Wednesday 10 August 2016


Charity shop purchase on our July pilgrimage to Lowestoft - 75p. When you're looking for the cover image on google - probably not a great idea to just type Naked Pueblo!
 Sad, funny and perverse - the characters in these short stories are as diverse as the face of modern America. Set in Arizona, the trailer-park dwellers, crystal-reading gurus and disaffected teenagers show that Arizonians have their own way of coping with the emotional connections that shape lives.

Davie McCall series about a Scottish hardman criminal - Amazon Kindle purchase
The Davie McCall saga returns in Devil's Knock. Davie McCall has darkness inside him. A darkness that haunts him, but also helps him do despicable things to those trying to cause him and his friends harm. When Dickie Himes is killed in a club owned by the Jarvis clan, it sparks a chain of events that Davie knows can only lead to widespread gang war on the streets of mid- 90s Glasgow. The police are falling over themselves to solve the crime, but when justice is so easily bought or corrupted, Davie needs to take matters into his own hands. Davie has to contend with the ghosts of those he has failed, a persistent Hollywood actor and a scruffy dog with no name. When he finds a target on his back, will Davie be able to suppress the darkness inside him and refuse to kill... Or will the devil s knock be too tempting?

Another 75p bargain buy from the same shop as above. Ry Cooder - that name rings a bell!
Los Angeles Stories is a collection of loosely linked tales that evoke a bygone era in one of America's most iconic cities. In post-World War II Los Angeles, as power was concentrating and fortunes were being made, a do-it-yourself culture of cool cats, outsiders and oddballs populated the old downtown neighbourhoods of Bunker Hill and Chavez Ravine. Ordinary working folks rubbed elbows with petty criminals, grifters and all sorts of women at foggy end-of-the-line outposts in Venice Beach and Santa Monica. Rich with the essence and character of the times, suffused with patois of the city's underclass, these are stories about the common people of Los Angeles, "a sunny place for shady people", and the strange things that happen to them. Musicians, gun shop owners, streetwalkers, tailors, door-to-door salesmen, drifters, housewives, dentists and pornographers, new arrivals and hard-bitten denizens all intersect in cleverly plotted stories that centre around some kind of shadowy activity. This quirky love letter to a lost way of life will appeal to fans of hard-boiled fiction and anyone interested in the city itself.

Todd Morr - already featured last month on the blog - Amazon Kindle buy.
Rem had found a girlfriend, work as a handyman and settled into anonymous life in a small mountain town.

Unfortunately, some young locals have decided to go on a killing spree, and Rem knows it. It would be nice to go the law, but Rem has secrets of his own, and decides to stop them himself.

Even in a small personal war things rarely go as planned, and Rem did not intend to end up trapped in a house with his girlfriend Delany, her best friend Denise, and a gutshot tourist—surrounded by a group of murderous rednecks who would be happy to add Rem’s name to their growing list of victims.
Charity shop - 75p

The weather is hotter than hell in Tucson, Arizona, and weird things are afoot in the crumbling desert community of Rancho Sin Vacas. Sixteen-year-old Kendra hones her muscles and grapples with bad grammar, occasionally worrying about her brother, Thomas, who spends all day watching wrestling on TV. Their neighbour Merv is stuck in a rut, still living at home at thirty and looking after his troubled mother. When the strung-out teenager from over the road, Kendra's sometime-boyfriend, goes missing it affects them all in different and surprising ways. And although Kendra is apparently unconcerned, claiming that he's just run away, she can't shake the feeling that something strange is in the air this summer.

Present from my wife for being amazing for the past 28 years!
'Fast, hard and knowing: this is an amazing debut full of intrigue, tradecraft and suspense. Read it immediately!' Lee Child (author of the Jack Reacher novels)

I make things disappear. It’s what I do. This time I’m tidying up the loose ends after a casino heist gone bad. The loose ends being a million cash. But I only have 48 hours, and there’s a guy out there who wants my head in a bag.

He’ll have to find me first. They don’t call me the Ghostman for nothing...

Copy from publisher - Seventh Street Books - I enjoyed The Life We Bury!

Detective Max Rupert and attorney Boady Sanden s friendship is being pushed to the breaking point. Max is convinced that Jennavieve Pruitt was killed by her husband, Ben. Boady is equally convinced that Ben, his client, is innocent. As the case unfolds, the two are forced to confront their own personal demons. 
Max is still struggling with the death of his wife four years earlier, and the Pruitt case stirs up old memories. Boady hasn t taken on a defense case since the death of an innocent client, a man Boady believes he could have saved but didn t. Now he is back in court, with student Lila Nash at his side, and he s determined to redeem himself for having failed in the past. 

Vividly told from two opposing perspectives, the truth about the stunning death of Jennavieve Pruitt remains a mystery until the very end."

Charity shop again -75p bargain!
A picaresque first novel, set in Arizona, weaving together the lives of characters such as Marla Thomson (a waitress), Rod Micklesson (of Micklesson's Mufflers, Las Vegas), Jubal A. Early (editor of "Weird But True"), and the Lightning Man.

'A delight to read, regardless of your affection for literary trends... the tenderness of the writing triumphs, infusing the whole book with humanity and optimism' Guardian; 'Offbeat and original... evokes a world straight out of the all-American canvas of Edward Hopper Hopper or the films of David Lynch... a distinctive debut, displaying promising qualities of compassion and humour' Literary Review; 'Critical reviews cite David Lynch as a cinematic analogue, but Poolman's oddballs are a warmer bunch, his askance vision and dialogue closer in tone to the Coen brothers or Hal Hartley' Sunday Times; 'It is a clever blend of the freakish and the homely - essential reading' Options; 'Poolman's loopy humour is truly his own, and quite infectious' Daily Telegraph

Copy from publisher Pushkin Vertigo - I actually read this a year or so ago - but I loved it and it's short!
Soon to become a film starring Joaquin Phoenix

Joe has witnessed things that cannot be erased. A former FBI agent and Marine, his abusive childhood has left him damaged beyond repair. So he hides away, earning a living rescuing girls who have been kidnapped into the sex trade.
Now he's been hired to save the daughter of a New York senator, held captive at a Manhattan brothel. But he's stumbled into a dangerous web of conspiracy and he s about to pay the price.
Brutal and redemptive in equal measure, You Were Never Really Here is a toxic shot of a thriller, laced with corruption, revenge and the darkest of inner demons.
'A good choice for lovers of Michael Connelly, Lee Child or Vince Flynn who are interested in character-driven thrillers' Chicago Tribune
Amazon Kindle purchase!
 Tommy Ruzzo is a disgraced NYPD cop who follows his coke fiend girlfriend back to her hometown in Florida. She leaves Ruzzo high and dry just before he's named Head of Security at Precious Acres, a beachfront retirement community populated by wisecracking New Yorkers. Ruzzo is stranded among the local losers until the day he discovers a murdered senior citizen on the Precious Acres bocce ball court. 

The bodies pile up as Ruzzo uncovers a dangerous trail of clues that brings everybody in his new world under suspicion. 

“The suspense starts on the first page and doesn’t let up. A unique setting with unforgettable characters.” 
—Terrence McCauley, author of SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL 

Another in the Scottish McCall series - Amazon Kindle purchase!
They'll all be crow bait by the time I'm finished...Jail was hell for Davie McCall. Ten years down the line, freedom's no picnic either. It's 1990, there are new kings in the West of Scotland underworld, and Glasgow is awash with drugs.Davie can handle himself. What he can't handle is the memory of his mother's death at the hand of his sadistic father. Or the darkness his father implanted deep in his own psyche. Or the nightmares…Now his father is back in town and after blood, ready to waste anyone who stops him hacking out a piece of the action. There are people in his way. And Davie is one of them.

Tense, dark and nerve-wracking... a highly effective thriller. THE HERALD

This is crime fiction of the strongest quality. CRIMESQUAD.COM

A gory and razor-sharp crime novel from the start, Douglas Skelton's Crow Bait moves at breakneck speed like a getaway car on the dark streets of Glasgow. THE SKINNY

Skelton has been hiding from his talent for long enough. High time he shared it with the rest of us. QUINTIN JARDINE 
Splashed the cash on this one - charity shop £1.00
Huddy Marr, the proprietor of Bluff City Pawn shop in Memphis, is good at what he does: he knows jewelry, he knows guns and guitars. But the neighborhood is changing: A blood bank is set to open across the street from the retail space he leases from his brother Joe, and Huddy wants to move to a less seedy part of town. A pawn shop should stay right on the edge of seedy.
When a longtime client dies, his widow calls Huddy to come appraise his considerable gun collection. If he can buy up the guns, Huddy knows he can make a killing, possibly change his fortunes for good. But he needs cash up front, and for that he needs Joe. Soon the restless youngest, Harlan, is also involved - they could use the manpower to move the haul - and slowly the brothers' old family dynamics reassert themselves. There is trouble inherent in these wares. There is trouble inherent in this family. And there is something inherent to Memphis...something that means a change of fortune can't come easy. 

Stephen Schottenfeld's first novel is a masterful depiction of a city, a business, and a family. It is an investigation of class and law, ownership and value, loyalty, betrayal, and blood; one that gathers power and resonates long after it's done.


  1. Some interesting books here. I have the first Aaron Eskens book (still unread).

    1. Tracy, I like the first Eskens, probably a bit more than the Sweazy's if I'm honest.(Both sort of amateur sleuthing, if you like.) I have another book by him to read as well...not enough hours though.

  2. You've got some interesting additions here, Col. The Cooder especially caught my eye. I'll be interested in what you think of it.

    1. Margot, I'm always interested in talents that try and reach into other strands of media. Actors that write, singers that act. I haven't come across an author that sings yet, oh apart from Kinky Friedman! The setting for Cooder's tales was LA, so he's off to a good start already.

  3. From a photography point of view I love the Naked Pueblo cover (yes, I have bought books just for the cover). And the Ry Cooder seems most interesting as a read. Looks like a good haul this month!

    1. It's a shame I couldn't find one a bit more in focus. I like that cover but I think either the Poolman or the Cooder covers would be my favourites. I've lost count of the books I've bought on cover alone - not always successfully either.

  4. When you say "Some of at least..." you mean there are more for July?!

  5. Very Criminal Library, all those books. You need to keep away from charity shops.
    I love the cover with all the hats, and I sympathize over the search terms, occasionally when looking for a clothing picture I get caught the same way...

    1. I know - is there some sort of re-hab for compulsive book buyers/acquirers? Yeah never gave it a thought before typing the two words only - I nearly lost my breakfast!