Revenge Is A Red Head

 

Rating: 4/5 

I am running out of space for physical books, I own everything Hard Case Crime has put out: everything by Chuck Palahniuk, Chandler and for some reason most of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter novels, to name a few of my eclectic collection.

So to save space and money (in most cases) I went out and purchased myself a kindle. Amazon’s algorithm counting every hard boiled novel, decided to present Revenge Is A RedRevenge is a Redhead by [Beloin Jr., Phil] Head as a “You Might like this, PS we are not spying on you” recommendation.

Less than an English £1 and 93 pages long I thought what can go wrong?

Phil Beloin Jr didn’t was a word on the page, pacing his story with edgy dialogue, action and just a bit of smut. The story follows, down on his luck Rich son of a cop, who  finds himself with out a home and part-time professional clothes remover and lady of the night Cherry Pop. Who meet at a “Gentlemen’s club” Rich has less than 75 cents in his pocket. Cherry takes a shine to him.

what happens next would somewhat spoil the plot so we will skip over that. Someone is wronged and revenge is sort.

Beloin creates two likable characters, who engage the reader and in the end you want to root for our duo even when they are slashing, shooting or beating people to death and in sometime even sleeping with them to death. According to Cherry it is not a bad way to after all the the french have a word for it.

if you like short punchy reads, good characters and modern noir then Revenge Is A Red is for you, if you liked Money Shot by Christa Faust then it is a must.

 

 

 

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Grifter’s Game (Lawrence Block)

Rating 4/5

Grifter’s Game previously published as Mona cements my love of the noir genre, indeed Grifter's Gamethree out the last four books I have read have all fallen in to noir, if you look at my good reads profile (Markdini) you may notice a string noir novels to be read. So not only is The Hard Case Crime books a must for me there are a must for fans of detective fiction from the 1940’s up to the present day. I will go one further and name the out the last four book I have read including Grifter’s Game have all be from the Hard Case Crime label the moving tale of loss and the only Stephen King book I have enjoyed Joyland, The story of ex porn star come femme-fatale Angel Dare in Money Shot which is a solid modern tale of mobsters, the porn industry and money.

Exploring the femme-fatale theme Block’s Grifter’s game follows likable con man Joe Marlin, who hops from hotel to hotel stealing and grifting his way through life. Until he “borrows” the wrong mans suitcases. What’s more there is dame who is to Joe but will Joe do what is needed to keep Mona?

Block is a master of his genre Grifter’s Game is example of noir from the 60’s that holds well now. Joe Marlin develops through out the book and when the ending comes although you may not agree with Marlin you can understand how he got there. Block’s character development and story arc is tight the book weighs in at a mere 200 pages. Block writes with a rhythm akin to Elroy, in fact Block is somewhat darker than Elroy in places.

At he heart of Grifter’s Game is how far would a man go for love? And how far would someone go to be free? Despite it’s brevity Grifter’s game incorporates more in to it’s pages than most stories double the length can muster, a true testament to Block’s writing.

March Reading Retrospective

In March I blazed my way through 7 books, I was lucky as 6 of them were good reads. Here’s how I got on;

        Station Eleven 

Product DetailsThe first book I picked-up in March was Emily St-John Mandel’s excellent take on a post apocalyptic. fusing a sense of wonder and lost together for a world without society, electricity or modern trappings. Each character joins the dots to brilliant 3rd act

Station Eleven

 

The Girl With All The Gifts 

Product DetailsNext it was M.R Carey’s fantastic take on the Zombie story. Like Mandel’s Station Eleven above it focuses on the a post apocalyptic world and  a group of survivors with a small zombie
child in tow

The Girl With All The Gifts

 

The Troop

Product DetailsNext up to bat was Nick Cutter’s The Troop, a cross between Lord Of The Flies and Slither. unfortunately for me this fell flat. unlikable characters and it had a feel of being done before.

The Troop 

 

 

The Name Of The Wind

Product Details

Time for some high fantasy in Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name Of The wind. Losses it pace in  the middle but beginning and ending more than make up for it. Even if the main character is annoyingly perfect.

The Name Of The Wind

 

The Moving Target

Product DetailsTime to get hard boiled in Ross MacDonald’s Moving Target. Introducing Lew Archer investigating his first case. Money, kidnap and religious cults are all used in this classic noir story.

The Moving Target

Fight Club

Product DetailsChuck Palahniuck’s debut novel, left it’s mark on culture and had everyone quoting from it. A social commentary of the 90’s that still stands 20 years latter.

Fight Club A book review

 

Titanic Thompson

Product DetailsLast up was Kevin Cook’s treatment of Titanic Thompson’s life. Profiling the highs and lows of the the greatest conman of the 20th of century. In one with a pass interest in hustling, conmen, golf or even American folk heroes.

Titanic Thompson

 

 

And there you have it not a bad month for reading, six solid books and one that fell flat percentage wise that is good odd as Titanic Thompson would say.

The Girl With All The Gifts

A Book Review 

The Horror director Joe Dante (Gremlins) once said if you wanted gauge a measure of decade then look at the Horror films they made at time, or words to that effect. Zombies are every where at the moment , TV , books , video games and even Lego had some Zombies.

M.R Carey embraces the zombie Zeitgeist. In his novel The Girl with all the gifts. Although they aren’t not called zombies no they are called hungries. And they are stalking the home counties like a an accountant that can no longer afford London.

Carey has taken the zombie in popular culture and melded something rather special from it. One part walking dead (I am not a fan of), one part Romero’s Day of the dead and one part the last of us (one of the most emotionally charged video games made – also with a zombie premiss). With a touch of 28 days later.

Carey’s main theme centres around the arcing story between teacher Helen Justineau and Melanie the aforementioned Girl with all the gifts. From student and teacher on a post collapsed military base but Melanie isn’t a normal child. Sub-plotted with Melanie’s relationship with Sargent Parks and Dr Caldwell. There are others but for me the relationship between these three are the stand out for me.

The story becomes classic Zombie/post apocalyptic fair. A military trying to hold to what they know, relationships between a group of people who would normally avoid each other down the local pub, A Dr needing to know more and the typical gang of outcast and survivalist know as junkers (think Mad Max beyond the thunder dome).

Carey uses the normal plot device of moving his characters from one safe location to another, along the lines of the walking dead and he could have easily fallen in to that territory, but manages to keep the pacing to the point where the reader wants the gang to move on and finally reach that safe place.

Although a number of the familiar plot devices and stereotypes are there which in hindsight could have made this another Zombie story. Carey manages to use these to his advantage both giving the reader a safe narrative and unfamiliar paths. Carey also writes his characters that the reader wants to route for them and are willing to forgive them for anything. Even when one admits to the murdering of a child.

The book excels in not only turning a familiar story around but it also explores relationships, love and the desire to survive when the chips are down.

The book resonated with me, but then that maybe I live near one of the areas mentioned in the story. I am looking forward to Carey’s next work.

C****ship

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Censorship offends me. It is ironic the very thing that is designed not to offend me offends me. The removal of the very thing that makes us human, ideas and putting them in to motion being removed is a construct that doesn’t sit well.

Here in the UK we had a shift in the 80s a moral crusade against horror films. In fact many films were banned some still are. Wes Craven’s master piece Last house on the left was banned in the UK in its uncut form until 2008. The UK…the country that had the last great empire the country that had entered two wars in the middle east in the same decade had a film banned. Morality preached by censors but you could see soldiers on all sides of conflict missing limbs and being blow up.

Over 40 films banned in the UK due to a government’s mistrust of its people. Thinking they will go and rein-act the scenes they see on the screen. And if they did why ban the film? People who cause death by dangerous driving we don’t ban cars there is no public out cry against car makers. No we take the person who has killed and put them in prison.

No wars have ever been fought over a movie. But we take the bible and 100s of wars, crimes and acts of violence have. Have we banned the bible? No. 1000s of people die due to what is contained in the pages every year they die. Unspeakable acts of evil are carried out because of it every day. Yet still it is available in schools, hospitals , hotels and libraries for free. If we take the moral high ground over one we must take it over the other.

There is a view that shielding the public from violent games and films is for their protection. But books aren’t held up to such scrutiny. And do you know why? Because of this lofty ideal and damn right insulating view : that people who read are intelligent enough to separate fact from fiction. Yet again most people who are serial killer we read about or see in the press are highly intelligent avid readers. After all Mark Chapman had a copy of catcher in the rye in his pocket when he Shot Lennon. Certain things are banned for good reason, but things where no one gets hurt and it is all above board? Is that just?

Censorship now days, removes knowledge. You remove knowledge you remove reason, and questioning. Remove them we end up as mindless drones falling in line and watching what ever sanitised nonsense they put on tv.

Taking offence is a hobby now days taken up by pseudo left wingers and right wingers. We could run it as democracy if you are offended by something I like then we can ban that but so longs there is something you like I find offensive I can have that banned too . I’ve got the right to call you a cunt and you got the right to call me a cunt . Sure you can not like it and same goes for me but if you want to take that right away in the 21st century after all the progress we have made for good in the most. If you want to remove my right to say it then quite frankly you are a cunt.

Read these books

It’s strange how in the 21st century after countless years of civilization that people still can not read. I am not talking about countries where they are savages like France for example but developed western cultures the UK , USA , Spain and other parts where one would assume people would be able to read.

I find it a tragic loss to humanity that great books that could sculpt people and help them build better societies or to question and reason. Don’t get read because people lack the skills for this to happen.

So here are 3 books that I have found that influenced me :

Catch : 22

The lunacy of war all contained in the pages. If every politician and kid in school was made to read this and understand it then there would be no war. Anti war protesters shouldn’t be marching on government buildings to protest but they should leave copies of this out side recruiting offices up and down the country and around the world.

1984

Orwell’s vision of security cameras everywhere and a totalitarian government over seeing it all. Well George wasn’t wrong when he wrote this was he? Orwell teaches us that freedom and free speech aren’t a god given right but it is something we must fight for and make governments fear the people and not the other way around.

The Elephant and the twig

A strange book for people who don’t do self help books. Written by martial arts veteran Geoff Thompson the book is full of sound advice about ceasing the day , not allowing fear to grip you and giving you the hard reality that some day you will die so make the most of it.

If you haven’t read any of these books I suggest you do. They will open your mind to questioning and reasoning and allow you start looking at the world in a different light.