The Lovecraft Papers by P.H. Cannon
Johnny Porno by Charlie Stella
The Damsel by Richard Stark
Grave Descend by John Lang
Hunt at World's End by Nicholas Kaufmann
Barrier Island by John D MacDonald
The Lovecraft Papers is a collection of stories, the first and longest is a kind of mash up of Lovecraft and Conan Doyle, with the later shorter stories being a set P.G. Wodehouse tales by way of Lovecraft. It's good stuff, but I am not sure that I would want a steady diet of it.
Charlie Stella is a name that I have heard and when I heard that Stark House Books was going to publish their first non-reprint I knew I was going to have to check it out. It was a great twisting early 70s low level mob crime tale. I'm not going to get into all the in's and out's let's just say that if you dig 70's crime this should be right up your alley. I really like that it referenced both the book and the film The Friends of Eddie Coyle to which it has a similar feel.
Richard Stark, you can't go wrong there. The Damsel is one of the Grofield books and while it's a little meandering and took a bit to get going, it's another better than average entry in the Stark cannon. The plot is pretty basic, while recovering from the events of The Handle and a Damsel climbs in his window. She needs help, and having drawn Grofield into her drama he has little choice other than to get her out of town and into play. This isn't a heist story, but one of political intrigue, family drama with a bit of road trip/ on the run type stuff thrown in-- most importantly it left me looking forward to the next Parker book The Rare Coin Score (by the way, the newest batch of the the University of Chicago Press reprints hit shelves in the last couple of days)
Grave Descend was my Hard Case Crime selection for the month, and my first Michael Crichton read. It's a breezy, fun adventure set in the Bahamas. I am not sure why, but it left me wanting to see the film The Deep again or maybe it just put me in mind of Jacqueline Bisset (all you pulp fans really need to check her out in Le Magnifique) anyway, it was good, and I look forward to the other Crichton HHC entry Zero Cool.
speaking of adventure pulp and Le Magnifique I also read the 3rd book in the Hunt for Adventure series, HUNT AT WORLD’S END. It was ok, I have to honestly say I liked the first two better, but this was an passable adventure. I liked the globe trotting, and the archelogical set up was fine, there was just a few things that didn't jive for me, some little-- there is no safety on a SAA Colt 45 for instance -- and then there were bigger issues like the pacing was a bit herky-jerky for me. For what it was, it was fine, and I am really looking forward to getting into HUNT BEYOND THE FROZEN FIRE as told to Christa Faust.
Barrier Island was the John D book for this month, and it was the last of the books he published. It stands to his knowledge and understanding of low level business crime and his ability to tell a simple story that this book flowed so easily and kept my attention. I had to keep reminding myself that it was set in the mid 80's and not the 50's or 60's, which in hindsight was good as it didn't feel overly dated and littered with then current pop culture, fashion and slang. The cover of my copy announced that it was 13 weeks on the best seller list, I hope that many of those who picked it up in 1986 have gone back and given it another read, maybe someday I will.
that's it for the month-- thoughts, comments, ect.