Sunday, April 29, 2018

Review: Meanwhile Back at the Morgue

Meanwhile Back at the Morgue Meanwhile Back at the Morgue by Michael Avallone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A terrific entry in the Ed Noon Private Eye series with a well drawn cast of interesting characters and Avallone's knack for wise-cracking and hard-boiled prose. The book follow classic mystery/whodunit conventions with Noon tracking down clues and then calling the characters together at the end to announce his hard earned conclusion. Loved all the Old Hollywood references. Highly entertaining from start to finish.

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Review: Army of Devils

Army of Devils Army of Devils by G.H. Frost
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book has a reputation as one of the most over-the-top Action novels ever written so I knew what I was getting into when I started it, and although I found the blatant reactionary politics and the stupendous amount of gore distasteful, the book is in general an engaging and entertaining read. The violence and carnage are so extreme that it reaches the point of self-parody for the genre. The romance between alpha-male Lyons and his DEA agent girlfriend Flor is a strongpoint and it elevates the story above most typical Action fare. Much like sleaze and noir books it manages to be both offensive and entertaining which is a combination that I seem to be drawn to.

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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Review: Battle Mask

Battle Mask Battle Mask by Don Pendleton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fine entry in the series as Pendleton really fleshes out his Mack Bolan character and the the plot focuses more on intrigue and espionage than on pure action, which can become a bit monotonous and predictable. My favorite of the initial Executioner trilogy.

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Saturday, April 7, 2018

Review: The Sleazy Reader Issue 5

The Sleazy Reader Issue 5 The Sleazy Reader Issue 5 by Justin Marriott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Intersting articles about the sleaze offerings from Wenzell Brown and Harry Whittington, the biker mag "Easy Riders", and the Falconhurst series of plantation sleaze, and others. Loaded with pictures of paperback artwork which I have never seen before.

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Review: Death Squad

Death Squad Death Squad by Don Pendleton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mack Bolan rounds up a team of his former Viet Nam colleagues for a "Death Squad" in his continued war with the Mafia in this action-packed second entry in the series. Much of the action takes place while driving the streets of Los Angeles which reminded me of the Fast and Furious movies. The ten members recruited for the Death Squad seemed a bit excessive and it was hard to keep them straight. A couple of them end up being members of the spin-off series "Able Team" along with a rogue cop who is also introduced in this novel, so this book is probably one of the more essential reads in the Executioner extended universe.

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Friday, April 6, 2018

My Favorite Noir Novels

For sake of clarity about what a noir novel actually is I'll defer to the Otto Penzler definition that he posted several years back - Noir Fiction Is About Losers, Not Private Eyes.

So using the strict "Penzler" definition of noir, here are 10 of my favorites:
  • So Young, So Wicked - Jonathan Craig 
  • The Vengeful Virgin - Gil Brewer 
  • .44 - H.A. DeRosso 
  • Pick-Up - Charles Willeford 
  • Pop. 1280 - Jim Thompson 
  • Black Wings Has My Angel - Elliot Chaze 
  • Brute in Brass - Harry Whittington 
  • Sleep with the Devil - Day Keene 
  • The Name of the Game is Death - Dan J. Marlowe 
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice - James M. Cain 

Any thoughts?

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Review: Blaze!

Blaze! Blaze! by Stephen Mertz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are plenty of mystery-solving married couples in modern fiction with their snappy banter and sexual innuendo, but this is the first that I've read a book about an Old West gun-slinging married couple. This first book in the Blaze! adult western series is novella sized and packed with plenty of action and some mild sexual content. Take out the sex and gore and this would have been a fine Western pulp magazine story. An entertaining and quick read if you're in the mood for an escapist romp where you don't have to burn much brain power.

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