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That Is Why They Call It the Present

On Sunday, I finished THE KILLING HABIT by Mark Billingham. I ripped off the last 100 pages or so while the person behind me on my flight home was vomiting in his chair. Happy Easter..... (bunny emoji)
Despite my inauspicious personal surroundings, THE KILLING HABIT was a good day for the author Mark Billingham. Over the course of the last couple books, he has transitioned his series from Tom Thorne to Tom Thorne and Nicola Tanner. And in fact, his next work, THEIR LITTLE SECRET, is firmly presented as Thorne and Tanner novel. [Editors Note: Well at least on the UK side it is ...] And given how THE KILLING HABIT ended calling THEIR LITTLE SECRET a Thorne/Tanner book makes a lot of sense if just for this one only.
Of course, I am reminded of another series trying to do something similar, the Bosch and Ballard books that Michael Connelly has been writing over a similar amount of time. And based on the limited sample size of both authors works, I have to say Billingham is doing a better…

Spring 2019 Preview

A few Spring books of note now that the season is a couple weeks old. Very likely that I will acquire all but the Atkinson. Lots of old friends....
Let me know in the comments what you are looking forward to this Spring.
CELTIC EMPIRE - Clive and Dirk Cussler - OUT NOW I have been reading Dirk Pitt adventure novels for going on 30 years. Realistically I should have stopped about 20 years ago. The books can be rousing tales but now I brush past the long action set pieces. I’ve read too many. There is a vintage car, lots of bullets, careening through streets, or something with a boat, etc. It has all gone a little stale. His 'long-lost' kids showed up about 6 or 7 books ago. Snooze. Neither Cussler has figured out how to use them without making them into frustrating dopes who always do the wrong thing. Now ‘doing the wrong thing’ is the stuff of narrative tension, here the kids are only annoying plot devices. I read these books for me, as a reminder of who I was back then. They…

I Also Watch the Television.

These late winter months have brought two high profiles Crime Dramas to television screens. The third season of TRUE DETECTIVE and the Chris Pine lead I AM THE NIGHT. Both wrapped up their seasons in back to back weeks.
Let me start with I AM THE NIGHT. It is my longheld belief that Chris Pine won the great Chris Wars of 2016. Evans and Hemsworth have been trapped behind a Marvel pay-wall and lose the battle based primarily on lack of variety. Chris Pratt is a nonentity, because while he is perfectly cast in those GUARDIANS movies, he is a bad actor. But I digress. Chris Pine makes a lot of choices in I AM THE NIGHT and gives a very good unhinged Nick Cage type performance. Watching the final episode I also remarked that he is a very good bleeder. The show looks at the intersection of the The Black Dahlia murder case and the interesting story of main suspect Dr. George Hodel. Hodel has been posited as an OG suspect since back in the day, but more recently his own son has came forward…

Out of Order

These are the next 6 books I am going to read. All but the latest James Lee Burke are 2018 releases. I am also under the vague impression that I can do this by early April.
Initially, I was going to move onto THE KILLING HABIT next, but I pivoted to the Craig Johnson because in thinking it over, his previous novel, THE WESTERN STAR, was my favorite read last year. DEPTH OF WINTER is the continuation of that book and the (possible?) conclusion to a longer running arc of Tom├ís Bidarte as Walt Longmire's nemesis. Following that will be the Connelly. Which will be the first book of his that I have some mild trepidation to read. TWO KINDS OF TRUTH did not connect with me and the first book in a long time that I felt was lacking from Mr. Connelly. In the past, I always thought to myself that mediocre -- insert author that you like -- is still better than most books. In truth, that is a weird narrative. And I should just embrace that fact that I didn't like the book. Anyway, TWO KIN…

I read 5 Books in a Row

As mentioned previously I am playing catch up with my TBR. One way to bring the list into some form of submission was to focus on one author to read all of the backlog. The logic is that I would become accustomed to the rhythms of the writer which in turn would allow me to read faster.
The author I was the biggest offender with is Stephen Booth. I own 5 books that I needed to read, from DEAD AND BURIED, the 12th in the series, to SECRETS OF DEATH his 16th Cooper and Fry novel. My thesis that reading a run of books would help proved to be true as I was able to get through all of the books in about 3 weeks.
Facilitating the quick read was the fact that DEAD AND BURIED, ALREADY DEAD, and THE CORPSE BRIDGE made a very strong trilogy. And in point of fact some of the best work of the entire series. I felt like Mr. Booth was really on a heater after some not so memorable reads leading up to DEAD AND BURIED. As a series reader, I am often daunted by the fact that starting a long-running ser…

I Miss Some People - Troy Soos

A couple weeks ago Mrs. Hungry Detective left on a weekend trip to Tucson. I took the opportunity to do a reorganization of the books. It is a long, frustrating project as I re-affirm my command of the alphabet and its standard order. Invariably, I run across a book by an author who is no longer writing. Some have crossed the river Styx, others have been lost in the gutting of the mid-list author that happens periodically. Others have moved on from the genre and I choose not to follow. I'm gonna tell you about some of them.
Author: Troy Soos Character: Mickey Rawlins The Work: MURDER AT FENWAY PARK (1994); MURDER AT EBBETS FIELD (1995); MURDER AT WRIGLEY FIELD (1996); HUNTING A DETROIT TIGER (1997); THE CINCINNATI RED STALKINGS (1998); HANGING CURVE (1999).
I went to the New York Antiquarian Book Fair a couple times. One of those times I bought Mr. Soos's first book MURDER AT FENWAY PARK. It cost me in excess of $100 which meant a lot to me then. I was making 20K a year and t…

Time, Hand Wringing, and Cari Mora

My first question about the new Thomas Harris novel, CARI MORA is... Is this big news? My immediate reaction was to be only mildly excited. Despite the fact that over the last 10 years, Google has received the following searching requests from me: 'New Thomas Harris 2012,' New Thomas Harris 2016, etc. CARI MORA marks Mr. Harris's first book in 13 years. I should be pumping my fist. It was only when I read the brief synopsis did my interest tick up because I was thankful to read Mr. Harris had left his singular creation behind, at least for this book.
I think the easy answer is yes, this is undoubtedly big news. The reason why is obvious. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS is the most important Crime Thriller release of the last 30 years and I don't think there is an argument to be made against it. There may be better-written books, but no other book has the impact that LAMBS continues to have to this day. I think what complicates this question is the legacy that the book left b…

Winter 2019 Preview

I enjoyed writing a seasonal preview of new Crime Fiction. One supposed that I could delve back into my post history to see that last time I did it, but that would be sad. Less sad, more happy in 2019.  Anyway, the following are books that piqued my interest.
This list is built off the back of Fantastic Fiction and more or less covers the time until March/April.
THE NEW IBERIA BLUES - James Lee Burke - OUT NOW Latest and, no doubt, greatest by the best working American author. My plan is to read all of the JBL I have on my shelf this year, thus catching up on an author I have been behind on for nearly a decade.
MURDER AT THE BRITISH MUSEUM - Jim Eldridge - 3/19/2019 Second in the series from this author. The first was released just this last November, and a third coming this Summer. I'm a sucker for Brits and cool looking covers. Check and check.
THE KILLER COLLECTIVE - Barry Eisler - 2/1/2019 I read the first 4 or 5 John Rain books. I drifted away from the series when the author…

The Monkey's Raincoat PBO

In the magical place of Glendale, CA. I bought a Robert Crais's first book and paperback original THE MONKEY'S RAINCOAT.
A few years ago I made a list of books I wanted to purchase for my collection. This was one of them, and stroke of luck was I got it for $20 when I felt certain I would have to pony up 2 or 3 times that amount. Anyway,  I bought this in 2018 and it still brings a smile to my face.

Abandoned Projects

Two years ago, as I was casting about in an effort to rekindle my affection for Crime Fiction, I thought a good project would be to clear out the significant backlog of books that were waiting to be read. I made a list. It was long. 60 plus books. I gave myself the deadline of December 31st, 2018.
I did not make that deadline. In fact, even a year ago at this time, I know I would miss it. I think I was 40-ish books away and with all of my usual authors publishing something I knew it would be impossible. 
I refocused. I caught up with a few authors whose books I had not been up to date with in several years. I picked off Mark Billingham and Laurie R. King and felt a pretty good sense of accomplishment. Now, I am reading the 2nd of 7 books that I am behind on Stephen Booth. 
Mini-review. DEAD and BURIED (2012) is fantastic. One of the best in what is a great series.
After Mr. Booth, I will nail down all 5 of the James Lee Burke books I have on the shelf. And so on. Anyway when I sat dow…