Monday, April 30, 2018

Things That Are Making Me Happy

Yesterday was as cold as February. But it looks like it will warm up considerably this week.

I managed to make myself drive around my neighborhood three times this week. That did make me happy. Although I don't feel at all comfortable yet.

Got a fair amount of writing in although my story for the anthology seems more historical than crime. I guess choosing a painting that was done in the 19th century forced me into that direction.

I have enjoyed this season of Bosch although there are too many scenes with the cops sitting around discussing the case. I know this probably is what cops do but it feels static. Still a darn good show.

Really enjoying the Barbara Vine book. Boy, can she tell a story. (Ruth Rendell).

What about you?

Friday, April 27, 2018

Friday's Forgotten Books, April 27, 2018

THE PLASTIC NIGHTMARE, Richard Neely (Ed Gorman from the archives)

I've written before about Richard Neely. He wrote non-series crime novels that pretty much covered the entire range of dark suspense. I mentioned that in the best of them the weapon of choice is not poison, bullets or garrote. He always preferred sexual betrayal.

Plastic is a good example. Using amnesia as the central device Dan Mariotte must reconstruct his life. Learning that the beautiful woman at his bedside all these months in the hospital--his wife--may have tried to kill him in a car accident is only the first of many surprises shared by Mariotte and the reader alike.

What gives the novel grit is Neely's take on the privileged class. He frequently wrote about very successful men (he was a very successful adverts man himself) and their women. The time was the Seventies. Private clubs, private planes, private lives. But for all the sparkle of their lives there was in Neely's people a despair that could only be assuaged (briefly) by sex. Preferably illicit sex. Betrayal sex. Men betrayed women and women betrayed men. It was Jackie Collins only for real.

Plastic is a snapshot of a certain period, the Seventies when the Fortune 500 dudes wore sideburns and faux hippie clothes and flashed the peace sign almost as often as they flashed their American Express Gold cards. Johnny Carson hipsters. The counter culture co-opted by the pigs.

The end is a stunner, which is why I can say little about the plot. Neely knew what he was doing and I'm glad
to see his book back in print. Watching Nerely work is always a pleasure.

Yvette Banek, THE ISLAND OF SHEEP, John Buchan
Brian Busby, THE LANE THAT HAD NO TURNING, Gilbert Parker
Cross Examining Crime, DEATH WATCH, John Dickson Carr
Martin Edwards, DEATH IN FIVE BOXES, John Dickson Carr
Richard Horton,  Siege of the Unseen, by A. E. Van Vogt/The World Swappers, by John Brunner
Jerry House, FUTURES TOWARD INFINITY, Sam Moskowitz
George Kelley, Collected Millar
Margot Kinberg, THE RULES OF BACKYARD CRICKET, Jock Serong
Rob Kitchin, DARK TOWN, Thomas Mullen
B.V. Lawson, THE ARCHER FILES, Ross Macdonald
Evan Lewis, AT THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT, John K, Butler
Steve Lewis/Barry Gardner, FALSE CONCEPTION, Stephen Greenleaf
Todd Mason, SILO, edited by Lynne Coleman and Stephanie Spinner
J.F. Norris, THE EVIL WISH, Jean Potts
Steve Nester (THE RAP SHEET) Homebody, Seth Morgan
James Reasoner, THE YELLOW SCOURGE, Curtis Steele
Richard Robinson, "What I Read, Part One"
Gerard Saylor, SKIN, Mo Hayder
TomCat,  Nocturne of Remembrance, Shichiri Nakayama

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

What are you reading/have read?

I did not get as much out of this book as I should have. I know scads of people who loved it yet I found it too depressing. Still it had atmosphere and a truly villainous character. Now I am reading THE CHIMNEY SWEEP'S BOY by Barbara Vine and SHARP by Michelle Dean, essays on very smart and difficult women.

Phil just finished SHARP and is reading SLUMBERLAND.

How about you?

Monday, April 23, 2018

Megan's essay for the jacket of the Criterion Version of THE VIRGIN SUICIDES
Watching my grandson play in his first LL game of the year. He got a nice hit and made some good plays at first base. His friend, Grant, came along to watch and has the making of a standup comic. He said he and Kevin were the class clowns. That was new to me. No bad behavior on the part of parents either. A nice afternoon.

And good weather finally. We deserve it, don't we.

We went to a friend's house to watch RAGTIME on her DVD player. A long time since I have seen some of these actors. James Cagney, no less. Harold Rollins sure died before his time.

Enjoying KILLING EVE with Sandra Oh. What a great actress she is, especially paired with Jodie Comer.

What about you?

Friday, April 20, 2018

FFB, April 20, 2018

Stoner, JohnWilliams

Second time reading this one, and I liked it as well as the first time. It reads so easily. Every word seems especially chosen for its clarity.
Stoner comes from a poor farming family in South Dakota and is sent to college at great expense to his family to study newer agricultural methods. But he discovers literature and that becomes the love of his life. And that love blinds him to an evil wife, enemies in his academic department, causes him to give up so much to pursue his dream. For anyone interested in a character study, this is tops. You will feel very sad for Stoner but understand he made the bed he lies in. He is not a heroic figure but he has no evil in him either. Much like all of us.

Mark Baker, J IS FOR JUDGMENT, Sue Grafton
Les Blatt, THE CASE OF THE MONDAY MURDERS, Christopher Bush
Elgin Bleecker, HONEY IN HIS MOUTH, Lester Dent
Brian Busby, THE BOX GARDEN, Carol Shields
Martin Edwards, THE TIN TREE, James Quince
Richard Horton, CURRENT CONFUSION, Kitty Grey
Jerry House,SIX-GUN GORILLA, Anon
George Kelley, Three by Carter Brown
Margot Kinberg, THE FACE OF A STRANGER, Anne Perry
Rob Kitchin, SLUMBERLAND, Paul Beatty
B.V. Lawson, THE PROBLEM WITH CELL 13, Jacques Heath Futrelle
Evan Lewis, SAY IT WAS MURDER, Stephen Mertz
Steve Lewis, TROUBLE RIDES TALL, Harry Whittington
Todd Mason, WORKS IN PROGRESS, edited by Martha Saxton
Matt Paust, ROLLING STONE, Patricia Wentworth
James Reasoner, LAND OF THE EARTHQUAKES, Henry Kuttner
Gerard Saylor, FRONTIER GIRL, Marian Monsoon
Kerrie Smith, DARKTOWN, Thomas Mullen
Kevin Tipple, COFFIN CORNER, Dell Shannon
Westlake Review, DUPLICATE KEYS

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Forgotten Movies: THE CONVERSATION

Boy, does this one hold up well. Of course, Gene Hackman makes the movie. He never steps out of his role as a surveillance expert once. And the movie is so gritty-not a single shot is glamorous, not a single wardrobe choice, set. Ciindy Williams is the least glamorous femme fatale ever. Every casting choice is brilliant.
What a genius Coppola was at this point of his career. And the music just works so well. This would have to be in my top ten movies.

The plot is, of course, that Hackman hears things on his tape that makes him fearful for the lives of the people he taped. An earlier case went badly and that haunts him.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Thanks to the kind souls who posted Amazon reviews for my book.

I would really appreciate any amazon reviews you can crank up. So much depends on a red wheelbarrow and an amazon review. Or so I am told. Thanks. 

Things That Are Making Me Happy

Very much enjoying the novel TANGERINE which reminds me of Donna Tartt, Patricia Highsmith and someone else I still can't pinpoint,.(Perhaps Paul Bowles). Always amazed when a new author comes out of the batter's box this strong.
So much rain here we rewatched THE CONVERSATION and GOSFORD PARK. The first holds up much better than the second, which is too filled with English actors making a cameo. I wonder if Altman will hold up too. Gene Hackman was certainly one of the finest actors of the last 50 years.

Rain rain rain caused us to miss all of our weekend activities. Thank God for music, books and TV.

Didn't much care for ISLE OF DOGS. The animation was lovely, but the story seemed cold and there was not enough dogs. I think I am not a Wes Anderson fan except for one or two.

And from Tracy at Bitter Tea and Mystery, this makes me happy. 

What about you?

Friday, April 13, 2018

Friday's Forgotten Books, April 13, 2018

Todd will have the links as I have cataract surgery.

Thursday, April 12, 2018


Dare Me
Based on the acclaimed novel by Megan Abbott, who serves as writer and executive producer along with Gina Fattore, the drama is an unflinching exploration of volatile female friendships, jealousy, loyalty and the dynamics of power in a small Midwestern town. Peering behind the all-American fa├žade, the series dives into the cutthroat world of competitive high school cheerleading, following the fraught relationship between two best friends after a new coach arrives to bring their team to prominence. Part coming-of-age story, part small-town drama, part murder mystery, Dare Me exposes the physical and psychological extremes that some young women are willing to endure in order to get ahead. The drama is from Universal Cable Productions in association with Film 44. Peter Berg and Michael Lombardo of Film 44 executive produce along with Sarah Condon and Karen Rosenfelt.

Has spring sprung?