Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Finished: "Private Wars" by Greg Rucka

Finished: Private Wars by Greg Rucka, 2005, 9780553802771.

Fun stuff.  Espionage, despicable bad guys, shooting, sex, acronyms, Audi cars, remote and foreign lands, culture shock (for the reader), tragic ending.

Englishwoman Tara Chace is works for British Secret Intelligence Service.  She travels around the world doing dirty deeds.  IN the last book (one I have not read) she and her fellow agent were ambushed and the other agent was killed. Tara and that guy were lovers and Tara is pregnant.

Tara resigns her SIS job, has her child with help of the father's mother, and is recruited back to work.  Tara is asked to escort the adult son of Uzbekistan's President out of Uzbekistan.  The President's daughter and her goon had arranged the torture and murder of the Son's wife.  The Son wants he and his own son out of Uzbekistan.  Daughter wants power, Daughter shuts away Son in Son's house under guard.  Goon is murderous. Subplot of man portable anti-aircraft missiles sold by English and now loose.

Tara arranges things.  Tara kills several Uzbeks keeping the son under house arrest.  Tara and Son and Son's Son head out to a rendezvous in an Audi.  Tara and Co are found.  Their helicopter ride goes down in flames.  Subplot involved.  Son is shot outside of the Audi.  Tara and Son's Son try and flee but are caught. Tara is tortured by Goon but released through demands of the local CIA guy before she is raped by Goon and his own goons.

Six months later Tara is back to work at SIS.  Son is alive and found in neighboring Afghanistan.  Son is hijacking heroin shipments run by Daughter (now Uzbek President) and keeping the cash to keep himself in Afghanistan.  Son is suspected of planning an invasion to overthrow daughter.  Tara is told to dissuade him "by any means possible".

More things happen.  Tara wants revenge on Goon.  Ambush and shootout by Chase and fellow agent in Afghanistan.  Arrangements made to get Son's Son to Son in return for Son to never return.  Goon is killed.  Son wants to murder his sister.  Tara kills Son while Son's Son is hugging Son's leg.  Tara goes home to her daughter.

1.  Nice change with the tough guy spy being a woman. 
2.  Plenty of realpolitik and Kissinger doctrine.  Money rules and deal with who is there.
3.  Sadists turned on by power.  Rape as a tool of torture.  Beatings bring boners to bastards.
4.  Walther P99 love.
5.  Browning love (presumably Hi-Power).
6.  Makarov hate.  What's with that?  Maks are quite good.  The cartridge is kinda weak but the pistols are accurate and extremely reliable.
7.  Maps and geography love.
8.  Acronym love. 
9.  Bureaucratic backstabbing and scheming as Tara goes about her business.  Half the story is about her handler, Crocker, back in the U.K.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Read: "Fringe: the Zodiac paradox" by Christa Faust

Read: Fringe: The Zodiac paradox by Christa Faust, 2013, 9781781163092.

Tie-in to the TV series.  I've only watched about 15 total minutes of the show but I enjoy Faust's work.  I bought this one for work and need to return it.

It's 1968 and Walter Bishop and William Bell are grad students testing their own experimental hallucinogen.   A night time experiment next to a lake is intended to test, or create, the possibility of, for lack of a better phrase, mind-reading and emotional empathy.

Meanwhile, in an alternate universe, the Zodiac killer is tripping on acid and preparing to murder a young couple parked by a lake.  Ambushed by the police the Zodiac beats feet into the woods by the lake.  Walter and Bell's mushroom mind meld musters open a pathway between the two universes.  Zodiac falls through the hole when escaping the police.  Walter experiences Zodiac's memories, thoughts, and even his future.  Zodiac beats up Walter and Bell and Zodiac takes off.

Years later, in 1974, Walter and Bell are presenting a paper at UC-Berkeley.  Neither guy knows much about the Zodiac killer.  Neither guy was sure if there lakeside experience in 1968 was a hallucination.  While at their conference they hear about Zodiac and put things together.  Walter is determined to stop the killer.

Walter recalls one of those mind meld memories of Zodiac murdering people coming off a bus.  With the help of Nina Sharp in San Francisco they figure out where the shooting is to happen.  They get there early.  They stop Zodiac.  Zodiac beats them up again but drops his coded diary.

More chasing ensues.  Walter is slovenly and socially inept.  The FBI gets involved.  Walter really digs a psychedelic band.  Hallucinogens ensue.  Zodiac is a nasty dude.  Nina and Bell sex ensues.  Shifty FBI antics ensue. Innocents die. Zodiac is killed.  Walter and Bell and Nina avoid legal trouble.  FBI starts the Fringe Unit.

1: The copy editor fell asleep during some parts of this.
2. 911 anachronism.  Or not, depending on when the system was put into use in SF or Berkeley.
3. The chase sequence early in the book with Zodiac kept me quite interested.  I cannot say why.  I think it is because Faust knows what she is doing.
4.  Faust had a comment about her Supernatural tie-in saying that she had to add in something to keep her interested in the story.  She added a hot Hispanic chick character to that novel.  No one like that this time.  Unless I missed it.
5.  I presume there are several characters in here that appear in the TV show.  I wouldn't know.
6.  I distract myself wondering which characters show up in the TV show.
7.  Lots of Bay Area detail and geography.
8.  Lots of character for Walter.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Done: "Brooklyn Zoo" by Darcy Lockman

Done:  Brooklyn Zoo: the education of a psychotherapist by Darcy Lockman, 2012, 9780385534284.

Lockman grows up in Michigan.  Lockman's parents are in therapy.  Lockman's mother becomes social worker.  Lockman is used to therapy.  Therapy is not weird.  Lockman has the misfortune to attend the University of Michigan.  Lockman graduates and gets journalism job in the Big City.  Lockman decides to change careers.

Lockman goes to grad school for psychology.  Lockman studies to be a therapist.  Lockman gets internship at hospital in the Bronx that includes the notorious Building G that houses psychiatric cases.  Or was that Queens?  I don't recall exactly.

Lockman's time at Kings County Hospital is up and down.  Mostly down.  The place is not well run and her supervisors (MD and PhD employees of the hospital) are often absent or disinterested with the interns.  Psychology interns are often disdained by the M.D.s and, especially, the psychiatrists.

Psychiatrists have gone away from psychotherapy.  Psychiatrists prescribe pills for brain disease.  Psychologists, like Lockman, still practice therapy.  Psychiatrists and psychologist do not see eye-to-eye.

Lockman is still in therapy and well aware of her own troubles in how she reacts and works with other people.  But, she still has trouble acknowledging those issues and it holds her back in her actions during her internship. She figures the M.D.s there are experienced and very knowledgeable.  Lockman figures she is missing something when an M.D. pronounces one thing and gives a pill.  Lockman lacks confidence but gains it as the book moves along.

Lockman rotates among different parts of the hospital.  Lockman has many neat thing to say about psychology and therapy.  Lockman learns how difficult it can be to diagnose a patient.  Lockman learns how she can diagnose other patients immediately when meeting.  Lockman learns that diagnoses by other practitioners can often be incorrect.  Lockman learns that some doctors are absolutely lousy at treating mental health.  Lockman wants to practice long-term therapy but her position and the situations of transient patients does not allow that.

1.  Lockman's boyfriend (then husband) scores a psychologist internship at a fancy-schmancy Manhattan hospital where he gets his own desk, a computer, and the hospital has a real cafeteria.  Lockman gets a rusty room to share, fluorescent lights, and the hospital has an elevator that doesn't work. 
1.b.  They fly all the way to Palm Springs for their honeymoon.  Really?  All the way across the country to go to the damn desert for ten days?
2.  I wrote Lockman twenty-two times up above.
3. Lockman.
4.  Lockman.
5.  Lockman. Lockman. Lockman. Lockman.

Zip: "Collusion" by Stuart Neville

Zip: Collusion by Stuart Neville, 2010, 9781569478554.

I enjoyed this and zipped through the book.

A sequel, of sorts, to The Ghosts of Belfast.  This time Neville focuses on Jack Lennon, the cop who abandoned Marie McKenna and their daughter.  Lennon was just a name in the last book. An explanation for why Marie was outcast by her family.

Lennon is a pretty decent policeman.  Lennon is a pretty lousy person.  Lennon is Catholic and joined the police department at the time when doing so ostracized you from the Catholic side.  Lennon's mother and sister refuse to speak to him.  Lennon joined when his IRA brother was murdered for being a tout (an informer).  Everyone knew who did the killing but no one could do anything to bring the guy to justice.

Lennon joined the police to fight injustice but he is not a crusader.  Lennon takes pay of money from pimps.  Lennon drives an Audi he cannot afford.  Lennon lives in a high end apartment he cannot afford.  Lennon wears clothes he cannot afford.  Lennon's career was badly hurt by a false sexual harassment accusation.  Lennon sounds like a sex addict with random bar pickups and prostitutes when no one else available.

Lennon is assigned a surveillance detail where he sees one IRA guy try to murder another IRA guy.  The would-be-killer is an informer for the police department's all powerful Intelligence section (forget the real name) and they say, "Charge him with something light, we'll make it worth your while."  Lennon gets assigned to a higher profile crime squad.

Meanwhile, Gerry Fegan from Ghosts is living in hiding in the U.S.  The guy whose people he killed and severely injured, Bull O'Kane, has hired a brain damaged sociopath to kill anyone who witnessed Bull's humiliation by Fegan at the end of Ghosts.  Marie McKenna was involved in that event and afterwards disappeared with her and Lennon's daughter.  Lennon had always kept an eye on Marie and daughter and knew something weird happened.  Lennon sees the clues when the Brain Damaged Sociopath starts killing people involved with Bull.

Lennon is told by Intelligence to back-off.  Intelligence likes Bull because Bull bleats on Belfast bad guys.  Lennon keeps looking.  Lennon gets pressure from his superior and Intelligence.  Fegan knows something is wrong with Marie.  Fegan deals with other trouble in Manhattan and flies back to Ireland.  Lennon finds that the IRA talks to the cops.  The Loyalists talk to the cops.  The crooks talk to the cops.  The IRA and Loyalists talk to each other.  Everyone proclaims, "Death to touts!"  Everyone whispers, "Just not me."

People die.  Tensions rise.  Sociopath is scary.  Sadness ensues.  More people die.  Lennon ends up with his daughter.

1.  Interesting connection to the currently running Whitey Bulger trial.  All the mob guys hate "rats" but all the mob guys are rats.  Here the loyalist and unionists all proclaim "death to touts" and "kill the enemy" but they all talk to the police and their illegal commerce freely flows from Catholic to Protestant and back again.  So many of them are simple mobsters and thugs with little to no concern for the political front they show.  They freely trade in prostitutes and drugs and run their own little neighborhood crime rings.
2.  Maybe if Nevill does a third novel he will focus on another minor character.  A weaselly Intelligence section could prove interesting.
3.  Everyone's a liar.  Few people care about the politics.  The have people they hate and they like that.
4.  A week ago there were new riots in Northern Ireland after the Orange Order was told not to march where they always had before.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Listened: "Outlaw Platoon" by Sean Parnell

Listened: Outlaw Platoon: heroes, renegades, infidels, and the brotherhood of war in Afghanistan by Sean Parnell, 2012, download.

So many things to think about as I listened.  I'll list some of those thoughts below.

Parnell seems like an emotional guy.  Someone who wears his heart on his sleeve.  This is good for writing a book.  Parnell does not bluster and brag, he owns up to his fears and inadequacies during his extended time in Afghanistan.  He is a new lieutenant in a combat unit and sometimes struggles.

Parnell's Preface says he is not writing about politics and strategy.  He acknowledges he had a ground level view in a a certain area of Afghanistan over a limited time.   He focuses on his platoon, his company, and the area he patrolled.

Parnell's book is re-learning and re-telling the same lessons of most every other combat memoir.  The importance of friendship and camaraderie among combat troops.  The need for leadership and support.  The schism and tension between combat soldiers and support soldiers.  The trauma, euphoria and excitement of battle that wears off and leaves people feeling hollow.

Parnell joins ROTC after 9-11.  He joins the 10th Mountain Division as a Lieutenant.  His unit deploys in early 2006.

Parnell arrives in Afghanistan with an advance team and experiences a rocket attack on his first day. Several wounded civilians arrive at the main gate.  Many of the wounded are children.  The parents demand the boys be treated before the girls.  Parnell picks up a wounded girl and starts running to the aid station but the girl bleeds to death before he gets there.

Parnell's 3rd Platoon had not molded well together during training.  Parnell had hoped for the brotherhood of war and is disappointed it is not there.  At first.

Parnell's Forward Operating Base (FOB) is in charge of patrolling an area along the Pakistan border that is equivalent in size to Rhode Island.  The are facing the Al Qaeda (AQ) aligned Haqqani Network that operates from Pakistan.  Then, a couple of his squads (nine soldiers per squad) are sent to reinforce operations in Helmand Province. There are not enough resources in Afghanistan because of Iraq and Parnell is short-handed.

Parnell's unit gets ambushed in May and June and faces very tough opposition.  The enemy are well trained, equipped, and led.  Both ambushes almost result in his unit being overrun.  Radio intercepts heard the enemy's plans to overrun the U.S. unit's position, kill the soldiers, and behead them.

Parnell and his men patrol for days at a time.  They return to resupply and refit and then drive out again.  They are always evaluating tactics as the enemy alters their own tactics.  The armored Humvees sound surprisingly safe against rifle fire, machine gun fire, and shrapnel.  The Humvee's turret mounted machine guns and grenade launchers keep them from worse trouble.

At one point the platoon escorts a Special Forces team to a border post by Pakistan that is shelled by rockets from the Pakistan side.  The U.S. Army is not allowed to return fire.  The AG/Haqqani hillside firing position is directly downhill from a Pakistani Army post.  The Pakistani soldiers are mingling with the AQ/Haqqani as they load and fire.

Third platoon seems to take the bulk of the work.  One platoon at the FOB is under the command of a company posted at a separate FOB and the platoon's acting commander is a jackass who makes excuses to never be in the field.  Parnell's Company Commander has no authority to make that other platoon work.

Things go on until Fall of 2006 when a counteroffensive by the U.S. and ANA kills 150-200 enemy.  Parnell thinks, "Ha, we stomped them out of here for good."  Nope.  The Haqqani's recruit and refit and come back.  Third platoon is rotated back to Northern New York.  Third Platoon is told "You're tour is extended."  Some soldiers are already home when they are told to hop a plane back to Afghanistan.

Parnell focuses on a small unit and his experiences as a leader.  But it is impossible listen/read this without thinking of the wider issues.   Why are we still there?  Do we need to fix the country?

Then Parnell tells the story of an Al Qaeda group that comes into a village to punish the people.  The AQ take a 6-year-old boy and gouge out his eyes.  They take the boy with them to an AQ camp, knock out his teeth, and use him as a sex slave.  The kid is rescued, or somehow reclaimed, by the male villagers.  Parnells's unit sees the boy stumbling in a circle on the road.  The boy had wandered off from home.  They walk the boy over to the village and find the rest of the village's children beaten black and blue when AQ came back for more punishment.

After that story how could you want to leave without killing each and every of the AQ and Haqqani guys?  The same issue existed in Iraq.  People fighting the U.S. and the Iraq government would target children with bombs.  They would use crowds as human shields.  They would use children to courier weapons.  You get caught in the cycle and don't want to let scum like that get away.  But the scum will always be there.  Does that mean we should always be there?

So many parallels to Vietnam.  Length of time there.  Counterinsurgency.  Enemy hiding in protected areas across the border.  Supplies and men coming back and forth from the border.  Well trained, equipped, and led enemy troops working along the border area.  Stuck in FOBs and patrolling around.  The locals cooperate with the U.S. at great risk to themselves.  Inability to communicate with locals.  Units rotating in and out.  Local troops who are unaggressive, under-equipped, under-trained and poorly led.  Local troops who do not fight.

1.  M2 .50 machine guns are finicky.  In one major fight one of the .50s kept malfunctioning and would only  fire one shot at a time.  Trained and experienced gunners can keep the guns working on but others cannot.  I read a similar tale from Korea or Vietnam where a guy in a defensive position manned a .50 in a bunker and could only fire single shots or two round bursts when the gun would jam.  He was still able to hold off the attacking enemy.  I'm thinking the bunker was well designed and behind a lot of razor wire.  That or the guy's bunker was getting bypassed.
2.  Vehicles - armored HMMVs - would shot up pretty bad.  How often were vehicles replaced?  Did they make repairs and keep things going or were they able to get replacement vehicles sent over?  Could the rifleman fire out from inside the vehicles or are they buttoned in?
3.  Vehicles in general and something else I read about: The more bombs there are, the more armor is added.  The more armor is added, the bigger the bombs get.  The more armor is added, the heavier and bigger the vehicles get.  The heavier the vehicle, the more the vehicle is limited to roads and smoother terrain.  The more road driving, the less routes available to drive and the easier it is to guess ambush spots and plant bigger bombs.
4.  Translators are vital and rarely any good.  I was mentioning the trouble the Lt. had in this book to my wife.  I said how I was watching a TV show following a platoon in Afghanistan and they tried to speak to local leaders.  The local Afghans would say quite a bit and want to discuss things with the American Soldiers.  The interpreter was incompetent and could not - or would not - directly translate all that was said.  The accurate translation by the TV production company was subtitled on the screen and showed how accurate and vital communication was being missed.  The Afghans came out as stone faced and stupid but their words were intelligent and incisive.
5.  The Afghan National Army (ANA) around Parnell is not up to speed.  The ANA is often at no speed.  The ANA is usually standing alongside a junked car smoking hashish.
6.  One translator turns out to be a mole.  The mole gives information that leads to the bombing death of an American.  The Mole sets-up the infantry company's lead translator for assassination so the Mole can get the job.
7.  The whole book is another reminder of how well trained and disciplined the U.S. military is.  The clear majority of soldiers are honest and professional, even with the various FOB assholes Parnell writes about.
8.  The whole book is an unabashed and sincere love letter from Parnell to his platoon. Parnell constantly hits on the theme of family and how the platoon was his second family.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Read: "Point and Shoot" by Duane Swierczynski

Read: Point and Shoot by Duane Swierczynski, 2013, 9780316133302.

Good but I think I enjoyed the other two novels in the Charlie Hardie series more than this one. 

Charlie Hardie is alive and well and in outer space.  Hardie was sent into space at the end of the second book when he accepted a deal from the Vast Conspiracy that he was fighting.  Hardie agreed to go into space for a year and live inside, and guard, a satellite owned by the Conspiracy and the Conspiracy would spare his family.

Resupply rockets come up every few months and Hardie is stuck inside the space equivalent to the interior of a Honda Odyssey van.  Hardie does nothing but float around, eat, sleep, and spend an hour a day watching his family through the secret cameras in their home.  Then he hears and feels a thump and bump as another craft attaches to his satellite.  On board comes a guy who has been surgically altered to look just like Charlie.  Charlie 1 is surprised.

Charlie 2 says he is there to save Charlie 1 and has been made to look exactly like Charlie 1 to trick the satellite's sensors or the satellite will kill them both.  Charlie 2 says he has to recover a computer drive that contains information that could destroy the Conspiracy.  The computer drive has been hidden on the satellite.  Fighting ensues.  Trickery and lies by Charlie 1 and Charlie 2 ensue.

The Charlies crash land off the CA coast.  The Charlies continue to doublecross each other on the way to the East Coast.  Deke The FBI Guy from the other books shows up hunting Hardie with the intention of helping him out.  Deke the FBI Guy buys the farm.  Evil One-Eyed One-Boobed Girl Assasin is out to get revenge on Hardie after books one and two.  The Conspiracy leaders plot against each other and plan to kill Hardie.

Fighting ensues.  Creepy Conspiracy powers ensue.  Introduction to Hardie's family ensues.  Serial Killers reappear.  Serial Killers kill.  Evil One-Eyed One-Boobed Gal is threatening and vicious.  Serial Killers are killed.  Evil One-Eyed One-Boobed Gal is killed. Charlie 2 is shot by the Charlie 1's son in mistaken identity.  Charlie 2 rescued from car trunk and his family drives to the NSA in Virginia.  Everyone lives happily ever after on a secret military base until Swierczynski leaves things open for a sequel.

1.  Gratuitous Jon Jordan reference.
2.  Gratuitous Muskego, WI reference.
3.  Grauitous Philadelphia love.
4.  Gratuitous Philadelphia hate.
5.  Gratuitous copy writer screw up referring to a ".23 Glock".  Yeah, they had the decimal point in there.
6.  Gratuitous Montreal underground.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Done: "A Cold Day in Paradise" by Steve Hamilton

Done: A Cold Day in Paradise by Steve Hamilton, 1998, 0312969198 (paper).

I went to Webelo camp in Janesville a couple weeks ago and needed a second book to take along.  I had this unread paperback on the shelf at home.  The cover says this novel won an Edgar.  The story was okay, but not fantastic. Spoileristicness awaits.

Medically retired Detroit Police Officer Alex McKnight lives on the North shore of Upper Michigan.  He's been there fifteen years, ever since he was shot in the chest and his police partner was killed.  Alex recently started private investigation work for a local lawyer.  Alex does normal PI stuff like interviewing witnesses, observing injury claimants, so on, so forth.

Alex gets late night call from his local pal and super wealthy guy, Edwin, asking for immediate help.  Alex drives to a small motel in another town where Edwin is waiting at a very bloody murder scene.  Alex calls the cops.  The local Police Chief is a dickhead-and-a-half.  Alex heads back home and gets a late night call from the killer.  The Killer claims to be the guy who shot Alex 15-years-ago.  The guy who did the shooting is still in prison.  Killer has knowledge of Alex's shooting that Alex never told anyone.  Ooh, mysterious.

Alex gets involved.  A second guy is murdered.  Both dead guys were bookies who owned Edwin's gambling debts.  Police Chief is suspicious of Alex.  Police Chief is scornful of Alex when learning Alex never pulled his gun when Alex was shot and his partner killed.  The Killer leaves a note on Alex's door and the police start watching Alex's house.

More stuff happens.  Alex is hot for Edwin's wife with who (whom?) he previously had an affair. She hates him because he broke things off.  Local Lawyer is working for Edwin's family.  Alex is hired by Edwin's mother to keep a watch on things.  Alex then has to go hunting for gambling addict Edwin and finds Edwin's car and a bloody boat on Lake Superior.  Killer claims Edwin murder.  Alex is main suspect.

Things happen and the real killer is shot dead by Alex.  Real killer was crazy dude.  Killer makes no sense to Alex.  Alex investigates.  Alex goes to visit the guy who shot him 15 years ago.  That guy is batshit crazy.  Alex realizes what really happened as he drives home.  Alex confronts Local Lawyer who set everything up and faked Edwin's murder.  Alex has no evidence.  Local Lawyer cannot kill Alex.  Alex drives home to await Hamilton's sequel.

1.  Thunder, lightning and rain are always much, much louder and scarier when you are inside a tent.

Listened: "A Crack in the Lens" by Steve Hockensmith

Listened: A Crack in the Lens by Steve Hockensmith, 2009, OverDrive download.

Fourth in the series.

The Holmes on the Range series has never been cozy mysteries but the jocular nature of Big Red's narration has always kept the violence and venality kinda pleasant.  There has been plenty of gore and unpleasantness in the three previous novels: forced prostitution, murdered Chinese, a man trampled into mud by cattle, a head bouncing along a railroad track.  But the violence in this one takes a darker turn with both Big and Red participants - accessories - in a brutal murder.

Old Red and Big Red Amlingmeyer are headed to San Marcos, TX.  We learned in the last book (I think) that Old Red loved a prostitute, Gertie, in San Marcos who was murdered when Old Red worked at a local ranch there.  Since Big Red just sold one of his novels to a publisher and received a $200 payment they  head to TX to find the killer.

Gertie's killing was four years ago, and after it happened Old Red tried drinking his trouble away.  Upon arrival in San Marcos they discover the town is much more civilized.  The whorehouses and most saloons were shut down and drovers are unwelcome.  Old Red meets some old friends and clashes with old enemies - namely the two pimps who ran the house his would-be-girlfriend worked at.  Old finds one friend, the current Town Marshall, is now an enemy.  Old and Big find their presence is unwanted.  Big cracks wise.

Old and Big Red investigate.  Old and Big learn of other murders since Gertie's.  Old and Big Red meet the locals.  Old and Red are threatened with lynching.  Old is not himself.  Old Red is still in mourning for Gertie and still angry that a whore's murder was swept under the rug and ignored by the local law.  Big Red cracks wise some more.

Hockensmith introduces a few bad guys and suspects.  Old Red is a suspect himself.  With some help of Old Red's old friends he and Big Red kidnap a prostitute and the pimps' enforcer, Stonewall, to ask them questions.  The prostitute does not mind, Stonewall does mind.  Old and Big tie Stonewall to a tree.  Old starts a fire and heats up shears to threaten Stonewall with.  Old Red is kinda losing it.  Big Red is worried for Old Red.  The two argue and Stonewall jumps up to escape.  One of Old Red's pals is a former prostitute that suffered badly under Stonewall and the pimps.  She takes the shears and slashes Stonewall to death.  Big Red does not crack wise.

More things happen.  Another prostitute is murdered and left in Big and Old's hotel room. Old and Red are arrested.  Old and Red break out of jail and find the killer.
1.  Old Red is losing it in this volume.  Old Red has faked stupid and crazy before but here he is really losing his way due to grief and anger.  Old Red is kicking himself for his perceived failures from five years past and for not solving things in the present.  Old is very good at "deducifying" but is unable to compliment himself at for the work - he's always kicking himself for missing, or misinterpreting, clues. 
2.  I often forget that both Old and Red are still in their twenties.
3.  Hockensmith quits his past formula a little and focuses differently on Old and Red.  He's letting the characters change and interact differently in this one.
4.  Gratuitously staid Lutheranism.
5.  Webley Bulldog.
6.  A nice Jack the Ripper tie-in.

Found: "An Apple for the Creature" edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner

Found: An Apple for the Creature: all-new tales of unnatural education edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner, 2012, 9780425256800.

I was checking this book in and not paying much attention s I did so.   I looked at the back cover and - Wait a Minute!  Donald Harstad?!  The Donald Harstad?  Hot dog.

Collection of supernatural short stories.  Each story has an education angle with most stories including a school setting.  With plenty of vampire and werewolf stories this is definitely not the kind of stuff I usually read. 

I sometimes read arguments and griping by people upset over statements regarding the differences - and perceived differences - of a writer's gender.  Well, I can tell you that some of these stories were easily spotted as written by women.  I have not run across a guy writer who writes shoes, clothes, hair, and eyes the same as any gal.  The way a woman character's lust and love is portrayed was very distinct to me when women were writing.

My favorites:
1.  Hartsad's Academy Field Trip, of course.  Several Iowa cops are attending an invite only training session in Des Moines.  The officers do a field exercise as part of the class.  One officer is a detective from Iowa City and is told about a vampire investigation.  Police work ensues.  Trick reveal ensues.
2.  Maberry's was okay.
3.  Marjorie M. Liu's Sympathy for the Bones was good.  A teen girl is raised by a witch in the woods and plots her freedom by killing the witch.
4.  Mike Carey's Iphigenia in Aulis.  A young - 10-years-old or so - girl is raised in a strict prison environment where she is always restrained when outside her cell.  Turns out she and all her fellow classmates/inmates were born from zombies.  Legalities against abortion mean they are kept alive until they are eighteen years old.
5.  Faith Hunter's Golden Delicious was more Maberry than Maberry's story.  A werewolf cop is teamed with a werewolf-stuck-as-wolf and some killer monkey in a training academy and investigates deadly witches.  Guns and goth.
6. VSI by Nancy Holder has two FBI agents assigned to a two-week training class.  The find out they are learning about vampires.  Surprise reveal ensues.  A second surprise reveal was expected but did not happen.

1. I have not done many library videos lately but the Harstad interview is regularly found.