Calabasas crime fiction kingpins Lee Goldberg and Joel Goldman, co-founders of boutique publishing venture Brash Books have been publishing a veritable of crimewave of cult-tastic classic-crime novels of late.
Edgar-nominated, Goldberg is no slouch in the crime fiction department himself. A prolific TV writer/producer and novelist, he has scripted more cult crime shows than you can shake a .38 special at, including Diagnosis Murder and the frankly nutso Monk. Most recently he teamed up with the pulchritudinous and multi-talented Janet Evanovich for the bestselling Fox & O’Hare novels, The Heist and The Chase. International best-selling crime author Joel Goldman meanwhile, is best known for his Alex Stone, Lou Mason and Jack Davis Thrillers.
Cult crime legend Tom Kakonis is widely lauded by many as the natural heir to the Elmore Leonard throne. His first book Michigan Roll was published in 1988 when the author was 57. Kakonis is now 83 and has certainly had an eventful life. He served in the Army in Korea, before swinging a sledge on a railroad section crew and perhaps most useful of all for fiction writing, teaching inmates at Stateville Prison in Joliet, Illinois. Then there were the decades he spent as a struggling college professor, before he finally managed to break into the world of crime fiction.
Kakonis’ work has been out of print for many years, so crime fans are understandably excited that Brash Books is republishing the Kakonis oeuvre in its entirety—Michigan Roll, Criss Cross, Flawless, Blind Spot and perhaps most exciting of all, Treasure Coast a work that has been sitting on the shelf for years.
Comparable to the aforementioned Leonard, and with an added exuberance/kookiness reminiscent of Carl Hiaasen, Treasure Coast pulses with the kind of beaten down low-lifes that have made Kakonis’s work so special.
When waster Jim Merriman makes a death bead promise to look after his sisters twenty-one year-old son Leon, you just know there is going to be trouble and pretty soon there is—lots of trouble—as the hapless duo rampage their way along Florida’s Treasure Coast—loan sharking, thuggery, kidnapping—a mail order tombstone con and then there is the whacko psychic who channels the dead and a monster hurricane spinning closer with every passing second. Treasure Coast by Tom Kakonis, you just got to read it to believe it Crimeziners.