Wednesday, June 26, 2013

**Two of Richard Cody's poems were published on the Strong Verse site

Richard Cody, whose microstories – Alice and Lisa - appeared on the Microstory A Week site, has published two excellent poems, Beware and The Reason Why, on the Strong Verse site.

Check these poems out!

Midnight at the Marble Arch, by Anne Perry

(hb; twenty-eighth novel in the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series)

From the inside flap:

"The horrifying rape and apparent suicide of Catherine Quixwood, wife of a wealthy merchant banker, falls outside the new jurisdiction of Special Branch head Thomas Pitt, but so pervasively offensive are the rumors about the victim that Pitt quietly takes a hand in the investigation.

"Yet even with the help of his ingenious wife, Charlotte, and his former superior, Victor Narraway, Pitt is stumped.  Why did the high-minded, cultured Catherine choose not to accompany her husband to a grand party on the night of her demise?  Why did she dismiss all her servants for the evening and leave the door unlocked?  What had been her relationship with the young man seen frequently by her side at concerts and art exhibitions?

"As an ordinary policeman, Pitt has once entered London's grand houses through the kitchen door.  Now, as a guest in those same houses, can he find the steel in his soul to challenge the great men of the world with their crimes?  The path to the truth takes him in deeply troubling directions, from the lofty world of international policies and finance to his own happy home, where his teenage daughter, Jemima, is coming of age in a culture rife with hidden dangers."


Review:

A strongly (over?)stated sense of outrage highlights this timely and sometimes suspenseful mystery - it's timely because Midnight deals with financial malfeasance, political factions and rape, which has dominated many recent, real-world news cycles.

Of course, Perry keeps Midnight engaging as a work of fiction as well, with her trademark warmth and/or chill between the characters, many of them ongoing in this often-excellent series.

Solid entry in the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series - worth checking out from the library.

Friday, June 21, 2013

**One of my poems, Noir pan: road house, was published in Pink Litter

One of my mainstream-though-racy poems, Noir pan: road house, was published on the Pink Litter site. (Big thanks to Misty Rampart, who published it!)

Noir pan was inspired by actress/director
Ida Lupino (1918 - 1995), specifically her work in the 1948 film Road House.

Please note that Pink Litter is a for-mature-readers site, so if you're under the age of eighteen you may want to skip this one.

However, if you are a legal adult who appreciates older films, sensuality and poetry,
check this out!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

**Peter Baltensperger's Ambiguities in Black was published in Apocrypha Abstractions

Peter Baltensperger, whose Nocturnal Tableaux* graced the Microstory A Week site in October 2012, has had another mainstream story published: Ambiguities in Black, in June 2013 issue of Apocrypha Abstractions.

Ambiguities, an atmospheric work, concerns a man searching for something - certain meanings, which relate to himself - on a particularly tumultuous night.

Check this story out!


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*Nocturnal Tableaux also appears in Baltensperger's story/vignette anthology Inside from the Outside.

Friday, June 07, 2013

The Body Lovers, by Mickey Spillane

(pb; 1967: tenth novel in the Mickey Spillane series)


From the inside flap:

"The teasing transparent nighties were so shredded they barely covered the bodies of the murdered beauties.  The blonde wore black.  The redhead, green.  And now some one was combing the city for the same number in white.

"Two strange slayings and a frightened model set Mike Hammer on a chase through the world of high fashion and UN cocktail parties to Village bars and sleazy hotels.  Snarling Hammer digs pay-dirt when he dives underground to a secret sex-cult, and busts open a group of degenerate, but highly eminent kick-killers."


Review:

Explosive, slick, and chock full of sex and violence like most of Spillane's other works, Body Lovers highlights Spillane's familiar ultra-nationalistic bent, as well as his take-few-prisoners attitude.

If you can get past Spillane's hatred of foreign influences (this time embodied by U.N. ambassadors), this is a welcome blast of a read, all thriller and no filler, an approach more modern authors should take to heart.

Worth owning, this.



Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Pretty in Ink, by Karen E. Olson

(pb; 2010: second book in the Tattoo Shop Mystery series)


From the back cover:

"After Brett [Kavanaugh] and company ink Sin City's newest drag queen stars, they're invited to an opening night at the Strip's glamorous Nylons and Tattoos show.  An evening of glitter and dancing ends in disaster when a stranger with a queen of hearts tattoo fells Brittany Brassieres with a wayward champagne cork.

"Even though Britney recovers, she mysteriously dies soon after, and then another drag queen is found poisoned.  Someone's targeting Vegas's fabulous femmes.  And sharp-as-a-needle Brett must crack the case before the show's over for good.


Review:

Engaging characters and colorful settings highlight this often-fun read.  As a mystery, though, Pretty is a failure - its villains, and, more importantly, the 'how and why they did it' is evident early on.  Not only that, but interesting as Brett - the narrator - is, she's constantly scatterbrained and forgetful, to the point of seeming Plot Convenient Stupid at key parts of what was an otherwise enjoyable book.

Pretty isn't a terrible read, but it is disappointing.  I understand that worthwhile mystery writers make their villains' crimes solvable by their readers, but it shouldn't be that easy.

Followed by Driven to Ink.