George V. Reilly

Review: Skinny Dip

Title: Skinny Dip
Author: Carl Hiaasen
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Warner
Copyright: 2004
Pages: 496
Keywords: humor, crime
Reading period: 18–19 February, 2017

Joey Perrone is very surprised to find herself thrown off a cruise ship on her second wedding an­niver­sary. After a night of swimming, she washes up on a small Florida island in the company of a pre­ma­ture­ly retired in­ves­ti­ga­tor. Joey persuades Mick Stranahan not to report the attempted murder, but instead to in­ves­ti­gate and torment her worthless husband, Chaz, who turns out to be a biostitute for a major polluter of the Everglades, as well as a relentless pussyhound, an inept killer, and an all-round shitheel.

Hiaasen has a lot continue.

Review: Boiling Point

Title: Boiling Point
Author: Frank Lean
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Arrow
Copyright: 2000
Pages: 432
Keywords: crime, UK
Reading period: 2–5 January, 2017

Dave Cunane is Man­ches­ter's mouthiest PI. He gets tangled up with the wild daughter-in-law of the crooked Carlyle family. Marti wants him to prove the innocence of her father who's doing life for killing a cop. She doesn't go over well with Dave's own half-crazy girlfriend. Neither the Carlyles nor Dave's ex-police father want Vince King freed. It's not going to end well.

Review: Watch Your Back!

Title: Watch Your Back!
Author: Donald E. Westlake
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Warner
Copyright: 2005
Pages: 345
Keywords: crime, humor
Reading period: 9 January, 2017

Watch Your Back! is one of the last Dortmunder novels, Westlake's comic series about an unlucky crook published between 1970 and 2008. Dortmunder and his crew have a sweet lead on an unoccupied penthouse apartment, but their usual planning space, the O.J. Bar & Grill, has been turned into a bust-out joint by the Jersey mob. So now they have two jobs to pull: rob the obnoxious rich guy's art and save the O.J. Of course, com­pli­ca­tions arise because nothing ever goes to plan in a Dortmunder book.


Review: Basket Case

Title: Basket Case
Author: Carl Hiaasen
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Copyright: 2002
Pages: 336
Keywords: crime, humor
Reading period: 28–31 December, 2016

Basket Case, like most of Hiaasen's novels, is a humorous crime caper set in Florida. Quick-witted but neurotic reporter Jack Tagger has been exiled to the obituary department for mouthing off too often. When Jimmy Stoma, lead singer of the Slut Puppies, dies in an apparent accident, Tagger senses a potential story and a chance for a comeback. But he has to get the story before it gets taken away from him.

Hiaasen, himself a journalist, also uses the novel to explore journalism as a career and to continue.

Review: In For The Kill

Title: In For The Kill
Author: John Lutz
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Pinnacle
Copyright: 2007
Pages: 477
Keywords: thriller
Reading period: 20 Aug–3 Sep, 2016

The “Butcher” is leaving dis­mem­bered corpses of women all over New York City and he seems to want to get Frank Quinn's goat. Quinn is a former police captain, who's been called back from retirement along with two of his former team members, Pearl, his ex-girlfriend, and the slovenly Fedderman. The “Butcher” is brilliant and the body count is climbing.

While the book is properly sus­pense­ful, I couldn't suspend my disbelief at the notion that the NYPD would have little more than Quinn's tiny team working on such a continue.

Review: Death on Ibiza

Title: Death on Ibiza
Author: Katja Piel
Rating: ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Copyright: 2015
Pages: 195
Keywords: crime
Reading period: 11 June, 2016

Nick Behrends wakes up after a party at a drug dealer's house on Ibiza with a gun in his hand, no memory of the last few hours, and a roomful of dead people. He goes on the run, and soon encounters a Russian hitman who's looking for his abducted 12-year-old daughter.

Pre­dictable plot, cardboard characters.

Review: The Simple Art of Murder

Title: The Simple Art of Murder
Author: Raymond Chandler
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Ballantine
Copyright: 1950
Pages: 216
Keywords: crime, criticism
Reading period: 3–10 June, 2016

The Simple Art of Murder comprises the essay of the same name and four early non–Philip Marlowe stories (in some editions, there are eight stories). The essay is jus­ti­fi­ably famous and worth reading; the stories are of middling quality.

All are available online: The Simple Art of Murder Essay, Spanish Blood, I'll be Waiting, The King in Yellow, and Pearls are a Nuisance.

In the essay, Chandler takes aim at the sterile con­fec­tions of deduction that comprised most detective fiction written in the 1920s and 1930s, which “do continue.

Review: Jimmy the Kid (audiobook)

Title: Jimmy the Kid
Author: Donald E. Westlake
Narrator: Brian Holsopple
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Highbridge
Copyright: 1974
Keywords: crime, humor
Listening period: 27–31 May, 2016

I rarely listen to audiobooks, except on long driving trips. We listened to another Dortmunder book on our drive down to and back from Portland for PyCon.

Dort­munder's jinxed associate Andy Kelp spends a few days in jail and reads a book called Child Heist by Richard Stark, which Kelp believes to be the blueprint for a perfect crime. Dortmunder, always wary of Kelp's schemes, doesn't appreciate having a plan brought to him, since he's always been the planner of the crew. Some of the crew aren't continue.

Review: Let's Hear It For The Deaf Man

Title: Let's Hear It For The Deaf Man
Author: Ed McBain
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Copyright: 1972
Pages: 229
Keywords: crime
Reading period: 30 April–6 May, 2016

It's Spring and crime is heating up in the 87th Precinct. A hippie has been found crucified, a cat burglar is leaving kittens at the scene of the crime, and the Deaf Man is taunting the detectives again, sending them clues of his upcoming crime. We see blackly humorous slices of life in the big city as the cops work their cases.

Review: Trap Line

Title: Trap Line
Author: Carl Hiaasen & Bill Montalbano
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Open Road Media
Copyright: 1982
Pages: 224
Keywords: crime
Reading period: 10–17 March, 2016

The drug smugglers who bring their mer­chan­dise in through the Florida Keys need some local expertise and decide that Breeze Albury is their man. Although he has no desire to be involved, they force him to take part. When they need a convenient fall guy and set him up, he turns on The Machine and on the corrupt local cops. Revenge is sweet.

Although it's set in Florida, this early Hiaasen novel lacks the humor of his more famous books. Still, Breeze is an engaging character and continue.

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