Thursday, December 31, 2020

Pandaudio: "The Whites" by Harry Brandt (Richard Price)

 Pandaudio: The Whites by Harry Brandt (Richard Price), 2015, Wisconsin Digital Library. 

Cop novel I've completely forgotten about. Better look it up... OK. I kinda remember.

1. I remember trimming back a tree/bush while listening to this. What a pain that was.

2. Late shift NYPD Detective is in charge of squad. He gets a case where a victim quickly bleeds to death after a knifing in the subway. Detective recognizes the guy as a suspect from years ago with his old squad mates. The suspect got away and the lead Detective vowed to get him

3. Another long ago suspect is dead and he too had a lead Detective on the old squad vow to get the suspect.

4. Protagonist digs deeper. 

5. Protagonist is dedicated to the Rule of Law. Protagonist is also dedicated to his fellow police. Protagonist is in conflict with himself.

6. Meanwhile, another cop is a bit of a sociopath and deeply mourning his dead wife and dead brothers. He has vowed vengeance on the woman he holds responsible for the brothers's murders. The woman is Protagonist's wife. Tension and violence ensue. Protagonist has work stress, personal stress, and marital stress.

A strong novel. The Sociopathic Guy is not sociopathic exactly, he grew up under awful circumstances and his few social skills and a stunted ability to love and relate. Self loathing has him thinking his daughter would be better off living with a distant cousin. I may be off on who Sociopathic Guy is mourning but that does not matter too much.

Sociopathic Guy is competent enough as a policeman because he can follow policy and law. He's done well enough to somehow makes Detective but he is not skilled enough for the position. During the novel he starts an affair with his Guatemalan housekeeper, gets her pregnant, proposes marriage. Price's subplote of that relationship and it's resolution was very well done.

Pandaudio: "Swift Vengeance" by T. Jefferson Parker

 Pandaudio: Swift Vengeance by T. Jefferson Parker, 2018, downloaded from Wisconsin Digital Library.

Listened to this a while ago and right now I am simply getting this down in my list. Let me check the plot... Ok, I remember.

Roland Ford gets a call or visit from a former renter. The renter is a former Air Force drone pilot who fell apart with booze and gambling problems. AF Lady is in a custody battle for her young son. AF Pilot has a death threat sign Caliphornia - as in caliph, as in ISIS caliphate. AF Lady is still rebuilding her personal and work lives and does not want to put her custody case in danger by going to the cops. AF Lady figures that if she is under a death threat then the court won't want her child with her.

Roland looks into things. First he investigates the uber-rich Arabic guy AF Lady briefly dated. AF Lady former team members are then murdered. Roland teams up with the FBI. Things happen. People die. Roland rescues.


1. Parker did his usual great job. 

2. Would the FBI really partner up with some private investigator running a one-man shop? 

3. More driving across Southern California. Hours of driving.

Pandaudio: "The House of Secrets" by Brad Meltzer and Tod Goldberg

 Pandaudio: The House of Secrets by Brad Meltzer and Tod Goldberg, 2016, downloaded from Wisconsin Digital Library.

I was looking for Tod Goldberg books and this is the only one I found. This a bit of a "meh" international thriller. 

  • Protagonist Hazel-Ann wakes up after a post-car crash coma that killed her father. 
  • Hazel-Ann flies to different countries. 
  • A secret assassin is tracking Hazel-Ann and her brother. 
  • There is a history of a small bible owned by Benedict Armold surgically emplaced into people's chests. 
  • There are secretive poisonings with a secretive toxin. 
  • FBI Guy gets involved. 
  • Family secrets are revealed. 
  • Hazel-Ann walked away from her father's rich business and TV show.
  • So on. 
  • So forth.
This kind of novel is not my speed.

Pandaudio: "The Room of White Fire" by T. Jefferson Parker

 Pandaudio: The Room of White Fire by T. Jefferson Parker, 2017, download from Wisconsin Digital Library.

Roland Ford series. Roland hired to find a guy who escaped from a private and secure mental health facility. The escapee is an Air Force vet and presumed dangerous. Roland finds he has hooked up with a younger woman and worries for her safety.

The mental health place is kinda sketchy. The mental health place is run by a doctor who defended and run torture facilities during the recent wars. The woman psychiatrist at the facility is sorta hot and sorta not for Ford. Ford is suspicious. Ford ask questions. Ford gets violent.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

More COVID Audio: "You Can't Touch My Hair" by Phoebe Robinson

 More COVID Audio: You Can't Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson, 2016, Wisconsin Digital Library.

Well done humor book. Robinson narrated and kinda sounds like Amber Ruffin from Seth Meyers show and her own, newer, show. I kept conflating the two. That's OK, they won't know. Or care.

I don't have much to say about this because I don't remember specific details. Robinson grew up in Cleveland. Has many things to say about pop culture. Talks about her dating life. Talks about show business. Talks about a lot of things. 

She wrote a couple more books that I may check out.

Listened to in 2020 pandemic and notes typed July, 2021 and backdated.


1. I kinda remember something about her stories about high school and being a black kid. Something else about her brother as a high school kid. Maybe something about her brother being a doctor now and,  therefore, having a much fancier job than her work as comedy writer and actress.

2. Oh, something else! Being in entertainment requires constant self-promotion and job hunting. One nice role is not guarantee of future work. 

Pan-Audio: "The River" by Peter Heller

 Pan-Audio: The River by Peter Heller, 2019, Wisconsin Digital Library.

I listened to this in Spring or Summer, 2020 and it made me want to take a canoe trip. I did get to attend a Troop trip on the Black River in July or August for two nights, and Boy #1 came along. 

Two college dudes take a weeks long remote trip in Northern Canada. Traveling down the river and lake to lake with portaging. Fishing along the way and sharing a canoe. The only concerns are weather and bears. They run across some drunk dudes who look like tenderfoots who will die but see no people.

Later, they find a woman. I don't recall everything but basically it's a Mysterious Woman In Danger story. She is suffering from exposure and a beating (pretty sure about the beatings part) and cannot communicate much. The two dudes are trying to figure out who was trying to kill her. The drunk dudes? Escaping a bear and separated from her party? Those angry voice they thought they heard one night? Should they use their bear rifle to kill the guy who is after her?

Things happen. I'm sure there are some interesting morality discussions and deeper character "stuff" I did not give a damn about. It's an adventure story with young men wanting to do right and well for an injured woman in mortal peril. With canoes.

The Black River canoe trip referenced above was a great trip. Perfect weather during the day. The water was not too high or fast. The river not too crowded. We found sand banks to camp on. There was rain both nights but I stayed dry in my bivy sack under a pop-up shelter. The water drained quickly through the sand each morning. No bears.

Notes written July, 2020 and backdated.

COVID-io: "Psych 101" by Paul Kleinman

 COVID-io: Psych 101 by Paul Kleinman, 2012 (I think), Wisconsin Digital Library download.

I never took a psychology class and figured this would be a nice intro to some topics. It is. 

Kleinman give pithy entries for famous concepts, theories, experiments, scientists, researchers, and more. I was a bit surprised about how much I already knew through other academic disciplines and regular-every-day-learning.

One aspect I enjoyed was hearing how thinking and theory have changed over the years with new research and recognition that so many psychological theories about human behavior were built on cultural bias. As brain science advanced, the methods of study and research evolved a lot as well. Spoke about the transition of drug treatments.

A relatively brief book that I listened to on walks to and from work and exercise. 

Listened to during pandemic and never entered notes. Notes written July, 2021 with backdating.

Pandemic Audio: "Force of Nature: by Jane Harper

 Pandemic Audio: Force of Nature by Jane Harper, 2018, downloaded from Wisconsin Digital Library.

I finished this in 2020 and never entered notes. I'm writing this in July, 2021 and backdating to December, 2020.

This novel and Harper's previous novels always have a great sense of place. All of the geography - weather, terrain, water, local customs, local behavior - work for me. This had me wishing I could go on a backpacking trip. 

Corporate retreat in the Australian forest ends up with a small group going missing. One woman is found dead, murdered with a head bash (as I recall). The cops get involved early because one of the missing women was an informant regarding a financial crime within the corporation. One of the cops is dude from Harper's THE DRY. Extra spice is added because two of the women are battling sisters with one an achiever and the other a boozer. There are also: 

  • Personal angers dating to school-age. 
  • Multiple family dramas and tensions
  • Beginners lost in the cold and wet forest without proper gear or food. 
  • Memories of a serial killer who stalked the area.
  • Race against time to locate the missing hikers with bad weather coming in.
We bebop back and forth from the cop to a couple of the missing women. The cops have to be very circumspect because they received a weird and partial voicemail from the informant. They are worried for her safety because she may have been found out. But, they have to not tip there hats on why they are really there.

My memory of this book is being on a trip to Cable, WI in July, 2020 for the MTB team's adventure ride at Namakagon. I think that was the trip where the humidity was super high and our campsite had no showers. Boy #1 and I did a ride for a couple hours on Saturday and were soaked in sweat with no easy way to clean off. I thought of going into the state campsite's swimming lake but I would have smelled like lake water. 

We also drove up to Ashland, WI since we were right there. We walked around a bit but the crowd's were slight because of the pandemic. We checked out some stores and a grocery store. I bought a super cheap mug at the public library. After getting coffee at the Black Cat Coffehouse I dropped the damn library mug and it shattered. We also bought a new axe at the hardware store. There is a artesian well right shore of Lake Superior. We made lunch at the lakeside, bought things at Solstice Outdoors, and filled some water bottles at the spring.

1. And, I remember this, there was a small farmer's market by the coffee joint and an older lady in a short skirt bent over at the waist and showed everything I did not want to know.
2. I always spell artisanal and not artesian.

Pandemic Trilogy: "The Pool of Fire" by John Christopher.

 Pandemic Trilogy: The Pool of Fire by John Christopher, 1968, (2003 copy in hand), 076714004993.

Will has escaped from the City of God and Lead and rejoined his group in the mountains. Part of Will's report included news that the aliens are looking to make all of Earth into an alien hospitable environment and kill all the humans. 

Will and Fritz - whose escape from the City was delayed - have reunited in the mountains and are sent to the Middle East as recruiters. After a year of traveling and adventure they return to the mountains as the human resistance group accelerates plans to attack the aliens and their cities. The group ambushes a tripod and capture an alien. 

Things happen. People argue. Captured alien is accidentally killed by alcohol. Resistance realizes they can poison the alien water supply with alcohol. Will and resistance leader Julius discuss philosophical issues. Will keeps learning to curb his impulsiveness and quick temper. 

More action as the nearby City is attacked and destroyed. Will joins that group and then joins another group voyaging across the Atlantic to attack the last remaining alien city. More stuff. More happening. Personal sacrifice by one character to win the day.

Will attends a convention of leaders from around the world. Leaders get into big arguments and start fighting and Will is very disillusioned.

A fun YA tale but I did start to lose some interest.

Finished sometime in October, 2020?

Monday, December 28, 2020

Audio-Demic: "Prodigal Son" by Dean Koontz

Audio-Demic: Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz, 2009 (I think), Wisconsin Digital Library.

My wife and I used to listen to audios when in the car and before the childrens arrived. We listened to a fair amount of Nero Wolfe mysteries. We also tried, or maybe I listened when traveling back-and-forth in KS, to a couple Koontz shoot-em-up-SciFi-government-conspiracy novels. Koontz is a great storyteller but he would lay on the schmaltz. And I recall he had to have a Hero Dog all the time.

Anyhoo. New Orleans cops Carson and Michael start investigating murders that look like serial killer stuff. Carson has little personal life aside from caring for her autistic son. Michael, her partner, is a standard cop dude and they have a thing for each other that neither will pursue.

Meanwhile some super human guy gets involved. Super Human Guy has been alive for a couple hundred years. Super Human Guy is actually Frankenstein. I think they is a kidnapping? Maybe some sort of medical experiments to turn people into zombies? More government conspiracy stuff?

Doesn't matter. This was popcorn stuff that I'm not going to recall and I listened to it mid-pandemic or right before. I do know there was some more Koontz-style-stuff that annoyed me but I cannot what that was.

Writing this in July, 2021 but backdating to 2020.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

More COVID-Dio: "Career of Evil" by Robert Galbraith (Rowling)

More COVID-Dio: "Career of Evil" by Robert Galbraith (Rowling), 2015, Wisconsin Digital Library.

Meh. These Cormoran Strike novels always go on too long. And the will-they won't-they stuff of Strike and his assistant Robin gets on my nerves. So does Cormoran "Mr. Grouchy Pants" Strike's grouchiness.

Anyway, some guy wants revenge on Strike for something. Strike cannot figure out who the guy is and the guy is killing people and stalking Robin. We follow Robin and Strike around after Strike narrows the suspects to four people. All four of the guys are long time dirtbags. 

Everything turns out OK in the end. Except for the dead people or people who were raped or stabbed or whatever.


1. Strike's chronic pain from a missing leg is always well incorporated into the story by Rowling. Strike has to plan his trips to avoid too much walking or suffer the consequential pain.

2. Robin and her fiance arguing and fighting. Robin never quite coping with a university rape that caused her to withdraw from school.

Listened to in 2020. Notes written July, 2021 when I don't recall much about the book except there are lots of street scenes as they tail guys around or do surveillance.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Pandaudio: "Police At the Station and They Don't Look Happy" by Adrian McKinty

 Pandaudio: Police At the Station and They Don't Look Happy by Adrian McKinty, 2017, downloaded from Hoopla.

McKinty's Duffy series has been very well done and very enjoyable. Duffy gets involved in more turmoil with a drug dealer murdered with a crossbow and another dealer surviving a murder attempt.

Lots of pop culture references from 1987-1988 for music and current politics. Duffy listens to a lot of orchestral music and BBC radio and it is a neat time capsule. Whether the time capsule is accurate or not is debatable. 

Anyhoo. The drug dealer murder of course ties into intrigue involving McKinty's preferred Belfast set themes: 1. IRA. 2. Unionist militias. 3. Police misconduct. 4. UK government's murderous manipulations.

Plot: Duffy's girlfriend gets pregnant. Duffy is a dick to his girlfriend's family. Duffy is kind of a pain the ass. Duffy stumbles on a IRA connection dating back to the '60s.


  • SPOILER Duffy ends up with a kill order on him from the IRA Army Council.  Duffy is abducted in Derry and the Derry commander makes an appearance. But, and this was weird, the name of the guy is redacted. I don't know if McKinty used the real name but had to avoid getting sued.
  • BMW 535i Sport love. We know Duffy's BMW 535i car is a 535i because Duffy has to constantly tell us about his 535i car. Give it a fucking rest, Duffy.
  • A reminder from Say Nothing (the notes of which I've not yet entered) is that NO ONE ADMITS TO IRA MEMBERSHIP. EVER. You may have left the organization 30 years ago but you say nothing.
  • Famous clusterfuck love. If you did not know or cannot recall: 
    • The British SAS were tailing a Active Service Unit through Spain and Gibraltar in early 1988. The IRA were planning a car bomb on Gibraltar aimed at attacking the changing of the guard ceremony. As I recall, the SAS sorta lost track of the IRA people and the car bomb and were not sure how or when the bomb would be detonated. The SAS team approached the three IRA people at a gas station and shot and killed all three. One IRA person was a woman. The reunification/Catholic side got extra pissed off that the SAS 'assassinated' a woman. 
    • The funeral for the three dead IRA people was a few days later in Belfast. A Loyalist paramilitary man showed up, threw freaking grenades at mourners, shot at everyone with a pistol, ran off, was beaten, and captured. 
    • The next set of funerals was for the people killed at the first funeral and involved a huge foot procession. Two British Army guys got lost in their car and drove right among the procession. The car was surrounded, one soldier pulled his Hi-Power, the soldiers were pulled from the car, beaten, and shot in the head. 
    • Duffy gets involved with all the resulting riots.
  • The clusterfuck brings up an argument I've never understood. The IRA proclaim themselves asn an Army with soldiers and at war. But, when they get shot and killed during an active operation to bomb people they complain that the IRA soldiers were not arrested. They also complain of ill-treatment and standards in British prisons but the IRA would kidnap, torture, and murder people.

More Pandaudio: "Green Hell" by Ken Bruen

 More Pandaudio: Green Hell by Ken Bruen, 2015, downloaded from Hoopla. Narrated by John Lee.

I've been noticing over the past two novels that John Lee is much more of a narrator than a performer. His dialogue is not laced with the emotions that the author provides. Lee does not whisper, sound urgent, or throw much of any emotion.

I've not read any of these in a while. I watched all the film versions and now think of Iain Glen as Taylor. Except written Taylor is much more of a drunken, sorry, violent bastard than television Taylor.

Chock-a-block of cultural references: television, novels, music, film, nonfic, poetry. Taylor reads book reviews and a bartender comments on a book reviewer who crap off an author "for using too many cultural references". References to other authors that I presume are real people.

Taylor spends his time in bars drinking and at home reading or watching film and television. No job to go to and no responsibilities. Sounds kinda idyllic until you remember he is a full-time alcoholic with raging hangovers and frequent vomiting.


  • Gratuitous reference of Sara Gran's Claire DeWitt novels. Three times! Four!
    • Can't blame Bruen for that. The third DeWitt novel was absolutely fantastic.
  • Gratuitous reference to Michael Schumacher's skiing accident.
  • Gratuitous Adrian McKinty.
  • Way too much booze.
  • Galway is 80,000 people. Jefferson County is 85,000 people. Galway is 20.9 square miles. (Ireland is 32,535 square miles.) Jefferson County is 525 square miles. In 2019 Ireland had a homicide rate of .9 per 100,000. Jefferson County had 0 for 100,000. In Bruen's Galway there are, what, 5-10 murders a year?  
    • What's my point?  I don't have one. I also did not look hard for Galway homicide stats.
  • Gratuitous Iain Glen reference. Glen plays Taylor in the TV films. 
  • Damn, I really enjoyed this novel.

Plot?Man, I'm finishing this up a month later. 

OK I recall mow: American in grad school is researching and class taking in Ireland. American is narrating all this for us. He is studying WhatsHisFaceFamousIrishAuthor. American meets Jack and, surprisingly, becomes his pal. American witnesses Jack's comfort and fondness for violence as a problem solver. American and Jack Taylor drink. American and Jack Taylor snort cocaine. American decides to write a book about Jack Taylor. Jack Taylor hears about a Uni professor who is a serial rapist and murderer. American meets a girl. 

 Things happen. Professor finds out Jack Taylor out to get him. Professor ingratiates into American's girlfriend's life and career. Professor murders girlfriend and sets up American. American goes to jail. American commits suicide.

Jack's narration takes over. Jack deals Jack Justice.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Pan-Hard-Demic-Cover: "Bye Bye, Baby" by Max Allan Collins

 Pan-Hard-Demic-Cover: Bye Bye, Baby by Max Allan Collins, 2011, 9780765321794. Backdated to correct year.

Nathan Heller gets involve in more Hollywood shenanigans and investigates Marilyn Montoe's death. Included are Sam Giacana, Frank Sinatra, Monrow, Dimaggio, secrets, sex, murder.

Again, I don't remember too much. Doesn't matter. Collins always gives us solid and entertaining novels.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

More Pandemic Fiction: "Smonk" by Tom Franklin

More Pandemic Fiction: Smonk by tom Franklin, 2006, 9780060846817. Backdated to correct year.

Franklin is more of a literary novelist I guest but this is more crime novel with some supernatural elements. I enjoyed the book.

Smonk is a short, fat, syphilitic rat bastard who cannot seem to die. in 1911 he returns to a small town to exact revenge. The town wants revenge on Smonk. Many people die in the conflict and a couple town survivors pursue Smonk. 

There is hardscrabble survival. Children left on their own. Teen girl left to survive on sex work. Religious nutjob with a personal cavalry unit. Vampires.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

More Pandemic Hardcover: "Solo" by William Boyd

 More Pandemic Hardcover: Solo by William Boyd, 2013, 9780062223128. Backdated to correct year.

In 1969 Bond goes to Zanzarim in West Africa to stop a rebel group from breaking away and taking oil territory with them. A fictionalization of the Nigeria-Biafra war. M sends Bond there to stop the war - kind of an absurd assignment, no? Send some English guy to a strange country and he is supposed to just work magic and and a war?

I enjoyed the novel. Bond meets his contacts. Bond is betrayed. Bond somehow survives. Bond has the sexy-sex. Bond goes undercover and acts as military advisor.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Pandemic Hardcover: "Red Herring" by Archer Mayor

Pandemic Hardcover: "Red Herring" by Archer Mayor, 2010, 9780312381936. Backdated to correct year. 


More Vermont crime and murder with Joe Gunther. This one has child rape, I think. I don't really remember. Gunther link's a couple murders.

Mayor has a real strength is explaining and showing how police interviews are a skill and how they are done.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Paris Pandemic: "The Black-Eyed Blonde" by Benjamin Black

 Paris Pandemic: The Black-Eyed Blonde by Benjamin Black, 2014, 9780805098143. Backdated to correct year.

I did not know this was a Philip Marlowe novel until I started reading. I don't recall the plot. Let me check... Yeah, I don't recall much. Marlowe deals with super rich with big secrets.

I do remember Marlowe getting ambushed in a rural, hilly area. Marlowe getting a bad concussion.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Pan-Paper-Dem-Back-Ic: "The Assault" by Harry Mulisch

 Pan-Paper-Dem-Back-Ic: The Assault by Harry Mulisch, 1982 (Dutch) and 1985 (English translation), 9780394744209. Backdated to correct year.

This is one of many books at my parents place that I once read or never got back to. I think I took this back to WI in late 2019 or early 2020. Maybe mid-2020 when I went down to assist with doctor appointments. My mother's cousin grew up in the Netherlands during WWII and said that my grandfather's aid packages from Maryland to them were a Godsend. She also once said that Quislings (wrong country but I cannot her wording) would fall to the back of an army unit's marching line and shoot others in the back.

 My father once gave a short description of the novel to me. Since he read it I held it in high regard.

My recall of the story: Young Anton lives with his father and brother (sister?). There are four houses on their block and in front of one of the homes in 1945 a Dutch nazi is assassinated. Everyone knows a dead nazi in front of the house means everyone in the house will be murdered in retribution. The family of the neighboring house drags the body in front of Anton's home.

Anton spends his life dealing with the trauma of his murdering father and sister (brother?). He is taken in by relatives. He goes to school with the son of the dead nazi.He occassionally meets those old neighbors. As a teenager he one day he bikes several miles from his current home to visit his childhood home. 

Everyone is trying to pick up the pieces, rebuild, and either forget or cope with their wartime experiences. Anton is stuck on the event. Why did the neighbor pull the body right and not west? Did they have it out for us? Were they panicked?

End of the novel has a bit of a revelation in Anton's adulthood but it's no resolution for him.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Another Paper-demic-back: "The March" by E.L. Doctorow

Another Paper-demic-back: The March by E.L. Doctorow, 2005, 9780812976151. Backdated to correct year.

I tried listening to this a few years ago and the audio file was all corrupted. I bought this used.

I've enjoyed other Doctorow novels - except the one about the hermit brothers - and recall this being decent. We follow several characters as Sherman's Army marches along to destroy those motherfuckers in the CSA.

I recall: Frred slaves falling in love but living in constant danger, a sociopath deserting the US Army and becoming a photographer. Nt much to remember except I think there was a Georgian woman and daughter of a controlling rich man.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Paper-demic: "Las Vegas Noir" edited by Jarret Keene, Todd James Pierce

 Paper-demic: Las Vegas Noir edited by Jarret Keene, Todd James Pierce, 2008, 9781933354491.  Backdated to correct year.

 I don't remember any of these except that the Tod Goldberg one is in his recent short story collection. There is a Scott Phillips story as well.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

More Pandemic A-Fic: "Scavenger" by David Morrell

 More Pandemic A-Fic: Scavenger by David Morrell, 2007, 9781593154417. Backdated to correct year.

A sequel to Creepers. Not really a sequel though, just the same characters.

Frank Balenger's girlfriend goes missing and is kidnapped by the Game Master. Frank follows clues from NYC to Montana (Wyoming? Idaho? North Dakota?) where a mining ghost town and the surrounding area are set-up like a game board. Frank and several other people have explosive necklaces and have to work together to solve a puzzle.

I recall this being pretty decent but the bad guy Game Master is some super-rich dude with all sorts of dastardly plans and powers. I generally don't dig those kinds of bad guys.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Pandemic Novel: "The Dead Yard" by Adrian McKinty

 Pandemic Novel: The Dead Yard byAdrian McKinty, 2006, 9780743266437. Backdated to correct year.

Dustcover says "breathtaking sequel" but I never caught my breath. And, since I've read several McKinty novels over the past year I'm not sure what this novel is about without reading the rest of the dustcover. Let's see...

OK, yeah, I remember. The previous Michael Forythe had the Irish mobster in NYC fleeing and fighting and killing. He started working with the FBI and stayed out of prison. On vacation to the Canary Islands he gets caught in a soccer hooligan riot and a English intelligence officer strongarms him into an undercover assignment in the States. 

Forsythe has to infiltrate an IRA splinter group on the East Coast that only numbers a handful of people. Forsythe does so and he drinks too much, argues with most people, keeps secrets and fakes it 'til he makes it.This is a mcKinty novel so you know Forsythe will suffer, be tortured or beaten, will escape, will exact revenge.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Pandem-erback: "The Rat on Fire" by George V. Higgins

 Pandem-erback: The Rat On Fire by George V. Higgins, 1981 (2011 reprint), 9780307947244. Backdated to 2020.

I read Friends of Eddie Coyle not too long ago and, according to the receipt tucked into the front cover, I bought this at Milwaukee's Boswell Books on January 19, 2020, just before 5PM. That may have coincided with a Cat Cafe visit.

Small time crooks try to avoid prison, lie to the cops, commit murder, live at the poverty line, and try to balance family and career. 

 This is another plot I don't recall too much of. A slumlord wants to burn down his building to rid himself of a white elephant. An arsonist is hired. things happen but for some reason all I can think about is the scene from the film adaptation of Friends of Eddie... where the cops stake-out a commuter rail station and arrest some crooks with car crashes and shotguns.

Pan-dome-dio: "Under the Dome" by Stephen King

 UNDER THE DOME by Stephen King. I'm not looking up the other stuff. Backdated to correct year.

I ran through my monthly allotment of four titles on Hoopla. Wisconsin Digital Library has a bunch of immediately available titles and I'd not listened or read Kind in a while.

I realized - or remembered - that King is a horror writer but the supernatural and monsters often take a backseat to everyday horror or everyday assholes. King always has real-life dirtbags of:

  • Small town tyrants.
  • Religious nutbags.
  • Narcissists with a revenge streak.
  • Mob action.
  • Imbeciles who love to follow orders.
  • Plucky young teens.
  • These guys are a trope of sorts because King always uses them. But, he always writes complex and believable characters. Well... I believe them at least. 
  • Plenty of mysogeny.

1. Gun Nerd Errors: A "Beretta Taurus". One cop carrying a Smith and Wesson Schofield? (Speaking of which, I often enter online gun giveaways and, of course, never win. As I write this I just entered a giveaway for a reproduction Schofield with an MSRP of $1,187. Zoinks! 
2. Town in rural Maine and characters cannot find guns?