Book review: ‘Sleeping Dragons’ for the Colorado Review

“At times, the open-ended nature of Baudoin’s stories has the effect of making a narrative seem unfinished and crying out for resolution. Argentine-born writer, translator, and editor Alberto Manguel addresses this issue in his introduction, writing: “We come to the last page of a Baudoin story and we ask ourselves, what exactly just happened?” Time and again throughout the collection, you find there is always more to the story than Baudoin is willing to reveal, and by the end, we are left with an unclear take on things, a feeling that, as Manguel notes, something essential seems to have escaped us.

That said, what makes Baudoin’s atypical writing so distinctive and so critically appealing is her eloquence and subtlety, and her willingness to leave things unsaid and allow readers to interpret a story for themselves. Largely ominous and somber in tone, the concise, intelligent fiction contained in Sleeping Dragons will move, intrigue, and not fade quickly from memory..”

Published today in the Colorado Review is my review of Magela Baudoin’s slim but impactful story collection Sleeping Dragons.

Read the full, in-depth book review here

Litchfield Reviews Hostage for a Hood and The Merriweather File for the Lancashire Post

LEP.CO.UK - Hostage for a Hood and The Merriweather File by Lionel White

“Influential American crime writer Lionel White is often described as the master of the big caper. His 1955 novel Clean Break was adapted by Stanley Kubrick as the basis for the film noir classic The Killing and a number of White’s other 35 novels have been made into films.

His twelfth novel, Hostage for a Hood, originally published by Gold Medal Books in 1957, is a high-suspense, heist-gone-wrong tale that is finally back in print in this newly released double-novel from Stark House Press.”

The second novel, The Merriweather File, is a startling tale of bloodshed, murder and violence that was first published by Dutton in 1959 and filmed as an episode of the TV series Thriller two years later. It is narrated by New York City attorney-at-law Howard Means Yates, a neighbour and friend of Charles Merriweather and his wife Ann who unwittingly becomes ‘a major actor’ in a complicated murder investigation.”

My review of Hostage for a Hood and The Merriweather File , is featured today in the Lancashire Post and syndicated to 20 newspapers in the UK. The full review can be found at the web link below and elsewhere.

Read more at: https://www.lep.co.uk/lifestyle/books/hostage-for-a-hood-and-the-merriweather-file-by-lionel-white-book-review-1-9267611

Litchfield Reviews Fugitive from the Grave for the Lancashire Post

LEP.CO.UK - Fugitive from the Grave by Edward Marston

“Identical-twin detectives Peter and Paul Skillen are called on to investigate the strange fate of a missing beggar, a band of shadowy highwaymen, body snatchers, a stalker and a wily thief in the fourth thrilling tale in the Bow Street Rivals mystery series.

Set in London in 1817, with the city ‘awash with beggars,’ and numerous reported incidences of plundered graves and highway robberies, Fugitive from the Grave is the latest novel from Edward Marston, the pseudonym of prolific British author Keith Miles.

Best known for his popular Railway Detective series, set in 1850s England, Marston is also responsible for well over one hundred novels, including numerous critically acclaimed Elizabethan and medieval mysteries and a series set in the Great War.

As with previous books in the series, Fugitive from the Grave is a rollicking adventure that expertly stitches together multiple intriguing storylines, carefully draws its core mystery to the surface, and delivers some dramatic, satisfying surprises along the way.”

My review of Fugitive from the Grave, the newest in the Bow Street Rivals mystery series, is featured today in the Lancashire Post and syndicated to 20 newspapers in the UK. The full review can be found at the web link below and elsewhere.

https://www.lep.co.uk/lifestyle/books/book-review-fugitive-from-the-grave-by-edward-marston-1-9222968

Litchfield Reviews Petites Suites by Robert Wexelblatt for the Colorado Review

Colorado Review - Petites Suites by Robert Wexelblatt

“Thought-provoking, entertaining, and eloquent, like so many of his stories in Petites Suites, you can’t help but marvel at Wexelblatt’s ability to move and enchant in just a few concise pages. This inspired and truly original story collection is an exquisite joy, offering the equivalent beauty and charm a fine symphony might accomplish.”

Published today in the Colorado Review is my review of Robert Wexelblatt’s highly inventive story collection Petites Suites, a collection that pulsates with melody, harmony, and rhythm. Wexelblatt, whose novel Zublinka Among Women won the Indie Book Awards first-place prize for fiction in 2008, is the author of three previous story collections. I’ve read a lot of Robert’s stories over the years and his work is always worthwhile. You can read one of his recent excellent stories (“Hsi-Wei and the Good”) in issue #31 of Lowestoft Chronicle.

Read the full, in-depth book review here.

Litchfield’s Lancashire Post Review of Richard Wormser’s ‘The Body Looks Familiar’ / ‘The Late Mrs. Five’

lep.co.uk - The Body Looks Familiar and The Late Mrs. Five by Richard Wormser

“In two thrilling, out-of-the-ordinary crime stories, an assistant district attorney attempts to frame the city’s police chief for the murder of his mistress, and a travelling company vice president finds himself accused of the murder of his ex-wife.

The Body Looks Familiar and The Late Mrs. Five are both impressive novels by the late Richard Wormser, a prolific American writer of some 300 short stories, 200 novelettes, and numerous crime and detective novels, movie and TV novelisations, screenplays and Westerns.

Beginning his literary career in the 1930s as editor and writer for the famous publishing house Street & Smith, which specialised in dime novels and pulp fiction, Wormser went on to write for Hollywood film studios like Columbia Pictures and contribute seventeen of the Nick Carter spy novels.”

You can read my review of Wormser and these two mysteries in the Lancashire Evening Post and syndicated to 25 newspapers across the UK.

Read more at: https://www.lep.co.uk/lifestyle/books/book-review-the-body-looks-familiar-and-the-late-mrs-five-by-richard-wormser-1-9004338

 

Litchfield Reviews Never Say No to a Killer by Clifton Adams for the Lancashire Post

LEP.CO.UK - Never Say No to a Killer by Clifton Adams

“In a violent and fast-paced crime noir tale, a wily, dangerous criminal escapes from prison and vows to avenge the murder of his former cellmate and continue the man’s extensive blackmail operation.

Never Say No to a Killer, reprinted from 1956 by Black Gat Books, an imprint of Stark House Press, is the first of two gritty Adams’ novels under the pen name Jonathan Gant. It tells the story of ruthless and clever Roy Surrat, an unrepentant prison convict determined to break out of jail and resume his life of crime.”

My review of Never Say No to a Killer by Clifton Adams is published today in the Lancashire Evening Post, and syndicated to 25 newspapers across the UK.

Read the full review here

Litchfield Reviews Day In, Day Out by Héctor Aguilar Camín for the Lancashire Post

LEP.CO.UK - Day In, Day Out by Héctor Aguilar Camín

“Distinguished Mexican author, journalist, and historian Héctor Aguilar Camín explores a dissolute writer’s lifelong obsession with a nefarious temptress in this hardboiled tale of lust, police corruption and murder in Mexico City.

Day In, Day Out, originally published in 2016 as Toda La Vida, is Aguilar Camín’s second work of fiction to be translated into English. Journalist Chandler Thompson, who translated the work from Spanish, is also responsible for the English language translation of Camín’s acclaimed novel Death in Veracruz.

Narrated by a professional writer named Serrano, a man who does not digress, mince words or cleave to his biases, Day In, Day Out recounts his passionate, sporadic affair with Liliana Montoyo, a beautiful, promiscuous woman who makes a habit of reducing men to their primal state, turning them into violent and primitive lovers.

Day In, Day Out is a noteworthy crime noir full of deception, ulterior motives, unreliable memories and secrets and lies. It is also a compelling love story.

The unabashed and obsessively driven Serrano is both a victim and a menace, hopelessly drawn to a woman as unstable as himself. Empty but right-minded when apart, they are both unable to control their natural impulses or curb their self-destructive behaviour when together. Theirs is a perpetually dangerous, doomed relationship, full of passion and liberation, heartache and trouble.

The eloquent and philosophical Héctor Aguilar Camín, recipient of numerous national literary awards, has produced once again a masterful literary work that clearly shows us why he is one of Mexico’s most revered writers.”

My review of Day In, Day Out by Héctor Aguilar Camín is published today in the Lancashire Post, and syndicated to 25 newspapers across the UK.

Read the full review here