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review 2016-12-13 17:31
Crime Plus Music: Twenty Stories of Music-Themed Noir by Jim Fusilli
Crime Plus Music: The Sounds of Noir: An Anthology of Music-Based Noir - Jim Fusilli,Craig Johnson,David Liss,Val McDermid,Alison Gaylin,Reed Farrel Coleman,Brendan DuBois,Willy Vlautin,Peter Blauner,Naomi Rand,Mark Haskell Smith,Erica Wright,Gary Phillips,Peter Robinson,Galadrielle Allman,Zoë Sharp

Modern life seems to have a soundtrack for everything. Even crime.

CRIME + MUSIC: The Sounds of Noir, collects twenty darkly intense, music-related noir stories by world-renowned mystery authors Brendan DuBois, Alison Gaylin, Craig Johnson, David Liss, Val McDermid, Gary Phillips, Peter Robinson and, from the music world, Galadrielle Allman, author of Please Be With Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman and award-winning songwriter-novelist Willy Vlautin. Edited by novelist and Wall Street Journal rock and pop music critic Jim Fusilli.

The lively anthology’s chilling, sinister tales tap into the span of rock and pop history, ranging from Peter Blauner’s heart-wrenching “The Last Temptation of Frankie Lymon” to Fusilli’s “Boy Wonder,” set in the world of contemporary electronic dance music; from Naomi Rand’s “The Misfits,” a punk-rock revenge saga to Mark Haskell Smith’s menacingly comedic “1968 Pelham Blue SG Jr.”; from Reed Farrel Coleman’s study of a one-hit wonder, “Look at Me/Don’t Look at Me” to Erica Wright’s account of betrayal among minor talents in “A Place You’re Likely to Find”—and many more.


In the hands of these modern masters of mystery fiction, CRIME + MUSIC exposes the nasty side of the world of popular music, revealing it to be the perfect setting for noir.


*********
 
The biggest reason for me to reading this collection of short stories was that a story by Craig Johnson was included. Unfortunately, it was a story I had already read and not a favorite short story of mine. But, re-reading made me like it better this time. Many of the names in this book were unknown to me, besides Craig Johnson have I previous read books by Alison Gaylin, Val McDermid, and Peter Robinson. So, I was curious to see which stories would work for me. And, I'm really pleased to say that most of the stories in this book were good. Only one or two did not completely work for me, the rest was enjoyable to read.

The big drawback, for me, was so many of the stories was interesting, but I would have loved to read them as full-length novels instead. So many of them had potentials, but often I felt that because of the length did they not really have time to develop the story and its characters. However, what I really liked was that this collection has me a chance to discover several new authors that I want to read more from.

I want to mention some of my favorite stories in this collection. For instance, Played by Death by Bill Fitzhugh is one that I would love to see as a full-length book. A serial killer that stages the victim's death to evoke the title of a classic rock song. That's just awesome! Earworms by Zoe Sharp is also pretty cool. Torture through music, with a twist. Another one is The Last Temptation of Frankie Lymon by Peter Blaunder. This one does not really feel like a crime novella, but it's good. The kind of story when, despite being so short you start to care for the character and its characters. Finally The Blackbird by Peter Robinson. That story just grabbed my attention, so tragic, so good!

I want to thank Three Rooms Press for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss for an honest review!

Contributor Bio(s)

Jim Fusilli is the author of eight novels. He also serves as the rock and pop music critic of The Wall Street Journal and is the founder of ReNewMusic.net, a music website for grownups. He lives in New York City.

Craig Johnson is a award-winning, NY Times Bestselling author, best known for his Walt Longmire mystery series, which has garnered popular and critical acclaim, and was adapted for a TV series on A&E. He lives in Ucross, WY.

David Liss is a bestselling American novels and essayist, best known for his historical-mystery work including the Edgar Award-winning A Conspiracy of Paper, A Spectacle of Corruption, and The Whiskey Rebels. He lives in San Antonio.

Val McDermid is a Scottish crime writer, best known for a series of suspense novels featuring Dr. Tony Hill. She lives in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland.

Alison Gaylin is the author of the Edgar-nominated thriller Hide Your Eyes and its sequel, You Kill Me; the standalones Trashed and Heartless; and the Brenna Spector series:And She Was (winner of the Shamus Award), Into the Dark, and the Edgar-nominated Stay with Me. She lives in Woodstock, NY.
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review 2016-11-24 12:37
Quatre garçons dans la nuit (The Distant Echo) by Val McDermid
Quatre garçons dans la nuit - Val McDermid,Arthur Greenspan,Philippe Bonnet

Series: Inspector Karen Pirie #1

 

This book just felt long. We spent way too long in the 1970s when the original crime occurred, and it ended up feeling like wasted time because of the 25-year skip that happens almost 200 pages into it. Having finished the book, I can see why the author did it, but I had trouble getting over that feeling of wasted time. Yes, there were twists that I didn’t entirely see coming (although several key ones had occurred to me), but I spent a lot of my time rolling my eyes and thinking the characters were doing stupid things and not knowing where the author was going to force the text to go.  I’m not even particularly intrigued by Karen Pirie because she seemed as bad as the rest of them.

 

I’m not sure if my opinion would have been softened if I hadn’t read this in translation, but sometimes you just have to go with what’s available at the library. I suppose I did read to the end to find out who did it, so that’s something to say for it. I did have a hard time remembering who was who, real-name-wise, because they always went by their nicknames.

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review 2016-11-17 17:24
Out of Bounds (Karen Pirie) - Val McDermid

I sure would not want to mess with this detective. She's one smart lady and she tells it like it is. And I'm pretty sure she could hold her own in a fist fight. She sure knows how to handle her arsehole boss and just when to push the buttons she needs to push. That's all to say, I really, really like her.

Apparently, this is a series as it's book number 4 and this is first book I've read. I was thoroughly entertained and didn't seem lost because I hadn't read the other three. Although I believe I will have to now. I loved Inspector Pirie and want to read more!

The plot twists in this book and the fact that she got one over Noble (what a lazy guy) was great. As I said before entertaining, enjoyable, and I just could not put it down. She solved two 20 year old cases and one new one. Her assistant has a lot to learn, but I think he's starting to catch on.

Huge thanks to Grove Atlantic for approving my request and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2016-09-19 15:55
Mystery Square
The Skeleton Road Hardcover - December 2, 2014 - Val McDermid

This book works best when the focus is on Maggie. While I enjoy the fact that Karen is not the sterotypical good looking women as well as the fact that she has friends. I even liked the Mint, her less than sharp sidekick. But the book truly sings when the focus is on Maggie because Karen's plot points are slightly been there, done that.

The book is good and riveting, however. It is a good read and ride

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text 2016-09-10 22:41
Stirling

So, I really wanted to post about this last night but, as we know, BL was down.

 

I was in Stirling today to attend a few events at the Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival. I have never been before, so I thought I'd go and see what it's like. I mean, I am not a huge fan of general crime writing/thrillers but there are a few authors that interest me - and there was an event on spy thrillers which sounded rather good (and was actually!). The main reason I went, tho, was something else.

 

As you may have gathered, I have been on a little Val McDermid binge read over the last few weeks. I thoroughly enjoy her books (other than the Tony Hill series). However, that wasn't the only reason I was so keen to read a few more. A couple of the events I went to today included Val, and I needed to figure out which book I wanted signed.

 

 

In the end, I went for the only non-fiction one. (Yes, I just couldn't make up my mind on any of the fiction ones....)

 

 

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