Blog Posts by Uncle Will

Posted by Uncle Will on 06/27/13
cover image
It is no surprise that Stephen King is a master at writing short stories and novellas. His latest work, Joyland, is a coming-of-age suspense story about a college student, Devin Jones, who is hired at a privately owned, seasonal amusement park in North Carolina for the summer.
 
Devin Jones is naive, unexperienced (in most worldly matters), and hopelessly in love with a girl who does not share his same feelings. Devin has to make some hard decisions and chooses to be apart from his beloved Wendy Keegan for their summer break.
 
Devin is hired at Joyland as a general go-fer. His big claim to fame is how well he wears the "fur" which is the hound costume that all the greenies must take turns donning to delight the younger amusement park crowd. Devin rents a room from a local lady who helps him make the adjustment to the carny life. Joyland has a cast of characters that only Stephen King can create.  
Devin quickly makes fast friends with two other college students and the three become inseparable. They learn that there was a young girl murdered at Joyland years ago and that the park is supposedly haunted by her ghost. Devin also befriends a dying boy, his beautiful mother and their cute Facebook-worthy dog, Milo, the Jack Russell terrier. 
 
Needless to say, Devin grows up big-time that summer and even has a hand in solving a murder mystery that predates this 1973 storyline. At less than 300 pages and soft-covered, this book should be atop one's list for a beach read this summer. 
 
Posted by Uncle Will on 05/29/13
cover image
What do Michael Jordan, Ryne Sandberg, Lebron James, Devin Hester, Don Mattingly, David Beckham, and John Sandford's newest Prey series book all have in common? The number 23!
 
Silken Prey is the 23rd novel in this long-standing mystery series. And it is a doozy. Davenport might have met his match in the form of a ruthlessly rich female politician who has the moral standards of Cleopatra. Her name is Taryn Grant and she wants to be the next senator from the great state of Minnesota. Taryn and her security team - comprised of a couple of ex-Black Ops assassins, make formidable foes for Davenport. They devise a pathological scheme to defraud the incumbent senator - hoping to turn the election polls in their favor. Nothing can hurt a campaign more than the accusation that ones opponent is a child pornographer. Taryn's team will stop at nothing to win the senate seat. Multiple murders is an occupational hazard. 
 
There is nothing haphazard to Davenport's investigation. He is well aware that the arena the governor asks him to enter could be a career-breaker. He knows that politics is a dirty game and up until now, Davenport has only dressed for the games and sat on the sidelines. This time around he is put into the line-up and it's winner take all. 
 
Davenport groupies will not be disappointed. He flirts with both danger and femme fatales effortlessly. He even gets to the Mall of America a couple of times to make sure that he is dressed appropriately.
Mystery, Suspense
Posted by Uncle Will on 05/01/13
cover image
This November marks the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination and the cold-blooded killing of Dallas patrolman, J. D. Tippit. What better way to remember it than a new suspense novel by Pulitzer Prize winning author Stephen Hunter? This is the eighth book in the Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger series. Bob the Nailer is back and this time he is solving the crime of the century, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963.
 
Swagger is asked to investigate the death of journalist Jean Marquez's husband, James Aptapton, who was a well-known "gun guy." Just as Swagger begins to unfold the facts, he becomes the target of an international hit man. Swagger immediately goes from prey to hunter. The book is written in two narratives. One is the voice of Swagger and the other is Hugh Meachum, the CIA agent that manipulated Lee Harvey Oswald. 
 
Although this new novel can stand alone, readers should check out Hunter's previous novels in this series:   
Point of Impact (1993)  adapted to film in "Shooter" (2007) starring Mark Wahlberg
Black Light (1996)
Time to Hunt (1998)
The 47th Samurai (2007)
Night of Thunder (2008)
I, Sniper (2009)
Dead Zero (2010)
 
Anyone who has read Stephen Hunter knows his reputation as a respected author of historic fiction. This book does not disappoint.
Posted by Uncle Will on 03/25/13
cover image
Extra! Extra! Read all about it...three Paul Doiron reviews in one!
During our last snowstorm I was trying to find a new mystery author that I hadn't read. I stumbled upon Bad Little Falls which is the 3rd book in the Mike Bowditch series.  
 
Bowditch is a young rookie game warden in upstate Maine.  He has a troubled past, a new ex-girlfriend, a severe loner complex, and a very large-sized chip on his shoulder. In his relatively short law enforcement career he has managed to get himself exiled to the most remote county in Maine.
 
I didn't have a choice (because of availability) and read the trilogy out of order...knowing full well that this was a major no-no in the "Official Guide to Mystery Readers'" handbook. I'm glad I did.  In retrospect, I learned that by book three, Doiron had smoothed out the sharp edges on his main character, Bowditch, making him a little more likeable. 
 
Hooked on the cold, vast setting of northeastern Maine and the remarkable characters, I then read the second book in this series: Trespasser, which involved a mysterious missing murdered female, who was a car accident victim, and several similar past crimes.  Bowditch, who again has the misfortune of occupying the right space at the wrong time, becomes entrenched in a multiple-murder investigation where he is considered one of the primary suspects. 
 
Consuming these 2 books lead me to the inevitable: reading Doiron's first award-winning novel: The Poacher's Son. In this story, Bowditch's estranged father, Jack, was on the run for multiple-murders.  Against direct orders, and all reason, son Mike sets out to prove his father's innocence. In all three books there are the reoccurring themes of man-against-nature and bitter cold vs. bitter people. Can a damaged man ever find peace within himself?   
Posted by Uncle Will on 02/04/13
cover image
 
Set in post-war Los Angeles, this new nonfiction book reads like historical fiction.  Lieberman has an easy-going narrative style that keeps his recounting moving fluidly. 
 
Mickey Cohen was the major mob boss in L.A. in 1946.  A certain captain in the LAPD realized that the only way to bring Cohen down was to work outside the law.  It was the old adage of fighting-fire-with-fire. Sgt. Jack O'Mara was selected to lead a team of detectives that would be the firefighters that were to put out Cohen's flames.  This book is the historic account. 
 
Lieberman's book rights were purchased by Hollywood and a major motion-picture was released last month starring Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin.
 
If L.A. Confidential was to your liking, this book will not displease. 
 
 
 
 
Posted by Uncle Will on 11/26/12
cover image
The book jacket reads:  "...Based on a screenplay by Mario Puzo, award-winning author Ed Falco's thrilling,all-new prequel to The Godfather continues the saga of the Corleone family..."
 
For those of us that have not gotten enough of the family Corleone in either literature nor film, this prequel will be a satisfying read.  The story's set between the years of 1933-1935.  Don Corleone's eldest son, Sonny, is a seventeen-year-old stud.  He is the ringleader of a mixture of Irish and Italian cronies who augment their meager weekly paychecks by ripping-off the most powerful gangster in New York City...Giuseppe Mariposa.  Sonny is not the sharpest blade in the silverware drawer, but he is savy enough to know that his identity as "boss' must never be discovered by Mariposa or more importantly, his father.   So Sonny's gang steals from one mobster and sells these goods to another...Luca Brasi.    
 
We learn that Luca is the most feared "hitter" in all of NYC.  He is not a soldier in any of the families because he's his own boss and swears he'll never answer to anyone.  He takes pleasure knowing that he can do almost anything he wants at anytime.  He also knows that somewhere down the road he will be held accountable, but Luca does not fear God, the reaper, or any mortal man.
 
Readers get the back-stories of Sonny's siblings:   Orphan-college-boy Tom Hagen, slight and sickly Fredo, bookworm Michael, and the little princess, Connie.  The Don is a successful olive oil importer, but the favorite target of Mariposa's mistrust. There is the subplot that details the hate amongst the Irish and Italians and mobsters and how this festers into tragedy and extreme sadness.  
 
Ed Falco has written four previous, independent novels.  Hopefully he will find enough success in this prequel to continue the Corleone saga.    
 
  
Posted by Uncle Will on 11/26/12
cover image
Charles Todd is the American mother-and-son writing team (Caroline and Charles Todd) that has produced fifteen Ian Rutledge and four Bess Crawford mysteries.  
 
I'll be honest.  This was a novel that I had to read since I'll be leading AHML book discussions on it in January and February 2013.  I was pleasantly surprised how well-written and engrossing it was.  
 
Elizabeth Crawford is a British nurse during World War I.  She is the only daughter of a stalwart Colonel and supportive mother.  She is attractive, intelligent, compassionate, and fiercely independent.  She is the "son" that Col. Crawford always longed for.  
 
Bess is aboard the hospital ship, Britannic, when it hits a mine and sinks.  She severely breaks her arm in the process and is fortunate to survive.  Before the ship went down, Bess, was falling in love with a wounded officer in her care...Arthur Graham.
 
On his deathbed, Graham made Bess promise to deliver this message to one of his remaining brothers:  "...Tell Jonathan that I lied.  I did it for Mother's sake.  But it has to be set right..."  Thus Convalescing Bess visits the dysfunctional home of the Grahams to fulfill her promise. What unfolds is a sorted tale of jealousy and betrayal.
 
All the characters were believable and the pacing of this book was marvelous.  The 3-sentence mystery was perfectly composed and will challenge any reader who professes to be able to solve the most challenging of "whodunits."    
 
 
 
 
Posted by Uncle Will on 11/09/12
cover image
This book weighs in at about 15 ounces.  It has about 150 pages.  It takes about 15 minutes to read.  It is the product of a brilliant marketing strategy:  Why not offer, to the millions of fans of fictional character Jack Reacher, a road map of his moral code? 
 
AHML's very own Jon Freier and I have had discussions as to who is the "badest" of fictional characters.  Our short-list usually comes down to Robert Crais' Joe Pike and Lee Child's Jack Reacher.  
 
This book adds new meaning to the words machismo and hubris.   
 
Until Crais copycats Child's brainchild-publishing-ploy and releases a tell-all book like this, my vote goes to Major Jack...hands-down and knuckles-up.
 
Please note:  On December 21, 2012 the film Jack Reacher will open at theaters around the country.  It is based on the 2005 novel One Shot:  A Jack Reacher Novel. This will be the first film adaptation for Lee Child's brainchild.  The 6'5" 250 lbs. part of Jack Reacher will be played by the 5'7" 165 lbs. actor Tom Cruise.  Oh, the magic of Hollywood!     
 
 
Posted by Uncle Will on 10/23/12
cover image
Billy Boyle is born in Boston.  He comes from a long line of Irish policemen.  Just when he gets promoted to detective, he is drafted into the Army.  There's a war on and every able-bodied man is needed.
 
Some men are more able than others.  Some are just better connected.  It turns out that Billy's uncle is Dwight D. Eisenhower, the  Supreme Commander - Allied Armed Forces - Europe.  Strings are pulled and Billy becomes a commissioned officer and sails for England to join his uncle's intelligence team.
 
Before Lt. Billy can become acclimated to this new country, yet alone being an U.S. Army officer, he's assigned (whether he chooses it or not)  to uncover a spy.  A spy who is imbedded somewhere in the Norwegian network that is planning the invasion to recapture their homeland from German occupancy. 
Billy's new teammates are a beautiful British WREN officer and her unlikely lover...a member of Polish royalty.
 
To convolute things further, a Norwegian officer commits suicide.  The more Billy investigates, the less he is convinced that the suicide was a well-disguised murder.
 
If readers like World War II historical fiction, then this book will be an entertaining quick-read.   
Posted by Uncle Will on 10/23/12
cover image
Keigo Higashino is the author of The Devotion of Suspect X, one of my Top-5 picks for 2011 and the choice of AHML's most recent Mystery Book Discussion on October 8, 2012 .  This newest title is only the second time one of his works has been translated into English.  This mystery series is quite controversial and an internet sensation.  The main character is the "brilliant, yet eccentric physicist," Professor Manabu Yukawa, who has been called the Japanese Sherlock Holmes
 
Playing Watson to Yukawa's Holmes is the Tokyo policeman, Detective Shumpei Kusanagi.   Together the two team-up to solve the most improbable of the city's criminal cases.  One minor difference in the Sherlock Holmes comparisons is that the Tokyo team is a threesome.  It includes Kusanagi's keen-sighted and demure assistant, Kaoru Utsumi.  Kaoru brings the much-needed female perspective to the two bachelors' deductive-reasoning discussions.  
 
In The Devotion of Suspect X, a strain was put upon the personal and working relationships of Yukawa and Kusanagi.  When a case of possible suicide/probable murder is investigated by Kusanagi, his junior detective/partner begins to feel that her boss and mentor is crossing forbidden boundaries and falling for the main suspect.  Utsumi's only recourse is to enlist the services of "Detective Galileo", aka Professor Yukawa.  The author is a master at intertwining the brilliance of all three main characters. 
 
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's first Sherlock Holmes story was written 125 years ago.  It was entitled:  A Study in Scarlet.  This book serves as a true testament that that style of writing is still popular today.   
Want recommendations on what to read next? Email advisory@ahml.info and we will be happy to assist you in finding a great book to read.
 
If your status is Confirmed Registration, your spot for the event is confirmed.

If registration for this event is full, you will be placed on a waiting list. Wait listed registrants are moved to the confirmed registration list (in the order of registration) when cancelations are received. You will receive an email notification if you are moved from the wait list to the confirmed registration list.

6.012 Patron-Generated Content

04/27/2011
The Library offers various venues in which patrons can contribute content that is accessible to the public.  These include, but are not limited to, blogs, reviews, forums, and social tagging on the Library’s website and catalog.  Any instance in which a patron posts written or recorded content to any of the Library’s venues that are accessible to the public is considered “patron-generated content” and is subject to this policy.
 
By contributing patron-generated content, patrons grant the Library an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual right and license to use, copy, modify, display, archive, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works based upon that content.
 
By submitting patron-generated content, patrons warrant they are the sole authors or that they have obtained all necessary permission associated with copyrights and trademarks to submit such content.
 
Patrons are liable for the opinions expressed and the accuracy of the information contained in the content they submit.  The Library assumes no responsibility for such content.
 
The Library reserves the right not to post submitted content or to remove patron-generated content for any reason, including but not limited to:
 
  • content that is profane, obscene, or pornographic;
 
  • content that is abusive, discriminatory or hateful on account of race, national origin, religion, age, gender, disability, or sexual orientation;
 
  • content that contains threats, personal attacks, or harassment;
 
  • content that contains solicitations or advertisements;
 
  • content that is invasive of another person’s privacy;
 
  • content that is unrelated to the discussion or venue in which it is posted;
 
  • content that is in violation of the Library’s Code of Conduct or any other Library policy