You can read my guest interview on the Crime Fiction Collective by clicking on the link.
5.0 out of 5 stars No remorse for reading No Remorse, February 23, 2012 By Robin Storey – See all my reviews Amazon Verified Purchase Whats this? This review is from: No Remorse Kindle Edition
This debut thriller by Ian Walkley has all the ingredients of a gripping page-turner – non-stop action, compelling plot and well-rounded characters. His style is concise and polished, yet evocative when it needs to be and he weaves all the strands of the narrative together very deftly. The pace never lags, so be warned: it will keep you up at night! It also comes with a teaser for the next novel which Im looking forward to reading. Highly recommended.
I went to court yesterday, to watch the cross-examination of Mr Vijay Singh, the father of three murdered siblings, in what is becoming known as Queensland’s trial of the century. In this one day’s proceedings there was enough salacious detail for an entire John Grisham novel. Or maybe an Ian Walkley novel.
Max Sica, former boyfriend of the eldest daughter Neelma (24 at the time of her death), is on trial for the triple murder. The crown alleges he killed the Singh siblings and dumped them in the spa, returning the next day to “discover” the bodies.
As a father of two girls and a boy, I immediately felt for a father who has had his children murdered, and who was now having to undergo cross-examination of events leading up to their death by defence counsel, while the accused murderer sat at the back of the courtroom.
My sympathies were tested, however, as evidence emerged about Mr Singh’s admitted physical assaults on his wife and daughters, including bashing Neelma with a pool cue for talking with a boy on the phone, that left her so badly injured she could not go to school for several days.
Singh denied further allegations, reported to the Police by the Principal of Sidhi’s school, that he molested his youngest daughter.
This alleged behaviour was in addition to Singh’s admissions about affairs with numerous women, sex with his nephew’s wife, and “swinging” activities with his wife and prostitutes, and others.
At Mr Di Carlo’s prompting, Mr Singh agreed that he had only been violent towards the women in his family, and had never hit his son, Kunal. This despite Singh’s statement that in his culture women were regarded highly.
Other evidence included:
- An email from Neelma to Max Sica, in which Neelma asked Max Sica to have her father bashed.
- A recording from Mr Singh’s answering machine in which two man, thought to be Fijian, made threats to rape and kill his wife and daughters in retaliation for Singh destroying their family. Mr Singh said he did not consider the tape message to have been a serious enough threat to inform the police. Not long after, the Singh siblings were murdered.
- Singh accused Sica of “brainwashing” his wife and children against him. Sica had caused Neelma to lie to Singh about their relationship, he claimed.
- He claimed that Sica had held Neelma against her will at Bribie Island when she was supposed to be in Dubai.
- He threatened to hit Sica with a brick. Sica, he claimed, responded with threats of his own.
- A transcript of a police tape secretly recorded before the murders, revealed a family argument and confrontation between Singh and Sica, said to be one of a number. Sica called Singh a paedophile after coming over to the house at the request of Sidhi in order to protect the women from Mr Singh’s violence. Defence counsel put it to Singh that he had assaulted his wife and pushed her to the ground. Singh denied doing this and said that his wife was drunk.
Mr Singh had razor sharp recollection of certain events, down to the number of minutes between two telephone calls. But on other details that were reflecting on his own behaviour, he was at times evasive and frequently asked Mr Di Carlo to repeat questions. This was not helped by Di Carlo’s waffling and tendency to ask double- or triple-barrelled questions.
Singh’s evasive and aggressive manner in responding to the defence counsel’s questions, together with his admitted indiscretions and alleged behaviour, did little to provide respect for him as a responsible, caring father.
The family was clearly dysfunctional.
The judge in the case, Justice John Byrne, allowed certain damning evidence to be presented after a long-winded attempt by defence counsel, Mr Sam Di Carlo, to overrule an objection from laconic prosecutor Mr Michael Byrne. The repartee between Justice Byrne and Mr Di Carlo was something worthy of an episode of Boston legal. The trial was not a “roving Inquisition”, said the judge, but a criminal trial to determine the guilt or innocence of the defendant, and defence counsel needed to be clear about whether he was intending to suggest to the jury that someone other than the defendant was the likely killer.
In other tactics, the defence counsel tried to suggest that a member of the Police Force, also named Singh, involved throughout the investigation, was a family friend, which presumably was intended to imply some conflict of interest. Di Carlo also asked why the Police had not asked for the tape of a second threatening phone call which later appeared to have been erased.
It will be disappointing if the defence chooses not to allow Max Sica to take the witness box to declare his innocence and allow himself to be cross-examined.
No Remorse by Ian Walkley
This is a no holds barred international intrigue thriller. A Delta Force operator, Lee McCloud, finds himself facing not only drug dealing, child slavery but nuclear terrorism as well. He finds himself trying to decide who he can trust and if his own government is out to get him.
Lee McCloud (Mac) is a very uncomplicated protagonist. He has a steroid sense of right and wrong. He is astoundingly loyal and aggressively defends those who guard his back. In addition he is able to ruthlessly dispatch those who threaten his tasks and his friends. Frankly, I like that and it made the book more entertaining.
I’m not sure entertaining is the correct word to use as the book has so many horrific subplots. Mac has to deal with despicable types abducting children for sexual slavery and organ reaping while trying to avoid being stabbed in the back by the people who are supposed to be helping him. It isn’t exactly a relaxing book but it sure is exciting. Red Bull and Jolt should be so lucky to provide the rush you get reading this thriller.
Action, treachery, redemption and revenge abound in measures almost unbearable. I really enjoyed this thriller and the stalwart companions of Mac.
I highly recommend.
Just received another five star review, this time Joseph from California. I guess I can cope with Joseph’s comment about Flynn, Thor and Silva. I, too, look up to those big boys. Even to be compared at that level makes me pretty happy. At least fans of the genre have another voice, another choice while they’re waiting for their favorites.
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch Thriller, February 8, 2012
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: No Remorse (Kindle Edition)
Great debut thriller. Mac, and ex-Special Forces soldier is on a mission to track down a friend’s daughter and her friend who were kidnapped in Mexico. His first attempt at a rescue with some special forces buddies results in a disaster. Mac does not give up. Eventually his search leads to a multi-national organ-selling ring con-joined with an apparent Islamic terrorist selling nuclear material. Fast-paced action. While not in the league of Flynn, Thor, or Silva, Walkley’s “No Remorse” is not far behind.
Donna West is one of Amazon’s top reviewers. Here’s what she said about No Remorse:
If you like to see justice delivered with a bang, you should enjoy No Remorse. This is my first time reading an Ian Walkley novel, maybe because he’s a new voice on the thriller scene. However, after reading No Remorse, I look forward to Ian’s next thriller with great anticipation. No Remorse was a roller coaster ride from page one and continued its twisting ride until the last chapter, seemingly bursting off the pages with intensity.
Bravo to Walkley for writing a thriller that has so many great subplots gracefully merging into one great read. Its been a while since I’ve found a thriller so readable with characters that are well developed enough to care about, both good and bad. The novel is very relevant for today, and includes a lot of story lines prevalent in today’s crazy world. Without giving away too much, I will tempt you with some of the subplots Ian uses: child abductions, oil and its place in American politics, Saddam Hussein’s purported legacy, secret CIA operatives, Israeli elite forces, assassins, mid Eastern culture and characters, and wealthy terrorists.
To set the stage let me share a part of the storyline. The main protagonist, Mac, a former member of Delta forces, is traded to a covert CIA team for a special assignment in lieu of receiving an unwarranted dishonorable discharge for a project that went south. His new team members, having heard an incomplete distasteful account of Mac’s character, are leary of his participation, especially since the last military member of the team was wacko and left a very bad image, particularly on Tally, the only female on this CIA team. Her lack of trust in Mac and complete disgust with his “morality” sets the stage for what becomes a thrilling adventure into the world of espionage surrounding the antics of an exiled Saudi Sheik millionaire. Not knowing who to trust, including your own team leader, sets the tone for a minefield plot that has potential for far-reaching consequences for Mac, Tally, and even the entire unstable world scene.
The chapters are short and each one ends in a way that forces you to read just one more chapter before you realize you simply can not put this adventure novel down. The title No Remorse originally applied to Mac and his actions in the course of completing missions. Before the novel ends you’ll not only understand this mantra but will, like Tally, embrace it as your own. As Walkley acutely but expansively displays the many evils in the world today you will likely cheer when the bad guys go down and when the good guys prevail. And you will definitely understand the title. I highly recommend No Remorse and hope that it is picked up by the movie industry; it certainly has all the ingredients to make a blockbuster. Welcome Ian Walkley, job well done!!!
See the review at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006D30IBE/
Best-selling crime author and Nero Wolfe Award winner Dick Lochte is a character almost as big as those in his novels. He is as prolific as ever, with his fourteenth novel, BLUES IN THE NIGHT, being released in February by Severn House.
According to Kirkus Reviews, “Few capture California better…” and in this first of a new series by Lochte, ex-con Dave Mason returns to Los Angeles expecting to help an old friend out of a jam. But the friend is harboring a secret and before long Mason is being chased through the city’s mean and tinseled streets by an oddball British hit man, a homicidal porn star, several CIA agents, a Russian mob boss, a superstar-computer game creator and a beautiful woman who’s more dangerous than all the rest.
Dick, how does BLUES IN THE NIGHT compare with your earlier works?
My earliest books, SLEEPING DOG and LAUGHING DOG, are reflections of my taste in crime novels at the time. Rex Stout, Leslie Charteris, Craig Rice and Don Westlake were, and are, some of my favorites, writers who were able to put a lot of humor into their books without undercutting the tough, suspenseful elements. My last solo novel, CROAKED!, was very much in that comedy-mystery mode, as are the books I write with Al Roker. BLUES IN THE NIGHT is closer to my two New Orleans-based novels, BLUE BAYOU and THE NEON SMILE, still humorous, I’d like to think, but darker and with a harder edge. (I’m pleased to note that Perfect Crime Books is bringing both NO novels back into print as trade paperbacks and eBooks.) My new protagonist, Mace (full name Dave Mason), finds Southern California’s sunny beaches, hidden canyon roads and tourist-packed Hollywood streets just as sinister and dangerous.
Why make the protagonist an ex-con?
Mace’s development has been a long one, going back to the Seventies when, in my journalism phase, I spent a few hours interviewing Robert Mitchum and decided to write a movie for him, whether he wanted it or not. That movie Mace was a tough, laconic older guy who’d returned to the City of Angels after spending twenty years behind bars for beating a bad man to death. The film was about his adjustment to the way the city had changed. Since it was never produced, it probably wasn’t the noir masterpiece I thought it was, but it did get me a screenwriting job or two. A short while ago, I was reminded of it while watching Mitchum in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE on TCM. I dug the script out, flipped through it and thought some of it might be worth reworking. Particularly the protag, Mace, whom I now saw as resembling the younger, OUT OF THE PAST Mitchum. I liked the idea of him returning to L.A. after a long absence and being confounded by the changes, so I kept him an ex-con. But this time, instead of being found guilty of manslaughter, he was arrested after breaking the jaw of a club bouncer who was choking his best friend. I think we can identify with a hero like that.
And pretty soon, Mace gets himself into trouble again…
Yes, almost immediately, he finds himself in the middle of a hunt for a mysterious coin that’s being sought by an assortment of homicidal villains.
Tell us a little more about some of these characters.
Paulie Lacotta is somewhat sleazy and self-important, but he is a pal of Mace’s. Paulie asks Mace, the only man he really trusts, to return to L.A. to find out if the woman he loves has been responsible for the failure of a crucial business deal. Others are buzzing around that deal. Honest Abe Garfein, a Lincoln lookalike, is a Sunset Strip coffee-house entrepreneur with sidelines in prostitution and porn film production. Corrigan and Drier are two ex-CIA agents who, for all their sinister manipulations, are oddly likeable. Maxil Brox is a ruthless Russian mob boss who’s not likeable at all. Thomas Weidmann is a dapper, faux British assassin with a deadly aim. His brother, Timmy, six-foot-six and bearing a striking resemblance to Elvis Presley, is just as homicidal as Thomas, despite a mental deficiency and a fondness for wearing a Superman costume. Jerry Monte is a pretentious showbiz superstar-computer whiz, a combination of Tom Cruise and Mark Zuckerberg, who tosses parties at his canyon compound that even Hugh Hefner would classify as too hedonistic. And Angela Lowell, Paulie’s ex, is the wild card, beautiful, sexy, whipcrack smart and probably deceitful.
The song “Blues in the Night” is a 1941 classic from the Great American Songbook. Did the song have any influence?
I’m a big fan of Johnny Mercer, one of the great pop lyricists. He wrote the words to “Blues in the Night,” and Harold Arlen the music. It’s the antithesis of a love song, sung by a loser who’s discovered that his mother was right when she warned him that women will always “leave you to sing the blues in the night.” Should be number one on the noir hit parade. In the novel, Mace is given a phone by one of the villains and told to expect that further instructions will follow. When that call comes in, the ring tone consists of the opening bars of “Blues in the Night.” Having just linked up with Angela Lowell, Mace wonders if the bad guy is trying to tell him something.
What does LA offer in terms of a setting for your novels?
Show biz razzle. Goofy architecture. Hardboiled history. Bank robberies. Money. Poverty. Violence. Homicidal gangs shooting up the scenery, trying to establish ethnic supremacy. Dangerous roads. Deep canyons. Carjacks. Earthquakes. Hot desert winds. God knows why we live here, but there’s a lot to write about if you’re writing crime thrillers. I’m also interested in the effect the passage of time has on people and cities. In Blues, the changes are important primarily in the way they affect Mace, increasing his vulnerability by making him less sure of himself, less confident of his surroundings.
Is the novel a series book?
It’s the start of a series. I’m nearly through the sequel, which shares its title (at least at present) with another Johnny Mercer song, “Midnight Sun.”
Did you write an outline, or did the plot and characters just develop?
I usually don’t do much of an outline, but in this case, I made a fairly complete one. I knew that the plot would have a lot of twists and turns and that hardly anyone Mace met would be whom they claimed to be. Actually, I saw the plot as being a little like THE MALTESE FALCON on speed. The only way to keep everything straight was to outline very carefully.
You are widely recognized as an outstanding book reviewer. Have your ways of analyzing/reviews other novels helped in some way your own writing?
Writing novels has helped me be a better critic. I have a better understanding of why one book works while another doesn’t. I can see what the author was trying to do and whether he or she was successful. And that, in turn, has helped me be a better fiction writer. Win-win.
Your novel, SLEEPING DOG, was named one of the 100 favorite mysteries of the century, and you did a sequel, LAUGHING DOG. Have you considered another with Sarah grown up to capitalize on the popularity of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO?
I like that frame of reference. Actually, I started a third novel with Serendipity Dahlquist and Leo Bloodworth and got a few chapters into it before wavering in my conviction that they shouldn’t age. I’d thought I might follow Sue Grafton’s lead and keep them and the book back in the eighties. But that didn’t work for me. Too hard to weed out the anachronisms. Props to Sue. And if I had Serendipity move on to adulthood, her relationship with a seventy-five year old Leo just wouldn’t be the same. So, at present, no third book, unless some publisher buys your Dragon Tattoo idea and makes me an offer I can’t refuse.
How has writing screenplays influenced the way you write your novels?
I use the three-act structure, but, aside from that, in my opinion writing a screenplay is as different from writing a book as riding a bike is from playing tennis. You may be exercising your muscles but other than that it requires a different skill set. I’m not sure I’d say scripts are easier to write, but they definitely take less time. The big difference is that film is a collaborative effort. That means you write your pages and take your money and sometime in the distant future you see a movie or a TV show with the same title as the script you wrote. And maybe your name appears along with a bunch of other writers, or maybe not. And maybe you recognize a line you wrote or maybe not. Books, on the other hand, are the work of you and you alone. Even if an editor insists on major changes, which is rare, you get to make them yourself. So, hooray for books.
So who are some of the people around you that influence your work?
My wife has been quite helpful… no, make that, she seems to get a kick out of pointing out mistakes I’ve made. Like, how am I supposed to know that banks wouldn’t have stacks of one thousand dollar bills because this country discontinued printing all denominations over $100 more than fifty years ago? And Mel Berger, at William Morris Endeavor, has been the only agent I’ve ever had. I have great respect for his opinion, his honesty and his continuing efforts on my behalf. He’s kept me working for lo, all these many years.
What’s the most enjoyable part of writing?
A while ago, on the old THE DICK CAVETT SHOW (or maybe THE TONIGHT SHOW), Truman Capote gave the best description I’ve ever heard of the writing process. It was like surfing, he said. You sit for hours or days, waiting for the big wave. Little ones come along that keep you hopeful, keep you going. And finally, often for no reason you can define, you’re carried forward, faster and faster until you arrive at the shore. It’s a sort of magical moment when instead of feeling lucky to have written three or four pages a day, you hit that point in the manuscript when you’re writing ten. Fifteen. That’s the best part of the process.
And how do you find balance as a writer, in terms of its solitary nature?
I’ve never found it particularly difficult to maintain a social life. I put in an eight hour day, the same as an office worker. I may not be surrounded by co-workers, but there’s the phone and lunches with friends and dinners with family and friends. There are writers’ meetings and speaking engagements, nights out, conventions. Sometimes solitude seems like a good idea.
BLUES IN THE NIGHT will launch in February 2012 in hardback, from Severn House.
Lochte is the author of a list of popular crime novels, including the award-winning SLEEPING DOG, named one of the “100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century” by the Independent Booksellers Association. He is also the co-author, with Al Roker, of the best-selling Billy Blessing comedy-crime series. He lives in Southern California with his wife and son.