Monday 2 December 2019


B is for ......

Boston - Lincolnshire or Massachusetts? Massachusetts and the home of many a book by both George V. Higgins and Robert B. Parker, both sadly deceased.

I read Higgins years ago, but recently got re-acquainted with his work when on holiday.....
The Friends of Eddie Coyle, Cogan's Trade and The Rat on Fire - all from the 70s and 80s

Next one I try from him will be The Digger's Game

Jerry "Digger" Doherty is an ex-con and proprietor of a workingman's Boston bar, who supplements his income with the occasional "odd job," like stealing live checks and picking up hot goods. His brother's a priest, his wife's a nag, and he's got a deadly appetite for martinis and gambling. But when the Digger looses eighteen grand in borrowed money on a trip to Vegas, he quickly finds himself in the sights of mob loneshark "the Greek," who will have to make the Digger pay up one way or another. Luckily - if you call it luck - the Digger has been let in on a little job that can turn his gambling debt into a profit, as long as he can pull it off without getting killed.

Back in the early 90s I read maybe 20 novels in Robert B. Parker's Spenser series. Spenser was a smart-talking PI, with a tough sidekick Hawk. Parker and Spenser kept me amused and entertained before I eventually tired of him/them. Parker went on to write about another 20 before his death.

After 25 years off I re-visited his work last year with Sudden Mischief, which was enjoyable but not a perfect read. I have something else from one of his other series - Spare Change, the sixth in his Sunny Randall series.

Hi Phil,
You miss me? I got bored, so I thought I'd reestablish our relationship. Give us both something to do in our later years. Stay tuned.
-Spare Change 

When a serial murderer dubbed "The Spare Change Killer" by the Boston press surfaces after three decades in hiding, the police immediately seek out the cop, now retired, who headed the original task force: Phil Randall. As a sharp-eyed investigator and a doting parent, Phil calls on his daughter, Sunny, to help catch the criminal who eluded him so many years before.

When the killer strikes a second and third time, the murders take a macabre turn, as the victims each eerily resemble Sunny. While her father pressures her to drop the case, Sunny's need to create a trap to nab her killer grows. In a compelling game of cat-and-mouse, Sunny uses all her skills to draw out her prey, realizing too late that she's setting herself up to become the next victim.

B is for....

Bird? Either Peking Duck or Wild Turkey by Roger L. Simon? 

Nah, it's a bit of Nigel and his latest ....

Let it Snow


Police Constable Ernie Shavers is murdered while trying to save the life of a suicidal teenager and everyone wants a piece of the killer. Some are happy to play it by the book, others don’t give a damn whether the rules are smashed to pieces. Whether they’re playing straight or crooked, they may not have long before the killer strikes again. Unfortunately it’s a big city and the current crime wave has thrown them a couple of curve balls to pile on the pressure.

At the zoo, a rhino is killed for its horn. With no evidence trail and a broken heart, DS Sue Nolan turns to an old flame, a man who always has his ear to the ground. Gangland boss, Johnny Yen, is only too happy to help, but only if he can get a little something in return.

In the centre of town, the biggest store in the city is robbed by a mannequin. It’s the perfect inside job and the owners of the store know exactly which officer they want on the case, only the officer doesn’t feel quite the same way.

If that wasn’t bad enough, record snowfall has created chaos within the police department.

It’s going to be one hell of a Christmas.

As detectives work, they reflect upon their lives. Each of them needs to make changes. Not all of them know where to begin.

I've not read nearly enough from Nigel Bird as I should have. None of his Southsiders series of books for instance.

Mr Suit, Beat on the Brat (and other stories) and Smoke have been enjoyed.

B is for.....

Bill Pronzini - Bones (1985)
Number 14 in Pronzini's Nameless PI series

An old grave opens a new case of murder. Recent murders are difficult but not unsolvable. This time Nameless is called upon to solve a murder that happened four decades ago. Called to do the impossible, he takes the case merely because the victim was a pulp writer. Nameless of course is a pulp fan. We follow Nameless in his quest of trying to quell the questions of a neurotic son determined to find out how his writer-father really died. Was it a suicide or murder?

"Pronzini makes people and events so real that you're living those explosive days of terror."
- Robert Ludlum

"Once in a crocodile's age you come across a writer whose work you instinctively like... I've found one - Bill Pronzini. Buy him, read him, and relax."

- Los Angeles Times

I think I've read as far as 13, so this one will be next for me when I eventually get back to the series.


  1. I've always liked the Nameless series, Col - good to see it mentioned here. And I really ought to read some more Parker; it's been a while. You've got some really skilled authors here, including Nigel Bird (I really ought to read more of his work than I have).

    1. Margot there's just never enough time for all of it is there?

  2. I also read a bunch of the early Parker books, but not the later ones.

    1. I think I have a few more of his to get to, but I won't be reading the last 20.

  3. I am definitely interested in the book by Nigel Bird. I like to combine crime and Christmas, especially this time of year. Right now I am reading a Charlie Resnick book by John Harvey set at Christmas. Pretty bleak so far.

    And I need to get back to Pronzini's Nameless books also. I think I am up to book 20 but it has been a while.

    1. I have some Christmas themed books Tracy, but I've hit a bit of a reading wall at the minute. I'd like to get something seasonal read this month. We'll see.

      Me too, I think you are about 8 ahead of me.