Friday, July 30, 2010

Finished: "Johnny Porno" by Charlie Stella

Finished: Johnny Porno by Charlie Stella, 2010, 9781933586298.

Another good job by Stella. Multiple characters and storylines all joining together at the end. Stella is good at pacing the story among the different characters and increasing that for the climax at the end.

1973, New York. John Albano lost his union carpenter job and is struggling to make his rent, pay his child support, and put gas in his car. John takes job with the mob to drop off film reels of Deep Throat on Fridays and pick them up receipts on Sundays. Albano's selfish ex-wife, Nancy, is cheating on her third husband with he first husband, Louis. Louis is a gambling addict who owes money to all sorts of bad people. Louis plans to rob the receipts off Albano with Nancy's help. Other characters include a couple cops, a dirty cop, a couple mob guys, Louis college aged girlfriend, a fat loan shark, an FBI agent, an FBI informant, and others. Pay attention when reading to get the full effect.

1. Dialogue written as spoken. That took a few pages for me to adjust to.
2. Intricate plot with multiple interconnections between the storylines.
3. Humor found in the interactions of the characters. Some scenes could be played as slapstick.
4. Main character like many of Stella's other characters as, "Stubborn to the point of suicidal."
5. Common Stella themes: low level mob guys chafing at the bullshit of people above them, mob bosses who only care for the cash but pretend otherwise, low level mob guys struggling with cash and family issues, an incredibly selfish female character I - as the reader - am disgusted by, cops following clues in effort to catch-up.
6. Period car love.
7. All-in-all another good book by Stella. Hopefully this one will get the attention it deserves.
8. Now I feel like I'm sucking up to Stella because I know he'll read this. I'm not. It's a real good book.

Read: "The First Rule" by Robert Crais

Read: The First Rule by Robert Crais, 2010, 9780399156137.

Good. Better than the first solo Pike book.

Pike hears a retired mercenary colleague and his family are murdered in home invasion. Pike is very loyal to his men. Pike seeks revenge. Pike investigates lone survivor of the attack, the family's nanny. Pike gets suspicions. Pike finds connection between nanny and Serbian mob. Things happen. Pike gets help from Elvis Cole and former mercenary Jon Stone. Pike has father issues. We learn more of Pike's mercenary past. Pike finds that the nanny was caring for a Serb kingpins grandson and child was kidnapped to threaten kingpin. Kingpin follows the first rule of Russian mobs - the only family is the mob - and plans to kill the boy to show his scumbagness. Pike not happy. Pike shoots many people. Pike gets boy adopted.

1. East European whores.
2. Lots of driving.
3. More Colt Python love.
4. More 40 lbs in backpack while jogging.
5. People are not who they seem.
6. Jon Stone seems to enjoy hurting and killing.
7. M4 carbine love.
8. Jeep love.
9. Multiple L.A. locations love.
10. Orphan infant love.
11. Sunglasses love.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Finished: "Hunt Beyond the Frozen Fire" by Gabriel Hunt (Christa Faust)

Finished: Hunt Beyond the Frozen Fire by Gabriel Hunt (Christa Faust), 2010, 9780843962475.

I've been waiting to read this ever since I saw a publishing announcement 9-10 months ago.

Hunt is in Eastern Europe trying to recover a dagger his archaeological partner ran off with. Hunt gets dagger after big chase and fight. Hunt returns to NYC Hunt Foundation. Hot chick wants Hunt to go to Antarctica to find her missing father. Father has disappeared and been missing a week. Hot Daughter gets Hunt to go along with it.

Hunt calls up a few people to help and meet him in Christchurch. Hunt bones Hot Daughter on the flight there. Hunt and group - including chick he boned before - fly to McMurdo. Hunt and company travel to remote research location the father had been at. Hunt and group go looking for dad. Hunt and company fall into crevasse. Crevasse passage leads to a warm cavern filled with red light, trees, Tasmanian Devils, vicious 9 foot tall birds, and vicious, hot, blond chicks. Hunt and company captured.

Hunt and other male told they have to breed with hot blond chicks in village since all men in village die early. Hunt must bone hot blond chick queen or others in group will die. Turns out village was founded by Nazis who brought a doomsday machine along.

Hunt tied up and boner-ed up. Hot queen rides the baloney pony. Hunt escapes. Queen is killed by Hot Daughter. Hot Daughter made queen. Hot Daughter goes crazy for revenge against Nazis and sets machine to target Berlin. Hunt is captured. Hunt escapes. New queen is killed. Everyone escapes in 60 year old plane. Plane crash lands. Every now stuck there for six months. Hunt is promised much sex by surviving female member of his team.

1. Faust's twitter, facebook, and blog writing says Faust digs "thick" girls with big, round butts. Coincidentally, many women are muscular with thick butts.
2. Faust's twitter, facebook, and blog writing says Faust digs bondage. Coincidentally Faust adds two bondage styled scenes in the book.
3. Gun whine: Colt Single Action revolvers don't have a swing out cylinder.
4. I liked the sex parts.
5. Faust's sequel to Money Shot comes out in a few months.
6. I'd like to read what Ardai's requirements are for the novel's in this series. How much of their own style does each writer get to add in?

Read: "The Watchman" by Robert Crais

Read: The Watchman by Robert Crais, 2007, 9781416514978 (paper).

I read or listened to 2-3 of Crais Elvis Cole books before starting to enjoy them. I've never much liked Elvis Cole and his wisecracks but Crais writes good stories.

One novel I read by chance. Another I picked up after reading a direct comparison between Stark's Parker and Crais's Joe Pike. That comparison was total bullshit and I really disliked the Pike character as result. I was expecting something from Pike and Crais that wasn't there. Anyway. I wanted to try out this book which was Crais's first to focus on Pike. I liked it.

L.A. Party Girl (Paris Hilton, etc.) gets in early morning car wreck and attempt is made on her life when she is listed as a witness. FBI says they are investigating money launderers and that the car Party Girl ran into had a mobster and money laundering suspects together.

Attempt made on girl's life. Girl goes under protection of the Marshals. Another attempt made. Marshal is killed. Party Girl's father pulls her out to go under private protection. Pike is called by investigator to fulfill a debt. Pike bodyguards Party Girl through two more attempts. Pike decides to go after guy trying to kill girl. Things happen. Elvis Cole helps out. Kimber .45 love. Colt Python love. Sunglasses love. Taciturnity. Parsimony. Corvette Stingray love. Gratuitous use of Jon Jordan and Richard Katz. Everything turns out okay and Pike is unable to accept Party Girl's loving overtures even though he has fallen for her.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Forced Myself to Finish: "The Talented Mr. Ripley" by Patricia Highsmith

Forced Myself to Finish: The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. Read from an anthology I will not bother to list.

What a pile of shit. How can this be famed by so many people? I forced myself to finish this boring novel in the faint hope that some, anything, interesting would happen at the end. Nope.

I had more complaints and comments right after I finished reading this crap story but I cannot remember them, and I would just as soon not recall the damned sorry excuse for a novel either.

One reason I started the story is because it is so well known. Yet more evidence that popularity means nothing. I also picked it up because there was a recent biography of Highsmith about how she liked both the pole and hole and would chew people up and spit them out.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Read: "Fifty Grand" by Adrian McKinty

Read: Fifty Grand by Adrian McKinty, 2009, 9780805089004.

This was on some best of '09 list so I reserved it. Good book.

Cuban policewoman travels to Colorado disguised as illegal immigrant from Mexico seeking revenge for her father who died in a hit-and-run.

Cuban gets job in same high-end ski town her estranged father died. Cuban follows her journalist brother's previous prep work. Cuban finds culprit. Cuban deals justice. Twists turn.

1. Looks like McKinty googled his way over here before I finished any more writing.
2. The employers of the illegals were surprisingly nice. Yeah, they were exploiting the workers but they took much better care of them than I expected from that kind of character.
3. Tom Cruise lives atop the highest hill in town. All eyes look up to Cruise as the unseen King or God of town. All the Hollywood types living in town hope for a touch of recognition from the King.
4. Brad Pitt does not rate as high as Cruise.
5. The Hollywood types are scuzzy, self-absorbed, drug taking twits.

Finished: "Inside Out" by Barry Eisler

Finished: Inside Out by Barry Eisler, 2010, 9780345505101.

I read this before Eisler arrived in Milwaukee on his book tour. Good book but not as much violence and action as in his previous novels.

Ben Treven goes to Manila after the incidents in Fault Line. Ben gets the big brush-off from his ex-wife who tells Ben his daughter does not know anything about him and considers her stepfather to be her dad. Ben is upset and brings his anger management issues with him to a bar. Ben gets in bar fight, accidentally kills someone, is sprung from jail by his Army unit's commander, Hoyt.

Ben assigned to find a guy who is blackmailing the gov. The Dude is a former member of Ben's unit (Ben never met him) who has torture and execution tapes "lost" by the CIA. Ben tracks down The Dude to Costa Rica. Ben has hot FBI agent tagging along. Ben tags hot FBI agent. Ben finds The Dude has boyfriend in Costa Rica. CIA threaten The Dude's boyfriend. The Dude gets upset kills a bunch of CIA hired Blackwater guys set-up outside the boyfriend's place. Ben kills a couple people the CIA hired to kill him and keep things quiet. Ben trades diamonds for tapes with The Dude. The Dude gets false payment and is forced to re-up with Hoyt's unit. Ben is lectured on the oligarchy of the U.S. government by Hoyt. Novel ends with the promise of meeting between John Rain and Treven in next novel.

1. A good novel and fast moving read.
2. Lots of discussion over torture and how the government works and does not work.
3. Nice job by Eisler.
4. Gratuitous HK love.
5. Gratuitous iPhone love.
6. Anal love.
7. Man on man love.
8. Restaurant love.
9. Gratuitous Glock love.

Read: "Nature Noir" by Jordan Fisher Smith

Read: Nature Noir: a park ranger's patrol in the Sierra by Jordan Fisher Smith, 2006, 9780618711956.

Great writing by Smith covering nature, politics of conservation vs. development, man vs. wild, man reintroduced to wild, and rural crime.

Smith was a summertime park ranger for several years while bopping around during winters as ski guy or other outdoor work. After a few years Smith applied and was hired as a state ranger in Northern CA along the American River.

Smith got into the work because he loved the outdoors. He then discovered that the jerks and crooks in urban life bring that same behavior into the wild. Smith got himself educated and trained as a cop - he became his stations defensive tactics instructor - and continued in the work where others dropped out after realizing they needed to be cops as much as nature guides.

Smith covers a couple stories from his time covering a presumed murdered woman of a local deputy, a drowning victim's mourning family, politics over gold prospectors, politics over building a damn across the American, rural crime of local lowlifes visiting or squatting in park's land.

His stories are not so much about man versus nature but, instead, are more of man reintroduced to nature. The story of the jogger killed by a mountain lion is a great example. Mountain lion habitats are shrinking while the suburbs are growing outward. Lion attacks are rare but draw BIG press and fear.

Smith had a neat comment on newly built and the very isolated houses out in the mountains. Remote homes like that are not new but this is the first time ever that the owners are not self-sufficient. Instead, everything is resupplied from the nearest town and supermarket.

Smith is well educated about parks and the land he worked and his knowledge includes a great historical perspective.