Blog Posts by Uncle Will
'Tis the season to be jolly...about the start of the baseball season, that is. In every league from T-ball to the Majors, pitch speed has always been one of the most controversial topics for discussion.
In Little League, the most feared pitcher was the one that brought the heat. He always was a little taller and heavier than the other guys on the team. Or he was the one that could simply tie his cleats without bending over. In American Legion ball, the fastest throwing pitchers were always ones on the Big League scout's radar.
Who was the all time fastest hurling pitcher? Most dedicated fans can name the top 10. In this book, Wendell goes about answering that question with equal parts logic, research, personal experience and in-depth interviews.
This review will not contain a spoiler alert. However; the Chosen One will not come as any surprise.
If you are a baseball fan, like studying statistical comparisons, and can never get enough past dugout stories and past glories, this book is a must read for the summer.
This is the 5th book in the E. L. Pender series. Pender is an enigma. He is a hard-drinking, fat FBI Special Agent. It wouldn't be a surprise if he gargles with gin when he wakes most mornings. His job is flying across the country while acting as a investigation liaison between the FBI and community law enforcement officers.
In this story, Pender is searching for a young man that was dealt a poor hand since birth. A life spent in and out of foster homes helped shaped Luke Sweet's nasty outlook on life. He is on the run and leaving a trail of bodies of those who have done him wrong in the past.
Pender teams-up with a gimpy private investigator who has the distinct honor of once capturing Luke while wanted for suspected murder. Together the two diverse personalities try to close the gap between themselves and Luke while not becoming victim to his warped revenge adventure.
Nasaw has the ability to create characters that are flawed and permeate with realism.
This is the 3rd installment in the Michael Bennett mystery series by Patterson. Bennett is the widower father of 10 adopted children. He also is a NYC homicide detective who has an Irish live-in nanny who is deeply in love with him and the kids. Throw in Bennett's wise-cracking Catholic priest grandfather who talks with a thick Irish brogue and never has met a drink offer that he could refuse and there is the formula for a novel reeking in colorful characters.
This story is about a terminally-ill-serial-killer who kidnaps offspring of the Rich and Famous, but doesn't ask for any ransom. He has a game-plan that he rigidly follows and nothing will prevent him from reaching is final goal.
Bennett is partnered-up this time with a beautiful FBI profiler who specializes in youth hostage retrieval. She is a 2-year removed divorcee with a 4-year old daughter. Ironically, that is the only age child that Bennett isn't fathering. Tension and passions rise for both in and out of the squad car. Stir in to the mix that Bennett is suppose to be helping organize a special surprise birthday party for nanny, Mary Catherine, while trying to prevent another senseless murder and the race is on!
The dichotomy of Bennett's loving nature and brutal occupation makes this series special.
For anyone who struggled with trying to make sense of this Dennis Lehane mystery, here is a graphic novel's interpretation that might help shed some light.
Christian de Metter is another one of those award-winning European illustrators who had this book honored in France.
There has been a lot of debate about the ending of Shutter Island. It is said that one picture is worth a thousand words. There are a great many pictures in this graphic novel. Words still escape me.
This is Griffin's 5th installment in his Honor Bound Series. Marine Aviator, Major Cletus Frade, is back and still working for the O.S.S. as a spy in Argentina.
The Nazis have begun Operation Phoenix, an egotistical plot to move high-ranking Nazi officers and party members out of Germany and relocate them to Argentina, under phony names and passports, before the war is lost to the Allies. They also are stockpiling massive amounts of gold and precious stones, colleted from prominent Jewish families paying ransom for loved ones being held prisoner in concentration camps throughout Europe. Himmler has found another way to profit from the misfortunes mandated on occupied Jews.
The plan is simple. Families are contacted by the Nazis and given the option to either pay the blackmail price per relative for their freedom or never see or hear from that loved one again. The monies collected are then smuggled into neutral Argentina in hopes to be used when the Reich rises again after its upcoming defeat.
Cletus, whose father was in line to become the next President of Argentina before the Nazis assassinated him, inherited his father's enormous wealth and loyal followers; most all former national soldiers. His cover is that he is running an airline service using planes supplied by his buddy, Howard Hughes. This was a plan conceived by President Roosevelt as a personal payback to Charles Lindbergh for once saying that Goering had the best air force in the world.
In this new chapter, Cletus and his pregnant wife, Dorotea, await the birth of their first child as a high-ranking Nazi SS Officer is personally dispatched to Buenos Aries by Hitler with the orders to destroy all the planes in Cletus' fleet and kill him.
Griffin is one of the leading authors of World War II historical fiction. He is strongest when blending fictitious and famous characters into a suspenseful story that always leaves his readers wanting more.
Ever wonder where the name Hood came from in Robin Hood lore? This book has a different twist than most. It doesn't claim reference to Sherwood Forest roots or slang words for criminal. Written by a proclaimed expert on Robin Hood history, this story digs deep into the relationship between father and son and king and country.
Over the last 800 years that this tale has been passed on by word-of-mouth and in written prose, character names change (not to protect the innocent) and plot-lines differ. For example, in this version, Marian is a recent widow. Her husband, the assassinate of Patrick of Locksley, Robin's father.Templar friar, Tuck, along with Will Scarlet, are Crusaders who have fought side-by-side with Robin.
Some things never change. Sir Guy still suffers from a bad self-image and bad press; who's responsible for the death of Robin's father.
John of Sherwood is still not little.
Like most graphic novels, the coloring is dark and ominous. I don't think pastels are ever a first choice on the color pallet of GN artists.
In some versions Robin saves the day and dies in the end. In others, Robin saves the day and lives on to serve his King and weds the fair maiden. The ending is never the prize or payoff for the reader. It is the fascinating adventure and the soul-searching struggle of evil vs. good. Goliath vs. David. Only this Davey's in green tights.
This is the second book in the Frank Coffin mystery series by Loomis. The story takes place in Provincetown or P'town as the locals refer to it. Frank was a former homicide detective who saw one to many murders and decided to leave Baltimore and move to a city that whose crime rate was limited to most burglaries and indecent exposures.
In a town where it appears that everyone has some sort of strange sexual preference, Frank has professionally partnered-up with the beautiful lesbian police Sergeant, Lola Winters, and personally with yoga instructor, Jaime, who still longs to become pregnant and is ovulating throughout most of the novel.
This story is pregnant with colorful characters. A popular single, rich woman who is the town tramp is murdered and Frank must again investigate a brutal crime scene. This tale gets twisted when it's discovered that the victim videotaped her dominated, sexual conquests, causing the list of suspects to sweep far and wide.
It is refreshing to read a new mystery series where the hero is not some Bruce-Willis-clone, punching his way through life and always quick on the trigger. Frank Coffin is out of shape, in his forties, and drives a beater because he still pays alimony and also nursing care for his mother (who doesn't even know his name). He is an average Joe with good days and bad days. Good news and bad news.
The bad news is he his smoking again. The good news is that his sperm count is up!
This book is the product of a great deal of in-depth research. Beevor is a best selling historic author and this latest work proves it.
There are not that many remaining survivors of World War II. Time has caught up to many. This book is a tribute to all those military and civilian survivors and casualties. Being somewhat of a student of this war, I found this book to be quite comprehensive from the point that all the major nations involved were researched. It is not just an American or British point of view.
This is important when one remembers that the battle for Normandy was fought on French turf and that occupied nation had the most to lose.
Hopefully there will never be another battle such as this one; with so many men being sacrificed with the goal of establishing a firm beachhead. Tension was at it's height in the months leading to June 6, 1944. Logistical problems surrounding the invasion were monumental. Surprising the Germans was foremost. This book evokes a great many emotions.
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 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.