Monday, July 29, 2019

HARD COLD WHISPER by Michael Hemmingson

There aren't many contemporary crime noir novels that attempt to recreate the manic intensity of the best classic pulp paperbacks and succeed quite as well as this one. It's about a Southern California process server who falls for a teenager and gets entangled in her plot to fast track her aunt's death and gain her inheritance, and it's written with direct prose that's full of mischief and a sly smirk. It's apparent that Hemmingson was having a ball seeing what dark turns this story would take as he wrote it, pushing our ill-fated protagonist deeper into a cursed nightmare, all for our sadistic entertainment. It's wicked, short, and swift, just like the best novels of the Gold Medal days, recalling the work of people like Gil Brewer and Harry Whittington.


Friday, July 19, 2019


This is yet another very affecting coming-of age I've read recently and it wears it's heart on it's sleeve like the best of them. I've been interested in reading Davidson's work for a while now and this was definitely a great place to start! I was constantly taken by the vivid, sensitive quality in his writing on every page. I wouldn't be surprised if this turns out to be semi-autobiographical because there's a really intimate, personal quality to the work, that lent to the bittersweet but romantic atmosphere that's important for the story. The book details half a year in the childhood of Jake Baker as he explores the lingering past in his Canadian town of Cataract City with his new best buddy and his eccentric uncle.

I surprisingly really enjoyed the aside's to the main character's present day work as a brain surgeon and how that related to and lent more insight to the book's main theme of the malleability of memory  and recollection.

Not only is it about childhood, loss of innocence, nostalgia, and growing up, it's also about regret, memory, and the emotional importance of storytelling. It's a quiet, but nonetheless romantic and affecting tale from a talented, promising author.
Reality never changes. Only our recollections of it do. Whenever a moment passes, we pass along with it into the realm of memory. And in that realm, geometries change. Contours shift, shades lighten, objectivities dissolve. Memory becomes what we need it to be.


Friday, July 12, 2019


Author Michael McBride is quickly becoming a creature horror writer I can really depend on, who never fails to provide tense, atmospheric, and well-paced, popcorn-ready tales of suspense that are easy to read and always satisfying. This is the sequel to his great novella Snowblind, a wintry monster tale that was also a great read. This sequel really works on it's own as it doesn't exactly follow-up on the events of the first book, but features all- new characters who get stuck in the remote Rockies during a search mission after they encounter something truly bloodthirsty in the snowed-in forest. This novella is short but somehow McBride finds the time to really develop compelling characters, especially the character of John Avery, who's desperate dedication to finding his missing girlfriend is potent, relatable, and sympathetic. This book is just as good as the first but can also be read as a total stand-alone.