American History

American History

Mysterious Book Report No. 347

by John Dwaine McKenna

The twentieth century may go down in history as the most epochal of all time.  It’s already the most fascinating, pivotal and the most consequential of eras because it was without doubt the bloodiest one ever.  Now, in a brand new piece of intricate crime fiction, the twentieth century is encapsulated by following the fortunes of two families, the Agnellos and Leones, who bring a blood feud with them from Sicily to the USA at the turn of the twentieth century.  The Agnello family (lamb, in Italian) stays in New York City and mostly on the side of
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Potters Field

Potters Field

Mysterious Book Report No. 348

by John Dwaine McKenna

Three years ago, a new writing talent appeared and lit up the hard-boiled crime scene like machine-gun fire on a moonless night.  The author’s name was Rob Hart, and his character, Ash McKenna, is a tough guy who—like Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe—gives bad-assiveness a good name.  Happily, he’s now back in his fifth adventure. Potter’s Field, (Polis Books, $25.99, 272 pages, ISBN 978-1-943818-93-8) by Rob Hart, finds Ash coming back to New York’s Staten Island from a year on the road, determined to face the problems that
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Light It Up

Light It Up

Mysterious Book Report No. 327

by John Dwaine McKenna

As a fifty-plus year resident here in Colorado, the question I’m most often asked by out-of-state friends is: How has the legalization of marijuana affected things there?  The short answer . . . stoners love it and are flocking here in large numbers, as are criminals; government is ecstatic over the windfall from tax revenues; cops, school administrators and the armed forces are apoplectic about it.  But, if you’d like to learn more about this controversial subject, while at the same time having an enjoyable, legal experience . . . and keep
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Bluff

Bluff

Mysterious Book Report No. 346

by John Dwaine McKenna

Bluff is a novel about the practice of sleight of hand, or magic, and magic is done by practicing the art of misdirection.  The conjurer talks the audience into looking over there while at the exact same time doing something over here and presto . . . a deck of fifty-two cards thrown against the wall falls to the floor . . . except for one.  That’s the one a volunteer picked from the deck and showed the audience a few moments earlier then inserted back in the deck.  That particular card is thumb tacked to the wall.  Face out.  T
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False Flag

False Flag

Mysterious Book Report No. 322

by John Dwaine McKenna

In the world of espionage, The business of spies is lies, which makes it impossible at times, to distinguish between friend and foe . . . because all covert operations are designed to advance the interests and objectives of the spying country.  Put it another way and the axiom becomes: TRUST NO ONE.  They all lie all the time.  And nowhere is this illustrated better than in a thrilling new spy yarn in which a trusted ally and friend becomes a deadly enemy.  False Flag (Blackstone Publishing, $26.99, 320 pages, ISBN 978-1-5047-9772-6) b
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Rip Crew

Rip Crew

Mysterious Book Report No. 345

by John Dwaine McKenna

With all the rama-lamadingdonging that’s been going on over, under, through, around and about the southern border of our nation this MBR couldn’t be more timely. Rip Crew, (Mulholland Books/Little, Brown and Company, $27.00, 322 pages, ISBN 978-0-316-50553-6) by Sebastian Rotella, begins in Guatemala where protagonist Valentine Pescatore, an undercover agent for a private security firm, is looking for a human smuggler named Chiclet.  Chiclet, along with a group of tattooed, machete-wielding MS13-bangers, controls access to a rusty, anc
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