A Walk Among The Tombstones
“You hear it all the time now. Cops, DAs, everybody. There’ still DEA guys playing the same old tune, ‘We’re winning the war on drugs. Give us the tools and we can do the job.’ I don’t know, maybe they believe it, but you’re better off believing in the Tooth Fairy. Least that way you might wind up with a quarter under your pillow.”
The tenth book in a series is rarely advisable as a suitable entry point into a new series. Still, with the 2014 film adaption starring Liam Neeson, that is how Lawrence Block’s 1992 novel A Walk Among The Tombstones has been marketed. So with that in mind, I took the dive into the series here and I have to say, came out surprisingly impressed.
An Interview with Simon Maltman
Following on from his recent release of short-story compilation More Faces, Irish writer Simon Maltman, author of 2016’s A Chaser on the Rocks is back with a new series of crime stories, based around amateur sleuth, part-time drug dealer and full-time music store owner Jimmy Black. The debut entry, the titular Bongo Fury, has just been released, and on the eve of release, Simon graciously took the time to answer a few questions from ourselves – Continue reading
The Little Sister
“Who am I cutting my throat for this time? A blonde with sexy eyes and too many door keys? A girl from Manhattan, Kansas? I don’t know. All I know is that something isn’t what it seems and the old tired but always reliable hunch tells me that if the hand is played the way it is dealt that the wrong person is going to lose the pot. Is that my business? Well, what is my business? Do I know? Do I ever know? Let’s not go into that. You’re not human tonight, Marlowe. Maybe I never was nor ever would be.”
The Goodbye Look
“There was a bald spot on the crown of his head, with a little hair brushed over to mask his vulnerability. The beatings that people took from their children, I was thinking, were the hardest to endure and the hardest to escape.”
One of the later entries into the Ross Macdonald’s series of novels to feature the private detective Lew Archer, The Goodbye Look is a complex crime novel looking into the lives of two American families, bound together by secrecy, crime and murder. Continue reading
If the Dead Rise Not
“Grief: I no longer had patience for it. What did it matter when you grieved for people when they died? It certainly couldn’t bring them back. And they weren’t even particularly grateful for your grief. The living always get over the dead. That’s what the dead never realize. Even if the dead did come back, they’d only have been sore that somehow you managed to get over their dying at all.”
The sixth book in Philip Kerr’s series of novels focused around German PI Bernie Gunther, If the Dead Rise Not is another strong entry into the series, and returns to the compelling highs set by earlier entries A German Requiem and The One from the Other. Continue reading
Farewell, My Lovely
“I filled a pipe and reached for the packet of paper matches. I lit the pipe carefully. She watched that with approval. Pipe smokers were solid men. She was going to be disappointed with me.”
The second novel to feature private eye Philip Marlowe, Raymond Chandler’s Farewell, My Lovely is a defining piece of hardboiled detective fiction – a dark tale of love, violence and corruption in a world gone bad.
As with many of Chandler’s novels, Farewell, My Lovely came about as the result of his ‘cannibalising’ of three earlier short stories (which I have to admit to having yet to read): The Man Who Loved Dogs, Try the Girl, and Mandarin’s Jade. Each being self-contained stories, Chandler worked them into one complete narrative, and in doing so produced one of the finest books of his career. Continue reading
“God loves you” she said after me.
“God loves a trier.”
Traditionally, short stories are quite often the arena where writers learn their trade, cut their teeth and introduce audiences to both themselves and a number of characters who may or may not go on to feature in later works. Crime writers are particularly noted for establishing their careers in this way, and much of this is true for Irish author Simon Maltman, author of 2016’s A Chaser on the Rocks (reviewed here), which served up an entertaining slice of modern crime fiction. Continue reading
‘Laura’ – On Page and On Screen
Novel by: Vera Caspary
Film directed by: Otto Preminger
1944’s ‘Laura’ is typically considered one of the highlights early film noir. A murder mystery based around a detective’s investigations into the death of the titular character, Laura Hunt, the story is an engaging study into the twisted love and irrational obsession over the mere existence of another human being, and is considered a highly influential entry within the genre.
After having seen the film some months before, I stumbled across a copy of the original novel and decided, having quite enjoyed the movie, to give it a go. It’s a fairly short book (much like the film) and makes for suitable travelling reading. Upon reading it, I was surprised my how much I enjoyed it and followed it on with an immediate re-watching of the movie. Given how popular the film adaption is, I thought a comparison of the two might be of interest, particularly for those less familiar with the original novel. Continue reading
A Quiet Flame
“I think something happened to Germany after the Great War. You could see it on the streets of Berlin. A callous indifference to human suffering. And, perhaps, after all the those demented, sometimes cannibalistic killers we had during the Weimar Years, we ought to have seen it coming: the murder squads and the death factories. Killers who were demented but also quite ordinary…Ordinary people who committed crimes of unparalleled savagery. Looking back at them now they seemed like a sign of that which was to follow…”
The fifth entry in Kerr’s series of novels involving German private eye Bernie Gunther, A Quiet Flame marks a new change of pace for the series – mixing two separate plot lines set across a time gap of nearly seventeen years. Combining a routine 1933 murder investigation with a continuation of the contemporary story involving Gunther’s arrival in Argentina under the guise of a fleeing Nazi, the book stands out as the most unusual one in the series so far, whilst also providing some of the most memorable scenes of the series so far. Continue reading
The One from the Other
“Detective work is a little like walking into a movie that’s already started. You don’t know what’s happened already and, as you try to find your way in the dark, it’s inevitable that you’re going to stand on someone’s toes…”
Fifteen years after releasing A German Requiem (reviewed here), in 2006 Philip Kerr returned to the ‘Berlin Noir’ series of novels featuring German gumshoe Bernie Gunther, the hardboiled detective reluctantly investigating the underbelly of the Nazi era. Dismissing any concerns which a fifteen year gap may bring, The One from the Other continues the series’ explorations into the underbelly of history’s darkest era. Critically, it proved a triumphant return to the series which, in this reader’s view, exceeds the high standards set by the entries before it, and marked a successful beginning of a ‘second era’ of the series which has continued on a pretty much annual basis since its release. Continue reading