This audio book is more of a radio serial than traditional audio book. The production quality is top notch with voice actors, lead by Stacy Keach as MThis audio book is more of a radio serial than traditional audio book. The production quality is top notch with voice actors, lead by Stacy Keach as Mike Hammer, fitting perfectly with the characters I've come to read and love over the years in print. Velda, Pat and co are all here and they all sound as you'd expect them to.
Readers of the Mike Hammer books should note, that this audio installment is set after the revelation that Velda is more than Mike's secretary and is an experienced and deadly PI in her own right - a role she doesn't full reprise but it is mentioned throughout the book.
Mike Hammer, once again, gets involved in a case (non-paying of course, much to Velda's disdain) that instantly becomes personal. The only thing that didn't quite work with the plot was how it got started. Hammer is called to a club for a meet and greet with a prospective client - what he ends up with is a dame in trouble, on the run from a gambling boss who wants his 10 million back - 10 million presumably stolen by the fleeing dame. From there it's traditional Hammer, goons pop up and get knocked down. Hammer knows not of remorse, it's all about putting bullet holes in whoever gets in his way - just as a Hammer story should be.
Before getting into my thoughts on this book, I want to highlight that FEAR, BLOOD AND SHADOWS is a 'soft' reboot of the series; meaning some conceptsBefore getting into my thoughts on this book, I want to highlight that FEAR, BLOOD AND SHADOWS is a 'soft' reboot of the series; meaning some concepts remain whilst others are reincarnated albeit slightly anew.
From my perspective, reading this book retrospectively, the biggest thing to come from FEAR, BLOOD AND SHADOWS is Punk Mambo, the character which spawned the excellent one-shot Punk Mambo #0 also written by Peter Milligan.
The art is moody and evocative and certainly adds the requisite element of horror, however the direction and end product of this story arc missed the mark for me. Jack Boniface, the current iteration of Shadowman bares almost no resemblance to the protagonist of the previous 12 issues. Additionally, this book just didn't feel new reader friendly making me wonder what the point of it was (Shadowman is currently nowhere to be seen post the next story arc).
For a character, and premise that had so much scope, this really was let down. On a positive note; art-wise this is pretty good and END TIMES, the subsequent 3 issue mini is something to look out for if you haven't read it.
In A CONFUSION OF PRINCES the reader is taken to a strange far future time where Earth is (presumably) one of many planets in a broad spanning galaxyIn A CONFUSION OF PRINCES the reader is taken to a strange far future time where Earth is (presumably) one of many planets in a broad spanning galaxy which boasts a ridiculously high number of princes - though a single Emperor. Protagonist, Khemri is one of these princes; his sole aim to become Emperor and have complete rule over the 'mind' and galaxy.
This was an addictive read with a number of really engaging concepts embedded in a journey of self discovery and personal growth. There's action, tension, interplanetary travel, far reaching sci-fi concepts, and brutal battles - pretty much all you could want from a sci-fi.
I also like the fact that A CONFUSION OF PRINCES is a standalone - too often 'series' authors fall into the trap of writing multiple novels whereas this book reads perfect well as a self contained story in its own right - even if Garth Nix does decide to revisit the setting again.
Touted as a homage to golden age sci-fi in some blurbs I've read - A CONFUSION OF PRINCES does live up to such an accolade.
Unlike THE LITTLE DEATH, I felt the production of ENCORE FOR MURDER was a little off at times. That, coupled with some very cheesy dialog and uncharacUnlike THE LITTLE DEATH, I felt the production of ENCORE FOR MURDER was a little off at times. That, coupled with some very cheesy dialog and uncharacteristic Hammer lines, made ENCORE FOR MURDER just an average take it or leave it Mike Hammer story for me. Which is a shame considering how much I enjoyed the other audio book I listened to recently.
In ENCORE FOR MURDER Mike Hammer is hired by a former flame who is planning a comeback in the showbiz industry. Taking to the bright lights of Broadway, Hammer, in characteristic fashion turns out more lights than those that shine on him as bad guys from mob outfits get in the way and get knocked down.
As you'd expect, Hammer rekindles his flame with the damsel in distress, though it's not as straightforward as you'd think - with the diva heavily focused on her career as opposed to the needs of a certain page 1 PI. Then, after receiving death threads in the post, which are subsequently leaked to the press, the diva goes missing. Here, Hammer heats up. His job turns deadly - from glorified bodyguard to doing what he does best - filling caskets with criminals.
ENCORE FOR MURDER is a very quick listen, one that isn't complicated by deep plotting and deep characters. This is pop corn pulp PI - easily consumed, enjoy it for what it is.
CONTROL FREAK was my second audiobook (the first being THE COLD COLD GROUND by Adrian McKinty) and I'm pleased to report that I'm two-for-two; great sCONTROL FREAK was my second audiobook (the first being THE COLD COLD GROUND by Adrian McKinty) and I'm pleased to report that I'm two-for-two; great stories with complimentary narrators.
Narrators can greatly enhance a book or completely derail it. Luckily narrator Ann Carver's performance is a good fit for the semi erotic crime novel by Christa Faust - her debut written in the 1990's.
Christa Faust's smooth poetic prose is akin to Megan Abbott and Daniel Woodrell at the top of their game.
Fans of Christa Faust's well known and acclaimed Hard Case Crime novels (MONEY SHOT, and CHOKE HOLD) will recognize some that of trademark toughness in her female protagonists, yet CONTROL FREAK goes beyond the hard woman facade delivering an in-depth tale of self discovery.
Caitlin, the journalist turn Dominant grows into a largely independent woman more in control of her life than she was in her pre-dominant days. Her journey into the violent erotic underworld unearths a self preservation that rivals veteran cops.
I found CONTROL FREAK to be a gripping read (listen) that showcases a slice of life many would not be accustom to, doing so in a tasteful and compelling manner that simply demands the reader's attention.
The conclusion to the Southern Reach trilogy continues to provider the reader with a diverse read, that, whilst part of a trilogy, is written in a disThe conclusion to the Southern Reach trilogy continues to provider the reader with a diverse read, that, whilst part of a trilogy, is written in a distinctly distinguishable manner.
*SOME SPOILERS IN REVIEW BELOW*
One of the hallmarks of the trilogy has been the mystery and omnipresent sense of horror lurking in the background. In ACCEPTANCE, this still remains, if not more so. For a final book, the mysteries of Area X and The Southern Reach are left satisfyingly open ended. This approach really worked for me. Sometimes stories aren't supposed to end, fully justifying the means - sometimes reason doesn't apply nor is prevalent. I'm glad author Jeff Vandermeer took this approach. Like the other books in the trilogy it didn't conform to any formula compounding the uniqueness and diverse manner of narration.
ACCEPTANCE takes us to Area X, right in the thick of the strange alien world. Ghost Bird, Control, the Biologist (yep, she makes a cameo and what a cameo it is - in the form of an incomprehensible organism), Saul - the lighthouse keeper, Grace, and the Director all feature prominently. As you can tell from the character list alone - things in Area X aren't quite right. Twins or twisted doppelganger copies are rife with even some back-story explained giving an insight into the early stages of Area X's history.
I really liked ACCEPTANCE, but it was the weaker of the trilogy - which, overall, is fantastic.
I really liked this book yet am conflicted by the genre mash-up. Part crime/mob book, part horror/supernatural author Tom Piccirilli bleeds life and dI really liked this book yet am conflicted by the genre mash-up. Part crime/mob book, part horror/supernatural author Tom Piccirilli bleeds life and death over the pages of HEADSTONE CITY to formulate an interesting culmination of the two that just doesn't quite feel right.
I like subtle horror and an element of urban fantasy but I like that distinction to be well advanced and recognisable, not as a side bar to the main event. The supernatural elements felt a little like that here. Which isn't to say that they weren't good - the side plot to avenge a teen who had an OD was interesting and entertaining enough, but it would've worked better had that and elements like it been the main drive.
The 'man-out-of-prison' aspect is equally good but again, fails from having the reader being distracted by the ghostly apparitions and other worldly events that take place.
This review sounds negative, however, it should be noted that I DID enjoy the book. I just feel it would've been better served had the author focused on one or the other and then let the plot dictate the turn of events.
All in all, this is a good solid read which offers something for fans of genre mash-ups and those who like the steady evolution of a good mob book. ...more
SEVERANCE is a clever, witty and entertaining romp through outer space. Perfect for readers who enjoy the closed in atmosphere of WOOL.
A band of humaSEVERANCE is a clever, witty and entertaining romp through outer space. Perfect for readers who enjoy the closed in atmosphere of WOOL.
A band of humans aboard a huge spaceship traveling hundreds of years towards their destination - a new inhabitable planet, find themselves embroiled in a civil war as the ships' authority attempt to literally split the interstellar transporter in two. There is method in this madness as an oversight which saw the ship run off course many years prior consumed unaccounted fuel. Fuel needed to assist with the planetary landing. The only way of correcting this, being to land a smaller, more economical ship. Hence the murderous plot to split the ship and condemn thousands of passengers to death.
The reason for leaving earth and how the inhabitants of this large ship came to be isn't explored and that suited me fine. Focusing on the present day conundrum with flashbacks to an earlier time aboard the ship ensured the plot focus remained consistent with the threat of violence and doom at the forefront.
Tongue and cheek and laden with colorful characters, author Chris Bucholz did have a tendency to over indulge in the use of cringe worthy dialogue and throw away forgettable one liners but this didn't detract from the plot if anything it suited his lead characters and added to their uniqueness. Additionally, the later stages of the novel explore this use of profanity and seemingly dumbed down dialogue.
SEVERANCE was a real find and one of the more enjoyable sci-fi's I've read in recent times. Many thanks to Apex Books for putting this one on my radar.
ANGELS OF THE NORTH is more than a vigilante story; it's an in depth look at the lives of three middle aged men stuck in the lower rungs of the socioeANGELS OF THE NORTH is more than a vigilante story; it's an in depth look at the lives of three middle aged men stuck in the lower rungs of the socioeconomic table. Each with family lives, that whilst different, bleed into one another by virtue of the their housing predicament.
There's a feeling of community within the housing estate where the story takes place as the three men band together - albeit reluctantly - to rid the estate of drug addled squatters spilling poison on the street. It's a violent and bloody confrontation that spans multiple strikes as the men fight to take back the street. They succeed but at a terrible cost.
Ray Banks has long been one of my favorite authors - his books are my go-to-reads when I need to indulge in something a little more colorful and edgier than every day crime reads.
ANGELS OF THE NORTH is a multifaceted noir that absorbs all that is dull, sullen and grey and turns everyday life on its head. Any step can be dangerous, any eye-to-eye a call to arms. Life isn't always sunshine and rainbows - this book, while fiction, could be a mere wee glimpse into any such housing estate - perhaps with a little more violence and destruction thrown in for good measure.
Ray Banks makes this work on so many levels; the pacing is great, the plotting tight, the characters three dimensional, the action not without cause. We as readers get these characters and after all, isn't that what makes a good book?
PROHIBITED ZONE, despite being touted on the cover as a 'thriller in the desert', is very much a crime novel centred around an escapee of the WoomeraPROHIBITED ZONE, despite being touted on the cover as a 'thriller in the desert', is very much a crime novel centred around an escapee of the Woomera Detention Centre and her accomplices as they traverse Adelaide city and it's outlying suburbs.
Former Adelaide Crows football player and now mining engineer Steve West becomes embroiled in a search for a presumed terrorist, newly escaped from the Detention Centre following a spate of riots. Assisted by a handful of activists and detention centre guards, Saira and Amir flee their captures in search of a better life. Becoming separated in the outbreak, Saira stays with Kara, one of the activists and her only link to the Australia she'd hoped to see after fleeing her country. While Amir goes missing in the endless desert.
Steve, convinced by Kara to help her and Saira agrees to take them to Adelaide so Saira can tell her story to the world of the gross injustice undertaken within the confines of the detention centre. With a bounty on offer to bring all the escapees back to Woomera, a group of detention centre guards sets out to retrieve the attractive Saira and her friend and accused terrorist Amir.
PROHIBITED ZONE was a lot of fun to read. I got a real kick out of reading a book set in my home state and enjoyed the familiarity of the place-setting with many landscapes and towns instantly recognisable.
The cat and mouse nature of these types of 'search and retrieve' crime thrillers can be tedious, however PROHIBITED ZONE doesn't suffer from that with each twist and turn electrifying and believable.
PROHIBITED ZONE is author Alastair Sarre's debut novel (2011) and I'm certain to be on the look out for more of his work - and that of crime/thrillers centred in my home state.
I highly recommend PROHIBITED ZONE for crime and thriller fans, as well as those wanting a distinct brand of Aussie fiction that doesn't hold back on the colourful dialect and mannerisms unique to Australiana.
Sean Duffy is a cop tasked with solving a serial killer who targets gay men and taunts the police with cryptic messages. Coupled with a seemingly unreSean Duffy is a cop tasked with solving a serial killer who targets gay men and taunts the police with cryptic messages. Coupled with a seemingly unrelated suicide and heat from above to close the cases (Duffy is yet to solve a murder as we're introduced to him), Duffy is instantly against the odds.
Whilst I'm familiar with author Adrian McKinty's novels, this was my first experience in listening to an audio book and I've got to say I found the experience rather pleasant. Narrator Gerard Doyle is an ideal fit for this book. His timing and switching of character personas is pitch perfect fully embracing McKinty's story and adding another layer of enjoyment to what is an exceptional crime novel....more
The cool thing about DEADLY BELOVED is that not only is it written by MAC, the author who is responsible for everyone's favourite hitman in Quarry, buThe cool thing about DEADLY BELOVED is that not only is it written by MAC, the author who is responsible for everyone's favourite hitman in Quarry, but it's got a rich and interesting history associated with the lead character PI Michael Tree.
Mrs. Tree started in the newspaper funny pages as a comic strip which evolved to make the character the longest running PI comic in history (as credited by MAC in the afterword). Mrs. Tree also features in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST CRIME COMICS in the story Maternity Leave, and while, DEADLY BELOVED is outside of continuity, Maternity Leave does read familiar due to the reoccurring characters in DEADLY BELOVED. Having read Maternity Leave recently, I think the Hardcase Crime novel and the comic complement one another nicely.
DEADLY beloved is a multi layered PI pulp that is more smoke and mirrors than straight forward mystery. There are so many elements and plot threads that come in and out of play which keep the reader guessing and the bullets buzzing.
Originally published in 2006, I hope MAC revisits the series in prose form as this revised 'origin' story sets Mrs. Tree as a unique and dangerously addictive PI - a great diversification of the genre.
In a world where bodies attract bullets and politicians are targeted by police and drug cartels alike, one broken federale, Marcos, stands to oppose cIn a world where bodies attract bullets and politicians are targeted by police and drug cartels alike, one broken federale, Marcos, stands to oppose corruption and protect the voice firing back at the cartels from being permanently muted.
Pain is paramount and mistrust in abundance throughout FEDERALES as Marcos finds himself whilst trying not to loose the life of his protection detail. Eva, a political force in the fight against the Mexican drug cartels and her young daughter are under constant threat with their lives symbiotic of all that is law and justice. Snuffed out, their deaths would send a murderous message to the broader populace, one Marcos hopes to avoid.
FEDERALES is a one sitting novella that has a feeling of overwhelming hopelessness and impending sense of death underpinned by bubbling violence. There's backstabbing, murder, pain, and sad endings; an honest and raw look at the cartel's influence on policing and their destructive reach.