Monday, September 22, 2014

At The Five-Two: "First Grade Criminal" by Anne Graue

© by Gerald So | | 2:00 A.M.

Teacher Anne Graue returns with a back-to-school poem:

Two guest editors are coming to The Five-Two. Submit to Erica Guo by October 31, and to Charles Rammelkamp by November 15. I am accepting regular submissions at the same time.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


© by Gerald So | | 4:00 A.M.

James O. Born is a career law enforcement officer with a talent for bringing his experience to the page. He has written series about FDLE agent Bill Tasker (Walking Money, Shock Wave, Escape Clause) and ATF agent Alex Duarte (Field of Fire, Burn Zone), and earlier this year co-wrote a novel with Lou Dobbs (Border War).

Within the past few days, Jim has made all of his books available for Kindle. I recommend them.

Monday, September 15, 2014

What if Robert B. Parker...?

© by Gerald So | | 9:00 A.M.

Last week I joined a discussion on 4 Mystery Addicts about Robert B. Parker's first Spenser novel, The Godwulf Manuscript. With it, Parker was admittedly trying to copy Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe but transplant him to early 1970s Boston. Notably absent from the book are Susan Silverman and Hawk, who would become series stalwarts.

The discussion touched on some later books, and I realized my investment in Spenser and Susan's relationship deeply affects my opinion of the series. To other readers, the relationship is and always has been trivial, but to me it was what set Spenser above characters like him. Work didn't consume him. He had a life.

From books two to eleven, Parker played out the ups and downs of Spenser and Susan working on their relationship: he the intuitive, self-professed "literate thug", she the classic analytical academic. In book seven, A Savage Place, Spenser cheated on Susan with Candy Sloan, a reporter he met in Los Angeles. Candy died in the same book, and Spenser and Susan made up, but book ten, The Widening Gyre, began a three-book arc in which Susan moved away, broke up with Spenser, and found a new lover, Russell Costigan. Costigan turned out to be an abusive villain from whom Susan had to be rescued.

I've always wondered: What if Candy Sloan lived? What if Susan's new lover were a decent man and Spenser did the honorable thing, let her go permanently? If either or both happened, I would have found it more nuanced and believable than the rescue in book twelve, A Catskill Eagle, and the relatively unchallenged relationship in Parker's last twenty-seven Spenser books.

At The Five-Two: "Eve Shrugged" by Catherine Wald

© by Gerald So | | 6:00 A.M.

Catherine Wald returns with a creation story retold:


© by Gerald So | | 6:00 A.M.

Posted Saturday at Chatterrific, I interviewed Chris Leek about his Western novella Gospel of the Bullet, available September 30 from One Eye Press.

Friday, September 12, 2014


© by Gerald So | | 11:15 A.M.

I bought this book Monday at my local Barnes & Noble to prepare for a Skype chat I'm recording with S.J. Rozan October 1. S.J., whose Lydia Chin and Bill Smith P.I. series I've enjoyed, is half of Sam Cabot, the other half being John Cabot University professor Carlos Dews. Blood of the Lamb is the first book in their supernatural series featuring Jesuit historian Fr. Thomas Kelly and art historian Livia Pietro.

Kelly's mentor, newly appointed Vatican archivist, summons him to Rome and puts him on the trail of the Concordat, a 600-year-old document of agreement between the Church and a mysterious other group. Stolen by a poet in 1849, the Concordat would prove calamitous if made public. Pietro, representing the other group, the Noantri, disparagingly known as vampires, joins Kelly's effort to keep the Concordat out of the wrong hands.

To better elicit his cooperation, Pietro reveals her nature to Kelly, and as he gets over that, he begins to see she and her kind are not the demons he was led to believe. The novel presents vampires as well-rounded characters. Like mortals, they are morally complex. Kelly and Pietro's interplay provides plausible perspective on the shocking secrets they uncover.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

ROBERT B. PARKER'S BLIND SPOT by Reed Farrel Coleman

© by Gerald So | | 10:45 A.M.

I couldn't attend the Mysterious Bookshop launch party for Reed's first Jesse Stone novel, but I did receive an advance reading copy thanks to Reed, Judy Bobalik, and Erin Mitchell, and I've posted a review on Amazon.

I also reviewed the book for the savvy readers of Crimespree Magazine. I'll mention the issue the review appears in when I know, or post the link if it's posted to the Web.

Monday, September 08, 2014

At The Five-Two: "911" by Charles Rammelkamp

© by Gerald So | | 4:56 A.M.

Our fourth year begins with Rammelkamp's reflection on the September 11 attacks:

The Five-Two Volume 3 ebook is coming in October.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

More C.J. Stone

© by Gerald So | | 3:32 P.M.

Coming to Shotgun Honey October 6, "What Are Friends For" is a short follow-up to roguish aviator C.J. Stone's Pulp Modern #7 appearance, "King of the Sea".

Meanwhile, the Kindle version of Pulp Modern #7 can be had for 99 cents. That's nine cents per story.