book review, book tour, science fiction, thriller

Book Tour: Crackle and Fire by Russ Colchamiro

Time for another Blackthorn Book tour, this time for Russ Colchamiro’s science fiction detective noir novel, Crackle and Fire.


About the book

Angela Hardwicke isn’t just any private eye.

She’s a PI from Eternity, the cosmic realm responsible for the design, creation, and maintenance of the Universe.

When accountant Gil Haberseau hires her to find an intern with stolen corporate files, Hardwicke soon finds herself embroiled in a deadly case of lies, intrigue, and murder, clashing with vengeful gangsters, MinderNot rallies, and a madman who’s come a long way to get what he wants.

In Russ Colchamiro’s thrilling Sci-Fi mystery Crackle and Fire, Angela Hardwicke learns once and for all that when it comes to being an intergalactic private eye, there’s no telling what threats she may face on-realm and off… including the demons that lurk deep within her soul.

“Crackle and Fire elegantly combines PI noir with science fiction and fantasy.” — John L. French, author of The Magic of Simon Tombs

“Angela Hardwicke is one of the most memorable characters in detective fiction.” — Sawney Hatton, author of Everyone is a Moon


My review

Detective noir meets science fiction in this first outing for P.I Angela Hardwicke.

Things are rotten in the state of E-Town, one of the cities in the realm of Eternity where the universe is created and maintained. Private Investigator, Angela Hardwicke is hired to find an earthling who has absconded with some sensitive files. But this is E-Town, so nothing is as simple as it seems. With gangsters, drug addicts and god like beings all demanding Angela’s attention, is a gumshoe’s work ever done?

Colchamiro has created an intriguing world full of potential, but unfortunately I kept on thinking I’d walked into the middle of a story rather than the beginning. Perhaps this is because he first introduced the world in his comedy science fiction trilogy, Finders Keepers. Not having read those books, I felt a little at a loss to immerse myself in the world presented. The author’s lack of explanation made me feel alienated rather than included, and it hampered my enjoyment of the book.

I was also somewhat underwhelmed by Eternity, which was remarkably like twentieth century earth. God like beings, called the Minders of the Universe, work in hotel management and gangsters behave like Dick Dastardly and Muttley.

I also struggled with the character of Angela Hardwicke. I love private detective mysteries with a twist, and I was very excited to read about a female P.I. Unfortunately she didn’t work for me. Some interesting aspects of the character, such as the fact every female she met flirted with her, or her previous drug dependency, weren’t developed as satisfactorily as I’d like, and I was left with a hollow impression of the character.

Saying that, there is a lot to like about this book. There are some interesting things about Eternity, and I’m sure lots of readers will get a kick out of the mundanity of the place in charge of the smooth running of the universe. Lots of detective tropes are utilized to good effect, and there is the pervasive atmosphere of a Jimmy Cagney movie.

I award Crackle and Fire


About the author

Russ Colchamiro is the author of the rollicking space adventure, Crossline, the zany SF/F backpacking comedy series Finders Keepers: The Definitive Edition, Genius de Milo, and Astropalooza, and is editor of the SF anthology Love, Murder & Mayhem, all with Crazy 8 Press.

Russ lives in New Jersey with his wife, two ninjas, and crazy dog Simon, who may in fact be an alien himself. Russ has also contributed to several other anthologies, including Tales of the Crimson Keep, Pangaea, Altered States of the Union, Camelot 13, TV Gods 2, They Keep Killing Glenn, Thrilling Adventure Yarns, Camelot 13, and Brave New Girls.

He is now working on the first novel in a new series featuring his hardboiled private eye Angela Hardwicke, and the first of three collaborative novella projects.

Russ Colchamiro| Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Read my review of Colchamiro’s 1980s set novella, Red Ink, in Murder at Montague Falls.

5 thoughts on “Book Tour: Crackle and Fire by Russ Colchamiro”

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