Thursday, March 28, 2024

Short: FOSTER by Claire Keegan

 Short: FOSTER by Claire Keegan, 2010 and 2022, 9780802160140.

Young girl sent to live with relatives in rural Ireland after the birth of her latest sibling. The girl does all narration.

Girl is from a poorer and larger family than the aunt and uncle she lives with. They are critical of her father as shiftless. Aunt and Uncle are very kind and caring. Girl has an odd adjustment where she expects to be yelled at for different kid mistakes - spilling, being late, talking our of turn - and is not. Her aunt bathes her, brushes her hair, finds her clean and new clothes and says, "There, you just needed some minding."

The kid seems to thrive under the attention. Her own family is big and busy and sounding a bit chaotic. Things happen as the Girl learns the couple's son drowned a few years ago and they are still grieving the loss. 

Well done. Worth your time. Keegan gives a neat child's perspective and without writing in cutesy "child" way. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Paper: ROPE & CANVAS by DDC Morgan

 Paper: ROPE & CANVAS by DDC Morgan, 2023, 9781914475528.

Third in the series with Reg Calloway. Former British Army soldier, and former Army military policeman Reg has been falling further into depression, self-loathing, and PTSD. He's working as a doorman at a venue with live women's wrestling and living in a leaky rooming house.

A friend from novel #1 comes by asking for help because his brother-in-law was declared dead. But, there is no body and little info on what happened and how. His sister-in-law is starting to booze it and lose it.  Reg signs on to assist and - of course - trouble runs deep.

Lots of post-war neatness about these books. London always seems wet and gritty. Lots of war vets trying to get back to work. Many are doing ok. Others are missing a leg and barely getting by. A few are drunk all day.

Reg travels to Berlin. Reg visits a trucking company like the one in HELL DRIVERS. Reg finds a connection to motorcycle racing and traveling fairs with a Wall of Death. Reg's former love teams up with him as she rides the Wall. Woman wrestler from Germany beats up a bad guy. Reg gets stuck in a spy game and stranded in West Germany. I honestly don't recall the full plot. This is more a journey with Reg as he pursues the truth about the dead brother-in-law while pushing through various subplots that get in his way.

There is a lot going on. Spies, infidelity, secret medical clinics, bombed out London luxury hotels with squatters, tiny cars with big Reg squeezed in. I enjoy the series. 


  • I do love the cover artwork of this series. This cover may be a bit misleading to you if you expect everything to be set among professional womens wrestling. 
  • I lucked into this series and author after Professor Crabbypants published a novel with Fahrenheit Press.
  • Smuggling people from East to West Germany.
  • Lots of cigarettes.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Brief-ish: "The Good Cop" by Peter Steiner

 Brief-ish: THE GOOD COP by Peter Steiner, 2019, 9780727889430.

This is a place marker. Mostly.

WWI veteran and police officer in Germany deals with dirty, filthy, rotten nazis. Investigates murders. nazis obfuscate and then, when in charge, push him off.

Other stuff happens. A fairly decent read. Had me hoping for the bad guys to be caught.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Last Night: "Another Day in Paradise" by Eddie Little

Last Night: ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE by Eddie Little, 1987, 9780670872176.

Recommended by an instagrammer account I follow, olnoirtown. I forced myself to finish this. The writing did not speak to me. Little's life story is juvenile crook, drug addict, adult crook, con and ex-con, drug recovery, crime recovery, drug relapse, crime relapse, new indictments. The story is presumably based off  real-life experiences.

14-year-old Bobbie lives in an unnamed Midwest city in the 1970s. He left his abusive home and family a couple years ago and gets by on small time crime. His girlfriend is a couple years older and was sexually abused by everyone in her family. Bobbie squats in a drug house and has a few crook and drug friends.

Bobbie's idea of a big score is hitting a college laundromat and robbing all the cash changers and machines. He's caught by a security guard, has an epic fight, almost kills the guard, and stumbles home with serious injuries. A pal calls his uncle, a former med school student and Army commando, to patch Bobbie up. The Uncle, Mel, takes Bobbie under his wing. Mainly because Mel needs a small guy to work a pharmacy burglary with him.

Things happen. Bobbie brings along girlfriend Rosie and they follow Mel and Mel's girlfriend Syd across the Midwest and to Denver. Mel has crook connections and ex-Army-crook connections. They burglarize the pharmacy. Set up a to sell the drugs. Get into gunfights. Meet crook-friends of crook-friends. Plan scores. Get tipped on scores for a percentage to the planner. And shoot more and more and more heroin.

Hey, this is a novel. It's fiction. It's written by an ex-con bullshitter who was later indicted for financial fraud. The plot has a 14-year-old on the road, committing murder, and getting his 17-year-old girlfriend pregnant. Sure, it's possible. But, it goes a bit far for me with Bobbie joining this loose association of crooks and druggies dodging the cops/prison, fighting ripoffs from other crooks, and moving city to city.

Anyhoo. Like I wrote earlier, the writing did not grab me.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Paperback: "Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers" by Grant Naylor

 Paperback: RED DWARF: INFINITY WELCOMES CAREFUL DRIVERS by Grant Naylor, 1989  AND 1992, 0451452011.

I wanted to rewatch RED DWARF the television program. I could not find the program on any of the streaming services I use. I checked the library catalog for DVDs and found this paperback. I mostly enjoyed it.

Stop reading if you've not seen the TV show. You won't care.

The story is something of a prequel with Lister living in a storage locker on some slummy moon (planet?) and joining the space company as a way to make his way back to Earth. Rimmer is alive and annoying and ends up Lister's roommate. Lister acts up as a way to be sentenced to suspended animation so he can just wake back up after a few years when the ship arrives at Earth. Rimmer is killed when the rest of the crew are killed.

Lister is woken and I don't recall why. Rimmer essentially lucks out in being a hologram rather than the thousands of other people. (There are more explanations of all this stuff, you can read the book if you want to know.) 

Kryten is discovered when the ship runs across Kryten's abandoned hulk on a planet. And we learn about cat's long geneaological heritage.

Comic Novel: "The Black Monday Murders" by Jonathan Hickman

 Comic Novel: THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS: VOLUME 1: ALL HAIL, GOD MAMMON by Jonathan Hickman and a bunch of artists, 2017, 9781534300279.

I heard about this somewhere. I enjoyed the artwork and the story.

Plot: The world's financial markets are controlled through dark magic or the will of gods. Seven different organizations control their own markets. Important events require blood sacrifice.

More plot: A controlling member of the Caina family is murdered in New York. He sits on the secret controlling board and must be replaced. His long-gone - banished, mainly - sister is recalled from Europe to take his place. 

Time skips back on forth of the decades. Some characters live loooong lives due to power and magic. We get: 

  • occult symbols
  • power that makes people immune to anything
  • family drama
  • sexy sexy sex
  • occult symbols and ancient languages
  • more sexy sexy
  • familiars
I enjoyed it.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

DNF: THE OCTOPUS by Frank Norris

 DNF: THE OCTOPUS: A STORY OF CALIFORNIA by Frank Norris, 1901, 2005?, 1404322949.

Decently bound hardcover with no LOC cataloging-in-publication information. Odd, that is why a guess of 2005 for this print.

I read LAWN BOY a few months ago - not sure if I yet made any notes about the book here - and the narrator lists a number of books he is reading. OCTOPUS was one of those books and I decided to give it a try. 

Wealthy farmers with large land parcels in California have to ship their grain. The only shipper is the railroad which has a stranglehold. The railroad sets the rates and has the legislature and any Fed commissions in their pocket. The farmers have pushed back over the years with no success. I left the book when the farmers are meeting and trying to form a league to fight the railroad.  

I've had the book a long time and only read a fifth of the book. An interesting enough story but the older writing style requires a more relaxed reader than me. I did really enjoy how the shifting narration would take on the personality of each character. The quirks, the tics, the interests. One guy has a fear/desire for women that drives aggressive behavior. An older guy will talk forever and never stay on topic. 

Anyhoo. I quit it.