Endangered by Box

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C. J. Box doesn’t waste any time with small talk or foreplay in Endangered, the 15th novel in the Joe Pickett series. The first two paragraphs plunge the reader into two dangerous situations, as a “lek,” or breeding group, of endangered sage grouse has been wantonly slaughtered and Joe’s middle daughter April has been found ...

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Free fiction: Bruno X’s first job

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This week, Liberty Island published my short story entitled TBOP (The Beast of Philadelphia). As noted above, the story describes the interview that results in Bruno’s first job as a psychic detective. Since the character of Bruno invaded my mental landscape, I’ve envisioned him in a prequel novel called “The Philly Dog.” Some version of TBOP ...

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The Gabriel Allon series by Daniel Silva

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The pantheon* of Jewish heroes in genre fiction is short but sweet—and Gabriel Allon is the reigning king. Author Daniel Silva kicked-off the series with The Kill Artist, published a few days before the beginning of the new millennium. Now, fifteen years later, lo and behold, there are fifteen books in the series. The latest, The ...

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Is C.J. Box our best writer of Western Gothic?

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I just noticed that C.J. Box published a new Joe Pickett novel a couple of months ago. It’s called Endangered and it’s the 15th offering in the series. If you haven’t read any of these, Joe is a fish and game warden stationed in a fictional town east of the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming. An incredible ...

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Kill the Boss Good-by: “One of the most purely interesting crime novels ever written”

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Purely interesting. That’s what Donald Westlake said about Peter Rabe’s fifth novel, published in 1956. I guess that’s accurate, but I don’t really know what it means. Appealing to the intellect, but not the emotions? Westlake also describes Rabe’s style as follows: “The coolness is there, the smooth surface that never directly refers to the emotions ...

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Jim Thompson: L’Arc de Sade

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Although Jim Thompson was known as “Dimestore Dostoevsky,” a more accurate alliterative handle might have been “Dimestore de Sade.” His stories may not be the most violent, but the currents of sadism running through make them as disturbing as anything I’d care to read. These days, The Killer Inside Me (1952) may be his most ...

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Short and sweet

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The Hunter is the first in a series of 23 novels about the heists and other tribulations of a character named Parker. Writing as Richard Stark, Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Donald Westlake later described the milieu he wanted to create for The Hunter as “a paperback-style tough guy novel in which the entire world ...

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Thomas Perry: No, you can’t see my ID

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#PULPMONDAY celebrates the work of Thomas Perry, whose first novel, The Butcher’s Boy (1982) came out with a classy cover. No overt sex appeal—though there’s an intense and memorable sex scene designer Dick Adelson could have used. No hot colors; the gold background is not very pulpy and neither is the serif typeface. You’d think ...

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