Thursday 7 December 2017


Five books on my TBR pile, buried but in need of exhumation from the stacks...

Already been followed by the second one from Ide - Righteous

'Joe Ide is the best new discovery I've come across in a long time' Michael Connelly

'One of the most remarkable debuts I've read...Deliciously quirky, written with exceptional panache and a fine ear for dialogue, it introduces the world to an LA private detective who might just become the Holmes of the 21st century' DAILY MAIL

'In a way, the hate felt good. You were righteous, godlike, the dispenser of justice . . .'
Super-smart sleuth Isaiah Quintabe - IQ to his friends - has built a mostly respectable life for himself, helping out friends and neighbours when he can and taking the occasional case to make ends meet. But there is one mystery that still haunts him almost ten years later - did his brother really die in a hit-and-run or was there more to the story behind his death?

IQ has been approached by his brother's former girlfriend Sarita, whose younger sister, an erratic DJ and gambling addict, has gone missing in Las Vegas - with a frightening loan shark, Chinese Triad gangsters, and her own deadbeat boyfriend hot on her tail. Accompanied once more by his fast-talking, don't-call-me-a-sidekick partner Dodson, IQ heads off for the casinos and massage parlours of Las Vegas. His quest takes an unexpected turn when he meets a criminal mastermind who knows something about the murky circumstances that surrounded his brother's death. But when Isaiah learns the truth, what will he do with it?

First in the Jay Porter series, of which there are four so far. I've only read Clifford's short stories to date.

In a frigid New Hampshire winter, Jay Porter is trying to eke out a living and maintain some semblance of a relationship with his former girlfriend and their two-year-old son. When he receives an urgent call that Chris, his drug-addicted brother, is being questioned by the sheriff about his missing junkie business partner, Jay feels obliged to come to his rescue. After Jay negotiates his brother's release from the county jail, Chris disappears into the night. As Jay begins to search for him, he is plunged into a cauldron of ugly lies and long-kept secrets that could tear apart his small hometown and threaten the lives of Jay and all those he holds dear. Powerful forces come into play that will stop at nothing until Chris is dead and the information he harbors is destroyed.

The first in the Dan Kearney Associates series from 1972. Gores hasn't sat on the TBR pile for 40 years, it just seems like it.
Dan Kearny Associates is a San Francisco private investigation firm employing some of the most memorable characters in mystery fiction. P.I. Bart Heslip, a former boxer, is in a coma after being brutally beaten. Now it's up to his coworkers at DKA to sift through his current cases to discover the culprit--before it's too late.

First in a series from Wambaugh. Out in 2006 after a ten-year fiction gap.

They call their sergeant the Oracle. Hes a seasoned LAPD veteran who keeps a close watch over his squad from his understaffed office at Hollywood Station. They are: Budgie Polk, a 27-year-old firecracker who's begrudgingly teamed with Fausto Gamboa, the oldest, tetchiest patrol officer. Andi McCrea, a single mom who spends her days studying at the local community college. Wesley Drubb, a USC drop-out who joined the force to see some action. Flotsam and Jetsam, two aptly named surfer boys who pine after the petite but intrepidMeg Takara. And Hank Driscoll, the one who never shuts up. Together they spend their days and nights in the citys underbelly, where a string of seemingly unrelated events lures the cops of Hollywood Station to their most startling case yet: Russians, diamonds, counterfeiting, grenades a reminder that nothings too horrific or twisted for Los Angeles. Here, its business as usual. For the first time in 20 years, Wambaugh revisits the kind of story he tells best - life in the LAPD. Not only have his fans been waiting for this comeback, but readers of the new generation of police writing will have great interest in this book.

Second in Hansen's 12 book series featuring Dave Brandstetter's insurance investigator. I enjoyed the first Fadeout, but bizarrely never read any further. Another series from the 70s and 80s.
John Oats is dead: drowned in the treacherous waves of the Pacific. He was in great pain, and reliant on morphine; it could easily have been accident or suicide.

But with thousands of dollars in insurance at stake, on a policy which the dead man had meant to change the day he died, Dave Brandstetter thinks it was murder. And between the mysteriously absent son, the bitter ex-wife and the current lover, there are plenty of people with reason to lie to Dave about what really happened that night. And why...

Death Claims is the second Dave Brandstetter novel - one of the best fictional PIs in the business, and one of the first ever gay ones. Joseph Hansen's groundbreaking novels follow Brandstetter as he investigates cases in which motives are murky, passions run high, and nothing is ever as simple as it looks. Set in 1970s and 80s California, the series is a fascinating portrait of a time and a place, with mysteries to match Chandler and Macdonald.

With apologies to Joe R. Lansdale, Joseph Koenig, Joe Nelms, Jo Nesbo and others.


  1. That's a really interesting and clever way to discuss these books, Col. The Wambaugh in particular interests me; he's quite talented. I'll look forward to seeing what you think of them when you've had the chance to read them.

    1. Margot, I read a few from Wambaugh years ago and enjoyed them - The Onion Field and The Golden Orange. Amazing how long his writing career has spanned.

  2. I am curious about the Joe Ide books, Col. Want to try the first one but will probably wait a while. Yes, you should read Dead Skip although it is slower paced than most books you read and like, I think. I have not read anything by Joseph Hansen but I have several on the TBR.

    1. I'm going to read the Ide before the others, though it might be early next year. I hope you enjoy them and Joseph Hansen when you get there.

  3. Heard good things about Ide.

  4. Love the idea of connecting the Joes for this post. Hansen and Wambaugh appeal.

    1. I would have pegged you for those two out of the five.