Monday, 24 June 2013


Week 12 on the 2013 Crime Fiction Alphabet and it’s the turn of the L’s both enjoyed and unread. Kerrie over at Mysteries in Paradise, very kindly collates all the offerings from other crime fiction bloggers and fans, so it’s worth heading over there to pick up some recommendations for your reading pile.

Lansdale, Lieberman, Levine........3 enjoyed,

 Joe R.  Lansdale – Savage Season

One of my favourite series, though to be honest I haven’t dipped into it for a while and am somewhat hazy about which ones I have read and which I haven’t. Is it a crime to contradict yourself in the same sentence? Well anyway, Hap and Leonard, black, white, gay, straight, loyal, crazy, violent, humorous and fun. I intend to re-read this someday soon (by which I mean in a year or so) and blast through the series. Lansdale is one of those multi-genre authors. He crosses over into horror, fantasy as well as producing quality crime fiction. These are my favourites though.

Here comes Trudy back into Hap's life, thirty-six but looking ten years younger, with long blonde hair and legs that begin under her chin, and the kind of walk that'll make a man run his car off the road. Here comes trouble, says Leonard, and he's right. She was always trouble, but she had this laugh when she was happy in bed that could win Hap over every time. Trudy has a proposition: an easy two hundred thousand dollars, tax-free. It's just a simple matter of digging it up... Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, white and black, straight and gay, are the unlikeliest duo in crime fiction. Savage Season is their debut.

Herbert Lieberman – City Of The Dead

Lieberman was quite a big noise back in the 70’s and early 80’s. Still alive today he was last published around 1996 and has a total output of 11 books, several of which I have read. Not much of what I read in the 80’s has stayed with me to be honest, but I can recall being stunned by this superb novel. Bleak, haunting, scary and sad, I have kept hold of my copy over the years, ready to re-read at some point in the future. Highly recommended.   

Paul Konig is Chief Medical Examiner, New York City. Each day's grisly workload of strangled whores, battered babies and dismemebered corpses is just routine to him. Contemptuous of the police, the public and his fellow-doctors, he presides over the morgue like a monarch. But things can go wrong, even for Konig. . . Not only has his daughter been kidnapped, he's up against a dead-end in the most gruesome multiple murder case of his career. And he's running out of time. . .
Paul Levine – To Speak For The Dead
I read and enjoyed this maybe 20 years ago. I was corresponding with a friend in Arizona maybe 7 or 8 years ago and he expressed a similar love of Levine's fiction. He was kind enough to send me some more of the Lassiter books and some from his other series Solomon vs. Lord. I have tried both but Lassiter remains a firm favourite though and one I plan on revisiting at some point in the future. 
Miami trail lawyer Jake Lassiter, "ex-football player, ex-public defender, ex-a-lot-of-things," is defending Dr. Roger Salisbury, a surgeon and womanizer charged with malpractice in the death of wealth Philip Corrigan. But the dead man's daughter insists that the doctor and her sexy stepmother conspired to kill her father-and wants Lassiter to prove it.

Can Lassiter really defend his client for malpractice and builds a case against him for murder? tuming to help to the wisdom of his old friend, retired county coroner Charlie Riggs, Lassiter hopes to get the evidence he needs from the dead man himself. But outside the courtroom, he soon finds more trouble that he ever imagined possible-murder, missing persons, grave robbery, kinky sex, and deadly drugs-as he searched Florida's steamy streets and tropical swamps for a cold-blooded killer.

"Paul Levine has created himself a hero crafted for the 1990s...Levine keeps the plot spinning and the pages tuming."-United Press International
The Lassiter series to date is:

Leonard, Little, Le Carre ..........3 unread, 
Peter Leonard – Quiver
Hands up time! When this was initially published, I was pretty scornful of a couple of reviews for the author, perhaps believing it was a case of nepotism at play. I was at an age where I should have known better. Peter, son of Elmore, has subsequently written 4 or 5 well received crime fiction books. It would be useful if I actually read the thing before passing judgement, something I will get around to one of these years. Apologies for now, Mr Leonard.   
One of the most riveting and powerful new voices in crime fiction, Peter Leonard delivers a razor-sharp debut thriller.

Kate McCall's husband has been killed by her son, Luke, in a tragic bow-hunting accident. While Kate struggles with her son's surly guilt, her first love, Jack, an ex-con, reappears, along with a crew of his former "colleagues." While Jack must convince his partners in crime that he really did lose the heist money, his appearance sets into motion a series of events culminating in a life-and-death confrontation with a gang of killers.

Leonard displays remarkable maturity for a first-time novelist in both the plotting of the story and the language of his protagonists. The twists and turns of a love affair, an unrequited crush, and a kidnapping/extortion plot complement a tightly drawn, intimate cast of memorably quick and dim-witted characters.

Quiver marks the breakthrough of a new force in thriller writing---an explosive and unforgettable debut.   
"With its clever plotting and blood-and-guts characters, Quiver will certainly put Peter Leonard on the map. This is the start of something special."
Michael Connelly
"Quiver's supercharged plot, rhythmic dialogue, and cool-under-pressure characters kept me reading into the night. An impressive, exciting debut from Peter Leonard."
George Pelecanos
"Peter Leonard has a good ear for voices, a good eye for detail, and a talent for bringing together elements that can't do anything but explode."
Thomas Perry
"Quiver is a surprise and a delight, a twisty deadpan troll through some very devious neighborhoods. I welcome Peter Leonard and look forward to whatever he wants to offer next."
Donald E Westlake
Eddie Little – Another Day In Paradise
I have this and his other book Steel Toes both sitting unread for longer than the author has been deceased. From the Los Angeles Times on 23rd May, 2003....
Eddie Little, whose first novel, "Another Day in Paradise" (1998), was a fictionalized account of his life as a drug addict, thief, con man and convicted criminal, died Tuesday of a heart attack in a Los Angeles motel room. He was 48.
Born in Los Angeles and one of three children, he said that his father, a schoolteacher, taught him to read by twisting his arms behind his back and squeezing tighter if he mispronounced a word. After that, Little said, he became a compulsive reader and writer.
When Bobbie meets Mel he' 14, a 'very fucked-up kid', shooting speed, eating pills, surviving by robbing vending machines, petty burglaries,stealing stereos out of cars...Mel knows things - like how to crack a safe, the best way to set up bogus checking accounts, the fine art of cutting through walls and ceilings - he teaches Bobbie not only how to survive, but how to actually thrive. As Bobbie says, it's 'kinda like Jesuit training for thieves'.
John Le Carre – Our Game
I had this as a present for either my birthday or at Christmas from one of my sisters back in 1995.(I’m assuming she bought it when it was published.) Having in the past year or two extended my genre reading into espionage and thriller territory, I am anticipating that it won’t be another 18 years before I eventually get to this! I have managed to read one of the George Smiley books and hope to read my way through the whole series at some point.
Tim Cranmer, retired secret servant and Larry Pettifer, bored radical don, philanderer and for 20 years Tim's mercurial double agent against the now vanished Communist threat, have an unresolved rivalry that dates back decades. They follow each other to Moscow and then Southern Russia. 

Next week, I'll be back with some M's and M's!



  1. Well you might still hate the Leonard mightn't you? I like Elmore, haven't read the son. Apparently I have read one Lonsdale book: Mojo Magic. And I've done lots of le Carre, but not this one. So as ever, I make discoveries from your selections...

    1. Moira, yes, I suppose I could hate it, but fingers crossed I won't. What did you think of Lansdale?

  2. I am ashamed to say that after all this time, I still have not read Joe R. Lansdale. I do have Savage Season and maybe one or two more of his books. City of the Dead sounds good but that blurb about being afraid to turn the page deters me. I don't like scary. I do like Medical Examiners.

    I will have to see what you think about the three you have not read... when you review them. The Le Carre sounds good, definitely. I am also planning to read my way through the Smiley novels, although I did read some of them years ago.

    1. Tracy, no point beating yourself up over Lansdale, you'll get to it one day. If you like MEs you could do worse than the Lieberman, if you could push your boundaries a little bit....ok more than a little. I may take Smiley on when one of my current series reads finishes.

  3. I refuse to be ashamed about it but I haven't read any of these authors (well can't remember having done so anyway) except le Carre (and I haven't read Peter's dad either). I used to think I read a lot of American crime fiction but now realise I don't...and never really did.

    1. Bernadette, I think if I had to limit myself to reading fiction based in just the one country it would be America. The first crime fiction I read and fell in love with was US written, US based and I've pretty much stayed there ever since. I have read nearly 80 books this year and about 50 of them are US. I can't see my tastes evolving too much in the future either to be honest.

    2. There's no reason why you should change your reading patters long as you are finding enough to keep your habit supplied with stuff you are enjoying.

      Like you I am finding lots of books I enjoy so I'm not that worried about not reading lots of American stuff but I just think of myself as reading more of than I do. On reflection though I probably once did read a lot more of it but my reading habits have changed considerably over the past 4-5 years. I used to read a lot of the mainstream American authors (Cornwell, Patterson, Gerritsen, Slaughter etc) because I used to rely heavily on my local library and that's what they offered whereas now I have a bit more disposable income and it's become easier to source books from overseas I have broadened my horizons. I also used to read quite a lot of 'cosy' mysteries which are almost all American but I have basically stopped reading them all together over the past few years which probably accounts for another big chunk of my dip in reading of American novels.

      I will keep my eye out for some new American authors to follow though - without excessive fisticuffs though :)

    3. I'm definitely enjoying what I'm reading - mid-month slump an exception, I think. In the past year or so I have probably increased the amount of mainstream I read, although I did always read a bit anyway.
      I do probably prefer seeking out and trying new authors, particularly lesser known names rather than jumping on the coat-tails of established authors.
      I may try a "cozy" if you can suggest one or two, but I may just draw the line at cats in books!

  4. col: I really enjoyed the first two books in the Solomon and Lord series while the third was alright. I should try a book in the Lassiter series.

    1. Thanks, Bill - I hope you manage to try at least one Lassiter, I'd be interested in your take on it.