Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett

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*No Major Spoilers*

The Thin Man introduces Nick and Nora Charles, New York’s coolest crime-solving couple. Nick retired from detecting after his wife inherited a tidy sum, but six years later a pretty blonde spies him at a speakeasy and asks for his help finding her father, an eccentric inventor who was once Nick’s client. Nick can no more resist the case than a morning cocktail or a good fight, and soon he and Nora are caught in a complicated web of confused identities and cold-blooded murder.

I am a huge fan of crime noir, and this story takes place on the tail end of Prohibition. So if you love your mysteries with lots of illicit booze and over-dramatic women, then I would recommend The Thin Man for your reading list.

I enjoyed the first half of this mystery novel. The mystery was intriguing and I was trying to solve the puzzle along with Nick and Nora. There’s quite the cast of characters that would make any Agatha Christie fan enjoy this novel.

However, the drama with the suspect’s family got to be too much for me and I just stopped caring. Nick had already reached the conclusion that the ex-wife’s new husband had something to do with the murder and once the police were on the look for him and the ex-husband the family drama kept going and I mentally checked out until the end of the story.

The ending would’ve been a nice twist and a surprising ending. To see Nick explain in full detail to Nora about how the bad guy(s) committed the crime and almost got away with multiple cold-blooded murders was interesting. However, I feel like I was over this novel once the initial hunch was made clear and the family drama kept dragging on.

This is a quick read or listen depending on your preferred medium. I got through about half of the audiobook in one night, so if you’re looking for a crime noir to whet your appetite then check out The Thin Man.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Exploration: The Stanfield Chronicles by David Tory

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*No Major Spoilers*

After the disastrous fire in 1613, a young man, Isaac Stanfield, leaves Dorchester to become a sailor on a merchantman, the Sweet Rose. Through resilience, initiative, and luck, Isaac finds himself a participant and observer in the explorations that preceded the arrival of the Mayflower in New England in 1620.

Isaac’s thirst for adventure is tempered by the love and support of friends while his youthful exuberance and charm attract many important people to engage him in their endeavors.

This story describes events in the period 1613-1620. It is also the story of Isaac’s coming of age in those turbulent times.

Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Manga

REVIEW: Monster Tamer Girls Vol. 1 by Mujirushi Shimazaki

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*No Major Spoilers* 

When giant monsters roam the earth, “wildlife care” takes on a whole new meaning. That’s where the Tamers come in–girls trained to soothe the savage beasts. But while co-existence is a way of life, it’s still a little overwhelming for meek Ion Hidaka. Can she handle being one of the newest members of the Tatara Girls’ Academy Tamers Committee?

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I have been reading mangas for the past several years. Most of the ones I’ve read are good, but just like anything else, there are a few outliers. However, Monster Tamer Girls isn’t an outlier in the slightest. So let’s dive into this unique monster story. 

First off, I loved our main characters, Ion Hidaka and Sora Misumaru. Ion has a talent for befriending the monsters she meets, and yet she’s still terrified of them. Her best friend, Sora, isn’t interested in becoming a monster tamer, but she’s there to support her friend every step of the way.

I even loved the background characters. I wanted to learn more about the former members of the Monster Tamer Committee, but hopefully, the author will explore this in future volumes. All in all, there wasn’t a character I didn’t like for one reason or another. 

The monsters are adorable. I know they are supposed to be large and scary like Godzilla and Mothra, but I couldn’t help but fall in love with the monsters in this story. The monsters appear in a more cartoony style. For example, the monster that lives by the school his horns don’t look sharp, his eyes look mean, but throughout the story, he’s just a lethargic monster.

Overall, I enjoyed Monster Tamer Girls. The characters are dynamic, and the monsters are cute and loveable. I would highly recommend this manga for lovers of Kaiju, and the Slice of Life genre. 

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If you would like to show your support you can do so HERE! I am hoping to have some new content coming out fairly regularly. My mental health has definitely taken a major hit since this whole situation happened, and I’m slowly trying to rebuild a new sense of normalcy. No matter, I appreciate everyone’s support.

Posted in Graphic Novels, Marvel Comics

REVIEW: Devil at Bay (Daredevil Vol. 1) by Mark Waid, Marc Guggenheim, and Chris Samnee

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*No Spoilers*

Daredevil has headed West, and he now protects the Golden City’s streets from evil — both as a costumed hero and as blind lawyer Matt Murdock! But big changes are in store for Matt as old haunts and familiar faces rise to give the devil his due. The Owl is back, and he isn’t working alone. But old enemies are small potatoes compared to Matt’s new “friend”: the would-be hero known as the Shroud! As one of DD’s oldest enemies is permanently redefined, deadlier than ever, Kirsten and Matt find themselves sharing a volatile secret. But who will crack first?

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I have reviewed Daredevil comics in the past, and I love this street-level superhero! The Netflix series was what introduced me and millions of others to this underdog in the Marvel Universe. So let’s see what’s up with Daredevil in Devil at Bay!

We first see Daredevil in San Francisco rescuing a detective’s daughter that was kidnapped earlier. Daredevil aka Matt Murdock, is able to track down where the kidnappers are keeping the daughter and save her.

Afterwards, we get some background on what happened to Matt’s long-time friend Foggy Nelson. The rest of the volume goes into this story-arc, and I thought it was nice getting some character building between Matt and Foggy.

Overall, I enjoyed liked this volume of Daredevil. There was a good mix of action, character development, and an overall good story. I would recommend this novel for Daredevil fans, as well as Marvel fans. If you have been missing Netflix’s Daredevil series, this gives you a good taste of that kind of action.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Peaceful Valley Crime Wave by Bill Pronzini

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*No Major Spoilers*

Nothing much happens in Peaceful Valley, Montana. And that’s just how Sheriff Lucas Monk likes it.

Aside from the occasional drunken brawl or minor disturbance out on the reservation, he hasn’t had to resort to his fists or sidearm in years.

That is, until mid-October, 1914, when the theft of a wooden cigar store Indian sets off a crime wave like nothing Lucas has ever seen. Teenager Charity Axthelm goes missing, Reba Purvis’s housekeeper is poisoned with cyanide Reba is sure was meant for her, and Lucas’s gut tells him that this is only the beginning.

It’s not long before the first corpse shows up, bringing the peace in the valley to a thundering end.

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I have read and reviewed a few Westerns on this blog before. Some include The Ballad of Black Bart by Loren D. Estleman, The Hunger by Alma Katsu, Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith, and recently, Modo: Ember’s End by Arthur Slade. Let’s return to the frontier in The Peaceful Valley Crime Wave by Bill Pronzini! 

I enjoyed how the book starts with the theft of the local cigar store Indian, and the chaos grows from there. Sherriff Monk takes the chaos in stride and does his best to investigate with the clues the case threw at him. Next, the attempted murder of a local busybody and her housekeeper. Finally, the murder of a local young woman who supposedly ran away with a traveling merchant.

First of all, I fell in love with Sherriff Monk. I agreed with his idea of justice and doing things more or less by the book. His dry sense of humor had me chuckling along as he’s questioning witnesses and looking for clues. He is honest, and he’s willing to let his deputies participate in the investigations. 

Out of the three central mysteries, I think the attempted homicide by poisoning ended up being my favorite. I think the idea of a murderess killing wealthy bachelors and taking their money and moving to a new town to start again is fascinating. The case reminded me of the frontier serial killer, Belle Gunness.

Overall, I enjoyed The Peaceful Valley Crime Wave. There was plenty of action, mystery, and old fashioned justice. What caused this sudden and brief crime wave Sherriff Monk isn’t sure of by the time the last case wraps up. Maybe Montana is just dull enough to cause people to go a little batty. 

I would recommend this novel for lovers of westerns, mysteries, and historical fiction. I think you should give this a read if you’re looking for a great western mystery. The Peaceful Valley Crime Wave is an entertaining read that I enjoyed from beginning to end.

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