Monday, July 29, 2013

The Terrorist Next Door by Sheldon Siegel A Shadow Review

The Terrorist Next Door
Siegel, a best selling author known mainly for his legal thrillers set in San Francisco, has now started a new series set in his home town of Chicago.  I am also a native Chicagoan and looked forward to Siegels take on the city.  Set within the confines of a terrorist-holds-city-hostage scenario he manages, with great skill, to give the reader a panoramic tour of the city replete with architectural and ethnic history.  I am happy to say that he never hits a false note in his depiction of Chicago.  The main characters, Detective David Gold and his lover, Lori Silver, are compelling and rendered as fully realized people.  The other characters are a bit more of a  stock thriller cast.  While compellingly written with mounting tension as the terrorist sets off one bomb after another I'm afraid the same scenario with variations was played out just a little too many times. I found the identity of the bomber was rather easy to figure out especially in light of many other recent books with variations on the same theme.
On a more positive note I will say that the author knows how to construct a thriller and set a scene.  The dialogue is believable and the pace and page-turning elements click along nicely.  Detective Gold is an interesting man and I hope that Siegel will put him in a more original story next time out.

Steve Shadow Schwartz

For further reading in a similar vein I suggest:

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Claire Dewitt and the Bohemian Highway by Sara Gran

Sara Gran's first book in the present series, Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead, was a revelation and made my list of the best crime novels of the year.  After a seemingly interminable wait the sequel, Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway has finally arrived.
   In both books Sara Gran proves to be a magician.  Everything that happens is both a realistic procession of clues that lead Claire to the solution of a "case" and at the same time a geometric conundrum of the soul.
   The mysteries that abound in Claire's life and in the lives of her friends are revisited again in the new book.  Like a kaleidoscope dipped in LSD, we see events that were presented in the first book now repainted in a new array of psychic colors.
   Sara Gran has the ability to present us with a straight ahead, tough talking, hard boiled female P.I. doing her Mickey Spillane best.  At the same time, through dropped hints, runic circulations and all manner of sounds,smells and physical vibrations she takes us to strange yet oddly familiar haunted hollows of the human heart.
   Through her magical manipulation of uncomplicated prose she ferries us across the river Styx and into the labyrinth of a personal hell.  This spiraling descent into a maze of mysteries is reflected as in a hall of mirrors. Watching Claire find her way is like being in an opium dream with Hercule Poirot perched on one shoulder and Mike Hammer on the other.
   This is a superior and multi-layered story that not only draws on the tropes of Noir but also pop culture, eastern thought and the physical world in all its manifestations.  It is a love story about love and a mystery about the nature of mystery. Both books are not to be missed.  Sara Gran is a totally unique voice in modern crime fiction.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Back in action!

Recently we have launched a new website that unfortunately deactivated our blog so we have relaunched The Poisoned Fiction Review. For info on how to submit your book reviews to our blog, please e-mail We would be happy to post your reviews!