Saturday, December 29, 2012
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Monday, December 24, 2012
The edition I read contained a forward by one of my favourite authors in Max Allan Collins who discussed the reason for the movie adaptation’s less than mainstream distribution while the end extras include a discussion with the film’s director and an interesting conversation with the author, Koushun Takami.
BATTLE ROYALE is a must read for any book lover, particularly those who enjoy the darker side of fiction. Absolutely fantastic – 5 stars.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Despite the bleak environment, a demented love story spawns through Ramone and his cast of Maria's (female prostitutes). Horribly beaten, Ramone's physical injuries coincide with the Maria's inner scars. Together they form an uprising to break the shackles of their respective confinement only to roam the desert seeking solace in the blood of men who take advantage of the fairer sex.
Jedidiah Ayres manages to portray a deep and wholly satisfying tale which reads more like a full length than novella. The writing is crisp and concise; not a word out of place, nor scene unwarranted. The sense of atmosphere is unmistakable, Ayres consumes the reader wholeheartedly, I couldn't help but get lost amongst the escapades of Ramone and co., the gringo escape, double cross, and the unforgiving landscape which dominates the story.
The style and substance echoes the darkest corners of Quentin Tarantino's mind; an exploitation of the genre so raw and bloody it's sure to become an underground cult classic. Jedidiah Ayres proves with FIERCE BITCHES that noir has a new prince; readers rejoice for a new dawn of dark fiction is slowly descending upon us.
The cinematic beauty amongst the brutality leads me to think an adaptation to graphic novel would be perfect. In fact, as I read FIERCE BITCHES I couldn't help but picture the story in a Vertigo-Crime-like viewfinder. Here's hoping.
Side note - FIERCE BITCHES is due for release early 2013 and should feature on many noir enthusiasts best novella lists by years end.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Monday, December 17, 2012
Of the three authors, I'd only heard of Peter Rabe (largely due to the Hardcase Crime reprint of STOP THIS MAN). While a fan of noir/pulp era dimestore novels, I still lacked the complete appreciation of the genre/time largely due to the inaccessibility of the novels in Australia. With the advent of the ebook and the increased availability of these novels, pulp enthusiasts can rejoice and expand upon their library/collection.
The names Chandler, Thompson, Gooids and Woolrich are well known and are distinguished authors of the genre reminiscent of the golden age. While these aforementioned authors are fantastic and their books must haves on any keen readers shelves (physical and electronic), it's authors like Ed Lacy, Peter Rabe, and James Hadley Chase to name but a few that tend to be overlooked in conversation (at least in my circles). Make no mistake, these books (covers above) are all classics and just as important as any works by Chandler and Thompson.
2012 unearthed many great authors for me and showcased a whole new world noir. My 2013 reads are sure to include many more by these great authors.
My reviews of BENNY MUSCLES IN, ROOM TO SWING, and NO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDISH can be found below:
Ma Grisson and her son Slim are the catalysts in turning a snatch and grab into mass murder and a show of force in taking complete control of the criminal underworld. Miss Blandish, a wealthy daughter and socialite-like young women with the world at her feet is the unfortunately collateral damage in a heist designed to bring in a million dollars to a group of thugs looking to hit the big time. Before long, Ma Grisson and her gang are privy to the snatch, take out the competitors and hold Miss Blandish captive for a king’s ransom.
There are some truly unique and well formulated characters in NO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDISH, perhaps none more so than the larger than life and menacing Ma Grission. Everything from her physical description to utter contempt of human life oozes noir and shouts crime boss – a formidable figure indeed. While her son Slim, is equally degenerative in the humanity stakes, his infatuation and desire for someone to call his own – preferably an attractive wealthy woman portrays in him a scary and semi psychotic state. I could elaborate further on the distinguished cast as they all add something to the plot and are enjoyable and realistic in their respective occupation.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Josh (OzNoir): HUNTER reads like one long action sequence. You’ve spent time in the defence forces, did that experience influence your writing style?
You introduced some interesting new characters in HUNTER, namely, The Key – where do you derive inspiration for your character designs?
HUNTER showcases Morgan’s talents towards policing and more investigative nature whereas DEFENDER cast Morgan in light of a soldier – was this intentional? (or am I simply misinterpreting the feel of the books)
Arena Halls was one of my favourite characters in DEFENDER. What was the decision to have her appear in a less prominent role in HUNTER? (I suspect the introduction of the sassy Charly may have something to do with it)
The last thing I would ever want to be accused of would be that my heroine’s are simply vacuous two-dimensional window dressing stuck into the middle of the action as eye candy. So, I’ve worked really hard to ensure that they are anything but that and, based on the reactions I’ve had to Arena and Charly, especially from other women, I feel confident that I’ve achieved it. I’m particularly pleased that they’ve both resonated so well amongst the male readership.
So, don’t despair, while Arena didn’t really appear in HUNTER – other than a few passing references– I wouldn’t write her off just yet. Never say never, right?
Your books are being touted as a mixture of James Bond and Jason Bourne, however I see a little bit of Scarecrow (by Matthew Reilly) in Morgan, you’re obviously a fan of the genre – what books would you recommend that have influenced you?
The INTREPID series is really gaining momentum (publisher pun intended), what’s next for the All Australian action hero Alex Morgan?
HUNTER, the follow-up to the first in the INTREPID series, DEFENDER, is just as action packed as its predecessor. This time round, Intrepid agent Alex Morgan dons more of a police/investigator persona in search of kidnapped star Charly. Further enhancing his mission is that Charly, not only a famous pianist, is also the goddaughter of Morgan's boss, Davenport and the daughter of a prominent ICTY judge heading up a complex trial to put away a bunch of dangerous war criminals.
Comparisons between Bond and Morgan are easily apparent yet Morgan has more of a hardened blue blooded edge - think Shane Schofield (aka Scarecrow) by Aussie author Matthew Reilly. Author Chris Allen continues to build on Morgan by bumping up the Aussie bloke angle, incorporating more of the mannerisms typical of the stereotype. This creates a more realistic feel to Morgan, making him come across as a good-hearted, honest and reliable down-to-earth character. In a way, the perfect compliment to the ruthless bad guys.
Wolves in sheep clothing, a Serbian mafia inner circle power struggle, double crosses by informants and Interpol agents alike, all formulate the latest Intrepid novel which sees conflict traverse the globe via one long high octane action sequence which incorporates brutal hand to hand and elaborate stunts. I made the comment in DEFENDER that it was like a big budget Hollywood blockbuster and this is no different, the combat scenes are delivered in efficient brutality, the stunts akin to the finest Bond.
With HUNTER there is a noticeable focus on character development with Morgan's boss Davenport growing into a more fatherly role and a clear sense of camaraderie evident between the two. Some major players from DEFENDER, notably Arena Hall are less prominent in HUNTER yet this is offset by the introduction new characters, with the most impressionable being Key (Messrs Braunschweiger), a man mountain who looms as a larger than life agent and fast friend of Morgan's.
HUNTER is a must read for fans of the series. The action is first class. The writing precise and the plot wholly enjoyable throughout. Chris Allen is onto a winner with Intrepid - 4 stars.
Friday, November 30, 2012
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Sunday, November 25, 2012
TV Script writer Larry Baker is hired to pen a new horror series. On location at an old castle he encounters more drama than the second rate TV actors could muster in all too realistic vampires, fear inducing bumps in the night, and dames that are both vicious and voluptuous.
SO WHAT KILLED THE VAMPIRE is pure pulp from beginning to end. Despite being formulaic, it's still entertaining and driven by mystery. The whodunit aspect alone is worth the price of admission.
Carter Brown takes aim at b-grade horror, detailing some of the genre's traits in colourful jest. I liked the light hearted approach to this mystery which complimented Larry Baker - a guy who is hard to take serious in any event.
SO WHAT KILLED THE VAMPIRE is one of the better Carter Brown pulps. I've read it twice now and will likely keep coming back. The haunted atmosphere of the castle and colourful characters are fun to read.
I rate this Aussie author pulp 4 stars, initially 3.5 when I read it back in March 2009.
Hit up the labels/tags for more Carter Brown reviews.
Saturday, November 24, 2012
THE WOUNDED AND THE SLAIN exemplifies the derailment of human decency as a subsequent of vice and childhood induced trauma. In James and Cora Bevan, Goodis creates a pair of dysfunctional lovers tainted by their past and victimised by their future. For James, the consummate alcoholic, the amber liquid serves as a means to rid the reminders that hold true his reality; a hopeless sense of foreboding, crippling depression, a sham of a marriage to an almost trophy wife without perk, and a need to experiment in self obliteration. For Cora, her past dictates her every movement, life is one great horror movie, every man hides behind sinister and dirty motives, ones that threaten to soil her to the very core.