In the never-ending search for good, new mystery writers, I found Pete Larson, a former resident of a suburb of Chicago.
In this debut novel, Stuart Carlson is an ex-minister who lost his faith after finding his wife and his best friend in bed together. He moves to a Texas town and gets a job as a bartender. One night a mysterious, but beautiful, one-eyed lady slinks up to one of his bar stools and they meet nice.
Stu is pleasantly surprised when he closes the bar and finds this lady awaiting him on his doorstep. A romantic night is had by all. In the morning Stu wakes with a smile; however, the lady is gone.
It's not a mystery unless there's a body and the body belongs to Andrew Washburn, a cocky, condescending college Professor of Art, with questionable morals and ethics. At a social gathering, Stu serves up a single-malt Scotch to Washburn and minutes later is performing mouth-to-mouth to no avail. Stu doesn't realize that the mysterious lady is Washburn's current wife, Gwen, and the former wife of Daniel, an artist who is a regular at the bar. The professional cocktail mixer decides to personally investigate the murder out of 2-parts guilt and 2-parts friendship.
This is not great fiction, but it is the type of mystery that has little or no blood, sex, and/or raw language. I don't think that it is the first in a series of books because there really isn't a lot of demand for a bartender conducting independent sleuths.
This small book is based on the commencement address Ann Patchett gave at her alma mater, Sarah Lawrence College.
I sat down and read this during the celebration of New Year's Eve, 2009. What a perfect choice for that moment. I hope I can remember to revisit this piece from time to time in the future.
100 pages. Worth it.
Ann Patchett is the author of several notable books, including Bel Canto, Run, and The Patron Saint Of Liars.
This is the first mystery novel of poet Jon Loomis and it is a good one. The story takes place in Provincetown on Cape Cod. The hero is an ex Baltimore Homicide Detective that hit the wall. He witnessed one too many gruesome crimes and had a panic attack. This character has a great name, Frank Coffin. He is former smoker and dates a Yoga instructor who wants to get impregnated.
Frank doesn't think he is ready for playing the role of daddy. His father was a rum-runner/fisherman who was killed at sea. Frank hates boats.
Frank does like his job in P'town, but not during the tourist season. P'town is known worldwide for being a place that is accepting of alternate lifestyles. Beaches are packed with hand-holding couples of the same-sex; most immodestly attired. Wild behavior is the norm.
So it is no surprise when a popular TV minister is found strangled on the beach one night dressed is a cheap wig and floral Mu Mu! Check that, the surprise is that a person is found dead. The last homicide was over 10 years ago. This was one of the reasons that Frank took the job. He thought he could cruise through this new career opportunity without ever having to view another dead body.
Bodies begin to pile up and Frank is placed in a difficult situation. He is ordered to begin an illegal investigation mirroring that of the State Police; which is the town council's knee-jerk response to the sudden bell-curve-breaking fatality count. Frank partners-up with the beautiful lesbian Police Sergeant, Lola Winters, and the hunt is on.
This mystery is followed by the second book in this new mystery series entitled: Mating Season. For readers looking for a new series that does not contain a lot of blood and sex, but is clever and has many interesting, diverse characters, this is a good choice.
Jonnes has created a very readable book about the building of the Eiffel Tower and the fight to get it built. But what really captures the interest is the subheading of Jonnes book: Where Buffalo Bill beguiled Paris, the artists quarreled, and Thomas Edison became a count.
Many European countries refused to participate in this World's Fair because they felt that France would be showcasing the one-hundred year anniversary of the loss of the monarchy. Countries with monarchies, hello England, did not want to celebrate anything having to do with THAT anniversary.
Because of this controversy, France was worried about the failure of their World's Fair. Everything came under tremendous scrutiny. So even though Gustave Eiffel was a well-respected engineer, there was still a fear that the Eiffel Tower was not the right monument to showcase France's great achievements in the past century.
Enter the Americans. America was still the new kids on the block. (We don't really get to be major players on the world stage until after the World Wars.) But it was the Americans who save the day and help to make the 1889 World's Fair one of the most exciting. Thomas Edison brings his phonograph to the fair. People hear recorded voice and sound for the first time. It is also the first fair to use Edison's lighting . It is from this World's Fair that Paris gets the moniker, "City of Lights."
Buffalo Bill brings his show and sells out for six straight months, two shows a day. Annie Oakley is the big star as are the Sioux Indians. James MacNeil Whistler, famed for the painting nicknamed "Whistler's Mother," gets into a huff about the restriction of the number of paintings he can submit. Fights with other artists, including Gauguin, ensue.
A very engaging book about very creative people in the midst of life-changing times. There are pictures that help to show the story. If you've ever looked at the Eiffel Tower either in person or in pictures you may be unimpressed in a world of 1/2 mile high buildings. But this book will help you appreciate the building of it, the artistry, and a time long passed.
Not a biography, but an appreciation of and a strong argument for Little Richard as the father of rock and roll. In Little Richard was the downbeat of Rhythm and Blues, the guitar driven country sounds, and pop lyrics, all in a subversive package. No wonder Pat Boone had to be be called in to whitewash Little Richard's songs. Just looking at him you knew he was something else.
This is a fun and interesting book about a man who only was in the spotlight for two years before he found God and left rock and roll. (He comes back numerous times but never with the hits of that two year period where he changed rock forever.) Kirby takes the song Tutti Frutti from its beginnings as a subversive song in the gay culture to Little Richard's first big hit. Many changes to the lyrics had to happen for it to be that hit.
What an incredibly creative time for music. Both Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley were big fans of Little Richard. Elvis sang one of Little Richard's songs on his first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. Little Richard never made it to Ed Sullivan.
Oh and remember when the Beatles would sing in She Loves You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!, the lyric, "and you know that can't be bad, Wooooo." The Beatles claim they stole the woo from Richard. Fun book that has you thinking about all of that wonderful music.
This is Griffin's latest book in his Badge of Honor police mysteries' series. Even though it was 2003 since he wrote Final Justice, the 8th in the series, I had no problem remembering the main characters.
Character development and topic research are his strengths as a writer. This series of books takes place in Philadelphia. It is about Irish policemen, their families, and their trials and tribulations.
Matt Payne is a recurring character. He is a young, rich, highly intelligent Homicide Detective Sergeant. He has had the misfortune of repeatedly being in the wrong place and the proverbial wrong time. There are police officers that never discharge their weapon during their entire careers. There are officers that never even draw their weapons during those careers. Then there are some, like Payne, who are labeled Wyatt Earp because of the number of firefights he has been involved in during his brief career.
Payne must assist a Texas Ranger who comes to town to capture El Gato, a trafficker of drugs and young girls. El Gato, The Cat, brands all his girls and beheads those that need discipline. Payne also is aiding in the investigation of the motel explosion that housed a Methedrine lab, killing 2 and critically wounding 2 others; one a former girlfriend-gone-awry.
There is a nice romantic subplot that is created between Payne and a new character. Both story-lines are inner connected and as in many series books, do not get fully resolved by the last turned page. However, there is an unwritten rule for people that create: Always keep your audience wanting more.
I have read all of this authors books and this is his newest entry, it's another Cotton Malone lead thriller. Cotton his former boss Stephanie and his friend and sponsor Henrik Thorvaldson embark on a collision course to find Napoleon's lost treasure and keep an evil cartel from bringing ruin to the world's financial markets. I enjoy Berry's books and this one is fun and has a lot of Napoleonic history which I loved, an easy fun read.
You will never look at Peter Pan the same way again after reading this book. Neverland describes in chilling detail the twisted relationships between Peter Pan's author, J.M. Barrie, Daphne Du Maurier (author of Rebecca) and her grandfather, George Du Maurier, who was the creator of "Svengali". Their lives were filled with madness, suicide attempts and disturbing emotional abuse. According to the evidence in this book, Barrie essentially stole the "lost boys" from their real family by forging a will. He may have even had a hand in the death of his own brother. Neverland is great reading for anyone interested in these authors or anyone looking for a good, early-twentieth century, soap-opera.
Finally, there is the definitive bible for all those budding class clowns in the world to read. Impress friends by telling them that you just read an entire encyclopedia, cover to cover. Omit the part about it being 75% picture book.
I was drawn in by the cover art; probably because the cover appears drawn on.
Where else can one learn: to juggle, ride a unicycle, the best ever Knock-Knock joke (the jury is still out on this one), what's one's Eman, and how to get free stuff in the mail all in one little book. This is an appropriate book to read and review at the end of a decade and the beginning of the new. Happy New Year!
This is the story of five people in Tokyo who's lives interact between midnight and dawn. There is a musician, two sisters a hotel manager and a prostitute, one of the sisters has been sleeping for days, all is not what it seems. I found this book magical and disturbing and it stuck with me for days, the writing is spare yet very decriptive and great character development. If you like David Lynch, Franz Kafka give this a look.