Trash Lit

Trash Lit: Nellie Bly meets old-school hacker in "The Alchemy of Murder"

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The Alchemy of Murder
Carol McCleary
Forge, 365 pp. $24.99

Nice effort for a first novel. A fun premise, fairly well executed. Nellie Bly, the famous (for real) investigative reporter for Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World, goes to Paris in 1898, just as the World’s Fair is attracting throngs of tourists, to catch a brutal murderer.

The guy’s apparently a doctor, and has been hacking up girls and taking away parts of their bodies. Now he’s going about his nasty business in a city that’s not only overwhelmed with the fair (and trying to hush up the killings to avoid bad publicity) but in the throes of an epidemic of something called Black Fever.

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Trash Lit: 'Reckless' could be ripped from headlines (minus a couple murders)

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Reckless
Andrew Gross
William Morrow, 404 pages, $25.99

Imagine if the head of a powerful banking company with close ties to the federal government conspired with some shady Saudi billionaires and a cruel Serbian ex-military thug to bring down the American financial system in a Darwinian plot that would allow the one firm with insider knowledge to emerge even stronger. How would it play out? Well, minus a few murders, more or less exactly the way the financial-sector meltdown of the past couple of years has played out.

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Trash Lit: Spenser says goodbye in 'The Professional'

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The Professional
Robert B. Parker
Penguin Books, 289 pages, $26.99

I just read the last Spenser novel, ever.

That’s a hard sentence to write. Spenser’s been around a long time, and I’ve read all 37 of Robert B. Parker’s classic tough-guy detective books, and even though they all have the same characters, similar plots, similar dialogue and similar themes, they’re all good. Every last one of them. Read more »