Koreatown Blues

As the title implies, Mark Rogers’s debut crime novel is set in the seldom-celebrated section of Los Angeles known as KOREATOWN. It features a protagonist who finds himself unexpectedly entangled in the traditions of the Korean population he lives and works among.

Wes Norgaard has worked for several years at a carwash in Koreatown. At night he hangs out at a bar not far from where he lives and works, and often finds himself the only white guy in the place.

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Dead Gone

DEAD GONE, the debut novel from by Luca Veste, editor of two previous story anthologies, is a generally impressive and inventive work. The crime tale involves the hunt for a shadowy serial killer while commenting on important but often neglected themes. Sadly, however, Veste’s constantly shifting perspective prevents this debut from being totally satisfying.

The body of a young woman is found in a park in Liverpool, England. The case goes to veteran homicide inspector Detective David Murphy and his new partner, Laura Rossi. They quickly discover that the murder victim was a student at the City of Liverpool University.

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In Sunlight or in Shadow: Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopper

Themed short story anthologies are usually the result of an editor suggesting a specific topic to a group of authors, or an editor gathering together previously published stories that are similar in subject. Master crime author and editor Lawrence Block took a slightly different approach for IN SUNLIGHT OR IN SHADOW.

Block suggested that his fellow authors use one of the paintings by American narrative artist Edward Hopper as the inspiration for a story. “His work bears special resonance for writers and readers,” Block notes of Hopper in his foreword, “and yet his paintings never tell a story so much as they invite viewers to find for themselves the untold stories within.” The result is one of the most varied and yet rewarding story anthologies to appear in a long time.

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The Wrong Side of Goodbye

wrongsideMichael Connelly’s latest novel, THE WRONG SIDE OF GOODBYE, continues the saga of Harry Bosch. Once again, we find the LAPD detective working as a private investigator (as we did in 2003’s LOST LIGHT). But this is not the only activity keeping Bosch busy, as we learn in this overly complex but only minimally involving addition to the series.

As part of the settlement of his lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department, Harry Bosch has resigned from his 30-year post with the LAPD and works as a private investigator. But he doesn’t advertise, doesn’t keep an office, and is very picky about who he works for. Then, through another former LAPD contact, Bosch is called to the home of a reclusive, elderly billionaire.

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Sinner Man

sinnermanSince its inception, Hard Case Crime has mined the long backlist of early works by crime fiction Grand Master Lawrence Block (previously published under his own name and one of his many pen names). Now, Hard Case Crime offers SINNER MAN, heralded as “Lawrence Block’s First Crime Novel. Lost For Nearly 50 Years.” And while it may be his earliest effort at the novel length and form, it impressively demonstrates the skills with plot and character that would distinguish Block’s notable works to follow.

Dan Barshter returns home one evening from his boring insurance job. As usual he’s had a few too many drinks before returning home; and, as usual, he immediately gets into an argument with his wife. This time, however, the argument escalates into violence and Barshter accidently kills his wife.

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Road to Perdition: The New, Expanded Novel

roadperditiionIf you think you’ve read the novelization of ROAD TO PERDITION, first published in 2002, author Max Allan Collins is here to tell you that you really haven’t – that is, not as he intended it. But now that Brash Books is republishing his “Perdition Trilogy” (which includes the two sequels, ROAD TO PURGATORY and ROAD TO PARADISE), Collins has taken the opportunity to restore the opening title to how he first wrote it.

Based on Collins’s graphic novel (with artwork by Richard Piers Rayner) and set in Depression-era Chicago, ROAD TO PERDITION tells the story of Michael O’Sullivan, a man devoted to his wife and two young sons, Michael, Jr. and Peter. But O’Sullivan makes his living as the lethal enforcer for the powerful gangster leader John Looney. And O’Sullivan is so good at what he does that he’s known as the “Angel of Death.”

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Cornered! / The Long Ride

corneredLike many authors of his time, James McKimmey produced works in several popular genres, published mostly in paperback, including crime fiction, adventure stories, westerns, and science fiction (resulting in an on-going correspondence with admirer Philip K. Dick).

Two of McKimmey’s crime novels are now republished as part of Stark House Press’s Crime Classics series. Both aptly demonstrate McKimmey’s considerable skills with style and character, and are as satisfying as when they were first published.

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Crime Plus Music

crimemusicAnyone familiar with Jim Fusilli’s work won’t be surprised to see him at the helm of CRIME PLUS MUSIC, an anthology of stories combining the world of rock and pop music with that of noir and crime fiction. Fusilli is the rock/pop music critic for The Wall Street Journal, as well as the author of eight crime and mystery novels.

So Fusilli asked several renowned crime fiction authors, along with a few new authors, to try their hand at incorporating music with their noir-tinged fiction. The results, not surprisingly, are as varied and unique as the authors themselves.

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Quarry in the Black

quarryblackMax Allan Collins continues to chronicle the career of Quarry, the assassin-for-hire star of Collins’s long-running series (and recently a TV series on Cinemax). The latest title, Hard Case Crime’s QUARRY IN THE BLACK, focuses on the early stage of Quarry’s hit man vocation in the early 1970s. But thanks to the overriding theme Collins make it as applicable as this morning’s headlines.

The year is 1972, and Quarry gets a visit from his boss, known only as The Broker, at his A-frame house on Paradise Lake. Quarry has only been working for The Broker for two years, so the Broker wants Quarry to know that he is free to turn down this latest assignment, due to its unusual and highly political nature.

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The Emerald Lie

emeraldlieJack Taylor is back. Or perhaps it’s more correct to say what’s left of Jack Taylor is back. As author Ken Bruen reminds us in THE EMERALD LIE, his latest novel, the ex-Irish Guardsman and series protagonist walks with a limp, needs a hearing aid, and a few of his fingers are badly mangled. These being the results of several brutal beatings and the misadventures with booze and pills Taylor has survived all these years.

Still the citizens of Galway seek Taylor out at his favorite local pub when they need the kind of help the law can’t provide – or won’t allow. And Taylor, as frustrated and reluctant as he may be, still agrees to take whatever pay is offered and handle the case.

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