coming soon from bold strokes books  
   Like most soldiers, Declan Colette lost his fair share in the war—in his case a sailor, drowned off Iwo Jima. Since then he’s been scratching out a living as a cut-rate PI, drinking too much, and flirting with danger. Then a girl arranges to consult him, only to be murdered en route, and the cops tag Colette as their prime suspect. To save his neck he’ll need to find the real killer, a quest that pits him against a rival detective firm, a dangerously rich family, and a desperate foe whose murdering ways started back during the war.

   Could this be the case he’s been waiting for? Catching the killer could make his reputation. Failing, could cost him his life.

   Either way: win-win.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Book Review ~ The Golden Age by Gore Vidal

The Golden AgeThe Golden Age by Gore Vidal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book grew on me as I progressed. I attribute the difficult time I had getting into it at the beginning to the fact that it was one of (actually the last of) a series. Several characters are dropped on the reader with very little introduction, yet a bit of research revealed these had been major players in a previous volume. As this novel's events unwound, these players faded somewhat as heir, Peter Sanford, took not so much center stage as central POV duties.

One thing that (especially at first) I found disconcerting was Vidal's insertion of himself as a character in the narrative. It initially comprised little more than a drive-by, which had little more effect on me than to cause a roll of the eyes). But by the end, the author/character had gone full meta and surrounded himself with his characters much like Samantha did that time she tried to write a story on Bewitched. It only managed to work (IMO) due to the inclusion of Aaron Burr, harkening back to the first entry in this series, which (full disclosure) I have not read.

I'm a huge van of Vidal but not so keen on his style as a fiction writer. His slightly detached, slightly pedagogic voice works better when he's functioning as a critic/essayist. Still, I enjoyed the book. It makes a great companion to his final collection of essays, The Last Empire.




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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Come home to Thanksgiving! Dear Children, come home!
From the Northland and the South, from West and the East,
Where'er ye are resting, where'er ye roam,
Come back to this sacred and annual feast."

 Horace Greeley (1846)
 New York Herald Tribune 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Barefoot in the Prints of our Ancestors

I meant to post all this week with historical and fun facts about Thanksgiving, but tonight as so many fires burn and so many more immutable crimes prove ultimately incombustible , I'm just going to reflect on the words of wiser men…

The quotes are assembled/ordered by me rather than as a reflection of any text or even any chronology. Which, I suppose, is a round-about way of saying: "Emphasis Mine."


James Baldwin, from The Fire Next Time:

“There are too many things we do not wish to know about ourselves.”


“The American Negro has the great advantage of having never believed the collection of myths to which white Americans cling: that their ancestors were all freedom-loving heroes, that they were born in the greatest country the world has ever seen, or that Americans are invincible in battle and wise in peace, that Americans have always dealt honorably with Mexicans and Indians and all other neighbors or inferiors, that American men are the world's most direct and virile, that American women are pure. Negroes know far more about white Americans than that; it can almost be said, in fact, that they know about white Americans what parents—or, anyway, mothers—know about their children, and that they very often regard white Americans that way. And perhaps this attitude, held in spite of what they know and have endured, helps to explain why Negroes, on the whole, and until lately, have allowed themselves to feel so little hatred. The tendency has really been, insofar as this was possible, to dismiss white people as the slightly mad victims of their own brainwashing.”



“If we—and now I mean the relatively conscious whites and the relatively conscious blacks, who must, like lovers, insist on, or create, the consciousness of the others—do not falter in our duty now, we may be able, handful that we are, to end the racial nightmare, and achieve our country, and change the history of the world”


Thurgood Marshall:

“I wish I could say that racism and prejudice were only distant memories. We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust…We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.”



W. E. B. Du Bois:

"One ever feels his twoness—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder."



Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word."

"We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."



And, since I began with him, I'll let Baldwin have the final word (from The Fire Next Time):

"Whose little boy are you?”


Friday, November 14, 2014

A HUNDRED LITTLE LIES - Audiobook Just Released


The Audiobook of A Hundred Little Lies just became available from Audible. Read by JP Handler.

You can find it HERE.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Review: China Dolls


China Dolls
China Dolls by Lisa See

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Another book I hope to some day soon offer a full review for. I will say briefly, the revolving POV did not work for me, mainly because I didn't understand the point of it. I never felt it offered any deeper insight into the relationships of the three main characters and, except for very minor cosmetics, there wasn't a lot of difference in their voices. (Was this to point out a universal similarity? As I say, I never figured out why the author chose to write the story that way.)

The other main thing that annoyed me was that again and again plot points were sprung on the reader like grand "AHA!" moments, but never were actually AHA moments. Anyone paying attention knew well before it was revealed that Ruby and Joe were sleeping together, and that Helen betrayed Ruby. And, god knows, the bit about the weird dude attacking the other dancer with a knife wasn't so much foreshadowed as telegraphed.

Still a fast and comfortable read. Seemingly well-researched and written with an obvious love of the subject and period.





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