Seven Mile Beach by Tom Gilling (Book)

Australian novelist Tom Gilling may not be that well known outside of his native Australia, but if his latest book is any indication he surely should be. The surprisingly funny mystery/thriller Seven Mile Beach is far more interesting than any of the last few Grisham and Patterson tomes lining the book shelves. Continue reading “Seven Mile Beach by Tom Gilling (Book)”

Vanilla Ride by Joe R. Lansdale (Book)

There are certain liberties authors are granted. Only David Mamet can get away with stringing together seemingly unrelated explicatives into believable dialogue the way he does; only Stephen King can make Maine seem like the third circle of Hell; and only Joe Lansdale, Texas born and bred, can get away with the often goofy quotes his duo Hap Collins and Leonard Pine spout off on just about every other page of his series of novels. Who else can get away with descriptions like: “…She pulled the other clip out and slipped it on the weapon smooth as a gigolo sliding on a condom.”? All is forgiven though, as long as he continues to write about Hap and Leonard, the two protagonists Lansdale hasn’t written about for nearly a decade. Living in the Hill Country of East Texas, best friends Hap and Leonard, (one white, one black, one straight, the other gay) work construction and other odd jobs when they are not hired to kill bad guys or commit other acts of questionable legality.

In Vanilla Ride, the duo help out an old friend who’s granddaughter had gotten mixed up with some local drug dealers. After taking away from her dealer boyfriends and cracking a few skulls in the process, the guys manage to piss of the Dixie Mafia, a group of White Supremacists controlling the drug trade in East Texas. The FBI gets involved and Hap and Leonard are eventually pitted against a female hit man (hit woman? hit person?). Lansdale has a history of combining tense action with laugh-out loud dialogue and Vanilla Ride is no exception, and easily one of his best novels. Hap and Leonard were greatly missed.

Vanilla Ride by Joe R. Lansdale/Knopf/256 pages/Hardcover

Lowside of the Road: A life of Tom Waits by Barney Hoskyns (Book)

It’s amazing this book ever made it to print. Music writer Barney Hoskyns was shut out at just about every attempt to interview anyone who was even remotely close to the notoriously media shy Tom Waits. In fact, the end of the book comes with a collection of often humorous e-mail transcripts from a slew of Waits’ friends, collaborators and associates explaining why they would not be able to answer any questions despite having great respect from the writer. Continue reading “Lowside of the Road: A life of Tom Waits by Barney Hoskyns (Book)”

Fire and Ice (Book)

Over the course of the last twenty-five years, author J.A. Jance has provided a tremendous amount of work in fleshing out the characters of J.P. Beaumont and Sheriff Joanna Brady. Fire and Ice is perhaps Jance’s best work to date, as the story that Jance tells showcases two distinct sub-plots hat come together in a way that will keep readers focused in throughout the entirety of the 350-plus pages. The book itself starts up with J. P. Beaumont examining a number of different, related murders that are very gruesome – the women are dispatched by gasoline after being wrapped up. Continue reading “Fire and Ice (Book)”

Finger Lickin’ Fifteen (Book)

Finger Lickin’ Fifteen is the latest title in the Stephanie Plum series, which has turned 15 years old in 2009. Despite the countless titles that have been situated by Evanovich in this series over the years, I still feel as if ey is able to keep things fresh and ensure that fans of the series will be happy. Continue reading “Finger Lickin’ Fifteen (Book)”

The Doomsday Key (Novel)

The Doomsday Key is one of many (actually, six) in the Sigma Force series, but author James Rollins takes more than enough care to ensure that readers are caught up before the crux of the action begins. A crew is placed together to figure out what exactly happened in Africa, where a highly cutting-edge type of agricultural development has been completely torn to the ground, all the individuals there killed. Crowe gets together the team – Pierce, Kowalski, and Kokkalis – to try to piece together the chain of events that lead to this atrocity. The amount of twists and turns that The Doomsday Key takes would easily put a Bond movie to the line, whether it be the slightly mythic qualities approached during the book, the colorful characters, or how the plot gradually meanders until the absolutely delightful conclusion. Continue reading “The Doomsday Key (Novel)”

Blackest Night #1 (Comic)

Along with Batman: Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader?, the first issue of the eight-part Blackest Night storyline is the first comic that we have reviewed from a major company. Geoff Johns begins this arc with positive imagery, showcasing exactly how many in the DC Universe were able to move on from major events. Those that were in Coast City were able to firmly mend themselves in the years since the city was destroyed, while superheroes were able to continue on, despite many associates and lovers of them falling in various storylines. Continue reading “Blackest Night #1 (Comic)”

The Castaways (Novel)

Many intrepid readers are already familiar with Hilderbrand’s work, as eir 2007 novel Barefoot was a mainstay on the New York Times bestseller list for a solid half-year. The Castaways surrounds the interactions between four families: Kapenashes, Wheelers, Drakes and MacAvoys – that end up vacationing together practically every year. Where the groups have a very clean air around them, certain issues present ensure that no family is truly innocent. For example, Greg and Tess (MacAvoy) are attempting to keep their marriage together after it comes out that Greg was cheating on Tess with a high school student. Continue reading “The Castaways (Novel)”

Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock Bottom at the Top (Book)

And you thought the drugs were a problem? The success the guys in Aerosmith had in the late 70’s and again in the early/mid 90’s is matched only by their mythic reputation for hovering up mountains of blow in the 70’s and 80’s. In Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock Bottom at the Top, Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer touches a little on his troubles with drugs, but spends the bulk of the book talking about issues surrounding his depression, as well as longtime relationship troubles with his father, wife and even fellow band member and childhood hero Steven Tyler. Continue reading “Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock Bottom at the Top (Book)”

Obsession: An Erotic Tale (Book)

Gloria Vanderbilt has had a tremendous life, moving through all of the most elite circles in New York City, birthing a tremendous popular news force (Andersen Cooper) and at 85, has not slowed in the slightest. Obsession: An Erotic Tale showcases an author that does not conform to what most individuals would associate with those in the older generation, pushing hardcore sexuality into a critically appreciable position. Continue reading “Obsession: An Erotic Tale (Book)”