“Bolero” A Nick Slayer Novel by Joanie McDonell, “Ex-Heroes” by Peter Clines, “The Leviathan Effect” James Lilliefors, “The Lawyer’s Lawyer” James Sheehan, and “Dead Last” James W. Hall

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Five great books this month. It is a great time to be a reader!


“Bolero” A Nick Slayer Novel by Joanie McDonell (Thomas & Mercer, $14.95, 406 pages, trade paperback.)

McDonell’s debut novel is a “lightning fast read, a thriller that races to a surprising conclusion. Great characters, great story.” And that’s a quote from bestselling author Stuart Woods who ought to know.

Fans of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer series will likely find Bolero comfortable territory. “Bolero” fits soundly in the hard drinking private eye category. Nick Sayler lives on a Hudson River barge along with his team: a brilliant savant, a wealthy, retired psychiatrist and a beautiful Creole girl. Sayler dips into his notorious past to rescue a ballerina with no name who turned up in emergency with nothing but his card.

Darn good fun for the money.


“Ex-Heroes” by Peter Clines (Broadway Paperbacks, $14.00, 330 pages, trade paperback.) www.facebook.com/PeterClines

Misjudged this book by its cover. Thought I’d hate it. It looked like a graphic novel. Which to me is nothing more than a fifteen dollar comic book. Worse, it looks Sci-Fi’ish and I’m not a fan of that stuff at all. Even worse, there are zombies. And I hate zombies.

But then I read the first page.

“Katie had been on the walls of the Mount for two hours, leaning against the Earth, when St. George dropped out of the sky wearing a leather flight jacket.

She held out a fist without looking up and rapped his knuckles against hers. They didn’t speak for six minutes, and she used the time to finish cleaning her rifle. Half the reason she volunteered for the walls was so she didn’t’ have to talk to people, and he knew it…”

Unusual super heroes – Stealth, Gorgon, Regenerator, Cerberus, Zzzap, The Might Dragon – take on a post dystopian world (yeah I had to look it up, too – it means, kinda sorta a fictional post-apocalyptic society. Wikipedia says “the opposite of utopia”—out thinking and out super heroeing the zombies and bad guys running around outside their little piece of non-heaven.

The Leviathan Effect

“The Leviathan Effect” James Lilliefors (Soho Press, $25.95, 352 pages, hard cover.) www.JamesLilliefors.com

An infamous, talented hacker, Janus, sends Homeland Security Secretary Catherine Blaine, the President and his advisors, a series of emails correctly predicting natural disasters around the world and claiming that the tsunami, hurricane and dozens of earthquakes were manmade. Janus says he isn’t the one responsible, just the messenger for the organization causing massive deaths around the world. People who want big bucks from the US Government. And if we don’t pay up, natural disasters will destroy most of the east coast.

Scary has heck. And entirely too plausible.

The Lawyer’s Lawyer

“The Lawyer’s Lawyer” James Sheehan (Center Street, $24.99, 416 pages, hard cover.) www.jamessheehanauthor.com

Generally, Grit-Lit hates legal thrillers. To our way of thinking there isn’t anything thrilling about the legal system. But Sheehan’s Jack Tobin is an exception. Once “the lawyer’s lawyer” the guy the best lawyers would want to represent them if they got caught, Tobin’s retired to a small Florida town and now only represents people he believes are innocent.

Tobin takes on a very unpopular case. A serial killer he believes was railroaded. Pitted against the elite of Apache County, local citizens and the woman he loves, the fight takes him down a long road. A road filled with self-searching and despair (there has to be self-searching and despair – it is a legal thriller after all).

Dead Last

“Dead Last” James W. Hall (Minotaur Books, $14.99, 326 pages, trade paper.) www.JamesHall.com

A new Thorn novel only comes around every couple of years. And it has been too long since his last visit. For those who haven’t met him, Thorn, is a reclusive guy who makes his living, when he feels it necessary, tying fly fishing ties and righting wrongs because he’s driven to do it.

Thorn’s generally unlucky in love. Meaning he seems to have a serious relationship most of the time, but it always ends in either an emotionally devastating break-up or the poor woman’s death.

In “Dead,” a serial killer crosses Thorn’s path and he has no choice but to leave his Key Largo digs and join forces with a young policewoman who is investigating a string of murders.

Vintage Thorn, well worth pulling that well worn, well protected twenty out of your wallet.

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