The Last Five Books I’ve Read

Guardian of Lies Guardian of Lies-Steve Martini . Very good, Paul Madriani the Southern California defense attorney, defends Katia Solaz, a Costa Rican beauty facing a murder charge committed by Liquida, the Mexecutioner. Busy action involving escaped Guantánamo prisoners, a Colombian rebel base, a Mexican drug cartel and a plot to bring the war home to the Great Satan via a nuclear device. Fun use of tech devices by the FBI.

Rain Gods  A Novel (9781439128305)  James Lee Burke  Books.htm

Rain Gods-James Lee Burke . Enjoyed this one. Similar setting as No Country For Old Men but Burkes’ use of language and characters is so original and he had me writing musical scores as if it were a film. Jimmy Dean, Johnny Paycheck, Marty Robbins, Waylon and Willie tunes kept creeping into my mind. A young Iraqi war veteran and his girlfriend, who sings Carter Family Spirituals in honky tonks that made John Wesley Harden nervous,  find themselves on the run after a series of brutal murders in South West. Fortunately, Sheriff Hack Holland is on the case and back in a world he’d tried to leave behind so long ago.

Tempted By Trouble Tempted By Trouble-Eric Jerome Dickey. Hopefully you have read my review, but Eric has done it again with a story filled with themes from today, The price of love, the cost of morality. What would you pay for your self respect?  At once Noir Caper story with dashes of Road Story, Thriller, Love Story, Crime Novel and a Moral Tail, but as Eric recently told me, “I don’t work about the box. All I care about is the writing.” Tempted is bound to top all the best seller lists as Eric once again sets the bar awful high for anybody writing modern fiction.

Tokyo Year Zero

Tokyo Year Zero-David Peace. I hadn’t heard of David Peace or this novel, but as I was exiting a grocery store my volunteer driver wanted to buy a lottery ticket and parked me near the entrance and wouldn’t you know it, they had a bargain bin with books. Maybe there is a god. This is a darkly disturbing novel based on a real-life serial-killer case in post-WWII Japan. The despair of the “defeated” and the hate for the “victor” and the horror of how that war ended are the back drop . Inspector Minami of the Tokyo police walks a lot of tight ropes in this tale from the British author who lives in Japan and is a winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction. Minami is married and a father of two, is smart, tenacious and experienced; he’s also addicted to sedatives, keeps a mistress, is in the pocket of a local crime lord and not above sampling the wares of prostitutes he encounters while roaming the city at night.


Knots-Nuruddin Farah It’s easy to see why Nuruddin Farah’s name keeps getting mentioned as a likely recipient of a Nobel for Literature. This is a strange and compelling read that will haunt you. Somalia, is shown in all its war-ravaged sadness. Cambara is a young Somalian-born woman who has spent most of her life in Toronto. Through the carelessness of her husband and his mistress, Cambara’s son has drowned and she returns to her home to properly grieve. Once there, she attempts to wrest her family property from the warlords who seized it. Despite squalor, poverty, sexual depravity, petty meanness, and the constant threat of violence, Cambara and a small cadre of good people struggle against daunting odds and the story reminds us that home, even in a forgotten and forlorn place in the world, is still home. The story showcases the solidarity and civilizing influence women have, even in the direst circumstances imaginable. This is not a beach read. If you have any desire to explore the world and learn about hero’s that don’t drive fast cars and wear Jimmy Choos , it is a story not to be missed.

About DirtyLowdown
I was born in Pomona, California at a very young age. I had a pretty normal childhood…or I was a pretty normal child hood if mom is telling the story. I was a paperboy who always porched , usually on the subscribers porch. I washed cars and bussed tables which left me with a life time affliction of chapped lips. I was a soda fountain jock-jerk and a manic mechanic but my first real job was as a labor organizer in a maternity ward. Then, because of the misjudgment of a judge I spent nearly 10 years in the service of our country mostly on KP duty. Our country sure turns out a lot of dirty dishes. I am a past master at pots and pans. They eventually recognized my real talent and let me wander around some very unfriendly places carrying a big radio that didn’t work. Along the way I took up the bass guitar, jotting down stories, electronic engineering and earned a degree in advanced criminal activities. I spent most of my adult life, if you can call it that, working in the I.T. industry, which I was particularly suited for since we worked in rooms with no windows. On and off I taught in colleges, universities and reform schools as a student teacher… I like smog, traffic, kinky people, car trouble, noisy neighbors, and crowded seedy bars where I have been known to quote Raymond Chandler as pickup lines. I have always been a voracious reader, everything from the classics, to popular fiction, history to science but I have a special place in my heart for crime fiction, especially hard-boiled detective fiction and noir. I write a book and music review blog for all genres at The Dirty Lowdown and another dedicated to Crime Fiction and all things Noir called Crimeways. It’s named after the magazine that appeared in the Kenneth Fearing classic, The Big Clock. There I write scholarly reviews of the classic hard boiled, noir and crime fiction books from the 20's through today. Mostly I drool over the salacious pictures on the covers. I also write for Technorati/BlogCritics where I am part of a sinister cabal of superior writers.

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