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Showing posts from 2009

Happy New Year...

The Hungry Detective wants to wish everyone a safe and Happy New Year. I'll have my best of 2009 post up on Saturday. Unfortunately, the holiday has meant that I will not be posting The Very Best of Robert Crais. I just did not have the time to invest while I was back in Janesville. I have rescheduled it for March 31. Stay safe everyone. See you in a couple days, and Happy New Year!!!

Winter Burr-view 2009-10 Edition

The Winter Preview shows up about a week late. I had an ambitious publishing schedule and it looks like I am going to keep to precious little of it. This Preview is fairly strong this year. Past Winter releases have struck me as a bit weak. Lots to look forward to here. I am super excited for Mr. Crais's latest, but also have strong interest in Ms. Armstrong's and Mr. Huston's books. If you have any Crime Fiction you are excited for do not hesitate to leave a comment. The Hungry Detective lays awake at night in utter terror of missing something good.

THE LOCK ARTIST - Steve Hamilton - January 5
If I had to choose a life of crime it would be as as a safe cracker. A highly skilled professional. No emotional entanglements. Steve McQueen cool. I'm guessing THE LOCK ARTIST will be a little more messy.

THE FIRST RULE - Robert Crais - January 12
The 2nd official Joe Pike book. I just called THE WATCHMAN the 10th best book of the decade so there is little doubt that is one of the …

Blood's A Rover - Review

I had decided not to write a review of BLOOD'S A ROVER. Why? In one word; Joan. Joan is also the one word that Mr. Ellroy has used to describe this book. She is the siren. Joan is the Helen of Troy or the Phyllis Dietrichson depending on your mood. The men of BLOOD'S ROVER are enraptured by her and struck dumb by her presence. And from this reader's prospective Joan is the character I could not discern from the two other poorly written female characters. Joan is the women all of your friends find fabulously attractive, smart, funny and that you find dull, arrogant, and a bore. I just don't see the attraction, and because her character is driving the action of most of the other characters, BLOOD'S A ROVER does not shine as brightly as it could or should.

However, books like this don't come around often. Typing out some number of words is required here. And while I have my problems with Chapter Two and Three in the Underworld series, the LA Quartet is a shinning …

Is it 'Aughts' or 'Oughts' - The Best of the Decade Pt. II

Better late than what quite possibly could have been never. I found the whole task of formulating and compiling this list to be not very enjoyable. Ugh. Not sure why this list proved laborious to produce. Holidays are not a good time for anything except opening gifts... like a 47" LG LCD television.

Let's quit with the complaining and finish the list. If you started here you should go back to the beginning.

5. DIRT - Sean Doolittle (2001)
This was a real toss up for me. I could just as easily gone with the funny and brutal THE CLEAN UP. DIRT gets it by a nose because a lot of what I enjoy about Crime Fiction is discovery. THE CLEAN UP is a great book, one that you should read, but I knew it was going to be good going in. Mr. Doolittle is a terrific writer of human frailty. DIRT contains one of the great truisms of human behavior that we frantically keep secrets from our closest friends and family while just as equally hoping these secrets will be discovered and accepted. I think…

Is it 'Aughts' or 'Oughts' - The Best of the Decade Pt. I

I know, I know. I have left a ton of things off the list. In ten years I'm guessing I have read around 300 books and that is not a lot. Many of the great books of the 'aughts' were sadly un-read by The Hungry Detective. Biggest regrets are that I only read one Laura Lippman and not enough Pelecanos. But, I shouldn't regret what I don't know. What I do know is I have had the opportunity to experience some really wonderful crime fiction. This list, in two parts, is only a small part of it.

10. THE WATCHMAN - Robert Crais (2007)
Balls out the decades best opening 25 pages. I don't buy hyperbole like 'pulse pounding excitement' or 'a nerve jangling thrill ride, but all of those adjectives apply to this book. The 'first' Joe Pike did not disappoint. THE WATCHMAN accomplishes the difficult balancing act of letting us in to Joe Pike's world without him losing any of his mystery or menace. Mr. Crais has been writing at such a high level for such…

The Long Division - Review

World-wide corporate headquarters for The Hungry Detective is located in Rochester New York. If you know Rochester, and the surrounding Syracuse and Buffalo area it would not surprise you that few author make use of the barren rust belt landscapes of Western New York. That is unless you are a practitioner of the neo-noir from the last half of this decade. When the occasional book does come across the transom it is always exciting to reading about the region of your home.

Mr. Nikitas's Edgar nominated first book, PYRES,  was set in his home town of Rochester. This peaked my interest immensely, but my discovery of Mr. Nikitas's origin was only after I had picked up his second, THE LONG DIVISION. Acquiring a copy of PYRES without the involvement of satellite libraries in the Monroe County Library system, proved difficult. PYRES will have to wait. THE LONG DIVISION will suffice even though the setting for this book has moved to the Southern Tier of New York. Trust me it is all stil…

He said, She said, We said, What Up with That?

As The Hungry Detective begins to look forward to the end of year I have planned a somewhat busy slate of offerings. I will have a small handful of reviews, and  the Winter '09-'10 book preview to deliver. I am also working on another 'The Very Best of' list this time featuring Robert Crais. But the biggest news is that December means it is a time to readdress the year. I will provide not only a 'Best of 2009' list but a 'Best of the Decade' list. And yes, I realize the decade ends next year, but last time I checked this was a Crime Fiction blog, not a calendar blog.

The 'Best of the Decade' list will be 10 books delivered in two posts. Six through ten and then One through five a few days after that. I am 99% sure of what number one is going to be and if you have paid attention at all to this blog I really don't think it is that hard to figure out . In fact, I may have referred to this book as the best book of decade already. Maybe I should …

Book Giveaway - Ian Vasquez

Some very nice people have asked me to pass along the opportunity to win a couple books from writer Ian Vasquez. You might recall that Mr. Vasquez was the winner of the Shamus Award for his first novel, IN THE HEAT, at the Indy B'Con. Well, you can win signed copies of this book and his latest, LONESOME POINT.  Read the details below. And I wish you good luck.


To celebrate Ian Vasquez's "Best First P.I. Novel" Shamus Award, Regal Literary is giving away five signed copies of both the winning novel, In the Heat, and Lonesome Point, Ian's latest novel.

All you have to do to enter the contest is join Ian's Facebook page and send an email to vasquez@regal-literary.com with the subject line "I'm a Facebook Fan!" by December 31.

Ian's Facebook Page - Ian's Homepage - Lonesome Point Video

The Violet Hour - Review

The Hungry Detective has read a fair number of 'new' authors as of late. They are 'new' in the sense that they have a few books in their canon, but until now unread by me. Daniel Judson is one of those guys. And he falls into the loose and vague category of tough guy crime writer.

Mr. Judson's latest is THE VIOLET HOUR and it is just about the best thing I have read this year. Cal is a somewhat normal guy. Well, normal enough for a Crime Novel anyway. He works as an un-certified mechanic paid under the table by his shyster boss while hiding a pregnant friend from her abusive husband.  Besides this female entanglement, Cal is on his own. His criminal father and drug addicted brother are now dead. Cal is the straight arrow. He has kept his head down and minded his own business.

I'll cut to the chase here and point out a moment that I think encapsultes this book perfectly. Near the end of THE VIOLET HOUR Cal is rummaging around his apartment before he leaves to rej…

Dead of Winter - Review

Rennie Airth's John Madden series returns with DEAD OF WINTER. The series has taken a leisurely rout toward publication, three books in ten years. The peerless RIVER OF DARKNESS appeared in 1999 with THE BLOOD-DIMMED TIDE showing up in 2004. In the chronology of these books we have jumped from just after WWI to the waning years of WWII. In those years we have seen John Madden move from a seasoned Police Detective to, of all things, a farmer in this latest work.

I don't want to belabor this point, but I really can not think of a finer piece of historical Crime Fiction than RIVER OF DARKNESS. Character, setting, and plotting are exceptional in this book. THE BLOOD-DIMMED TIDE delivered a completely opposite experience. The book was a baffling affair that failed as equally as RIVER OF DARKNESS succeeded. This disappointment aside my admiration is undiminished for John Madden's first adventure. The dichotomy of the first two books made it hard not immediately think about which …

Loot the Moon - Review

I spent a couple weeks reading BLOOD'S A ROVER by James Ellroy. I am not likely to read a denser book until Mr. Ellroy's next work. I turned to Mark Arsenault's LOOT THE MOON as a palate cleanser more than anything else. LOOT THE MOON is Mr. Arsenault's fourth book and second in the Billy Povich series after GRAVERWRITTER.  I had no expectations to the extent that the author is unknown to me.

LOOT THE MOON turns out to be a pretty breezy read with some nice dark turns here and there. Billy Povich is on the Obit desk. He used to be an investigative journalist, but a gambling addiction put an end to that. His Dad is at the end of his rope with his dialysis treatments, and his son is dealing with the heavy baggage of losing his mother. Billy is asked by his lawyer friend, Martin, to investigate the murder of a Judge. Everyone thinks the murder was the unfortunate consequence of a robbery gone seriously wrong. Martin thinks someone paid somebody to kill the Judge, and soon …

The Very Best of Mr. Michael Connelly - Part 2

My August 31 post of The Hungry Detective ranked all the non-Bosch books. This list returns to take on the larger task of Mr. Heironimous Bosch. 9 Dragons made its appearance right before the Indy B'Con, and try as I might... ok I didn't try that hard... I didn't have time to read it for inclusion in these rankings.

As a quick aside I don't want to undersell any of the books at the bottom of the list. Mr. Connelly doesn't know how to write a bad book, but in my case there have been occasions where I have not connected with his work.

13. THE NARROWS - 2004
It is because I love THE POET so much that this book is at the end of the list. When Mr. Connelly is at his best his works has the precision of a watchmaker. THE NARROWS just felt forced and not worthy of the intricacy of THE POET.

12. BLACK ICE - 1993
Second book. Third read. I thought the story was pretty flat. It has been well over a decade since I read this book, but the story of Mexican drug runners(?) did not do …

And in Conclusion....

The Hungry Detective had planned on his Post-B'Con post to appear sooner, but the hand of fate had other plans, namely Pneumonia. However with loads of free time over the last 5 days I have felt, besides sick, not very creative in terms of posting here. I extend my apologies to long time readers of The Hungry Detective and those of you who are just here harvesting email addresses.

The Damage - 19 Books
THE LANGUAGE OF BEES + O JERUSALEM - Laurie King
9 DRAGONS - Michael Connelly
THE COLD DISH - Craig Johnson
THE LAST QUARRY + THE FIRST QUARRY + DEADLY BELOVED - Max Allan Collins
THE FURY - Jason Pinter
A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS + The ANNIVERSARY MAN - R.J. Ellory
SO COLD THE NIGHT - Michael Koryta (Free ARC at Connelly interview)
RUNNING FROM THE DEVIL - Jamie Freveletti
BLOOD DETECTIVE + BLOOD ATONEMENT - Daniel Waddell
DOUBLE EXPOSURE - Michael Lister
BOULEVARD - Stephen Jay Schwartz (Book Bazaar)
A CARRION OF DEATH - Michael Stanley (Book Bazaar)
DEAD MEN'S DUST - Matt Hilton (Book Baza…

2009 Anthony Awards!

Yeah, I know it is Monday and these awards were given out on Saturday, but I need to complete the circle of the Bouchercon Awards presentations, so here are your 2009 Anthony Award Winners. Congratulation to all.

A complete list of nominees and my 'predictions' can be read here.

BEST NOVEL
The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly - Little, Brown and Company

BEST FIRST NOVEL
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson - Knopf

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy - Berkley

BEST SHORT STORY
"A Sleep Not Unlike Death" by Sean Chercover from Hardcore Hardboiled - Kensington

BEST CRITICAL NONFICTION WORK
Anthony Boucher: A Bibliography by Jeffrey Marks - McFarland

BEST CHILDREN'S/YA NOVEL
The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein - Random House

BEST COVER ART
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo designed by Peter Mendelsund and written by Stieg Larsson - Knopf

SPECIAL SERVICE AWARD
Jon and Ruth Jordan

2009 PWA Shamus Award Winners!

I was not in attendance at the Awards Dinner, but I am sure a good time was had by all. Just the winners are noted, but a complete list of nominees and The Hungry Detective predictions can be found here. I'll have comments, maybe, on Monday. Cheers to all the winners!

Best Hardcover
Empty Ever After - Reed Farrel Coleman (Bleak House Books)

Best First PI Novel
In the Heat - Ian Vasquez (St. Martins Minotaur)

Best Paperback Original
Snow Blind - Lori Armstrong (Medallion)

Best Short Story
“Family Values” - Mitch Alderman (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, June 2008)

2009 Barry Award Winners!

If time permits this weekend I'll post a few comments on the winners, but for now The Hungry Detective extends their warmest congratulations to the winners.

For a complete list of the nominees check out my prediction post here.

Best Novel:
The Draining Lake - Arnaldur Indridason

Best First Novel:
Child 44 - Tom Rob Smith

Best British Novel:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson

Best Paperback Original:
State of the Onion - Julie Hyzy

Best Thriller:
The Deceived - Brett Battles

Best Short Story:
“The Drought,” by James O. Born (from The Blue Religion, edited by Michael Connelly; Little, Brown)

2009 Macavity Awards!

Winners now. Comments later. The Hungry Detective congratulates award receipts and nominees alike!

A complete list of nominees and The Hungry Detective predictions are here.

Best Mystery Novel
Where Memories Lie - Deborah Crombie -- Wm. Morrow

Best First Mystery
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson -- Knopf

Best Nonfiction/Critical
African American Mystery Writers: A Historical & Thematic Study - Frankie Y. Bailey -- McFarland

Best Mystery Short Story
"The Night Things Changed" - Dana Cameron -- Wolfsbane & Mistletoe, ed. by Harris & Kelner, Penguin

Sue Feder Memorial Historical Mystery
A Royal Pain - Rhys Bowen -- Berkley

The Hungry Detective's 2009 Bouchercon Award Predictions Spectacular.

The Hungry Detective has made the decision to group all of his predictions into one uber-prediction post for the multiple award ceremonies that will be occurring during the Bouchercon weekend. I'm predicting the Barry, Macavity, PWA Shamus, and Anthony Awards. My picks will be in Blue.

Barry Awards
Best Novel:
Trigger City - Sean Chercover
The Draining Lake - Arnaldur Indridason
Envy the Night - Michael Koryta
Red Knife - William Kent Krueger
The Cruelest Month - Louise Penny
The Dawn Patrol - Don Winslow

Ms. Penny is my safe bet here. My heart wants me to go with Mr. Chercover, but I think THE CRUELEST MONTH is the winner.

Best First Novel:
The Kind One - Tom Epperson
Stalking Susan - Julie Kramer
City of the Sun - David Levien
Child 44 - Tom Rob Smith
A Carrion Death - Michael Stanley
Sweeping Up Glass - Carolyn D. Wall

Going with the book that made the biggest noise last year. Everyone seemed to enjoy CHILD 44. I just never found the story to be compelling.

Best British Novel:
A Simple Act of V…

Our Choice Selections Pt. 2 -Bouchercon 2009

Not as long as Part One, primarily because Sunday is pretty limited in terms of a variety of offerings. Don't forget the continuing conversation that runs from 9a-3:30p on Saturday.

Saturday 9am - 9:55am
THE COLD DEAD HAND OF THE PAST
Ross Macdonald used the past as his grim reaper. Who's doing it today?

Sandra Parshall (M), Thomas H. Cook, Deborah Crombie, Jennifer McMahon, Dan Waddell

If they give away free Kindles I might decide to claw my way into that panel.

Saturday 10:30am - 11:35am
AUTOPSIES IN THE DARK
Can forensic mysteries deal with the unanswerable questions?

Alan Jacobson (M), Lisa Black, D.H. Dublin, Kathryn Fox

Okay, so you will probably be over a the MWA Poe panel. Pound for pound best group of writers all weekend. I might peak into that panel, but also the Crime Through Time panel and Serial Killers panel may tempt me.

Saturday 1:00 pm - 1:55pm
WAR CRIMES
How war shapes character and crime novels.

Suzanne Arruda (M), James R. Benn, Rebecca Cantrell, Martin Limon, Charles T…

Our Choice Selections Pt. 1 -Bouchercon 2009

Once again, I am offering what The Hungry Detective sees as the Best of Bouchercon 2009. It is a fair bet that you will find me in these panel, but as usually there are more than a few that will be a game time decision.

As this begins The Hungry Detective's coverage of the Indy B'Con, I am already nostalgic. The Shake Town B'Con is a year out and the decision has already been made to not attend. Do not cry too much for THD as I will be able to attend the 2010 NoirCon in Philadelphia.

Today's focus will cover the first two days of the Indy B'Con, and Monday we will dispense with Saturday and the abbreviated Sunday activities.

Right off the bat I'll mention perhaps one of the most intriguing 'panels' is the Continuing Conversation Panel that runs non stop 9a-6p Thursday and Friday, and until 3p on Saturday. Virtually every author will appear there during some portion of the weekend.

Thursday 9am - 9:55am
THE MEAN STREETS OF INDIANAPOLIS
Bucolic? Large enou…