Horror on steroids

Let’s have some fun!

Today I’m reviewing Fresh Meat by Carolyn McCray

I’ll warn you right now this is not a scary story. This is a can’t catch your breath, squirm in your seat, all out horror fest with a cast of characters that Bundy or Gacy would feel right at home with!

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**Warning, this book is not for the squeamish or faint of heart. The gore level is a cross between Saw and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Much of Fresh Meat is set in a dungeon filled with vicious serial killers. It isn’t a matter of when blood will spill, it is how much.

No kidding!

Poor Evie. Never in a million years could her mind have imagined what’s happening to her now.

The night started out well enough. She hung out with her co-workers at the nightclub, enjoying herself for the most part. When they all want to move on to the next club, Evie declines. She’s had enough of the smoke and noise. Despite Nancy’s urging to catch a taxi, Evie elects to walk home. It’ll clear her head and her lungs.

She should have taken the taxi. With little warning, she’s grabbed, dragged into the alley, and  knocked out by a chemical filled rag pressed tightly over her mouth and nose. Her world fades to black.

alcatraz photo: Alcatraz alcatraz.jpg

She comes to in what looks like a prison. There are cells on each side of the room. In those cells are men. Dangerous men.

This book had me thinking “SAW” or “DEXTER” on steroids. Some sick twist gathers a bunch of serial killers, controls them with metal shock collars, and brings in a plaything for them to fight over. He randomly opens cell doors and watches as the poor sap tries to survive.

Just imagine being kidnapped and used as fresh meat for a bunch of rapists, murderers, and worse. Oh Yeah, there is worse. One of these guys is a cannibal.

There’s no way out, cameras are watching your every move and then the games begin.

When the cell doors open and the serial killers emerge from their cells, the only reason Evie survives is they are busy fighting each other over who gets her first. The big guy, Clyde, only wants her top half. Back Door wants her fighting and screaming, and Andrew wants to be friends before he kills her.

She’s lucky when she gets knocked into Darion’s cell. He makes no move to hurt her and  the others won’t enter his cell. They’re all afraid of him. You see, he only kills men. Maybe if she’s grateful they can come to an arrangement. Her options are slim to none.

Oh, what a twisted, shocking, psychological, read this was. What made it even better was the writing. The author had me worrying about how bad it was going to get. And it got bad. I like how she had me actually liking something about a few of these guys. She must have done a lot of research into the psychology of serial killers.

You’ve heard it said so many times, “He was such a nice guy, I never would have believed he could do something like this.” I watch the show ID often, and it’s surprising how often the killer is someone no one would suspect. Someone the victim knew well.

I, for one, will be looking over my shoulder, peering  into dark recesses, and never walking alone at night after reading this. It’s my wake up call.

You just never know what or who is out there, waiting to snatch you up for a little fun and games called murder.

scared woman photo: Color Splash Comic option3.jpg  Kudos for freakin me out!

About the author

Image of Carolyn McCray

Carolyn has had a long and extremely interesting road to become a bestseller.

When she head to veterinary school those many years ago she had no idea decades later she would be writing controversial historical thrillers, gut wrenching mysteries and roller coaster-style action/adventure tales!

Born in San Francisco and raised in the beautiful Napa Valley, Carolyn always had an overactive imagination. As a child you could usually find her dragging the neighborhood children out to the haunted barn to make her Nancy Drew-style audio tapes. Oh and did she mention, there was an entire life-sized recreation of the nativity scene in the rafters? Yeah, that wasn’t just a little creepy.

Which of course was great practice for writing such blockbusters as Plain Jane: A Patterson-style thriller with a dash of Hannibal and 30 Pieces of Silver: An Extremely Controversial Historical Thriller.

Carolyn is honored to have a seven book contract with Amazon’s mystery and thriller imprint, Thomas & Mercer along with being one of the eight books during the inaugural launch of Amazon’s new Serial program (9th Circle).

With over 250,000 books sold, Carolyn now lives on a beautiful lake in the Pacific Northwest where the fog rolls in over the water, snuffing out all signs of life around her. Yep, she still loves the creepy!

To purchase the book click on the cover

Carolyn has written many books. Go here to see more.

Not for the squeamish.

When Brandon asked me if I would like to read his new short story The Card, I was all over it!

The Card

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Some of you might think this story is predictable. Not so for me. Brandon threw in some curve balls that distracted me long enough to forget a few hints.

Jason is the moderator for the three. Even close friends get into it now and then.

Brian’s ticked off. He’s adamant he didn’t do it.

Freddie’s furious. He’s sure Brian slipped the card into his deck.

They get in each others faces, causing Jason to step in and try to diffuse them.

Freddie designs his tarot decks himself, and he’s positive the card was slipped into his deck by Brian. Even though the back has the same design, there’s no way he created the picture of the creepy old man in the hooded cape. The figure is surrounded by fog, and the raised hand holding up three fingers, what’s up with that? No way does this card belong in his deck.

Brian’s tired of hearing about it. He didn’t put the card in the deck and doesn’t get why it’s such a big deal. It’s just a card.

Freddie storms out. When Jason suggests to Brian that he apologize, Brian storms out too.

Great. He’ll just let the two cool off for the weekend and see them next week when they’ve had time to cool down.

Monday comes and Freddie doesn’t show up for work. After his shift, Jason heads to his mobile home to see what’s up.

The minute he steps up to the door, his radar starts warning him somethings wrong. He has a sick feeling, but continues inside.

OhGodOhGodOhGod

What he discovers sends him to his knees. Before everything fades to black he sees it lying there. That card.

I love short stories. I get something similar to tunnel vision when I read them. There’s nothing like them. So much is revealed in so little words. I let myself go and just become engrossed in the story, knowing I’ll only be allowed to be there for a short while.

Brandon is great at getting you to connect with his characters quickly. They become familiar and you grow to care about them. At least the good ones.

Then comes the twists. You have to have some good ones and know where to place them. Brandon does this very well, drawing my attention this way and that, my mind trying to visual each scene.

I didn’t get the ending I expected and that was a nice surprise. I’m usually close when I guess the ending and thought this story would go another way. But, nope. I got a different ending and thank Brandon for that.

The Card gets Four Stars from me!

Next up is Out After Dark. Another creepy short story by Brandon.

Out After Dark

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Eric had to get out of the safehouse. He couldn’t stand it for one more minute.

That’s how he finds himself in the alley with the woman. Not sure if she’s spotted him yet, he slips deeper into the shadows.

He’d first spotted her in the club. they exchanged passing glances. He should’ve known the night was going to be bad when he thought he saw her again at the next club.

When he spots her in the shadows of a doorway outside, his worry turns to dread.

Sure enough, she follows him, so he ducks into the alley to hide.

But she follows him.

She calls out to him.

“Come on out and play, you little bastard….”

She casually steps forward as Eric slips further down the alley, and her hand, when she withdraws it from her coat, holds a gun.

Not good.

This was fun. At first I thought Eric was one thing, then I thought he was another. It was fun finding out what he was or wasn’t and whether he was a good guy or a bad guy. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about that.

You know that feeling you get where the hair stands up on the back of your neck and you’re sure someone or something is watching you? That’s what I experienced when reading Out After Dark. I’m sure that’s how the author wanted me to feel. Good job creeping me out.

When the true story of the mysterious woman became clear, I was delighted. I had it somewhat figured out, but then Brandon did the twists thing again, and took it in another direction. An exciting one too!

I just wish it had been longer!

Four Stars for Out After Dark!

About the author

Brandon R. Luffman

Born in Statesboro, Georgia in 1976, Brandon Luffman was raised in rural North Carolina from the time he was old enough to walk. In the sixth grade he discovered The Chronicles Of Narnia. Soon after that, he was on to Stephen King and Arthur C. Clarke. At the same time, he was making his first forays into writing fiction. After creating a series of short fantasy pieces for a class assignment that were received with praise, he was hooked on writing fiction for the entertainment of others. Now Brandon writes supernatural horror as well as fantasy, science fiction, and other genres. His short fiction is available online in various formats. Brandon still lives on the family farm in northwestern North Carolina with his wife and family. Taking inspiration from his homeland, he brings southern sensibilities and a modern flair to these classic genre themes. His upcoming survival horror novel, Frostwalker, is expected to be released in 2013.

Frostwalker

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Coming In 2013!

There’s something in the woods behind Jake Marsden’s house – and someone wants him to find it. A strange dream shatters his sleep, night after night, and a compulsion to find the dark presence in the forest wars with his logical and ordered nature. What’s a geek to do?

When his small hometown of Wynn falls under an ancient curse, Jake will find himself in a battle against creatures worse than any he’s faced in a game. Playing for keeps, it will be geek versus god in the fight to stop an evil force bent on destroying everything he holds dear.

The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth – If They Live Long Enough.

For more information, or to sign up to be notified upon release, please visit the Frostwalker site.

I’ve been anticipating this one for a while now. Excited to know it’ll be here soon!

For more about the author

Website

Twitter

Goodreads

Amazon

Click on the covers to purchase the books.

More free books from the Light Brothers

Evans Light is at it again! He’s giving away more books!

Go here to get your copy of The Black Door.

It’s free on Amazon through Friday, Feb. 15th.

BLaCK DooR

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William and his brothers are on their way to summer camp. But when a wrong turn leads them to an abandoned campground, things start to get weird in this nail-biting tale of adventure and suspense. Appropriate for pre-teen to adults.

This is one of the few books by Evans I haven’t read, YET!

You’ll be reading my review soon!

And Adam is doing it too!

Great news for ya’ll. It’s free to download on Goodreads here.

Vengeance By The Foot

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This is a wicked fast read. Only takes around 10 minutes. I love the play on words Adam used in the title. You’ll get it when you read the story.

If you like stomach turning horror with your dark humor, you’ll like this one. Just a warning!

It’s a lot darker than other stories by Adam that I’ve read.

Go here to read my review.

I wasn’t kidding when I warned you about this one.

How do you take your vengeance?

I’ve just finished reading Vengeance By The Foot by Adam Light.

Great news for ya’ll. It’s free to download from Amazon here from Jan.22nd thru Jan. 26th!

Vengeance By The Foot

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This is a wicked fast read. Only takes around 10 minutes. I love the play on words Adam used in the title. You’ll get it when you read the story.

If you like stomach turning horror with your dark humor, you’ll like this one. Just a warning!

It’s a lot darker than other stories by Adam that I’ve read.

They used to be the happy couple. That is, until the infection.

Now he’s had to have his foot and part of his leg amputated and he’s turned into a bitter, self-pitying jerk. His wife can’t take it anymore and abandons ship.

He plies himself with booze and pills until he’s nearly unconscious. When something comes calling, he’s not sure if it’s real or a product of his indulgence.

Even though I was grossed out by some of this story, I found Adam’s writing to be stellar, again. He really knows how to stick it to you, with a twist or two for good measure!

I wasn’t kidding when I warned you about this one.

The Light Brothers have been very busy.

They’ve set up their own Q & A on Goodreads

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Adam and Evans have been working on setting up a Goodreads Q&A group, which can be found here: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/8…

I’m thrilled to join this group. Goodreads is where I met Evans and Adam and discovered their awesome stories.

I’ve read many of their books and am making my way through all of them.

About Adam Light and where to find him.

I have spent the better part of my life in northeast Florida, but I was born in West Virginia. I was consumed at an early age by an unquenchable thirst for the written word. Words, in general, when I think about it.

I was a quiet bookish kid, but after moving down south I grew into a wild and rebellious teenager. I grew my hair long, became enthralled with heavy metal music, and all the rest.

I’ve mellowed somewhat, but I love life, I love my family, and I love to write stories. I have a mad passion for it.

I am proud of the stories I have written and sincerely hope that readers like myself have enjoyed reading them as much as , and plan to continue tapping away at this keyboard until my fingers won’t move anymore.

Thanks to everyone who has supported my madness so far; I look forward to sharing much more of my mind’s crazy ride with you.

Goodreads

Amazon

To purchase Adam’s books, click on the covers.

Books written with Evans Light

There’s something in the water!

Delta Legend is so much more than a scary creature story. It’s about second chances, community,new friendships, budding romance, courage, and honor.

There is an inner story that provides vital background for the legend. Kelan has really done a lot of research in order to tell you about this creature and where the events take place. Her descriptions of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are almost visual.  You can almost feel the sluggish, dark water on your skin and the cold, silty bottom between your toes.

There are many characters that have their parts to play in this book. They are all essential to the plot and add depth, believability and some comic relief.

When Calvin has a brush with the juvenile court system, his mother, Angela, knows she has to do something. After losing her older son Leo to drug and gang violence, she does not want him going down the same path. Her solution is to send Calvin to stay with his great-uncle Samuel for the summer break.  He wants no part of the “cuts”, or back country life and arrives with a big chip on his shoulder.

Samuel was apprehensive about taking in Calvin, but is pleasantly surprised when his great-nephew shows a penchant for machine and engine repair. He proves to be a hard worker and an asset at Samuel’s Marine Repair Shop.

Calvin’s first encounter with Mei Li, a young Chinese farm girl, is confrontational. She sees through his tough guy persona and calls him on it. She is sassy and bold and he wants nothing to do with her.

Samuel takes Calvin into the local cafe and small grocery owned by Frances. It is also where the rental desk for Heron’s Harbor Marina, which her teenage son Jess runs. The locals come there to hang out, have a bite to eat and catch up on the daily news around town. It seems every small town has one of these.

After a little bit of juggling, Calvin and Jess start up a friendship. Mei Li is friends with Jess and includes herself on their outings. It is not hard for the others to notice that Jess has developed an interest in Lauren. She is a nice girl, but hangs with the town bullies. But soon enough Lauren sees them for what they are and joins up with Jess, Calvin and Mei Li.

Good old boys Terry and Neal just want to fish and drink cold beer. They motor to their favorite fishing spot and settle in to catch some dinner when they spot what looks like debris from a boat floating in the water. Seeing what they think is a wig, they hook  it and take a look. What they had on the end of that hook was someone’s face. Their return trip broke records. This is not the only encounter they have with body parts, it seems like they just can’t get a day of fishing in.

It soon becomes obvious that something is preying on the people of the Delta. Something hungry. The fatalities start piling up, and finally even Sheriff Ray Cruz has to accept that there is a deadly creature cruising the waters, killing and eating the unsuspecting .

The mish mash of locals,  along with Calvin and his posse of friends and Sheriff Cruz and bumbling Deputy Burt Watson, unite to combat this evil monster. There are many more characters that I’ve not mentioned, each one adding flavor and dimension to the story.  Kelan has the ability to weave them in without confusing you or slowing down your reading enjoyment. No flipping back and forth to see who’s who.

I particularly liked her characterization of Joe, Tak and Samuel. I smilingly think of them as the Over the Hill Gang.

There are a few surprises, you think something has been left out, but then Kelan slips it in effortlessly, providing all of the answers.

And I can’t wait for you to read the great “Oh No!” ending.

If you are looking for a unique monster story with lots of action, adventure and scares, I recommend you get Delta Legend and get reading.

I loved this book and decided not to do a STAR rating. It deserves much more than 5 STARS.

Exciting News!

Kelan is getting ready to release Delta Legend in print. That’s right. Soon you’ll be able to turn the pages.

You can find Kelan here:

 http://kelanoconnell.blogspot.com

 http://deltalegend.com

Blog Tour: The Homicide Chronicle by Ralph Shamas

The Homicide Chronicle

Defending the Citizen Accused

by Ralph Shamas

Blog Tour Hosted by
The Masquerade Crew

Continue reading

Get Gone for Free

I’m keeping my word. I said I’d be back to tell you about more of Adam Light’s books and I’m here with some great news.

GONE is free to download from Amazon from Jan. 7th thru Jan 11th.. Go here to get yours.

Gone

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Greg awakens with a sense of urgency. A quick glance at his clock confirms it. He’s overslept and it’ll be a mad dash to get to work on time. He forgoes breakfast, figuring he’ll grab a java at Starbucks and throws on the cleanest clothes he can find.

He spots one of his shoes but for the life of him, can’t find the other. Where is it? With no time to search any longer, he throws on a dirty pair of tennis shoes and heads out the door.

A quick glance at his living room gives him a sense that it’s different, empty somehow.

Traffic isn’t too bad until he gets close to Starbucks. Cars are lined up around the block. A huge SUV gives up its spot and he squeezes into line.

Crushing pain seizes his chest. Oh God, not a heart attack. As the pain subsides and leaves completely he has to give up his place in line or he’ll be late for work.

Just a few minutes late, he sneaks to his desk while no ones paying attention. Before he knows it, it’s time for lunch. How could that be?

Why the feelings of dread, the panic attacks, the missing time? What is it about today?

While not as polished as his later works, I still had a great time reading Gone, Adam’s first published book.

The suspense builds, you feel Greg’s confusion and panic, and then the twist is revealed.

Anyone who likes short stories with a feel of The Dark Side or The Twilight Zone will like this.

About Adam Light and where to find him.

I have spent the better part of my life in northeast Florida, but I was born in West Virginia. I was consumed at an early age by an unquenchable thirst for the written word. Words, in general, when I think about it.

I was a quiet bookish kid, but after moving down south I grew into a wild and rebellious teenager. I grew my hair long, became enthralled with heavy metal music, and all the rest.

I’ve mellowed somewhat, but I love life, I love my family, and I love to write stories. I have a mad passion for it.

I am proud of the stories I have written and sincerely hope that readers like myself have enjoyed reading them as much as , and plan to continue tapping away at this keyboard until my fingers won’t move anymore.

Thanks to everyone who has supported my madness so far; I look forward to sharing much more of my mind’s crazy ride with you.

Goodreads

Amazon

To purchase Adam’s books, click on the covers.

Books written with Evans Light

Review: The Killing of the Tinkers

The Killing of the Tinkers
Ken Bruen

Blurb:

When Jack Taylor blew town at the end of The Guards his alcoholism was a distant memory and sober dreams of a new life in London were shining in his eyes. In the opening pages of The Killing of the Tinkers, Jack’s back in Galway a year later with a new leather jacket on his back, a pack of smokes in his pocket, a few grams of coke in his waistband, and a pint of Guinness on his mind. So much for new beginnings. Before long he’s sunk into his old patterns, lifting his head from the bar only every few days, appraising his surroundings for mere minutes and then descending deep into the alcoholic, drug-induced fugue he prefers to the real world. But a big gypsy walks into the bar one day during a moment of Jack’s clarity and changes all that with a simple request. Jack knows the look in this man’s eyes, a look of hopelessness mixed with resolve topped off with a quietly simmering rage; he’s seen it in the mirror. Recognizing a kindred soul, Jack agrees to help him, knowing but not admitting that getting involved is going to lead to more bad than good. But in Jack Taylor’s world bad and good are part and parcel of the same lost cause, and besides, no one ever accused Jack of having good sense.

Review:

The latest Bruen I’ve read is actually the second Jack Taylor book, after The Guards. For those keeping score at home, this is when Taylor loses his teeth (mark that on your Jack Taylor Injury Scorecard, a big 50 points). I can’t really explain why I haven’t tried to read them in order; I suppose it’s because if I made a deliberate effort to put them all in order I would read them through in one great orgy of words until they were all done and then where would I be? Probably standing on the streets of the Claddagh listening to Bruen type.

And the Gardaí would come drag me away.

So, it’s better that I just read them in the order in which they cross my path, which happened with this tale of the tinkers and Taylor. He’s still raggedly recovering from his flight after the end of The Guards and the deaths left in his wake. It’s Jack, so he’s managed to screw up his life even more in London and as he returns to Galway, things look bleak. Then he’s asked to help deal with the killings of young tinkers because his former colleagues in the force have no interest in their world. The tinkers give him a home, his friends give him hope and he’s got a good idea who might be behind all the killings.

But you know it’s going to turn out badly because Jack Taylor is a magnet for nightmares. Bruen gives you a Galway that rustles with skittering shadows and malevolence. The circle of recurring characters have been sketched in by this second volume, but they grow more intricately here. Terrible things lie ahead for some and it makes the happy moments even more bittersweet. There’s philosophy, poetry and too much backsliding from Jack. Bruen tells his tales with a ragged beauty, his eloquence matched only by the bleak horror.

Sure it’s grand.

~ K. A. Laity

Review: The Crime Interviews, Vol. 3

The Crime Interviews, Volume 3
Len Wanner

Blurb: If you’re interested in learning about how to write, how to be a writer, or about the writing life in general, what greater resource and pleasure than frank, revealing interviews with some of today’s best-selling authors?

Len Wanner’s acclaimed interview series continues with VOLUME THREE, featuring in-depth interviews with twelve of the leading lights of Scottish crime fiction and with a foreword by William McIlvanney, creator of Jack Laidlaw and the Godfather of tartan noir.

The interviews –

– Peter May talks about writing for television, repairing bad dialogue, researching his China thrillers with the help of the Ministry of Propaganda, and receiving international exposure with a book no British publisher wanted to publish, THE BLACKHOUSE.

– Charles Cumming talks about the rewards of a degree in literature, refining expositional storytelling, researching state secrets at home and abroad, writing the great international spy novel, and being recruited by the SIS.

– Campbell Armstrong talks about going abroad to write about home, giving up on teaching creative writing, getting over the paralysis of a bad sentence, going on stake-outs, giving us his memoirs, and getting commissioned to novelise Indiana Jones.

– Caro Ramsay talks about teaching herself how to write with her back against the wall, learning how to write crime fiction from agents and editors, teaching herself how to compartmentalise, and learning how to finish a book.

– Aline Templeton talks about diving in and out of writing, writing a series of cosy police procedurals based on a subterranean cave system, living in the city yet writing about the countryside, and discovering that a fictional protagonist is a living person.

– Lin Anderson talks about the transferrable skills of teaching mathematics and calculating a career in creative writing, the constants of writing about a female serial protagonist, the variables of forensic science, and the lessons of fictional and factual near-death situations.

– Alex Gray talks about the rewards of writing about a policeman twenty years younger than her, returning to education, researching as she writes, writing about what she doesn’t know, and writing rather than retiring.

– Gillian Galbraith talks about learning to nurture her talent for the uncollaborative nature of writing, letting go of her legal career to write about the limits of institutional justice, and leaving her comfort zone as a way of finding her voice and writing about her home.

– GJ Moffat talks about what remains of his initial impulses and his international influences, the rules broken in most legal thrillers, and the rewards of letting his lawyer-cum-judge-cum-executioner break the rules of his day job.

– Craig Robertson talks about the joys of fiction in and after journalism, the pleasure of writing for himself, the pressure of writing for others, the need for brutality in editing, and the greed for brutality in writing.

– Ken McClure talks about the science of storytelling, the survival rate of a series of medical thrillers, the appeal of being his own agent, his second coming as an e-book bestseller, and his involvement in the identification of Gulf War Syndrome.

– And Frederic Lindsay talks about the best ways to propel and pause plots, invent manner along with matter, make the familiar strange with the weight of experience, and exhaust potential to energise narrative.

Review: I may be accused of bias toward all things Scottish, but I certainly enjoyed this third outing of Wanner’s interviews as much or more than the other two. Interviews depend largely on the subjects, of course, and there’s a great bunch here. But the real important part comes from asking the right questions and not always settling for the answers you get without probing a little more and that’s where Wanner truly shines. Well worth the price — a master class in different approaches to writing well.

~ K. A. Laity

Review: Death on A Hot Afternoon

Death on a Hot Afternoon
Paul D. Brazill

After the violent events in the novelette Red Esperanto, freelance journalist Luke Case, escapes snow smothered Warsaw and heads off  to the heat of Madrid. The English hack encounters an old man with a violent past and a mysterious torch singer, during a scorching and deadly Spanish summer.

Review: I’m a sucker for Brazill’s singularly laconic style and his hapless heroes — or is it too grand to call them heroes? Main characters? Saps? No, they’re seldom suckers — just not particularly well prepared, thoughtful or lucky. You can move Luke Case around to a new city, but the seedy world seems to follow him there, whether it’s a Peruvian pan pipe band playing ‘Ring of Fire’ or any of a variety of other off-hand pop culture references (Arthur, Mr B? Priceless). If Luke Case manages to survive, it’s not down to his own skills or perspicacity — but surely there are enough gods to watch over drunks and fools. The fun is watching it all unfold.

Bundle this together with other Lite Editions and make your own noir collection.

~ K. A. Laity