The Real-Town Murders, Adam Roberts (Gollancz)

One of the great joys in reading an Adam Roberts novel is the stuff that goes on in the background, behind the story he’s telling: the interweaving subtexts, subtle linguistic cues, shifting points of view, and blink-and-you’ll-miss-‘em references that hint at the nature of complex world he’s created. The Real-Town Murders is the story of … Continue reading The Real-Town Murders, Adam Roberts (Gollancz)

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Never Play Another Man’s Game, Mike Knowles (ECW Press)

A last-name-only professional crook signs on for an armored-car robbery despite his finely honed instincts, buying into the sob story of an old acquaintance. Winding up on the wrong end of a double-cross, he goes after his so-called partners with a vengeance. No, this isn’t a previously unknown Parker novel. It’s a new thriller about … Continue reading Never Play Another Man’s Game, Mike Knowles (ECW Press)

In Plain Sight, Mike Knowles (ECW Press)

Wilson, the Mob enforcer who appeared in Darwin’s Nightmare (2008) and Grinder (2009), is not a happy man. No surprise there—he’s always been a bit of a glass-half-empty kind of guy—but this time he has got a good reason. Some crooked cops are using him as a lure to nab some very bad people, and Wilson can think of … Continue reading In Plain Sight, Mike Knowles (ECW Press)

The Buffalo Job, Mike Knowles (ECW Press)

Wilson, a professional criminal who calls himself a “fixer,“ isn’t too keen on his latest job: stealing a painting from an art gallery. The problem is the three kids who hire him and who have already tried (and failed) to do the job themselves, botching it so spectacularly that they nearly killed a guy. But … Continue reading The Buffalo Job, Mike Knowles (ECW Press)

Winnipeg Free Press column, March 4, 2017

In Brad Meltzer and Tod Goldberg’s The House of Secrets (Grand Central, 398 pages, $11), Jack Nash, the host of a conspiracy-themed television series, is killed in a car accident. His children, Hazel and Skip, survive. An FBI agent comes to see Hazel in the hospital, spinning a tale of murder and mystery: a man is dead, … Continue reading Winnipeg Free Press column, March 4, 2017

Winnipeg Free Press column, March 3, 2018

  If you’re a fan of the 1942 film Casablanca — and, really, how could you not be? — then you will absolutely want to read Noah Isenberg’s splendid We’ll Always Have Casablanca (Norton, 336 pages, $24). The author traces the film’s history from its origin as an unsold play about the threat of German anti-Semitism, through its production … Continue reading Winnipeg Free Press column, March 3, 2018

The Terrorist Next Door, Sheldon Siegel (Poisoned Pen Press)

Siegel steps aside from his Mike Daley series of San Francisco–set legal thrillers to tell a story about a Chicago homicide cop, David Gold, who becomes the reluctant leader in a race to uncover the identity of a terrorist bomber who’s targeting well-known Chicago landmarks. Moments before he’s to receive a Medal of Valor (for … Continue reading The Terrorist Next Door, Sheldon Siegel (Poisoned Pen Press)