R.T.M Scott's second Spider pulp novel has a less madcap plot than his first, but it's just as good. In The Wheel of Death, Richard Wentworth (the "SpR.T.M Scott's second Spider pulp novel has a less madcap plot than his first, but it's just as good. In The Wheel of Death, Richard Wentworth (the "Spider") goes undercover as a hood and meets a young woman whose father is slated to be executed, but who is--of course--innocent of the crime. Wentworth discovers a nightclub and casino that is only open to New York's wealthy and powerful, and which is run by a criminal mastermind intent on taking over political power in the city through intimidation and blackmail. Would it be a spoiler to say that he saves the day?...more
The Private Practice of Michael Shayne is Davis Dresser's second Mike Shayne novel (all of which were written under the "Brett Halliday" pseudonym), aThe Private Practice of Michael Shayne is Davis Dresser's second Mike Shayne novel (all of which were written under the "Brett Halliday" pseudonym), and it's as entertaining and fast-moving as the first, Dividend on Death. Shayne's tentative romance with the young débutante Phyllis Brighton takes a couple of steps forward while his antagonistic relationship with Miami police chief Peter Painter devolves from mutual hatred to outright loathing. Essentially, Dresser keeps everything from the first novel that works, while toning down the drawing room mystery antics and pumping up the hard-boiled tough-guy shenanigans just a little.
On a side note, I recently watched the 1940 film Michael Shayne: Private Detective, which stars Lloyd Nolan. Every source I've looked at (the Internet Movie Database, the Thrilling Detective web site, and even the film expert on the special features of the DVD) incorrectly states that the film is based on the first Michael Shayne novel, Dividend on Death, but that simply isn't the case. It is clearly based on this novel. I need backup on this one, people! If anyone feels like a homework assignment, read Dividend on Death and The Private Practice of Michael Shayne, then watch Michael Shayne: Private Detective and tell me if I'm wrong....more
I enjoyed Die Trying, Lee Child's second Jack Reacher novel, a lot more than his first, Killing Floor. The switch from first-person narration to thirdI enjoyed Die Trying, Lee Child's second Jack Reacher novel, a lot more than his first, Killing Floor. The switch from first-person narration to third-person narration helped a lot. The bigger, tougher, and more taciturn a character is, the more important it is not to have him narrate his own story. (Can you imagine The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly with constant voice-over narration by Clint Eastwood explaining what his character is thinking and feeling?)
In this novel, Reacher is still drifting around the United States after spending most of his adult life as a military policeman. He is in the wrong place at the wrong time and ends up getting kidnapped by a few crazed Montana militiamen (remember, this book was published in 1998) along with a female F.B.I. agent, and they're whisked off together to the militia's compound.
Die Trying moves at a brisk pace, and it's a satisfying beach read (or Greyhound bus read, in my case). The writing isn't great (Child's copy editor really should have raised a red flag about the overuse of the verb "shrug") but the story is entertaining, and Reacher is a pretty good character. I will almost certainly read more of Child's books....more