Messy Business – Books, Writing, Stuff

Books and books and books …


Something for the Weekend

On the Radar – 11 Oct ’13

Any recommendations are not necessarily current – I might urge you to read that newfangled fantasy nonsense from JRR Tolkien if the desire grabs me. All these books are looking at me from across the room, through a haze of sultry smoke (is smoking making a sexy comeback yet?), giving me the odd wink to follow them back to their place.

Some might seduce you, others might club you over the head when you’re not looking. I just don’t know.

Telegraph Hill
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First up, John Nardizzi’s Telegraph Hill, about a private dick obsessed with three women in San Francisco, especially a girl called Tania who Triads want to slice up and make sure she never witnesses their actions again. Reviewers say it pulls you into San Francisco wide-eyed. It sounds like it might then dump you on the sidewalk, traumatised, but it looks fantastic.

That Damned Coyote Hill
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Heath Lowrance’s That Damned Coyote Hill has a premise that pulls you in. Set in the old American West, its hero Hawthorne is not necessarily a hero, might even be ambiguous in his likability, but when did likability ever get the blood pumping? Chasing the villains all the way to a town called Coyote Hill, he intends to step in, despite those coyotes as big as a wolf. It’s been called a Weird Western, full of horror and pace. Gotta read it.

The One from the Other (Bernard Gunther, #4)
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Philip Kerr’s detective novels, all set in the Third Reich and its aftermath, look cracking. Despite the Saturday morning serial-like Nazis of Indiana Jones, the period still has the power to shock and make your heart stop. The ones taking place after the end of the war look particularly good, as bad men scramble to hide their wartime atrocities.

The Vanity Game
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HJ Hampson’s The Vanity Game is about a footballer who seemingly has it all until a celebrity party ends disastrously and a dodgy cartel come into his life. The protagonist is unlikable, but if you like to see arseholes taken down a peg or two, then this can only be a compulsory read.

Beat To A Pulp: A Rip Through Time
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Finally, Beat to a Pulp: A Rip Through Time, sounds fantastic. This science-fiction noir is a tale written by numerous authors, but which keeps its balance and tone consistent throughout. Sounds like the sort of Saturday morning stuff you’d watch as a kid, but far more adult, far more dramatic, and far more entertaining.

If there’s good stuff I’m missing, let me know in the comments.

Books on the Radar

These are a bunch of books I want to get involved in, which haven’t necessarily been released recently. In fact some are ancient, but I don’t care – they look great.

Dissolution (Matthew Shardlake, #1)  A monk detective? No thanks. Set in the neck-slicing days of Henry VIII. Errr, go on then. Sansom’s Winter in Madrid was great (apart from the ending), so in I go.

Bullets For A Ballot (Cash Laramie & Gideon Miles)  Not a fan of westerns at all, unless it’s a film and Clint Eastwood is chewing a cigar like it’s a wasp. But this looks like an exception.

Me and You Nicolo Ammaniti’s stories are about the underbelly of Italian life, free of the Cosa Nostra, and they all have terrible things happening to ordinary, often poor, people. I’ve read reviews of his work where the reviewer has not liked it because of the lifestyle of the characters. I can only say get a grip and enjoy getting pulverised by his often warped imagination.

One Day In The Life Of Jason Dean  Reviews of this have been all over the internet, and I still haven’t got round to it. The protagonist is a hard man with a taste for classical music and philosophy, who adores his little girl, and whose wife hates him. The novella follows him across one day to a moving climax.

Matador  Waking up with a bullet in his head, the protagonist realises he is in a coffin, buried alive. He can’t remember a thing. I’m hooked.

Roman Dalton - Werewolf PI Paul D. Brazill’s 13 Shots of Noir pulled me into his orbit, and now I can’t get out. Though I don’t think I want to. This one features a Private Dick who sprouts fur on occasion. Sounds daft. Sounds great.

Cartel Rising Guillermo Paxton’s The Plaza gained some really good press, and this tale of Mexican corruption revolving around the country’s brutal cartel’s looks even better.


Over the Shoulder
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