This month we return to our Jeff Strand mini-reading series for a few more works. This is due in no small part to the release of the author’s fifth Andrew Mayhem novel (hooray). It is also providing me the chance to catch up on some of the author’s other novels and novellas, many of which […]Read more "Stop Being Polite and Start Being Real: Jeff Strand’s An Apocalypse of Our Own"
Synopsis: Close on the heels of Psycho II (1982) comes the second sequel to Hitchcock’s seminal horror film. Here we open with a woman responsible for a terrible tragedy in her nunnery fleeing an accidental crime with bag in hand. Maureen Coyle (Diana Scarwid) once thought her calling was to the lord, but she has […]Read more "Nun of That, Norman!: Psycho III"
When mighty Odysseus encountered the powerful, one-eyed giant Polyphemus, he tricked the Cyclops into believing Odysseus’ name was effectively “Nobody” and then gouged out its eye. The second feat allowed the Achaean warrior to save his captured men and the first allowed him to escape because when the other cyclopses asked what he was shrieking […]Read more "Keeping Your Eye On The Prize: Jeff Strand’s Cyclops Road"
The fourth Andrew Mayhem novel took a while to gestate, but when it arrived it seemed like no time at all had passed for our plucky, beleaguered hero. After a brief and surprisingly touching introduction, which recounts Andrew Mayhem’s relationship with his parents as well as the imparting of such nuggets of wisdom as “I […]Read more "Blood, Bewilderment and Bad Luck: Jeff Strand’s Lost Homicidal Maniac (Answers to “Shirley”)"
For the third installment in the chronicles of Andrew Mayhem, Jeff Strand gives us a quieter Andrew Mayhem, a weary one, a guy who looks at trouble and prefers not to get involved. Of course, loose ends from his previous book show up in the form of The Headhunter, and he cannot help but get […]Read more "Don’t Go In the Backwoods: Jeff Strand’s Casket For Sale (Only Used Once)"
On December 31, 2008, Donald E. Westlake suffered a heart attack while on vacation with his wife Abby in Mexico. The final Richard Stark novel Dirty Money had been on stands in hardback for eight months at that point. The final novel Westlake worked on for publication would not appear for another seven months and, […]Read more "Considering Westlake: Get Real"
Synopsis: Frank (Frank Langella) is a “retired” jewel thief and second story man, a father of two, lover of many women, divorced/separated, and living alone in an upstate New York of the near future. His memories are slipping a tad, restaurants he can remember eating at last week have been gone for months or years, […]Read more "Movie Mondays: Robot & Frank"
After the quirky, likable Graverobbers Wanted (No Experience Necessary) introduced us to the world of Andrew Mayhem, guy for hire, Jeff Strand returned with the next adventure, Single White Psychopath Seeks Same. We open with Andrew “tied to a chair in a filthy garage while a pair of tooth-deprived lunatics” (page 5) torment him with […]Read more "A Second Helping of Mayhem: Jeff Strand’s Single White Psychopath Seeks Same"
Early in Jeff Strand’s career, he kicked off a series following the exploits of a guy with the unlikely but not completely unbelievable name of Mayhem. Andrew Mayhem. My tip of the hat to James Bond is almost justified; Andrew may not be hypercapable or equipped with all the latest gadgets available to Her Majesty’s […]Read more "The Danger of Taking Odd Jobs: Jeff Strand’s Graverobbers Wanted (No Experience Necessary)"
Continuing the trend of adding punctuation to the titles of books, Donald E. Westlake followed up Dortmunder’s encounter with gangsters and rich pricks in Watch Your Back! with Dortmunder’s attempts to steal a chess set from a family of rich pricks for a non-related rich prick in What’s So Funny? Needless to say, the rich […]Read more "Considering Westlake: What’s So Funny?"