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A Little Break

Hi Team, 
One of my goals for the Summer was to read three James Lee Burke books. THE WAYFARING STRANGER, HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN, and THE JEALOUS KIND. 
I liked those books probably in that exact order. My lingering issue is not properly understanding the Holland Family tree, especially in THE JEALOUS KIND. This despite JBL's own explanation of the Holland Family. The critical piece missing is who is the connective tissue from Aaron Holland Broussard to Hackberry Holland. THE JEALOUS KIND explains that it is his mother, obviously. But Aaron's mother is never referred to in STRANGER or RISING SUN as far as I remember. It leaves me wanting. Still lovely work across the board.
This aside I have 24 books on my to be read pile. I want, and at this point maybe need, to bring that down definitively into the mid-teens before the end of the year. Titling this post 'A Little Break' does not bode well for me finishing that goal. But it leads me to look at what is on the list an…
Recent posts

An Overnight Sensation about 15 years in the Making

Often my wife and I make tentative plans to go out later. These usually occur just as we are getting home from work. We never go out later though. Within 5 seconds of entering our apartment, we are in for the night.
But a few weekends ago, after an extensive wardrobe reduction project and watching a movie, we ventured out into the world at 8pm! Vapors!? We went to Target in Burbank California ostensibly to look for removable hooks. We bought those hooks. I also purchased a cute baby outfit for my best friends 9 month old...
...and THE CHAIN by Adrian McKinty.
Target is not my bookstore of choice, [Editor's Note: Ha!] but seeing THE CHAIN sitting there on the end cap in an honest to goodness Target is likely to be the most pleasing book experience I will have this year. I don't advocate buying books at Target under any circumstances.
However... I hold this writer in the highest regard. I have bought his books in many fine independent bookstores since DEAD I MAY WELL BE. So to …

I Miss Some People - Sandra West Prowell

A continuing series! It has only taken me about a decade to come up with something I can just quickly and randomly write about. [Editor's Note: Hahaha... you wrote this 5 months ago...] Last time, I wrote about Troy Soos and today is an author I think about often...
Author: Sandra West Prowell Character: P.I. Pheobe Sigel The Work: BY EVIL MEANS (1993); THE KILLING OF MONDAY BROWN (1994); WHEN A WALLFLOWER DIES (1996)
Sandra West Prowell published with Walker and Co. Walker was a mid-tier publisher of mainly non-fiction and children's books. They did, however,  maintain a small but notable slate of mystery authors, James Sallis and Edward D. Koch among them. Much like Troy Soos, who I wrote about previously, it all ended in tears. By the end of the '90s, mid-tier publishers were staring down the barrel. Crime Fiction only made up a small percentage of Walker's output. One assumes money was reallocated or focused on their bread and butter to stem the inevitable tide an…

Running Down a Dream... of a shorter TBR pile.

The last time I chimed in about a book was THE SHADOWS WE HIDE. So here is everything I have read since then.
THE KILLING HABIT - Mark Billingham Wait....the last time I chimed in about a book was THE KILLING HABIT. Anyway, the latest, THEIR LITTLE SECRET, is coming on June 4th. I am v. excited about this book. [Editors Note: Sorry about the usage of 'v. excited.']
WALT FOR SIGNS - Craig Johnson A book wanted to love but only liked. My issue is with the form, more than the writing. Set-up, punchline, out. Their inherent briefness is somehow not satisfying particularly for characters that I love to see and hang with. Extra points though for the evocative wintery setting of many of the pieces.
THE HIGHWAYMAN - Craig Johnson A ghost story that I read way to fast. Mr. Johnson is a wonderful writer for place and mood, and with a ghost story, I feel like you need to savor that writing. Read a chapter or two over the course of many nights right before bed. Instead, I read it on a pl…

Adult Reading Under the Shade of Trees

Herman Wouk passed away today. He was 103. He lived in Palm Springs, a place I have visited frequently since I moved to Los Angeles. That we were close at various times over the last few years is strangely delightful to me.
The first adult book I ever read was THE CAINE MUTINY. Why I choose this book is lost, but I suspect that I choose it because it seemed like a grown-up thing to read. And that was reason enough. I read it over a summer in a house that I have not lived in and that my parents sold over 25 years ago. It was the house I grew up in. 
I got the book from the library and because it was summer proceded to read it seated in a patio chair, occasionally in the garage, but also on the front lawn of our house. Midwest summers are notably terrible. August humidity in Wisconsin can be breathtaking, but I was the last generation to be an outdoor kid. More or less from 9am to 7 or 8pm I was outside getting what was a passable tan for my fair skin. And this summer I slowly read THE…

That Is Why They Call It the Present

On Sunday, I finished THE KILLING HABIT by Mark Billingham. I ripped off the last 100 pages or so while the person behind me on my flight home was vomiting in his chair. Happy Easter..... (bunny emoji)
Despite my inauspicious personal surroundings, THE KILLING HABIT was a good day for the author Mark Billingham. Over the course of the last couple books, he has transitioned his series from Tom Thorne to Tom Thorne and Nicola Tanner. And in fact, his next work, THEIR LITTLE SECRET, is firmly presented as Thorne and Tanner novel. [Editors Note: Well at least on the UK side it is ...] And given how THE KILLING HABIT ended calling THEIR LITTLE SECRET a Thorne/Tanner book makes a lot of sense if just for this one only.
Of course, I am reminded of another series trying to do something similar, the Bosch and Ballard books that Michael Connelly has been writing over a similar amount of time. And based on the limited sample size of both authors works, I have to say Billingham is doing a better…

Spring 2019 Preview

A few Spring books of note now that the season is a couple weeks old. Very likely that I will acquire all but the Atkinson. Lots of old friends....
Let me know in the comments what you are looking forward to this Spring.
CELTIC EMPIRE - Clive and Dirk Cussler - OUT NOW I have been reading Dirk Pitt adventure novels for going on 30 years. Realistically I should have stopped about 20 years ago. The books can be rousing tales but now I brush past the long action set pieces. I’ve read too many. There is a vintage car, lots of bullets, careening through streets, or something with a boat, etc. It has all gone a little stale. His 'long-lost' kids showed up about 6 or 7 books ago. Snooze. Neither Cussler has figured out how to use them without making them into frustrating dopes who always do the wrong thing. Now ‘doing the wrong thing’ is the stuff of narrative tension, here the kids are only annoying plot devices. I read these books for me, as a reminder of who I was back then. They…