The Body In The Parking Structure

A rapid read which mixes murder with medical biochemistry, ‘The Body…’ feels like a 21st century interpretation of a traditional English private investigation, relocated to hip-n-swinging Los Angeles. The detecting is done by married couple Roger and Suzanne with assistance from their sexy male nanny, Roger’s previous police colleagues (he’s a professional turned PI), off-stage…

A Perfect Crime

The mystery in this modern Chinese morality tale is not ‘whodunit’. We share the killer’s perspective as he plans and enacts bloody murder and a subsequent escape. No mystery there. Instead, the mystery is ‘whydunit’. Why would a young man choose to obliterate a friendly classmate, effectively ending both their lives in violent cruelty? It’s…

Movie reviews: The Hateful Eight and Wild Card

The Hateful Eight: Quentin Tarantino’s eight film turned out to be one of his best. It’s a ‘return to your roots’, character-led drama of escalating tension and utterly outlandish, gory violence. If you prefer QT’s more action-adventure type films (‘Inglorious’ and ‘Kill Bill’ spring to mind) then this might be a bit too much talky-talk…

The Dead Student: stylish psychological suspense

You can rely on John Katzenbach to turn out a gripping psychological thriller, and The Dead Student is no exception. Katzenbach creates some truly memorable characters and this time around it’s the bad guy who steals the show. This sociopathic stalker has been taking slo-mo revenge on the classmates who betrayed him decades ago. He’s…

Dead Guns #1: firing on all cylinders

This anthology of American crime crams in everything you’d expect from hardboiled pulp fiction. The action spans sudden death in a double-wide, to unexpected aid from an undercover cop. It encompasses righteous vengeance, unprovoked violence and what happens to careless crims with loose lips. Yet it’s far from hopeless: among the mobsters, lowlives, hard luck…

The Corruption Of Chastity: erudite and entertaining

Frank Westworth’s ‘Killing Sisters’ and JJ Stoner stories aren’t books for kiddies or the over-sensitive. Equally, they aren’t crude, bloodthirsty, gratuitous modern versions of the penny dreadfuls of the distant past, or the pulp novels that came later. These are intelligently written plots, whether as short stories or these full length novels, written in a…

Stasi Child: too many plots

Just one or two of the multiple plot threads in this Cold War thriller, set in East Germany in the 1970s, could have created a gripping Iron Curtain conspiracy. The author obviously racked up heavy time with the history books and the text almost creaks at the seams with the strain of containing all the…