Sunday 12 May 2019


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.



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



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.


  1. Oh, you've got some good ones here, Col. I'm especially interested in The Man Who Died. I enjoyed his novel The Healer quite a lot, and I've heard The Man Who Died is quite good. I hope you'll enjoy it.

    1. Marina Sofia has also sung his praises, Margot. A lot of people like him.

  2. These sound like good books, and I look forward to your reviews. Especially the ones set in Finland, Australia, and Mexico.

    1. I'd be hard pushed to select any of these above another based on the blurbs. I suppose reading them all will sort them out!

  3. I love the Larcinese title and cover, but it's the Bernal I've gotta get my mitts on.

    1. I'm hoping you getting those grubby paws on it soon.

  4. Col – Thanks for this post. My Kindle library is open for business and acquiring.

  5. The Rafael Bernal is the one I most like the sound of there. Can you read it please and tell me if it is worth my while ;)?