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August 18, 2013 / John Sheridan

Two from Tyrus Books

I’ve had a good track record with books from Tyrus with previous titles reviewed including Craig McDonald’s El Gavilan and Reed Farrel Coleman’s Hurt Machine which were two of my favourite books of 2011. Jump forward a couple of years and we have the latest in the Moe Prager series from Reed Farrel Coleman plus The Hard Bounce from Todd Robinson.

I loved The Hard Bounce I have to say and I think Boo Malone is one of new favourite characters so this is one book you should have on your shelves (or your ereader if you prefer). Vivid descriptions accompanied by occasional effective use of the author directly addressing the reader via Boo make for one very entertaining read and on top of that Boo & Junior make for a great double act. I hope this one evolves into a series – the world deserves it!

I shuddered with Nabokovian creeps, and shifted my attention back to the crowd. (And yes, f*ck you, I know who Nabokov is. I’m a bouncer, not a retard.)

He felt around the inside his mouth again. “I think you cracked my tooth, @sshole.” Junior kicked him right in the face with a size twelve Doc Marten. Seven’s head bounced off the wall like a tennis ball. “There. Now you can be sure.”

The latest in the Moe Prager series is actually a prequel that explains how he ended up joining the police. Barring a few pages at the beginning and the end that frame the story and put it into context really with the rest of the series, the remainder is effectively a flashback as Moe explains what happened to his girlfriend back in 1967 together with various double-crosses and setups and how that ultimately led to him enrolling in the police academy. For long time followers of the series, all the usual identifiable traits are all present and correct. Plus points include a sense of time and place that is portrayed really well – just about the best this side of a George Pelecanos novel but without as much emphasis on the music.

So two excellent books. If I had to choose just one, it would be The Hard Bounce but very different styles and neither would go amiss. My rating for both is 10.

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The Hard Bounce
Todd Robinson

Amazon UK, Kindle UK, Book Depository, Amazon US, Kindle US

Book description:
Boo Malone lost everything when he was sent to St. Gabriel’s Home for Boys. There, he picked up a few key survival skills; a wee bit of an anger management problem; and his best friend for life, Junior. Now adults, Boo and Junior have a combined weight of 470 pounds (mostly Boo’s), about ten grand in tattoos (mostly Junior’s), and a talent for wisecracking banter. Together, they provide security for The Cellar, a Boston nightclub where the bartender Audrey doles out hugs and scoldings for her favorite misfits, and the night porter, Luke, expects them to watch their language. At last Boo has found a family.

But when Boo and Junior are hired to find Cassandra, a well-to-do runaway slumming among the authority-shy street kids, Boo sees in the girl his own long-lost younger sister. And as the case deepens with evidence that Cassie is being sexually exploited, Boo’s blind desire for justice begins to push his surrogate family’s loyalty to the breaking point. Cassie’s life depends on Boo’s determination to see the case through, but that same determination just might finally drive him and Junior apart. What’s looking like an easy payday is turning into a hard bounce–for everyone.

Onion Street
Reed Farrel Coleman

Amazon UK, Kindle UK, Book Depository, Amazon US, Kindle US

Book description:
Moe Prager #8
It’s 1967 and Moe Prager is wandering aimlessly through his college career and his life. All that changes when his girlfriend Mindy is viciously beaten into a coma and left to die on the snow-covered streets of Brooklyn. Suddenly, Moe has purpose. He is determined to find out who’s done this to Mindy and why. But Mindy is not the only person in Moe’s life who’s in danger. Someone is also trying to kill his best and oldest friend, Bobby Friedman.

Things get really strange when Moe enlists the aid of Lids, a half-cracked genius drug pusher from the old neighborhood. Lids hooks Moe up with his first solid information. Problem is, the info seems to take Moe in five directions at once and leads to more questions than answers. How is a bitter old camp survivor connected to the dead man in the apartment above his fixit shop, or to the OD-ed junkie found on the boardwalk in Coney Island? What could an underground radical group have to do with the local Mafioso capo? And where do Mindy and Bobby fit into any of this?

Moe will risk everything to find the answers. He will travel from the pot-holed pavement of Brighton Beach to the Pocono Mountains to the runways at Kennedy Airport. But no matter how far he goes or how fast he gets there, all roads lead to Onion Street.

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