“The Galton Case,” by Ross Macdonald: A dirty, dirty job for Lew Archer

An extremely rich woman wants Lew Archer to find her long-lost son, in hopes she can make amends before she dies.It sounds like the coldest of cold cases, but things heat up soon enough. Macdonald's hard-boiled tale is one of those in which each mystery solved reveals another mystery behind it. Lies, murder, despair abound. …

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“One True Sentence,” by Craig McDonald: Murder and sex in the City of Lights

Looking for a riveting stew of murder, sex, history and literature? "One True Sentence," by Craig McDonald, offers that and a lot more. The novel, part of a series featuring writer Hector Lassiter, is set in Paris during the 1920s. Lassiter, who writes stories for crime magazine Black Mask while pondering more literary ambitions, is …

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“The Cold Cold Ground,” by Adrian McKinty

Take Ed McBain's 87th Precinct thrillers. Add first-person narrative from a smart, and funny, lead detective. Mix in a few large vodka gimlets and dark stouts, then set it all down in Ireland in 1981, when hunger strikes and protests lit a spark on the unrest fueled by political militias, gang violence and terrorism. All …

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“The Devil All The Time” by Donald Ray Pollock, or Good Lord, this is a bleak and depressing book …

I am going to buck the trends, and not join those who love this book. There is much to like. Pollock's prose is terrific, at times starkly poetic. The images are concise, and cutting, and won't leave your head anytime soon. The man certainly can write. And yet ... Damn, this is a depressing read. …

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“Pirate Latitudes” reviewed, or how I wish Crichton had given this one a heavy rewrite

"Pirate Latitudes" was written early on in Michael Crichton's quest to become a famed novelist. It was put away while he built his reputation and fortune with works such as "Jurassic Park," "Eaters of the Dead," "The Andromeda Strain" and others.  It was dug up after his death, like a buried treasure, and published.    …

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