Review of DON’T DARE A DAME by M. Ruth Myers

On M. Ruth Myers’ website, the author claims her books have “strong women–small guns–smart dialogue.”  And Don’t Dare a Dame, the third book in the Maggie Sullivan detective series, makes good on those claims.  And then some.

Set during the Depression Era in Dayton, Ohio, Don’t Dare a Dame starts off in classic P.I. form with Maggie Sullivan taking a seemingly dead-end case. The Vanhorn Sisters, two sweet spinsters, one of them blind, hire Maggie to look into the disappearance of their father, who vanished some quarter of century ago during the Great Flood of 1913.  The investigation immediately turns deadly when the Vanhorn’s stepfather–and Maggie’s chief suspect–commits suicide, and then she gets hauled before the Chief of Police for asking too many questions. From there, the pot really begins to boil as Maggie discovers that the Vanhorn sisters’ suspicions are justified: their father was, indeed, murdered; the only question is: who is the killer?  But before Maggie can identify the killer and bring justice to the Vanhorn’s, her P.I. license, her livelihood, and her life will be put at risk.

Myers definitely makes good on the “strong women” in this novel, especially the protagonist Maggie Sullivan.  Tough and pretty with a smart mouth and a strong moral compass, Sullivan is a “dame” a reader can root for.  This is the passage in chapter one that really sold me on this character when Sullivan takes a bully down:

I hated to persuade him, but Neal seemed like one of those guys who needed taking down a peg or two. I gave him a quick little kitten jab in the snoot. Not enough to break it, just enough to start blood gushing down to his chin and get his attention. . .’Don’t drip on the rug on your way out,’ I said.

Now that’s my kind of detective, but if you remain unconvinced of her toughness, here’s a great exchange between Sullivan and one of her operatives after she’s caught a beating herself:

“Holy smokes, Sis! Someone roughed you up bad.”

“Yeah, but I shot him,” I said to allay his dismay. ..

“Was it Cy Warren’s mugs did it?”

“Nah,” I lied. “Some girls have a fan club. The one they started for me is people lining up to break my nose.”

But it’s not only Sullivan’s toughness and sharp tongue that make this an enjoyable read. It’s also the setting. The descriptions of the area, the secondary characters and how they act, speak, and think, and the police procedural aspects of the novel: all of these elements are authentic and highly readable. And when you add those elements with a formidable lead character and a page-turning plot, it all adds up to a great mystery.

Maggie Sullivan is in the running for my favorite new P.I. series, and I’ve already downloaded Tough Cookie to my Kindle. Don’t Dare a Dame, which was recently named a finalist for the Shamus Award for Best Indie P.I. novel,has everything working for it. Go buy it. You will not be sorry.

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http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Dare-Maggie-Sullivan-mysteries-ebook/dp/B00GJQEGO0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404217688&sr=8-1&keywords=don%27t+dare+a+dame

 

 

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Review of THE SPARTAK TRIGGER by Bryce Allen

I love the voice in this novel, which is an addictive cross between Chuck Palahniuk and Mikey Spillane with a bit of spy-fi a la Ian Fleming thrown in for good measure. What this book does (and does well) is follow the classic structure of a detective/spy novel, plot twists and tough guy dialogue included, while simultaneously poking fun at those storied genres. There are insider jokes/familiar troupes on practically every page, and the author’s influences literally pop up and say, “Hello.” Usually, a writer will deliver jokes deadpan and only acknowledge his/her influences via author interview, but Allen calls attention to his in the actual narrative, which makes the book all the more comical and enjoyable. Too, this level of self-commentary adds a layer of depth to the narrative, making THE SPARTAK TRIGGER both a novel and, in its own way, criticism. . .and entertaining criticism at that.

But all English major stuff aside, this book does the most important thing a novel should do: it makes you want to turn pages; it draws you into its world and makes you want to stay there. Bottom line, that is my most fundamental requirement for fiction, and based on that, I highly recommend reading this one.

http://www.amazon.com/Spartak-Trigger-Bryce-Allen-ebook/dp/B00J27G8PI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403983764&sr=8-1&keywords=the+spartak+trigger

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Interview with Paul D. Marks, author of WHITE HEAT

Why do you write?

MARKS: I write so I can kill people…on the page that I can’t kill in real life……….. Seriously, why do I write – why does anyone write – because we have to.

When do you write?

MARKS: I keep “vampire hours,” so mostly I write in the middle of the night.  My sleep schedule has shifted over time.  I’ve always been a late-night person.  But that used to mean going to bed at 2 or 3 or 4am.  Now it means going to bed at 9am and getting up at three or four in the afternoon.  So I tend to write starting at about 11pm these days.  It’s quiet.  There’s no interruptions. And the nighttime sets the proper mood for most of what I write.

Where do you write?

MARKS: I write in my home office.  Sometimes I do it other places.  But my office has everything I need. I have a nice view. Pictures on the wall that inspire me. Mostly album covers and movie lobby cards, some other things. And, of course, my picture of Dennis Hopper flipping the bird from Easy Rider. I also have access to my addictions, diet cherry Pepsi and Waiwera water.  Plus I have my assistants, my dogs and cats, to help out.

If I’m out and about in the world, coffee shop, beach, library, I get too distracted by what’s going on around me…but that can be fun.  Too much fun.  And you might think there would be distractions in the office, TV, phone and food.  But I’m pretty good at avoiding those.  What I’m not good at avoiding is the internet.  I love to research and it makes me feel like I’m working even when I’m not.

What do you write?

MARKS: I write mostly noir and mystery fiction, but sometimes mainstream and humor or satire. For example, my Shamus Award-Winning novel, White Heat, is a noir-mystery-thriller set in and during the “Rodney King” riots (see below for more details) and its sequel, Broken Windows (not yet published) is in the same vein.  I’ve had over 30 short stories published that run the gamut from noir to mainstream and satire, including several award winners.

How do you write?

MARKS: I put my ass in the chair, goof for a few minutes on the computer, doing whatever I want, and then I start in on one of my projects.  Doesn’t matter if I’m not in the mood – you get in the mood by doing it.  And even if it’s not going well, just write, stream-of-consciousness.  Hone it later.

Tell me about your previous books and where they can be found.

MARKS: White Heat and L.A. Late @ Night, a collection of five of my previously published short stories, can be found on Amazon in both paperback and e-versions, as well as other venues.  White Heat is my Shamus Award winning novel that Publishers Weekly calls a “taut crime yarn.”  It’s set during the “Rodney King Riots” of 1992 and is about a screwup P.I. who inadvertently leads a murderer to his prey and has to find the killer in order to make things right.  L.A. Late @ Night is a collection of 5 of my previously published short stories.  All set in L.A. and in genres ranging from noir to hardboiled to medium boiled. Lawrence Maddox, the reviewer in All Due Respect, Crime Fiction Magazine said this about that collection: “You could hate L.A. for the way it screws with the decent folk so deftly conveyed here, but you won’t be able to put this highly recommended collection down.”

Tell me what you’re currently working on.

MARKS: I’m working on a slew of projects.  The sequel to White Heat and another novel, this one a mystery set on the World War II homefront, are already done and sitting with an agent.  So I’m currently working on two stand-alone novellas.  One for a publisher of novellas and one for myself.  Both are mysteries, but one is more noir than the other. But the other is interesting because it’s set all in one location. But if I told you exactly what they were about, well, you know…  I’m also working on three different short stories, plus the blog I write for every other Friday (http://7criminalminds.blogspot.com/).  And I’m co-editing an anthology of mystery short stories from various writers called Coast to Coast: Murder from Sea to Shining Sea (that may or may not remain the final title), that includes several big name and award-winning mystery authors.  I’m definitely not wanting for things to occupy my time.

Tell me something funny.

MARKS: I write so I can kill people on the page that I can’t kill in real life………..  You gotta admit, that’s pretty funny….

Thanks for having me, Max!

 

Find Paul D. Marks at:

www.PaulDMarks.com
https://www.amazon.com/author/pauldmarks 
facebook: www.facebook.com/paul.d.marks
twitter: @PaulDMarks

blog: http://www.7criminalminds.blogspot.com/
blog: http://pauldmarks.blogspot.com/

http://www.amazon.com/White-Heat-P-I-Duke-Rogers-ebook/dp/B007SIR8QG

http://www.amazon.com/L-A-Late-Night-Mystery-Streets-ebook/dp/B00I9289HM

 

Paul D. Marks’ novel WHITE HEAT is a 2013 SHAMUS AWARD WINNER.  Publishers Weekly calls WHITE HEAT a “taut crime yarn.”  And Midwest Book Review says “WHITE HEAT is a riveting read of mystery, much recommended.”  Paul is also the author of over thirty published short stories in a variety of genres, including several award winners – and L.A. LATE @ NIGHT, a collection of five of his mystery and noir tales.  His story HOWLING AT THE MOON will be in an upcoming edition of Ellery Queen.  And he has the distinction, dubious though it might be, of being the last person to have shot a film on the fabled MGM backlot before it bit the dust to make way for condos.  According to Steven Bingen, one of the authors of the recent, well-received book MGM: Hollywood’s Greatest Backlot: “That 40 page chronological list I mentioned of films shot at the studio ends with his [Paul D. Marks’] name on it.”

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A SUNDAY IN ALPHABET LAND, my latest novel

I am 33,000 words into my new crime novel A SUNDAY IN ALPHABET LAND, and I am sneaking up on what I think will make for a killer ending. Similar to my Eli Sharpe books, this one features a “problem-solver” (a.k.a. detective) named the Rook, who is trying very hard to clean up Alphabet Land, a neighborhood that has gone to the dogs since the nuclear plant was decommissioned nine years prior.  Set in a fictitious town in South Carolina, Alphabet Land is blue-collar all the way, a neighborhood that has relied on the plant for employment for the past forty years, and when the novel begins, Alphabet Land is awash in drugs, violence, and crime, all of it controlled by a man named Luke Bump (a.k.a. villain).

This novel takes place during one Sunday, and it is action-packed, gritty, and totally noir.  It has guns and fights and cool, but scary settings where all the action takes place. I’m hoping to have this book finished within the next couple of weeks, and then I plan to submit it to agents before the summer is out. Hopefully, someone will be interested in it.

In the meantime, be on the lookout for the first book in the Eli Sharpe series entitled GO GO GATO. It’ll be released on August 1st. Click on the link below to pre-order.

http://www.amazon.com/Go-Gato-Max-Everhart/dp/1603819118/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1395937767&sr=8-2&keywords=go+go+gato

Or enter my Goodreads giveaway and win a signed copy.

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/88620-go-go-gato

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