kid brother's suicide. And when Bill witnesses his young friend, Mikey, get shanked in the yard of the prison, his guilt comes into high relief. Catching Mikey's killer would make everything right. Or would it? After his release, Bill begins to stalk Deadly Eddie, a former fellow inmate who Bill suspects is the killer. But like a late afternoon shadow, trouble is glued to Bill's shoes. As bodies pile up, Detective Sam Lanza is brought on to investigate and he points to Bill as a strong suspect in the murders. Meanwhile, Bill's girlfriend, Louise, goes missing and he is against the clock to find her before anything happens to her. Can Bill find Louise before she is damaged beyond repair, and finger the real killers before Lanza takes him down for crimes he didn't commit?


Philip Elliott - Nobody Move (2019) - Edelweiss - Above the Treeline review copy
An eye-catcher when browsing the Edelweiss site, like I haven't got enough books to be getting on with. Cover -tick, setting - tick, set-up - tick. Elmore Leonard - Quentin Tarantino - comparisons - tick!


Eddie Vegas made a terrible mistake. Now he has to pay the price. After a botched debt collection turned double murder, Eddie splits, desperate to avoid his employer, notorious L.A. crime boss Saul Benedict, and his men (and Eddie’s ex-partners), Floyd and Sawyer, as well as the police. Soon he becomes entangled with the clever and beautiful Dakota, a Native American woman fresh in the City of Angels to find her missing friend—someone Eddie might know something about. Meanwhile in Texas, ex-assassin Rufus, seeking vengeance for his murdered brother, takes up his beloved daggers one final time and begins the long drive to L.A. When the bodies begin to mount, Detective Alison Lockley’s hunt for the killers becomes increasingly urgent. As paths cross, confusion ensues, and no one’s entirely sure who’s after who. But one thing is clear: They’re not all getting out of this alive.


As much a love letter to neo-noir cinema and L.A. as it is satire, the first book in the Angel City novels is a lightning-speed crime thriller equal parts Elmore Leonard and Quentin Tarantino.


Saturday, 11 May 2019

APRIL 2019 - READING LIST AND PICK OF THE MONTH

April's reading saw nine books enjoyed, one short of my monthly target of ten, but all fairly good reads. 

Pick of the month and the only 5 STAR read - GOODBYE TO AN OLD FRIEND by Brian Freemantle, an early 70s Cold War thriller


PICK OF THE MONTH!

4.5 STAR READS - 3 of; Ralph Dennis and The Charleston Knife is Back in Town, E. Michael Helms and his Vietnam memoir - The Proud Bastards and Charles Willeford and his mid-50s novel  Pick-Up

4 STAR READS - 4 of; Attica Locke - Bluebird, Bluebird, David B. Lyons and Whatever Happened to Betsy Blake, T.S. Hunter and Tainted Love and Lawrence Block with his dirty little tale - Sweet Little Hands

3.5 STAR READ - 1 of - David Gordon's The Bouncer


I spent time in the company of......

a bouncer with a secret background and easily able to break the law, with an FBI agent in pursuit

a black Texas Ranger with an alcohol dependency investigating murder with possible racial connotations

a dying man seeking urgent answers to his daughter's disappearance

an ex-cop PI with his sidekick trying to save a kid, bag some loot and avoid the sharp end of the Charleston Knife's weapon of choice

a pair of alcoholics, tired of life

a couple of grieving friends, trying to find a murderer 


a raw recruit, about to experience jungle warfare on the other side of the world

a Russian defector and a British intelligence officer trying to de-brief him

a married couple spicing up their lives with murder

Settings.....

New York; East Texas; Dublin; Atlanta; San Francisco; Soho, London; Parris Island and Vietnam; London and Kent, maybe Surrey also; unknown - probably New York

David Gordon - The Bouncer (2018) (3.5)

Attica Locke - Bluebird, Bluebird (Highway 59, Book 1) (2017) (4)

David B. Lyons - Whatever Happened to Betsy Blake? (2019) (4)

Ralph Dennis - The Charleston Knife is Back in Town (1974) (4.5)

Charles Willeford - Pick-Up (1954) (4.5)

T.S. Hunter - Tainted Love (2019) (4)

E. Michael Helms - The Proud Bastards (1990) (4.5)

Brian Freemantle - Goodbye to an Old Friend (1973) (5)

Lawrence Block - Sweet Little Hands (2011) (4)


If you're not asleep yet - anal analysis for my own amusement - read on if you're an insomniac ......

New to me authors in the month - 3 - Attica Locke, David Gordon and T.S. Hunter

I have more on the pile to read from David Gordon

Authors enjoyed before - 6 - David B. Lyons, Brian Freemantle, Lawrence Block, E. Michael Helms, Charles Willeford and Ralph Dennis

There's more on the TBR pile from 5 of them - Freemantle, Block, Helms, Willeford and Dennis

9 reads from 9 different authors. 

4 were series books.....


The Charleston Knife is Back in Town is the second in Ralph Dennis's 12 book Hardman series

Bluebird, Bluebird is the first in Attica Locke's Highway 59 series. 

The second drops later this year. Tainted Love is the first in T.S. Hunter's Soho Noir series, the second drops in June. 

David Gordon's The Bouncer is followed by The Hard Stuff which also features his main character.

Gender analysis - 1 female author, 8 male.
Another poor attempt at diversity in my reading, and the same as March!

Of the 9 different authors read, 6 hailed from the USA, 1 from Ireland, 1 from England and 1 who describes himself as UK - half-Welsh,

All 8 of the 9 reads were fiction, with 1 non-fiction read - E. Michael Helms' Vietnam War Memoir - The Proud Bastards

5 of the 9 books read were published this century and all this decade.
2 from 2019, 1 each from 2018, 2017 and 2011

1 book was from 1990, 

2 from the 70s, 1973 and 1974 - re-published last year

1 was from 1954

2 came from the man-cave blue tub stash in my garage.

Publishers -  Mulholland Books x 1 - Brash Books x 1 - Mysterious Press x 1 - Bloodhound Books x 1 - Red Dog Press x 1 - MacDonald x 1 - Pocket Books x 1 - Lawrence Block x 1 - Pan Books x 1 

4 of the 9 reads were pre-owned,

2 were accessed at Net Galley early reviewer site, cheers to publishers Mulholland Books and Mysterious Press

2 were received directly from the authors - cheers to E. Michael Helms and David B. Lyons

1 was received from the publisher for participation in a blog tour - cheers to Red Dog Press


Favourite cover? Charles Willeford - Pick-Up (1954) - part of a 1991 MacDonald Omnibus edition which also includes, The Burnt Orange Heresy and Cockfighter






 Second favourite cover - E. Michael Helms and The Proud Bastards





My reads were this long 224 - 249 - 305 - 170 - 196 - 132 - 273 - 144 - 21

Total page count = 1714 (2265 in March) ....... a decrease of 551 pages

5 were Kindle reads, 1 was ePub file read on the laptop,  2 were paperbacks, 1 was a hardback omnibus edition

1 < 50,
0 between 51 < 100,
4 between 101 < 200,
3 between 201 < 300,
1 between 301 < 400,
0 > 400 pages

David Gordon and The Bouncer was the longest read at 305 pages


Lawrence Block and Sweet Little Hands was the shortest at 21 pages long.