Blog Posts by Uncle Will
It takes a special kind of reader to interpret and understand what Andrew Vachss' fictional character, Burke, is saying in his series of novels. The reader should have some knowledge and experience on the streets. Being streetwise is only one of the prerequisites before reading his books. One also has to be able to accept the darker side of life. Burke's world is the underbelly of urban life. It is a world where only the strong survive. There is a me-against-you philosophy that exudes violence. Burke has his immediate family that is comprised of social misfits and castoffs. His family is his bloodline and no one else matters. He is a master thief. He makes his living bilking chumps and tracking-down young, lost souls and stealing them away from their current predicament. In this story, Burke is hired to find the 2-year-old son of a Saudi prince who was kidnapped, but not held for ransom. As usual Burke must use all his wits to try to find this little needle in the proverbial haystack. Loyal followers of Vachss will enjoy the secondary plot of Clarence falling in love with the nurse that is helping heal his father.
This book is about a trial that took place in Germany in 1931 where a Jewish prosecutor, Hans Litten, subpoenaed Adolf Hitler to testify at a criminal trial. Litten's story depicts a man with exceptional courage and high moral standards who is willing to suffer the consequences of his actions in the name of truth and justice. He took on the Nazi Party at a time in history when the most powerful nations in the world dared not. When I first looked at this book I had my doubts. My initial impression was that the man must have have had a strong death-wish. After reading the book and understanding his motives, I was surprised that his story was not more well-known and chronicled. This book covers Litten's childhood to his growth in the legal system during post and pre-war Germany up to& his suspicious death at Dachau in 1937. I couldn't help but see a movie-in-waiting while reading this book. If this book was written and adapted 40 years ago, I could see Orson Wells playing Litten in the film.
This is the first in a series of three novels written by the sister of Anne Rice. The time is the Dark Ages. The setting is Rome. The heroine of the story is Regeane. She is part human/part wolf. She is a virtual captive her money-grubbing uncle and mean-spirited cousin. It is a time when church and state are competing for power. Like in all ;power struggles there are elements of good and evil on all sides. To appease a throne and seal a power move, Regeane is promised in marriage to Maeniel, who is the Silver Wolf. He has a loyal following of other half-man-half-wolves, who unlike Regeane, understand the origins of their duality and immense power they hold over mankind. This is a love story with a different twist. This series is touted as historical fiction, but left no impression because I am far from expert on that time period. There is a lot of time spent in detailing food, drink and clothing, etc. It reminded me of The Lady and the Hawk only with no humor.
King hasn't published a collection of short stories is several years. He wrote in preface that writing a good short story is very different from writing a good novel. Ain't that the truth! He hasn't lost his touch. There are a few very interesting stories in this collection that do not deal with the macabre. I especially liked the one about the end of the world entitled:Graduation Afternoon. And the one called: Rest Stop. For SK fans that like the gory stories, there are a couple of those that won't disappoint; like the one named: The Cat from Hell.
This book was so good I read it at one sitting. Alex Cross is back and this time his investigation takes him to Nigeria, where he's smack in the middle of a revolution. An old, dear friend of Cross' is brutally murdered in D.C. along with her entire family. Cross is hot on the trail of their murderer who is known as The Tiger. The Tiger has a small African army of assassins; all around the age of 10; personally recruited from Sierra Leone detention camps to do unspeakable things at The Tiger's command. This book was such a page-turner that I kept getting annoyed when the pages stuck together and I couldn't separate then fast enough!
I had never read this mystery author before and like many readers was drawn to the cover art and title. I was pleasantly surprised by the story and writing style. The setting is England, post WW II. The main character, Herbert Smith, is a former "watcher" for British Intelligence (MI5) and now an inspector for Scotland Yard's Metropolitan Murder Squad. The story begins six years after the war when "The 1952 Great Fog of England" took place; where for 4 days, the island was blanketed in a dense fog that caused the deaths of over 4,000. The pollutants in the air led the way to the Clean Air Act of 1962. Herbert is investigating the mysterious death of a scientist who was shopping a scientific discovery that would shock the world. Unfortunately, he was shopping it to Russian, American and British spies, who all were willing to kill to get the information. During his 4-day investigation, Herbert falls in love with a former inmate of Auschwitz, a blind twin, who was one of Dr. Mengele's many experiments. This book is historic fiction, but I didn't realize it until I got to the Afterword. I was very pleased with this book and I am going to look for this author's other books.
If one is a fan of the American theater, one will enjoy reading this book about Mary Martin, who is arguably the First Lady of Broadway. This talented trooper had a career that span more than 50. Being a member of the boomer generation, I was drawn to this book by the picture on the cover depicting Mary as her most memorable character, Peter Pan. Davis has an easy writing style and the book is a fast read. Several questions about Mary's infamous personal life are addressed.
This is young author Koryta's 4th novel. The book jacket says he was first published at age 21. I have not read any of his others, but I enjoyed this book. The plot begs the question: How does a child deal with a negative legacy passed down to him by his parent? Frank Temple III (" ...There are no juniors around here!...") was just 17 years old when his father, a man he idolized, committed suicide rather than face public trial and probable execution for being a U.S. Marshal that moonlighted as a contract assassin. Frank Temple II was a loving father and superb teacher. He taught his son how to be the best living, lethal weapon on the planet. Seven years after his father's suicide, Frank III still carries a vendetta for the Miami Man that he thinks forced his father to kill himself. When Frank III gets a tip that the Miami Man is headed up to a cottage on an isolated Wisconsin lake, he decides it's time to settle the score. Little does he realize that his life is about to collide with two beautiful women, two contract killers, a runaway prison guard, an ex-Vietnam Vet caretaker/former mentor, a friendly Chicago FBI agent, a suspicious Wisconsin FBI agent, and the rear end of a late model silver Lexus. Supposedly, Koryta ran into Dennis Lehane on an elevator early in Kortya's career and that chance meeting led to a nice dedication written in this book.
This is book VI in the Men at War series. The story takes place in the time leading up to the Normandy Invasion. The Allied troops are trying to keep secret where the real landing is taking place and there is a lot of bogus information being leaked to the German High Command in the attempt to create a smoke 'n' mirrors effect. I especially enjoyed the sub-plot that has Cmdr. Ian Flemming, Maj. David Nivens and his batman, Pvt. Peter Ustinov trying to create a background history for a corpse that they are keeping on dry ice. Their mission is to place this body in the sea and have it wash-up to shore and hopefully be discovered by the Gestapo. The British Secret Service has taken great pains to make the Germans believe that the body is that of a secret-document-carrying-Allied-officer. Griffin likes to use famous characters in his historic fiction and this subplot is by far his most humorous. Another reoccurring sub-plot has Maj. Dick Canidy still searching for his lost-love, Ann Chambers, who is the missing victim of an air-raid in London. Once again, the nice thing about Griffin's novels is that a first-time reader is not required to read all of the prior books in each of his series in order to find some enjoyment.
Many avid Sandford readers have enjoyed his 20 previous Lucas Davenport "Prey" novel series. This book is the second in a spin-off series that stars Virgil Flowers. Virgil is a lover and a loner. He has long blond locks, wears cowboy boots and controversial T-shirts, and drives a pickup truck that usually is pulling a fishing boat. He is the author of outdoor adventure articles that get published regularly in an assortment of magazines. Virgil is a special investigator for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). Virgil's boss, Davenport, calls on him to solve the most difficult cases. This book is about unpunished Vietnam War crimes and a professional hit team that has come to America for long-awaited payback. Virgil Flowers is a unique character. He is intelligent, resourceful, and quite the ladies-man. He does a lot of his deep thinking while driving or fishin' on a lake or river. Even though I was able to figure out the ending about 70-pages in, I was not disappointed in the journey.