Sunday, May 21, 2017

On a Hiatus Here Until June 12th.

I will check in with your blogs however.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday's Forgotten Books, May 19, 2017

Todd will be collecting links for the next three weeks. I will return on June 16th.


This is the kind of book I used to read all the time twenty years ago and now I remember why. Indridason is a master at plot, creating memorable characters, and evoking Iceland during World War II and today. His detective has a compelling personal life, is likeable,and gets the job done. Indridason balances POVs masterfully-there's never a moment when you wish the writer would get back to solving the mystery.
I can't think of anything that didn't work in this book and this is from someone with adult onset ADD. (From 2007).

Sergio Angelini, THE LAST DANCE, Ed McBain;
Mark Baker, YIP, TUCK, Sparkle Abbey
Yvette Banek, SHE DIED A LADY, Carter Dickson
Les Blatt, ABC MURDERS, Agatha Christie
Brian Busby, GLENGARRY SCHOOL DAYS, Rev. Charles W. Gordon
Bill Crider, RAFFERTY LAST SEEN ALIVE, W; Glenn Duncan
Scott Cupp, DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HOLMES, Loren Estleman
Richard Horton, THE PARADOX MEN, Charles Harness, DOME AROUND AMERICA, Jack Williamson
George Kelley, A TREASURY OF GREAT SCIENCE FICTION, ed. Anthony Boucher
Margot Kinberg, SISTERS OF MERCY, Caroline Ovington
Rob Kitchin, THIRTY-THREE TEETH, Colin Coterill
B.V. Lawson, THE FBI: A CENTENNIAL  HISTORY, Dept. of Justice
Evan Lewis, THE ADVENTURES OF SAM SPADE, Dashiell Hammett
Steve Lewis, THE SURFSIDE CAPER, Louis Trimble
Todd Mason, THE BEST OF MYSTERY, edited by Harold Q Masur
J.F. Norris, MY BONES AND MY FLUTE, Edgar Mittelholzer
Matt Paust, A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY, John Irving
Reactions to Reading, WHERE ROSES NEVER DIE, Gunnar Staalesen
James Reasone, KI-GOR AND THE ANIMAL KINGDOM, John Peter Drummond
Richard Robinson, Sergeant Cluff Stands Firm, Gil North
Gerard Saylor, BLOOD OF VICTORY, Alan Furst
TomCat, THE RUMBLE MURDERS, Henry Ware Eliot
TracyK, Blanche on the Lam, Barbara Neely
Westlake Review, MONEY FOR NOTHING, Part 2

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Forgotten TV: First Episodes: 30 ROCK

(Not from first episode)

I never watched 30 ROCK much when it was on. At the time, I didn't like most of the cast for one reason or the other: bully, can't understand him, disliked  her in Ally McBeal. Really I was wrong about most of it. So I just watched the first episode. I don't know if it was considered a pilot or not.
Anyway, I was mostly admiring of how well Tina Fey and her writing partner wove the characters in and how likable Tina was in her role. (Megan met her at a party and said she was just as nice and down to earth in real life). I will never be fond of Tracy Morgan but I thought he was reasonably good in the part. And Baldwin was terrific from his first line. Although it is hard to see him as anyone other than Trump now. Although that fit too. I think I will watch more 30 ROCKS.

Monday, May 15, 2017


You People, You Make Me Happy


Things That Make Me Happy

Memories of our two trips to Amsterdam. One for six months and one for a week. The tulips dominate the landscape and Dutch culture in general. We lived across the street from the main flower market and the smell of flowers was much in the air.

Two good  movies this week. NORMAN with Richard Gere playing a fixer (or would be fixer) and THEIR FINEST about the British film industry making a propaganda film to buck up spirits. I love movies about making a movies. Do you have a favorite?

Remembering all the good times we had with my mother before her death in 2009. How horrified she would be by the presidency of Donald Trump. Happy Mother's Day, Mom.
Enjoying the Letterman bio although I sure don't come away thinking much of him. It is the story of how a man with little talent was able to get those with a lot to work for him. Maybe that is a talent.

Spending Mother's Day with my son, daughter-in-law, grandson and DIL's mother plus Phil. A lovely day. 

What about you?

Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday's Forgotten Books, May 12, 2017

From the archives Ed Gorman


Before he became known for his excellent biographies of Robert Mitchum, Ava Gardner and Samuel Fuller, Server wrote and co-edited several books about noir. I collaborated with him on two of them. His knowledge of noir films made me feel like the tourist I am.

He also wrote one of the finest books on pulp fiction I've ever read, Danger is My Business. It's filled with full colors of cover from every genre of pulps and stories about the writers and artists and editors who made them so successful for two decades. Just one example--do you know how Myrna Loy got her last name? I didn't. It turns out the mysterious Peter Ruric, author of Fast One and several classic hardboiled Black Mask stories, gave it to her when she was still a dancer in a nightclub. Very little is known about Ruric who's real name was George Sims and who was born not far from Cedar Rapids.

Each genre gets it own chapter-horror, adventure-western, private eye, romance and sex, hero pulps and science fiction as well as a chapter on the so-called Fiction Factories that ruled pulp land.

The romance and sex chapter surprised me. These pulps took real risks given the prevailing morality of the era. Robert Leslie Bellems set the tone for the naughty hardboiled male writers while women turned in the real erotica.

Same with the horror pulps. Looking at the covers I'm struck by how many of them depicted female bondage. The scantily clad (and usually great looking) heroines were always tied up by some fiend.

We all know how a lot of blurbs work. One writer wants to help another writer so he praises the book. You can usually tell when the blurb writer is log rolling. "I don't think I've ever read a novel as stupendously suspenseful or as monumentally wonderful or as Nobel-worthy as Sure I Killed, I Killed Him Good. And there's print on every page! Honest!"

But here are two blurbs that ring true for sure.

"Danger is My Business Takes me back forty years to my beginnings. Thank God for the pulps!" Elmore Leonard

"Danger is My Business is pure gold. It is so much fun to read. Lee Server's enthusiasm is well-matched to a writing style so witty and a knowledge of the subject so wide-ranging that Danger I My Business is a total page-tuner, as involving as any of the magazines he's opened for us." Donald E. Westlake

This is a book that belongs in your library.

Sergio Angelini
Yvette Banek, MURDER BY THE CLOCK, Rufus King
Joe Barone, BOUNDARY WATERS, William Kent Kruger
Les Blatt, BODY UNIDENTIFIED,  John Rhode
Brian Busby, THE PYX, John Buell
Bill Crider THE VERSE BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD, Frank Rowsome Jr. 
Scott Cupp, KITT'S PEAK, Al Sarrantonio
Martin Edwards, NO MURDER, H.C. Bailey
Curt Evans, MURDER IN PASTICHE, Marion Mainwaring
Richard Horton, Three SF Novels from Scholastic, Del Rey, Key, Silverberg
Jerry House, THE TIME TUNNEL, Murray Leinster
George Kelley, BLACK MAN'S BURDEN, Mack Reynolds
Margot Kinberg, LONESOME POINT, Ian Vasquez
Rob Kitchin, ONE OR THE OTHER, John McFetridge
B.V. Lawson, BLUE OCTAVO, John Blackburn
Evan Lewis, THE CASE OF THE VELVET CLAWS, Erle Stanley Gardner
Steve Lewis, THE CASE OF THE VELVET CLAWS, Erle Stanley Gardner
Todd Mason, TURNING POINTS edited by Damon Knight; DREAM MAKERS: VOLUME II interviews conducted by Charles Platt
J.F. Norris, HELL ON FRIDAY, William Bogart
Matt Paust, AN ACCIDENTAL NOVELIST, Richard Wheeler
James Reasoner, THE RETURN OF CAPTAIN FUTURE Edmund Hamilton
Richard Robinson, FLASH CASEY, DETECTIVE, George Harmon Coxe
Gerard Saylor, AGENT 6, Tom Robb Smith
Kerrie Smith, INSIDE THE BLACK HORSE, Ray Girard
Kevin Tipple, FINN, Jon Clinch
 TomCat, A CASE OF SPIRITS, Peter Lovesey
TracyK, THE BUTCHER'S BOY, Thomas Perry
Zybahn, THE BOTTOMS, Joe R. Lansdale