New York Times Review of The Adjustment by Scott Phillips

“Wayne Ogden is a prince of a fellow, as long as you judge this bad-boy protagonist of Scott Phillips’s caustic crime novel, THE ADJUSTMENT (Counterpoint, $25), according to his own perverse code of ethics. As a quartermaster for the United States Army stationed in Rome during World War II, Ogden had a rewarding career as a pimp and a trader on the black market. But life in postwar Wichita proves a letdown (even the funnies aren’t as “funny and mean as they used to be”), and Ogden feels his skills are wasted in his job, which involves enabling the owner of an aviation company to indulge his various degenerate and illegal hobbies. Going by his own rule book, Ogden is just “playing Good Samaritan” when he escorts pregnant girls to a “reliable angelmaker,” distributes drugs to needy addicts and takes lonely women to bed. And provided he doesn’t kill too many people or run out on his nice wife, who’s to say otherwise?” — Marilyn Stasio Link to review:...

Victoria Patterson on Radiance by Louis B. Jones

Author Victoria Patterson (This Vacant Paradise) reviewed Radiance by Louis B. Jones for Three Guys One Book. Excerpt: “Mark Perdue is the kind of perfectly flawed and contemplative character that I love, quietly tortured over everyday events—like being put on hold on the phone: “And with a clotting sound in the earpiece, the intelligible universe everywhere was smothered and he was plunged into an insulted solitude. Worse than solitude, he was plunged, all unprepared, into the paucity of his life.” For the full review, visit: http://threeguysonebook.com/radiance-by-louis-b-jones  ...

Reading in L.A. review of Radiance by Louis B. Jones

“Every word of this short novel is relevant. Brilliant, actually.” ~ Reading in LA Excerpt: “The tension between Mark and Blythe’s undeniable attraction, (compounded by the increasing distance he feels from his aggrieved wife) and the necessity of maintaining narrative equilibrium, makes for some thoroughly good writing. But I think the most interesting part of Mark’s weekend-long journey is his rapidly evolving understanding of his daughter. Jones depicts the perfectly torturous blend of terror, wonder, pride and agony that befalls the father of a teenage girl. In fact, Carlotta may be the only person whose feelings Mark can feel, as opposed to assume; the only person to whom he extends a free pass for complexity and true humanity, while still endlessly writing her character. “He really believed that her present drama of grief, over the deleted little brother, was a cover-up for her worse dread. Teenagers’ dread is their discovery of personal irremediable defects and second-rateness. In high school you present yourself to the marketplace. You hadn’t been aware there was a marketplace. That’s the terrible open floor. You enter through the main entrance. You’re suddenly out on that floor. On schoolday mornings he would drop her off on the curb and he could see it descend upon her, at the moment of her climbing to set foot in those corridors, he could it it in the set of her shoulders: her irremediable defects and second-rateness.” Over the weekend, as Mark gets pulled toward Blythe, and Carlotta is pulled toward her own opposite in the paraplegic hottie, Mark can’t help, under the glare of big city lights, but start to...

Ashes of the Earth Review on Inkwatu

Pattison’s Sleuths Typically, Pattison’s sleuths all have a foot in both sides of the cultural conflict. Often he is a fallen and outcast hero of the culture of oppression who defends the oppressed culture as a side effect of his sleuthing. Here, too, is a feature of Pattison’s novels that set them apart from many mysteries. Over the course of each series, and to a certain extent within each book, the hero is experiencing his own character arc, a change of perspective, loyalties, belief systems, and sense of purpose. This arc is built into the nature of the character himself. It is a journey of self-discovery for the sleuth. I find this aspect of Pattison’s novels particulary rewarding as a reader. Pattison’s sleuths are not static, two-dimensional characters. This makes for considerable interest and tension. Not only is there a crime to be solved, but the hero himself is a mystery, to us and to himself. When I look back over the novels of Pattison that I’ve read, I remember many of the characters vividly, not just his heroes. This is not always the case with an author. Just taking the two authors mentioned above, both favorites of mine, Christopher and Ludlum, aside from the main character how many of their other characters do I remember? Not all that many. In Pattison’s novels, I remember quite a few. For the full review, visit:...

LA Times Book Review of Victoria Patterson’s THIS VACANT PARADISE

LA Times Book Critic Susan Salter Reynolds discusses THIS VACANT PARADISE: Excerpt: One wants to like Esther, who has the potential to rise above it all, but she fails us: “No matter how much plastic surgery,” she thinks, looking at female competitors in a bar, “they would never be as physically attractive as she was at this very moment.” This is not the stuff revelations are made of. A reader wants the entire little planet on which these little people live — the mall and the strip of Southern California real estate, to perish in a great conflagration, James Bond style. But no. To Patterson’s credit, she goes down with the ship. These people are beyond salvation. Esther has a mini-epiphany: “For the first time, she was paying attention to people on the sidelines of wealth.” It’s not enough for us to root for her. No, these people will continue feeding the image forge and cranking out empty, desperate hollow men and women until the end of time. The good news is that novels enter the bloodstream with greater permanence than television shows. And this one has a great big sign over the entryway: Do Not End Up Like This.” For the full Lasik New York review, visit:...