Monday, February 26, 2024



(Levon Cade Book Seven)

By Chuck Dixon

Rough Edge Press

227 pgs


Happily, this reviewer, with this book, has filled in the gaps and will now be able to catch up with the series as they move forward. With “Levon’s Time,” we pick up Cade after his rescue mission back in Iraq and finds him slowly attempting to slip out of the region among refugees and get back to the states. Unfortunately his noble intervention in saving a young teenage girl from being raped by a Turkish government agent lands him in a hellish Turkish prison. Posing as a Canadian national, Cade does his best to stay alive while methodically assessing his next move to escape.

Meanwhile back in Alabama, his daughter Merry has run into her own threatening situation when she, and a friend, rescue a young Colombian girl being held prisoner by thugs belong to a Mexican drug cartel. Dixon’s ploy in weaving us back and forth between Cade’s violent struggles and his daughter’s cunning confrontation with sex traffickers is masterful in keeping the suspense and pacing of the book at high speed.  

We absolutely love this series and recommend it highly. In a world too often dark and depressing, where good is bad and vice versa, having heroes like Cades is medicine for the soul.


Tuesday, February 20, 2024




By Jack Clark

Hard Case Crime

218 pgs


Eddie Miles is a world weary Chicago taxi-cab driver. He’s divorced; his ex-wife packed her bag and moved away taking his daughter with her. He has no clue where she went. Whatever dreams Eddie had have long ago evaporated and his life is driving through the great Windy City in an endless circle all night long ferrying other lost souls.


When one of Eddie’s oldest friends, a veteran cabbie, is shot and killed, he can’t help but take it personally. Though unaware of his own lack of police skills, Eddie starts becoming super attuned to not only his passengers, but the would-be fares throughout the next few nights. All the while wondering if one of them could be the killer. Because of this heighten awareness, he ends up saving the life a badly cut up teenage prostitute who then calls him her angel. 

Clark’s depiction of Chicago today is one of stark, merciless brutality and the world Eddie and his fellow hacks inhabit is reminiscent on Milton’s nine levels hell. This is a non-forgiving book about people who have given up struggling to hold on what little humanity is left to them. A remarkable achievement in noir fiction.

Saturday, February 17, 2024




The Vanishing Man

By Philip Purser-Hallard

Titan Books

279 pg


We love Sherlock Holmes mysteries and were recently made aware that Titan Books has been publishing a new series of Holmes novels by various authors. If all of them are anywhere as good as “The Vanishing Man” by Philip Purser-Hallard, then Holmes fans should be delighted, as the set up is traditional Doyle all the way.

Holmes is approached by a group of noted Londoners who have formed a scientific society to explore the possibilities of actual psychic phenomenon ala telekinesis and telepathy. In the course of one of their experiments, a fellow claiming to have been raised on the planet Venus, disappears while locked in a room with only one door and one window. At the time of his disappearance, he was being observed by two men of the society around the clock. And still he vanished before their eyes.

Never once believing the incident is anything but a clever hoax, Holmes is still intrigued enough to pursue the matter. Within a few days of his investigations one of the members of the group, an artist, is brutally murdered and his studio trashed. Thus what began as a curious exercise to the Great Detective takes on a more gruesome note. Now solving the initial puzzle may also reveal a cold blooded murderer.

“The Vanishing Man” is wonderfully written and we especially loved a small exchange between Holmes and Watson towards the conclusion wherein Watson actually corrects Holmes on hurried deduction. It is priceless. If you are a bonafide Holmes addict, you might want to check this one out.

Friday, February 09, 2024




By Max Allan Collins

Thomas & Mercer

245 pgs

This is one of writer Max Collins’ murder mysteries centered on outstanding historical events. Other books in the series involved the sinking of the Titanic and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In this tale, he sets his sights on the dramatic end of the magnificent German airship Hindenburg.

The Hindenburg Disaster, as it became known, occurred on May 6, 1937.  The LZ 129 Hindenburg was a German commercial passenger-carrying rigid airship. The largest such flying machine designed and built by the Zeppelin Company. Filled with hydrogen, it caught fire and was destroyed during its attempt to dock with its mooring mast at the Naval Air Station in Lakehurst New Jersey. Of the 97 people on board, 35 died along with a one ground fatality. The disaster was captured on newsreels and radio eyewitness reports.

In plotting his tale of murder and sabotage, Collins’ muse was aided by the fact that sailing on the airship’s last trip was none other than the popular mystery writer and creator of the Saint, Leslie Charteris. The debonair Charteris is on his way back to America to finalize his divorce from his second wife. Upon getting settled into the spacious, beautifully furnished interior, he soon is made aware that the turbulent politics of the time have also come aboard. Hitler and his Nazi party are changing the climate of the country and not all Germans are thrilled with the fervor of this new nationalism. Attacks on Jewish citizens are rampant and an underground resistance movement fueled by communist agitators is rumored to be active.

Although neutral in his own opinions, the writer soon suspects that the fellow sharing his cabin is an agent of the secret police. When the man disappears soon after the ship’s departure, the only logical explanation points to murder. Someone, fearing exposure by the agent, managed to throw him overboard during the night. The veteran captain of the Hindenburg, being one of Charteris’ old acquaintances, seeks his aid in ferreting out the killer before the mighty airship reaches its final destination. Added to this challenge is the possibility that the killer is also a saboteur and may have planted a bomb somewhere on the giant craft.

As always, Collins research is meticulous and within the first few pages, we readers are taken on a detailed tour of the Hindenburg’s wonders from its stately dining rooms to its four gondolas containing its powerful Daimler engines. As the journey progresses, Charteris does his best to surreptitiously interview the most likely suspects, from a slapstick vaudeville entertaining to even a young member of the ship’s crew. As the hours tick away, the ship moves closer and closer to its destiny.

The final chapters detailing the horrendous explosion and burning of the Hindenburg are gut wrenching. Charteris was one of the survivors and in the end, he walks away with what his believes to be the actual cause of the tragedy. Over the years, a variety of theories have been put forth for both the cause of ignition and the initial fuel for the ensuing fire. The publicity shattered public confidence in the giant, passenger-carrying rigid airship and sounded the death knell of the airship era. For many aviation buffs, this reviewer included, it remains an everlasting loss.