Friday, September 30, 2011

Death Plays Poker by Robin Spano

Death Plays Poker: A Clare Vengel Undercover Novel
By Robin Spano
ECW Press (October 1, 2011)

In Canadian author Robin Spano’s second novel, Death Plays Poker, rookie Toronto cop Clare Vengel is on an undercover assignment as a professional poker player to try and crack a series of murders. Someone is strangling world class poker players in their hotel rooms and it’s Clare’s job to infiltrate the group and find the killer. Spano has put together an amusing, well-drawn cast of suspicious characters. Each chapter in this intriguing mystery is told from a different character’s point of view, a smooth transition that’s expertly handled. Clare’s character is an appropriately tough, but flawed, take-no-crap kind of heroine who’s truly likeable.

Robin Spano is a fantastic new voice in Canadian crime writing and Death Plays Poker is a winner.

Savage Rage By Brent Pilkey

Savage Rage
By Brent Pilkey
ECW Press (October 1, 2011)

Savage Rage is Brent Pilkey’s second book based on the character Jack Warren, a tough Toronto cop with an attitude, working the mean streets of 51 Division. Pilkey himself a veteran Toronto officer has lived these same streets, and brings his 22 years of experience to the pages of this intense new series. I read Pilkey’s debut novel, Lethal Rage, and really enjoyed the Toronto setting. There was actually some controversy within the police department when his first book was going to press. Because Pilkey is still actively working as a police officer there was an effort by his higher-ups to try and block publication, but eventually they relented. Good thing too because it’s a great read.

In this second book, Warren is tracking a violent criminal mastermind who stays one step ahead of the police hot on his tail. Savage Rage is a compelling, well crafted thriller. At times it does feel less like fiction and reads somewhat like a memoir but regardless, Savage Rage will keep you turning the pages long after you should have shut out the lights and gone to sleep. Highly recommended.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Q & A With Dani Amore

Tell us about DEAD WOOD…

Dead Wood is a story about a violent murder in Grosse Pointe – the exclusively wealthy community that sits right on the border of Detroit. It’s also about a man who made a horrible, horrible mistake and is now seeking both the truth and redemption. Along the way, he crosses paths with an ex-con on a violent rampage, an enigmatic music star doing damage control, and a mysterious hired killer with links to his own, unfortunate past.

So this is not a follow up to DEATH BY SARCASM?

No, DEATH BY SARCASM features Los Angeles private investigator Mary Cooper. She’s a good detective and an even better smart ass. She will be appearing shortly in a sequel I’m tentatively calling MURDER WITH SARCASTIC INTENT.

So why publish DEAD WOOD before the sequel to DEATH BY SARCASM?

The short answer is that I wrote DEAD WOOD almost simultaneously with DEATH BY SARCASM. But DEAD WOOD was with a friend of mine who was reviewing it for pre-publication blurbs. In the meantime, SARCASM was ready to go. I launched SARCASM, and immediately started working on the sequel. In the meantime, DEAD WOOD came back with some great blurbs, and it was ready to go.

So you have two different series going on?

Yes. And they are very different. The SARCASM/Mary Cooper novels are a bit darker and a little edgier. DEAD WOOD is a bit more traditional. I think they each reflect their physical environment. SARCASM is very much L.A., while DEAD WOOD is very Grosse Pointe.

There’s been a lot of debate about eBook pricing. Why did you settle on 99 cents?

There has been a lot of debate, hasn’t there? And it’s been pretty heated! I’m not gonna lie, it was a tough one for me. I think $2.99 is a very fair price for a novel. However, the marketplace is interesting right now. Ultimately, I chose 99 cents because I hope to earn a wide readership for each series. And it’s going well – readers of the first two books are demanding the sequel to each. Which is extremely flattering.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Have you ever heard of pin shooting? I go to my gun range on nights when they have pin shooting contests. Basically, they set up bowling pins on little stands and you have ten seconds to clear your table. I have a high-capacity Para-Ordnance .45. You blast away, and then if there are little pieces, you shoot them off, too. It’s great fun. I win quite often.

What are you reading right now?

A kick-ass novel called THE DEVIL’S MUSIC.

Find Dead Wood here:

Barnes & Noble


Find Death By Sarcasm here:

Barnes & Noble


“Dead Wood is a fast-paced, unpredictable mystery with an engaging narrator and a rich cast of original supporting characters.” –Thomas Perry, Edgar-winning author of The Butcher’s Boy.

“From its opening lines, Dani Amore and her private eye novel DEAD WOOD recall early James Ellroy: a fresh attitude and voice and the heady rush of boundless yearning and ambition. Amore delivers a vivid evocation of time and place in a way that few authors achieve, nailing the essence of her chosen corner of high-tone Michigan. She also deftly dodges the pitfalls that make so much contemporary private detective fiction a mixed bag and nostalgia-freighted misfire. Amores’ detective has family; he’s steady. He’s not another burned-out, booze-hound hanging on teeth and toenails to the world and smugly wallowing in his own ennui. This is the first new private eye novel in a long time that just swept me along for the ride. Amore is definitely one to watch.” — Edgar-nominated author Craig McDonald

Dani Amore’s writing reminds me of the great thriller writers -- lean, mean, no nonsense prose that gets straight to the point and keeps you turning those pages.” --author Robert Gregory Browne

"As gritty as the Detroit streets where it's set, DEAD WOOD grabs you early on and doesn't let go. As fine a a debut as you'll come across this year, maybe any year." --author Tom Schreck

Monday, September 5, 2011

Pulp Ink Review

Purged from the dark and twisted minds of some of the most talented crime writers today, Pulp Ink is an intense and dirty fusion of nefarious short stories and smack you right in the kisser flash fiction. Rising up like a carousing prize fighter in a dark alley, these stories will clobber you with an elbow smash to the noggin when you least expect it.

Sometimes you never know where you’ll end up falling in love. It could be tied to a chair in a cellar with a woman who’s got a gun to your head, and who’s nice enough to dig a bullet out of your ass, as in Jodi MacArthur’s story, Jack Rabbit Slim’s Cellar The $5 Mil Hak. This is one particular story from this amazing collection that has lodged itself inside my brain and remains there long after reading it. It’s simply a perfect story in every way. I loved it so much I’ve read it more than once.

AJ Hayes pulls no punches as he shines a light into the shadows of human trafficking in his wickedly powerful tale, Padre.

What’s a girl to do when the boy she goes to such lengths to impress, ends up rejecting her? Why Masie will show you just what ought to be done in, Your Mother Should Know, by Allan Guthrie. A truly disturbing story of young love gone wrong.

Another girl you don’t want to mess with, or make a loser out of, is Rosie, the six-foot-four arm wrestling champion in Nigel Bird’s edge-of-your-seat tale, A Whole Lotta Rosie.

Sometimes it’s best not to find missing loved ones as in Paul D. Brazill’s, The Lady & the Gimp, A Peter Ord Investigation. When a private eye is commissioned by a childhood friend to find his mother, the happy reunion turns into a bloody disaster in a taut atmospheric tale of lust and loss.

Some people take their movie watching very seriously as in the chilling, cautionary tale, A Night At The Royale by Chris F. Holm. When you behave like an insolent little jerk while people are trying to watch the show, bad things can happen.

A master thief realizes that every time he goes on a job some bizarre illness befalls his wife in Patricia Abbott’s, The Wife Of Gregory Bell. A deliciously dire story with a rather Twilight Zone mood.

What happens when a newspaper reporter shows up to a meeting with something other than the customary microphone? Chis Rhatigan spins a tense, heart-pounding and tragic story of a reporter’s experience with slipping a gear in, The October 17 Economic Development Committee Meeting.

And this is only a fistful of the fierce and raw tales that will grab you unexpectedly by the squash and send you in a spinning headlock to the pavement, then take the combat boots to your ribs. Quite simply put, Pulp Ink is some nasty good fun. Highly recommended!

Get it on Amazon for a mere $0.99!