Sunday 27 February 2022


Another half dozen into the collection....

Hayley Scrivenor - Dirt Town (2022) - Net Galley review site

Rural Aussie crime? Deal me in.

Dirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor is an atmospheric crime novel set in rural Australia, for fans of Jane Harper's The Dry and Chris Whitaker's We Begin at the End.

Durton. Dirt town. Dirt and hurt - that’s what others would remember about our town....

When 12-year-old Esther Bianchi disappears on her way home from school in the small town of Durton in rural Australia, the local community is thrown into a state of grief and suspicion.

The detective.

As Detective Sergeant Sarah Michaels begins her investigation, she questions those who knew the girl, attempting to unpick the secrets which bind them together.

The mother.

The girl’s mother, Constance, believes that her daughter going missing is the worst thing that can happen to her. But as the search for Esther develops, she learns that things can always get worse.

The friends.

Ronnie is Esther’s best friend and is determined to bring her home. So when her classmate Lewis tells her that he saw Esther with a strange man at the creek the afternoon she went missing, Ronnie feels she is one step closer to finding her. But why is Lewis refusing to speak to the police?

And who else is keeping quiet about what happened to Esther?

Michael Craft - Desert Getaway (2022) - review copy from publisher, Brash Books

If it's published by Brash Books, invariably I want to read it.

Dante O’Donnell is white, gay and getting older every day. He has wasted his better years on starstruck dreams and the wrong men, so now he's working as a concierge for a vacation-rental outfit in Palm Springs, where the guests have far more baggage than what's packed in their suitcases. But when he finds a dead body floating in the swimming pool at one of his rentals, his own troubled past comes back to haunt him. So he turns for help to Jazz Friendly, a Black woman who, when she was a Palm Springs cop, nearly arrested him for murdering his husband, which he didn't do...not that he knows who did. Now Jazz is a struggling PI, her career derailed by racism. And with her marriage broken by booze, she's desperate to get custody of her kid. Dante and Jazz need each other to solve this murder...and to save themselves from personal and professional disaster.

"A wild romp through Palm Springs’ glittery underbelly. Fast, funny, and thoroughly enjoyable. An instant classic.” Tod Goldberg, New York Times bestselling author of The Low Desert

Ron Potts - Black Moon (1987) - purchased copy

A book which got a mention in one of my Facebook book groups and the rest is history...

'Have you come to take me back?' The threat of instant death hung behind the answer to that point-blank question...

Jim Walker knows how to kill like he knows every moving part of the vicious MAC-10 submachine pistol tucked beneath his oversize leather jacket. His body hooned into a bullet-hard, unstoppable death machine, he is the last of an elite Vietnam commando squad.

And now, the system that spawned him, turned him into the best fighter they ever had, was him banged up in jail. A hero in wartime, redundant in peacetime: he''s going to make them pay...

Because combat's in his blood: They come to kill you man! They come to blow your little-boy body away! Lying neck deep in the slimy mud, he is aware only that his M16 assault rifle is bucking in his hands like a thing alivv, belching fire...

David Putnam - The Sinister (2022) - review copy from author

No. 9 in Putnam's Bruno Johnson series and having enjoyed the first eight, it's one I'm looking forward to.

The Ruthless

Bruno Johnson, shaken to his core, but still a formidable force—unrelenting when it comes to saving a child

Ex-cop, ex-con Bruno Johnson and his wife Marie hide in plain sight from the law in an upscale L.A. hotel as Bruno heals from a run-in with a brutal outlaw motorcycle gang—and the loss of his son—a son he didn't know he had until it was too late.

Marie, now pregnant with her first child, fears Bruno may never fully recover. She knows that soon they must return to Costa Rica to rejoin their large family of rescued children—kids who owe their lives to Bruno and Marie's intervention.

But when Bruno's friend, FBI Deputy Director, Dan Chulack, pleads with Bruno to help rescue his kidnapped granddaughter, escape plans are put on hold. After exhausting all legitimate investigative avenues, Chulack seeks Bruno's brand of justice. With Marie's reluctant consent and her own special expertise, they plunge into the evil world of those who prey on children.

Meanwhile, Bruno's mother, a woman he has never known, appears asking for forgiveness—and Bruno's assistance—while bringing her own set of complications. Bruno finds his professional and his personal lives colliding in a pursuit that is excruciating and brutal.

The Sinister is perfect for fans of Michael Connelly and James Lee Burke

Bill James - Low Pastures (2022) - Net Galley review site

No. 36 in the long running Harpur and Iles series, a series I once harboured a fantasy of reading all the way through from the beginning. I've not quite discounted that notion yet, but I think I've read only a couple to date... You'd Better Believe It and Hitmen I Have Known

A well-dressed corpse found shot in the sand and gravel wharf sparks trouble for Detective Chief Superintendent Colin Harpur and his unpredictable boss, Assistant Chief Constable Iles.

The man is found dead in the local dockyard, shot from behind. Colin Harpur, examining the impeccably dressed corpse on his hands and knees, predicts the execution spells imminent trouble - and not just the unexpected arrival of his spiteful, brilliant boss, ACC Iles, at the two a.m. slaughter scene.

Iles' progressive attitude towards the local drugs trade has kept gang warfare off the streets, but now it seems jealous outsiders may be coveting the safe, ordered community he has so brilliantly created. Coveting too, the local property - for instance, drug lord Ralph Ember's luxurious mansion, Low Pastures, home to his unparalleled collection of china and porcelain.

Harpur and Iles are determined to protect their set-up at all costs - which includes protecting 'Panicking' Ralph. But Ralph has his own plans, and there are dark rumours about Iles on the wind . . .

Blackly humorous, delightfully eccentric and packed with sharp-tongued wit, this gritty British police procedural is a must-read for fans of Bill James' critically-acclaimed long-running Harpur and Iles series.

Simon Marlowe - The Dead Hand of Dominique (2021) - review copy from author

Essex villains, family feuds, a missing wife and mistress... what's not to like?

Steven Mason, a young career villain, needs to find his boss's girlfriend Dominique. Straightaway, he knows things are not going to be easy when he finds a dead hand in Mickey Finn's old fridge.

So begins a series of encounters: St Mary with a limp wrist; Dominique's husband Texas - a semi-retired gigolo; his vicious brother Greg; rent boys; a psychiatrist and a corrupt detective.

As Steven realises he's uncovering a bitter dispute between two gangs, so division and betrayal make him hunter and hunted. He will need to decide whom he can trust, torn between his loyalties and his attraction to his friend's girlfriend ... not to mention what the outcome will be with a caged parrot.


  1. Dirt Town looks fabulous, Col. I do like the setting, and it sounds like a very atmospheric sort of story to go with it. The Marlowe has caught my eye, too... I hope you'll enjoy all of them.

    1. Margot, Dirt Town does doesn't it? The Marlowe has been enjoyed already! 9Thoughts to follow one of these days!)