Monday, December 31, 2018

Things That Are Making Me Happy

1. My Brilliant Friend on HBO. So faithful to the book (Elena Ferrante) and so wonderful to look at. Just two episodes in but I am amazed at how beautifully the book is captured and even enriched by the visuals.The story takes reading and learning so seriously.

2. If Beale Street Could Talk-wow, another gorgeous rendering of a book. The music is a knockout. Each character is given a scene that brings them to life. I think Baldwin would love it.

3. Phil is doing better. He has gotten out a few times this week. Lucky for any break in the storm we get.

4. Reading the Rock Hudson bio and also THE DARKNESS. Enjoying both.

What about you?

Saturday, December 29, 2018

SKIN AND BONES, edited by Dana Kabel

I meant to talk about this a few weeks ago, but...anyway here is a fun anthology published by Down and Out Books, which seems to publish the majority of such books lately. It has been in the works for about three years. All the stories have a cannibal theme of sorts. Writers include Stuart Neville, Charles Ardai, Patricia Abbott, Dave Zeltserman, Lawrence Block, Jason Starr, Bill Crider and a bunch more of notable short story writers. .If your appetite and your holiday money holds up, you might give it a look. In pb and ebook.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Friday's Forgotten Books, December 28, 2018

(From the archives) Patti Abbott

Not exactly a forgotten book since C.J. Box's BLUE HEAVEN won the Edgar in 2009, but I have been meaning to read it and since I did, here is my review. This is a masterful book that manages to tell a fairly complex story in a completely lucid way. There is no fat in the story. It takes place over 48 hours and you can feel those hours ticking by at breakneck speed.
Two kids in northern Idaho watch the murder of a man, see that they've been spotted and are immediately on the run. They are lucky enough to find themselves in the barn of Jess Rawlins, a rancher who is one of the few good men left in his neck of the woods. He is also a hardluck guy who has lost almost everything. But Jess must hide the kids, figure out if their story is true, and determine just who the murderers are and why. Can he trust that what they think they saw really happened. And is it fair to keep the kids away from their worrying mother.
Blue Heaven is a term for the part of northern Idaho that is now a haven for ex-policeman. And some of those ex-policemen have taken over Jess's town for their own purposes. The is an exciting read and a nice introduction to this part of the country. Not a false step in the story and Box creates great villains and great heroes. Not an easy thing to do.

Les Blatt, DEATH OF AN OLD GIRL, Elizabeth Lemarchand
Richard Horton, STORIES OF THE THREE BURGLARS, Frank Stockton
Jerry House, THE YELLOW CLAW, Sax Rohmer
Margot Kinberg, IN COLD BLOOD, Truman Capote
Rob Kitchin, THE DEATH SEASON, Kate Ellis
B.V. Lawson, THE DANCING MAN, P.M. Hubbard
AEvan Lewis, FLYING SAUCERS, Wally Wood
Steve Lewis, POLO SOLO,  Jerry Kennealy
Todd Mason, THE YEAR'S BEST HORROR STORIES annual, edited by Richard Davis, Gerald W. Page and Karl Edward Wagner,  1971-1994
Only Detect, TOWARDS ZERO, Agatha Christie
Matthew Paust, GREENMANTLE, John Buchan
James Reasoner,  Blood Priestess of Vig N'Ga - John Peter Drummond
Gerard Saylor, "Saints of the Shadow Bible" Ian Rankin
Kerrie Smith, THE SHADOW SISTER, Lucinda Riley
Kevin Tipple/Barry Ergang, FEAR AND TREMBLING, Robert Bloch
TomCat,  The Kindaichi Case Files: The Antlion Trench Murder Case
TracyK, SALAMANDER, J. Robert Janes

Friday, December 21, 2018

Friday 's Forgotten Books, December 21, 2018

 From the archives

Andi Shechter has been a publicist, chat host, interviewer, convention-planner, essayist and reviewer.

NO HUMAN INVOLVED, Barbara Seranella

The other day, in a fit of rereading (I get this way after trying two or three new books and finding them wanting) I picked up DEADMAN'S SWITCH by Barbara Seranella. This is a book I've read at least three times and will, undoubtedly read again. It was the last book Barbara wrote and I got annoyed thinking about that. It was the first book in a new series that featured a fascinating and terrific new protagonist, a woman with an interesting job in crisis management and an interesting life. Charlotte Lyon has obsessive compulsive disorder , an at times seriously disabling condition and Seranella it brilliantly – she was the "un-Monk" to me. (I know people with OCD and cannot watch the overbearing neurotic "Monk" who simply refuses to deal with his illness but instead expects the world to deal around him. Rrrrr.)

Sorry, off track. But see, the thing is that Barbara Seranella died in January of 2007 and that really frosts me. I'm still mad. I wasn't ready to lose a friend and to lose the person who created Munch Mancini, one of mystery's best protagonists. Her first book was NO HUMAN INVOLVED and it featured a character few of us had ever met. Munch was a junkie, an addict and was in trouble. In this first book, it's Munch's last day as an addict. She's going to get clean and sober. Throughout the history of the series, we watch her learn about all the life she missed while she was on drugs, all the hell she left behind and watch her try to get beyond it – something that's hard to do. She has debts she'll never pay, but she is learning to join society , as she puts it. Munch takes on responsibilities, sobers up without being preachy, faces the world pretty squarely and is just great to spend time with.

A couple years after I read NO HUMAN INVOLVED, I was hosting a discussion about hard-boiled mystery at a convention on a Sunday morning, It was a casual thing, a bunch of us sitting around in a circle and chatting. One of the participants in the conversation was so interesting, had so much to say and yeah, that was Barbara Seranella. I valued her friendship and the chance to catch up with her when she came to town on a book tour, and I miss her still. She had talent and used it. Her books are well crafted, and her protagonists unforgettable. This week, I'm reading my way through the Mancini series and being impressed all over again. I don't want her to be gone.

Frank Babics,SENTENCED TO PRISM, Alan Dean Foster
Les Blatt, MORE MURDER IN A NUNNERY, Eric Shepherd
Brian Busby, BEST BOOKS read in 2018
Crossexaminingcrime. MYSTERY IN WHITE. J. Jefferson Farjeon
Martin Edwards, FIVE ROUNDABOUTS TO HEAVEN, Francis Iles
Richard Horton, THE CONFIDENCE MAN, HIS MASQUERADE, Herman Melville
Jerry House, The Caligari Complex by Basil Copper (1980)
The Secret of Shark Reef  by "William Arden" [Dennis Lynds] (1979)
George Kelley, TIED UP IN TINSEL, Ngaio Marsh
Margot Kinberg, ALL SHE WAS WORTH, Miyuke Miyabi
Rob Kitchin, COP HATER, Ed McBain; SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE, Kurt Vonnegut
B.V. Lawson, DANGLE, Meg Elizabeth Atkins
Evan Lewis, THE KING'S COAT, Dewey Lambdin
Todd Mason,   "The Faithless", a novella by John D. MacDonald, plus stories by James McKimmey, Jr. et al.: REDBOOK, May 1958, 
Matt Paust, THE DEATH OF MR. LOMAS, Francis Vivian
Rick Robinson, A  HOLIDAY FOR MURDER, Agatha Christie
Gerard Saylor, THE TOMB, F. Paul Wilson
Kevin Tipple, FLASHBACK, Ted Wood
TomCat, TIME WANTS A SKELETON, Ross Rocklynne
TracyK, THE SHORTEST DAY, Jane Langton 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Why Roma Was My Favorite Movie of the Year.

Although the needs and the folly of the upper class dominates ROMA, at heart it is a story about the people who serve them. Or in this case, one woman. The complexity of that relationship is one of the film's greatest insights. Yes, perhaps Cleo is too saint-like to be totally believable, I think the youngest boy sees her exactly like that though, and it is likely that he is a stand in for Cuaron.
Cleo is someone who can stand on one foot, blindfolded. Someone who gives totally to the family she serves and yet has a rich inner life of her own.
There are many small moments in ROMA and the big ones serve as background: earthquakes, fires, revolution, the fury of the ocean, death, divorce, desertion. A shopping trip becomes the backdrop to the Corpus Christi massacre.
Set in 1970-71, the world is both small and large. The first scene, a long, languid one of a patio being washed, sets the tone perfectly. Cleo spends her day attending to the very needy family she works for--too many children, but oh, how they love her. And that love binds her to them. Every scene contributes to a time and place.The actress that plays Cleo, an amateur, is a revelation and Alfonso CuarĂ³n's ROMA is a masterpiece to me. There was not a boring or extraneous scene in the film for me.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

My Favorite Televisions Shows of 2018

In no particular order


The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

The Good Place

The Deuce


The Americans




Better Call Saul

America to Me

I could probably come up with another dozen if I really tried. And there are some that seem to be sort of between years.What are yours?

Monday, December 17, 2018

Things That Are Making Me Happy

Phil is out of the hospital after three weeks plus. Regaining his strength is going to be hard work for both of us but it is good to have him home. I owe so much thanks to the people who helped me, sent flowers, cards, phoned, offered me rides, took me shopping, picked up things for me, drove me to the hospital, took me out to the movies, for coffee, a drink, dinner. Too many people to name but thanks a million times over. Thanks to Todd for doing FFB again and again and again.

THE AMAZING MRS, MAISEL is making me happy. It is like seeing a mini Broadway play each time. Chuck (from the TV SHOW CHUCK) grew up to be a real hunk btw. Yes, I know she is a very privileged person and a poor mother, but boy it is pretty, and so entertaining. You only need one Mary Richards in life.

We are pretty much housebound for a while so good TV makes a difference. Also thought HOMECOMING was pretty good.

So grateful for UBER. I used them about a dozen times and every driver was as nice as could be.

Also grateful for the prepared nutritious meals I can get at my local grocery store. Who has the energy to cook after a day at the hospital. They are close to restaurant quality but less $$$

What about you guys?

Friday, December 14, 2018

Friday's Forgotten Books, December 14, 2018

Will be hosted by Todd Mason this week. Thanks, Todd.
Hoping I return next week.

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