New In The House

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1: Antiques Con – Barbara Allan: Max Allan Collins offered ARCs of this one on his blog and I jumped. Brandy Borne and her drama-queen mom, Vivian, take their antiques show on the road, for an off-Broadway farce mixing mirth and murder. A world away from small-town Serenity, the ditsy duo–chaperoned by their trusty shih tzu, Sushi–arrive in the Big Apple, blissfully unaware that they will soon cross paths with a rotten-to-the-core killer.

As the dynamic dames descend upon a comic-book convention–to sell a rare 1940s Superman drawing–Vivian makes a show of keeping the valuable sketch locked to her wrist in a briefcase. When an intruder breaks into their hotel suite, they naturally suspect a felonious fan, over-eager to acquire their artwork.

But this not-so-super villain proves less interested in the Man of Steel than in stealing a man’s life, as Brandy and Mother stumble onto a murder victim impaled by a pen-shaped award. Suspects ranging from comic-book collectors to crime kingpins lead Brandy and Mother on a merry madcap Manhattan misadventure, taking them from convention hall to strip joint, from retirement home to precinct lock-up. Has the con been conned by a killer? If so, only Brandy, Mother and Sushi can stop this fatally foul funny-book fiend.

Don’t miss B

2: A Dubious Curse(ebook) – Gerald J. Kubicki & Kristopher Kubicki: the author offered a copy of this one for an unbiased review. In book number eight of the Colton Banyon series, Banyon faces a threat from outside the normal world. An old Nazi has discovered a curse which puts him in the same place as Wolf, Banyon’s spirit partner. The Nazi wants to use his son and the Effort, the modern American Nazi movement, to find a lost book. But it is no ordinary book. The book contains the formula for the energy source Hitler wanted to use for his flying saucers. The formula is so powerful it could be used for time travel and that is exactly what the old Nazi wants to do. He wants to change history. Banyon must find and protect a woman who is the direct descendent of the leader of the Vril Society, a secret German organization that believed in a utopia. She holds the key to locating the book of the Vril, but she doesn’t know she holds it. Banyon, his partner Loni Chen and his team set out to protect the woman and find the book. They also call in several bodyguards from the law firm where Banyon occasionally works. The problem is the old Nazi can see everything they are doing and sends Effort men to kill them and collect the book. Banyon must use speed, deception and distance to protect his group while he develops a plan to stop the Nazi. Along the way Loni discovers a woman with blue skin, who she believes is an alien. Banyon also discovers an ancient transmitter which is sending telepathic messages, along with a plot to corner the silver market, and finds out several NSA agents are also after him. They could ruin all his plans. He must act quickly or all will be lost

#: Ashlynn’s Dreams(ebook) – Julie Gilbert: another offered by the author. Before she was kidnapped, Jillian Marie Antel Blairington was just an average bright, brave, headstrong child. She was excited for life in a new house with her Momma and new Daddy. Afterward, she’s all that … and so much more.

Held in a scientific facility, Jillian discovers her past-a family she never knew and a power she doesn’t understand. With her ability now activated, she can enter and even shape a person’s dreams. Jillian’s been kidnapped, and her Gift has been triggered, so she can locate and save Benjamin Connelly, a brother she never even knew she had. She’d better master this strange ability quickly, though, because her life isn’t the only one at stake. Her babysitter, Danielle Matheson, is being held as a hostage to ensure Jillian’s full cooperation. Slowly, Jillian begins to learn more about her captor and the other genetically altered children held at the facility.

Join Jillian as she tries to survive the training being forced upon her, find her unknown brother, escape with Danielle, and work her way back to a normal life once more.

Blood For A Silver Dollar(Un Dollaro Bucato)1965

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190px-UnDollaroBucato_DatabasePageGiuliano Gemma had starred in Italian cinema for a few years before entering the burgeoning field of the Euro western(not yet known as spaghetti westerns) when he made A PISTOL FOR RINGO in 1965. BLOOD FOR A SILVER DOLLAR was his second entry later the same year. As was the custom in those early years, most actors adopted more American sounding names for the English language market. Gemma was Montgomery Wood for his first few films.

Here he’s Gary O’Hara, a Confederate soldier during the war being released along with his brother Phil(Nazzareno Zamperla, billed as Nicholas St. John) after surrender. Though given handguns, the brothers are dismayed to learn the barrels had been sawed off, making them virtually useless.

The two men part, Phil heading west, Gary returning to his wife Judy(Ida Galli,230px-Furado billed as Evelyn Stewart) in Richmond. Phil gives him a key to a small strongbox, telling him to use the cash ibside, and promises to leave word in a town called Yellowstone in case Judy and he change their minds about staying back East.

Gary soon learns how bad things are and heads out to find Phil, promising to send for Judy when he gets established. He leaves her Phil’s money, except for one silver dollar. He ends up losing his horse, broken leg, and walks into Yellowstone looking for work. Southerners are not very popular because there is apparently a gang of rebel outlaws harassing the farmers in the area. He finagles a job with the local banker, McCoy(Pierre Cressoy, billed as Peter Cross), who wants him to arrest a gunman coming to run him out of town. The deal is a small plot of land and five hundred dollars cash, half now. Before the arrest, Gary writes a letter to Judy, with the cash, explaining it all, and gets it off.

downloadAt the last instant, Black Jack drinking at the bar, back to Gary, he recognizes Phil, and calls out. Phil, spinning, shoots Gary and is in turn cut down by McCoy’s men.

We start to get the truth then. McCoy has been bleeding the farmers, the rebel outlaws are his and not really rebels. He holds the mortgages and wants their land.

The brothers are presumed dead and dumped into a pioneer couple,51CQWMPQZBL._SY300_ Southerners, passing through. It urns out Gary is not dead, Phil’s bullet having clipped that silver dollar. It becomes a revenge plot from that point, Gary finding out from the farmers that Phil had found some kind of proof of what was going on. His mission is to find it and stop McCoy.

Of course things get complicated when Judy arrives and is taken by McCoy.

Not a bad western.

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Glorious – Jeff Guinn

18693619GLORIOUS is subtitled A Novel of The American West and I had a fine time reading it.

Cash McLendon comes to the small Arizona town of Glorious on the run from his father-in-law in St. Louis. He’d made the mistake of leaving his wife alone while her parents were away because of business, only to return and find that the high strung young woman had committed suicide.

A survivor since he was a small boy, Cash knew his rich in-laws would sick their enforcer, Brautigan, and his steel toed boots on him. So he cleaned out the safe, two grand, and fled.

Glorious was where his previous lady friend, Gabrielle, and her father had moved their dry goods store. His intention was to correct the mistake of picking the rich girl for a wife. Of course she didn’t see it that way.

Glorious was being built up in anticipation of silver strikes. Stuck in the middle of Apache territory, the town was guarded by a rich rancher and his Mexican vaqueros, armed with double-action Colts and the latest Winchesters.

The rich man has other plans as well and Cash recognizes him for what he is. After all, he’d worked for such a man in St. Louis. Convincing his new friends is another matter entirely.

A fine western that goes on sale May 6th.

The Girls of Bunker Pines – Garnett Elliott

20739580The Drifter Detective series has rapidly become a favorite. Jack Laramie roams 1950s Texas in his DeSoto and the horse trailer he lives in working as a P.I. The grandson of U.S. Marshal Cash Laramie, he gets into almost as much trouble as “granddad.”

Here he gets involved with a young Korean vet checking out an obvious scam involving vets and bomb shelters.

We get a little more look into Jack’s past as we get flashbacks of his WWII days.

Elliott has two more coming and Wayne Dundee has a forthcoming tale as well. Look forward to all three. And more hopefully. Available both in paper and ebook.

The Outcasts of Poker Flat(1937)

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Poster - Outcasts of Poker Flat, The (1937)_01THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLAT is a very slim story to build a movie on, though it has been done several times. A lot must be added. A spaghetti western, FOUR OF THE APOCALYPSE, though it also used elements of Harte’s other story, The Luck of Roaring Camp.

Here we have a love interest for Oakhurst(Preston Foster, Helen(Jean Colby), a small girl called Luck, and a preacher named Sam Wood(Van Heflin) who led the vigilance committee and loved Helen. They did get the end of the story right though.

New In The House

All ebooks accepted for review.

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1: The Axeman of Storyville – Heath Lowrance: Retired Marshal Gideon Miles runs a nightclub in 1921 New Orleans. He gets drawn into the hunt for an ax murderer.

2: Crumble – Victor Penro: Kent Robbs lives in his own dark, sad world, and he isn’t sure what it would take to turn him into someone who could fit with the rest of society. An amazing guitarist, he’s nevertheless cursed with stage fright that keeps him from truly using his gift. After a run of bad luck that is literally fiery, someone finally lends him a hand.

3: A Man From Rio – Shayne Youngblood: Rio de Janeiro – a quintessential tropical paradise riddled with drug gangs and violence. In a world where the narco racket is a legitimate business, the competition has a tendency to disappear so thoroughly that nobody remembers they’d ever existed. When a small operator and retired conman falls for a skinny, fragile girl who’s “not even his type,” he puts himself on a collision course with destiny. His time is running out in a city where a witness has a shorter lifespan than a monarch butterfly, and to find the truth, he has to unearth secrets buried so deep in the web of conspiracy and corruption that the revelation might wipe away the whole city and its powers. When walking away is not an option, in order to stay alive and find the truth, he must face the questions: What is worth living for? And what is worth dying for? And answers take him to the point of no-return, where all choices are long gone, and he finds himself walking alone down the only path left, a one-way road – the road of revenge.

4: Rerun – Chris Manteria: Do you truly believe that you control your fate, that you can be whoever you want to be, that anyone can be the President? “Apply yourself and you can do whatever you like.” That’s a bunch of half assed horseshit, and I am living proof. Because of that I drink. Some would call me a drunk. I have to ask, if you were forced to see the future and knew there was nothing you could do to change it, wouldn’t you drink, too? I prefer Guinness. It goes down smooth and takes the edge off. It dulls my senses while eliminating the visions. Most of all it makes me forget. Forget what, you ask? It makes me forget the terrible things I’ve seen, that fate makes me its bitch, over and over again, that I am powerless against tide of time and the universe. Most of all it makes me forget the pain. That is until I saw her.

5: The Blade – sholes & Moore: While investigating the theft of a 4000-year-old biblical artifact, a federal agent finds herself confronted with an international fugitive who threatens to destroy Las Vegas with a nuclear device if a multi-million-dollar ransom from the casinos is not paid.

6: How White People Die – Ernie Lindsey: According to small town Detective Billy Showalter, the death of a local resident, Ellen Hardy, is obviously a homicide. From the noose, to the way her wrists are tightly bound, to the voodoo doll hanging in a nearby tree, all signs point to a dreadful murder. But Del Prince, his longtime partner and family friend of forty years, has a different idea.

When Billy wakes up in the hospital, confused and alive, what follows is his most confounding investigation to date. It’s a case full of lies, corruption, and family secrets that have been buried for decades. Just what does any of this have to do with events from twenty-five years ago, and why didn’t Del shoot to kill?

God In Heaven…Arizona On Earth(Un Bala Marcada)1972

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230px-BalaOneGOD IN HEAVEN…ARIZONA ON EARTH was a Spanish-Italian co-production from 1972. The version I watched on Youtube was dubbed in English with subtitles in another language.

As with most spaghetti westerns, there is a revenge motif. Peter Lee Lawrence is Arizona, Garringo in the original Spanish. Money seems to mean little to him. He tracks a bounty down, planning to take him in alive until the fellow pulls a hideout gun, then tells the innkeeper to turn him in for the reward. He carries a gold bullet intended for his target. We see him angrily [ull down a private property sign with the name A. Styles on it, then check out a wrecked ranch house with a picture hanging on one wall that he muses on dreamily.

Austin Styles(Frank Brana) has his name on every business in town, has been buying up all the property, or outright killing them if they won’t sell. It’s all about copper in the surrounding hills.

Only a few ranchers hold out. One is an old man named Duffy(Robertodio_in_cielo_arizona_in_terra_dvd_cover_small Camardiel) who Arizona hooks up with. His niece, Catharine(Maria Pia Conte) is about to marry Style, merely a ploy to get the final mining contracts. Her father and Duffy had once been partners with Styles until the man became greedy and, the naive young girl that she is, Styles had convinced her that Duffy had murdered her father.

There’s also a mysterious gunman, Towers(Carlo Baddi) hanging around town. Arizona and he know each other, if by reputation if not really. Styles hires him to take out Arizona who’s organizing the few ranchers left.

Decent little western directed by Juan Bosch, billed as John Wood, who also wrote the script. Music is by Bruno Nicolai.

FFB: Two Archer Shorts – Ross Macdonald

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71o01Cn+HfL._SL1200_Lew Archer checks into a motel late one night after the man he was following crosss into Mexico. He’s awakened by a woman screaming, fynds her standing at the room next door with blood on her hand. He gets two stories: first the girl cut her hand, then when he spots the blood-covered sheet, he’s told a man had a nose bleed.

None of hid business until shortly down the road, he finds a black Cadillac with a naked dead man behind the wheel, a makeshift bandage around his waist made of a woman’s slip, monogrammed with the name Fern.

Back at the motel, after calling the cops, he gets a third story: a blowsy early forties blond with a gun.

He’s soon involve with gangsters wanting Fern and the description doesn’t match the one he’d been given.

A nice novella originally published in the early fifties.

6483801Archer gets hired by a man who wants his sister returned home. She’d married an artist with a reputation and the man was worried the fellow was after money. The siblings had a school founded by their father worth money.

Archer didn’t like his client. He seemed more interested in money than his sister’s happiness.

The case devolves into a bigger mess right away.

A fine story.

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