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.


Comments:

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

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?

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.

Comments:

  • 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.

Comments:

  • 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.