Book review: A Song to Die For by Mike Blakely

Creed Mason had come so close. He’d had a top ten country hit with his partner Dixie Houston and their band Dixie Creed, and their future looked bright. But then he’d been drafted and sent to Vietnam, where he saw some horrific things, killed a man, and ended up with a gruesome bullet […]

Book review: Perfidia by James Ellroy

Perfidia is the first volume of the Second L.A. Quartet. The L.A. Quartet–The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz–covers the years 1946 to 1958 in Los Angeles. The Underworld U.S.A. Trilogy–American Tabloid, The Cold Six Thousand, and Blood’s a Rover–covers 1958 to 1972, on a national scale.


Hard Case Crime Review: Bust by Ken Bruen & Jason Starr (HCC-020)


When you hire a hit man to kill your wife, don’t pick a psychopath. Drano is not the best tool for getting rid of a dead body. Those locks on hotel room doors? Not very secure. A curly blond wig isn’t much of a […]

Movie review: The Nice Guys

I knew I should have written this up right after I saw the movie, or at the very least, the next day.

But I didn’t, and now it’s been almost a week since I’ve seen it, and I really wish it were completely fresh in my head because I don’t think I’m going […]

Hard Case Crime review: Grave Descend by John Lange (AKA Michael Crichton) (#26/MC7)


But there’s something strange about the wreck of the luxury yacht GRAVE DESCEND. No one who was aboard tells quite the same story about what happened. And then there’s the matter of the mysterious cargo they wre carrying…

In one of the […]

Hard Case Crime to publish lost Lawrence Block novel

This just in from our friend Charles Ardai at Hard Case Crime:


We’d been saving this for a special announcement but Amazon just beat us to the punch by posting the book on their site, so we figured we should spill the beans as well: next May we’re going to be publishing […]

Westlake on Rabe: Murder Me for Nickels & Anatomy of a Killer

NB: A version of this post also appears at Existential Ennui.

In his 1989 essay on Peter Rabe for the critical anthology Murder off the Rack, Donald E. Westlake identified two distinct periods during which, Westlake reckoned, Rabe produced his best work. The first came at the start of Rabe’s career, […]

Westlake on Rabe: A Shroud for Jesso & Kill the Boss Goodbye

NB: A version of this post also appears at Existential Ennui.

Continuing the rolling—if intermittent—showcase of Peter Rabe books I’ve bought of late (well, over the last year or so, anyway)—with, of course, additional commentary on each by perhaps Rabe’s greatest admirer, Donald E. Westlake, taken from Westlake’s 1989 essay on Rabe—we […]

Peter Rabe, by Donald E. Westlake, in Murder off the Rack

NB: A version of this post also appears on Existential Ennui.

Chances are, if you become inordinately interested in the work of Donald E. Westlake—as I self-evidently have—at some point you’re going to encounter Peter Rabe. In interviews and articles Westlake would often cite Rabe as being a major influence (alongside […]

1986 interview with Elmore Leonard promoting Bandits

This is something I discovered as part of my downsizing and de-hoarding process. Mystery Reporter was a freebie that B. Dalton bookstores would give away with the purchase of something. (Yes, there’s a cover price, but I’ll eat my shoe if I find out anyone ever paid for it.)

It’s Elmore Leonard doing […]