Posts Tagged with ‘Mob’

Mondays are murder
Bookmark and Share

Anyone out there remember Artemis Fowl?  Artemis Fowl was the boy hero of Eoin Colfer’s wildly successful kids’ series in which the world of super-spies collides with the world of Faery.  Based on his body of work, Colfer was even chosen for the highly-coveted honour of penning the final “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” book on behalf of the late Douglas Adams.  I had forgotten all about that.

Which was funny, because about 2/3 of the way through Plugged, I thought to myself : this is what noir would look and sound like if Douglas Adams had written it!

Daniel McEvoy is an Irish ex-pat, living it up on the seedy underside of small-town New Jersey.  He is a balding bouncer at a low-class strip joint, but it allows him to pursue the really important things in life – his on-again-off-again pseudo-relationship with one of the club’s dancers and his brand new hair plugs!

But then his girlfriend winds up dead in the parking lot of the club.  And his hair plug specialist is in the wind, leaving behind a wrecked office and a mob hitman that Daniel has no chance to avoid killing.  Daniel has ideas, though, about what is happening and what to do about it.  And he is not unwilling to fall back on his military background to make it happen.

cover image

What ensues is all that you imagine might happen when the overblown egos of organized crime run smack-dab into the angry fist of an Irishman who finds himself wronged.  Daniel McEvoy is perhaps the only hair-plug recipient I have ever encountered in literature who remains sympathetic in the face of his vanity.  And watching his exploits is a delight!  So make a cuppa, sit back, and prepare for some generalized mayhem!

Want to read it and can’t bring yourself to pull away from your Kobo?  Don’t worry, we have the ebook!  Check it out at the digital catalogue.

Mondays are murder
Bookmark and Share

Recently, someone brought to my attention that librarians, booksellers and people who otherwise write, review or promote books can get access to ebook copies of ARCs (those pesky advanced readers’ copies again!), so you can read and promote pre-publication titles on your e-reader.  No recycle bin when the book is done – just rearrange the electrons and off you go!

I am working my way through some non-fiction now, but I finished reading These Dark Things by Jan Merete Weiss.  These Dark Things is the first novel in a series set in Naples featuring Captain Natalia Monte.  Natalia is a most unlikely Italian cop – female, single, not even crooked.  Natalia’s Naples is a study in contradictions – the beauty, the culture, the food on one hand; the corruption, the collusion, the debilitating self-interest of the Camorra and the church and the government on the other.  And in the midst of this daily tight-rope walk between transcendence and rot, a young woman is murdered.

The discovery of the body in a cultural institution brings in the Carabinieri – the national police – represented by Natalia and her partner, another unlikely Italian cop, the Buddhist bicyclist Pino.  It is established that the victim is a German national, a graduate student at the university.  And this is the last straightforward thing in the investigation.

There is a slew of suspects.  The philandering professor.  The blind monk.  The drifting amorphous Camorra and any one of the individuals sheltered within it.  There is a myriad of motives.  Love, in all its manifestations.  Jealousy, in all of its guises. 

Weiss’s story ebbs and flows like water.  The natural currents of any given thread within the tale carry you as far as they can until you are caught in an eddy, spun and spit out along another track.  Reading Natalia’s first adventure is like following a twisting trail, realizing when you get to the end that it is also the beginning.  There are no loose ends because it is just one long thread, winding around on itself.  I cannot wait to make it back to Naples.

Mondays are murder
Bookmark and Share

She’s done it all.  She has a dragon tattoo.  She has played with fire.  And finally, at the end, she has stirred up a great big hornet’s nest.  Who is she?  She is Lisbeth Salander, Stieg Larsson’s tattooed, pierced, diminutive genius – the most unlikely heroine to have captured the imagination of the entire world since Harry Potter rode his broom out of that dank cupboard under the stairs.

I don’t even know where to begin summarizing The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest for you.  Which is almost a shame, because I have been waiting for this book for months.  But I also feel that Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and today’s featured title) is such a tour de force of contemporary story-telling that I don’t want to ruin any bit of it for others who are in the midst of reading it, or who haven’t started yet.  But still, I must at least attempt to describe this story to you.

Lisbeth Salander lies in a hospital bed – three gunshot wounds, one in the head.  Two doors down the hall lies her biological father – face split open with an axe.  Wandering in and out and around Sweden is Mikael Blomkvist – investigative journalist, unwanted friend and tireless advocate on Salander’s behalf.  And Salander will need the help.  She is a suspect in three murders and about to be charged with the attempted murder of her father.

What follows is 560 pages of pure adrenalin.  All of which can be summed up thus: when faced with a vast government conspiracy, it is best to fight back with a vast anarchic conspiracy.  And if you are going to fight back with a vast anarchic conspiracy, it is best to enlist as many variant participants as possible, so that there is never a moment of any given day that is not filled with intrgue, espionage, betrayal, lust and murder!  I was worried that this book would be a disappointment – it is long-awaited, it is long and it had been awhile since I read the first two.

I needn’t have worried.  If you haven’t done it yet, get on the roller coaster that is Stieg Larsson’s trilogy.  And if you have done it already, get back in line – the ride is totally worth the wait!

book 1 cover imagebook 2 cover imagebook 3 cover imagebook 4 cover image

Series update: Just finished Harem by Barbara Nadel – the fourth book I have read from the Inspector Ikmen series.  (Not the fourth book in the series – we are missing one or two, I think – but the fourth one VPL owns.)  Anyway, I think it was on par with the first book Belshazzar’s Daughter.  The next two were okay, but weaker.  This time out, Ikmen is pulled from a case investigating the assault and death of a young woman found in an ancient cistern wearing classic Ottoman garb to investigate the snatching of the American wife of a prominent Turkish actor who found fame in Hollywood.  This one brings it all together again – the struggle of Ikmen against the machinery of society, the complicated lives of Nadel’s recurring characters and the seedy, smoky underbelly of exotic Istanbul.  I have a couple other things to read first, but I am looking forward to venturing out again with Ikmen and company in Petrified.

Mondays are murder
Bookmark and Share

There is no more perfect place for a noir-ish, gangster-infested, loser-makes-good murder mystery than Los Angeles.  And Edward Wright captures the down-and-outness of post-war LA like a war photographer captures pathos.  Clea’s Moon is Wright’s first novel, and I am pleased to see that he has written others.  I am less pleased to see that we don’t own any of them!  You keep reading this post, and I will see about getting more books by Wright.

John Ray Horn had it all – he was a two-bit cowboy lead in B-movie westerns before the Second World War upped the ante for heroes in America.  Now he is back, broke, divorced and a felon.  Working periodically as a tough for his former sidekick – Joseph Mad Crow – Horn drifts in a sea of loss, with nothing to hold onto, but not quite ready to let go.

An old friend, Scotty Bullard, tracks him down one day.  Not long after Scotty shares some rather incriminating photos with John Ray, he is found dead on the sidewalk under his apartment window.  Horn suspects foul play – after all, Scotty showed him disgusting pornographic images of children, one of whom appears to be Horn ex-step-daughter, Clea, as a very young girl.  Horn tries to get in touch with Clea, only to be told that she is missing – a suspected runaway. 

Horn races against time, himself, history and the long reach of the untouchably powerful and corrupt to find Clea before anyone who might want to harm her.  In the meantime, he also digs into the filthy past of predators, hoping to identify and wreak righteous vengeance on those men who ruined children for sport.

 Series updates: Finished The Redbreast by Jo Nesbø.  Another intricate Harry Hole novel, steeped in the past and ripping violently through the present.  My only frustration is that I seem to be reading the Harry Hole novels backwards, despite my best efforts to get on chronological track after reading The Redeemer.

Mondays are murder!
Bookmark and Share

Guns, knives, bats, and the Don.  Welcome to the menacing world of Howard Shrier‘s Toronto!  Welcome to Buffalo Jump.  There’s even a Mafia Don or two thrown in, to balance out the threat of the river.

Buffalo Jump cover image

Buffalo Jump

Jonah Geller is a nice Jewish boy who can’t seem to live up to the promise his mother sees in him.  A licensed private investigator with Beacon Security, he has had a few too many run-ins with other guys’ fists for her taste.  But Jonah is good at what he does.  Or he was until that Ensign case.

So why is Dante Ryan, mob assassin, showing up everywhere Jonah goes?  And what does the death of an old lady in a nursing home have to do with a mob hit on an entire family -  father, mother and five-year-old son?  Jonah will find out, even if it takes everything his fists and wits can muster.

This one is not for the faint of heart, or for those who like their murders nice and tidy.  But if you are looking for a blood-soaked PI thriller that does not shy away from the ethical complications of violence in a violent world, Jonah Geller might just be the investigator for you.  Follow this one up with High Chicago, Shrier’s second Geller novel.