Todd Mason will serve as host for FFB for the next two weeks. The third week, the 12th will be Agatha Christie week.
Things are a bit rocky here this morning because of the new blogger dashboard. Sorry.
**Summary still to come. Too many problems to get it up.
I hope The Handle by Richard Stark was a pleasure for Donald Westlake to write because it sure is a pleasure to read.
Organization has decided that it's tired of this German guy running his
big casino on an island in the Gulf of Mexico. He's beyond the
jurisdiction of the Feds and it's unlikely Cuba will do much about him.
Thus Parker is hired to take the casino and its other buildings
down--literally. To blow them up.
while The Handle is every bit as tough as Dick Cheney's heart, the
hardboiled aspect is played off against the sorriest group of human
beings Parker may ever have had to work with. And the sardonic way
Westlake portrays them had me laughing out loud at several points.
your pick. There's the alcoholic hood who talks as if he's auditioning
for a Noel Coward play; the mob gun dealer who had to quit drinking
several months ago and has increased both his cigarette intake (four or
five packs a day) while maintaining both his cancer cough and his
enormous weight; the pedophile who turns out to be a ringer sent to spy
in Parker and his friends; the Feds who are so inept both Parker and
Grofield play games seeing who can lose their tails the fastest. And
then there's the the married Grofield, Parker's professional acting
buddy, who never passes up a chance to impose his charms on willing
women. In this case he endeavors to put the whammy on the very sexy
blonde Parker himself has been shacking up with. Isn't that called
then we have Baron Wolfgang Freidrich Kastelbern von Alstein, the man
who owns the island and the casino and who, over the years, has managed
to make The Third Man's Harry Lime look like a candidate for sainthood.
Westlake spends a few pages on the Baron's history and it becomes one of
the most fascinating parts of the book, especially his days in Europe
during the big war.
book is filled with the little touches that make the Stark books so
memorable. My favorite description comes when Parker and the sexy blonde
sit down to a dinner that Westlake describes as "viciously expensive."
A fine fine novel.
Blackwater, Kerstin Ekman
Long before the Scandinavian surge of crime fiction of today, a few Swedish writers caught our attention and one for us in the 1990s was Kerstin Ekman.
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 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.