The Black Ice Score by Richard Stark (Parker book 11)
Parker is back and this time the job has come to him. First he is warned off a job that he has no knowledge of, then he is offered the job and well you get the idea. I have to be honest, while I enjoyed The Black Ice Score, I can’t say it was one of my favorites. It’s got an interesting premise in that Parker is drawn into the job, and that he breaks his rule by working with armatures. I liked the book, but there was something missing from the zing of the world of Parker, it’s like the Mourner in that it deals with elements for developing nations politics (third world to all you not up on the latest PC lingo) which Westlake was good at, but as far as I can tell was never mastered by Stark. That said, it’s a solid read that is well worth it for Parker fans, and anyone out there that is looking for a softer entry to the Parker novels might find this one along with the afore mentioned The Mourner a entry point into the series.
33 1/3 Let It Be by Colin Meloy
See my FFB review HERE.
The End of Everything by Megan Abbott
I liked it; I will post a more in depth review when it comes closer to publication time.
33 1/3 Let’s Talk about Love by Carl Wilson
I know, I know, Celine Dion, right. I don’t like her music; I tried to listen to this album, but never got though more than 2 of the songs at a time. The book on the other hand is compulsively readable with is history of where Dion came from and it’s look at taste, the economics of mass popularity and the reality of how as we age, maybe it’s not worth the time to decry middle of the road comfort food music.
Lawrence Block book of the Month: Make Out With Murder
This was my first Chip Harrison novel and I found it very fun and enjoyable. There was a Meta element in that it was presented as the novel that Chip had written about his time as an assistant to a Detective who has a fixation on fictional Detectives. Block name checks; Chandler, A.C. Doyle, Michael Innes, the MacDonalds and of course Richard Stark. It was a breezy read and I think I have one more in the series coming up this year.
Stark House Press novel of the Month: The Three-Way Spilt by Gil Brewer
While taking a group of drunk tourists out on his boat Jack Holland get’s a lucky break and discovers the wreck of an centuries old ship off the coast of Florida. Knowing what this discovery means Jack keeps the discovery quite, only telling his girl Sally and his drinking buddy, a former salvage man, who knows the history of ships in the area and has the expertise to help Jack dive the wreck. … and then his estranged father shows up and that’s where things start to go wrong.
Three Way Split is a full blown Noir adventure that had me thinking of John D MacDonald and his Travis Magee books and just a bit of the adventure stories of Clive Cussler. I enjoyed the story overall, but felt the ending was a little rushed and that Brewer had been more interested in the archeology and search for the story of the discovered ship. With only a hand full of Brewer’s work currently in print, another volume from Stark House, a Hard Case Crime and a pair of reprints from The New Pulp Press, this is one of the few places you are going to find his work and it’s well worth owning.
33 1/3: The Gilded Palace of Sin by Bob Proehl
Another solid entry in the 33 1/3 series, telling the story of Gram Parsons, the Flying Burrito Brother, and the start of what has become known as Alt Country today. It’s a history lesson, not only of the music and the band, but the context of the time and place, of flawed young men with a vision and sound in mind. While not as personal as the Let it Be entry or as thought provoking on the bigger subject of taste as the Let’s Talk About Love book, this one still holds it’s own as a book that should be on the shelf of everyone who cares about what we call Alt Country today.
The Sour Lemon Score by Richard Stark (Parker book 12)
This time around we get Parker on the trail of a member of his crew who has tried to kill all the members of the crew. This is a minor mirror take on The Hunter. It’s a fast paced and action driven story, that while not the best Parker book is a solid read. It’s easy to see where the charges of Stark repeating plots can be leveled, but at the same time, Crime novels pretty much follow a simple plot through line, bad stuff happens and people are in trouble. All that said I liked it, I liked Parker having to pick up and work on the fly after a jobs goes wrong in the crew end. I recommend the book, and am looking forward to the next Parker installment. I would also not this was the 12th Parker book, which is the dead center of the series with only 4 more of the first era of Parker books remaining.