Quarry’s Deal / Quarry’s Cut

quarrysdealWith the Cinemax series debuting later this year, Hard Case Crime continues reissuing Max Allan Collins’ novels starring the hit-man character Quarry.

As 1976’s QUARRY’S DEAL, the third book in the series opens, Quarry holds a list of names and addresses of others who also once worked for the Broker. Quarry has the great idea of finding one of them and finding his or her target, thinking he can get paid off by the would-be victim to not only take care of the killer for hire, but the person who hired them.

Quarry sets his sights on a young woman on the job, so to speak. He quickly figures out her target: a casino owner operating in Iowa. Quarry is quick to make himself known to the intended victim; all he has to do is figure out the team. He already has the woman under very close surveillance — by sleeping with her — but his digging around upsets a few people, who let him know that.

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Quarry / Quarry’s List

quarryWith the Cinemax series debuting in 2016, Hard Case Crime has begun reissuing Max Allan Collins’ novels starring the hit-man character Quarry.

From 1976, the first book, QUARRY, sets the stage perfectly for the character Quarry. You know full well in the opening chapter what kind of man he is, watching him come upon his prey in an airport: a man dressed as a priest. In the restroom, the man pleads for his life, but Quarry has one thing on his mind: recover a package and then take care of this sniveling victim.

Yup, Quarry is a cold-blooded hit man who makes no bones about his vocation. What upsets him the most is the package itself: two packets of heroin. So when Quarry meets with his boss of sorts, aka the Broker, he makes it known that he is not one to push around, let alone screw with.

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Art and Murder

artmurderThe ninth entry in the Jack Taggart shows no sign of slowing down. For those unfamiliar with the series, Taggart is a Canadian undercover mountie who gets the job done. And if you have never ventured into this Canadian crime series, then go pick up the whole series. Trust me, folks, this is probably some of the best crime fiction that’s kept my attention throughout. Never one has author Don Easton gone for a cheap out or ludicrous plot devices. Taggart is human through and through not some Superman in plain clothes.

This entry of the series, ART AND MURDER, is not as dark as some of the previous outings. But it’s definitely up there with tense moments and a great twist. The book finds Jack coming to rescue of one of his informants. This time an escort who has an in with a drug dealer. Things get a bit too rough and she needs Jack’s help ASAP. And with that the ball rolls into typical Taggart bull in a china shop type of action.

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The End of the Story: The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith, Volume 1

endstoryIn the first of five volumes, Night Shade Books brought the works of a classic fantasist to a new generation with THE END OF THE STORY: THE COLLECTED FANTASIES OF CLARK ASHTON SMITH, VOLUME 1, first published in 2007 but now in a trade-paperback reprint edition. Putting the stories in chronological order is the right idea to do, but having read any of Smith’s works before, it left me a little bewildered.

A frequent contributor to WEIRD TALES, Smith has been compared to Edgar Allan Poe and as a contemporary of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard. But as I read these stories, it became quite clear that Poe was the heaviest influence. That’s not to say all these stories take place in days of yore, though there is a healthy serving of that type.

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BULLETS, BROADS, BLACKMAIL & BOMBS >> Set Break

secret6bullets broads blackmail and bombsSo did you get my little joke I was doing. What do you mean you don’t get it. Well if you go back a few columns starting with ‘Mexicali Blues’ it might dawn on some. I had myself a little idea. To use Grateful Dead song titles as my column titles. Now I did give myself some rules. I could not use the super obvious ones – Truckin’ or Touch of Grey would have been Dead giveaways. Also as much as I would have loved to use certain titles they had to actually fit and work. So sadly there is no China Cat Sunflower, Sugaree or Stella Blue.

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BULLETS, BROADS, BLACKMAIL & BOMBS >> Dark Star

manning1bullets broads blackmail and bombsRocket number nine ready for blast off. Are you ready to take a trip in my rocket ship. Space is the place this time in Bullets and Broads land. Be it a seriously retro trip, or a voyage in a famous blue box. Or maybe a very sexy vistor to our planet. These tales are definitely different from one another. So strap on your rocket packs as we peruse the skies for aliens and other goodies.

ONCE UPON A STAR: THE ADVENTURES OF MANNING DRACO, VOLUME 1 (2013) – Kendell Foster Crossen

When I say we are going retro. I mean we are really going retro and what a way to start. This is science fiction of the old pulps. Yes thats when these stories were first published. I’m talking women shooting ray guns while wearing a mini skirt facing off alien frog men type of stories. Yes seriously old school fun.

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BULLETS, BROADS, BLACKMAIL & BOMBS >> Help on the Way

coxeman5bullets broads blackmail and bombsIn the nick of time they come a running and usually a gunning. This column in the never ending run of reading is about Spies and those super agents that we have come to know and love. Well actually this column will feature three new characters to this column that is. So let’s get started with what is one of the most obvious double entrendes ever. Ladies and Gentlemen I present …

THE COXEMAN #5: IT”S GETTING HARDER ALL THE TIME (1968) — Michael Avallone

Don’t let the name on the cover fool you folks. This is Michael Avallone plain and simple. Also this book seems to be one of his Men From UNCLE entries or at least an aborted plot idea. Just with the hint of sex. Oh there is sex in the book and talk of all kinds of kinky things. But to be honest its a whole lot of slap and tickle. Sure they talk about things but it never goes full bore so to speak in the descriptions.

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BULLETS, BROADS, BLACKMAIL & BOMBS >> Deal

acesleevebullets broads blackmail and bombsCards are a central point of these three entries. Actually all three books make up a series from the prolific James Hadley Chase. Mainly tyne whole car motif deals with having an upper hand. Or worse a joker in the deck that pops up. So lets settle in for the adventures of Helga Rolfe.

AN ACE UP MY SLEEVE (1971) by James Hadley Chase

Helga Rolfe is the central figure in this story. That has more double crosses in its short length then most series have in their whole run. The book starts out innocently enough. We find Helga in Europe on one of her yearly trips for her husband. A crippled buisnessmen who controls an empire. She is there to meet up with their investment banker. And maybe find someone to help her pass her time.

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BULLETS, BROADS, BLACKMAIL & BOMBS >> Brokedown Palace

journeyundergrbullets broads blackmail and bombsThis column could easily have a new title of Swords, Sandals, Sorcerers and Spelunking. We travel the world of reading this time in a definite fantasy world. Be it just under the earth’s crust. A far away land and even a far off world that is ruled by swords. To start things off will keep it local. And by local an entrance through a volcano.

JOURNEY TO THE UNDERGROUND WORLD (1979) – Lin Carter

I’ve never read any Lin Carter in my sic fi loving youth. No reason why mind you. Was always intrigued, just never did. Now this book falls into the Lost World genre. You know a group of explorers come face to face with dinosaurs and cavemen who are living under the Earth’s crust. That sums up this book.

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Cthulhu Lives!: An Eldritch Tribute to H.P. Lovecraft

cthululivesH.P. Lovecraft never knew what he wrought. In the sense only a few of his works actually saw publication in his time. And the growing cult of his followers grows to this day. So here we have CTHULHU LIVES!, another collection of short stories that enter the world of the Old Ones. I’ll be honest I have never read any of these authors before. And only recognized S.T. Joshi a Lovecraft expert whom I met many years ago at a Lovecraft event while I was in High School.

Now most of the stories play rather nicely in the world of cosmic horror. Now Cthulhu never makes an appearance but some of his compatriots are there. More to the fact the insanity that follows really shows their presence known. Now with a collection like this there are always a few stand outs which will definitely give these authors a set of new fans.

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