Crime Books

John Burdett “The Bangkok Asset” | Sonchai Jitpleecheep 6

2Author: John Burdett
Title: The Bangkok Asset
Series: Sonchai Jitpleecheep 6
Genre: Mystery, Crime
Pages: 307
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Ah, and so here we are, with the last book of Sonchai Jitpleecheep that left me utterly confused and strangely happy. Confusion comes from the characters. And happiness comes from the end. Both literal – series ended, and less so – the ending of the book was pretty meta.

About: A person is brutally murdered, their head torn off their shoulders with demonic strength. And a message is left for Sonchai at the crime scene, written in blood: “I know who <smudge> father is“. To help him with this case, yet another one that directly revolves around him, a Chinese inspector Krom is assigned to Sonchai. And she soon confirms Sonchai’s suspicion that there’s something inhuman at work here.

The deeper Sonchai gets, the closer he gets to his father, with whom killer baited him closer, deeper into the case, the more he realizes that the world as he knew it has long as ended. This is the new era, era where the only power, respect, and religion is money. The second coming or the apocalypse itself is at the gate. And Sonchai is to choose a role: will you be John the Baptist, or Judas?

Mine: Some of the characters simply disappeared. Everyone forgot about them completely, and it’s really annoying. Especially since the new ones were very basic one-sided, and lacked any depth. The author is really struggling to write any women, and the ones that he does write, end up becoming either lamps or one-tune sounds. Then there’s the whole “every case revolves around Sonchai” deal. People need to stop killing to get his attention. Ending was pretty great though, not the very far end, but the culmination of it, before Sonchai jumped the bathroom. It put the other books together: you had a man whose word was always valued, a man who was loved even when he was hated, a man who was a saint, finally, become a saint. This new Cult, these New Age Apostles, they reach their hands to him with a promise: come, we’ll love you, just sit on the throne, and be our God.

In Lithuania we only have three books translated for us, and I think that was a good call on the publishers. The first three books really tie up the good story with the “happily ever after” attached to it. The rest are darker, and by far, not always good. Yet I don’t feel like I wasted time reading these, they were worth it, even when I hated it. So all in all, final book gets a 4 out of 5 from me.

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Categories: 4-5, Books of Occult, Books: Everything, Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Davidson King “Snow Falling” | Haven Hart Universe 1

SnowFallingAuthor: Davidson King
Title: Snow Falling
Series: Haven Hart Universe 1
Genre: Romance; LGBT+
Pages: 166p
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

I really did know that crime books don’t work as romance books. One genre will almost always mess up the other one. So either romance part will be lame, or gangsters will be ridiculous. But here I am, not listening to my own advice, just because I saw a pretty cover, and got promised some mob bosses. As you may guess, “Snow Falling” by Davidson King wasn’t a good book for me.

About: When Julian’s mother died, his father, an officer, has drowned himself in a bottle. He got indebted to the mob, and has fallen as a human being. Thus, once mob knocked on his door, offering an exchange of debts for his talented son, he didn’t blink an eye before handing his child over. On that day Julian as has died. Due to his pale complexion, the criminals claimed he blended in with the snow. That’s what he continues to call himself today, relatively free, on the street: Snow. But that relative freedom didn’t stop him from interfering with Russian Mafia’s Father’s son. The scum was trying to kidnap a luxuriously dressed child, alone on the street, for some reason. Snow interfered, offering an exchange of his own. But if he thought his problems had a limit then, he was very wrong. The kid he saved, a boy too scared to even tell Snow his name, turned out to be a nephew of a far bigger and badder boss.

Mine: All the action in the book revolves around people kidnapping from crime families. You kidnap from us, we kidnap from you, and repeat. Gangsters here are like vampires in Chicagoland Vampires: food obsessed humans who happen to kill other humans sometimes, and some even lose sleep over it. All the side characters were road-signs: they were there to say the right thing on the right time, so the hero could continue saying something clever, high and mighty, and look even more epic, morally superior to others. The story was pretty damn weak too. Between the kidnapping Snow would dance to Lady Gaga songs, preparing for a Drag Show in talent show, with the Boss’s nephew, and get real shy whenever someone walked in on him dancing in such a mighty private place as a the main house kitchen where everyone comes for food.

Alright, so I didn’t like it, and it’s my own fault for taking it before I knew more of what this book will be. The best I can give it is 3 out of 5, for I definitely read worse, and this, at least, was a solid book with no holes in the slim plot.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Crime Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chloe Neill “Dark Debt” | Chicagoland Vampires 11

3Author: Chloe Neill
Title: Dark Debt
Series: Chicagoland Vampires 11
Genre: Vampires, Paranormal
Pages: 368
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads 

I admit right away, my rate to this book is full-on biased, because of the implication of vampire mobsters. It wasn’t as great as it sounds, but hey, it made my reading time better, so why not take it and run with it?

About: The more hints there were, that Sullivan’s master Balthazar was alive, the more he denied such a possibility. And then the man just waltzed into their house like he owned it. Merit’s resistances got shattered, and a whole new horror of magic suddenly showed itself.
In the meantime, house Navarre is in a lot of trouble. Their previous master, apparently, loved luxury and perfection, and thus ended up indebted to the mob. Mob with enough balls to make quite a few supernatural houses and clans dance. And now they want their payback.
So, of course, Merit’s in the middle of it all.

Mine: Author has a great sense of humor. If nothing else, I can really give her props for that, she made me laugh in every single book so far, no matter whether I loved the story or hated it. There’s also a lot of references to other things, movies, books, video games, and I do appreciate that too. And then the mobsters. Listen, I can’t help myself. I love vampires, and I love crime books. And I love when these two very different genres on very different Children of the Night try to work together. Usually it fails so hard it’s funny. And usually, like right now, I don’t even mind anyway.

I kinda really hope that these anne-rice-ish pale-faced gangsters will appear in the next book too, they seemed to have the gall and backing for it. But, hope is just that, hope. 4 out of 5 for this one, and on to the next.

Categories: 4-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Crime Books, urban fantasy, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chloe Neill “Wild Things” | Chicagoland Vampires 9

11Author: Chloe Neill
Title: Wild Things
Series: Chicagoland Vampires 9
Genre: Paranormal, Vampires
Pages: 350
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

I forgot how weak the bad guy plot line always is in Chicagoland Vampires books. But we’re almost done, bear with me! Wild things is 9th book out of, yes, you guessed it, 13!

About: Things made of magic are attacking groups and gatherings of supernaturals. Things that don’t exist. People disappear right after those attacks with no traces, no bodies, no witnesses. And while this happened during shifter gathering, in the house of one prominent pack master, who accepted to shelter Sullivan until his case with GP is solved, Merit has no choice but to try and solve this.  Otherwise, vampires and witches will be the first suspects in line.

Mine: “Oh, but the bad guy who is now dead had a daughter no one knew about” is a nasty little trope that I really don’t like. Almost as much as I don’t like the magical impossible birth tropes. Or supernaturals becoming humans trope. Sullivan was my happy place here, his drive for political power reminded me of mr Northman from Sookie’s books. As for the story itself, it was mediocre. Readable, but meh.

These are good for a quick and very light read, and while not good, still better than a lot of other vampire series I’ve read in the past. I can only give it a 3 out of 5 again.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Crime Books, urban fantasy, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ioan Grillo “Gangster Warlords”

1Title: Gangster Warlords
Author: Ioan Grillo
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction, Crime
Pages: 384
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Gangster Warlords” is a very well researched, and very well written, informative book on the title topic. It’s pretty amazing to read given facts, given opinion, and not feel bias leaking, nor an attempt to steer the reader one way or the other. That’s some good quality journalism right here.

About: The book is about the rise of the CEO kingpins, gangster warlords. In the age of politicians being worse than organized crime warlords, it only makes sense majority of the world gets both touched and screwed over by both. It makes even more sense that often we find ourselves hating the politician more. Someone who was meant to serve us and help us is doing the opposite. At least the gangster didn’t lie. Hell, in some cases gangsters are notorious for their good deeds, and end up being well protected, to a point of being untouchable, by the common folk who love them. For paving the roads, for building schools, for funding education, for, even, fighting crime. But that’s only a small fraction of the whole story. And likely the most rosy one too.

My Thoughts: The book is well written. I said that already, but it really is. Not once did I feel author’s word to have weight in my opinion that I was allowed to form through facts given. And, sure, things might have been opted out, but what was there was enough. I learned a lot. Best of all, I learned how different is a person who was pushed into crime for the sake of survival, and the one who entered life of crime for the sake of power. And how very differently common folk treat these people.

This was a good read. It is mostly set in Mexico, and gives good insight for making your own comparisons by the news and documentaries that are flooding all the media places. Poverty breeds all sorts of survivors. Not all of them are goodhearted, and it’s not always their fault either. 5 out of 5, for being such an eye-opener.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: NonFiction, Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

John Burdett “Vulture Peak” | Sonchai Jitpleecheep 5

10121431Author: John Burdett
Title: Vulture Peak
Series: Sonchai Jitpleecheep 5
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Pages: 285p.
Rate: 3-5 | Goodreads

Ah well. I’ve decided, that since I got this far, I might as well finish the series. “Vulture Peak” is second to last John Burdett series Sonchai Jitpleecheep book, out of which only the first three are translated into Lithuanian. Which isn’t a big loss, since first three books form a pretty good trilogy and could really end there.

About: Sonchai’s boss, driven by very selfish motives, is up to finally rid Bangkok of the Organ Trafficking, market and all. For that, of course, he uses Sonchai, since he’s the only non-corrupt cop around, and seems to care about this whole justice thing or whatever. So, Sonchai, with a secret identity, and a cool box full of eyeballs that give him nightmares soon after he discovers what’s inside, travels off from home. And very soon meets two nasty big players in the game. Chinese twins, as crazy as they come, their insanity a danger to them, and those around them. People for them are no more than walking allowance, and they’re very able to attract the right kind of people. Thus, it comes to no surprise that the monster rapist that is rampaging Bangkok is also related to their work and them. Sonchai and now his wife too, are in grave danger as the game starts slipping out of his hands.

My Opinion: The Twins reminded me of Voerman sisters from Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines. The legends, secrets, and their origin story was very similar. That was a pleasant take, to be honest. For the rest of the story wasn’t so good, and made a bit worse by Sonchai’s karmic better than thou attitude. I get it, he’s beautiful and everyone loves him from the moment they lay eyes on him. I just don’t understand why. The best story here was that of the monster I mentioned before, but it was used as a filler, to add volume, or at least it felt that way.

So then. I’ll soon start the final book. I wanted to read them for forever now, in the times when I rarely ever used to buy e-books to begin with. So I’ll be able to strike out a lot of things from the TBR, even if it won’t be quality reads. For the time being, 3 out of 5.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

John Burdett “The Godfather of Kathmandu” | Sonchai Jitpleecheep 4

1Author: John Burdett
Title: The Godfather of Kathmandu
Series: Sonchai Jitpleecheep 4
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Rating: 3-5 | Goodreads

Have you ever read a book twice, because by the end of it – you already couldn’t tell what it was about? That was the case for me with John Burdett book “The Godfather of Kathmandu”, the fourth book in Sonchai Jitpleecheep series. It wasn’t a bad book per se, but oh, brother, the lines to follow…

Sonchai has made a grave mistake. He got the Godfather movies for his boss, which then triggered a chain reaction of real ill trash luck. His boss kindly worked up Sonchai’s family with deals of good raise, and little to no change to Sonchai’s work, in attempts to make Sonchai his consilieri, like an adviser. Which then directly took a hit to Sonchai’s karma. That son, reincarnation of his beloved friend and partner, whom he wanted to put in a good school on his wife’s advice, with the new money he’ll be getting? Decided the world is too corrupt, and suicided. Wife? Guilt ridden ran away to a monastery to become a monk. FBI agent, his friend and former partner in USA? She felt disappointed in his new line of work, and due to broken arm – won’t rush to help him with the new case. As for the new case, Sonchai is determined to give this chance of promotion to his colleague, who hates his guts. Hates him for being the first choice for the boss. Hates him for being a better detective. And now also hates him for being morally superior about this promotion too, for showing this kindness and giving him the damn promotion. The only consolation Sonchai right now has is also not a spotless piece of sunshine. It is a a highest ranking monk who promised to teach him to reach the peace of mind. It’s just that this same monk has 14 mil worth of drugs he wants to sell to his boss.

As for the murder, now that’s something to get distracted by, no matter how unpleasant. A movie director was found dead, skull open, brain eaten. He was well loved in Bangkok by the bar girls, who describe him as kind, caring, loving, but a sex addict. He wasn’t visiting them for a while before his death, so they assumed he finally found that “something wilder” he was after. Did that wilder thing kill him too? And to top it all off, he left clues directly for Sonchai. Yes. Of course he did.

This was a strange book, with quite a few lines to follow, and Sonchai’s wasn’t the best. The murder was the most dull one though, so I had to remind myself this isn’t really a detective story to begin with a lot. But there were great points, like that monk, or such a shift in Karma. So all in all another 3/5, I guess.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Crime Books, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Roger Hobbs “Ghostman” | Jack White 1

4Author: Roger Hobbs
Title: Ghostman
Series: Jack White 1
Genre: Crime, Heist, Detective
Pages: 400p.
Rating: 5/5 | Goodreads

I picked up “Ghostman” by Roger Hobbs almost by an accident. I simply wanted something different, this one got in the way, so I took it. Must say, has been forever since I accidentally found such a treasure. It’s a marvelously written heist book.

Our protagonist doesn’t have a name anymore. He’s a ghostman. The kind of a criminal who melts in the crowd and becoems a whole other person, elsewhere. But for the time being, we can call him Jack. For that was the last name his former employer knew him by. Employer who had a need to call in an old debt. For, you see, back in the day, this genius evil mastermind had Jack and a few others on a heist. It was meticulously planned and went pretty well, assuming the risks they were taking. It would’ve made them all a couple millions richer. But a few days prior, Jack has made a mistake. And they all paid for it during the heist. With money, with lives. Simply, Jack owed more, so now he has to pay one last time.

Another masterful heist went south. This time there were no real mistakes. Another group has attacked them after they robbed the money convoy. And while Jack is a chameleon, this man today, another tomorrow, his inner world doesn’t change. And on the inside he’s in this game for the thrill, for the passion. He liked complex things, and interesting deals, dangerous crime games. And this mess is nothing but all that. Because, for one, there’s honor among thieves too. Criminal organisations need each other to survive, there’s rarely such insane attempts to cross each other. After all, they’re not some amateur gangbangers. Second, the money will become void in 48 hours or so, becoming as worthless as the paper banknotes are printed on. And third, why the hell his former boss even steal that hard to liquefy cash? It’s a game of “are you that powerful, or that dumb” from the moment Jack steps on the trail of the only heist member who escaped. With some luck the man will be alive and will be able to answer some question. Hell, with some luck, he didn’t ditch the money either.

This was such a great and intense read, I loved it. I loved Jack’s details, so precise, so professional. If you want a heist thriller slash detective, story told from the criminal point of view, then this is it. 5 out of 5

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

John Burdett “Bangkok Haunts” | Sonchai Jitpleecheep 3

22So then. I really loved first Sonchai Jitpleecheep series book by John Burdett. And I hated the second one just as much. Thus I picked up the third book, “Bangkok Haunts” (Sonchai Jitpleecheep 3; ISBN 0307263185; 305p.; Goodreads) very carefully. I was really worried it’ll now become a common detective with some family drama to it, set in Asia. Lucky for me, that did not happen.

Sonchai received a snuff movie. The kind of a pornographic video where one of the parties gets killed. And while it’s strange in itself that someone would sent it to a cop, it is far stranger that the victim seemed to be willing and encouraging the killer to get on with it. What kind of logic could get someone so willing to die, on a video too, for someone’s sick pleasure? It’s not like the dead need money, but there’s definitely a hint towards some kind of gain the dead woman got.

Worse than the video itself for Sonchai is the fact that he knew the woman in the video, and was madly in love with her at some point. To add to injury, in the video she wore a ring he gave her, as if expecting him to one day see the tape. Sonchai, thus, has no choice, but to try and solve this master plan someone birthed.

This was a strange and interesting read. It definitely got better at the end. I loved the crazy occult things, spiritual reaping, madness, and even the description of human cruelty. I can give it a strong 4 out of 5 for sure.

Categories: 4-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

John Burdett “Bangkok Tattoo” | Sonchai Jitpleecheep 2

3I really didn’t feel like reading anything, so I picked up second book in John Burdett series Sonchai Jitpleecheep, “Bangkok Tattoo” (Sonchai Jitpleecheep 2; ISBN 1400032911; 320p.; Goodreads). I loved the first one phenomenally. But this one just didn’t feel right. In fact, it felt normal, like many other thriller detectives. For, somehow, the characters lost their characters.

A CIA agent is killed and mutilated in a room of a bar girl. They had a one-sided love history and a romance, with kind enough parting between them. And Chanya just doesn’t seem to have a heart for such a violent act, even if circumstances seem to point at her. Yet due to him being an American CIA agent in Bangkok, and this world being set just after the tragic 9/11 terrorist attack, there’s a chance that if there’s any of those evil group members around – they wouldn’t have missed a chance either. But forwards come the Muslim community, prepared to do whatever it takes, whatever means necessary, to keep this blame off of them: it’d destroy the solid community out here. So Sonchai does what Sonchai does better, he picks up whatever strings are left for him, and heads out to see what tangles he can rustle up. What could get a man like that killed anyway?

Apparently, a tattoo. And it might just not be over. Out there, in the dark underground, a good classic / traditional tattoo artist is valued, and so are their works. To the point where murdering and skinning is almost a norm, for owning a piece is a sign of status. The agent had one. And so does Chanya. Yet she’s still alive.

In some dumb sense, Sonchai got too simple for my liking. He lost his fatalistic self, settling down, calming down. And since he’s the one telling the story, and he’s the main hero in it too, it hits the whole tale quality over the head. I can’t give it more than 3 out of 5, but I’m also not ready to give up on the series just yet.

Categories: 3-5, About Msg2TheMing, Books: Everything, Crime Books, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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