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Songs of Innocence

(John Blake #2)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  868 ratings  ·  119 reviews
Little Girl ... Found. — Three years ago, detective John Blake solved a mystery that changed his life forever -- and left a woman he loved dead. Now Blake is back, to investigate the apparent suicide of Dorothy Louise Burke, a beautiful college student with a double life. The secrets Blake uncovers could blow the lid off New York City’s sex trade ... if they don’t kill him ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 3rd 2007 by Hard Case Crime
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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Posted at Shelf Inflicted

I loved getting to know detective John Blake in Little Girl Lost. In crime-ridden New York with lots of people leading double lives, John maintains his innocence and is deeply affected by what he uncovers in his quest for justice.

Three years later, John’ s life is changed. He has abandoned private investigative work and decides to complete his education, so he accepts a job as an administrative assistant for the university’s writing program.

Once again, John becomes inv
Jun 10, 2019 rated it liked it
“It’s not like I want anything from him,” she’d said. “One lousy hour, in a public place. Lunch. I’ll buy. Jesus.”
“Maybe he’s embarrassed.”
“Of what?”
“He works in a shoe store.”

Hey, look - I found Al Bundy in this book!!!
Al Bundy

A washed-out former PI John Blake dropped out of investigative business following the events of the first book and came back to school. To study creative writing of all things. I mean, this is what all former PI study, right?
Creative writing
He ended up befriending a young woman Dorothy (Dorrie)

If Songs of Innocence was simply another John Blake mystery, a sequel to Aleas's serviceable first novel, Little Girl Lost , it would still be a pretty good read. But it's much more than a simple sequel, outshining the first book in every conceivable way. It begins as just another detective story, with the retired Blake putting his detective hat back on to investigate the death of his classmate and lover, Dorrie Burke.

But things get darker as the book progresses, pushing Blake further
Dan Schwent
Feb 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Three years after the events of Little Girl Lost, John Blake has quit the detective game and gone back to school. When his friend Dorrie turns up dead in her bathtub, John puts his detective hat back on and goes looking for why Dorrie ended up dead. The trail takes up through New York's seedy underbelly of "massage" parlors and up against the Hungarian mob. Can Blake piece together what happened before he ends up dead too?

Ho. Lee. Crap. Songs of Innocence is the most powerful of the Hard Case C
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
Songs of Innocence is the first of the hardcase crime novels I have read, a flashback to the days of old where crime noir with pop-up style covers populated the streets. I doubt I'll read another I enjoyed as much as this one for a long time coming.

As a mystery, it's rich. The unlucky protagonist, still carrying baggage from trauma three years ago (covered in the prequel Little Girl Lost), has been taking creative writing classes for journalism in order to rest and recover. His former life of pr
Mr. Matt
Aug 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: pulp-fiction, 2013
Songs of Innocence picks up three years after Little Girl Lost. Blake is out of the P.I. business. The mess around Miranda had left him shaken and he just wanted to move on with his life. He is working in Columbia as a low level administrator.

And life is ... okay. Not great, just okay. After Miranda there is a darkness in Blake and this permeates the whole story. He's been battling depression. He's found a sympathetic soul, Dorothy Burke, who is fighting her own demons. And then she winds up de
Aug 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
I'm grateful to Charles Ardai for establishing Hard Case Crime. Starting a publishing company is a clever way to spend some of those internet billions. But when I learned that he had written a few novels for HCC under the pen name of Richard Aleas, I was worried that he was just buying his way into a writing career. His first book with HCC, Little Girl Lost, didn't change my opinion much. I thought it was very...OK. But having Ardai kick out a book a year seemed like a small price to pay for get ...more
Mar 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
"But then, I'm Mr. Vanilla..."

Whew. Devastating. I may even bump this up one star, but I need to sort it out some more in my mind. I'll be honest, earlier on I was thinking this was mabye a three star book, which makes the book fairly unique in my reading experience. It's also a book that veered, quickly, from mystery to darkest noir. What a hook.

Overall, I liked the gritty details of the sex trade (very Lawrence Block), and Aleas' characterizations of various thugs, hookers, killers, side char
Holy shit that was dark! The back cover promises a shocking conclusion and it's not just hype! ...more
Aug 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a very fine book. It's beyond a genre book in my opinion. The writing is very good to excellent. The story is gripping with an emotional edge to it. John Blake is back after his previous (and first appearance) in Little Girl Lost. It's interesting to see how the Blake character was changed by the experiences in the first book. I'd recommend reading the first book and then reading this book because you would get even more out of the total experience. I can't say too much more without movi ...more
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I swear this book took me around and about in so many different directions. The suspense kept building and building and just when I thought that was it, there was more. Poor John Blake, he definitely had a lot going on but kept me engaged until the very end. I hated waiting for the few chapters to get the whole story but it was worth it. He took a journey I'd never want to find myself on... ...more
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m not sure how to classify SONGS OF INNOCENCE. It’s easily classified hard-boiled, or it’s not much of a stretch to have it by grab noir by the throat and strangle it. Either way, this book is one depressingly good read, filled with entertainment, action, and plenty of strong women and men. At some points, it even felt like a wrestling match was unfolding in my living room, and I found myself so engrossed in the story…well, let’s just say I’m glad I don’t have to think to breathe.

John Blake is
Jun 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Well-written but very bleak noir crime novel. It's a sequel to Little Girl Lost. I didn't think the story was quite as compelling as the first novel, and I did not like the ending as much. ...more
Aug 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Pitch-black noir that will stay with you after you turn the last page.
May 23, 2014 rated it liked it
This one has quite a body count. To me, it was a 4 for the first half, but then although possible, it got so noir improbable, that the plotting diminished the rating of my enjoyment in the last quarter. The endings of the two John Blake novels I have read are not usual, quite surprising, IMHO. Tension is sustained throughout at an enthralling pitch, but I think this one is just too much of too much for me. Pulp Fiction violence, brutality, torture combatted by a protagonist who is highly conflic ...more
Though it falls just short of being a masterpiece, SONGS OF INNOCENCE is one of the best examples of detective noir that I've stumbled across in quite some time. Charles Ardai (AKA Richard Aleas)'s ear for hardboiled storytelling is pitch-perfect, and the ending is like a punch to the gut.
There's very little to criticize here, apart from certain suspenseful moments that I think rely a little too heavily on coincidence. (Like when the main character's picture suddenly pops up on TV at the worst
Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-reads
SERIES: #2 of 2
WHY: While in a writing class, PI John Blake became involved with Dorothy Lee Burke, "Dorrie", who worked as an intimate masseuse on the side. When she commits suicide, Blake begins to investigate because he doesn't believe that she would kill herself. He is aided by another former lover, Susan. There are quite a few suspects developed as they dig deeper into the situation. Blake is quite tormented because he feels he has caus
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another excellent novel by Richard Aleas. A worthy follow up. Highly recommended.
Alan Scott
Jan 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those who thought the film "Hard Core" was too uplifting.
The Universe as Seen Behind From the Curtain-- A Giant Meat Grinder

The second book by Richard Aleas and follow up to his novel "Little Girl Lost," both of which feature his character John Blake trying to make a difference in the world-- and boy does he ever! Not really two separate novels, they should be read together as one story with two parts. This novels catches up with Blake a handful of years after the events of the first book. He's not doing so well. He's depressed, lost, and struggling t
Rowland Pasaribu
Aug 03, 2010 rated it liked it
For a while young John Blake worked as a New York private investigator, but the case of Little Girl Lost really got to him, and he's now settled down in what should be a harmless, quiet job, an administrative assistant in Columbia University's writing programme. One of the reasons he took the job was because one of the perks is that he can take classes at the university for free, and one of the classes he took was in 'Creative Nonfiction'.

Blake got close to one of his classmates, Dorrie Burke,
Jonathan Dunsky
Feb 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-crime
John Blake is back. Three years after the conclusion of Little Girl Lost, which introduced Blake, he finds himself at the center of another tragedy.

Blake, who gave up being a private investigator following the tragic culmination of Little Girl Lost, now works as an administrator at Columbia University, in a writing and literature program, where he also takes courses.

In one of the courses he takes, Blake meets a young, beautiful woman named Dorrie Burke. Dorrie makes her living as an erotic masse
Nik Morton
Oct 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Blake teaches creative writing in New York, having retreated from PI work after getting a woman killed and another seriously wounded. Clearly, he’s not particularly good. Unfortunately for him, one of his students takes his heart and bed and then her life. He – and her mother – are convinced it was murder. So he sets out to discover the truth.

In his search for answers, he delves into the sleaze and dirt of the sex industry, well manipulated by the Internet. There’s a dark heart in the Big Apple
Oct 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
#2 in the John Blake series - Note that the indication Hard Case Crime #33 is meaningless as far as the author or protagonist is concerned, Hard Case is merely a publisher's imprint indicating the subject matter. 2008 Shamus Award for Best Paperback.

John Blake, an ex-PI, is working at a clerical job in the English Department of Columbia University with the fringe benefit of being able to take writing classes. His lover and fellow student, Dorrie Burke, is found dead, an apparent suicide. John do
Sep 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another good mystery from Aleas

I enjoyed this book more than Aleas's first. This ending caught me completely by surprise. John Blake is no longer a detective. He's now a student studying to be a writer. Dorrie is a fellow student and his girlfriend. When she is found dead, an apparent suicide, he believes she was murdered and begins investigating. Along the way, he gets himself framed for murder and several other people killed. Lots of twists and turns and another fairly quick read.
Mar 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book was robbed of an Edgar nomination by a technicality, but it is easily one of the best (albeit bleakest) mysteries I've read in a long, long time. Very few endings will punch you in the gut the way this one does.

(Of course, I'm friends with "Richard," so my view is biased.)
Jun 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: noir-pulp
This is really a 2.5. I liked it, read it quickly and stayed interested. But, it was much darker and ended really depressing. The first book was better and left you with some hope. No such luck with this sequel. People are sick and evil and everyone dies.
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Brilliantly plotted. Brilliantly grim.
Songs of Innocence is the second novel by Richard Aleas, the pen
name of Charles Ardai, who is the founder and editor of Hard Case
Crime. Ardai has also worked as a writer and producer for the tv show
Haven. This book is paired with his earlier work, Little Girl Lost,
although it is not necessary to read the first one before diving into this
one. They are both great books and I highly recommend both for your
reading enjoyment.

What is unique and different about these books in the crime fiction
There’s a reason why I don’t often revisit books I liked once upon a time: they’re probably not as good as I remember. When I reread stuff, it’s usually to either confirm or satisfy some sort of curiosity about the first dance I had with a book. Otherwise, I’d just as soon let it sit in my memory as I’d prefer.

I’ll probably never revisit “Richard Aleas”‘ (Charles Ardai’s) Little Girl Lost. It was one of my favorite books from 2010. I remember it being a thrilling mystery read as a lone detective
Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it
I always define noir as the opening quote from Double Indemnity : "Yes, I killed him. I killed him for money, and for a woman. I didn't get the money and I didn't get the woman." That, to me, nicely sums up the themes of the genre. So, in that sense, boy, does Richard Aleas' Songs of Innocence deliver the noir goods!

I read the first Richard Blake book, Little Girl Lost, ages ago, so the references made to Miranda and the events of that story are just haunted echoes in my memory now. This time
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Richard Aleas is a pen name of Charles Ardai. ...more

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