Crime Books

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.

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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

John Burdett – Bangkok 8 | Sonchai Jitpleecheep 1

706011I wanted to read this book for a very long while. Might be ever since I figured out Asia is so much more interesting than Europe. Or America, for that matter. I regret slightly that I’ve not read “Bangkok 8” by John Burdett (Sonchai Jitpleecheep 1; ISBN13 9789955235439; 375p.; Goodreads) a little earlier, since this was one amazing book. The characters, the story. It was nothing I expected, and I love it.

Thailand. Third World occult beliefs, religion, charm, and beauty. It might be hard for a westerner to understand, and that might be one of the great reasons why so many of them lose their hearts here, having to return time and again, just to reconnect. It is definitely hard for FBI to grasp it, not when Sonchai tells them straight: he’ll kill whoever had his soul brother killed, there will be no trial. What do they know of these delicate matters of heart even Buddha would forgive? They went there, to the crime scene, to investigate traffic, commotion. Just to find a raving black giant in a bolted car full of expertly drugged, raging snakes killing him, consuming him. Sonchai’s partner did his best to save the man, but in the end, they both died, leaving Sonchai alone, and oh so very broken. Fatalism, as in many Thai’s, was in his blood, and destruction is always at hand in this throbbing heart of a city. Yet his duty didn’t let him go too far.

FBI had no right to follow an investigation in Thailand, so Sonchai was requested to assist detective Jones on this, in mutual exchange of information. They taught each other as things progressed, and learned to work together, as odd as it felt for both of them. In the end, they found many strings, all leading towards jade and this mysterious goddess-like woman whom no one knows. Yet, as alien as she is, could she really have killed the man like that? What sort of rage had to be consuming the killer to put anyone through this kind of horror?

This was one of the most unique thrillers I have ever read, and I loved every page of it. Characters felt natural, human. Sonchai was unique and wonderful. Jones was strong, with her own opinion, her own actions. There wasn’t much predictability, and if you could predict something, there was likely a surprise hidden in it anyway. I can give it a firm 5 out of 5, for this surely has to go to my favorites.

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

K.J. Charles – Think of England

3When tired and not feeling like choosing next book to read, I just pick whatever I have by K.J. Charles. So I just grabbed “Think of England” (ISBN 9780995799004; 239p.; Goodreads) audiobook, muted my game, and propped my ears up. Whatever I expected, I did not expect such an intense plot full of spies, blackmail, extortion, and bluffs!

A faulty shipment of guns that exploded upon use has left Captain Archie Curtis maimed, lacking fingers, with dead comrades, friends, and many questions. Not the least one is: was it an accident or has someone sabotaged them? On a quest to find answers Curtins soon finds himself in a company of a poet, Daniel da Silva, at an isolated country house party. He has full intentions to find a way to break into the office of the host, in hopes of finding any proof on either guilt or innocence.

The thick-walled house hides many secrets. Under guise of night, determined to uncover at least one of them, Curtis sneaks out of his room and towards the office. Just to run into the poet, and a whole different secret. The poet, as it turns out, is not who he seems to be. And while neither trust another enough to share their secrets, they both seem to have a common goal inside the host office. It’s firmly locked, and booby-trapped, and since there’s now two men trying to get in, they both can be sure of one thing at least: the hosts do have something to hide.

This was a great damned book! Thieves, soldiers, spies, plots, sieges and lies! Like a small-scale James Bond movie with a dash of Agatha Christie vibes. I can happily give it a 5 out of 5.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, Crime Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Joe Hill – Nos4a2

15729539I’ve read “Heart-shaped box” by Joe Hill a fair while ago. I didn’t like it much, which, I guess, resulted in me forgetting all about this author. Until his “Nos4a2” (Nos-Four-A-Two; ISBN 0062200577; 704p.; Goodreads) appeared in my sight. And while this book wont become my favorite any time soon, it was still better than the previous one. But whether that is because I’ve read a translation of that one, and original of this one – who could tell now?

Charles Manx is a nosferatu in more sense than one. He feeds on human happiness and youth to remain youthful, and seemingly, immortal himself. Of course, he doesn’t have to drink blood for that. Not that he’d want to either. All he has to do is save the abused, underloved children, and take them to the Christmas land, where happiness is eternal, and frowns are against the law! Charles Manx wholeheartedly believes that what he does is right. And so, no one will ever stop him, he will save as many kids from their awful parents, as he absolutely can!

Victoria McQueen was likely the only Manx’s victim to ever escape, and that only thanks to the ability both she and Manx have, which is to open a way elsewhere. Manx opens a road to Christmas land riding his car, and Victoria opens hers to just a general place elsewhere, wherever she needs to be, a sort of a shorter way. Her run-in with the Christmas land got written down as mental illness, caused by stress of being kidnapped by a molester. She was medicated all her life for it, so, naturally, when Manx’s body disappeared from the morgue, she’d rather not hear about it. Even if she is the only person who can possibly stop him.

As I said, I do believe this book to be better than the “Heart-shaped box”, but I’m still not a fan. 3 out of 5, no more, no less.

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

A.R. Torre – If You Dare | Deanna Madden 3

+ifyoudareWow. I’ve finished Deanna Madden trilogy with the “If You Dare” book by A.R. Torre (Deanna Madden 3; ISBN 0316386693; 368p.; Goodreads), and I did not expect that. For one, the book mostly jumped off the regular topic, as one might expect in an evolving and ending story. For two, I think everyone expected a different ending!

Deanna blacks out just to wake up with a broken nose, a dark spot in her memory, and vague sense of dread. There’s a new really annoying woman living in the neighborhood. Her junkie helper is getting bold. Her boyfriend doesn’t pick up his phone, and the last she remembers seeing him, was the night before her nose got broken. After some digging in her mind, she is pretty sure, he was the one to do it too. To calm her down. But why was she so aggravated? Did she try to kill him? Did her madness overpower her? To the point where her boyfriend knocked her out, and ran for it?

Police shows up at Deanna’s door, armed with questions and prepared to search through her stuff. Deanna was pretty sure she cleaned all there was to clean when she had to, but here they are. In her car. With her knife. And blood on it. And so Deanna is arrested for attempted murder of her boyfriend.

This was one fine detective line, leading me on well to the end. I enjoyed this book greatly, and wish it were series, rather than just a trilogy! 5 out of 5, couldn’t give it less if I wanted to.

Categories: 5-5, About Msg2TheMing, Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Stephen Seitz – Sherlock Holmes and the Plague of Dracula

+sherlockholmesYes, it seems I’m pretty good with October spooky reads, but it’s an accident, mostly. “Sherlock Holmes and the Plague of Dracula” by Stephen Seitz (ISBN 1780921705; 204p.; Goodreads), as you might guess from that one word in the title, is not an accident tho. Sadly, it wasn’t really any good, so I can’t give myself any credit for this choice…

When Jonathan Harker disappears in Romania, with only a couple of cryptic letters to account for his final days, miss Mina Murray comes to Sherlock Holmes for help. Believing the worst, Sherlock and John Watson leave for Transylvania, in search of this suspicious count Dracula, and likely – Harker’s body. What they find instead is far more disturbing. A village bound in terror and superstitions, children disappearing, and no other than three vampire brides of Dracula roaming the castle. Is it all smoke, mirrors, and drugs, or can this possibly be real?

Soon after their return to England, mostly empty-handed, friends find out that the mysterious count and his crates of dirt are here too. Not only is count working with the criminal mastermind, he seems to be well able to put others under his vampiric spell too. As we know from Bram Stoker’s account, Dracula took the life of miss Lucy. What we didn’t know is that he was preying on Watson’s wife Mary also!

This book has a lot of nothing. Dracula appears, threatens, and disappears after Sherlock swears to get off his back. Watson spends his time at work, mourning his friends, and pondering vampirism, with nothing happening around. Plague of vampires, terror of Dracula? Nope, none of that. 2 out 5, I can’t give it more.

Categories: 2-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Dracula, Crime Books, Nosferatu Books, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A.R. Torre – “Do Not Disturb” | 2

+donotdisturbIt took me a book and a half to figure out that Deanna Madden trilogy has a pattern on victims in Deanna’s life. It really seems obvious now, so how I didn’t notice – I don’t know. Anyway, “Do Not Disturb” by A.R. Torre (Deanna Madden 2; ISBN B00R1NS5VK; 325p.; Goodreads) was a very good read, and I enjoyed it very much.

Deanna enjoys the little freedoms she gave herself due to newly found improvement on self control. Life’s getting better, it seems. She, her psychotic murderous self, has a boyfriend, bought a fancy new car, and crossed the street for a snickers bar, all without killing anyone. Only her doctor is honestly worried about all of this. In his opinion, her steps are too fast, and will result in slipping and killing. Here he and Deanna agree only on one thing: it is not her who might be in danger, it is the people around her.

After long years in jail he’s finally free. Only a few more months of house arrest, and he can return to his life fully. Life of money, power, respect, women. To pass the time he seeks women online for the time being, until he stumbles upon a cam-girl site, where girls engage with you via their web cams. And there she is, that one, beautiful, with defiance in her eyes. There was something wrong there from the moment he asked her what can he make her do. Just a little bit later she actually made him ask for things nicely. She made him ask. And then, when he asked to meet her in real life, offering her plenty of money for it too, she dares to outright block him! Ah, but that’s fine. All he needs is someone skilled with computers, someone who can give him her real address. And then he’ll teach her respect. They all learn under his breaking hands. Deanna Madden is no exception.

This was one hell of a ride. The story is strong, and interesting to follow. I enjoyed it far more than the first book, and hey, I loved that one too. So here’s a 5 out of 5, well deserved.

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

Kerri Maniscalco “Hunting Prince Dracula” | 2

+huntingprincedraculaI really waited for the “Hunting Prince Dracula” by Kerri Maniscalco (Stalking Jack The Ripper 2; ISBN 031655166X; 434p.; Goodreads), for obvious reasons. And while the book was pretty good, and really good as murder detectives in this time period go (the time of Jack the Ripper, Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, all loose on England), I’m still a little disappointed. For all the wrong reasons too. For as I said, the book is great. But I missed for Dracula around. It was obvious from the first book that there won’t be no threading the supernatural paths, so what the heck did I expect?

Audrey Rose comes to Romania to study forensic medicine in one of the old Dracula castles. Yet from the moment she sets foot on Romanian soil – strange things start to happen. From bones, to wolves, to strange people, to stranger deaths. There’s one dead, seemingly killed by a vampire. There’s another one, apparently killed by a vampire hunter. It didn’t take much digging for Audrey to find out that these dead people are of same bloodline Dracula was from (Basarabs, Danestis, Draculestis). So not only someone is purging the Dracula line, they’re trying to put a superstition, myth into the kettle too! But what the hell for? Is someone trying to reclaim Dracula’s throne?

The castle hides more than just corpses for students to practice on. There’s plenty of locked doors, pitch black corridors, dangerous creatures lurking in the dark, and traps, due to which Audrey had few too many near-death experiences. Yet the answers are far more important than her fear, for her most beloved friend is a Dracula descendant too. She can’t allow innocents to get murdered like that, and she absolutely can’t allow her friend endangered like this either.

I like how Audrey is written. She’s smart, kind, funny, and yet flawed as a human being would be, making her someone I’d gladly be friends with. The story is good too, even if the bad guys turn out to be deluded idiots, for the lack of better wording. But I’ll take one point for my own personal reason of: that’s not the Dracula I wanted. Trust me when I say, these books are very fine October reads: 4 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Dracula, Crime Books, LGBTQ+ Books, Nosferatu Books | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A.C. Bextor – Empires and Kings [1]

x3Sometimes I pick a book up just because, because it sat there, taunting me or whatever. Sometimes due to such an action I even find good reads. Sadly, “Empires and Kings” by A.C. Bextor (Mafia 1; ASIN B01MZA0MS5; 322p.; Goodreads) is not one of those. It’s just a book about a Russian Mafia Family head, portrayed as the most vile and ruthless monster, who, beside the few base things he did that’ll make you roll your eyes, rather than fear him, hardly did anything.

The book is told from two perspectives. One, the first, belongs to our scary mister Vlad Zaleski, the head of this Mafia Family, one of the most powerful men in the underworld. Back in the day he was required to exterminate a family of a traitor. Wrong time, wrong place, the traitor’s daughter, a mere child, runs into the room, scared by all the noises. Vlad makes her watch the killing of her family, and, due to reasons unclear, takes her with him, and puts her into his own family. Maybe he took pity on the child. Maybe he wanted her there, as a reminder to anyone else who’d like to try and betray him, what’s left of the last man who did: a single girl devoted, loyal to him.

She’s better known as the Traitor’s Daughter. She grew up fearing and revering Vlad as some sort of a god. His son became her best friend, her brother. His sister became her sister, and best friend. Growing up among the mafia men has changed her perspective on life, has given her a different rhythm to things, a certain sense of power, even in captivity, where no one could touch her, for she was jailed and protected by their boss. The only truly bad outcome in this is that she fell in love with her god, she fell in love with Vlad.

Talk about Stockholm Syndrome, right? The book has a good idea, even for a romance novel it’s a pretty fair one, for I am sure there’s many who’d enjoy a creature like Vlad, the mafia boss, the gangster, the mister danger in the modern world of darkness. Yet the story, the way it was told, the fleshing out of the small ideas, making them seem artificially bigger felt a bit weak. So for the time being I can only offer this book a 3 out of 5, and we’ll see on whether I can pick up the second one.

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

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