Wednesday, March 6, 2019


William Boyle's latest book might also be his most accessible, with a tone that's pretty different from his two previous novels. While it's set mostly in the same outskirts of Brooklyn where the other books take place and it's just as offbeat, this one is filled to the gills with quirk, witty comedy, and hope; a bit of a departure from the earlier crime downers and melancholy character pieces. It tells the story of a mob widow, an ex-pornstar, a precocious teen girl, a mid-level gangster, and an 80-year-old Viagra-popping pervert, bouncing off each other as they flee the wrath of a psycho hitman armed with a sledgehammer.

It's fun, suspenseful, and delightfully oddball, What few action scenes there are never go quite the way you expect. The chapter in the first third where all of our characters collide in the Bronx is one of the best chapters of any book I've read in a long while! It's well-written with absorbing characters, but Boyle does show a constant issue with narrative momentum as he's always interrupting the flow of the story at the worst moments just for the characters to reminisce. It always helped to learn more about these characters ut I wish it was done with a bit more finesse. But I had a great time reading this one. It's a tale of how friendship can be found in the most unlikely places, and how all you need is the right people around you in order to discover who you really are.

*Advanced Copy provided through Netgalley for an honest review*


Friday, March 1, 2019

STUMPTOWN VOL. 1 by Greg Rucka

Greg Rucka crafts a really commendable hard-boiled mystery that checks off all of the right boxes. It's got twists, turns, reveals, fist-fights, a missing girl, good dialogue, and most importantly, a memorable protagonist. That detective here is Dexedrine "Dex" Parios, a private dick with a gambling problem, who agrees to find the missing daughter of the local casino owner in order to get out of mounting craps debt. Thus begins "The Case of the Girl who Took Her Shampoo But Left Her Mini."

Rucka is well-known for creating memorable female characters, and Dex is definitely someone that I would rush out to read more about. She's smart and tough but she's constantly unlucky and prone making bad decisions, and is always getting her ass beat down for some reason or another. And with her, there's no need for much backstory. We learn all we need to know from her determination to find answers, her bravery in the face of danger, the way she interacts with her brother Ansel with Down Syndrome or the way that she interacts with the police chief she had an affair with. Rucka shows how much info you can get across with a few well-placed bits of dialogue. And Matthew Southworth's art could've been a little more refined but definitely fits. This was a good one, buying the next!