Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Finished: "Eyes of the innocent" by Brad Parks

Finished: Eyes of the Innocent by brad parks, 2011, 9780312874789.

I was wandering around in the stacks at Fitchburg PL waiting for everyone one to finish the heck up in the kids section.  I saw this one and since I already read or listened to the 1st and 3rd entries in the Carter Ross series I brought this home.

Carter is still an investigative reporter for the Newark Eagle-Examiner.  He is assigned to work with a hot intern nicknamed Sweet Thang to do a story about a house fire that killed two kids.  Carter cracks jokes.  Carter hides from his editor.

Intern and Carter discover the dead boys' mom in the remains of the house.  They interview mom.  Mom tells stories about a weird mortgage deal with a steep rate.  Mom turns out to be a liar and steals jewelry from Intern's apartment.  Carter cracks jokes.

A Newark City Councilman is missing.  Blood stains at his home suggest violence.  Carter helps with the story.  Carter finds link between the now missing Mom and missing Councilman.  Carter cracks jokes and hides from his editors.

Intern is hot for Carter.  Carter is hot but restraining for Intern.  Carter still has weird thing going on with hot City Desk Editor lady.  City Desk jealous of Intern.  Carter travels Newark.  Carter informs reader on Newark politics and corruption.  Current state of journalism and the pressure of competition, deadlines and internet publishing.

Things happen.  Almost sex.  Threatened violence.  Real violence.  Interspersed thoughts of the bad guy responsible for corruption and murdered Councilman - a method used by Parks in the other novels.  Carter saves the day with a little help from his friends.

Comments:
1.  Parks keeps the story going with wise-assed Carter driving things along.
2.  The investigation has dead-ends and surprise turns.
3.  Newark love.
4.  Newark street-name love.
5.  Newark versus suburbs love.
6.  Fashion advice.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Read: "Legs" by William Kennedy

Read: Legs by William Kennedy, 1975, 0140064842 (1983 paperback).

Kennedy wrote a series of Albany, NY based novels including this and Ironweed.  I suppose the series is still well known to some.  I heard of this novel in a roundabout way.  Jack "Legs" Diamond was incredibly famous as a NY gangster from the late twenties until his murder in 1931.  Several gangster movies have included Diamond as a character - with one or two featuring Diamond in the lead - but I was clueless about the guy.

I heard about Diamond through the Armed Robbery blog.  The blog owner ran a post on the anniversary of Diamond's murder including a photo of the building in Albany where he died.  The post mentioned the building is owned by Kennedy.  I wondered about that comment.  The reference seemed superfluous, so I looked Kennedy up.  I found out Kennedy wrote a novel about Legs.  I checked the catalog, Racine PL owns this copy, the book came over, I read it.  I mostly liked it.

Told from the perspective of Diamond's Albany-based attorney, Marcus Gormen.  Marcus meets Legs in 1925 when Legs is in town after a liquor run from Canada.  Legs sends Marcus a gift of scotch and asks for help with a CCW license.  Marcus is doing well as a lawyer and, amused by Legs, arranges the license.

A year of so later Diamond is expanding his operation up from New York City into the Catskills.  He recruits Marcus to be on retainer.  Diamond is a killer and a crook but Marcus is not much better.  Several times through the novel Diamond says Marcus is a better crook than Diamond himself.  Marcus takes on the work and on occasion is more accomplice than counsel.

Diamond's story is told through a few flashbacks, stories related from Diamond's cronies through Marcus, and Marcus's own observations.  Diamond is a charmer.  Has been a crook since he was a kid in Philadelphia.  He feuded with Dutch Schultz and other gangsters.  He was in the newspaper almost every day.  He was attacked and shot up about three times.  He was laid low by a prosecution for kidnapping that froze his finances and interfered with his work.  He shot to death in the early morning of Dec 18, 1931 in a rooming house in Albany.

Comments:
1.  I liked the story but started to burn out in the half-way point.  Kennedy makes a nice tale but things just seemed to be going nowhere.  You hear about Legs's men extorting and threatening bar owners to take Legs's beer and booze.  How Legs has people killed.  How people disappear.  So on. So forth. My interest was petering out.  Especially since all the grit and crime was mostly told second hand or relayed as something that maybe happened.
2.  All the details of Diamond were well known at the time because of press coverage - except for journalistic embellishment or lies.  Legs was still spoken in Albany about 44 years later.  Kennedy focuses as much on Diamond's love triangle of his wife and showgirl mistress.  Kiki the mistress is described by Marcus as oozing with sex.  Kiki often talks about Legs and his sexual prowess.  That his prowess loyally attaches women to him.  Neither Diamond's wife or Kiki want to leave him; they overlook or ignore his ruthless and violent actions.
3.  I have a recent biography, Legs Diamond: Gangster by Patrick Downey, on hold.  I was tempted to look up events and locations from Kennedy's book but did not want to bother if the bio ever comes in for me.  (Racine PL is sometimes real slow to pull holds.)
4.  Kiki's sexuality does not come through in a film clip Downey embedded. http://youtu.be/8tKEJ-B_Yb4

And Done: "B.P.R.D. : 1946" by Mike Mignola nd Joshua Dysart

And Done: B.P.R.D.: 1946 by Mike Mignola nd Joshua Dysart, 2008, 9781595821911.

I enjoyed this best of the three BPRD novels I picked up. 

1946 and a scientist in the employ of the BPRD (maybe it was the precursor) is working to collect information about the nazi's work to gather occult material and artifacts.  The Russians have been working hard to gather up everything and their Berlin territory holds most of the archives and warehouses that hold those items. 

He does not have much to do because not much information is available.  They hang out in the archives and talk to their Russian counterpart - who appears to be a 6-year-old girl.

Scientist and others go to a mental asylum and discover weird stuff.  Vampires were captured by nazis with Hitler's plans to unle3ash vampire hordes across the world if the Germans may lose the war.  Lots of shooting.  Vampires.  Apes that are altered into androids.   A neat story and I liked this a lot.

Afterword by Dysart quotes Mignola saying "I just liked to draw nazis and monsters."

A short story from Comic Book Day follows.  I liked that story, too.

Done: "B.P.R.D.: Killing Ground" by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi

Done: B.P.R.D.: Killing Ground by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, 2008, 9781593079567.

I have the TV on and am watching Dinocroc vs. Supergator.  It is so incredibly awful.

I liked this one a lot.  BPRD agents in Colorado have to deal with an escaped monster that was being kept prisoner at their facility.  Meanwhile, one of the agents seems to be possessed by some sort of demon.

The BPRD tries to catch the monster running amok in their massive facility.  Shooting, dark places, etc.  Mysterious guy who entered the facility.  Flashback to South America with possessed character.

Supergator just came on. Some couple is making out by a waterfall and are about to be eaten.

More shooting. More talk of monsters, the occult, and magical goings-on.  One agent is a medium whose body was destroyed when he was out of it.  He is now in a brand new body - factory made apparently, it was discussed in another story - and going crazy eating and having sex after his ectoplasmic self had been in a rubber suit for years.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Done: "B.P.R.D.: The Universal Machine" by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi

Done: B.P.R.D.: The Universal Machine by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, 2007, 978159077105.

The YA section in Ficthburg PL's YA room had three of these B.P.R.D. books.  So I took them home.  The problem with these is that each bound copy is usually wither part of a series or continues to follow, and depend on, previous storylines.  I hate being in the dark when reading a book but I lucked out on these.  The two stories that were kinda connected - a character has a major change - I was able to understand because I read one before the other.

Hell Boy does not appear in this except for a brief cameo.  The BPRD (I'll dispense with the punctuation) have sent a couple agents to rural France to buy a rare book of magic.  They hope to buy the book and use the information to re-assemble a Golem-like colleague who was split apart in a previous story.  One of the agents is captured and taken into an alternate reality/time.  The bookseller is asking for one of her colleagues in exchange for the book.

Meanwhile, four other agents are living and working at the BPRD's headquarters in Colorado.  Various conversations and such tell you some of their backstories and how they ended up with BPRD.  Meanwhile, a prisoner transfer from Quebec delivers a the monster to Colorado.  A monster that took overtakes over souls and leaves the person stuck and unable to escape without killing someone else. 

Things happen.  Art happens.  People die.  Mysterious things occur.  Ancient and not-so-ancient magic occurs.  Supernatural goings on.  I like the artwork in this series.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Quick: "Pocket-47" by Jude Hardin

Quick: Pocket-47 by Jude Hardin, 2011, 9781608090112.

I saw this in the Fitchburg PL and recognized the name.  I checked my notes and, sure enough, Hardin did a Dead Man entry.  I brought the book home.

Nicholas Colt is a North Florida P.I. Colt is broke and living in a broken down Airstream trailer.  Colt mostly dropped out of life since his private plane crashed with is rock band and young family aboard.  Colt was the only survivor.  Colt has a girlfriend he is sorta committed to but is still stuck on dead wife and baby daughter.

Colt is asked by a nurse to find her missing sister. Colt finds sister who is living with a pimp.  Colt gets her and she refuses to go home, says she will be murdered.  Colt takes her to stay at his girlfriend's house for the night.  Colt then takes her to his trailer to try and get her to spill on the threat.  Colt's trailer is shot at.  Colt gives chase and returns to find the sister is gone.

Colt is driven by curiousity.  Colt also wants to help the sister.  Colt keeps searching.  Colt is caught by car thieves and almost murdered.  Colt discovers conspiracy and has to unravel it.  One conspiracy member mentions "Pocket 47".  Pocket 47 is slang for something going wrong, gremlins in the system.  There is mention of the plane wreck.  Colt is intrigued.

More things happen.  A foster family was threatening sister.  Foster family was selling Soc Sec numbers and IDs.  Foster family was being blackmailed.  Colt's cop pal is a bad guy, has an eye shot out and jumps off a bridge.  Sister is missing and presumed dead.  More secrets.  More intrigue. 

White supremacists.  Dead Cop is actually alive.  Colt joins the remote supremacist camp as guitarist.  Colt is looking for evidence.  Colt finds sister is alive.  Colt kills.  Colt rescues.  Colt and sister live happily ever after as adoptive family.  The plot is a mess.

Comments:
1.  The rock band's name was Colt .45.  Kinda like .38 Special and the Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash.
2.  The plot really is a mess.  I was questioning things as I went along and the point-to-point connections crazily crossed.  But, I did read along, suspended that disbelief and figured I'd be rewarded with revenge and shoot-outs.  I was.
3.  Popcorn novel.  Entertainment with some thought behind it to give the characters meaning.

Done: "The Wrong Quarry" by Max Allan Collins

Done: The Wrong Quarry by Max Allan Collins, 2014, 9781781162668.


Good news:  I scored a ARC from Collins off his blog.  Bad news: I finished the book and have to wait a few years for the next Quarry.  A significant problem with Quarry novels (and books from Crider, Gischler, Stella and a couple others) is that I want to save them for later.  I keep them in reserve knowing that I'll have something of high quality waiting. 

I rank the Quarry novels with Westlake's Parker novels.  The two series and characters share a few similarities of a lone criminal.  The most important difference between Parker and Quarry is that Parker is not human.  

I really enjoyed this novel.  Collins always moves things along and gives a lot of insight into Quarry: Horndog Professional Killer.  And Quarry is professional.  He takes pride in his efficiency, skill, and planning.  He believes in honesty to his client, even in a "profession" as honor-less as murder.

Spoilers await so go no further. 

It's 1983 (or so) and Quarry is still making a living by following hit men, discovering the killer's target, and telling the target Quarry can solve the problem, for a fee.  This time Quarry follows an antique shop owner, who moonlights in murder, to east central Missouri.  Quarry tails the antique dealer/killer and figures the guy is casing a local dance instructor.  Quarry meets a woman in a bar, Quarry gets a blowjob by the same woman next to the garbage cans behind the bar.  Quarry spies the second killer's arrival.  Quarry informs the mark and makes monetary mediation.  Things happen.

The dance instructor is suspected of murdering a missing high school girl who was the instructor's star pupil and Miss Teen Missouri contestant.  Quarry figures the girl's family as the money minding the murder. Quarry pretends to be a journalist to start digging for info and identify who hired the killers.  Quarry offs the two contract killers.  Quarry's dick diving dumpster dame is the missing girl's aunt.  Quarry wonders if the aunt is setting Quarry up.  Quarry starts to get feelings for Aunt.  Quarry definitely has boner feelings for the dance instructor's latest Teen Protege.

Quarry has lots of sex.  Quarry does not like the mess of killing with knives.  Quarry drives a Pinto.  Quarry drinks more Coke.  Quarry sizes up all women by their sexual seductiveness and spot on the  seducibility scale. Quarry gets things figured.  Quarry finds out the dance instructor not only killed the missing girl but is a serial killer.  Quarry acts.  Quarry has been played by the Teen Protege.  Quarry wins out and drives off saying, "Fucking amateurs."

Comments:1. Gratuitous Reed Farrell.  Missing the Coleman.
2.  Browning love.
3.  Midwest setting love.
4.  Coke and Diet Coke love.
5.  While reading I wondered if Aunt involved in the missing girl's death.  Maybe she was jealous of her father's affection for the granddaughter over the daughter.
6.  Solid story all around with a very satisfying ending.
7.  I was a little surprised that Quarry did not kill the Grandfather of missing girl.  He had made a contract agreement with Dance Instructor.  I expected him to honor the agreement and then kill Instructor.  Well, Quarry is not that professional I suppose.  He's not as extreme on his agreements like Chigurh in No Country for Old Men.
8.  Quarry is always a bit of a mystery.  How can he do the work he does?  Ever since he was recruited to be a killer he has always thought his victims are already dead.  Whether Quarry or someone else does the killing the person will die.  So, why shouldn't Quarry get paid to do what the government trained him to do?
9.  Quarry is clearly queered from combat.  His values are all screwed up.
10.  Collins does very good work in sharpening his characters within a scant 215 pages.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Re-Read: "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life" books designed by James Campus

Re-Read: Monty Python's The Meaning of Life designed by James Campus, 1983, 0413533808.

When I was in Boy Scouts my Troop had an annual Michigan Trip during spring break.  We'd pack into the Troop Leader's big passenger van and drive from Champaign, IL to various locales in Michigan.  I made the trip two years in a row.

The trip was mostly tours of factories and foundries.  No outdoor stuff. No hiking.  No camping.  No knots.  We visited the Pontiac facility that built Fieros.  An engine foundry.  A steel plant.  Some year-round Christmas store that was very boring.  Every year also included a visit to a Chuck E Cheese that had plenty of video games.

The trips also included a drive over the border into Windsor, Ontario.  We'd visit a large mall there.  On my second trip I visited a book store and found this.  I've never seen another one.  Heck, I got to figuring this might be rare until I saw one posted on Amazon.com for $0.65.  Maybe I should only look at the price on ABE Books, that one is $1.08.  Anyway, enough Crider-like reminiscing.  Besides the Canadian price is still on the cover, $1.99.

This was a neat book for me because when else was I going to see the wonderful Pythons?  I was too young to go out to a video store and I don't think the VHS explosion had hit yet.  This is filled with still photos and the shooting script.  I loved it.  I'd seen the flick and remembered it well and could remember the actor's voices as I read through.

The book also had nudity!  Just like the film!  And, just as important, there is a deleted scene.  Deleted scenes are all over DVD re-issues but I'd never seen or heard of the Martin Luther section.  A scene of particular surprise for a Lutheran kid.  Especially since Luther is portrayed as a filthy, sex-crazed monk out to lay Mrs. Mayer or her two daughters.

I'm posting in some cell phone photos.  Included inside the black cover is a correspondence between John Cleese - Wow, that guy writes well, he's not so silly after all! - and The Sun newspaper where Cleese was disputing a story that was printed during filming in Scotland.  The Sun claimed that Cleese was upset when raining delayed filming and stomped around calling the extras bastards.  Letters were exchanged and all were photographed and stuck in the back.


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Comments:
1.  A brife story about Chuck E. Cheese.  The place was packed with kids and teenagers.  Someone was playing a game in one of the machines with a large cabinet you would sit inside of.  The player had quite a crowd surrounding him as he played.  He was zapping aliens and running up the score when I noticed a toggle switch on the back of the machine near the floor.  The game cabinet was in the center of the game area and the back of the machine was uncovered. 

Another Scout and I nonchalantly leaned backwards against the cabinet. I crossed my arms and propped out a bent knee.  The heel of that propped foot starting searching for the toggle switch.  I found it, and switched it.  Noises of "Huh?" and "What?"  and "Hey!" erupted behind me.  I switched the toggle back and wandered off.  We thought it was hilarious but made sure to hide.  Especially after we did it a second time.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Read: "Extinction Machine" by Jonathan Maberry

Read: Extinction Machine by Jonathan Maberry, 2013,9780312552213.

Another entertaining shoot-em-up with Captain Joe Ledger fighting evil conspiracies.  I was wondering how to describe this series to someone.  Maybe a mix of the TV show Agents of Shield and James Bond.  Ledger works for the DMS, a very secretive government organization that fights all kinds of threats against the U.S.: terrorists injecting a zombie virus, plans to spread genetic mutations, Al Queda aligned plots to destroy the West.  The plots involve the rich and powerful plotting and planning pernicious peril. 

Joe Ledger is a super-dude with commando training and martial arts expertise.  All the agents working under Ledger are point-of-the-spear guys with experience and killer attitude.  The action is sometimes comic book-ish with big battles and international flair.  Ledger's boss, Mr. Church, is mysterious and seems to know everyone in industry and government.  All the plots have a heavy emphasis on science as a weapon.  Computers and gadgets are depended on.

This has Joe Ledge called in from a hangover after lethal cyber-attacks against U.S. defense contractors cause big trouble.  Ledger and a couple guys visit one contractor, fight it out with a couple mysterious guys with strange weapons and fancy body armor.  Mysterious guys escape and Ledger and Co. find about 45 of the contractor's staff dead - not just dead, but blown apart and dripping from the walls.

More things happen.  This novel's conspiracy dates back to 1947 and Roswell.  An organization was founded to exploit the remains of the destroyed space craft.  The organization collected pieces of crashed ships from around the world and different governments hunt the black market for bits and pieces of spaceship.

The DMS is under attack by the acting President who does not like them.  The conspiracy is targeting Ledger with murder, when that fails they set him up to look like a spy.  The conspiracy has a computer system that rivals the DMS's all powerful Mindreader system.

Lots of shooting.  Lots of explosions.  Lots of fisticuffs.  Plenty of dry tough guy humor.  Flying saucers are actually flying triangles.  Aliens may be back.  They may be the ones who kidnapped the President.  Ghost the wonder dog chomps with his titanium teeth.  Ledger has sex.  The DMS is on the run but not giving up.  Helicopters.  High tech spying.  Can the world be saved?! Lots of dead people at the end.  Ledger has a new girlfriend.

Comments.
1.  Sig Sauer love.
2.  Ju jitsu/karate/judo/boxing/MMA love.
3.  Warehouses.
4.  Huge, secret facilities that Blofeld would love.
5.  Ledger loves to delve deep into his feelings.
6.  433 pages long.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Read: "The Double" by George Pelecanos

Read: The Double by George Pelecanos, 2013, 9780316078399.

Pretty good.  Straightforward storytelling.  Second novel with Spero Lucas.  Lucas is a combat veteran of Fallujah and his post-marine adjustment is mixed.  He is living the dream life of a deployed Marine:  lots of women, a job where he sets his own hours, drinking and smoking dope, lots of exercise on his bicycle and kayak.  Lucas is still looking for meaning and excitement. 

Lucas still does hourly investigative work for a local defense attorney.  He makes even more by taking off-the-books private jobs for people.  Lucas collects 40% of the item's value.  The last novel, The Cut, had Lucas hunting down missing drug money.  This story has him recovering a valuable painting worth $200,000.

Lucas has to track down a con man who stole the painting.  The con man is a sociopath and works various scams and robberies with two other guys.  Lucas also visits with his brother and mother, starts an affair with a married woman, visits with fellow combat veterans.

Lucas makes some violent  decisions and rationalizes them.  He needs the excitement and danger.  People recognize he is not doing so well.  Lucas disagrees, he's fine.  His brother talks to him.  His attorney friend talks to him.  His married liaison talks to him.  His mother talks to him.  A VA psychiatrist tries to get him to come in for an appointment.  Lucas says, "I'm fine."

Lucas ends up killing two guys to recover the painting.  Lucas plans to kill a man who murdered one of his brother's high school students.  Lucas saps the guy in an alley and sticks a handgun in the guy's mouth.  Lucas stops himself.  Lucas wonders if he is like the sociopath he killed to recover the painting.  Lucas goes home.  Lucas considers kissing the pistol muzzle.

Comments:
1. Discussions between Spero and his combat pals.  Men from his unit have taken different paths.  Some are living healthy and succesfully.  Others are struggling.  One guy just wants a freaking job.  Another illegally deals guns.  Lucas pursues women.
2.  Glock with a safety.  Argh.
3.  Car love.
4.  D.C. love.  Restaurants, neighborhoods, streets, intersections, local history, local personalities.
5.  The missing painting is entitled The Double.  Two men side by side are the same man.  The painting owner mentions this to Spero, she sees the same in him.  He is split.
EDIT 6.  Something I remembered.  Importance of muscle.  A young guy-military focus on muscle.  Pump up your guns.  Don't forget your leg workout, build some power below the waist. Spero notices these things on others.

Listened: "Brotherhood of Warriors" by Aaron Cohen

Listened: Brotherhood of Warriors: Behind Enemy Lines with a Commando in One of the World's Most Elite Counterterrorism Units by Aaron Cohen,2008 (AudioFile production), Overdrive download.

I was going through the digital library looking for audiobooks and decided to take a try on this.

Cohen is listed as a "Beverly Hills native" and this gets plugged as a fish out of water tale.  Not exactly true.  Cohen's parents divorced when he was young and he was bounced around from Montreal to Miami and elsewhere to live with his father, mother, and aunt.  Cohen was not doing well.  By time he landed in Beverly Hills he was a young teenager, acting out, and getting in plenty of trouble.  He was living with his mom and step-dad and both were too engrossed with their work to spend time with Cohen.  Cohen was more of a boarder in his house; he would sometimes not speak to his step-dad for days.

After getting in enough trouble Cohen was sent to a military boarding school in Ontario.  Cohen thrived.  He needed the structure and stability and he found a guy, the school's commander, to look up to.  The commander was a former Canadian Army officer.  The Commander said the Israeli Army had the best soldiers he ever met.  Cohen started reading up on the Israeli Army.  Cohen had a goal.

Cohen returned to Beverly Hills, graduated high school, flew to Israel to stay at a kibbutz before joining the Army.  Cohen exercised hard with his goal of making a special forces unit.  He worked alongside former commandos and tried to impress them.  He got advice from different people.

Cohen goes to basic and has to stubbornly demand to join the special forces path.  The Army wants to stick all the Americans together in a special unit.  Training is very difficult and some restrictions on training are lifted in their track.  Instructors can be cruel and abusive.  The physical and mental demands are tough.  Cohen continually struggles with his Hebrew. 

Cohen will be assigned to an undercover unit that works in the Palestinian territories.  Cohen shoots thousands of rounds in training.  Cohen does krav maga training where trainees have to beat and pound on each other and their bruises never have time to heal.  Cohen learns how to apply make-up and disguises.  Cohen learns the lingo and dialects of different territories.  Cohen gets through the 14 months of training and starts work.

What kind of work does Cohen do? Snatch jobs mainly.  The teams plan things out closely and often have to change plans on the fly.  The unit is well trained and quick to shoot back but they are more of a police unit than Army.  They are not out to kill, they are there to arrest.  They observe, observe, observe and then grab dudes.  The arrests can be violent - the units has to grab a guy and skedaddle before other Palestinians can react.

Cohen skips over most of his 1.5 years in the unit because of secrecy concerns.  Cohen burns out and does not re-enlist after his three years are up.  Cohen is shiftless.  Cohen has no civilian job skills.  Cohen hangs out in California.  Cohen starts getting in trouble.  Cohen gets hired by an Israeli for a security job in Los Angeles.  Things go well and Cohen starts his own firm and hires former Israeli commandos.

Comments:
1.  Final chapter is on modern security in the U.S. compared to Israeli.  Israeli's are more observant and aware of terrorism.  Terrorism is a constant danger.  Cohen's advice to prevent terrorism in the U.S. is to be more Israeli-like.  I disagree for various reasons bu the main reason is:  the threat is not the same and people here will not act that way.
2. Cohen could be arrogant.  But, he was 18-years-old.  He was also smart enough to take the advice of others.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Quick: "The Baddest Ass" by Anthony Neil Smith

Quick: The Baddest Ass by Anthony Neil Smith, 2013, 978-1490523156 (paperback, not e-edition).

Pretty damn good.  Surprisingly good.  Not surprising because I doubt Smith, but because I've been reading some decent stuff lately and this was even better.  Not a novel for readers that avoid profanity and violence.  The story keeps trucking along and moving quick.

Third novel featuring Billy Lafitte.  Lafitte is still a scumbag and after somehow surviving the finale of the last book he is prison, where he belongs.  The North Dakota prison is a private facility that was rushed into occupancy even though it is still understaffed and under construction.

West is a recently convicted Detroit kid.  He lands in the ND prison and joins the Aryan gang for protection.  The Aryan leader sells West out for not putting out.  West forced by the black prison gang to agree to killing Lafitte.  Everyone wants Lafitte dead.  Lafitte doesn't seem all that opposed to the idea himself.  West is raped and sent into protective custody where Lafitte resides.  West did the crime but he cannot do this kind of time.  West is slowly recovering from the rape's physical wounds and constantly pressured by fellow inmates and prison guards (called cops by characters) to murder Lafitte.  Things do not end well for West.

No one is happy that West's attempt failed.  Colleen (in the last book) was helping bankroll Lafitte's murder.   She goes to the prison to discuss the issue with the leader of the black gang, Ri'Chess.  At the same time Lafitte's former mother-in-law flies up from Louisiana (Or was she in Alabama?  Doesn't matter.) with Lafitte's 10-year-old son in a "scare him straight" attempt with the boy. 

The guards and inmates are still conspiring to kill Lafitte.  Things go very, very wrong for everyone.  The grand murder plan - referred to by Colleen as "stupid, stupid, stupid" goes wrong.  Power is cut. The inmates take over the prison and murders, rapes, beatings, stabbings, shootings, arson occur.  A blizzard has severely delayed rescue.  The prison is freezing with the power out.  Things end badly.

Comments:
1.  The novel is ambitiously set within only two hours of chronological time.
2.  Told through four characters: West, Colleen, Mother-in-Law, and Ri'Chess.
3.  Lafitte is only observed and described and you read his dialogue.  A big change from the previous two novels and a neat way to tell the tale. 
4.  AR-15 love.
5.  AR-15 hate.
6.  Hardcore religion.
7.  Hardcore brutality.
8.  Well, I thought the compressed time was ambitious.  I don't care if you disagree.
9.  Not without humor.
10.  .380 love/hate.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Finished: "Dead Man: Volume 5" by Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin

Finished: Dead Man: Volume 5: The Death Match: The Black Death: The Killing Floor by Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin, 2013 (paperback compilation of e-books), 9781477807422.

Three Matthew Cahill novellas by Christa Faust, Aric Davis and David Tully. All are fun reading.

Death Match.  Faust has Cahill following a news story about a dead man who in Long Beach who had tattoos he'd seen in other adventures against Mr. Dark.  Cahill's goes to the port, gets inside to witness a no holds, no rules, no referees MMA fight with women fighters.  Matt teams up with a lady whose girlfriend went missing with the fight group. Trouble, fighting, ax swinging, sex, zombies, underground lairs, and suicidal sacrifice ensue.

Black Death.  Cahill is tooling along on his CB550 when it breaks down in small town Southern Indiana.  The town and county are in a drug slump.  The newest trouble is black meth that makes some people insane: their eyes turn black and they behavior turns murderously animalistic.  Cahill sees the evil - as usual - and offers to help the sheriff.  Cahill goes 'undercover' with a couple meth guys he just met in the local bar.  They hit a couple meth spot and the ax swinging begins.  Chop, chop.  Shotgun shooting.  Blam, blam.  A house explodes.  Kaboom, pow.  Most of the town is destroyed.  Cahill rides off on his repaired CB550 with the now dead Sheriff's secretary.  No sex.

Killing Floor.  Cahill is tricked by Mr. Dark into heading into the Adirondacks.  The town is infected with evil when Cahill gets there.  Matt figures he may have to kill the whole town.  A local fracking site is causing controversy and he meets a hot hippie chick.  He heads to fracking site and finds out a monster was awakened.  Tie-in to the Roanoke Colony and Virginia Dare.  Mr. Dark wanted to use the awakened monster to spread black across the world.  Matt starts swinging his ax. Matt stops them.  Matt takes a walk.  No sex.