Tag Archives: Noir

Book Review: Casey’s Last Chance – Fast Paced Noir Mystery

Casey's Last ChanceCasey’s Last Chance

By Joseph B. Atkins

Casey Eubanks has a job to do. It is distasteful, but this could be his last chance at getting a new start in life. If anyone needed a break, it was Casey, but if history holds, he will need nothing short of a miracle.

His only way out is to break the union organizers at a factory in Memphis. Easier said than done in 1960, wages are low and the factories are holding all the cards. Men and women work way too many hours a day with little or no breaks. Sweatshops are the norm, not the exception and the women in this particular shop are treated poorly no matter their age. Even pregnant women are expected to work long and painful hours or there are others in line waiting to take their place.

Casey sets up on a hill overlooking the rally, setting his rifle scope on the beautiful dame in charge. Ah, there is always a dame in a good noir, and Casey’s Last Chance is no exception. Ana Gadomska gave Casey every opportunity to kill her. Unbeknownst to her, she was the perfect target standing stock still in the crosshairs of his scope, but for reasons only known to him he did not pull the trigger.

That is when things go from bad to worse for the hitman. The local police were going to take him out, but lucky for him his is a better shot. When Gadomska and her bodyguard find out about the scheme and go after Casey, he ends up jumping from the frying pan into the fire by kidnapping her.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now Casey is back to where he started before he took the deal. But he has doubled is trouble. Not only does he have the original people after him but now he has the cops and the wealthy owner of the factory putting a bounty on his head.

Casey’s Last Chance is a perfect noir mystery. It is gritty, has rough characters and the main character is no angel. The writing style takes me back to the old Alfred Hitchcock Magazines I read as a very young girl. Even though his wings are tarnished, I was fond of Casey and pulled for him even in spite of his shortcomings as a person.

Atkins is currently teaching journalism at the University of Mississippi. He is a US Army Vietnam Veteran, a noted journalist and former congressional correspondent. He has written previously published short works of fiction and a non-fiction book entitled Covering for the Bosses: Labor and the Southern Press.

I highly recommend this book for fans of noir mysteries. It is complex, fast paced and true to the genre. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Atkin’s work.

 

Copyright © 2016 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

3 Comments

Filed under Book Review, debut novel, Mystery, Noir Mystery

Book Review: Cooler Than Blood – Hot New Novel by Robert Lane

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Cooler Than Blood

By Robert Lane

316 pages

Ex-military Jake Travis uses his covert op training to help people who need the services of a PI. One who doesn’t think twice about crossing the line – but only when necessary. His humor is as sharp as the knife he conceals, and he isn’t afraid to use either of them. When Susan Blake calls him, he ignores her at first. Not wanting to create any waves with his girlfriend Kathleen, he feels the less contact he has with a woman he felt attracted to, but successfully avoided intimacy with, the better off he will be. Until he finds out Susan’s teenage niece is missing.

Jenny Spencer, a recent high school graduate left Ohio without telling her mother and step-father.  She moved in with her Aunt Susan in Florida. Leaving home before a bad situation got worse; Jenny felt safe with her choice. Unfortunately a violent encounter with a man on a deserted beach quickly turned her world upside down again. Then she mysteriously disappeared.

The police are not concerned. She “ran away” once, so why worry about her now? That is Jake’s first response also. Until he finds out she left her cell phone behind. No teen would leave his or her phone for a few hours, much less run away without it.

Reluctantly Jake agrees to look for Jenny. He calls his partner, Garrett Demarcus to help with the case as well as a few of his other friends/partners that he worked with in the past.

Jenny’s trail isn’t easy to follow. It seems as though she is one step ahead of them. The question is; who actually has her? It could be a crazy drug selling family from Ohio. It could also be mobsters with ties to Chicago. It could be someone from her past or maybe she just ran away like the indifferent detective on the case believes. Jake needs to find her before she outlives her usefulness.

In a strange turn of events, Jake finds out a dangerous person in Kathleen’s past may be connected to this case. He has to figure out how to find the teen without dragging his personal life into the case. Balance is difficult for most people, but Jake’s failure to keep work and home life separate could prove deadly.

Lane’s work is beautifully literary, with a healthy side dish of noir. The blending of two seemingly unrelated styles is perfectly crafted to create a work of art you will savor to the last page. His characters have relatable flaws and quirks both good and bad, masterfully breathing life into them. Lane’s descriptions and dialog pull the reader into Jake’s world and don’t let go until Jenny is found.

The second book in Robert Lane’s Jake Travis works well as a stand-alone novel, but you may want to read the first in the series, The Second Letter before Cooler Than Blood. I read it last year and couldn’t wait to hear more from Lane (read my review here: https://lauramhartman.wordpress.com/2014/05/03/book-review-the-second-letter-by-robert-lane/). There are a few references to his first book, but I don’t feel it would be confusing if you have not read it.

Read them both – you are going to love this author’s work.

Copyright © 2015 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

4 Comments

Filed under Book Review, Mystery