Saturday 18 July 2020


PIs, a fugitive, a Western, some non-fiction I'm bound to find dusturbing and a detective story. Lots to look forward to I reckon.....

Tom Leins - Ten Pints of Blood (2020) - purchased copy
He writes them faster than I can read them, still you've got to get the latest when it drops. Fair to say, Mr Leins' books might not be everyone's cup of tea. Definitely mine though.

Meat Bubbles and Other Stories      have been enjoyed thus far.

“A smarter man than me once said that good investigative work is about asking the right questions. I find that the quality of my work generally depends on how fucking hard I hit people.”

When Paignton private investigator Joe Rey finds himself enlisted by hapless local cops Benson and Hedges to help apprehend a vicious sex criminal known as the Ladyscraper, he ends up unearthing a grisly surprise in the midst of a derelict tract of farmland. What Rey discovers shocks the whole town to its core, and he sets out to unravel a decades-old mystery involving a cabal of powerful men who want their queasy secrets to remain dead and buried.

He may be psychologically damaged by the things he has seen and done, but Rey finds himself a man in demand, and his case-load piles up – setting him on a violent collision course with dealers, delinquents, degenerates and the damned.

Is Rey finally in hell, or is he just teetering on the brink?

TEN PINTS OF BLOOD is the bone-crunching, booze-sloshing, gore-splattered new collection from the author of cult classics MEAT BUBBLES & OTHER STORIES and BONEYARD DOGS.

Robert Broomall - The Lawmen (1993) - Amazon FREEBIE
I do like a Western now and again - crime fiction with hats.

Only two men have the courage to stand against the notorious Hopkins gang -- a former Confederate officer and an ex-slave.

The average life expectancy for a marshal in Topaz, Arizona, is three weeks. Down-on-his-luck Clay Chandler takes the marshal’s job out of desperation. Clay has barely settled into the job when Vance Hopkins drunkenly guns down a black man. Clay arrests Vance for murder, but Wes Hopkins and his gang run Topaz, and they demand that Vance be released -- or else. Clay has given his word to uphold the law, though, and he’ll do that even if it means losing his life. No one else in Topaz thinks a dead black man is worth taking on the Hopkins gang -- no one but a former slave named Essex Johnson, who was the murdered man’s friend. Ex-Confederate Clay and Essex can’t stand each other, but Clay reluctantly swears Essex in as his deputy. The two of them are aided by a prostitute named Julie, who had her face carved up by the Hopkins gang. Wes Hopkins gives Clay a deadline to release Vance, or the gang is going to come and take him. The question is, will the Hopkins gang kill Clay and Essex, or will they kill each other first?

Lawrence Ralph - The Torture Letters (2020) - University of Chicago 

Relevant and required reading.

Torture is an open secret in Chicago. Nobody in power wants to acknowledge this grim reality, but everyone knows it happens—and that the torturers are the police. Three to five new claims are submitted to the Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission of Illinois each week. Four hundred cases are currently pending investigation. Between 1972 and 1991, at least 125 black suspects were tortured by Chicago police officers working under former Police Commander Jon Burge. As the more recent revelations from the Homan Square “black site” show, that brutal period is far from a historical anomaly. For more than fifty years, police officers who took an oath to protect and serve have instead beaten, electrocuted, suffocated, and raped hundreds—perhaps thousands—of Chicago residents.

In The Torture Letters, Laurence Ralph chronicles the history of torture in Chicago, the burgeoning activist movement against police violence, and the American public’s complicity in perpetuating torture at home and abroad. Engaging with a long tradition of epistolary meditations on racism in the United States, from James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time to Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me, Ralph offers in this book a collection of open letters written to protesters, victims, students, and others. Through these moving, questing, enraged letters, Ralph bears witness to police violence that began in Burge’s Area Two and follows the city’s networks of torture to the global War on Terror. From Vietnam to Geneva to Guantanamo Bay—Ralph’s story extends as far as the legacy of American imperialism. Combining insights from fourteen years of research on torture with testimonies of victims of police violence, retired officers, lawyers, and protesters, this is a powerful indictment of police violence and a fierce challenge to all Americans to demand an end to the systems that support it.

With compassion and careful skill, Ralph uncovers the tangled connections among law enforcement, the political machine, and the courts in Chicago, amplifying the voices of torture victims who are still with us—and lending a voice to those long deceased.

Jackie Baldwin - Dead Man's Prayer (2016) - Amazon purchase

Scottish crime fiction debut. What's not to like?

The first in an exciting new Scottish crime thriller series. Perfect for fans of L J Ross, Val McDermid and Ann Cleeves.

Ex-priest DI Frank Farrell has returned to his roots in Dumfries, only to be landed with a disturbing murder case. Even worse, Farrell knows the victim: Father Boyd, the man who forced him out of the priesthood eighteen years earlier.

With no leads, Farrell must delve into the old priest’s past, one that is inexorably linked with his own. But his attention is diverted when a pair of twin boys go missing. The Dumfries police force recover one in an abandoned church, unharmed. But where is his brother?

As Farrell investigates the two cases, he can’t help but feel targeted. Is someone playing a sinister game, or is he seeing patterns that don’t exist? Either way, it’s a game Farrell needs to win before he loses his grip on his sanity, or someone else turns up dead.

Colin Conway - Cozy up to Blood (2020) - copy from author
Third of three. I loved Cozy up to Death last month.

Welcome to Belfry, Oregon—the home of Evenfall!

Years ago, a series of sparkly vampire movies were made on this north Oregon island.  Every autumn, a festival is held to celebrate the films and let fans reenact their favorite scenes.

Murray Lee has no interest in bloodsuckers, though.  For the past several days, an outlaw motorcycle gang seeking revenge has pursued him. He’s tired, alone, and cranky. Amid a torrential downpour, Murray barely crossed the lone working bridge to Belfry before it washed out.

Now, he’s stranded on the island as his enemy musters its forces and plans an attack.

To make matters worse, someone is biting and robbing the citizens of the island.  The local cops seem to think Murray fits the description and are digging into his background.

But Murray is a man with a secret he must protect. The U.S. government has invested a lot to keep him safe, and his enemies will stop at nothing now that they’ve found him.

Murray Lee is about to be immersed in vampire culture in a way he would never have expected.

Dave White - An Empty Hell (2016) - purchased copy

I read the first in this PI series back in 2007, bought the second and kind of forgot about it. Remembered the series and author last month and thought why not dig into it again. This is the 4th in a series of 5 so far.

"Dynamite... the characters, the situations, the pacing, the structure, and the writing are so good."
-Publishers Weekly

A year after the devastating events of Not Even Past, Jackson Donne has gone into hiding in the forest of Vermont. Under the guise of Joe Tennant, Donne has been recovering - and even enjoying his life up north. Until one of the few friends he's made goes missing. Meanwhile, back in New Jersey, someone is killing ex-cops - the ones who Donne used to work with.

Terrified Donne is committing the murders, a former colleague hires private investigator Matt Herrick to track down New Jersey's most famous fugitive. Herrick agrees and almost immediately, there's a bounty on his head. The closer Herrick gets to tracking Donne down, the more dangerous the case becomes. And once Donne and Herrick cross paths, the two cases tie together, and Donne realizes he must go back to the life he left behind. Because the past has come calling, and if Donne does face up to it, he and Herrick could lose everything, including their lives.


  1. You've got some interesting reads there, Col. The Baldwin got my attention (especially the setting). And it's funny, I usually don't go for westerns very much. But they can be quite good, and the Broomall sounds like it might be an enjoyable read. I'll be interested in what you think of them.

    1. Margot thanks. I'm looking forward to all of these at some point.

  2. The Scottish crime fiction book by Baldwin sounds interesting. I have been buying way more books than usual while "staying at home". Discipline is out the window.

    1. Tracy, I think there is three so far from Baldwin in her series. Only saying - not too many to catch up with if you get on board now!

  3. Morning Col. Thanks for taking the plunge with Ten Pints of Blood! I look forward to seeing what you think of it - and if you think it's a step up from Meat Bubbles!

    1. Hi Tom, hope you're well. I'm looking forward to the latest and some of the other ones I've fallen behind on and missed.