Monday 2 July 2018


Another half dozen from the June additions........

Dominique Manotti - Escape (2014) - purchased copy

Not someone I've previously read. Her other books sound good especially Dead Horsemeat!

It's 1987. Two prisoners, both Italian, break out of prison in a rubbish lorry. One heads for Paris, the other to Milan. The first, Carlo, is killed in a shoot-out during a bank robbery under suspicious circumstances. Frightened by the manhunt launched by Interpol, the second prisoner, Filippo, returns to Paris where he becomes a security guard. He spends his nights writing the story of a Red Brigadier, as recounted to him in prison by Carlo. His landlady Cristina finds him a publisher and the book becomes a bestseller. Filippo, carefully coached by his publishers press office, steadfastly refuses to own the story, insisting that all his stories are fiction and that this is a work of imagination. The public don t buy it, neither do the police, and dogged investigations begin to produce the reasons why. Ultimately Filippo cannot escape his fate: that of a man with an assumed identity that carries far greater risks than his own. 

CS DeWildt - Suburban Dick (2018) - purchased copy

I enjoyed The Louisville Problem a few years ago. Dead Animals still sits on the pile.

Private Dick Gus Harris isn’t paid to be nice. Problem is he isn’t paid for much of anything these days. Recently divorced, all Gus wants is a little business to keep his one-man operation afloat and a chance to be a part of his kids’ lives. So when a pair of distraught parents come calling for help locating their missing son, it appears Gus’s luck may be changing. 

As Gus investigates the boy’s disappearance, he discovers something rotten with the Horton High school wrestling team. Gus soon realizes the missing boy may not be missing at all, but rather part of an elaborate embezzlement scheme that serves to keep the team at peak performance and the college scholarships rolling in. Gus is certain that popular high school wrestling coach Geoff Hanson knows more than he’s willing to admit, but has no idea just how far the man is willing to go to keep his secrets from coming to light. 

Soon, the lines between Gus’s work and home life are blurred as he finds himself not only trying to crack the case, but also protecting the people most dear to him from Hanson’s vengeful wrath. 

Praise for SUBURBAN DICK: 

“DeWildt stands alone as a wicked wizard of crime fiction...bold, brash, and completely original.” —Tom Pitts, author of Hustle 

Donald E. Westlake - Corkscrew (2000) - purchased copy

Enjoyed him in the past, but not read a book from him for a few too many years now. I need to get back to his Richard Stark monikered Parker series.

Bryce Proctor has a contract for his next novel, a wife who is trying to extract the last pound of flesh in an ugly divorce, a fast approaching deadline and a serious case of writer's block.

Frank Bill - The Savage (2017) - purchased copy

Crimes in Southern Indiana was enjoyed. Donnybrook still waits for me.

Frank Bill's America has always been stark and violent. In his new novel, he takes things one step further: the dollar has failed; the grid is wiped out. 

Van Dorn is 18 and running solo, dodging the bloodthirsty hordes and militias that have emerged since the country went haywire. His dead father's voice rings in his head as Van Dorn sets his sights not just on survival but also on an old-fashioned system of justice. 

Meanwhile, a leader has risen among the gangs - and around him swirls the cast of brawlers from Donnybrook, with their own brutal sense of right and wrong, of loyalty and justice through strength. 

This is not the distant post-apocalyptic future - this is tomorrow, in a world Bill has already introduced us to. Now he raises the stakes and turns his shotgun prose on our addiction to technology, the values and skills we've lost in the process, and what happens when the last systems of morality and society collapse. 

The Savage presents the bone-chilling vision of an America where power is the only currency and nothing guarantees survival, and it presents Bill at his most ambitious, most eloquent, and most powerful.

Angel Luis Colon - No Happy Endings (2016) - purchased copy

An unknown quantity as yet, but his Blacky Jaguar books are primed and ready to go. Another new one from him drops soon - Pull and Pray.

Nominated for the 2017 Anthony Award for Best Novella 

Fantine Park is not the woman her mother was — she's certainly not the safecracker her mother was either. Hell, she's not much of anything useful these days. Fresh off parole after a stint in the joint for a poorly thought out casino robbery, Fantine finds herself confronted by an old partner of her mother's and right back in the thick of it.

Unfortunately, the man dragging her back to the life she left behind, one Aleksei Uryvich, is a complete bully and an idiot — content to believe he can get anything he wants with his brutish nature and the threat of a bullet for Fan's elderly father, Jae.

The score: semen. Yes, semen. Gallons of it. Particularly, the genetic man-batter from supposed Ivy Leaguers and other elite. The material nets top dollar from Asia and Aleksei is foaming at the mouth at the profit potential.

The plan: there is no real plan. Fantine has to get it out of Evensight Storage; a sperm bank situated right by the Battery Park Tunnel in Manhattan. A place barely anyone but a sad sack with an empty sack sees the inside of on a day to day basis.

There's no guarantee anyone involved in this mess is getting out alive, especially when Fantine finds herself face to face with the psychopath known as O Leiteiro — The Milkman.

Frederic Dard - The Gravedigger's Bread (2018) - review copy from publisher

Enjoyed Bird in a Cage and really need to try his other books

A claustrophobic thriller from the French master of noir

Putting dead bodies in the ground for a living could give anyone ideas... 

Blaise is out of work and down on his luck when a chance encounter with a beautiful blonde has him hooked. He'll do anything to stay by her side, even if it means working for her husband, a funeral director. But as everyone knows, three's a crowd.

Praise for Dard's thrillers:

'Worthy of Agatha Christie at her devious best... Classic French noir' Guardian

'Spellbinding' Wall Street Journal

'The wonder is that Frederic Dard's singular take on crime noir is not better known in this country' Daily Mail

Frederic Dard (1921 - 2000) was one of the best known and loved French crime writers of the twentieth century. Enormously prolific, he wrote more than three hundred thrillers, suspense stories, plays and screenplays, under a variety of noms de plume, throughout his long and illustrious career, which also saw him win the 1957 Grand prix de litterature policiere for The Executioner Weeps. Dard's Bird in a Cage, The Wicked Go to Hell, Crush, The Executioner Weeps and The King of Fools are also available or forthcoming from Pushkin Vertigo.


  1. Some goodies there. I too have books by Manotti and Dard on the pile -- and Westlake, of course: I think I'd have a breakdown if I didn't know there were a couple of Westlakes on the shelves, waiting to be read.

    1. Haha - I think we'd all be on the brink without some Westlake as a back-up.

  2. You've got some intriguing books there, Col. I think Westlake is always worth a visit. And the Dard sounds interesting, too. I think you're in for some good reads.

    1. Thanks Margot, Dard and Westlake are keenly anticipated.

  3. The Westlake sounds interesting, I am hoping to find more of his at the book sale this year. Did not have much luck last year. I have not tried Frederic Dard yet.

    1. Fingers crossed for you. I keep seeing other titles of his which hold great appeal. Not all of them seem to be universally praised, but I'm happy to make my own mind up. I think you would like some of Dard's books.

  4. I loved one Westlake book I read, but the Parker/Stark combo was way too gruesome and horrible for me. I need to stick to the Westlake name! Am intrigued by the Dard - and the comparison with Agatha Christie, sounds a touch unlikely.

    1. I really like Parker/Stark definitely where our tastes diverge. You'll have to try Dard for yourself and let me know. They are all short books.

  5. Col - I enjoyed Frank Bill’s first book. His setting was so familiar to me. And, SUBURBAN DICK is going on the list just for that title alone. Colon is someone I need to read. Thanks for the post and the reminders.

    1. I do need to read Bill's Donnybrook, I've only read his short story collection so far. Agreed re SUBURBAN DICK - the title alone sells it.