Wednesday, December 12, 2018

First Wednesday Book Club: NEWS OF THE WORLD, Paulette JIles

A retired military man makes his living by riding through Texas and reading the news in small towns after the Civil War. The news he reads tends to lean toward the more entertaining and foreign, something not found in the local gazette. While traveling through one area, he is asked to return a ten-year old girl, taken by the Kiowa Indians, to her family near San Antonio. She has been a captive for five years and has bonded with her Indian family. The novel details their road trip, their adventures, their bonding, and the eventual arrival in San Antonio. My book group really admired the language, the story, the characters, and the sentiments of this fine book. A little like THE SEARCHERS, LONESOME DOVE and other similar stories. A real gem. Especially relevant in light of current immigrant issues.

More reviews at Barrie Summy's place. 

Friday, December 07, 2018

Friday Forgotten Books, December 7, 2018

Friday, December 7, 2018

Will be hosted by Todd Mason this week.
Hoping I return soon.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Friday Forgotten Books, November 30, 2018

Friday, November 30, 2018

Will be hosted by Todd Mason this week.

Favorite Books Read in 2018

In Pieces Sally Field
Roseanna, Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo
Florida Happens, ed. Greg Herren
November Road, Lou Berney
News of the World, Paulette Jiles
In a Dry Season, Peter Robinson
In the Morning I'll Be Gone, Adrian McKinty
The Real Lolita, Sarah Weinman
Sunburn, Laura Lippman
Aftermath, Peter Robinson
Educated, Tara Westover
There, There, Tommy Orange
The Immortalist, Chloe Benjamin
Raindogs, Adrian McKinty
That Kind of Mother, Rumaan Alam
The Chimney Sweeper's Boy, Barbara Vine
The Perfect Nanny, Leila Slimani
Silence of the Grave, Indridason
American Wife, Curtis Sittenfeld
In Sunlight and in Shadow, ed. Lawrence Block
Laidlaw, William McIlvaney
Prairie Fires, The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder

Monday, November 26, 2018

On Hiatus

Completely exhausted after three ambulance trips to the hospital last week. Think things are resolved but not sure, Phil is still in the ICU. Send him good thoughts. Every week is harder than that last.
I have learned to use uber though.


Friday, November 23, 2018

Friday, November 16, 2018

Friday's Forgotten Books, November 16, 2018


"Ralph stood on the corner, leaning against the brick wall of Silver's candy store, telling himself to go home and get some sleep."

That's the opening line of The Blonde On The Street Corner, a 1954 novel written by David Goodis. Of course, Ralph doesn't go home. Instead, he spots a blonde across the dark street and gawks at her. She eventually calls him over to light her cigarette, which he does.

Now, at this point, one might expect that Ralph would be irresistibly lured into a tight web spun by this dazzling femme fatale, resulting in his eventual moral destruction, if not death. But Goodis doesn't write that way. In fact, the blonde is fat, sharp-tongued, and lives in the neighborhood. Ralph knows her, and knows that she's married. She propositions him right on the corner, but he rejects her. "I don't mess around with married women," he tells her. Then he goes home.

Much to the reader's surprise, this encounter does not trigger the plot of the novel. In fact, it would be right to say that the novel has no plot, in the usual sense. Ralph returns to his impoverished Philadelphia home, where he lives with his parents, and spends the rest of the book wallowing in misery with his friends, all of whom are in the same boat as he: in their thirties, usually unemployed, and filled with unrealistic dreams. One of his friends says he is a "songwriter", but no one has ever recorded any of his songs. Another wants to be a big-league baseball player, but lasted only a week on a class D minor league team. They spend most of their time leaning up against buildings, wearing only thin coats against the bitter Philadelphia winter, and wishing they had more money. They talk a good deal about going to Florida, where they can get jobs as bellmen in a "big-time hotel", convinced this would jump-start their desperate lives.

The book goes on like this pretty much all the way through, with no moving story line, but it's Goodis' prose that keeps you riveted to the page. No one can paint a picture of a hopeless world better than he can. For Goodis, Philadelphia is a desolate place, whose bleak streets offer little in the way of promise. Many of his novels were set there, and they all shared that common trait. Life in that city is, for him and his characters, usually an exercise in futility. These are people who walk around with twenty or thirty cents in their pockets, who cold-call girls out of the phone book asking for dates, and for whom escape to Florida is always right around the corner. The finale provides the mortal body blow to Ralph, stripping him of the last shred of his dignity.

The Blonde On The Street Corner is a potent novel, filled with the passions and despair of its characters. All through this book, you find yourself longing to run into characters whose lives mean something. Then, you realize there aren't any.

 Mark Baker, CHASING THE DIME, Michael Connelly
Les Blatt, THE LONG DIVORCE, Edmund Crispin
Brian Busby, THE EMPTY SACK, Basil King
Crossexaminingcrime, STAIRWAY TO MURDER, Osmington Mills
Martin Edwards, VANISH IN AN INSTANT, Margaret Millar
Jerry House, SECRET UNDER ANTARTICA, Gordon R. Dickson
George Kelley, A RIVAL FROM THE GRAVE, Seabury Quinn 
Margot Kinberg, THE MURDER OF MY AUNT, Richard Hull
Rob Kitchin, THE LAST DAYS OF JACK SPARKS, Jason Arnopp
Evan Lewis, THE MASK OF DR. FU MAN CHU, Wally Wood (and Sax Rohmer)
Steve Lewis, ONE FALSE MOVE, Kelly Roos
Todd Mason, TROUBLE VALLEY, Lee Hoffman
J.F. Norris, THE ROSES OF PICCARDI, Simon Raven
Only Detect, MURDER ON THE LINKS, Agatha Christie
Matt Paust, MISTAKENLY IN MALLORCA, Roderic Jeffries
James Reasoner, BRAND FIRES ON THE RIDGE, Ernest Haycox
Richard Robinson, THE WILL OF THE DEAD, George Mann
Gerard Saylor, THE ZEALOT, Simon Scarrow
TracyK, DEATH ON THE NILE, Agatha Christie

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

IN PIECES, Sally Field

This was a well-written book and it covered the early years of Field's life very well. But suddenly, when she is still in her thirties, it begins to rush through the last thirty years as though she had reached a page limit. Or as if her career had ended, which it had certainly not. I am not sure why. Whether she did not have the time to process it. Whether she found it dull. Certainly the first thirty years examines events carefully and with pain. This lady had a lot of hard times. I have read novels where this happened. Where the childhood was what interested the author. But not so much a life. A life in pieces, I guess. Still the writing is wonderful and her humility admirable.

Monday, November 12, 2018


Read two enigmatic books this week: IN PIECES by Sally Field and MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON, Elizabeth Strout. In both books the central character never felt fully understood. Will talk about the Field book tomorrow. This is the second time I read LUCY BARTON and the same issues I had the first time held true. I was never sure what exactly the author's point was. If it was about mother love-I never really felt she demonstrated it. Her mother was ghostlike to me.

Saw FIRST MAN, which was good if not great. I guess biopics never completely work for me and it is hard to top THE RIGHT STUFF when it comes to astronauts. But this was well made, well acted and about as good as it could be.

Rewatching SUCCESSION on HBO and enjoying it more the second time around. And I must say I think THE DEUCE's second year was pretty terrific. (Megan bowed out early on this season so this has nothing to do with her involvement). 

Had dinner with friends several nights and lunch with friends several days. As I have said before, I cherish my friends. They have carried me through some rough years.

How about you?

Friday, November 09, 2018

Friday's Forgotten Books, November 9, 2018

IN A TRUE LIGHT, John Harvey  (Kent Morgan from the archives)

In 1998, John Harvey won the first-ever Sherlock Award for the best detective, Charlie Resnick, created by a British author. When he decided to stop writing the Resnick series, he opted to write a standalone where he could use his interest in both art and music in the storyline. The result is this book which received well-deserved raves from book reviewers on both sides of the Atlantic. Sloane is a 60-year-old painter who is just out of prison after serving time for duplicating fine art for a dealer. He takes the rap and doesn’t squeal on the dealer who promised him 20,000 pounds on his release. After he collects the money, he is contacted by a woman in Italy who tells him a prominent artist with whom he had a fling in New York when he was 18 is dying and wants to see him. She claims that Sloane is the father of her estranged daughter, who is a jazz singer in the States, and asks him to find her. This takes him back to New York where he discovers the younger woman is involved with a man who beats her and has ties to organized crime. Sloane isn’t convinced that the woman is his daughter and despite the fact that she doesn’t seem to want him in her life and any help with her problems that includes drugs, he can’t stop himself from getting involved. The story moves back and forth from New York to London and Pisa and Harvey’s characters jump off the page as Sloane attempts to resolve his issues as well as the woman’s problems. This is one of the few books I have read in recent years that I didn’t want to put down.

Mark Baker, DEATH ON THE NILE, Agatha Christie
Les Blatt, THE CONQUEROR, E.R. Punshon
Elgin Bleecker, GUNS OF BRIXTON, Paul Brazill
Brian Busby "Grant Allen" 
crossexaminingcrime, ROCKET TO THE MORGUE, Anthony Boucher
Martin Edwards, THE SHOP WINDOW MURDERS, Vernon Loder
Curt Evans, THE ELECTION BOOTH MURDER,   Milton M. Propper
Elisabeth Grace Foley, REST AND BE THANKFUL, Helen MacInnes
Richard Horton, SKIN HUNGER and SACRED SCARS, Kathleen Duey
Jerry House, STAR OVER BETHLEHEM AND OTHER STORIES, Agatha Christie Mallowan 
George Kelley, END OF THE LINE, Burt and Dolores Hitchens
Margot Kinberg, DESERT  HEAT, J.A. Jance 
Rob Kitchin, SIRENS, Joseph Knox
B.V. Lawson, VOICE OUT OF DARKNESS, Ursula Curtiss
Evan Lewis, THE SEVEN PERCENT SOLUTION, Nicholas Meyer
Steve Lewis, SHADY LADY, Cleve Adams 
Todd Mason,  THE AMERICAN FOLK SCENE ed. David DeTurk & A. Poulin; BOB DYLAN: DON'T LOOK BACK transcribed & ed. by DJ Pennebaker et al.; DANGEROUSLY FUNNY by David Bianculli
J.F.Norris, MAYNARDS'S HOUSE, Herman Raucher
James Reasoner, THE COMPLETE MIKE SHAYNE, PRIVATE EYE, Ken Fitch and Ed Ashe 
Richard Robinson, THE WAY THE FUTURE WAS, Frederick Pohl
Kevin Tipple, CORKSCREW, Ted Wood 

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Forgotten Movies: THE GAZEBO

This is an odd little film. Glenn Ford is a TV writer who is being blackmailed over some salacious photos of his wife taken years earlier. She is now a Broadway star. He pays up until he can't any longer and then decides to knock off the blackmailer. Carl Reiner plays his police detective friend. Almost the entire film revolves around this idea and although it is funny at times and dark at others, it seemed like a play more than a movie. They seldom venture outside of the living room and the backyard gazebo. Debbie doesn't get to do much at all. Glenn Ford is better at comedy than I would have expected though.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Things That Are Making Me Happy

Really enjoyed rereading ROSEANNA. The use of a decoy in the book reminded me that you don't see that technique used as much as you used to today.
Enjoyed BODYGUARD and UNFORGOTTEN (it was on Masterpiece Theater a few years ago). Four episodes into HOMECOMING and enjoying it so far.
Saw CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? and liked it moderately. It felt a little flat to me but I can't quite put my finger on it. The sets and wardrobe was perfect. So too the evocation of late eighties NYC. McCarthy and Grant were both good. So why didn't I like it more? I need to see it again.
Maybe because I didn't quite get her as a character. Just not sure.
Enjoyed seeing Kevin on Halloween. He still seems to enjoy it. He dressed as a character from FORTNITE-some popular computer game. The costumes this year were so good. 
What about you?

Friday, November 02, 2018

Friday's Forgotten Books. November 2, 2018

"As the days went by, the evolution of like into love was accelerated.  White Fang himself began to grow aware of it, though in his consciousness he knew not what love was.  It manifested itself to him as a void in his being—a hungry, aching, yearning void that clamoured to be filled.  It was a pain and an unrest; and it received easement only by the touch of the new god’s presence.  At such times love was joy to him, a wild, keen-thrilling satisfaction.  But when away from his god, the pain and the unrest returned; the void in him sprang up and pressed against him with its emptiness, and the hunger gnawed and gnawed unceasingly. "
White Fang - Jack London

CROSS COUNTRY (Ed Gorman from the archives)
Herbert D. Kastle wrote a number of science fiction stories in magazines of the 1950s. That's where I first read him. Later in the 1960s he was writing those fat sexy bestseller-type novels that owed more to marketing and Harold Robbins than his presumed muse.

Then in 1974 he wrote CROSS COUNTRY. Here's a quote from one of the reviews: "This novel seems to occupy the same dark and twisted territory as the works of Jim Thompson. Characters interact in a dance of barely suppressed psycho-pathological urges and desires that is as
grotesquely fascinating as a multi-car pileup on the freeway. It
may leave you feeling unclean afterwards, but chances are you will not forget it."

Damn straight. It really is a sewer of sex and terror and blood-soaked suspense. I read it in one long sitting. If it's trash, as some called it at the time, it is spellbinding trash.

IMDB sums up the story line succintly: "After a woman is found butchered in her New York apartment, suspicion falls on her estranged husband, an ad executive who has suddenly left town on a cross-country road trip. He takes along a beautiful girl he met in a bar and a drifter he picked up along the way. A cop sets out after the husband, but he's more interested in shaking him down than bringing him back."

Kastle masterfully controls his long nightmare journey and you buy into his paranoia. He shows you an American wasteland of truck stops, motels, convenience stores connected by interstate highway and darkness. By book's end everyone will betray everyone else. This is survival of the fittest enacted by a Yuppie businessman, sociopathic hippies and a crooked cop. The sheer nastiness of Kastle's existential vision make this book impossible to forget. Thirty-some years after I first read it I still think of it from time to time when hundreds of other novels have fled from memory.

As a vision of hell, it's a small masterpiece.

Les Blatt, THREE PLOTS OF ASEY MAYO, Gladys Mitchell
Brian Busby, MAID OF ARMS, Enid Cushing
Crossexaminingcrime, THE DEADLY PERCHERON, John Franklin
Martin Edwards, AND DEATH CAME TOO, Richard Hull
Richard Horton, THE THIEF OF BAGDAD, Achmed Abdullah
Rib Kitchin, RAIN FALLS ON EVERYONE, Clar N Chonghale 
B.V. Lawson, NINE COACHES WAITING, Mary Stewart
Steve Lewis, CASE OF THE HAUNTED HUSBAND, Erle Stanley Gardner
Todd Mason, THE WOMEN WHO WALK THROUGH FIRE, ed. Susanna J. Sturgis
J.F. Norris, THE HANDS OF ORLAC. Maurice Renard
Matt Paust, UNEXPECTED NIGHT, Elizabeth Daly
James Reasoner, COLT CRUSADERS, E. B. Mann
Kevin Tipple/Barry Ergang, E. PLURIBUS UNICORN,  Theodore Sturgeon
TomCat,. DEATH OF A QUEEN,  Christopher St. John Sprigg

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Monday, October 29, 2018

New Yorkers:

Wish I could be there to read my story. In case, you are in the hood here it is.


Duane and Meredith Swiercynski's fifteen year old daughter, Evie, has a form of leukemia and has been in the hospital for many weeks. The medical costs are astronomical. Various ways of helping them are at work in the crime fiction community. If you want to contribute, even a small amount, go to the link. I dare you to look at the photo and not chip in a few bucks. Heart-breaking. Perhaps you have read some of Duane's books or comic books?
As someone with someone with cancer, I can't tell you what a strain it is. And I can't imagine having it be a child and not having medicare to pay the bills. 

Things That Are Making Me Happy

Not much good this week. Phil has to undergo another round of chemo. A nodule on his lung is probably that darn colon cancer moving around. No matter where it turns up it is still considered colon cancer, something I didn't know before. And the damage done by the immunotherapy continues to dog us.

I know you are all sorry and feel bad for me so give me the positives in your life and that will buoy me.

THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN was so-so. A bit too lethargic for a movie about a man who craved adventure. But well-meaning and good to see some faces I don't see enough. THE HATE U GIVE was terrific if you can bear to be reminded of how racist we are in this world. The events of this week sicken me. And we have officially become inured to it, I think. No talk about gun control.

Good friends who got us out to lunch and dinner a few times this week. If we didn't have friends....

Bought a new Christmas Tree, which looks alarmingly big.  The place got it here in two days when I expected two weeks at least. The box sits in my living room waiting to be unloaded.

And I am truly grateful for the ability to do so much shopping online. Sometimes I make a mistake (slippers that were too small) but on the whole, it works out well. And most places are so good about returns now. Our brave new world.

Cannot settle into a book. But I keep buying or borrowing them.

What about you?

Friday, October 26, 2018

Friday's Forgotten Books, October 26, 2018

Prose That Catches My Eye

“…I think we are well-advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were.” ― Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem

 Les Blatt, LADY IN THE LAKE, Raymond Chandler


Crossexaminingcrime. N OR M, Agatha Christie

Martin Edwards, THE MURDER OF MARTIN FOTHERIL Edward C. Lester

Curt Evans, Felicity Worthington Shaw: Her Life in Crime

Richard Horton,  Master of Life and Death, by Robert Silverberg/The Secret Visitors, by James White

George Kelley, THE FUTURE IS FEMALE, Lisa Yaszek

Margot Kinberg, TESS, Kirsten McDougall 

Rob Kitchin, THE FALCON AND THE SNOWMAN, Robert Lindsey

B.V. Lawson, SHE SHALL  HAVE MURDER, Delano Ames

Evan Lewis, THIRD ON A SEESAW, Neil MacNeil

Steve Lewis, SQUEEZE PLAY, Paul Benjamin 

Todd Mason,  YESTERDAY'S TOMORROWS edited by Frederik Pohl; EDITORS edited by Saul Bellow and Keith Botsford


Only Detect, A PUZZLE FOR FOOLS, Patrick Quentin

Matt Paust, WHEN TIME RUNS OUT, Elina Hirnoven 

James Reasoner, THE MANTOU, Graham Masterson 

Richard Robinson, THE HAPPY BIRTHDAY MURDER, Lee Harris

Gerard Saylor, DEAD BEFORE DYING, Deon Myer

Kevin Tipple/Barry Ergang, WHISTLE UP THE DEVIL, Derek Smith

TomCat, APPLEBY'S OTHE STORY, Michael Innes

TracyK, HIS BURIAL TOO, Catherine Aird

Monday, October 22, 2018

Things That Are Making Me Happy

Liked NOVEMBER ROAD a lot. Maybe not as much as THE LONG AND FARAWAY GONE though.
We got into THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE finally and it does have a lot of ideas to chew on. Continue to admire THE GOOD PLACE. It has more ideas in 20 minutes that most series have in a season.
Some nice fall days if only winter wasn't coming fast.
Celebrated Phil's birthday with our family, which was nice.
Went to friends' 60th. They eloped at nineteen. Their whole family flew in for the big day. Such a nice one at that.
The Lions beat the Dolphins in Miami!
What about you? 

Friday, October 19, 2018

Friday's Forgotten Books, October 19, 2018

"The siren on the top of the Dalton, North Dakota, fire station howls, as it does five days a week at this hour. Its wail frightens into flight the starlings that roost on the station roof every day yet never learn how fixed and foreseeable are human lives. The siren tells the town's working citizens and students what they already know. It's twelve o'clock, time for you to fly too. Put down your hammer, your pencil; close your books, cover your typewriter. Go home. Your wives and mothers are opening cans of soup and slicing bread and last night's roast beef for sandwiches. Come back in an hour, ready to put your shoulder to it, to add the figures, parse the sentences, calm the patients, please the customer."

Larry Watson LET HIM GO

If anyone cares to email me a piece of writing they admire in future weeks, that would be great.

FOOL'S GOLD chosen twice. I believe that has only happened once or twice.  

Mark Baker, CITY OF BONES, Michael Connelly
Les Blatt, MAIGRET TRAVELS, Georges Simenon
Elgin Bleecker, THE GLASS KEY, Dashiell Hammett
Brian Busby, TARGET 2067, CANADA'S SECOND CENTURY, Leonard Berlin
Martin Edwards, THE GETAWAY, Jim Thompson
Curt Evans, A TASTE OF POWER, W. J. Burley
Elizabeth Foxwell, THE HIDDEN WRATH, Stella Phillips
Richard Horton, ICE, Anna Kavan
George Kelley, THE GREAT SF STORIES 2 OF 1940, Asimov and Greenberg
Margot Kinberg, A KILLER HARVEST, Paul Cleaves
Rob Kitchin, UNDER THE FRANGIPANI, Mia Couto
B.V. Lawson, FOOL'S GOLD, Ted Wood
Evan Lewis, CONAN, THE MAGNIFICENT, Robert Jordan
Steve Lewis/David Vineyard, A VERY BIG BANG, Philip McCutcheon
Todd Mason,  MYSTERY SCENE, November 1986, edited by Ed Gorman and Bob Randisi; SCIENCE FICTION EYE, March 1988, edited by Steve Brown and Dan Steffan; NEW ORLEANS STORIES, Winter 1993, edited by O’Neil De Noux
Matt Paust, IN THE BALANCE, Patricia Wentworth
James Reasoner, SLAVES FOR THE RENEGADE SULTAN, John Peter Drummond
Richard Robinson, STARSHIP TROOPERS, Robert A, Heinlein
Kevin Tipple, FOOL'S GOLD, Ted Wood

TracyK, BOOK OF THE DEAD, Elizabeth Daly

Monday, October 15, 2018


Planted  a hundred tulip bulbs all by myself, which entailed pulling the annuals out, raking the dirt, adding new dirt, planting the bulb, adding more dirt. And chasing squirrels away. We have more squirrels than people here. I have learned to do a lot of things in the last year-some I should have known how to do like how to pay bills with various codes, dates, etc. How to get things fixed, sometimes by finding a video on you tube and sometimes by figuring out who to call.
 I still am not driving and I doubt I will lick that one, but I have public transportation, uber and friends so it doesn't worry me as much as it did. And Phil can drive most of the time.

Enjoyed the movie, COLETTE.

Enjoyed my first DR. WHO although Phil not so much. He has even less interest in science fiction than me. Our loss, I know.

Started the new Lou Berney book THE NOVEMBER ROAD.

Had periodontal surgery this week and that was not fun, but it's over. 

What about you? 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Friday's Forgotten Books, October 12, 2018

These is some of the crime fiction I was reading between 1989-92. This was during a period when I was trying to wean myself from reading so much of this genre. What were you reading?

Sleep and His Brother-Peter Dickinson
Well-Schooled in Murder-Elizabeth George
Burden of Proof-Scott Turow
Nemesis-Rosamond Smith
Going Wrong, The Crocodile Bird, Anna's Book-Ruth Rendell
Icy Clutches, Old Scores-Aaron Elkins
The Wench is Dead-Colin Dexter
H is for Homicide, I is for Innocent--Sue Grafton
Dancehall of the Dead, Coyote Waits--Tony Hillerman
A Ticket to the Boneyard, A Dance in the Slaughter House-Lawrence Block
Body in the Vestibule-Katherine Page
Shadow Play, Not That Kind of Place, Deep Sleep-Frances. Fyfield
A Simple Plan, Scott Smith
A Literary Murder-Batya Gur
Sculptress-Minette Walters
Past Reason Hated-Peter Robinson
Devil in a Blue Dress-Walter Mosley
Brian Busby, I FOUND CLEOPATRA, Thomas P. Kelly
Crossexaminingcrime, THE FIRST TIME HE DIED, Ethel Lina White
Martin Edwards, CUTTER AND BONE, Newton Thornberg
Richard Horton, Hierarchies, by John T. Phillifent/Mister Justice, by Doris Piserchia 
Nick Jones, Ringworld
George Kelley, THE COUNT OF 9, Erle Stanley Gardner
Margot Kinberg, THE HIDDEN ROOM, Stella Duffy
Evan Lewis, THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM, Ian Fleming
Todd Mason, THE HUGO WINNERS, Vol 3. annotated by, Isaac Asimov
Only Detect, DEATH IN A BOWL, Raoul Whitfield
Matthew Paust, THE DEAD SHALL BE RAISED, George Bellairs
James Reasoner, PIN A STAR ON A GIRL, Johnny Nelson
Richard Robinson, FANUILH, Daniel Hood
Gerard Saylor, THE BIG KEEP, Melissa F Olson
Kevin Tipple,  SINS FOR FATHER KNOX,  Josef Skvorecky (Reviewed by Barry Ergang)
TomCat, THE SLEEPING ISLAND, Frances Vivian
TracyK Book Sale Part 1 Forgotten Books
Erica Wright/THE RAPSHEET. A DRAM OF POISON, Charlotte Armstrong

Monday, October 08, 2018

Thanks for a new review

Hard to thank Damien Seaman enough for putting such an effort into reading my stories and having such great things to say about them. Also it's the start of his brand new blog. Even if you've heard enough about me for a lifetime, give his blog a look.


Very happy to have Megan here for two days. We got out to some restaurants, a movie, and Kevin's hockey game She and Kevin get along so well. Nice for both of them to have such an admirer.And nice for his parents to share the good time.
Julie and Josh
Megan and Kevin
Enjoying NEWS OF THE WORLD (Paulette Jiles) although I am reading it in two-minute chunks because the news of the world is so incredibly disheartening.
None of us enjoyed A STAR IS BORN much. Disliked the generic music that dominated it. Loved Sam Elliott though but disliked Cooper stealing his voice. We were in the minority in the theater where we saw it. Maybe the news of that day stole a good time from us. Have to see it again when we're feeling better about life.
Happy to have THE GOOD PLACE back on. Moderately enjoying SECRETS AND LIES although I found the POV less than ideal.
Fun to see how much Megan has learned about making a film. If DARE ME goes to series I can't see how she will be able to write a novel. It seems all-consuming.
Good friends are having their 60th anniversary in two weeks. They eloped from University of Wisconsin to Asheville NC 60 years ago. He drove from Dartmouth to Madison, WI and they took off. How romantic. 
What about you? 

Friday, October 05, 2018

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

First Wednesday Book Review Club

A drought exposes the remains of a village from fifty years earlier, and Inspector Banks is called in to try to discover how the skeleton of a woman buried there was murdered and by whom. This novel is done in the voice of a woman who lived in the village at that time (WW2) and in the voice of Banks. Sometimes this grows tedious in a story, but it never did here because both stories were equally interesting and, of course, connected. Banks is exploring the idea of beginning a relationship with Annie in this novel, trying to come to terms with his son's quitting school and starting a musical career, and ongoing trouble with his superior and ex-wife. So there is plenty of angst as well as a murder to solve. Robinson is so skilled at presenting a story that does not lean on twists, turns and violence. Thoroughly enjoyed this.

For more reviews, see Barrie Summy's blog. 

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Shopworn Angel

This is a movie that teetered on the brink of boring us. The production values were pretty low rent, the sentimentality overwhelming at times but the acting chops of Stewart and Sullavan (and Walter Pigeon) saved it in the end. The story is a Broadway star is sucked into entertaining a solider on the night before he ships out. Her ennui is palpable but his sincerity and innocence wins her over. Hattie McDaniels plays her maid. (Did she ever play anything else?) Stolid and not solid direction didn't help this. But there was an earlier version so I guess familiarity breeds content and not contempt sometimes. Rumor has it that Stewart and Sullivan had something going at the time and that may have helped light up the screen.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Things That Are Making Me Happy

The last weekend in September our local upscale grocery store sells lobsters for under ten bucks. We always cook them with our friends, Charlie and Rita. This year they were really big (almost 2 pounds) and the corn and coleslaw, strawberries and chocolate were great too.I didn't realize how pink things were till I saw this. Even the rose wine. (Phil is in the pink sweater).

Really enjoyed IN A DRY SEASON by Peter Robinson, if it was a big too long.

Glad THE GOOD PLACE is back. One of the few nertwork shows I watch. Also a great episode of BETTER CALL SAUL.

My screen porch floor is almost in. The next to the last box was the wrong color deck tiles. It will be great when it's all in. Although I guess we won't use it much until next year.

Megan flies in on Thursday for two days. We are looking forward to that.

Happy my son and his family went to Chicago to see HAMILTON and also the Michigan-Northwestern nail-biter. 

What about you?

Friday, September 28, 2018

Friday's Forgotten Books, September 28, 2018

I am a big Larry Watson fan and LET HIM GO did not disappoint. It is a great followup to books like WHITE CROSSES and MONTANA: 1948.

After their adult son is killed in an accident, his widowed wife marries again and leaves the Blackledge's home to go with her new husband to Montana. She takes their grandson with her, of course, and therein lies the problem.

"With you or without you," Margaret Blackledge insists, and at these words George knows his only choice is to follow her.

George takes to the road with Margaret by his side, tracking down the Weboy clan quickly. When Margaret tries to convince Lorna to return home to North Dakota, bringing little Jimmy with her, the Blackledges find themselves mixed up with the entire Weboy clan, a horrific family determined not to give the boy up without a fight. It's more about possession than love with a family like this. 

This slim volume contains a heart-pounding story, unforgettable characters, terrific atmosphere and some of the most beautiful prose you will ever read. I liked it almost as much as MONTANA: 1948, making it still one of my favorite books. Oh, to write like Mr. Watson.  

Brian Busby, FOUR DAYS, John Buell
Martin Edwards, EDITH'S DIARY, Patricia Highsmith
Curt Evans, DEATH OF AN OLD GIRL, Elizabeth Lemarchand
Richard Horton, THE BRIGHT FACE OF TERROR, Robert Nielsen Stephens
Jerry House, THE BRIGHTFOUNT DIARIES, Brian Aldiss
George Kelly, THE GREAT SF STORIES, edited by Asimov and Greenberg
Margot Kinberg, SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER, Charity Norman
Rob Kitchin,  THE ATROCITY ARCHIVE, Charles Stross
B.V. Lawson, VOICE OUT OF DARKNESS, Ursula Reilly Curtiss
Evan Lewis, TROUBLE COME AND GET IT!. Mickey Spillane
Steve Lewis, MURDER IN RED, Frank Castle
Todd Mason, THE DARK SIDE, ed. Damon Knight
J.F. Norris, THE THREE-FOLD CORD, Francis Vivian
Matt Paust, NIGHTFALL, David Goodis
Richard Robinson, HOW LIKE AN ANGEL, Margaret Millar
Gerard Saylor, BIRD AND SQUIRREL ON FIRE, James Burks
Kevin Tipple/Barry Ergang, PEOPLE BEHAVING BADLY, John Ottini
TomCat, THE SINGING MASONS, Francis Vivian
TracyK, THE DROWNING POOL, Ross Macdonald