Monday, August 25, 2014





"THE BLACK ROSE is a page turner from the get-go, Newman doesn't waste any words or the readers time - he gets the ball in play straight away, usually headed toward the goal line, with a few stops for drugs and alcohol. Dylan accepts a missing person case that brings him back to a world he occupied long ago - insurance investigation in London - before the lure of all things exotic turned his head permanently east. You don't skip any words of James A. Newman because you never know when the gold nuggets will show up as you pan across the page. It could be in his observations between the sexes, the act of sex itself or the descriptions of the pull and power that brings in so many millions to Fun City every year, where the small fish are plentiful and always available for a fry. It's a story which includes gypsies, tramps and thieves plus your usual assortment of Beach Road tourists and expats, which you'll easily recognize but hopefully not in your own mirror. Fans of the series will be treated to more than a few returning characters, including The White Flamingo herself and my personal favorite, Hale, whom I am sure I have met at least once in the land of addictions.

For readers looking for another one of a kind Fun City romp with a twisted London twist, THE BLACK ROSE is sure to please fans of dark crime fiction."

"ANOTHER FINE effort by Author James Newman. The Joe Dylan Series, which began with such promise, continues to improve in this 4th installment. I liked that Newman stretched the canvas as Dylan returns to his original stomping grounds in England. Yet there is still included are the dark themes which emanate from Sin City (Pattaya). An intricate plot is key to a Joe Dylan mystery and The Black Rose does not disappoint in that regard. An absolute must for your tablet if you are a fan of the modern Noir genre. Highly recommended."


"THE ACTION explodes in your face as soon as you open the book. The reader is then guided through a well-crafted series of high-contrast portraits of the characters whose stories tighten together like interwoven nooses to set the stage for the shocking finale. The crazed world of Fun City seems to spill out of its boundaries and spread to Europe like a burning oil slick. Joe Dylan sorts out business and barely breaks stride to indulge all his vices in full!

It’s a dark and menacing fairy tale of gypsies and drug-deals, exploring some of the ways in which separating from ones roots can change a person and their choices. The mind-sets of the tropics are cleverly contrasted with those of cooler climes and the story arcs between the two locales. The ways in which a person is changed by what they endure are shown to be just as interesting as the other aspects in which they stay exactly the same. The prose is jagged with sharp nuggets of perceptive insight, a real treasure trove.

Don’t expect to find traditional heroes to look up to – nearly every character you meet is so twisted up that you might start feeling like the only sane person in sight! Words fly with gusto and flair, and the authoritative presence of the author’s voice invites us to wonder how much of the story may be rooted in real events… "


"JOE DYLAN'S at it again, this time down the mean streets of both Fun City, Southeast Asia, and the equally rotten lanes of the UK. There's a touch of Dickens in this, joining Newman's more obvious influences: William S. Burroughs, Charles Bukowski and Jim Thompson. It's dark stuff, but exciting to read, and funny at times. A couple of nicely-drawn female characters compliment the hard loving, hard drinking, drug-addled, fight-prone men. A nice mix. Also a nice mix are the shocking surprises mixed within the familiar genre. If you enjoyed the other Joe Dylan books, you'll like this one. If you haven't read the others, you can't go wrong starting with this one."


"I GOT hooked on Newman's descriptive powers in a previous Dylan novel. His female Thai character had a look like a "puzzled fox." If you've ever seen a Thai woman trying to wrestle with the foibles of a western male or the intricacies of the English language - that's it. Got it in two words. Newman does this on page after page - and has the gift of enabling the reader, not just to see what he's describing but to feel it... and I don't mean just emotionally. Noah is a traveller - his depiction in The Black Rose is vivid - and so compelling I wanted to grab a shower.

The characters are well drawn and convincing - I've read too many novels recently where the key players behave in a manner which just doesn't fit with their personality or what they might be in their best interests... I'm left screaming at the page - "but they'd never do that, that's just dumb." Newman delivers a depth to his characters - and a plot line that stacks up - his characters are driven, albeit rarely to a good place.

The Black Rose is a great read - the pace quickens as the story progresses and I was swept along - eager to see where we were being taken. White Flamingo was excellent - this may just top it. Looking out for Joe Dylan 5 already."

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