“The Bookseller,” by Mark Pryor: Several Books in One

Imagine a Venn diagram, with the following circles: private eye story, spy novel, cerebral mystery and police procedural. The area where all those circles intersect is where you would find "The Bookseller," by Mark Pryor. Set in Paris, the novel offers intrigue with a smattering of action, and veers through all those Venn circles mentioned …

Continue reading “The Bookseller,” by Mark Pryor: Several Books in One

“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 …

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

“Blade of the Samurai,” by Susan Spann: History and Murder

Historical mysteries offer the reader a great deal.  A good mystery novel features a solid plot, unique characters and, usually, a sense of justice. But a good historical mystery offers one thing more: a chance to vicariously experience another time and place. Today's case in point is "Blade of the Samurai," by Susan Spann. Spann's …

Continue reading “Blade of the Samurai,” by Susan Spann: History and Murder

“Colonel Sun,” a non-Fleming Bond novel that feels right

I have always divided the literary and cinematic James Bonds in my mind. I enjoy the movies, with the mini-helicopters and automobile ejector seats and explosions, but they seem to be about some other fellow, not the brooding but dutiful man Ian Fleming wrote about in his books. Sure, the two Bonds share some traits, …

Continue reading “Colonel Sun,” a non-Fleming Bond novel that feels right

“The Man of Bronze,” by Lester Dent, or How in the Bloody Hell Did This Series Sell So Well?

I love the idea of Doc Savage.A man trained from birth to build his mind and body to perfection, in order to pursue a life of adventure and righting wrongs.  A man surrounded by top minds in numerous fields, each an expert in one or more areas of science or engineering or some other useful …

Continue reading “The Man of Bronze,” by Lester Dent, or How in the Bloody Hell Did This Series Sell So Well?

“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 …

Continue reading “The Cold Cold Ground,” by Adrian McKinty

How Pirate Batman rescued me from a book title problem

So ... while working on the Spider John historical mysteries, I have been working on another potential series as well -- a modern-day crime series set in a fictional Ohio county. And I had a title for the work in progress on that second series. I was going to call it "Powder Keg," as the …

Continue reading How Pirate Batman rescued me from a book title problem