Category: Books (page 2 of 2)

Hard Case Crime Highlights featuring Lawrence Block and Christa Faust

Hard Case Crime has been publishing hardboiled crime novels for the best part of a decade, here’s a few  choice picks among their many, many offerings.

Kit Tolliver after years of sexual abuse at the hands of her father, killed her parents. Her father for his transgressions and her mother for allowing it to goGettingOff-sketch6_layout on. Removing all traces of her presence the police filled in the blanks and assumed the couple had killed each other. Kit disappeared that day.

Kit is a sociopathic serial killer who drifts from town to town murdering men. Her motivation lingering rage and abandonment issues left over from her father’s abuse. she is also a pathological liar. With each new place comes a new name, a new identity and a new man for her to target. Kit is also a nymphomaniac using men for passionate wild sex before killing them and stealing whatever money they have before moving on to the next town.

Kit has realised though that in the early days, when she was less skilled and focussed she left several of her targets alive and now she is tying up loose ends.

Veteran writer Lawrence Block is best known for his award winning hardboiled crime writing but also wrote several novels of steamy lesbian erotica under the pseudonym Jill Emerson and returns to his pseudonym here although both names are on the cover.. The cover states “A Novel of Sex & Violence”and it’s not false advertising as Block writes about sex and murder with unashamed glee and the grit and style he is known for.

Kit loves sex but loves it even more when she knows she’s going to kill the man afterwards. An early encounter sees Kit (calling herself another name) picking a gullible mark in a casino and before long has him tied to a bed with his mouth duct taped and using an elastic band as a makeshift cock ring  ‘it’s an old Indian trick’ she says to her helpless victim, after passionately riding him for some time she scalps him and leaves him to bleed out on the bed with his bloated erection standing defiantly firm.

Things get distinctly more twisted as the story progresses one encounter finds Kit pondering upon looking at her victim ,who has been strangled in a noose made to look like an autoasphyxiation accident, “the cock ring hadn’t stopped working. He was still massively erect, and she could swear he’d grown larger since she’d left him……… waste not, want not isn’t that what they say? And when am I gonna get a chance like this again?’

 It’s sleazy,twisted and trashy pulp but it also happens to be crafted just as well as Block’s other books and despite being a murderous sociopath  it’s hard not to love Kit as she carves out a path and carves up her victims.

21459830-40-MoneyShotFormer porn star Angel Dare gets a call from old friend when he’s in a bind. A one time job at a shoot in Bel Air, Angel feeling pretty low on self-esteem and wanting an ego boost likes the idea of working with ripped new dick-on-the-block Jesse Black. Things go from bad to worse in the blink of an eye with Angel finding herself tied to a bed, interrogated and mercilessly beaten by a heavy who’s fishing for information about a young woman that Angel is connected to. Things go from bad to worse though as Angel soon finds herself being brutally raped by Jesse and forced to watch her oldest friend Sam get kneecapped. Unceremoniously dumped in boot of a car by her attacker, when it comes to pulling the trigger Jesse loses his nerve and goes for a wounding shot instead of the kill. Big mistake.

With Money Shot Christa Faust introduces one of the best femme fatale’s in fiction . Money Shot (which by the way like many of Hard Case Crime’s books  features gorgeous cover art by Glen Orbik) is an adrenaline fuelled pulp tour de force. Dare finds herself relying on Malloy a straight talking, granite faced ex-cop and her faithful assistant Didi whilst trying to find out what’s going on and unwittingly stumbling across a human trafficking operation. Faust’s tale rattles along like a runaway train Dare is rendered refreshingly human via numerous character touches. Completely breaking down after the brutal interrogation and then hating herself for it, worrying if she left her vibrator on her bed or put it away in the bedside cabinet in case the cops come to search her place and being wracked with regret about all her friends being dragged 104-chokeholdinto the rapidly expanding shitstorm her life has become, Dare is both victim and avenging angel and isn’t just a cypher dealing with cliches .

Faust’s snappy prose is tight as a drum and Dare’s story is an engrossing one as she embarks on her journey of revenge and discovery. Cliffhangers are utilised well which makes for an even more compulsive read. There’s some wry commentary on Dare’s former world of the adult film business as Dare says “A lot of guys imagine it would be this big turn-on to visit a porn set. My advice is, unless you really love watching other men jack off, don’t bother”. There’s plenty of action and sex too, which refreshingly isn’t written in a misogynistic manner.

The follow up Angel Dare story Choke Hold has a former co-star stumble upon Dare who has been relocated with a new identity, only for him to die in the midst of a shoot out in the diner Dare has been working in. Feeling guilty over her old friends death Dare finds herself honour bound to escort his son, Cody an up and coming temperamental MMA fighter, through the choking heat of the Arizona desert to Las Vegas and unintentionally gets tangled up in a drug smuggling operation in the process.

Faust is working on an as yet untitled third Angel Dare book.

For more on Hard Case Crime visit

I’M IN THE BAND: Backstage Notes from the Chick in White Zombie

Anyone who has good taste in music will know who White Zombie were and they’ll undoubtedly know who Sean Yseult is too. For the uninformed White Zombie formed in 1985 and before they split up over a decade later they became one of the biggest bands in “alternative” music.

Their music defied categorisation often referred to as Art Rock, Alternative Metal and even Industrial sometimes. They went multi-platinum, were nominated for Grammy awards, their videos were all over MTV (back in the days when they actually showed music videos), they embarked on epic tours and played to thousands of fans at festivals but most surprisingly to some their bass player was a woman.

It seems rather odd now since there’s a whole host of bands from various genres with women in their ranks from singers to guitarists and more. Back in the day though there was only “the Chick in White Zombie” as Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butthead put it. Not only were White Zombie a monumental band that played to audiences of 80,000 or more (as seen on the front cover, that shot was taken at Castle Donnington in ’95) Sean wasn’t trying to be “sexy” and didn’t make a big deal out of being pretty much the only woman in the world of Metal at the time. It was an endearing quality which just made her more appealing and another facet that added to White Zombie‘s distinctly out there freaky appeal.

Whilst Rob Zombie was running around on stage like a man possessed to J’s shredding guitar riffs Sean would be doing her thing, throwing her hair around and looking like one of the most bad ass best bass players ever to take the stage.

Unlike the norm for autobiographical books from musicians this isn’t really an ode to the hedonistic excesses of life on the road. This book is more of a coffee table affair built up around Sean’s habit of writing tour diaries and taking photo’s on the road with the band, that and a hoarding mentality when it came to the bands laminates, flyers and other various items.


A child of “art-and- music-loving hippie bohemian scholars” Yseult was performing with Blues players on stage from the age of 8 in smoky nightclubs and thanks to an overly zealous Piano tutor could read , write and transpose music before reading regular books. That’s along with an avid interest in Ballet, which lead to attending the North Carolina School of the Arts age 12.

An accident during ballet practice would lead to a life changing event,changing to visual arts.

One of the interesting parts of “I’m in the Band” is the embyronic stages of the band. Their first effort dubbed “Gods on Voodoo Moon” was recorded in two hours in a studio picked from the phone book for it’s name “Bat Cave” and its dirt cheap prices.

The band would spend quite some time living on enthusiasm and the excitement of being in a band on the road rather than off food and money since they seldom had either, often sleeping on the floor of the home of someone else in a band in the town they were playing at.

When the band started to make it big as well being a great player Sean would be synonymous with three things her mop of hair, her constantly changing hot pants and her Rickenbacher bass which was covered in stickers.

When they made it to England riding high on the waves made by the band’s last studio effort “Astro Creep 2000” they played Castle Donnington in front of thousands of fans after driving all night and sleeping during the day but no-one woke up Rob or Sean ’til they were due on stage and they were scared they’d be pelted with bottles of piss playing at Reading Festival the next day.

What’s really great about this book is the plethora of photo’s and images of posters, flyers, stage banners and various other things from the band’s history. The design by Yseult stops things getting cluttered and even features a flipbook section so you can see her in all her headbanging glory.

Newer posts

© 2019

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑