CHOKE HOLD by Christa Faust

CHOKE HOLD is novelist and former peep show girl Faust’s second title for Hard Case Crime, and it’s a sequel to MONEY SHOT. Faust is Hard Case Crime’s first female novelist, and if you think that means a tender, sensitive look at crime, then think again. Faust’s protagonist is tough former porn star, Angel Dare, a woman who feels more comfortable giving a blowjob than extending a sympathy hug. In Money Shot, Angel, owner of an adult modeling agency came out of retirement for one last gig. Big mistake. The job is a set-up by some particularly nasty gangsters who are hunting for a briefcase full of cash. Angel, who’s raped, beaten and stuffed in the trunk of a car, finds herself on the wrong side of a prostitution ring.

October 9, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Noir, Thriller/Spy/Caper, US Southwest

OLD BORDER ROAD by Susan Froderberg

Dozens of books have promised the sentiment “for lovers of Cormac McCarthy” and left me sorely disappointed. But, in this claim, Froderberg is truly McCarthy’s literary offspring, echoing his hot, haunting brand of southwest essence, desert landscape, and gothic narrative elixir, if not yet fully capturing his linguistic sublimity and lethal, graveyard humor. In this ambitious debut novel, the author explores desperate and broken souls living through a drought in southern Arizona—a land of sand and scrub, cactus stands, spiny shrubs, bitterbrush, dusty maiden, diamondbacks, rodeos, distant foothills, punishing climate, and an endless starlit sky.

December 9, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Theme driven, US Southwest, Wild West

CROSSERS by Philip Caputo

I dashed out to buy Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Philip Caputo’s, latest novel, CROSSERS, after reading an enthusiastic review in my local newspaper. I was unfamiliar with this author, but I was intrigued by the promise of a burly border tale. I was not disappointed. This is a generational saga and epic of the southwest, bristling with illegal border crossers and warring drug cartels, studded with outlaws and vaqueros. A dense book, it starts rather slowly, gradually lassoing the reader into a complex, emotional story brittle with sepulchral secrets and spilling with scoured grief.

October 21, 2010 · Judi Clark · 2 Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: US Southwest, Wild West, y Award Winning Author


Darren Bennett likes to draw. This hobby makes him insecure 1) because he’s a sophomore in high school and he’s insecure about everything, and 2) because he knows that whatever he draws will result in a false label: “If you’re drawing the female figure, you’re a pervert. If you’re drawing the male figure, you’re gay. If you’re drawing superheroes and haven’t gotten around to drawing the masks or capes or whatever yet, you’re gay.” Nevertheless, it provides a fantastical escape from his increasing isolationism in an unremarkable Arizona suburb where he lives with his good-natured but neglectful father and complete hooligan of a brother, an arrangement that resulted when his “mom kind of went haywire.” When fellow outcast Eric Lederer compliments one of Darren’s drawings after class, a friendship forms that leads to “the biggest mistake of [his] life” and perhaps the worst false label of all. From a perfectly executed prologue to a thrilling sci-fi finish, DC Pierson’s debut novel will undoubtedly captivate readers and remind them of the limitless potential of the coming-of-age novel.

February 6, 2010 · Judi Clark · 2 Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Coming-of-Age, Debut Novel, Humorous, Literary, Scifi, US Southwest


THE BUTTERFLIES OF GRAND CANYON names many of the beautiful invertebrates: Rheingolds, cloudless sulfurs, painted ladies, pygmy blues, green darners, and queens. Near the great natural gash in the earth’s crust, some of the human collectors of these delicate creatures find themselves passing through stages of development similar to those of the specimens they’ve netted. For example, twenty-five-year-old Jane Merkle, who has come with her older husband, Morris, to visit his sister, Dotty, and her husband, Oliver Hedquist, is arguably pent up in a chrysalis but may be on the verge of emerging and flying.

January 28, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, US Southwest, Wild West