Thursday, April 25, 2024




By Cornell Woolrich & Lawrence Block

Hard Case Crime

240 pgs.


Madeline is an introspective young woman caught in the depths of depression. Toying with a loaded revolver, she contemplates taking her life. Then, when setting the gun down on a desk causes it to fire accidentally, the bullet goes out the window and hits an innocent bystander. In shock, Madeline rushes to the fallen body of the young woman she has shot and cradles her tenderly as she dies.  

Fleeing the scene before the police arrive, Madeline then becomes obsessed with learning more about dead woman name Starr. With facts gathered surreptitiously from Starr’s mother, she discovers that Starr had once been happily. Then she’d suffered a broken heart due to some unspeakable act of her husband. Finding notes left behind by the deceased, Madeline comes to the conclusion that Starr had wanted to murder the man and decides in her twisted sense of obligation to fulfill Starr’s wish. But first she has to return to the city and find her target. 

Thus begins a grim, suspenseful odyssey original conceived by writer Cornell Woolrich, a master of the genre. When he died before the story could be completed, the manuscript collected dust for several decades until crime writer Lawrence Block agreed to take on the task of finishing it. That he does so brilliantly is evidence in the grim, noire styling that is uniform throughout the prose. The myriad characters Madeline encounters along her path to murder are all dour, soulless people caught up in a rat race they have personally chosen for themselves. The world “Into the Night” inhibits is one of hopelessness and ruin with death the only decent escape. It is a place both Cornell and Block are all too familiar with.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024




A Red Jackal Mystery

By Jonathan W. Sweet

A Brick Pickle Pulp

152 pgs


Of all the New Pulp avengers now battling from various publishers, one of our personal favorites is Jonathan W. Sweet’s Red Jackal. It is as if Sweet mixed up old classic pulp heroes with comic characters. Where as the Jackal is a whole lot like both Bruce Wayne, aka, Batman and Britt Reid, aka the Green Hornet. He’s actually Blake Randolph, a big city publisher and handsome man-about-town. Whereas his crime fighting methods are based on ancient Egyptian skills he learned while traveling abroad.

In this adventure, Red Jackal takes on several Minnesota based criminal gangs who are trying to fix college football games. As ever aided by his brother, Daniel, his chauffeur Geoffrey and police Lt. MacDaniels, Randolph has his hands full in this face paced actioner. Kudos to writer Sweet, who, although his main characters are fictitious, sets them against real Minnesota history, to include famous criminal personas.

In all a really fun read that is packaged along with a bonus short story at the back, “The Hell Bus.” We also what to give a worth shout out to the folks responsible for this entry interior illustrations. They were quite effective in adding to the drama.

Tuesday, April 09, 2024




Levon Cade Book # 10

By Chuck Dixon

Rough Edge Press

164 pgs


This being the tenth of twelve books, we can with a sigh announce that we are finally getting caught up with Chuck Dixon’s fantastic series. In “Levon’s Prey,” he learns almost too late that his destroying a child sex slave ring has somehow been connected to him by a corrupt politician. A seedy lowlife investigator hunts down Cade’s family and threatens their lives. Having no other recourse, Levon, after saving a friend caught in the crossfire of his personal battles, goes hunting after the hunters. It’s a typical Dixon twist and the book, like all other Levon Cade thrillers, is packed with action.

Only two more for this happy reviewer to get to. And of course we’re all keeping tabs on the new Levon Cade movie that just went into actual production. Oh yeah, for Levon and his legion of fans, things are really, really good.

Monday, April 01, 2024




By Charles Ardai

Hard Case Crime

399 pgs


What we have here is a collection of crime short stories by writer/editor Charles Ardai. Twenty in all and each is a gem. Though somewhat depressing in large part, there is no denying Ardai’s writing chops. He knows how to spin a tale. How to hook the reader and pull along all the way to the place where the trapdoor opens up beneath him. And there are a good deal of these O’Henry type moment in this grand collection. 

There is plenty of suspense, pathos, humor and tragedy all woven together in this cornucopia of what we call life. Ironically our two favorite tales are the end pieces. “The Home Front” is a story about life in the US during World War Two and the last yarn “The Investigation of Things” is a dandy little murder mystery that takes place in a Chinese monastery. All in all, “Death Comes Too Late” is a really nice package you’ll want to unwrap again and again.