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Monday 16 April 2012

Joe Café by J D Mader


Hearty.  Full-bodied.  Sincere.  Fiery.  Powerful.

No, I’m not talking about an expensive, delicious vintage wine.  These are just the attributes that popped into my head when I was reading this novella.

I’ll be honest, a couple of pages in, with already a senseless murder of four people (that’s not a spoiler – it’s in the book’s hook), a hint of doubt fluttered across my mind.  However, I needn’t have worried.  Not one little bit.

The shocking murder of four innocent people in a much loved café causes a big, headache for policeman, Michael Butler.  He has much, much more than a random, heinous, criminal act on his hands.  There’s an even bigger nightmare for strip-club owner, Tony, when his pregnant girlfriend is abducted.  Now, more than ever he needs to call on a few favours from his mobster friends, Jimmie and Frankie.

This novella is small, but very, very mighty.  Each and every one of the diverse characters, thoughtfully and carefully conceived, draw you right to their very core.  Mader gives depth to each one.  Peel back the alcoholic, violent, deprived (and depraved) layers and you’ll find yourself with a glimmer of sympathy for some of these ‘lost’ and wayward souls.  Each one - from the troubled fisherman policeman, Michael, and Sara, the gentle, level-headed girlfriend to the ex-army and unscrupulous killer - stay with you well after the last page. 

Excellent, compelling, and very well-written.  If it’s not already, put this on your priority TBR.   


  1. Thanks Cathy! Glad it didn't disappoint!

  2. I agree - a great debut novel with guts.

  3. JD Mader spins a dark, introspective crime thriller about the nature of evil. Both introspective and suspenseful, this short novel takes the reader into a sordid world of strip clubs, cheap hotels, and mafia hitmen. Gruesome scenes contrast with the beauty of fishing on a tranquil lake. Deep psychological character development stands next to sudden flashes of action.