Friday means Friday’s Forgotten Books. Make sure you check out the list
over at Patti’s blog after you read Barry Ergang’s review of Blunt Darts by Jeremiah Healy. Amazon
says this is the first book in the John Cuddy series. I am pretty sure I have
never read any of the series.
BLUNT DARTS (1984) by Jeremiah Healy
Reviewed by Barry Ergang
After working as a claims
investigator for Empire Insurance Company for eight years, John Francis Cuddy
was appointed head of claims investigation in Boston. Shortly after his wife
Beth’s death after a long illness, Cuddy was approached by a colleague and
asked to sign an investigation report of a claim that was never probed by the
Boston office, and he refused. This resulted in his dismissal.
Paperback Blunt Darts
“Six years earlier the company had
required all of us to obtain and maintain private investigator licenses from
the Department of Public Safety. I knew three or four semi-reputable guys in
the trade who could tell me how to get started and maybe even refer me a few
clients. I decided it was time J.F.C. became his own man.”
When he receives a call from
Valerie Jacobs, whom he met while at Empire because at the time she was dating
a claims adjuster there, Cuddy agrees to meet her for lunch. A schoolteacher,
Valerie is concerned about a former student, Stephen Kinnington, and wants
Cuddy to meet with Eleanor Kinnington, who lives in the town of Meade and who
is the mother of Judge Willard J. Kinnington, “one of the youngest men ever to
go on the bench, and his family has sort of, well, ruled Meade since long before I arrived,” Valerie explains.
“Anyway, Stephen’s mother, Diane Kinnington, killed herself about four years
ago by driving her Mercedes off a bridge and into the river. Apparently she
boozed it up a lot, so no one knows whether it was accidental or suicidal. It
hit Stephen pretty hard, as you can imagine.” Hard because he was catatonic when he went
into and spent time recovering in the sanatorium Willow Wood.
Hardcover Blunt Darts--Import
Convinced that the young man has
run away rather than been the victim of a kidnapping, his grandmother, Eleanor
Kinnington, wants Cuddy to find Stephen and bring him home to resume a normal
life. She has a strong sense of where he might have gone, and Cuddy sets out
after him—but not without complications. Among the latter are Judge Kinnington
and his court officer and right-hand man, a brutal giant of a disgraced cop
named Gerald Blakey, neither of whom want Cuddy’s intrusions.
While dealing with personal
issues, not the least of which is his relationship to wannabe-lover Valerie
Jacobs versus loyalty to his dead wife, Cuddy’s quest to find and bring Stephen
home results in revelations about the Kinnington family, among them the judge’s
brother Telford, who died in Vietnam while leading “his company in a
counterattack from an American position against a much larger Vietcong force.” The
overall quest is not without violence and disclosures, plausible if unexpected,
by both Cuddy and the reader.
Blunt Darts is the first novel in the John Francis Cuddy mystery
series and the second one I’ve read, the other being Swan
Dive. Like the latter, Blunt
Darts is a stellar example of economical prose that conveys a powerful,
fast-moving narrative and character-delineating dialogue. I look forward to
reading still more in this exceptional series and would not dissuade other
hardboiled mystery fans—at least, those who aren’t squeamish about occasional
moments of street language—to do the same. Jeremiah Healy is an author well
worth a reader’s time.
As For The
Good Of The Clan Ulat is pursuing a
deer for his clan. He takes the deer down on an early spring day. Minutes later,
he is taken down at least two blows from behind.
For Ledeth, the
medicine man for the clan, this day has passed like others over his many years.
His name translates to “one who knows secrets” and that sums up what he does on
a daily basis. Revered and feared by his clan he is well aware that time waits
for no creature. He feels a sense of urgency to impart his knowledge to Donathan
who is his latest student. Donathan may have potential, but he is also not
anywhere near ready to take on the responsibility of being the medicine man to
the clan. For Ledeth this is a huge issue, as he knows his time for the long
sleep is coming.
It is Ledeth who the people
feel comfortable with coming to with their concerns. The oldest daughter,
Matha, of his sister comes to him that night to tell him Ulat has not returned
and she is very worried. When Ulat still has not returned the next day, Ledeth
goes to Chief Balog to ask for clan members to be sent to look for Ulat.
The search party sent
out by Chief Balog soon fins Ulat’s body. Ledeth is assigned, not only the
ceremonial funeral, but also the task of figuring out what happened to Ulat.
Was it a fearsome boar as some believe, or was a member of the clan responsible
for the death of the clan’s greatest hunter?
The death of Ulat has
far reaching implications in For The Good Of The Clan by Miles Archer. Part
of the Fingerprints Short Story Line
published by Untreed Reads Publishing,
the fast moving story takes readers back to ancient times when spirits ruled
the land and people did what they could to survive. Ledeth is on the case in a
highly entertaining short story that moves steadily forward to a satisfying
conclusion. For The Good Of The Clan by Miles Archer works quite well in
terms of characters, action, and a strong mystery. A good read and one that is
well worth it.
author Mark Edwards who has a few thoughts about “domestic suspense”…
As Safe as Houses…The Rise in Domestic Suspense
In the summer of 2012 I attended a party in
central London with a large group of British crime and thriller writers and
readers. Everyone was talking about one book, by a writer who wasn’t at the
party or even in the same country. This novel wasn’t a bestseller yet –
certainly not in the UK – and the author, though reasonably well-known after a
couple of mid-size hits, was far from a household name. But there was a buzz
about this book; the kind of excitement that was genuine and rare. I was
reading it at the time and was blown away by the style and the subject matter.
This, I thought, is going to be big.
The book was Gone
Girl by Gillian Flynn. Its publication heralded the current wave of
what has been called domestic noir, or domestic suspense, a sub-genre of the
psychological thriller with several features that make it easy to spot (and not
just because half of them have ‘girl’ in the title). It’s usually set in or
around the home, with marriage, family and neighbors as a strong theme. The
protagonist is usually female – as is the author. There is almost always a big
twist at the end. The narrator is likely to be, at best, unreliable and, worst,
downright devious. She will be flawed – she might be an alcoholic, a cheat, a
liar with a dark secret. And, of course, this being a thriller, there is
usually a murder, a missing child or some other terrible crime.
Last year, The
Girl on the Train – another example of domestic noir – became the
fastest- and biggest-selling adult hardback novel ever. I know Paula Hawkins
and after reading TGOTT a few months before its publication, I messaged her to
to tell her I thought she had a bestseller on her hands.
Understatement of the century.
Other huge hits of last year included Clare
Mackintosh’s I Let You Go,
which starts with a child dying in a hit and run, and Ruth Ware’s In a Dark Dark Wood, about a
bachelorette weekend that goes murderously wrong. My own domestic noir novel, The Magpies, about neighbors
from hell, has sold over 400,000 copies and is always hanging around the
bestseller lists. The appetite for these novels has clearly not
But why are they so hugely popular? Is it just another
publishing fad? Or is domestic noir here to stay?
From the feedback I get from readers, there is a
simple answer to the question of why they are so popular. It’s because people
like reading about things that could happen to them; situations we could all
find ourselves in. Jack Reacher is still enormously popular, and books like Lee
Child’s provide great escapism, but there is an appetite for worlds we all
recognise – and readers love to think about what they would do if their world
shifted slightly and they found themselves in danger.
Gone Girl was a huge hit
because it depicted marriage in a new, frightening way. It was a fascinating
depiction of a toxic relationship that struck a chord worldwide. The Girl on the Train was a
massive seller because everyone who’s ever commuted has wondered what’s going
on behind the windows they pass every day. Perhaps that’s the secret: these
books bring out the voyeur in all of us. While the media becomes more and more
celebrity-obsessed, we readers want to gaze at real people, at people like us.
Publishers have reacted by snapping up dozens, if not
hundreds, of these titles. Right now, it feels like every hot new book is a
psychological thriller. It’s already lasted longer than the erotica boom from a
few years ago, or the Stieg Larsson-inspired interest in Scandinavian crime. As
long as we writers can keep coming up with new angles and fresh twists, I think
domestic noir is here to stay.
Although there are, of course, spin-offs happening
already. I’ve read two psychological thrillers recently set on a cruise ship,
for example. And my new book, The
Devil’s Work, is set in a workplace, an office from hell staffed by
I’m hoping office noir will be the next big thing.
It was the job she had dreamed of since childhood. But on her very first day,
when an unnerving encounter drags up memories Sophie Greenwood would rather
forget, she wonders if she has made a mistake. A fatal mistake.
What is her ambitious young assistant really up to? And what exactly happened
to Sophie’s predecessor? When her husband and daughter are pulled into the
nightmare, Sophie is forced to confront the darkest secrets she has carried for
As her life begins to fall apart at work and at home, Sophie must race to
uncover the truth about her new job…before it kills her.
About Mark Edwards
Mark Edwards writes psychological thrillers in which scary things happen to
ordinary people and is inspired by writers such as Stephen King, Ira Levin,
Ruth Rendell and Linwood Barclay.
He is the author of three #1 bestsellers: Follow You Home (a finalist in the
Goodreads Choice Awards 2015), The Magpies and Because She Loves Me,
along with What You Wish For and six novels co-written with Louise Voss.
All of his books are inspired by real-life experiences.
Originally from the south coast of England, Mark now lives in the West Midlands
with his wife, their three children and a ginger cat.
Writer, Reviewer, Editor, Professional Chair and Table Controller
Those interested in discussing editing and other writing projects can contact me at kevinrtipple at verizon.net
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