Tuesday, June 20, 2017
This was one of my favorite Anne Tyler novels and the movie is faithful to the book. William Hurt nails his role. And Geena Davis does too. Like so many of Tyler's characters these are uniformly eccentric yet lovable people. And the Baltimore setting works (hope it isn't Toronto again) .
When a travel writer loses his wife (neither can recover from the death of a child), he moves back in with his siblings and finds a dog whisperer to help him with his dog and eventually with his life. A nice little movie. Kathleen Turner is in it too little though. This was directed by Lawrence Kasdan who also directed Hurt in THE BIG CHILL.
Monday, June 19, 2017
I expect I will have more to be happy about next week. This week sort of ran over me with doctor and dentist appts. A movie I expected to like but really didn.t. Books I expected to like but didn't.
Hope you had more to be happy about than I did.
Most of my satisfaction came from TV shows. MASTER OF SEX, BETTER CALL SAUL and I LOVE DICK. It took me the entire series to get to a good place with I LOVE DICK. But GRANTCHESTER and THE TUNNEL are back tonight. So maybe next week is going to be euphoric.
REMINDER: HEIST NOVELS FOR FFB on July 14. Let me know if you think you are too busy to be doing this.
Friday, June 16, 2017
LEVINE, by Donald Westlake (reviewed by Dana King, archives)
Donald Westlake is best known for humorous crime fiction under his own name, and for the dark Parker stories published under the Richard Stark pseudonym. Levine, a 1984 collection of short stories originally published in mystery magazines between 1959 and 1984, is something else entirely.
Abe Levine is a detective in New York's 43rd Precinct. A gentle man, Levine is morbidly aware of his entry into what were then referred to as "the heart attack years." A common thread through all the stories is the frequency with which Levine's heart skips a beat, and how conscious this makes him of the fragility of life. His distaste for artificially hastened death, and his almost humanitarian desire to see those responsible brought to justice, must always be weighed against the effects of his efforts on his own deteriorating heart.
Few literary cops combine Levine's gentle and fragile nature with his passion for justice. The introduction to the collection contains Westlake's explanation for Levine's creation: "It has become the convention that policemen, professional detectives, are 'hardened' to death, 'immune' to life untimely nipped…It was the idea of a cop, a police detective, who was so intensely aware of his own inevitable death that he wound up hating people who took the idea of death frivolously that led me to Abe Levine."
LEVINE is, unfortunately, out of print, so the public library or a used bookstore will be required. While Abe Levine stands apart from Westlake's better known characters, the careful plotting and mastery of craft present in all of his work is not lacking. Anyone looking for something different from a familiar hand could hardly do better than to hunt up a copy of LEVI
Sergio Angelini, FAT OLLIE'S BOOK, Ed McBain
Mark Baker, BLOOD WORK, Michael Connelly
Yvette Banek, A BLUNT INSTRUMENT, Georgette Heyer
Joe Barone, BLOOD HOLLOW, William Kent Kruger
Les Blatt, THE RELIGIOUS BODY, Catherine Aird
Bill Crider, THE CRITIC'S CHOICE: THE BEST OF CRIME AND DETECTIVE TV, Max Allan Collins and Allan Javna
Scott Cupp, THE DEEP BLUE GOODBYE, John D. MacDonald
Martin Edwards, THE LYTTLETON CASE, R.A.V. Morris
Curt Evans, Kindertotenlieder: A Question of Inheritance and Easy Prey by Josephine Bell
Richard Horton, Space Captain by Murray Leinster/The Mad Metropolib by Philip E. High
Jerry House, TOM SWIFT AND HIS BIG TUNNEL, Howard. R..Garris
George Kelley, THE STAR TREK READER, James Blish
Margot Kinberg, RED INK, Angela Makholwa
B.V. Lawson, THE PUZZLE OF THE BLUE BANDERILLO, Stuart Palmer
Evan Lewis, BIG RED'S DAUGHTER and TOKYO DOLL, John McPartland
Steve Lewis, DREAMING OF BABYLON, Richard Brautigan
Todd Mason, ALIEN CARGO, Theodore Sturgeon
J.F. Norris, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GREEN HILLS, John Keir Cross
Matt Paust, DEAD MAN'S GUN AND OTHER WESTERN STORIES, Ed Gorman
James Reasoner, LATIGO, Frank O'Rourke
Richard Robinson, ORBITAL DECAY, Allen Steele
TomCat, THE LEGENDARY SNOW DEMONS MURDER
TracyK, BADGE OF EVIL, Whit Masterson
Westlake Review, THIEVE'S DOZEN, Donald Westlake
Thursday, June 15, 2017
My thoroughly excellent son took a team that was 1-11 last year and got them to the Championship game. Every kid played, every parent supported them. No one was anything but happy with our boys. Couldn't be prouder of mine.Saturday will be the final game! GO MARLINS!
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
THE NEW YORK TIMES film critics listed their picks on Sunday. Here are mine. What would you add? Take away? (No particular order)BEFORE SUNRISE (and its sequels)
THE LIVES OF OTHERS
THE GREAT BEAUTY
IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE
YOU CAN COUNT ON ME
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES (ARG version)
SON OF SAUL
THE DEPARTED (and the earlier Korean version, I(NFERNAL AFFAIRS)
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Monday, June 12, 2017
Although we had horrible weather over our two weeks on Cape Cod, we still had a good time. Phil walked his way back to his pre-treatment strength. And that was nearly a year ago now. A lost year in some ways but not in all ways.
It made me happy that the cellist (Amit Peled) is touring with six of his students from the Peabody School of Music. One was only seventeen. All of them were great cellists. Maybe classical music will survive.
I am happy to announce that Polis is going to publish my story collection: I BRING SORROW AND OTHER STORIES OF TRANSGRESSION in early 2018. A lot of them appeared in places unseen by most people and a few are brand new.
Glad to be back though. I have a lot of work to do and it's been a while since I could say that.
And here is a crazy sign we saw in an elevator.