David Kellgren is a process server, a job where everyone wants to kill the messenger and things can get a little bit dangerous and out of hand. David is attacked when trying to serve legal papers to a gang member and an angel comes to his rescue: nineteen-year-old Gabriella Amaya, trapped in a large dilapidated house, caring for her dying aunt. This elderly aunt has money, diamonds, and real estate, promised to Gabriella when the aunt dies. Is there any way the sultry caregiver can get her crafty hands on that wealth sooner? And share it with her new lover, the unsuspecting process server who starts to wonder if he’s become a patsy in an elaborate murder plot, or if he simply cannot allow himself to truest any woman who says, “I love you.” Set in San Diego, Chula Vista, and Tijuana, Hard Cold Whisper is Michael Hemmingson at his finest, most terse and torqued prose in the crime genre. — Hemmingson wrote Hard Cold Whisper as an experiment during the 2010 3 Day Novel Challenge during Labor Day Weekend, a concerted event where writers all over the world participate. The method here pays homage to hardboiled noir master Gil Brewer, who wrote many of his finest Fawcett Gold Medal titles in a possessed, white hot flash fury of several days or a week. Hard Cold Whisper is Hemmingson’s nod to the feel and atmosphere of the Gold Medal paperback.
With the literary inventiveness of Paul Auster and the dark absurdity of Kafka, Laird Hunt’s impressive debut is a smart, funny noir that is as fittingly spare as a bare ceiling light. Deadpan delivery and a sly eye for detail characterize The Impossibly’s anonymous narrator, and when the nameless operative botches an assignment for the clandestine organization that employs him, everyone in his life—including his girlfriend—is revealed to be either true-blue, double operative, or both. The narrator’s final chilling assignment—to identify his own assassin—masterfully dismantles the reader’s own analysis of the evidence. This is a fresh, daring love story set in a world of crime and deep confusion, told by an unreliable and not-unhumorous individual, who is more interested in love than in crime and is clearly ill-equipped for both.
Halfway around the world, war has begun, but for Dorie Lennox, a newly-minted private eye on her first tail, danger is more immediate. The dark streets of Kansas City of 1939 offer swing music, fast cars, gangsters, and the chance to forget about the Depression and her own murky past. But first she must conquer her fears and save a woman on a bridge high above the muddy Missouri. Dorie is thrown into a quickly unraveling scam that offers salvation to few — and misery to plenty — in the high stakes world of machine politics and desperation deals.
With vivid prose and sharp dialogue, the world of Dorie Lennox comes alive, behind the wheel of her Packard in jazz-age Kansas City. The landscape of America and the homefront of World War II are evoked in a thoughtful mystery that lingers for the force of characters and keen sharpness of a slice of history seen through the perceptive, compassionate eyes of Dorie Lennox.
Cover background image from shog9 – flickr CC-BY-SA