Review of Breaking Steele: Trust Me, You Gotta Read This!

So, a friend I’ve never met writes a blog that consistently busts my gut and amuses me to no end, and when I learned she’d collaborated with a popular thriller writer on a new pulp crime series featuring a reluctant Assistant D. A. heroine named Sarah Steele, I simply had to bite and Amazoned it in paperback, then read it on a return flight from Chicago just before Christmas.  Took me four hours to power through it.  Couldn’t put it down.  Buckle your seat belts for take off — READ — Buckle your seat belts for landing.  Done.  Wow.  What just happened?

Oh, Ellie Ann, this girl can write!  I have no way of knowing which parts and pieces of Breaking Steele were her contribution and which poured from the pen of collaborator Aaron Patterson, but I heard her voice woven throughout the narrative.  She’s a funny gal and there’s a subtle wry humor that springs up on occasion that’s clearly hers. Bottom line, though, it doesn’t really matter.  Ellie and Aaron, Aaron and Ellie — it just flat out works.

But I’ve got to warn you, this is pulp crime.  As in pulp fiction.  As in raw and wicked and in your face and without a lot of poetry.  James Lee Burke they ain’t.  Characters die big and wrong and bloody and at times your stomach will turn and your skin might crawl.  But in oh such a please-no-but-give-me-more kind of way.  And you’re in the midst of it from paragraph one.  Innocent young woman kidnapped, bound with duct tape in a crate reeking of rotten corn, rat droppings, and urine, then abused offstage in
every manner possible and electrocuted in a bathtub.  But there’s a witness and an arrest and tons of evidence and an open-and-shut case.  ADA Sarah Steele is riding high and sensibly confident in conviction and justice served.  Then everything goes to hell.

And for Sarah Steele, it becomes personal.  Especially when the profession she’s committed her life and soul to is compromised and she begins to question if justice truly can be served without crossing into that dark place where vigilantes accomplish what the legal system can’t.  The co-authors do such a fine job delving into her struggle, but without slowing the story’s breakneck pace, and by five chapters in you’ll be totally hooked on both the story AND on Sarah Steele. (Who’s also a bit of a hottie, IMHO.  Which never really hurts.)

Back in the day, pulp crime writers would pump out these bare bones magazine serials with fresh chapters on newsstands each week; short and sweet episodes with enough visceral grab to keep your attention until next Tuesday.  Pack a few dozen of those together, slap a cover on, and you’d have a pulp novel.  Then it’d start all over again with the next one.  Consider some of the film work of Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriquez and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about: they do pulp crime on the big screen.

I love this stuff.  And Breaking Steele does the genres justice: pulp, crime, thriller, page-turner, recommended read.  I know I have to wait until March (and not next Tuesday), but I’m squirming in my seat for Twisting Steele, the next Sarah Steele Thriller.

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Tour de France Redux

The Tour De France makes for spectacular sports television. Only the Olympics and World Cup soccer have more viewers worldwide. So, I posted an article last July during the 2011 Tour de France.  And now that I’ve returned from my travels to Turkey and Greece (and have my 47-inch HDTV and TiVo locked in to record every stage of this year’s Tour), I thought I’d repost.

It’s titled, Love suspense thrillers? Then watch the Tour de France! and compares the key elements of a great suspense novel to what every stage of this ultimate athletic event has to offer.

Even if you don’t think of yourself as a biking enthusiasist, I encourage you to check ’em out.  My blogpost and Le Tour itself.

Just a thought.

What are you?

So, I’m standing in my driveway the other day when the 7-year old neighbor girl four houses around the cul-de-sac comes scurrying down her driveway, tennis shoes a-fly, and banks right on to the sidewalk heading my direction.  Her little hand clutched a bright yellow personal walkie-talkie, the kind that all the moms and dads are using these days to stay in touch with their neighborhood-roving kids.  I knew she had a couple of BFFs (can 7-year olds have BFF’s?) on the street right behind ours and figured she was heading over there for a visit.  As she got closer to me the pattering of her feet abruptly slowed and she screeched to a halt.  Seriously.  I could swear I heard this little screech sound.

And then this sweet little girl and I had an exchange of words which simply and profoundly altered the next couple of hours of my life.

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Love suspense thrillers? Then watch the Tour de France!

First off, I’m not a biker.  My tender ass doesn’t mesh well with the cushion-less saddles and my aging physique swathed in multi-colored LYCRA would only lead to much chuckling.  No, I write suspense thrillers.  And that’s exactly why the Tour de France is
some of the best television I’ll ever experience.

J’adore Le Tour de France.  And so will you.  Here’s why:

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