Friday, October 22, 2021

Finished: "Brody's Ghost: collected edition" by Mark Crilley

 Finished: Brody's Ghost: collected edition, by Mark Crilley, 2016, 9781616559014.

Comic book novel. I was able to read this one but novels have been a no-go since March, 2020.

Set in a massive and degrading super-sized metro area that Crilley based off several cities. I like the guy's artwork quite a bit.

Brody is a shiftless dude stuck in depression in a one-room apartment. He's still stuck on his ex-girlfriend and makes money with a sometimes part-time job and by busking with his guitar. He's on the sidewalk with his guitar one day when the ghost of a teenage girl appears and tells him she needs his help. That a serial killer is at work and he - and his newly discovered talents of seeing the supernatural - need to get to work to stop the killer.

Fun stuff and aimed at a YA audience - this isn't Ed Brubaker. The ghost is a snotty teen girl. Brody is suffering through a depressive episode and stumbling through his "investigation".

There are: 

-martial arts training session with ghosts.

-a teen ghost with tight shirts.

-extra creepy stalking of ex-girlfriend.

-untrustworthy and misleading characters.

-neat artwork.

-fight scene artwork that I did not like with text like BWOOOOAM.

-family grief after the inexplicable murders of young women.


1. I was in a used bookstore with both children's over the summer that had a collected copy of Crilley's Akiko comics series. I'm thinking I should have bought it.

Another Quit: "Eddie and Sunny" by Stacey Cochran

 Another Quit: Eddie and Sunny by Stacey Cochran, 2015, 9781937495886.

Down-out-out homeless family seek shelter from a rain storm by parking their car in the bay of an abandoned service stations. The couple stumble across an underground marijuana grow operation. When preparing to leave the station a couple gangsters show up and shooting starts.

I waited for a while to getting around to this one. Another pandemic reading casualty. A film version is coming out.

Quit: "Tomboyland" by Melissa Faliveno

 Quit: Tomboyland by Melissa Faliveno, 2020, 9781542014199.

Woman who grew up in Mount Horeb writes book of essays. Guy living in WI reads about book and reserves book. Book shows up and Guy Living in WI is still unable to focus on print books in the middle of a fucking pandemic. Guy Living in WI bails after a couple essays. 

First essay is about Faliveno's love for the film Twister and all tornado facts. Faliveno was a kid in 1984 when nearby Barneveld, WI was leveled by a tornado. Incidentally, I've read from quite a few people about their love for Twister.

I wanted to read the essay about guns but never got to it. I should check for an audio version.

Quit: "Coyotes of Carthage" by Steven Wright

 Quit: Coyotes of Carthage by Steven Wright, 2020, 9780062951663.

I read about 50 pages and did so in fits and starts. The book is quite neat with a look at a political campaign in rural South Carolina run by a couple guys from a firm in D.C. But, I'm still suffering pandemic effects and I was just not able to sit and read. I have the audiobook on my TBR list.

I heard about this one because Wright teaches at the UW law school and participated in one of UW's Tuesday lunchtime Badger Talks. I rarely listen to those - I prioritize lunch - but I listened to his recording and he sold me on the story. 

Wright is speaking at the WLA conference in Green Bay in November. I plan to go to his event. One of the things about library conferences is that there are ALWAYS seats in the front row unless someone like John Green is there.

Friday, September 3, 2021

EBOOK: "Altered State" by Don Pendleton (Phil Elmore)

 EBOOK: Altered State by Don Pendleton (Phil Elmore), 2009, downloaded from Wisconsin Digital Library.

It looks like Elmore has written quite a few of these Mack Bolan novels. I last read a Bolan novel 20+ years ago. There were a favorite of mine during a brief time in middle school. I still have a decent amount of pride in starting and completing an entire Bolan novel during a day of seventh grade.

Anthony Neil Smith sometimes posts recent book pictures on the internets and listed a another series done by Pendleton. Pendleton's widow - I know, maybe a daughter - replied that many Bolan titles are online as both ebook and eaudio. I put this on my phone before leaving for a hike in Northern MI.

The Michigan hike was four days and three nights in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness with Boy #1. Well.... the Porkies are not that wild. There are a fair amount of trails and people so whether the park is a "wilderness" depends on the individual. Still, a good place to go backpacking. We were there three yers ago with a group of older Scouts and did some different trails for three days and two nights. This year's trip was limited to available campsites. Because I did not try and reserve any campsites until July I was left finding three sites that can be completed in a loop and a couple days had very short hikes of 3 miles or less.

I had been looking at Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior. Isle Royale is advertised as wild and it is certainly remote, a ferry is required to get there although sailing your own boat is an option. But, the island is about 73 miles from the port in Houghton, MI and that's not a quick pleasure cruise. Isle Royale is well beyond the horizon. When looking further into a trip there I was surprised that there is an actual hotel on the island. 

I'm hoping to go to Isle Royale next summer if Boy #1 has a clear schedule. But, I'll need to book the reservations before the end of Spring.

Anyhoo... Mack Bolan is sent to Afghanistan to murder heroin traffickers. A Blackwater-style security outfit is teaming with both the Taliban and corrupt government officials. I chose this novel by chance. But, picking up a book about an American traveling to Afghanistan and working through opponents like a lawnmower through grass during the Taliban's blitzkrieg takeover of the country was a bit odd.

The novel reads a lot like any modern shoot-em-up thriller. Characters are not that deep. International relationships are not complicated. All problems can be resolved with death. The bigger action scenes start up later on and are plenty absurd. Mack Bolan and a couple others ambush a convoy and kill everyone without much trouble. Bolan and Co. assault a fortified mansion and kill everyone. So on. So forth.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Audio: "Bust" by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr

 Audio: Bust by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr, 2001, downloaded from Hoopla. Narrated by Peter Berkrot.

Dang. 2001? I selected this after reading the second in the series and there was a six year gap between the two. From the Max and Angela series.

Max runs a computer networking and support business in Manhattan. Max is a major narcissist and all-around asshole. Angela is Max's personal assistant with the same personality issues. Mac and Angela start schtuping. Max hates his wife and wants to her gone. Angela loves Max's money. Max and Angela conspire to have Max's wife murdered.

Angela uses her psychotic live-in boyfriend to kill the wife. The murder works out fine but Max's niece si also murdered. Oops. Max is a little bit bummed about the niece, but Max figures he does a fair job of faking sorrow during the entire process.

Anyhoo. Things happen. Genital herpes is spread. Max starts falling apart when people start blackmailing him and the cops are all over him. Max starts boozing like a madman. Angela has to deal with a uber-violent nutcase boyfriend. Most everything ends sadly for most everyone.

Fun stuff because this is all dark humor as all these idiots and assholes try to cheat one another. Bruen and Starr do a fantastic job of creating Max as a narcissistic bastard who will delude himself and cares for no one. 

Audio: "Slide" by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr

 Audio: Slide by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr, 2007, downloaded from Hoopla. Narrated by Peter Berkrot.

Pretty damn good with great narration. Second in the Max And Angela series and the first I read/heard.

Max wakes up in a hotel room in Alabama. He has no idea how he got there. He has not money. He has no food. He has no booze. Over the next couple days we learn about Max being a drunk and recently under suspicion for killing his wife. We learn he had a girlyfriend who he now hates.

Meanwhile, Max's former girlyfriend is Angela and she is in Ireland and earning a living by hooking up with dudes and using their dough. She hooks up with a sociopath whose goal in life is to be a famous serial killer.

Things happen. Max gets back to NYC and starts dealing crack after making friends with a small-time crack dealer in AL. Angela hooks up with Crazy Nutjob and comes back to NYC. Cop who investigated Max in the first book is still after him. Bruen and Starr mix all these assholes, murderers, and genital herpes sufferers together and they all make each other and themselves miserable and occasionally dead.


1. Fun stuff with a lot of laugh out loud moments.

2. Each other skewers the other by making them characters - but without real names. They say things like, "But, I won an Edgar!" as they are being murdered.

3. Lots of genital herpes.