Books: Crime

book review | The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson | Millennium 2

the girl who played with fire millennium stieg larsson book coverAuthor: Stieg Larsson
Title: The Girl Who Played with Fire
Series: Millennium 2
Genre: Thriller, Crime
Pages: 503
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Why do I want my darkest reads in the brightest of Summers? Well, no matter. I’ve read The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson, second book in Millennium trilogy. And it was as good as the first one.

About the Book: A couple of journalists contact Millennium requesting a book on sex trafficking in Sweden to be published via them. After a long and extensive work on it, on the eve of publication, both of them were found shot to death. And they’re not the last victims either. But to Mikael the worse is the fact that all the links, including the evidence, lead to Lisbeth Salinger. He categorically refuses to believe she’s to blame, and thus has only one path left before him. Find the young woman, and unbury her past. For someone wants her gone, but who and why?…

My Opinion: It’s a very dark thriller, but very good. Full of story lines that intertwine and make one whole good story. Not all of them are good, of course, but most I loved, and so, as a reader, I am pleased. More than that, I enjoyed reading of Lisbeth’s past, and finally getting to know the young woman better. I always admired girls like her, so this is no little crush I’m having. She’s smart, her morals are flexible (in a good way, as poor as that sounds), and she’s a techwiz. Something I always wanted to be, but never had the smarts to do. That, or I’m just too lazy, which is often a possibility among all of us, isn’t it? Mikael I still don’t like all that much, but I feel like I can’t exactly explain why without… Throwing accusations around.

Yep, so if you want a good thriller and, as I, have not read these yet for some reason, I can recommend. This one gets a 5 out of 5 from me. There’s really nothing I could’ve taken points off for. Maybe the too lightly thrown “dyke” around… I feel like male equivalent of that wouldn’t have been used as-a-matter-of-fact like that.

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Categories: 5-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, Books: Other Fiction, Crime Books, Detective Books, LGBTQ+ Books, murder, Thriller Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Any Old Diamonds by K.J. Charles | Lilywhite Boys 1

any old diamonds charles kj book coverAuthor: K.J. Charles
Title: Any Old Diamonds
Series: Lilywhite Boys 1
Genre: LGBT literature, Historical Romance
Pages: 320
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Sometimes it’s great to read at nights. Other times I get very mad with myself. Reading Any Old Diamonds by K.J. Charles I was the latter. For you want to read more, you’re mad curious, but… Your ereader is threatening to smack you in the face if you don’t go to sleep right now.

About the Book: Alec’s father murdered his own wife, their mother, to marry an archetype of an evil, greedy stepmother. Driven by the woman’s fury he kicked his children out too, and cut them off on basis of disrespect. Alec’s older brother took it upon himself to support their sisters of whom one was very sickly and eventually died due to lack of care. Alec, seeking to relieve his brother of any burden, took up illustration. So, naturally, everyone were very surprised and angry with him, when he said he intends to make amends to father and ask for allowance.

But Alec has a plan. Via his sources he made contact with the best jewelry thieves, the Lilywhite boys, and has full intention of taking them right into the heart of his former home, where his dragon of a stepmother is sitting on all her jewels, and those of their mother. It’s time to pay the debts.

My Opinion: Alec had a very strong moral compass that eventually loosened up, but you could really see the struggle and the overcoming. And if character development like that is not enough, then just wait until that plot twist turns everything upside down. I don’t remember the last time I’ve read anything this tricky that I’ve not even suspected! It was very, very good. But, of course, I am a little bit biased. I mean, can you blame me? Jewelry thieves, criminals who are very good at their job… (recommend me more of those, preferably in modern times, please)

Yes, this was a great book, and I’ll happily put it among my favorites. It gets a firm 5 out of 5 from me, and I’m looking forwards to the second.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, Books: Romance, heists, historical romance, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | In The Dark by Mark Billingham

mark billingham in the dark book coverAuthor: Mark Billingham
Title: In The Dark
Series: –
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Pages: 384
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I keep seeking those good, good crime books. In the Dark by Mark Billingham is not one of those. But it did remind me why I believe that life’s too short to quit a book because it didn’t pick up for a while. The very end of it, and it’s not the first book to do so, has fixed so very much that it made it worth it.

About the Book: A cop driving at night. A gang with a crew member in need to prove himself. Secrets, lies, cover-ups, and victims.

Paul’s widow Helen, an officer herself, now lonely and expecting, can’t help herself but dig deeper into her husband’s life. It turns out he had way more secrets than she suspected. And much darker ones too. Bit by bit they’re making her see what seemed to be a random gang attack to be something entirely else.

My Opinion: The ending is emotionally brutal to the reader. It was dark, unexpected, hard, but so, so good. Story is very slow to pick up, the pace is horrible. Some dialogues were jagged, characters often turned out to be two dimensional, shallow, not to mention completely random unnecessary scenes. I was about to give this book a poor rating, but then it ended like that, and blew me away. See, as a reader you see a little more than Helen. You see the people around her, who she meets, who she talks to. And whom she starts to sympathize with. And it’s bloody beautiful.

Yeah, it’s one of those books. Makes you sad and happy at the same time. As a reader – you’re satisfied with how it happened. But as a human being you’re probably sad. I give it a shaky little 4 out of 5.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: Other Fiction, crews, gangs, etc, murder, Thriller Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein

tokyo vice jake adelstein japan crime book coverAuthor: Jake Adelstein
Title: Tokyo Vice
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction; Memoir
Pages: 335
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Ah, I wish I knew how good Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein is sooner. For it fell down my TBR list quite a few times. But hey, I got to it at last, and it’s better later than never!

About the Book: Jake learns Japanese and moves there in pursuit for journalist career. The rules are different there, and the book picks up the pace here, setting up an amusing tune of this white jewish man jumping traditions and politeness hoops in a foreign country. All that said, work goes well, including the whole structure of building relationships with co-workers, sources, cops… Which can get quite costly.

One day a yakuza contacts him, letting him know that Jake’s name was mentioned in trustworthiness context. This is where the story starts getting darker, for Jake gets to see beyond Love Hotels, Hostess clubs, where people dress up for you, to be your best friend until you run out of money. Beyond that there’s dark, gritty, nightmarish web of debt, loan sharks, human trafficking, and destroyed lives.

My Opinion: This is a very, very masterfully written book. With facts, memories, experiences¬† woven into one smooth if nightmarish tale. Don’t know about you, but Japan to me was always that dream country, something exotic and far, far away, so very different from anything we know here. But truth is much more simple. Yes, there’s differences. Yes, there’s plenty of pros, pluses. But there’s just as many cons, minuses. Just as in any country.

A very good book. Reminded me of this one I read long ago called “Yakuza Moon“. This one gets a 5 out of 5. And no, it is not made to slander. Merely a country this journalist lived in, a place where he found this, and was in a position to make a difference, no matter how small.

Categories: 5-5, Biographies, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, mafia, murder, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson | Millennium 1

the girl with the dragon tatttoo stieg larsson book coverAuthor: Stieg Larsson
Title: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Series: Millennium 1
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Pages: 465
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I have this trilogy for years and years now, so many that I’m ashamed to admit. But at last I’ve read the first Millennium trilogy book by Stieg Larsson, the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo“, and it was amazing.

About the Book: In the chaos of family tragedy a girl disappears, leaving her loving uncle burdened by this painful mystery. For there was no trace, and no body, but he is certain, the girl must be dead, how else? Upon his birthdays he receives a pressed dried flower, every year, and it has become a wall of mockery, for the killer surely knows, and likes to pain him. Thus, he has made a decision to try one more time to shine some light on this mystery. He hires a journalist, who, in turn, hires Lizbeth, this fantastic alternative woman with almost supernatural mind that sees patterns where others only see chaos, white noise. Together they dig up old clues, old tales. But what if the truth is worse than the secrets?

My Opinion: This is a marvelously written, captivating book that’ll require your undivided attention. It’s easy to loose track, that’s all I’m saying. Other than that, the characters and the plot are amazing. My favorite being Lizbeth, with her intelligence and strength, she’s an amazing example of what characters I lean towards. Her ability to put up a show reminded me of Ghostman, so some small part of me was sated (I truly wish the author of those books was alive and well, and would write more of those unbelievably amazing books). Less so impressed by the journalist, but that’s also only my personal preference and lack of belief, so to speak. For he is written well.

So, yeah. This was an amazing book, and if you’re seeking a good detective, there’s surely a reason why these were such a phenomena at some point. 5 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: Other Fiction, Crime Books, Detective Books, murder, Mystery Books, Thriller Books | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | McMafia by Misha Glenny

mcmafia misha glenny book cover underworld criminal organized crimeAuthor: Misha Glenny
Title: McMafia
Series: –
Genre: True Crime, Nonfiction
Pages: 398
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I love reading sensible literature on organized crime, where author doesn’t choose a side, and, due to moral obligations, doesn’t try to paint one or another side a deeper shade of one color. One of such well balanced books is McMafia by Misha Glenny, who has a very healthy view on this all.

About the Book: This book goes through a variety of organized, global crime, its underground industries and their origins. From the times of economy downfalls through, say, the fall of soviet union, or the breaking of Berlin wall, to today. And all across the world.

Crime takes many forms and shapes. And so do reasons for it. Be it extreme poverty and thus a need to make a buck for bread by stealing or selling, or selling the stolen. Or be it flaws in law, criminalization of something you require. It could be medication your country deemed illegal. Or it could be part of your lifestyle: from illegal caviar, to illegal counterfeits. And many more, including drug cartels, mafia, mafiozos of Russia, yakuza, hackers, crackers, and so on. And you know what’s the worst of it? We too are a part of it.

My Opinion: This is a very smoothly written book, with sensible steps from one topic, to another. Each one of those is explained in depths, with origins of criminal organization at hand, how it came to be, to what it does, how it does it, and why it does it, if applies. To actual governments, and law: how they’re handling it, if handling it at all. As for our involvement, well, that’s true. And it’s scary. From materials required to, say, build our laptops, where a company doesn’t ask about the origins of this metal, or that dye. To scam emails, engineered web pages, and our inability to take precautions while on that enticing world wide web.

This is a very worthy read that I would highly recommend to anyone. I give it a 5 out of 5, for many, many reasons.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, crews, gangs, etc, mafia, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

my sister the serial killer oyinkan braithwaite novel book coverAuthor: Oyinkan Braithwaite
Title: My Sister, The Serial Killer
Series: –
Genre: Thriller, Crime
Pages: 226
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I wanted something more different from the regular stuff I normally read. So I dug into my Crime treasures, and found this marvelous gem, My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite, formerly known by the title Thicker Than Water.

About: Ayoola is everything her sister, Korede is not. She’s beautiful, charming, people love her, men gravitate toward her. She’s also manipulative, possibly a sociopath, and definitely a serial killer. Korede knows all of this, because she herself helps her hide the bodies. And they’re piling up heavy, both figuratively, and literally, on her consciousness. And while Korede thought many times of coming clean or letting Ayoola deal with her own mess for once, it takes very drastic events in her life for her to actually take action. Two, in fact. One, Ayoola started dating Korede’s colleague, a doctor, who is so madly love-struck, he no longer resembles the man Korede herself had a crush on. And two, the coma patient, the only person with a pulse Korede ever confided to, confessing all her secrets, all her sins, wakes up. It’s time to choose whom to throw her lot, her very life with.

Mine: This would make such amazing series! It’d be between Dexter and Breaking bad, with a dash of some sort of a medical series where not all is as clean as is the surface. Maybe Nurse Jackie. Anyway, the book, ah, the logic, the reasoning characters had, oh it was brilliant. The story itself is set in Nigeria, and is told from Korede’s perspective. It begins with a murder, and two sisters trying to hide away a body. Then, with this easy, but perfect pace, it starts unfurling. What you see is just one story in many, as Korede perceives it. But with her own feelings, her memories, it becomes clear why is this happening, and why are they the way they are.

I loved this book, definitely among my favorites now. It’s very well written, and while very serious, with no space for jokes, it’s not scary or gross. I suggest you put this for a TBR on a hot summer day, for the setting now and again is mentioned to be unforgivably scorching. And for now, I give it a 5 out of 5.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Crime, murder, serial killers, Thriller Books | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | Go Down Together by Jeff Guinn

bonnie and clyde true crime go down together jeff guinn biography book coverAuthor: Jeff Guinn
Title: Go Down Together
Series: –
Genre: True Crime, Biography
Pages: 468
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I always had a liking to Bonnie and Clyde stories, but somehow never watched or read any true, not romanticized stuff about them. After all, I didn’t even know that at first they weren’t Bonnie and Clyde, but rather Clyde and Bonnie. But then, a few days back, I watched this great Netflix movie “The Highwaymen” and decided I must take that one book that I have on the pair of criminals two rangers were pursuing there. The Go Down Together by Jeff Guinn.

About: Everyone has at least heard of the famous bank robbers in love, Bonnie and Clyde, who robbed together, ran together, shot together, and died together too. But rarely anyone knows what those two were really like, and what was their life on the road, on the run.

Both Bonnie and Clyde grew up and lived during the Great Depression, when the economy in United States fell so very drastically, that a young man would find it hard to get a job, and a young woman would likely add to her meager pay by finding a different sort of clientele. Yet one shouldn’t be fooled. These two were not so much pushed into the life in crime, as they leaped to it seeking thrill, action, and fame. They got it, alright, but one’s left to wonder if they’d be happy with the price they paid for it. The cold nights in make-shift camping spots, cold food in fear that a fire would be spotted, injuries that left them both crippled, and no way back to a normal life.

Mine: This is a dark story with an almost humorous streak to it. Both Bonnie and Clyde had their share of misfortune and even cruelty. Luck seemed to turn away from them when they most needed it. But they rolled with the punches as best they could, charming public who, for once, had entertainment in their lives. Bonnie and Clyde stole from businesses and banks, rarely touching clerk’s wallet, so it’s almost like they didn’t rob the poor, poor thought. They’d steal your car, but leave it where you could retrieve it. And if you rather had insurance money, all you had to do was ask, and they’d happily drop it in a ditch, and set it on fire. This is what public saw, and this is why they often turned a blind eye on this pair. All while they dealt with the dark side criminal world, hell, barely its surface, for no true criminal took them very seriously, was serving.

Author did a great job of making a smooth story to not feel dull. At all times it’ll keep your attention, and you’ll come out knowing who the famous or infamous pair truly was. I’m giving it a strong 5 out of 5, and recommend you watch The Highwaymen at some point too.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, heists, True Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

mafia | “The Godfather” by Mario Puzo | Mario Puzo’s Mafia 1

2Author: Mario Puzo
Title: The Godfather
Series: Mario Puzo’s Mafia 1
Genre: Thriller, Crime
Pages: 448
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

It’s long overdue that I read these books. Recently I got real determined to not only physically clean out my book shelves, but read it up too. So I planned a month, and so I’ve read it. I’ve learned I don’t really read books I otherwise wanted, if I don’t have it pre-planned. There’s always something else, seemingly more suitable…

About: This is a tale of a family. For family is the most important. Especially one that lives under an omerta, a law of silence. But this said family doesn’t have to be blood. All you need to do is ask for help, and then accept Vito Corleone as your Godfather. From then on, you’re part of the family, and expected to behave as such, as a friend, a brother, a child. Everyone’s accepted equally, with a smile, a kind word. And at times, people are laid to their graves with the same kind smiles. For family indeed is the most important. And this is also a tale of cold vengeance so well weaved that Count of Monte Cristo would be proud. No one’s above Corleones family. No one.

Mine: Holy smokes. The quality of this book, of the writing, it’s unbelievable. You read of family, families within it, branches, gangs, generations of people, and even tales of origins. And yet it’s no effort at all to follow it all, to understand. And the story is great too, the plot, the thriller. You see what happened. You’re even told why it was done, how, by whom, how it was handled after. But only at the very end you’re told the truth behind it, and it all then makes so much more sense. It becomes clear that the damn don Vito Corleone was a genius.

This is a great book. I should not have left it to gather dust for so long. But hey, better later than never. 5 out of 5, and hopefully I’ll pick up the next one soon enough.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Crime, crews, gangs, etc, Crime Books, mafia, Thriller Books | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

detective | “Jackrabbit Smile” by Joe R. Lansdale | Hap and Leonard 12

2Author: Joe R. Lansdale
Title: Jackrabbit Smile
Series: Hap and Leonard 12
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Pages: 256
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

So I took a book, I’ve read it, went to goodreads to mark it, and got deja vu. For once again, like in the good old times, I’ve read a hell knows which book in a series. But since I have no plans to read any more of these, it is as it is, and it’ll be fine.

About: Hap and Leonard weren’t all too pleased to accept a job from a white supremacists couple. They came to them as last resort, bringing in a handful of family along, expressed their displeasure of Leonard being black (little did they know, he’s gay too), and their grief over their missing daughter. She disappeared soon after giving birth to a black baby, and they no longer expect to see her alive. They merely want to know what happened.

The town these two go to investigate in is run by white supremacists and crazy folk. Most businesses are owned by a man called Professor, who has his own philosophy of why people of color and whites shouldn’t mix. Church was ran by folk who believed the world will end due to lizard people who live among us. And the mass there was held by a man who wanted to die of a gruesome torture, and seemingly got his final wish fulfilled. So, wherever you turn, there’s a something…

Mine: While the story itself was very mediocre, it’s written very well, and is full of good wit, funny jokes, and strong characters. And I’ve said this time, and time again: a good character can fix any plot. So if you ever need something light, funny, with maybe a little touch of scary shit, due to murder and all that, keep these series in mind. I will too.

I don’t really intend to read any more now, but hey, never say never. This book gets a solid 4 out of 5. I don’t know how those other ones are, but this one was nice and firm, and you can absolutely follow the story, no matter the past books.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Crime, Books: Everything, Books: Funny!, Crime Books, Detective Books, LGBTQ+ Books, Thriller Books | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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