Saturday, May 16, 2015

Two Crime Writers to Read

Hey there, wanted to let you know about a couple of top-notch writers of hard-boiled crime fiction you're going to want to check out, Patrick Shawn Bagley and Mike Miner. I met these guys recently when we all read at Noir at the Bar Boston (a great time for the fans and the authors!).

Just finished Patrick's Bitter Water Blues, a rollicking tale of people and deeds gone wrong. He lives up in Maine, and brings it to life in his book. Here's my review:
The noir genre is noted for bad things happening to bad people, and BWB is a great example of all this. There are beatings and shootings galore, as big-city hoods mix with backwoods Maine rednecks. Start with a retired Brooklyn hit man who now soaks in Chicago blues, and is forced to do a final job, knowing he's marked for death at the end of it. On the Maine side, there's the worst small-town psycho you never want to meet, and his dim, Lenny-like, reluctant partner in crime. Add in a tough and troubled woman police officer who's having man problems and is making horrible life choices. Sprinkle in some more bad characters, and put them into a blender, where their paths and gunfire cross.
Phew. Yeah, that's a recipe for a good kind of disaster you want to read about, and the book brings it all off, in a hail of bullets, booze, and blood. The bodycount gets higher than a Clint Eastwood western, as things spiral completely out of control.
Lots of references to good books and music are put in as subtle seasoning to the mayhem, along with revealing glimpses into small-town life. It's a corker of an action yarn, and one you won't want to miss.

And I also finished Mike Miner's The Immortal Game, another fine example of tough crime fiction. It's not easy mixing chess with rough action, but Mike does well with it. Here's the review of that one:

Sometimes, shorter is better. Especially here, when the action is so wild and woolly, you couldn't take it if it the book was longer. The physicality is so overwhelming, it's like getting socked with a series of body blows.

It's a portrayal of a violent world, and the body count amasses as things spiral out of control. People get betrayed and strike back, even against loved ones.

The dialog is crisp and fun in good noir fashion, the way it should be, with the women talking and acting as tough as the men. Bullets and fists fly in abundance, so if that's your thing, you're going to love this. And you'll see a lot of Boston locales called out. So grab a copy and prepare to get roughed up- in a good way.

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