To The Devil, My Regards – Anthony Neil Smith & Victor Gischler
Z.Z. DelPresto is a detective with a problem. He’s been caught by the cops with his hand on the knife that killed his jailbait girlfriend, who happens to be the daughter of the woman he’s been paid to snoop on. So begins a lot of trouble for this detective who’s more than a little crooked, trouble that means he’s going to have to work really hard to clear himself, particularly as the cops would be quite happy to see him take a fall…
Anthony Neil Smith and Victor Gischler’s thriller moves at a fast clip, which is a good thing considering it’s a novella. The prose is nice ‘n lean and DelPresto seems to be a bit of a conflicted bastard in the Billy Lafitte mode (another of Smith’s creations). It has plenty of incident, wraps itself up smartly and will keep you entertained. Recommended.
Bullets and Fire – Joe R. Lansdale
A short-story about a wannabe gang member who might not be all that he seems (won’t give away any more than that, don’t want to spoil things).
Fire and Bullets moves at astonishing pace in stripped back balls-to-the-wall prose. It’s awash with carnage, in fact the story begins with the protagonist breaking a young girl’s nose so that he can be initiated into a gang, and it barely pauses to stop for breath. Despite that, it still has a heart (even if it is somewhat bloodied). Don’t be surprised to find yourself missing your train or tube stop with this one, because it grabs you by the nuts and refuses to let go. Highly recommended.