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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Implicated by Peter Michael Rosenberg - a review

“Implicated” is an entertaining police drama with a fresh look at an old storyline and the best novel about crime scene clean up since Charlie Huston’s “The Mystic Arts of Erasing all Signs of Death.” It is also the first book I ever read with a Cypriot as a protagonist.

Erdogan and his partner Emilio stumble into a nightmare, as if cleaning up crime scenes of the human offal wasn’t bad enough, when they unwittingly step into a conspiracy involving cops-for-hire as assassins.

Southern California suddenly is not so warm after all, and when Emilio is shot by these rogue cops right in front of him, Erdogan has to go into hiding—not so easy for a man running from his past anyway. Not even the peaceful Ojai in Ventura County can shelter him as Azerbaijani mobsters and cops battle it out.

In a gritty drama with forensic details galore, Erdogan turns for help to the widow of a slain reporter, another victim of the bad-cop hit squad. They make an unlikely pair of detectives, but fueled with righteous indignation and a little luck, they begin to put the pieces together.

Rosenberg, a film writer as well as novelist tends to insert his own heavy-handed view-points on Erdogan’s character, but if you can shake them off and ignore them, then the body of the novel stands on its own as a well-written suspenseful mystery with plenty of twists and turns, leaving you second-guessing yourself until the final pages.

The Cleaner by Paul Cleave - a review

Cleave has become my new favorite author. I love the rough-hewn characters and in-your-face style he presents his readers with. I have devoured all his novels featuring Detective Theodore Tate and so was a little disappointed that “The Cleaner” is a stand-alone novel not featuring Tate. The disappointment lasted all of three chapters and by page forty six, I was so overcome by the pure evil of Joe the killer, the Christchurch Carver, I was tempted to look at the last page to be sure he is finally caught. Luckily I didn’t and found myself spending the whole day entranced in this enthralling story.

Originally released in Cleave’s native New Zealand in 2006, “The Cleaner” was just released in the States. Having orchestrated himself into the police department as simple and slow Joe the janitor, he is able to watch closely over the hunt for what the media have christened The Christchurch Carver. He knows the cops are nowhere close to discovering that he is responsible for the six bodies lying on a slab in the morgue. It is when a seventh is added, a copycat killing, that Joe wanders off course, becoming determined to discover who the killer is.

Between dealing with a busybody of a mother, the infringement of the interest from Sally—a fellow employee at the department who is determined to watch out for Joe as he reminds her of the retarded brother she lost—and a mystery lady who is besotted with police officers, Joe is finally undone by one of the women in his life who accidently stumbles over a simple clue and rats him out. If only he stayed the course and not forgotten he was just simple Joe, he would have become a classic cold case file destined to never be solved, but best laid plans are often overturned by someone else’s interference.

Another gritty storyline exposing the dark city life of Christchurch ensuring all the cities inhabitants stay locked behind closed doors at night, or like me, be kept up all night reading Paul Cleave.

SoWest Desert Justice: Anthology - A review

From haboobs and heat to hoodlums and hunters, volume four in an anthology from the Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Chapter brings us desert justice in many forms.
In devious tales featuring cheating spouses, revenge from beyond the grave, failed car-jackings and ill-gotten gains, the Arizona desert helps serve up its own form of justice with stories complete with failed brakes, saguaro impalements, snake bites, shamans, poisons, and allergies.
In a series of twenty short stories, the Sisters in Crime have served up a smorgasbord of justice--desert style. The desert is a dangerous place to traverse, but more so when your companion has revenge on their mind. Whatever your taste in crime fiction, you are bound to find a tale or two that will tickle your fancy

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