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November 16, 2011 / John Sheridan

A Trip to the (Virtual) Bookstore

Like CT and many others, I love to browse the shelves of bookstores, but the range in most of them is poor, so I find myself being a frequent user of Book Depository and also Amazon to a lesser extent. No specialist crime fiction stores remain in Dublin since the closure of Murder Ink, and I’ve yet to visit No Alibis in Belfast, but I will eventually. I still prefer dead tree books to ebooks, even though I own a vastly underused Sony Reader. Just last weekend, I picked up The Deputy, Freaks and Julius Katz for Kindle (all for $0.00 even though I don’t own a Kindle!  Plus, I don’t know if I’ll actually read them on my iphone app!! and already have two of ebooks sitting unread on my Sony!!!). Thanks to @VictorGischler for his many tweets, otherwise I would never have checked out the Kindle store.

As I’ve already posted about The Burning Soul, The Drop and Headhunters, so let’s concentrate on some of the others. I read The Blonde a couple of years back and was knocked out by it, so when I happened across the Charlie Hardie trilogy by Duane Swierczynski, it was a must-have purchase. I’ve picked up the first two instalments and hope to read these shortly.  I’ll probably buy Point & Shoot (Amazon UK) later. I’ve been meaning to read more Duane Swierczynski even since The Blonde, so now’s my chance. Looking forward to it already.  Reading the description, these just seem like they’re going to be great.

The other purchases are also based on previous reading.  I’ve read the first three novels in Joseph Wambaugh’s Hollywood Station series but Hollywood Hills (Amazon UK) had escaped my attention until now, and characters like the surfer cops Flotsam & Jetsam are pure gold. In addition, Three Seconds (Amazon UK) by Roslund & Hellstrom was my favourite book of 2011 so far.

Duane Swierczynski : Fun & Games (Amazon UK)

Charlie Hardie, an ex-cop still reeling from the revenge killing of his former partner’s entire family, fears one thing above all else: that he’ll suffer the same fate. Languishing in self-imposed exile, Hardie has become a glorified house sitter. His latest gig comes replete with an illegally squatting B-movie actress who rants about hit men who specialize in making deaths look like accidents. Unfortunately, it’s the real deal. Hardie finds himself squared off against a small army of the most lethal men in the world: The Accident People. It’s nothing personal-the girl just happens to be the next name on their list. For Hardie, though, it’s intensely personal. He’s not about to let more innocent people die. Not on his watch.

Duane Swierczynski : Hell & Gone (Amazon UK)

Left for dead after an epic shootout that blew the lid off a billion-dollar conspiracy, ex-cop Charlie Hardie quickly realizes that when you’re dealing with The Accident People, things can get worse. Drugged, bound and transported by strange operatives of unknown origin, Hardie awakens to find himself captive in a secret prison that houses the most dangerous criminals on earth. And then things get really bad. Because this isn’t just any prison. It’s a Kafkaesque nightmare that comes springloaded with a brutal catch-22: Hardie’s the warden. And any attempt to escape triggers a “death mechanism” that will kill everyone down here–including a group of innocent guards. Faced with an unworkable paradox, and knowing that his wife and son could be next on the Accident People’s hit list, Hardie has only one choice: fight his way to the heart of this hell hole and make a deal with the Devil himself.

Joseph Wambaugh – Hollywood Hills (Amazon UK)

Everyone’s dreams are just within reach–the only problem is, this is Hollywood. A circle of teenage burglars that the media has dubbed The Bling Ring has taken to pillaging the homes of Hollywood celebutants like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, and when a pair of drug-addled young copycats stumbles upon Nigel’s heist, that’s just the beginning of the disaster to come. Soon Hollywood Nate, surfer cops Flotsam and Jetsam, and the rest of the team at Hollywood Station have a deadly situation on their hands.burglars that the media has dubbed The Bling Ring has taken to pillaging the homes of Hollywood celebutants like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, and when a pair of drug-addled young copycats stumbles upon Nigel’s heist, that’s just the beginning of the disaster to come. Soon Hollywood Nate, surfer cops Flotsam and Jetsam, and the rest of the team at Hollywood Station have a deadly situation on their hands.

Anders Roslund: Cell 8 (Amazon UK)

Detective Superintendent Ewert Grens of Three Seconds (Amazon UK) returns in a riveting mystery that centers on perhaps the most controversial subject in the modern criminal justice system: the death penalty.  In Ohio, seventeen-year-old John Meyer Frey rots on Death Row for the brutal murder of his girlfriend. The victim’s father hungers for revenge, while a prison guard is torn by compassion for the young man. When Frey unexpectedly dies of heart disease before he either receives his just punishment or achieves redemption, the wheels of justice grind to a halt.

Six years later, on a ferry between Finland and Sweden, a singer named John Schwarz viciously attacks a drunken lout harassing a woman, leaving the man in a coma. The Stockholm police arrest Schwarz for aggravated assault, but when Grens learns that the assailant has been living in Sweden under a false identity, he begins to suspect that something darker and more complex underlies the incident. Following his intuition, Grens launches an investigation that spans from Sweden to the United States and reveals a startling connection between the Frey and Schwarz cases.

Featuring a multilayered plot with a killer twist, Cell 8 (Amazon UK) takes readers on a gripping, page-turning journey that explores the devastating repercussions of the death penalty as well as the fallout from the conflicting desires for public justice and private retribution.

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