RATING: 5 STARS
If you’re a fan of pulp noir fiction, you’ll love this thriller. Set in modern London, Kiss Me When I’m Dead is a detective novel narrated by the main protagonist, Daniel Beckett. He’s a womanizing, witty private detective with an air of mystery and street savvy that hints to a darker, immoral past. The narration is written in a stream of consciousness style, similar to Raymond Chandler’s hard-boiled detective fiction. In between searching for clues, he hooks up with many dangerous women. The continuous action captivated me to read “just one more chapter”…. yet I read it beyond the next chapter, until the end. There are some (non-gratuitous) sex scenes throughout the book, but it was presented in a tasteful manner
This tightly written, suspenseful novel with sharp dialogue and an unexpected ending is highly recommended for lovers of pulp fiction detective stories.
The French Executioner by C.C. Humphreys
What do you get when you mix the six-fingered hand of a Queen, an executioner and an Italian Archbishop? An amusing Three Muskateers-esque historical fiction mashup by C.C. Humphreys, who makes the story work using his graceful prose. A galloping adventure set in 1536 Europe, The French Executioner is about the expert swordsman, Jean Rombeaud, brought over from France by Henry VIII to behead his wife, Ann Boleyn. On the eve of her execution, Ann begs Jean to take her six-figured hand, symbolizing her rumored witchery, to a sacred crossroads in the Loire Valley. Ann Boleyn’s hand is such a powerful a relic, that many will put their lives at risk to own it, including an Archbishop. Humphreys’ descriptive style transports you to sinister torture-chambers, ambushes and gory battles.
When I started to read this novel, I expected a more historical rather than an action-adventure novel. The beginning of the story starts off at a slow pace, as the story becomes bogged down in detailed information. Half way through the story, the action begins. Although it’s enjoyable to read, historical fiction fans may be disappointed since this novel leans towards fantastical rather than historical.
RATING: 3.5 STARS
Last but not least, the winner of a signed copy of The French Executioner is…Christina from Kentucky! Congratulations!
UPCOMING REVIEWS: The Children Act by Ian McEwan, The Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood & Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman.
** An advanced reader’s copy of the book was exchanged for an honest review.