REVIEW - The Golden Gizmo by Jim Thompson - Three Stars

The Golden Gizmo is a weird one even for Jim Thompson. That said, it's still a fun read.
A lot gets packed into this quick novel. Similar to Nothing More Than Murder, much of the success of The Golden Gizmo depends on how much you know of a particular industry. In this case, it's the borderline legal gold trade in post World War II Los Angeles.
Toddy Kent is a door-to-door gold buyer, by way of being wanted in half of the country. With the exception of a violent, fall down drunk, alcoholic wife, life isn't too bad for Kent.
Until one day on his rounds when he knocks on the wrong door. A chinless man with a talking doberman (don't ask) answers and soon thereafter, Kent finds himself wrapped up in a messy sea of double crosses and betrayals. A murder gets thrown in for fun, some two-bit gangsters keep coming around, there's seedy Tijuana bar, a Nazi conspiracy, federal agents, and did I mention a killer talking dog?
The highlight of the novel is a chase scene that ta…

I Tried a Jack Reacher Book. Here's Two Stars for you.

In my quest to tackle more current, popular fiction, I decided that The Midnight Line, number 22 in Lee Child's Jack Reacher series, was as good of a place to start as any. I also consumed an unabridged audio book version of the novel, so if you're a Reacher fan put off by my two stars, hey, consider the source!
Anyhow, my biggest gripe with the story was how boring it was. For long stretches, much of the story was Reacher coming up short in his quest to find the owner of pawned West Point ring he happened upon. 
Certainly, I wasn't expecting the mystery to be solved right off the bat, but there's no escalation as the plot rolls on. It's largely one dead end after another after another with little sense of urgency beyond a vague sense of obligation on Reacher's end.
As for Reacher himself, I get why people have come to love the character over the years, but as an stand alone story, again, I was bored with him. He's infallible. Physically, he seems to have no…

REVIEW - Whoa, Unbreakable Still Holds Up Really Well

Superhero movies from the early 2000s don't really hold up all that well. My opinion of course. Relax! It's nothing personal.

For some reason, I find that people get more upset than they should when you say superhero movies aren't that great. Even if said person (me) has multiple superheroes tattooed on them! I'm a fan!
And really, let's be honest here, the genre has been filled with more misses than hits, though the pendulum is starting to swing rapidly toward the opposite (get it together, DC). That's how film genres work though. They start clunky, and grow and improve over time.
All that said, last night I fired up my two-disk special edition Unbreakable DVD into the 'ol Xbox. Two things first:
1. Do we fire up DVDs? 2. Really? No Blu-ray?
You can make an argument that Unbreakable was the first film to take a serious look at a superhero story while much of the genre as we know it today was still in its relative infancy. Maybe the movie going audience wasn'…

REVIEW - High Priest of California by Charles Willeford

This one is tricky. 
The main character, Russell Haxby, is just a piece of shit. 
He's not really a criminal, but he's definitely a conman of the highest order. And it's not like there's even some greater purpose to his cons, he just does them. 
There's no long-term endgame in sight for him. If he can take advantage of someone, Russell Haxby is going to do it. And of course he's a used car salesman. 
Without spoiling the story, the target of his main con here is Alyce, a young woman with some baggage that needs to be dealt with before Russell can properly, ahem, date her. And yes, that means exactly what you think it means. 
That's it. No big heist. No big rip off. No big cover up. Just a wolf on the prowl with a sheep in his cross hairs. 
 The writing here is compelling in its simplicity. Willeford drives through the plot here with no sentimentality or fluff. This happens, then this happens, so this happens, so Russell does this, so something else happens. The s…

Review: Texas by The Tail by Jim Thompson

Texas by The Tail seems to earn a mixed reaction from Thompson fans. It's a good one. It's not S-Tier Thompson, but it's not the hot mess some folks may try to convince you it is either. It's a solid upper-mid tier range output. Closer to mid, if we're being honest. It's a gate-keeper for the upper echelon.

Unfortunately, Texas by the Tail suffers from following The Grifters (a bedrock of the S-Tier), and unnecessarily draws comparisons to it. On the surface there's a lot of overlap. Stories about con men with troubled relationships with women, including the older women who serve as fill-ins for the protagonist's unusual relationship with a floozy mother.

Short of the surface-level thematic overlap, Texas by the Tail stands on its own. Fans of the super dark worlds Thompson creates may be disappointed here, but there are moments of Thompson's trademark viciousness -- in particular a scene where two effete hoods go to shakedown a lady. Rough stuff t…

My Book, Dog Duty, Is Free... For A Few Days At Least

What am I? Crazy? Giving away one of my babies like that?

The rumors are true. Dog Duty, my first novel, is free from today (that's 6.13.17) through this Saturday (6.17.17) on Amazon.

You can, and SHOULD, get it by clicking here.

What's the book about? Great question.

A Canine Noir revenge story! 
When a late-night foot pursuit through dark back alleys goes terribly wrong in the jaws of an ex-military Rottweiler, Fritz, Grand City PD's top German Shepherd is driven into retirement to a place far worse than the crime-infested streets he patrolled: the suburbs! 

 Surrounded by suburbanite hounds and derelict mutts of all shapes and breeds, Fritz narrates his quest for revenge and redemption that takes him into the fringes of the seedy canine underworld of cat-races, underground clubs, back alleys, and dog parks.

Sounds cool, right? 

Just wait until you see the cover:

They say don't judge a book by it's cover, but I think you can make an exception here.

Okay, that's enough …

Short Story Publication in Pulp Metal Magazine - A Mister and his Destiny

My short story, A Mister and his Destiny, was published by the fine folks at Pulp Metal Magazine

The story is gripping literary tale of late 20th century turmoil that spans across generations of one family set against.... 

Who am I kidding here?! It's a kick-ass vigilante crime story that I'm really excited for.

You can check it out HERE.