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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…
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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…

I Also Watch the Television.

These late winter months have brought two high profiles Crime Dramas to television screens. The third season of TRUE DETECTIVE and the Chris Pine lead I AM THE NIGHT. Both wrapped up their seasons in back to back weeks.
Let me start with I AM THE NIGHT. It is my longheld belief that Chris Pine won the great Chris Wars of 2016. Evans and Hemsworth have been trapped behind a Marvel pay-wall and lose the battle based primarily on lack of variety. Chris Pratt is a nonentity, because while he is perfectly cast in those GUARDIANS movies, he is a bad actor. But I digress. Chris Pine makes a lot of choices in I AM THE NIGHT and gives a very good unhinged Nick Cage type performance. Watching the final episode I also remarked that he is a very good bleeder. The show looks at the intersection of the The Black Dahlia murder case and the interesting story of main suspect Dr. George Hodel. Hodel has been posited as an OG suspect since back in the day, but more recently his own son has came forward…

Out of Order

These are the next 6 books I am going to read. All but the latest James Lee Burke are 2018 releases. I am also under the vague impression that I can do this by early April.
Initially, I was going to move onto THE KILLING HABIT next, but I pivoted to the Craig Johnson because in thinking it over, his previous novel, THE WESTERN STAR, was my favorite read last year. DEPTH OF WINTER is the continuation of that book and the (possible?) conclusion to a longer running arc of Tom├ís Bidarte as Walt Longmire's nemesis. Following that will be the Connelly. Which will be the first book of his that I have some mild trepidation to read. TWO KINDS OF TRUTH did not connect with me and the first book in a long time that I felt was lacking from Mr. Connelly. In the past, I always thought to myself that mediocre -- insert author that you like -- is still better than most books. In truth, that is a weird narrative. And I should just embrace that fact that I didn't like the book. Anyway, TWO KIN…