Second Term

Crime Fiction: Second Term by J.M. Adams

October 10, 2023 admin 1

This week it all feels a little on the nose, but this is early days in J.M. Adams’ career as a novelist. The ground covered in Second Term will feel less jolting in due course. This is the good stuff, even though the timing might be either not terrific or too terrific, depending on your perspective. It is September 2012. Cora Walker, a DIA defense operative, discovers a terrorist plot in Benghazi and jumps into […]

Crime Fiction: The Second Murderer
by Denise Mina

August 1, 2023 J. Kingston Pierce 0

Scottish crime-fictionist Denise Mina has demonstrated her versatility in recent years with modern fictional takes on historical dramas (Rizzio, Three Fires). In the vivid, crisply penned new tale, The Second Murderer (Pegasus Crime), she stretches her muscles still further, dispatching Raymond Chandler’s solitary Los Angeles gumshoe, Philip Marlowe, in search of Chrissie Montgomery, a naïve 22-year-old heiress gone missing after her engagement party. Marlowe suspects Chrissie’s repugnant father—who comes from money “so old there was […]

Crime Fiction: Unnatural Ends
by Christopher Huang

July 24, 2023 J. Kingston Pierce 0

Christopher Huang’s twisty new whodunit, Unnatural Ends (Inkshares), should make you feel better about your own upbringing, no matter how wretched it seemed. It’s 1921, and Sir Lawrence Linwood has been bludgeoned to death in the study of his Yorkshire manse, likely by someone he knew. His three adopted, adult, and successful children—Alan, Roger, and Caroline—return home for the funeral, only to learn of a peculiar clause in their pater’s will: the one of them […]

Crime Fiction: All the Sinners Bleed
by S.A. Cosby

June 9, 2023 J. Kingston Pierce 0

Cosby’s rise through the crime fiction firmament has been meteoric. Three years ago, he was virtually unknown, working for his wife’s Virginia funeral parlor and dreaming of literary notice. Now, after two award-winning releases — Blacktop Wasteland and Razorblade Tears — he’s just a couple of rooms shy of being a household name, his prose celebrated for its poetic undertones, the endemic violence of his plots accepted as essential to portraying the bigotry that still plagues Southern rural […]

Long Lost James M. Cain Story Published in Strand Magazine

May 30, 2023 admin 0

Decades after it was put away with his other papers in the Library of Congress, James M. Cain’s short story “Blackmail” has finally been published. Cain was known for his gritty noir settings in novels such as Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice. The author has had more modern adaptations of his work than any noir author and has been cited as a formative influence on modern writers such as Michael Connelly, Laura Lippman, […]

Crime Fiction: Bloody Martini
by William Kotzwinkle

March 13, 2023 J. Kingston Pierce 0

(Editor’s note: This review comes from Steven Nester, host of Poets of the Tabloid Murder, a weekly Internet radio show heard on the Public Radio Exchange [PRX]. Nester is also a New York-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Rap Sheet, Mystery Scene and Firsts Magazine. He last wrote for January Magazine about Wallace Johnson’s 2018 non-fiction book, The Feather Thief.) American writer William Kotzwinkle won plentiful praise for his wryly humorous 2021 […]

Crime Fiction: Spillane: King of Pulp Fiction by Max Allan Collins and James L. Traylor

February 16, 2023 J. Kingston Pierce 0

“The chewing gum of American literature” is how crime novelist Mickey Spillane described his books, which typically blended eye-for-an-eye justice with risqué innuendos and granite-chinned philosophizing (“Too many times naked women and death walked side by side”). And boy, did readers eat up his fiction, making his first Mike Hammer private-eye yarn, 1947’s I, the Jury, into a best-seller that spawned a dozen sequels and turned its protagonist into a radio, film, and TV fixture. […]

Crime Fiction: The Bigger They Come
by Erle Stanley Gardner

October 4, 2022 J. Kingston Pierce 0

(Author’s note: I originally wrote this review of Erle Stanley Gardner’s wonderful 1939 novel The Bigger They Come for The Rap Sheet back in 2009. I’m reposting it here today, because that novel has just been re-released via Otto Penzler’s American Mystery Classics imprint. The Bigger They Come is a classic that every Gardner fan — and many more of today’s crime-fiction readers — should enjoy.) 2009 is shaping up to be a year in […]

This Just In: God’s Ponzi by Robert Buschel

July 25, 2022 News Editor 0

Gregory Portent demands revenge. Revenge is best served cold when the prey begs to be the target. With his skills and charisma he lures them in easily, using an investment bank to launch a Ponzi scheme. Gregory Portent has one advantage—artificial intelligence. At a critical point, he loses his way. A “black swan” event follows and the Ponzi scheme borders on the brink of collapse. It’s not about revenge anymore; it’s about survival. Greedy lawyers, […]

This Just In… Rook by Stephen G Eoannou

June 21, 2022 News Editor 0

Rook is based on the true story of Al Nussbaum. To his unsuspecting wife, Lolly, Al is a loving, chess playing, family man. To J. Edgar Hoover, he is the most cunning fugitive alive. Al is the mastermind behind a string of east coast robberies that has stumped law enforcement. After his partner, one-eyed Bobby Wilcoxson, kills a bank guard and wounds a New York City patrolman, Al is identified as one of the robbers […]