Ruthless is a Great Summer Thriller

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Ruthless by John Rector is probable one of the nest summer thrills that you will find for your beach reading this year. It has a pace that never lets up from start to finish, has characters that are well fleshed out, and has that “John Rector” little something extra that puts it into the must read category.

Nick White is a man who has seen his share of heartache and despair. He is separated from his wife due to his gambling problem, and he is searching for something that will give his life meaning. One night at a bar he frequents all to frequently, he is mistaken for someone he is not and his life will never be the same. He is handed a package and it is not until later that he looks into the package and realizes the danger his life may be in. He has received $20,000 and a photograph of a young lady he is expected to kill. Knowing he can’t go to the police and knowing he can’t just return the money, he looks to his father, a retired police officer, for advice. When the advice is to leave town for a bit, Nick is forced to confront his own sense of preservation and balance it with his sense of duty to a young lady whose life is in jeopardy.

I found this book to be both a page turning thriller and a welcome return to the worlds that John Rector creates. Anyone who has ever read a book by Rector is sure to agree that he sucks you into the world he has created and it is not until you read the final paragraph that you can leave his world without having it sitting in the back of your mind.

For anyone who is looking for the perfect book to take to the beach or just to get lost in while you are commuting to work, look no further than the newest John Rector book. Rector has been cementing his name among the best thriller writers around today and this book will only push his reputation even further into the discussion of today’s best thriller writers.

Highly Recommended

Edgerton is a Writing Genius

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The last two books I read by Les Edgerton were books that cemented him onto my must-read list of authors. Both The Bitch and The Rapist were insightful, wonderful books that had plot depth, characters that jumped off the page, and that little something extra that changes a book from something you simply read into an experience for the reader. When I read the blurb for his latest release, The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping, I saw that it was more of a crime-comedy mix and I wondered how Edgerton would handle this genre change and I wondered if he could reach the bar he set so high with his previous two books.

I am pleased to say that this book was a wild and fun read. I prefer dark noir books, so while this book didn’t quite reach the heights of his previous two books, it still stands above many books that are being put out by other authors. I think it is just a personal preference in genres that make me make that statement.

The strength of this book is a strength I noted in other Edgerton books; character development. The cast of characters that he parades in and out of the plot of this novel makes reading this book a pleasure. Edgerton has a knack for writing dialogue that rings true for the characters and leaves the reader laughing out loud. His ability to have the reader actually begin to care for his characters and feel invested is the same feeling I had reading his previous books. In other words, the man has great writing chops.

If you haven’t read Edgerton before, you should be ashamed of yourself. He is a great author and should be on everyone’s must read list. If you have read him in the past and were unsure if this switch to a crime-comedy mix would yield a book worth reading; put your worries aside and grab a copy of this outstanding and entertaining book. Edgerton will leave you laughing out loud and have you awaiting his next book, regardless of what genre he chooses to write. Take it from a regular guy who loves to read noir, this book will have you fiending for more Edgerton, even if it isn’t a noir book.

Highly recommended

Best Noir Book I’ve Read in Ages

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“After a while it came to me. The hunger I felt was the overwhelming urge to kill the rest of them. That was it. Only their deaths would satisfy my deepest-felt need”- Selena by Greg Barth

The latest release from All Due Respect Books is by Greg Barth and it is the most flat out, kick-ass, balls-to-the-wall book I have read in the longest time. It contains two novellas that were previously self-published in two separate volumes and a previously unreleased novella. I had read the first novella just prior to it being removed from circulation and was anxiously awaiting the release of this collection. I am happy to say it was more than worth the wait.

Selena has got to be the toughest, grittiest, and most noir female lead I’ve ever encountered in any series I have read. She describes herself as “five-feet, four-inches tall and 98 pounds, (and) I can make little noise when I need to. I can also make a hell of a lot of noise when I want to”. In a recent chat I had with Barth, he summed up Selena in a manner that I cannot improve upon. He said, “The thing I would like to highlight is the spirit of Selena’s character- she seeks pleasure, an easy fun life, is almost completely amoral, and bent on self destruction. Yet, she handles pain well, refuses to roll over and die when she is wronged, and is willing to do the nasty things required to take down the worst men.”

Barth’s ability to allow her to grow and flourish as a character as his stories develop is one of the strongest points of this series. Selena is a tough-as-nails, down-on-her-luck, take-no-crap kind of lady and in the opening of the book she illegally gains possession of what she believes to be a music CD. As any lover of noir would guess the disc is not a music CD and the owners of the CD extract a heavy revenge on Selena for the theft, leaving her assaulted and near death. Selena regroups and swears revenge, and the book takes off like a bat out of hell at that point.

Being that the original publications were in novella form, this collection has three great storylines and three great dénouements. The stories run seamlessly and I loved how Selena gets more rugged, tougher, and more dedicated to destruction and self-preservation as the stories unfolded.

In my opinion, some of the keys to having a successful series are having a main character that develops and grows throughout the series, a storyline that grows with the character, secondary characters that allow the main character a chance to develop through growing relationships, and the ability to end each part of the series with an ending that is satisfying to the story, yet leaves the reader wondering when the next addition to the series will be forthcoming.

Well Barth must have had this checklist next to him as he wrote these novellas. Everything in the stories added to the growing tension, both internally within Selena and externally in the world Barth created for her. The bad guys were hard-core and vicious, yet the friends Selena makes on her journey were able to help Selena be seen through the lens of being sympathetic yet still maintain her semblance of being an independent bad ass. She developed skills that should certainly help her maintain her edge throughout future books. She learned how to handle two shotguns at once, how to become deadly with a bow and arrow, how to field dress deer for outdoor survival, and also how not to care who she kills when extracting revenge.

Selena is a must read for all fans of noir. It has darkness, depth, and depravity in spades. This book will put Greg Barth on every noir fans must read list and will help get All Due Respect Books the respect they deserve for being a publisher who is putting out some of the most insane and most noir books available today. I would go so far as to say I am begging you to pick up a copy. This offering deserves a wide audience and, in my opinion, is going to be one of the most talked about books of 2015 in the noir community. I kid you not…it is that great. So before you embarrass yourself when your friends start talking about the book and you haven’t read it, grab a copy and sink your teeth into a slice of noir pie….it’s hot, hot, hot.

Highly recommended.

Hashtag delivers on Pruitt’s Promise

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After reading Eryk Pruitt’s first book Dirtbags, I was intrigued to read more from him and see if he could produce a second novel that matched the greatness of his first book. I was thrilled when I saw I was offered the opportunity to get an ARC of Pruitt’s second book, Hashtag. I am please to say that this book not only lived up to the promise of his first book, but actually gives the impression that Pruitt is gaining steam in his writing career. This novel is even better than the first, and anyone who read his first novel would know that this says a great deal about the greatness of this book.

One of the best things about Pruitt’s books is the amazing cast of characters that he creates. Each character is developed nicely and the fact that the reader gets invested into each character makes each chapter exciting to read. No sooner are you finished with a chapter and you feel disappointed that you are leaving an engaging storyline, you reenter another storyline that you have been waiting to return to and you become excited to reenter this world. The end result is a book that seems to fly along like a bat out of hell, taking the reader on a ride they will remember for a long time.

This book has drugs, guns, crime, grit, and corrupt lawmen. In other words, this book has everything a noir book needs to become the talk of the town. 280 Steps publishing has a winner on their hands and this is the type of book that they can put out as a good indicator of the type of books they will publish; kick ass noir that sucks a reader in and leaves them wanting more. Pruitt is poised to become a must read author and has the noir world on a string. This is a dynamite read.

Highly recommended.

Savage Lane is Starr at his Finest

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In my opinion, Jason Starr is one of the best current day noir writers. His books are usually focused on the “every day man” who gets caught up in a chain of events that spiral out of control and leaves them worse for the wear. His past two books have been outside of the crime genre, so I was very excited when I heard this book was his return to crime fiction.

Savage Lane starts out more like a family drama than a crime novel. Starr lays out the relationships and dynamics between a husband and a wife. The wife believes the husband is having an affair with the divorcee from up the block. The husband does in fact have a desire to have an affair with the neighbor. A twist to this dynamic is the wife is having an affair of her own…with an 18 year old high school drop out that works at the local country club. While fairly entertaining, this beginning seemed a bit of a letdown for the crime novel I thought I was sinking my teeth into. But then the big crime happens and the plot kicks into high gear.

Starr does a wonderful job getting inside the head of each character and lets the reader truly understand their motivations and rationalizations for their actions. Not only are his main characters real and multidimensional, he does a great job on fleshing out the secondary characters in this multi-layered work of art.

While this novel isn’t what I consider noir, I think it is a great novel. It is more than a crime novel and more than a family drama. It is a great look into a marriage that is crumbling due to secrets, secret desires, and Starr pulls back the layers of some strange relationships and gives the reader a peek at the warped and crazy lives of the residents of Savage Lane.

Starr proves that he can write in any genre and produce a page-turner. With the news that he and Ken Bruen have a 4th book in their series coming due soon, I am anticipating a lot of good publicity and reviews coming Starrs way.

Highly recommended.