Last month Grit-Lit was invited to attend Bouchercon (sounds like voucher) a huge gathering of mystery writers, fans and booksellers. Attending authors included: Lee Child, Lawrence Block, Val McDermid, Ace Atkins, Harlan Coben and an author new to us, Christa Faust (details below).
Bouchercon was a wonderful place for thrillers and hard-boiled pot-boilers. Your correspondent was floored by two things: that superstar authors are tremendously nice people and –vastly more important–that authors have groupies just like rock stars.
As a dedicated reader, you would have loved Bouchercon. Everywhere you looked there were thousands of people who would never think of leaving the house, taking a coffee break, lunching alone or going to bed without a good book.
It was a wonderful place to learn about the latest and greatest in macho thrillers. Here’s four.
“The Goliath Bone” by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (Harcourt Books, $23, 274 pages, www.harcourtbooks.com.)
At one time Spillane had written 7 of the top 10 most popular books in the USA. When critics said it was “deplorable that his sordid, low brow novels dominated the top 10” Spillane is reported to have said, “shut up or I’ll write 3 more.”
Spillane had three chaotic, paper filled home offices. Each was used to write a different book. Prior to his recent death Spillane asked his close friend, Max Allan Collins, to complete the books he had underway. Collins reports that there are 5 – 6 (and maybe more) almost completed manuscripts. So Mike Hammer will live on for a number of years.
“The Goliath Bone” is Mike Hammer at his best. Fast paced and sarcastic. With a full serving of sexy dames and hot lead.
“Money Shot” by Christa Faust (Hard Chase Crime, $6.99, 250 pages,)
Christa Faust is the author of numerous crime and horror novels. She has also worked as a filmmaker, a model and a Times Square peep show girl. In “Money Shot” Faust does her best to re-create the “Mike Hammer” feel.
Here’s a sample: “Before she knew it, she’d been shot and left for dead in the trunk of a car. But Angel is a survivor. And that means she’ll get to the bottom of what’s been done to her even if she has to leave a trail of bodies along the way…” Not for the faint of heart, Angel Dare, Faust’s heroine is a former porn star so gritty sex and action is the norm.
Faust’s publisher, Hard Case Crime is publishes the best hard-boiled crime fiction from lost pulp classics to new work by today’s most powerful writers. All in affordable paperback editions. “Money Shot” certainly meets their goal.
“Swan Peak” by James Lee Burke (Simon & Schuster, $25.95, 402 pages, www.simonsays.com
Last week I went to a bookstore to help a friend pick out some books. Dozens of people asked if I’d recommend authors they might like. Over and over I was asked, “I love James Lee Burke. Is there anyone else who writes like him?” The answer to that question is, “No one writes like James Lee Burke.” The good news is Burke’s just written a great new novel, “Swan Peak.”
Here’s a sample:
“He put an unlit cigarette in his mouth. I removed it and flipped it out into the dirt.”
“Why to do that?” He said.
“Because you don’t know how to take care of yourself. Because you’re unteachable.”
“You’ll never change.”
“I won’t change?”
“You got an anvil for a head, Dave. Everybody knows that except you. If it weren’t for me, your life would be a mess. I have to screw up for both of us. It’s a big job.”
“Try to argue with a mindset like that.”
“Swan Peak” is the latest in the Dave Robicheaux series and is filled with the writing and observations-of-life that maker Burke one-of-a-kind.
“Rough Weather” by Robert B. Parker (Hard Chase Crime, $26.95, 294 pages, www.robertbparker.net)
Spenser and Hawk are back. Along with Spenser’s significant other, Susan, they continue doing the same old thing the same old way. “Rough Weather” is as entertaining as Parker’s ever been.