June 15, 2014
All Cut Up by Bruce Crowther
With his latest novel, All Cut Up, the author ventures into a different genre from those in which his previous books can be placed.
Labeling this new genre isn’t easy. Yes, it’s a crime novel. Yes, it deals with serious subjects, including racial, religious and sexual prejudice. Yes, it takes a hard look at double-talking politicians. But above all, it is blackly comic and very politically incorrect.
When Jimmy’s forgetful mum disappears he is suspected of killing her, while he fears that she has fallen victim to a sadistic serial killer. Jimmy and his pals from the Team, West London pub quiz champions, set out to uncover the truth, inadvertently stumbling into a neo-Nazi plot to take over one of Britain’s much-loved institutions.
The Team is a motley lot: unemployed Jimmy, his Nigerian martial arts expert girlfriend, an old bomb-making Jewish street busker, a foxtrotting Arabian mystery man, and a dim-witted but weirdly gifted skinhead.
Dogged by a jaded, ambitious and seriously bigoted policeman, the Team’s search uncovers many unpalatable truths – not only about their dangerously intolerant and unpredictable world, but also about themselves.
A word of caution: in All Cut Up there is something to offend almost everyone as each of the main characters exposes one or another of the many prejudices that beset us all – and do so in decidedly earthy language.
Available in print from various sources including Amazon and also as a Kindle ebook only from Amazon.
CreateSpace ISBN-13: 978-1499167153 & ISBN-10: 1499167156
June 1, 2014
A very welcome addition for the growing army of fans of Joan Merrill’s series of jazz-connected detective novels featuring Casey McKie comes with a newly-available audio book. This features Casey’s latest case, And All That Madness, a tale in which Casey forsakes San Francisco, her home turf, to investigate a New York mystery. The reader is Alisa Clancy, radio host of Morning Cup of Jazz at KCSM Jazz91. Those lucky enough to have heard Alisa Clancy before will not need telling, but for those less fortunate, as indeed am I, she has a warm, husky, thoroughly engaging vocal sound that admirably tells this tale of intrigue surrounding the long-ago death of Georgia Valentine, jazz singing star of the 1950s. As the McKie fan army knows, almost all of the characters, major and minor, in Joan Merrill’s books, are jazz people and here they include musicians and agents, former lovers of the dead diva, criminals and cops, jazz archivists and fans. All of them are realistically portrayed in the author’s words and Alisa Clancy’s voice is a perfect fit for the mood, effortlessly conjuring up the atmosphere, then and now, of New York’s jazz scene. For those who have not seen my earlier page about the Casey McKie books (01 February 2013), the death of Georgia Valentine has always been thought to have resulted from a self-administered drug overdose. A newly-discovered letter opens up new lines of inquiry and in following up on them, Casey McKie encounters Georgia’s ex-husband, a former narcotics agent, a drug dealer, a mafia boss, and a wealthy socialite, among many wholly believable characters before eventually unearthing shocking truths about the jazz legend’s life and death.
The crisp pace and snappy dialogue of Joan Merrill’s books is brought to vibrant life by Alisa Clancy and this will appeal both to lovers of crime fiction and to jazz fans. Those who are fans of both genres will be especially delighted.