North Beach Girl / Scandal on the Sand

northbeachgirlJohn Trinian was not his real name or was the name he would adopt and live by Zekial Marko. Marko is probably more know for his writing for various TV series including the Rockford Files, Once A Thief and Kolchak. But we are here to talk about two of the few book he did write, NORTH BEACH GIRL and SCANDAL ON THE SAND. Stark House Press has collected two of his better know works with a plethora of extras.

NORTH BEACH GIRL (1960) is very much like its subject matter. That of the beatnik culture and in question at the center a woman named Erin. A model who has had enough of that job actually all jobs are the bane of her existence.

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Tequila Sunset

tequilasunsetTEQUILA SUNSET, Sam Hawken’s follow up to the Dead Women of Juarez, tackles another subject of note. That of drug cartels who run drugs and guns back and forth to Mexico. While Juarez just focused on homicides of women. This book take a broader aspect to the story. We follow three people all in different aspects of the story. We have an El Paso detective named Cristina Salas who is working her job while also dealing with raising her autistic son on her own.

Then there is recently released Flip Morales who got caught up in the gang Barrio Azteca due to his time in prison. Now he finds himself the center of unwanted attention of said gang now that he is out. And these are men who don’t like to hear the word no. The the third deals with the other side of the border with Matias Segura a Mexican Federal Agent. Who has made it his life to take down the cartels no matter the cost.

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Death Money

deathmoneyThe third installment of the Jack Yu series continues in the same vein with DEATH MONEY. Yu is a homicide detective who is called in to what seems just a typical floater case. With the victim being Asian, the bosses figure its better for Yu to investigate. But then it turns out the case is not about a jumper but a murder victim.

That little turn takes the readers into the Chinatown most tourists don’t see. The gambling dens and strip clubs that are well hidden from the public eye. The floater in question seems to be an immigrant who just wants to make a good living and save his pay. The problems of course are his jobs are not what you would call growth industries. Where he is paid little and would rather just stick to his deliveries.

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King of the Weeds

kingweedsThe third of the continued adventures of Mike Hammer that have come courtesy of Titan books. Now unlike the other entries, KING OF THE WEEDS is a continuation of sorts of Back Alley a book that at first closed the chapter on Mike Hammer’s career. Now thats not to say you will be lost not having read that entry. The authors do a fine job of catching up the reader. So yes there are some spoilers. But then that outcome of that book is key to this story.

The story opens with an attempt on Mike’s life. But why now and who is the question. Add into the fact the release of a prisoner named Rudy Olaf that Mike’s good pal put away years ago. But now is to be cleared of all his charges due to some new evidence. That being someone now owning up to the crimes. That of a string of killings all involving gay men.

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The Interloper

interloperThe latest from Dave Zeltserman, THE INTERLOPER, is actually three stories in one. In the sense they are three novellas that are connected with an over arcing story. With also the added bonus of a continued story. The premise is that of a man named Willis who for years has been working for The Factory. A shadowy government agency where he has worked as a paid assassin for years. Willis has for years believed he has been killing off insurgents that have been watched for years. He was to make the deaths more often then not to look like natural causes. That was till he found out exactly what deep secret The Factory has been hiding from him. This is the bulk of the first part of The Interloper called The Hunted. With the rest of this section being like a sort of mens adventure. With Willis exacting revenge and setting up the following stories.

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Hot Lead, Cold Iron

hotleadIt’s 1930s Chicago, land of the mob families and corrupt politicians, and old-school gumshoe Mick Oberon is one of those trench coat-wearing, wand-waving types. Yes, HOT LEAD, COLD IRON is a story that takes the real-world idea of Prohibition-era Chicago and mixes in some otherworldly like elements — namely, that of a magical Chicago Otherworld that easily interacts with the real Chicago.

Oberon is called upon by the wife of a Mafia boss who has a case is the coldest of cold cases: finding her daughter who’s been missing for over 16 years. What has been living in her house all these years is actually a changeling that she has been pretending is her real daughter.

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Phone Call from Hell and Other Tales of the Damned

phonecallhellI’m always up for a collection of short stories, and the new collection from Jonathan Woods, PHONE CALL FROM HELL AND OTHER TALES OF DAMNED, is not disappointing one iota. Take the title to heart, folks, because for the bulk of the contents, someone usually winds up dead or at least shot.

To kick things off, we are treated to a history of a gun from the weapon’s perspective, “The Handgun’s Tale.” The gun talks of his owners and their peculiarities. “Phone Call from Hell” deals with a man who helps out prisoners in a special way: leaving his phone on as he was being satisfied. The caller in question is none other then Charlie Manson. Woods also inserts real-life characters into “Writers Block,” where we find Ernest Hemingway and Graham Greene on the hunt for spies and adventure in Havana.

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amanlaydeadbullets broads blackmail and bombsDetectives of all sorts make up this column — two new to it, even though I reviewed a later book in one of the series. You’ll also note two familiar faces who have been missing from my reading too long. Kicking things off is the first entry from the prolific Ngaio Marsh and her creation of Inspector Alleyn.

A MAN LAY DEAD by Ngaio Marsh — Marsh was always one of those authors who, whenever I would go to used bookstores, had a row or stack of her books, all with some truly cool covers. I just never had a clue to where to start. Then, of course, it would slip my mind when I got home to look it up. Well, now all that’s changed.

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Promises Made and Broken

promisesmadePROMISES MADE AND BROKEN gathers 11 pieces of Christine Matthews’ work that have appeared in a variety of publications, while also including two new pieces strictly for this collection. The first few stories are all centered around Robbie Stanton, a P.I. who has a few family issues she must deal with, like putting to rest a case involving her skydiving grandmother — yes, you read that one right — or those where her father caused problems.

But the cases she handles are not just her family, although some involve people she has known for her life. These cases are not the “here are the clues” or the ever-popular “spring this on the reader at the last moment” type of nonsense. They are very well thought-out and will provide readers with a different take in the P.I. genre.

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Scream Queen and Other Tales of Menace

screamqueenA new collection of short stories by Ed Gorman is definitely a reason to celebrate. Gorman knows his audience, and the contents in this Perfect Crime collection, SCREAM QUEEN AND OTHER TALES OF MENACE, truly fit the title. The 14 tales range from straight-up crime to peeks into a bizarre future. What will really shock some readers will delight others. Personally what I loved is how in some stories the leads seem so normal until Gorman takes that one little turn and we see the real truth in these characters.

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