Monday 19 July 2021


 Another half dozen into the collection....

A.W. Hart - The Ranger (2021) - purchased copy

A new-to-me author. It's the first in a series. I'll see how I go before committing to more in the series. Or I could just read some of the books I already have .....

Concho Ten-Wolves is a Texas Ranger working the Rio Grande border between Mexico and the U.S.. His father was black, his mother a full-blood member of the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas. He remembers neither of them. Both disappeared soon after Concho’s birth and his Kickapoo grandmother raised him on the tribal reservation just outside Eagle Pass, Texas.

Often bullied as a youth for his differences, Concho soon grew into the promise of his big hands and wide shoulders. Hatred of him remained in some; fear joined that emotion in others. Concho learned to walk a solitary path, which first took him away to college and then to Afghanistan as an Army Ranger.

Now, a group of Neo-Nazi terrorists have taken over a mall in Eagle Pass. One hostage is the woman Concho loves. The only path Concho can see is straight ahead and through.

Thomas Perry - The Left-Handed Twin (2021) - review ARC from publisher Mysterious Press

I've loved some of Thomas Perry's work in the past (The Butcher's Boy in particular), along with a few others that haven't quite rocked me. This is the ninth entry in his Jane Whitefield series. Not a series I've tried yet, but I've heard good things about it.

Rescue artist Jane Whitefield leads a deadly crime syndicate on a wild chase through the Northeast

Jane Whitefield helps people disappear. Fearing for their lives, fleeing dangerous situations, her clients come to her when they need to vanish completely—to assume a new identity and establish a new life somewhere they won’t be found. And when people are desperate enough to need her services, they come to the old house in rural western New York where Jane was raised to begin their escape.

It’s there that, one spring night, Jane finds a young woman fresh from LA with a whole lot of trouble behind her. After she cheated on her boyfriend, he dragged her to the home of the offending man and made her watch as he killed him. She testified against the boyfriend, but a bribed jury acquitted him, and now he’s free and trying to find and kill her.

Jane agrees to help, and it soon becomes clear that outsmarting the murderous boyfriend is not beyond Jane’s skills. But the boyfriend has some new friends: members of a Russian organized crime brotherhood. When they learn that Sara is traveling with a tall, dark-haired woman who disappears people, the Russians become increasingly interested in helping the boyfriend find the duo. They’ve heard rumors that such a woman existed—and believe that, if forcibly extracted, the knowledge she has of past clients could be worth millions.  

Thus begins a bloodthirsty chase that winds through the cities of the northeast before finally plunging into Maine’s Hundred Mile Wilderness. But in a pursuit where nothing can be trusted, one thing is certain: only one party—Jane or her pursuers—will emerge alive. 

Tony Knighton - A Few Days Away (2021) - review ARC from publisher Brash Books

Another author I've been meaning to try for a few years. His previous books, Happy Hour and Three Hours Past Midnight already sit on the TBR pile.

A stunning, hard-charging new crime novel that evokes the best of Richard Stark, Lawrence Block and Thomas Perry.

On Valentine’s Day, a professional thief and his partner robbed a bank in a Central Pennsylvania town. It all went well... until the getaway. His partner was killed, the money was lost, and the injured thief barely escaped with his life. Now, four months later, he’s going back for his money. But he’s not the only one after it. Corrupt cops, warring street gangs, white nationalists and crooked politicians all agree on one thing – they want him gone. Permanently.

"He's very good, and he's a genuine Pennsylvanian. Knighton's A Few Days Away is hard-edged and suspenseful, with action that feels real and an anti-hero who can keep all the moving parts in his mind at once." Thomas Perry, New York Times bestselling author

"A must-read for aspiring criminals, who will learn that going straight offers a much simpler life. I was with Knighton’s anti-hero thief all the way, figuring whatever he netted from this caper, he earned it. Taut writing, crisp dialogue, non-stop action. What more could you want?" Linwood Barclay, New York Times bestselling author

George Hesselberg - Dead Lines (2021) - Edelweiss reviewer ARC

A book which caught my eye and one which is very different to my usual reading. Go wild and expand your horizons-time!

In a lively collection of feature obituaries and related news stories, longtime newspaper reporter George Hesselberg celebrates life, sharing the most fascinating stories that came from decades of covering the obit and public safety beats. 

In more than forty years at the Wisconsin State Journal, Hesselberg frequently found himself writing about fatal accidents, crime investigations, and the deaths of the wealthy, famous, or notorious. But he was most drawn to the curious, the unknown, and the unsung—the deaths that normally wouldn’t make much of a splash, if any mention at all, in the news columns of a daily paper. 

Digging deeper, he uncovered the extraordinary among the ordinary, memorializing the lives of a sword designer, a radio villain, a pioneering female detective, a homeless woman who spoke fluent French, a beloved classroom tarantula, and many more. Their stories are alternately amusing, sad, surprising, and profound. Together they speak to a shared human experience and inspire us to see the people around us with new eyes, valuing the lives while they are still being lived. 

Ed Church - Probably Dead (2020) - purchased copy

Another author I've heard good things about, but haven't yet given a go. This is the second in a three book (so far) series.

Ex-London copper Mick Morley has spent nearly three decades searching for his missing daughter. Now the South African bar that was his ‘fresh start’ is being robbed at gunpoint… How’s your luck, Mick?

But what if someone else is in the bar that night? A Met detective on a career break – name of Brook Deelman. Well, then maybe that changes the odds.

Maybe that could change everything.

Ahead of Brook, a missing person case from the last days of ‘old school’ policing – an age of bloody riots, swinging batons and undercover sources. Those wishing the truth to stay buried will use the full force of the law to keep it that way… Or even just plain force.

Carl Hiaasen - Skink No Surrender (2014) - Audible purchase

One of the funniest authors alive. Skink goes YA. Who cares?

Richard's cousin is missing, and his best hope of finding her rests with the wily, one-eyed, ex-governor of Florida. Carl Hiaasen introduces his iconic character Skink to a younger audience in this nail-biting adventure!

 A National Book Award Longlist Selection

 Classic Malley: her parents are about to ship her off to boarding school, so she takes off with some guy she met online... Poor Richard: he's less of a rebel than Malley, and a lot less trusting. He knows his cousin is in trouble before she does. Wild Skink: he's a ragged, one-eyed, ex-governor of Florida, and enough of a renegade to think he can track Malley down. With Richard riding shotgun, this unlikely pair scour the state, undaunted by blinding storms, crazed pigs, flying bullets, and giant gators.    

In Carl Hiaasen's outrageous, hilarious, and wildly dangerous state of Florida, there are a million places an outlaw might stash a teenage girl. A million unpleasant ways to die. And two who will risk everything to rescue a friend . . . and to, hopefully, exact a bit of swamp justice.


  1. thumbs up on The Ranger. Hope you enjoy

  2. I really like Carl Hiassen's work, Col, and I agree that he can be very funny. I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy that one. I've heard good things about the Perry but haven't (yet) read it. It sounds interesting, though, and I'll be keen to know what you think of it. I think you've got some good reading ahead of you!

    1. Hiaasen is very good isn't he. I'm disappointed I haven't been unable to keep apace with his and Thomas Perry's work. And plenty of other authors besides.

  3. Thomas Perry is my favorite here. I want to read more by him, I have more of his books on my shelves. I have read one in the Jane Whitefield series and want to try more. Plus Butcher's Boy and Metzger's Dog, both very good.

    1. Agreed. When Perry is on form he's very good.