Tuesday, September 17, 2019


Had a great week in DC visiting my brother and his wife in Virginia and old friends in Maryland. Loved both movies, liked the play (Sondheim) had several great meals, went to an exhibit at the National Geographic Museum on the Queens of Egypt, saw two old friends from my childhood (separately) went to Leesburg (mostly restaurants now) and got lost in a park. All great fun.

What about you if you are not tired of telling it?

Monday, September 09, 2019

Friday, September 06, 2019


I had to do a little work to get myself a copy of Dan J. Marlowe's THE NAME OF THE GAME IS DEATH (from the archives).  I just want to list what made it such a perfect book to me.

1) the complexity of the protagonist

2) the writing-lucid, tense, succinct

3) the way Marlow integrates a necessary back story into the plot. Now a lot of writers today would say, we don't need to know all of this about him. I disagree. Without this info, he's just a psycho. Now he's a psycho, yes, but with grounding.

4) the length of the book. Truly you couldn't take much more of this degree of excitement.

5) the atmosphere, which is just exactly right for the plot, character, etc.

6) the integration of the violent aspects with the prosaic ones

7) the motivation for what happens. Because of the back story, we get it.

8) the ending.

I could go on and on. What did you like about this book if you've read it? If not, what book would you nominate for a perfect little gem? And I guess what "little" means is under 250 pages.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

WHAT THE EYES DON'T SEE, Mona Hanna Attisha

In 2014, virtually with no one looking or investigating the safeness of the switch, the state of Michigan shifted the source of Flint's water from Lake Huron to the Flint River. Almost immediately citizens complained about the color or the water, the taste, but they went unheard.

Dr. Mona Hanna Attisha took the officials at their word initially and told her pediatric patients' parents that the water was safe. But over a brief period of time, children were getting sicker and early studies began to trouble the doctor.

This book details her fight to obtain undeniable truth that the water was full of lead and to get city and state officials to admit it and do something about it. Time after time, people who should be on the side of the citizens, turned a deaf hear, preferring to either ignore or uphold the lies being bandied about.

This is a very disheartening book because you know similar problems exist in other cities (Newark) and are especially prevalent in black areas. When this was first noticed in Flint, GM and state offices received water that was not from the Flint River. So even here distinctions were made by state officials.

The dire nature of the story is somewhat lightened by Attisha's story of her own family and their trip to the US from Iraq. They are a family of activists indeed.

For more book reviews, go to Barrie Summy's blog. 

Monday, September 02, 2019

Things That are Making Me Happy

Happy Labor Day!

Enjoying HUNTING GAME by Helene Tursten. I am always amazed when a writer is able to present a milieu as successfully as she does with a hunting lodge and hunting itself in Sweden. Of course, maybe it is her scene. Will have to try her other series.

I am sad to be finished MINDHUNTER, where I liked the personal stories as much as the Atlanta Child Killer plot. Although it was pretty brilliant all around. Also enjoying TRAPPED on Prime. Thanks, Jeff.  Still enjoying SUCCESSION on HBO.

Had a nice family dinner Friday night. Kevin is getting taller by the minute. He is going to play hockey, soccer, cross-country and tennis this fall. As well as begin to learn the bass guitar along with the one he's been playing for years. The music teacher says most guitar players can play more than one thing. Today's parents, at least ones that can afford it because no school sports are free nowadays) are so busy getting their kids to various events.

What about you?

Friday, August 30, 2019

FFB: BLACKWATER, Kerstin Ekman

Blackwater, Kerstin Ekman

Long before the Scandinavian surge of crime fiction of today, a few Swedish writers caught my attention and one in the 1990s was Kerstin Ekman. In face, I think I came across this one the year we lived in England.

The plot centers on teacher and mother, Annie Raft, and is set in the 70s, and focuses on events surrounding, and following a double murder at the Blackwater lake in Sweden.

The victims of the murder are two tourists visiting Northern Sweden to explore its forested wilderness. They are discovered by Annie Raft, herself new to the region, as she and her young daughter Mia scrabble through the forest, searching for the commune where her lover awaits and where they are to start life anew away from the turmoil of their lives in Southern Sweden.

Things also deteriorate in the commune. Paradise is not what it seems, nor is Annie's lover. It is years later when this story concludes.

Ekman explores the degradation occurring to the environment at the same time she sets up this plot. The darkness of the land mirrors the darkness of the people who inhabit it. She also examines the animosity between Swedes and Laplanders in the region. From reviews on amazon, I see that this book was too dark for many readers, but we both enjoyed it at the time.