Blog Posts by Uncle Will
As prolific a writer Stephen King is, he is most in his element when writing short stories. This latest has four stories that do not disappoint.
Liking to read short stories out of sequence from the order they are presented in a book usually produces a devilish fancy.
So skipping right to story #3 was the starting point. This one deals with a man making a deal with the devil to expand his current life expectancy; which is on a cancerous crash course.
There is another about a happily married couple that has shocking developments for the wife when she goes nosing around in the garage.
A mystery writer has a run in with a truck driver, the size of a semi, which leads to a turn in the road that is not found on Map-Quest.
King describes his latest work as harsh. The stories are gritty and not like anything he has written in the past.
Imagine if Robin Hood was 6′5″ and could take on all of the Sherriff of Nottingham’s elite guard bare-handed and the outcome would be “…Chalk one up for the Good Guys…”? Jack Reacher is a modern day Robin Hood, on a smaller stage.
In Child’s newest edition, Reacher takes up from where he left off in 61 Hours. He is on his way to Virginia to meet a woman that he has only spoken to over the phone. While traveling through a remote Nebraskan town he stumbles upon a farming community that is being ruled by a band of bullies. These bullies own a fleet of trucks that the town’s farmers are mandated to use when they harvest their crops. The Duncans are comprised of three middle-age brothers and one son.
Reacher takes the Duncans head-on. They employ former Huskies’ linemen as their enforcers. To their dismay, the 300 lb. ex-athletes are no match for Reacher. While dishing out his brand of justice, Reacher gets hooked into investigating the 20-year old disappearance of a young girl. The case was never closed and is as cold as liquid nitrogen. Reacher learns of the unsolved crime while sharing bar-stool space with the town’s only doctor; the pickled version, not the sober. A cry of help is phoned-in to the doctor by the younger Duncan’s wife and Reacher volunteers to drive the slobbering physician out on his house call. She has been beaten bloody. Reacher learns that this is an everyday occurrence and the rest of the novel is Reacher reactions to domestic violence and child-abuse.
Having read all of Child’s novels, I found that this one compares to the fictional characterization of Tom Laughlin’s Billy Jackin 1971. Billy Jack was the protector of an Indian Reservation in Wyoming. He always seemed to banter with his villainous opponents before reigning great pain upon them. Reacher has several such scenes in this book. There is something almost poetic in a humble man’s weary warnings to the wayward just prior to the words being acted out.
In the long awaited sequel to Gone, Baby, Gone, Patrick Kenzie and his wife, Angie, are asked by Aunt Beatrice to once again search for her missing niece Amanda. It has been 12 years since Kenzie found the then 4-year old kidnapped daughter of drug-addicted Helene. He is still dealing with the guilt that he took a young child out of a loving relationship and placed her back into the hands of a living nightmare mother.
He discovers that Amanda has matured into a Harvard-bound teenager who displays a strong constitution, worldly wisdom, and is an expert at identity theft. Has Amanda been kidnapped again, this time by a Russian mobster, or is she simply orchestrating her plans to begin a new life away from the horrid one that she’s been subjected to for the last 12 years.
The current U.S. economy not only is affecting all in real-life, but also has forced Kenzie to seek some type of full-time employment with benefits that include health insurance. Angie is close to getting her graduate degree in education, but with their precocious daughter, Gabriella, requiring all the basics in life….food, shelter, clothing, etc.; Kenzie fears that the private-eye trade is no longer going to help him provide for his family.
This story appears to be foreshadowing of what the Kenzie’s lives will be in future novels. This time around Lehane’s emphasis is more toward modern families and not limited to his usual Boston-way-of-life themes. There is a great deal of conversations like those that take place everyday in homes around the world by parents and husbands and wives.
Bubba, the modern-day Michael-the-Archangel best friend of the Kenzies also returns. Wouldn’t it be grand if everyone was able to have as a godfather, a menacing man-child who shoots first and might get around to asking questions later?
There is doubt if this book will ever be adapted to film. There is not the usual mandated action scenes and intrigue sought in today’s popular mysteries; but rather a centered story about the importance of family, friendship and the work that must be put in those relationships in order to yield some assemblance of satisfaction.
The Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup and Bobby Hull is there to capitalize on their success. It is only fitting. Arguably, the best forward that ever played the game, Hull played when professional hockey players were only drafted if they were born in Canada. There were just six teams and the athletes had to have off-season jobs to make ends meet.
At the height of his career, Hull made about as much as a “star’s” game check is today. Hull was a fast skating, hard-shooting, hard-drinking poster-boy of the Blackhawks from 1957 till 1972 when he jump from the NHL to the WHA. Hull had joked that he’d sign elsewhere if he was offered one million dollars and the owner of the Winnipeg Jets made the offer and signed the NHL’s preeminent start to a 10-year contract.
Hull retired in 1980. It took until the death of Blackhawks owner, Bill Wirtz, for amends to be made with his former team. Wirtz’s son, Rocky, took over the team and offered Hull an ambassador’s position with the club. Hull had a tumultuous relationship with his first wife and mother of his three boys. It is quite humorous that he never really mentions her name in the book, but rather refers to her as “their mother.”
If one is looking for a book that honors one of the greatest sports heroes of all-time, this book will meet that need. It is arranged like a tabernacle.
Virgil Flowers does not look like a Homicide Investigator. He does not dress like one. He surely does not act like one; however, he is one of the most successful case-closers in the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCI).
In this latest installment, four recent murders in a small rural community have led to Virgil being called in to investigate. At the center of the investigation is a church group that was founded in Germany over a hundred years ago and has migrated to the Midwest. The children are all home schooled; the young girls marry older men and there are whispers of social taboos being breeched.
Virgil teams up with the attractive sheriff in hopes of solving the murders. Unfortunately, all the church members keep to themselves and all Virgil can turn up is speculation, not specifics.
This is the 4th book in this series. The nice part is that the reader does not have to read them in order. This Virgil Flowers series is a nice diversion from all the Prey novels. Virgil Flowers is a refreshing diversion from the typical mystery-book-investigator. He works against the typecast and uses his uniqueness in a way that disarms people and makes them vulnerable to his inquiries. He is a charmer and chocked- full of blarney.
Being born and raised in Chicago, a true Chicago sports fanatic leans early in life to treasure the rare occasions that thier sports teams win any championships. Case in point: The Chicago Cubs. Enough said.
This new book chronicles the Bear season of 1985 and the Super Bowl win against the New England Patriots. It is in the first person narrative Da Coach, Mike Ditka. It also dedicates, at the beginning of about every chapter, a page or two with several selected stars of the squad sharing some of their personal recollections.
The book is co-written by the award winning columnist from the Sun-Times, Rick Telander. The layout of the book is set to enhance a quick-read; displaying thin columns and a lot of pictures. There are also a great many small, shaded areas that have former players perceptions of past games that season.
It is the 25th anniversary of the last time a NFL world championship was won by Chicago. A die-hard fanatic's worse nightmare is that it will be another 25 years or longer till that goal is again achieved.
". . .Includes a bonus audio Compact disc featuring an exclusive interview with Mike Ditka that provides even more memories from the truly golden era of Chicago football. . ."
[isbn: 9780760337790] This new book in our collection chronicles the U.S. Marines in the Western Pacific, 1944-1945. The war in Europe was nearly over; just a race to see who could capture Hitler first. The Japanese Empire still occupied a lot of territorial islands and the U.S. desperately needed to capture much more real estate that would be used for B-29 re-fueling bases. All these battles were for the anticipated aerial bombings of Japan. The United States' biggest fear was that a drawn out war was imminent and many more lives would be lost if the anticipated ground invasion of Japan became a reality. My father fought on Iwo Jima, a remote island in the Pacific West, from February 19 through March 16, 1945. 7000 Marines were killed and 20,000 were wounded, during the bloodiest battle of World War II. Unfortunately, most Americans today know more about the famously staged flag-raising incident that took place there, than the fact that on an island so small, so seemingly insignificant, so many men died fighting for world peace. The Japanese had occupied Iwo Jima for so long that their entire occupying army was networked underground. After the Marine invasion it was discovered that all the Naval pre-invasion bombing did not even make a minuscule dent in disrupting the island defenses. The island consisted of black volcanic rock, finely ground, that made traversing difficult. The Japan forces knew that this island was integral to the defense of their homeland. They were extremely well-prepared. Suicide attacks were the nightly norm. The chapter on Iwo Jima is just one of several examples of the sacrifices made and battles won. There have been many books written about the war in the Pacific and this is one of the better ones; dedicated exclusively to the final year of WWII and all the U.S. island victories that were lined-up like e ddominoes. The pictures are many and the writing is precise and easy to absorb. It does not read like a high school history book.
In the old West, the Comanche ruled. Settlers, soldiers and sheriffs fought them for territorial rights for over 4o years. They were the most adept horsemen and fierce fighters. They often took as captives, young white women and children; marrying them and raising them as part of their tribe.
Cynthia Ann Parker was a classic example of a white woman who spent most of her life with the Comanche until the day that she was "rescued" against her will, by some Texas Rangers. Her half-breed son, Quanah Parker, went on to be the last of the great tribal chiefs. A life defined by never having lost a battle.
Gwynne has a firm handle on his research and this work speaks volumns supporting the long history of governmental abuse of the American Indian and their struggle to conform to a society whose morals are alien to their own.
Not as profound as Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, but very insightful.
One of the things I admire about this author is that he gets his writing inspiration from music. The late Duncan Browne's 2nd power-rock album recorded in 1971 is the inspiration that Bledsoe claims compelled him to write this next Memphis Vampire series installment.
In the first book, Count Z, while haunting Europe, was staked in the heart by a human arch-enemy and boxed-up for over 60 years until 1974 when a coroner in the USA removed the stake during an autopsy and brought the evil Count back to unlife. The Count proceeded in finding a nest of younger vampires and took pity on them while educating them to the many vampire myths that were perpetrated. The biggest myth being that sunlight destroys a vampire.
In this next addition, the Count has found his groove in muscle cars of the '70's and purchases one right from under an ex-sheriff whose character is based on Buford Pusser from Walking Tall fame; complete with the swinging lumber. The Count also is intrigued by a mysterious, roadhouse-singing-vamp who claims she can get her daily equivalent of blood by captivating her audience while performing. It is a rush that is unheard of in vampire circles and just might change the unlivelihood of vampires worldwide.
Bledsoe again captures the times of the '70's; the clothes, the cars, the politics, the racial tensions, the mores, and most importantly, the verbiage. There is a good mystery buried in the midst of this nostalgic journey down vampire lane.
I recently saw a trailer for a film that is opening in a few weeks called "The Town" that is based on this novel. I have never read this author and was pleasantly surprised just how good he is. His characters are real and his plot is Shakespearean. . .Boston-style.
Doug MacRay is the mastermind behind a robbery crew of four who all grew up together in a tough neighborhood of Boston. He comes from strong criminal bloodlines...his father is doing 20-to-life in prison. Doug is an alcoholic who desperately needs a change in venue but has no idea how to achieve it.
Doug's modus operandi is to stalk his victims for several weeks prior to his robbery attempt and base his plans on their habits and tendencies. One of his victims is the beautiful bank manager, Claire Keesey. He falls in love with her from a far and after his successful holdup, meets cute with her at the local laundromat. Doug thinks that she might be his ticket outta the life of crime.
Claire, who has no idea that Doug was responsible for her bank's theft, suddenly has to deal with her post-traumatic shock of being kidnapped and left to live; as well as the newly smitten FBI Special Agent's and Doug's fancies.
The mouse and cat gaming between Agent Adam Frawley and Doug is unpredictable. Neither character is honest with poor Claire, who appears to be left the dupe in their games.
Hogan has several characters whose back-stories he slowly rolls out like a stripper showing just enough skin to tease and tantalized their audience.
Ben Affleck, the Hurt Locker'sJeremy Renner, and Mad Men's, Jon Hamm all star in "The Town" which is the movie version of this book. It's to be released in theaters in September. I am hoping that the film flows half as well as this book did.