Death Thing is Full of Life and Laughs

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I just finished reading Death Thing by Andrew Hilbert and I think this is one hell of an entertaining and fun read! While the plot is definitely on the unbelievable side, with a little bit of suspension of disbelief, I had a great time flying through the pages of this exciting book.

When Gilbert (don’t call him Gil, only his wife calls him that) gets sick and tired of getting his car broken into, he sets out to turn his car into a death trap for would-be thieves. What seems like a crazy idea at first gets him the desired results and the attention of his neighbor and the local police force.

From Gilbert’s obsession over tuna fish with pickles to his insistence to not being called Gil, this book has lots of laughs, lots of violence, and shows this author has lots of potential to have a hell of a writing career.

This book deserves a large audience. Although it is hard to pigeonhole it into a specific genre, I feel safe labeling it as a laugh out-loud, ass kicking, fun and wild read. Do yourself a favor and grab a copy and strap yourself in…it’s gonna be a long enjoyable ride.

Recommended.

This One is a Winner

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Worm by Anthony Neil Smith is a novel that will keep you engaged long into the night and have you rushing back for more once you open your eyes in the morning. The story has violence, drugs, and women with loose morals…what isn’t to love about a book like that?

Ferret is a “worm”, meaning he is a new guy on the oil fields in North Dakota. He has come to the fields to avoid ending up working for his father-in-law back in Alabama. He has left behind his wife and daughter and he is trying to remain loyal to them and keep his mind on making money and bringing his family to live with him. But the temptations are plentiful and he keeps trying to fight the good fight. In order to succeed in getting his family to come to him, he needs more money…and fast.

Gene Handy, a fellow oil worker, is a huge man. Huge in size and in ambitions. He sees the oil fields as a money making diamond mine for the right man…a man with big plans and a willingness to do whatever he needs to do to fulfill these plans. In order to pull himself up to a higher station in life he needs more money…and fast.

Needing help from someone with connections they lack, Handy and Ferret turn to the boss in the oil fields, Pancrazio. Pancrazio has no morals, but also has big plans to make money and become the number one man on the fields. His ambitions run high, but he may find that there are more obstacles in his way than he first thought.

Once this plot gets going, there is no slowing it down (Who the hell would want to anyway?). I have always enjoyed Anthony Neil Smith’s work, but this is one of his best (well that’s kinda hard to say because so many of his books really kick ass). This book has been out for a bit, so I am sure I am one of the last to the party, but if you haven’t grabbed a copy of this great read you are best to rectify that oversight immediately and grab a copy, then sit back and enjoy this awesome book.

Recommended.

Another Strong Book From One Eye Press Singles

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After reading a few of the One Eye Press Singles and being very impressed, I decided to give Gunmen by Timothy Friend a read. I am not a big fan of westerns, so I was unsure if I would like this offering. I am pleased to say that not only did I like the book, but it has me rethinking my stance of not liking westerns.

Charles Brittle and Owen Ashe have a bar on the fringes of a town in the middle of the desert. The town has few inhabitants and their bar has even fewer. While they have no bar business, they do have a strong sense of justice and morality and decide to attempt their hand at capturing a bank robber and gathering the reward money for his capture.

The capture of the fugitive goes smoothly enough, but during their attempt to gather the reward money, they are thrust into the middle of a battle between a local sheriff and a gang of brothers who know no limits to the savagery. After killing one of the brothers, Brittle and Ashe are thrust into the middle of a war when the family of outlaws swears revenge.

This book was a fast and entertaining read. Timothy Friend seems to be a strong author and every chapter was engaging and helped keep the story moving at a quick speed. I am happy I gave the book a chance and I will certainly look for future works from Friend. While I started the book uncertain if I would like westerns enough to make it through the whole book, I am realizing that One Eye Press only puts out strong books and if they put their stamp of approval on a book, I can be certain I will like it!

Recommended

Merrick Needs to be Released!

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I managed to get my hands on a copy of Merrick by Ken Bruen and I very glad I did. I have been anticipating the release of this book for a long time but for some reason it seems stuck in publishing limbo. With a book this strong, I am stunned that it isn’t being gobbled up by a publishing company and put out to the masses. Any fan of Bruen’s work will love this book and it would be a big seller.

Bruen has created two great characters that will carry a great series of books. They have great chemistry and share great dialogue. The book leaves itself open to further additions to the series and I believe the reading public would clamor for more books that feature the characters.

Tommy Ryan is a former Irish policeman who has come to America amid a personal burnout and he is seeking a new life. He has lost his marriage, and thus his son, and he is at a personal crossroad. He enters a bar and happens to meet Merrick, a former policeman turned bartender. The two men hit it off and develop a friendship that is both volatile and rooted in a love for the life of a policeman.

Merrick is a former partner of Moe Prager (a main character from Reed Farrel Coleman’s series of books. Bruen and Coleman have collaborated on a previous novel together) and is searching for a serial killer who leaves him clues to his identity. After establishing a trust with Ryan, he brings Ryan into the hunt and they scour the boroughs of New York in their attempt to stop this killer.

I love dark, disturbing reading material and even I was taking back by the opening of this book. Bruen’s killer is one disturbing individual. The parts of the book that feature him are disturbing on so many levels and they show that Bruen has the ability to elicit emotions from even the most seasoned readers of noir and hardboiled material.

Bruen has created on hell of a great book. The characters are multi-dimensional and jump off the page. As always, he limits his writing to include only the bare necessities and that style plays well in this book. Whatever is holding this book back from being released needs to be rectified. This is the best work from Bruen I have read in a long time.

Recommended.

Beat the Heat with Dead Heat

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Who doesn’t love a great noir book release during the long days of summer? A chance to lose yourself in a tale of violence and retribution while the kids play in the pool is just what the doctor ordered. All Due Respect Books must have gotten word that I needed some great summer reading materials, because they delivered a 2 for 1 special that could cure anyone’s summer boredom.

All Due Respect Books’ latest release is Dead Heat with the Reaper by William E. Wallace and it contains two novellas. I was immediately grabbed by the spectacular cover art supplied by Eric Beetner. I couldn’t wait to dig into the stories and I am pleased to say that I was not disappointed once I did.

The first story is entitled Legacy and is a beautifully written piece that is about just that, leaving a legacy behind.

Frank Trask, preparing to celebrate his 67th birthday, collapses in front of his apartment complex and is rushed to the hospital. There he learns that he should get his affairs in order because he has cirrhosis of the liver and is too far-gone to have any hope of recovery. He returns to his home and is unsure of his next step. Frank, a simple living man, realizes that all the money he has put aside throughout his life has added up to more than 400K. Being that he has no spouse or children, he must come up with a way to put the money to good use before he dies.

Frank has become a gentle man in his old age, but Wallace allows us glimpses into Frank’s past where we see he is more than willing to resort to severe violence when the situation calls for violence. Many years prior, two street thugs murdered his older sister and Frank extracts a violent and brutal retribution on the two men. This flashback is a great indication of where Frank is willing to go when pushed and foreshadows events to come later in the story.

Frank is a popular man in his neighborhood. He has the respect of his friends, the young men who live in the community, and his fellow tenants in his apartment building. One of those tenants is Natalie Hatfield, a young mother with a six-month-old baby and a jealous husband. Natalie has learned to keep her interactions with others to a minimum, as her husband’s jealousy manifests with swift beatings if he believes she is being unfaithful. When Natalie’s baby gets sick one night and she must turn to Frank for help, the wheels are set in motion in what will play out to be Frank’s final stand and will determine what type of legacy he will leave behind.

Next up is The Creep. This tale is violent, bloody, and brutally written,

Centered on the Claymore apartment buildings, this story shows the intersections of the lives of a young nurse, a gang-leader, and an American war hero, Alan Baldocchi.

Baldocchi carries many scars with him from his time on the Afghanistan battlefields. A roadside bomb killed his entire platoon, but he was left with thick scars that make his entire body appear to be made from wax. His psyche is fragile, as he blames himself for the death of his comrades. He finds solace in alcohol and solitude. He desires no contact with the outside world, but when gang leader Marcel begins to target him and Susan, the young nurse, with his actions, Baldocchi finds he must engage this battle head-on.

The dénouement of this tale is dark, violent, and just what I love to read. This is one of the better novellas I have read in a long while. Stories like this are the type that put an author on my radar and although I have read Wallace many times in the past, I feel he is at his best with this tale.

Overall, I think this offering from ADR Books is a great addition to any noir lovers’ library. The two stories work nicely together as a collection, but are great stand-alone reads as well. I love new releases from All Due Respect Books and this book continues their tradition of outstanding noir books. I have come to expect no less than the best from them and they continue to raise the bar for themselves with each new release. This book is violent, yet fun and addictive….just what a summer book should be.

Highly Recommended.