Blog Posts by Uncle Will

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10/02/10
[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.
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by S. C. Gwynne

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09/30/10
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.
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by Alex Bledsoe

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09/20/10
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.
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by Chuck Hogan

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08/25/10
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.
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by Josh Lieb

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08/21/10
I don't care if I found this book in Kids World, it is a stitch.  I have never watched The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; however, I have seen him perform and he is very sharp and witty.
 
The author of this book is the Executive Producer of Stewart's show and also is very sharp and witty.   Oliver Watson is in 7th grade and wants to run for class president.  His only obstruction is his peers.
 
When I try, I can't recall the name of my 7th grade nun, but I do remember that awkward age.  Lieb catches the spirit of a 12- year old boy, who tries to balance his inner, most dark secrets with his limited social conscious.  
 
This book was a delight.
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by James Lee Burke

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07/22/10
Every time a new James Lee Burke novel gets released; it seems I end up playing hooky for a couple of days.  This time was no exception.    Burke’s words melt off the page like the Louisiana landscape he so aptly describes.
 
In this 18th book in the series, Dave is back with his best-friend Cletus, who are investigating the deaths of several teenage girls.   Alafair, Dave's adopted daughter, has hooked-up with a rich and powerful heir who is helping her publish her first novel while she is attending law school. 
 
Alafair is unaware that her new boyfriend has also hooked-up with a slimy ex-con author, who might or might not be responsible for the all the girls' deaths.
 
The back-stories for Burke's main characters are all colorful and important; however, one of the enduring things about this book series is that every story is independent and a reader does not have to follow them in any chronological order.  
 
It took a while for this book to be published.  It appears that Burke is slowing down as a writer, but there is no indications that he will ever suffer from any James-Patterson-type-disease where he is compelled to co-author and publish several books per month.
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by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

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07/07/10
What if you were handed 15 million dollars and the ownership of an established, once promising business?  What if you were able to hire the best minds in that business?  What if it was a corporation that you were extremely talented at running and opening branches worldwide?  What if it was for a career that you already possessed all the qualifications to become successful?  What if the only drawback was that this gift was the unsolicited inheritance handed to you by your deadbeat father, while he was serving a life-sentence in prison...the same father that beat you regularly while you were growing up and learning to hate with a passion?  And most importantly, what if it was a career that you loved and you were legitimately able to help clients live safe and less stress-free lives?
 
This is Jack Malone's legacy.  He successfully manages the most exclusive private investigation firm in the world.
 
Here's hoping that Patterson has settled on Jack Malone to start a new series of mysteries. There are several plots that intertwine.  One is the prolong serial killings of over a dozen teenage schoolgirls.  Another is the murder of Jack's best friend's wife and  Jack's former flame.  There also is an investigation of a suspected final score tempering of some NFL games by its referees.  And just when the reader thinks that there is plenty on the plate for Jack to deal with, his twin brother is discovered to be in hock for $600,000 to loan sharks.
 
Patterson has found a winning combination is co-authoring several of his books.  The narration is fresh and this style of writing almost always ensures short chapters...a late night reader's delight!
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by Michael Koryta

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06/30/10
There's something in the water.  The water is bottled and called:  Pluto Water.
 
This is Michael Koryta's  (pronounced ko REE ta) sixth novel.   This story is sort of taken from the playbooks Stephen King and Dean Koontz.  Eric Shaw, a promising film director, makes a wrong career decision and is blacklisted in Hollywood.  He is force to earn a living by creating short films on the lives of the recently departed; which are then shown at the decease's funeral.  He is hired to make one of his tribute films about the life and times of, Campbell Bradford, who is on his deathbed.
 
Bradford, who is 95, was once the wealthy owner of a luxurious spa that featured mineral spring water that legends were built on.   It had been many years since the resort closed down and Shaw's return to the rundown town triggers a chilling chain of events.
 
Shaw makes the mistake of drinking some of the bottled Pluto Water and becomes dependent of it.   What mysteries lie behind this magical water?  Just how are ghosts of the past conjured up after a swallow?  And how is the past and present able to meet up in the future for an explosive conclusion? 
 
There's something in the water...it's an understatement.
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by George Carlin (with Tony Hendra)

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06/18/10
"'Gee, he was here a moment ago. . .'  This is what George Carlin wanted on his tombstone if he'd had one."

Leave it to Carlin to release his autobiography after he passed away;  or rather his sortabiography, as he referred to it.
 
The majority of his audience first saw Carlin in the early '60's on The Ed Sullivan Show, with his partner, Jack Burns.  They were two Irish mimic-comedians.  After their falling out, George went solo and had a modestly successful career until he got busted for obscenity.   His career had hit a wall and he was becoming a parody of himself.
 
This book chronicles his love/hate relationship with his mother, Mary; his addiction to drugs and alcohol; his love for his daughter, Kelly; and how hallucinogens changed the course of his comic genius.
 
In the late 60's, Carlin began tripping and from those experiences he created "The Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television."  He credited the drugs to freeing his inhibitions and allowing him to speak freely.  Since he was born a true clown, Carlin's true inner self made millions of people laugh over a 50-year career.
 
This book was co-authored by Tony Hendra, who some might remember from his role in This Is Spinal Tap, as the band's manager.  Fans of Carlin's will want to read this book, if not to find out more about  his hidden demons, then to just marvel in the way his mind worked.
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by John Sandford

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06/07/10
Lucas Davenport and his crew (including Virgil Flowers) is back.  They are on the hunt for a gang of thugs that hold up Lucas' wife’s hospital's pharmacy, at gunpoint, and kick an elderly pharmacist to death during the commission of the bold, daytime crime.  The gang gets away with about a half-million street-dollars worth of drugs.
 
The secondary plot is that Dr. Weather Karkinnen, Davenport's wife, is part of a team that are attempting to surgically separate twins joined-at-the-head at birth.   To add to the pressure of assisting in such a stressful and complicated surgery, Weather is the sole witness to the pharmacy hold-up and the gang is hell-bent on eliminating her as a potential witness.
 
The title aptly forewarns the impending manhunt, ground-breaking surgery, and snowy weather forecast.  Sandford fans will not be disappointed.
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