Tag Archives: Noir

Book Review: Southern Heat by David Burnsworth

Blog content has become limited to mostly book reviews and promos. Sorry about that. I have been performing surgical excision on Alliances and editing. This is meticulous and time consuming. Also, I’m reading…a lot. Some classics and some new stuff. I don’t recall where I was introduced to this author, a blog interview or twitter.

I’ve read a few times that authors should not review books in their genre. I apologize in advance if people might feel I am violating some code of ethics or author etiquette. I haven’t published in this genre…yet, so the rebel in me sees an exemption. Besides, this is a slightly different region, though somewhat similar.

Book Review:

Southern Heat is a perfect example of what makes regional fiction so appealing. A Georgia girl transplanted to Florida, when I was reading this book, I felt right at home. The theme centers on an environmental issue close to my heart. The setting is the low country of the South Carolina coastline in Charleston. Southern Heat has all of the elements of an excellent contemporary southern crime fiction novel.

What sets this book apart is Burnsworth’s unique voice and style. Southern Heat has a gritty, noir feel to it with rough, edgy characters while keeping a traditionally southern charm.

The mystery begins when Brack Pelton’s Uncle Reggie dies in his arms in an alley after uttering the name of the person who shot him. Even though he’s gone from the very beginning, I felt like I knew Uncle Reggie, owner of the Pirate’s Cove bar and grill and Vietnam vet, from my hippie days. Brack, tainted by the loss of his late wife and PTSD from his own service time in Afghanistan, earned my respect early on. I fell in love with his dog, Shelby. The women in this book made me proud.

Burnsworth’s cast of supporting characters are a determined, though somewhat disturbed, motley crew in keeping with that southern tradition. The string of bad guys is just as well drawn as the good. There are even a few you can’t tell are good or bad. That always makes things interesting. The descriptions provided just enough realism to set the place and mood without being overly detailed or distracting. Though the plot is well-focused, there are enough twists and turns to keep you guessing.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and would recommend it to anyone who likes reading books set in the south or along the coastline, a good mystery, noir crime fiction, or a real page turner that will have you rooting for your favorites from the get-go to the end.

5 of 5 Stars


Here’s my part for the fabulous Community Storyboard’s first ever chain story event. You can follow the story through the links below –

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3 

Part 4

Gosling and Mc Adams had both drawn their weapons; his, a .357 Magnum, and hers, a pearl handled Saturday night special.   Gosling made it to the back of the Herring just in time to see the SUV turn the corner in a cloud of dust.  Mc Adams hobbled closely behind.

“Where do you suppose they are taking her?” Gosling asked rhetorically, as he glanced around the ally.

Mc Adams brushed the dust off her sleeves and put her gun away.  “Your guess is as good as mine, lover boy, but I’m figuring they aren’t going straight to Needham’s Party Supplies.  Wasn’t Ted Needham that slodge who was campaigning for the legalization of marijuana?”

“That’s him, alright, the lying cheating cad. Look over there!” Gosling exclaimed, spying a glint of gold on the pavement through the settling smut.  “What do suppose this is?”  He holstered his gun.

He walked over and squatted down to pick up the item that had caught his eye. “Well, what do know?  A gold handled dagger!  One of the squirrel goons must have dropped this.”

He turned the dagger over in his hands examining its exquisite features.  The steel blade was a good twelve inches long, capable of punching a hole through more than a skull, and sharper than Zelda’s sword.  It was the handle that he found most intriguing.  Solid gold and emblazoned with the likeness of a dragon, but this was no ordinary dragon.  This jeweled dragon was designed with an amethyst encrusted body, and nearly translucent ruby wings.  These were not ordinary wings for a dragon either, they were dragonfly wings.  This could only mean one thing.

“Sauron, the Inquisitor,” they both said in unison, “The One Ring of Power.”

Still kneeling, Gosling looked up to see that Mc Adams had taken off her good shoe and was bending over to pop the heel off on the pavement.  He followed the cord of the back of her nylons along her shapely legs, up under her tight skirt to the shapely, high, and firm round ass above.  The runs in her hosiery only made her look sexier to him.  He didn’t hear her talking for a moment.  He felt his crotch stir.

“Gosling!  Damn it! Gosling, I am talking to you!”

“What, dame, you were saying, what?”

“I said,” Mc Adams started again, “the corporate headquarters for Needham Party Supplies is in Rivendale, clear on the other side of the Misty Mountains. They must have taken Darlene there.  They have got a good head start on us.  We’ll have to take the train.”

“Right, doll, the train, we’ll have to take the train,” Gosling returned, wiping the drool on his filthy sleeve as he stood.

Gosling slipped the dagger deep into his trench coat pocket.  He missed his fedora.  They made their way down the alley to the sidewalk.   Gosling began to hail a taxi, while Mc Adams ducked into the bakery next door to the blown up Burgundy Herring.  Having had their lunch interrupted, she purchased a few cupcakes for them to eat on the way.

Once they arrived at the station, and were on the platform about to board their train, Mc Adams noticed a man sitting on a bench under a street lamp.  He was a pitiful excuse of a man.  He had yellowed skin stretched over his bony skull that was sparsely combed over by a few oily, dark hairs, large sunken eyes, and was crying into his hands with woe, “Precious, My Precious.”

“Shit, could it be?” Mc Adams whispered.

“Who is he?” Gosling asked.  Mc Adams had taken his arm, was pinching the shit out of it, and trying not to drop her bakery box, while hiding her face behind his shoulder as they walked toward the train.

“My informant, it’s my Goddamned informant from the smoke easy pub.  I can’t let him see me.  What the hell is he doing here anyway?”

They boarded the train for Rivendale.  The train wasn’t crowded, and for that they were grateful. It was long ride over the Misty Mountains, but this was the only way they were going to catch up and be in town by dark.  Rivendale was a charming little town, quaint and attractively unusual, with little shops on every corner.  Dwarves, elves, squirrels and bears all seemingly got along well with men in Rivendale.

“This has to be the work of those pesky squirrels in cahoots with those burglarizing hobbits.  I would bet my bottom dollar that the Squirrel Goddess has her lair in the warehouse district, and Sauron has the burglars doing his bidding along with these goon squirrels.  They wouldn’t have closed out so many cases if this wasn’t an inside job.  They also have to be working with tactical and technical explosives experts to pull off a job like what we just witnessed back at The Herring.”

“Right, boss,” Mc Adams agreed through the cupcake frosting that spilled over her lips.  “Mmmm, this is good, want a bite?” she offered.

“Thanks, but no thanks.”

Mc Adams put away the cupcakes and touched up her lipstick.  She was taking in the scenery, The Fangorn Ents Forest, and the scenic mountain passes. For miles and miles, the train wound its way around and over the Misty Mountains.  It rocked and swayed as it chugged along the railways.  It would be hours before they got into town.  Gosling got a nap.  Mc Adams was jonesing for a cigar.  The sun was getting low in the sky.  Finally, as the train was pulling into town, the conductor came by. He nudged Gosling awake and passed him a note.

“What’s it say?” Mc Adams asked curiously.

“Says, ‘There is a package for you at the ticket counter in Rivendale,’” Gosling read with suspicion.

“Can’t be, nobody knew we were coming.  Who is it from?”

“It’s signed, ‘Gandalf’.’”

“You mean Gandalf, as in Gandalf the Wizard, Gandalf the Sorcerer?”

“That’s right babe, Gandalf!”

I am turning this warped machine over to Dean.