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Cathy67

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Flags of Our Fathers
James Bradley, Ron Powers
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Paul Levine

Good But...

L.A. Confidential  - James Ellroy

1) Yes, this was excellent.
2) Yes, this was hard-boiled.
3) Yes, this had confusing storylines.
4) Yes, this book needed a list of characters (unless you have an incredible memory.) 
5) Yes, I wanted to give this book a solid five stars. 

I have been wanting to read this great book for years, then when I saw I had 10 friends who read it, it became a must read now. Of those 10 friends, five gave it four stars and five five stars, so I knew it was great. 

Ellroy wrote The Black Dahalia which I loved, giving it five stars and I fully expected this book to live up to my five star expectation. However, I found the characters very confusing. I wondered, how does Ellroy expect the reader to remember John Doe who was mentioned on page 25, then repeated again on page 158? So who is John Doe? Then begin flipping back the pages to see when he was mentioned. 

Although the storyline was about the Night Owl massacre of six people in an all night coffee shop, there were multiple storylines revolving around that event. 

There are three main characters and they weave back and forth...good, yes, he's a good guy then hell no, he's a bad guy. So, in my mind there are no clear cut good guy/bad guys in the entire book. And that is not a complaint but if you need a clear delineation of good/bad guys, it's not here. 

Needless to say, this is no pansy ass book with warm and fuzzies. It's dark, pitch black dark and that's why it's called noir. A great word for this book.

I still wish that Goodreads would allow us readers to give half stars but no. Changes in GR, as we all know, but not there. With that said, I would give this one three and a half, but I do round up so I'm tipping the scale of my circle of friends with six now giving it four stars and five reviewers, five stars. 

No, it didn't amaze me. Hopefully, the next Ellroy will. I'm expecting it but will begin my list of characters on page one like I should have done here. hint, hint(less)

A Darkness More Than Night (Harry Bosch, #7) - Michael Connelly Amazing...maybe I should bump it up a star to coincide with the first word of this review...ok, I am, giving it 4 1/2 stars and I always round up.

Have no idea how I missed this one because I have made a concerted effort to read this series in order. I missed a good one, obviously.

The first ever Connelly book I read was Mickey Haller and read them back to back if I recall. Loved Mickey. Makes me want to sing the song, "Mickey, Mickey, you're so fine, you blow my mind, hey Mickey, hey Mickey!" Wish I could sing it for you...nevermind, no, you don't.

After falling for Mickey Haller so hard, it took me a few books to shift gears and 'get into' (figuratively speaking, of course) Harry Bosch. They were two such completely different personalities. Mickey, a piece of cake...he was easy to 'get into' (figuratively speaking, of course), easy going, witty with loads of personality. Not dark, not dark at all.

Not quite so with Harry but after about the third book, well, he did grow on me and the more about him I read, the more MC unfolded Harry's personality and the better I understood him and why (sometimes) he did what he did. Harry is a complicated fellow, very difficult to read, to understand and yes, a bit dark.

To read a Michael Connelly book after not reading one for a couple of months, is to me like seeing an old friend, where we pick up just where we left off last time we were together.

MC just keeps on keeping on with dialog, storyline, and surprises here and there. Michael Connelly has it all and I'm so glad he decided to write. So very many pleasurable hours have been spent due to his hard labor and I surely appreciate that.

A great series, Michael Connelly, with Harry Bosch still complicated, still dark and still with secrets. Can it get any better than this? Well, yeah, of course, with the next book.
A Deadly Shade of Gold (Travis McGee Series #5) - John D. MacDonald In this, my third read of ~~~Cathy’s swooning over~~~Travis McGee~~~Cathy’s sighing over Travis McGee~~~ok, I admit it, there is no other like Travis McGee in my little black book.

I’m reading much more carefully than ever before in part because of the ongoing discussion of Travis on D. R. Martin’s blog, Travis McGee & Me when specific questions and discussion come about.

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Travis McGee, Salvage Consultant

In my opinion, Travis though JDM, of course, is more philosophical in this book than any other book thus far on my third reading. I happen to enjoy, relish probably more accurate, Travis' musings on life.

There were a number of thoughtful observations that Travis made in Gold but this one was, I think, my favorite which I could have shortened but wanted the reader to get the entire reasoning behind Travis' remarks:

She took me into a study which was also a trophy room. African game. Some very good heads. Leopard, lion, buffalo. There was a case of fine weapons behind glass. There were framed photographs of her, younger, slimmer, just as vital, standing by the dead elephant, rhino, great ape. “My guns,” she said. “My dear dead animals. I took my sainted husband on safari five years running, thinking it would turn him into enough man for me. He killed like an accountant signing a ledger. He bent over a bush to pick a flower for me and a snake struck him in the throat. He was dead before he could fall to the ground. If it was permitted, I would have his head in here, mounted like the others.“ Then later, “You might be enough man for me.”

Travis speaking in the first person, “I do not like the killers, and the killing bravely and well crap. I do not like the bully boys, the Teddy Roosevelts, the Hemingways, the Ruarks. They are merely slightly more sophisticated version of the New Jersey file clerks who swarm into the Adirondacks in the fall, in red cap, beard stubble and taut hero’s grin, talking out of the side of their mouths, exuding fumes of bourbon, come to slay the ferocious white tail deer. It is the search for balls. A man should have his shot at something, a shining running something, and see it come a-tumbled down, all mucus and steaming blood stench and gouted excrement, the eyes going dull the final muscle spasms. And if he is, in all parts and purposes, a man, he will file that away as a part of his process of growth and life and eventual death. And if he is perpetually, hopelessly a boy, he will just to go do it again, with a bigger beast.”

And later “There is one thing which strikes me as passing strange. Never have I met a man who had the infantry memories, who had knocked down human meat and seen it fall, who ever had any stomach for shooting living things.” Then later…speaking of another character in the book…”He would need no romantic fantasies about himself. His manhood would need no artificial reinforcing.”


If a reader does not like JDM's writing, doesn't like Travis McGee, that’s fine with me. However, the following authors have made many extraordinary comments about John D. MacDonald’s writing and looking over the list, I would be hard pressed to say they don’t know what they're talking about or they have terrible taste in the written word:

Ian Fleming
Mary Higgins Clark
Sue Grafton
Pete Hamill
Carl Hiaasen
Stephen King
Dean Koontz
Rex Stout
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Joseph Wambaugh.
Paperback Confidential: Crime Writers of the Paperback Era - Brian Ritt Oh, my, word! I think Brian Ritt wrote this book for me. (And Mantan, I'm sure.)

And I can thank Mantan, thank you, Mantan, for clueing me in on its existence. It was just published in March. (2013)

I love what I call "the backstory" including bios of the writers who I love reading and especially, other writers who influenced their writing.

This book is a keeper and one that goes on my shelf with The Black Mask Stories, Mystery in the Sunshine State, Crime Fiction & Film in the Sunshine State--Florida Noir, Pulp Masters and Miami Noir. Have a few more, but can't think of them right now.

I have found so many authors I want and need to read that I'm feeling everything else is going to be left behind.

The intro by Ritt was chocked full of information about hard cover books, paperbacks, slicks and a few others with new information for my brain where I compartmentalize everything noir and hard-boiled.

Also (and prior to the intro) Rick Ollerman wrote a history of how the paperbacks came about with this book covering from the 1940's to the 1960's. Such a great and colorful history of this genre which I love so much.

It's my 'go-to' book for writers of hard-boiled and noir and man, oh, man, I've had a ball reading it.

Some tidbits:

James Cain of The Postman Always Rings Twice fame, wanted to be an opera singer. Glad that one didn't work out.

Malcolm Braly, an ex-con, received the Edgar for his first novel Felon Tank published in 1961. Is first three novels were written while in prison.

Eight Million Ways to Die

Eight Million Ways to Die - Lawrence Block Lawrence Block has quickly become one of my top favorite hard-boiled/noir writers. To date I've read 11 of his books including a couple as short stories.

As you may have noticed, I've already claimed to love the pimp, Chance, in this story. Can't help myself; the guy is a real cool dude, not your stereotypical pimp. He doesn't drive flashy cars, wear flashy clothes, hang out at pubs, taverns and the such. And, he's good to his girls. He is none of those things we generally think of when we think of pimps.

Matt Scudder is, as we know, an alcoholic and has been since book number one in the series. So no spoiler there. Well, Matt continues to fight his demons while at the same time, trying to find the murderer of one of Chance's 'girls.'

This is the best Scudder I've read and they've all been great. I think I've given them all four stars, maybe one other five. (After reading this, I want to change that five star to a four star, this was sooo very good; such an excellent read.)

This is, by the way, number five in the Matt Scudder series. Matt (we're now on a first name basis) is not a licensed P.I. but does favors for friends (or friends of friends) and gets paid for his service. He tithes (10%) all his income, which is quite interesting and sends checks to his wife and two boys. He acknowledges he should send more money more frequently than he does.

This storyline was one of the best mystery storylines that I've read in years. And I cannot express how much I enjoyed reading this book. I was mad when I had something to do and I had to put it down. And couldn't wait to pick it back up when I finished with my chore.

This book just pushes me to pick up the next one and I've got a list of books to read which is a mile long. But I cannot wait until #6 in the series rolls around and it will soon.

After this, I'm no longer messing around with these so-so, not worth my time books; these sissified reads. I'm just putting them down.

Like someone said, "life's too short to read a lousy book." I'm sure that I said something like that but with stronger language.

The stonger language is due of course, to my reading the hard-boiled, noir genre. I can put blame on something else, it's not ME. Passing the blame? I learned that from Matt...all the reasons in the world to have a drink, blaming something else. I came up with a lot, I mean a lot of reasons to not do a chore and instead read Eight Million Ways to Die. A lot, believe me, of reasons. Every one was worth it.

The Quick Adios (Times Six)

The Quick Adios - Tom Corcoran "Nostalgia has its moments. The trick, I believe, is to shed regret." Alex Rutledge, professional photographer, Key West, Florida. His credentials are exemplary and he's well-known throughout south Florida and the Caribbean as the 'go-to' pro in his field.

Having read all the Alex R series years ago when I was on my jag to read only Florida mysteries, based in Florida, I was so annoyed with myself when I found out that Tom Corcoran had written another book in the series two years ago. I missed that memo.

But caught up with him in this great and fun ride.

Alex Rutledge is such a fine character, someone I would want as my best friend (or more) because he's nice, willing to stick his neck out for a friend, is quick with a retort when necessary (and needed,) he's faithful and good looking. Could use more adjectives to describe him but you get the picture; just a super great guy.

All the recurring characters in the series are well drawn so although I read them a couple of years ago, I still recall who they are and how they interact and fit with Alex’s life on Dredger's Lane.

If you feel like reading a comfortable series of seven books, a read which puts you in the middle of swaying sable palms, breezes from the Gulf or the Atlantic, water blue/green everywhere you look, begin this series by a pool with a tall Margarita (or not) or a roaring fire, just begin reading. You won't be disappointed.

However, isn't there always that, a but? in this book there was so much going on, so many characters involved, conspiring against other guys, the end got a bit confusing and messy for me. Corcoran, which is just one reason I like him, drops little reminders of who a guy might be, saying things like "Pulver, who owned the condominium" and this does help.

By the way, Corcoran is one of those multi-talented guys being a professional photographer himself, co-writing songs with Jimmy Buffett and taking cover shots of Buffett and other South Florida writers for books and CD's.

His interest in '64 Mustangs appears in the series along with references to many cars I wouldn't know if I stumbled into them. But that doesn't get in the way of a good story.

I you haven't read Tom Corcoran start from the beginning of the series, if you can because it tends to build to this book. But if not, no worries just dive in, the water’s great and swimming (swim wear optional) with Alex is just a lot of fun.

************

Just read this from Creative Loafing by William McKeen and he likes Alex, too.

Few writers can lay claim to having created such a vivid, admirable character -- maybe Randy Wayne White with Doc Ford, or Carl Hiassen with his eco renegade, Skink. And certainly, they all owe some DNA to John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee." ...he's so free of pretension. He's an organic James Bond..."

Wish I had said that!

Tampa Bay Creative Loafing Article
Deceived - Randy Wayne White A number of years ago I decided to read as many Florida mystery writers as possible. If I didn't care much for the writing, I just wouldn't read another one. (Old story, so my apology for repeating myself.)

At my favorite used book store my friend Vanessa suggested Randy Wayne White and fortunately she had the first book in the Doc Ford series, Sanibel Flats.

I recall reading the first page of the first book and was immediately hooked. To this day I remember exactly how Doc Ford was introduced and what happened in the first chapter, can still recall the entire storyline and how it ended. I can’t say that about many books. Sanibel Flats made such an impression on me I still think about it today from time to time.

Couldn't wait until I started The Heat Islands which was book number two in the series. I continued reading in order and mostly back to back.

I snagged all seven of the Dusky MacMorgan series which was located in Key West and written under RWW’s pen name, Randy Striker. I devoured them. They were great with a different character but that same style of writing which reminded me some of John D. MacDonald with lots of scenery descriptions.

So smitten with the Doc Ford series, I attended a book signing (in 2010) in Jacksonville Beach for #17 in the series, Deep Shadow. After reading
Deep Shadow I remember closing the book and thinking to myself that RWW was a tad off the mark with his usual writing and storyline, which at the time, I had become very familiar with.

Then I bought the first two of men’s adventure written under RWW’s pen name of Carl Ramm. The first one, Florida Firefight well, let’s just say it wasn't my “cup of tea.” It was more a man’s man book (is there a genre?) with guns, guns and more guns and oh, shooting, too, the bad guys whoever they were, I can’t recall. Didn't like the storylines so never bothered to read the second one.

RWW was in St. Augustine in 2011 for the Florida Writer’s Conference and I attended an hour long workshop of his talking about his writing career, suggestions on writing and the Doc Ford series.

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RWW at his Chasing Midnight book signing in Neptune Beach (next door to Jax Beach)

When Night Vision came out, I once again went to Jax Beach for another RWW book signing at the Bookmark.

Began reading Night Vision and I struggled with it from the beginning. I wanted to like it, wanted to love it like I loved Sanibel Flats and any one of the earlier books. I do not put books down easily but about three-quarters through, I couldn't read another page and closed it. It was the probably the third book I’ve ever put down.

After that, I began thinking about how I felt about the last few books I had read and decided that the quality of his storyline and writing, in my opinion, began floundering with Deep Shadow. Maybe, changed is a better word, although I hate to say that.

Hannah Smith was introduced in one of the earlier Doc Ford series, as a walk-on character but RWW wrote the first of her series last year which I was waiting for in paperback...used paperback. This book, Deceived is the second in the series.

Not sure how I received this ARC but I’m always happy to get a free book especially when it's by a writer I've loved. I was a Shelf Awareness winner for an ARC entry.

At this time I have read a total of 26 1/2 books written by Randy Wayne White so I feel confident that I know his writing and know it well.

Now I'm wondering is RWW really writing every book that is published under his name? The writing, since Deep Shadow has seemed off track for RWW’s writing which I'm obviously familiar with.

And as far as RWW losing his writing voice, the one we ardent followers and fans have loved from the beginning, well, I’m not alone in that respect. I haven’t read other reviews recently, but did read some more than a year ago where others were asking similar questions; that his more recent books simply sound differently than his original books.

Therefore, my three stars. At first I had two, which as we know means “it was ok” but thought about it and decided on two and a half and I do round up, therefore three.

Disappointment is not the word I want to use as to how I feel about Randy Wayne White’s books these days. I am disappointed and annoyed with his new and different voice.

I can always reflect on reading that first chapter of Sanibel Flats. I remember how I said to myself I've got to read everything this guy has written. Unfortunately, that's no longer the case.


*******************

1 September 2013

I was almost finished with about a 600 word review, when I stupidly closed Goodreads without saving it.

May write another...but not now. I do want to substantiate my two star rating for now. Just finished book this am, so I may give it another star but right now, I'm so angry at myself about that wasted time...

Settled down some now after running five miles, thinking, and decided that I'm upping to two and a half stars, and since I round up, I'm moving to three stars. Well, wasn't exactly running and it wasn't exactly five miles either but I did settle down.

Later...

******************

Borrowed Crime - Cornell Woolrich This Black Mask Magazine cover above I believe to be the edition that the Borrowed Crime story originally appeared. It's dated July on the cover and the artwork reflects the story. However, there is no date, the year, on the cover. (Wiki article on the magazine, Black Mask Magazine

Rand, my Goodreads friend and neighbor in Jacksonville, said that Woolrich was a noir must read author and she was absolutely right. I had never read him until now.

I've had The Black Lizard Big Book of Black Mask Stories where I found this, the last entry in the book.

By the way, the book weighs 11.9 pounds. It's very hard to hold but worth that minor inconvenience for the treasure of stories it contains.

Let me do a check here on Borrowed Crime:

Storyline: Excellent, no unnecessary subplots
Character development: Excellent
Scenery: Clear, vivid mental images
Dialogue: Excellent, reads like you're in the room with the characters listening; no pretense to character's voice
Overall: Clear, clean writing and so noir but on the other end of dark noir

Grade: A+ (or five stars)

Get a chance, Woolrich was an interesting writer and wrote It Had to be Murder which you would recognize as Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window. Ring any bells? He was a prolific writer of short stories, novels and many films which were based on his work.

Here's his biography from Wiki: Cornell Woolrich

This was my first reading of Woolrich but won't be my last. And now, thanks to Rand, I will recognize his name.
Borrowed Crime - Cornell Woolrich This Black Mask Magazine cover above I believe to be the edition that the Borrowed Crime story originally appeared. It's dated July on the cover and the artwork reflects the story. However, there is no date, the year, on the cover. (Wiki article on the magazine, Black Mask Magazine

Rand, my Goodreads friend and neighbor in Jacksonville, said that Woolrich was a noir must read author and she was absolutely right. I had never read him until now.

I've had The Black Lizard Big Book of Black Mask Stories where I found this, the last entry in the book.

By the way, the book weighs 11.9 pounds. It's very hard to hold but worth that minor inconvenience for the treasure of stories it contains.

Let me do a check here on Borrowed Crime:

Storyline: Excellent, no unnecessary subplots
Character development: Excellent
Scenery: Clear, vivid mental images
Dialogue: Excellent, reads like you're in the room with the characters listening; no pretense to character's voice
Overall: Clear, clean writing and so noir but on the other end of dark noir

Grade: A+ (or five stars)

Get a chance, Woolrich was an interesting writer and wrote It Had to be Murder which you would recognize as Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window. Ring any bells? He was a prolific writer of short stories, novels and many films which were based on his work.

Here's his biography from Wiki: Cornell Woolrich

This was my first reading of Woolrich but won't be my last. And now, thanks to Rand, I will recognize his name.

Sky Blues

Sky Blues - Vicki Hendricks To do list prior to reading this book:

1) Purchase and read a book on skydiving paying particular attention to terms used including but not limited to type of parachutes, cords used, number of parachutes used in skydiving and computers used. You can save money by finding a comprehensive book which includes lingo terms used in skydiving, preferably for the south Florida area, the setting of this book and its local customs such as the celebratory event held after 100 skydives.

2) Purchase a book, doesn't have to be a detailed book, but a book on large animal vet terms including terms on medications, including injections such as tranquilizers. Skip through reading African animals, primarily.

3) To save time, write down a list of adjectives which would describe the color blue, yellow, and white; i.e. dazzling blue, deep blue, bright blue you get the idea. (Had this been on my Kindle, sorry folks, I could have told readers exactly how many times the words blue and eyes were used. Just guessing, eyes (hers but mostly Tom's) probably 149 times and blue about 169 times (for sky and eyes.) By knowing the adjectives, you can save time by skipping over them thereby saving yourself time so that you can finish it faster to pick up a good book.

This was my third Vicki Hendricks book and the first one, Miami Purity was great. Clear characters, great storyline and surprises throughout.

Iguana Love, well, it was more complicated like love affairs between men and women who are missing a few grey cells (I think they were) but it was good. At least it made me think a lot trying to understand all the allegories. And, which is pretty important to me, anyhow, there was a storyline, kindof. They got five and four stars respectively.

So, silly me, I expected this book to be fairly good with a fairly good plot, well written descriptive characters and a book that would give me a jolt from time to time like the other two.

That was the reason I continued when it's pace just never went anywhere; not up into those dazzling blue skies or Tomcat's mesmerizing blue eyes; or down when vet Destiny landed into the brown dirt or grass as green as a chameleon sitting on a green leaf. (How trite is that? Like the book I was reading, that's how trite.)

Like many authors, just because they've 'hit the mark' once, twice or more, doesn't mean they do every time thereafter.

The book was only 230 pages and I could have finished it in one day but every time I looked at it, I groaned. Do I have to finish this? Each time the answer was yes but I sure put it off and finally just said to myself, to hell with it, I'm biting the bullet and finishing it now; which I did, FINALLY.

Sorry, Vicki Hendricks, as much as I hate to say it, this may be my last one. We'll see.

The ending? Surprise ending is what I read from briefly glancing through other reviews which was one reason I continued.

My opinion of the ending? Thank god it's over. Read with caution.

Killshot

Killshot - Elmore Leonard Does it get any better than this? Killshot...five stars not because of this being my tribute to the passing of Mr. Leonard but it deserved five stars on its own. Great book, per usual from Elmore Leonard.


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Elmore John Leonard, Jr. Picture Taken September 17, 2012

My tribute read for Elmore Leonard, RIP.

Born: Elmore John Leonard, Jr.
October 11, 1925
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Died:
August 20, 2013 (aged 87)
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, United States

From Wiki: Leonard often cited Ernest Hemingway as one of his most important influences, but at the same time criticized Hemingway for his lack of humor.

Mr. Leonard wrote more than 49 books, numerous screenplays, TV series including Justified and adapted his books to so many movies we've seen and recall fondly. My personal favorites were Get Shorty and Out of Sight.

Two Goodreads friends have been personally touched by his passing; Col from UK and Mohammed from Sweden both being longtime fans and I'm sure feel as though they knew him personally. My condolences to both my friends.

And let me add, my very good Goodreads friend and neighbor, Remy, who loved Elmore Leonard, as well.
When the Cat's Away - Kinky Friedman Who would have thought that Kinky Friedman, yes that Kinky Friedman writes books! He has written more than 15 mysteries and some non-fiction, for more than 20 books total.

For a news junky like myself, I knew a bit about him although I’m not from or live in Texas. (However, I did live there for a year but I never heard his name mentioned.)

Some of his bio was in the news when he ran for governor of Texas in 2006 and I recalled hearing that he was a musician with group called, hold on to your seat, “Kinky Friedman and The Texas Jewboys.” WHAT? WHO IS THIS GUY? I asked myself! Strange dude, that's for sure and I wondered was he serious.

Apparently he was serious and no, as we know, he didn't win. Texas was blessed with the re-election of Rick Perry. Yes, the presidential candidate who couldn't remember the three departments he would abolish if elected president.

For some reason, I put in a status update and my friend from UK, Col wrote one of the most clever comments I've heard in a long time when he saw I was reading a Kinky Friedman.

Here goes: Col speaking here: “I tried Kinky once, and didn't get on with him - a bit too smug for my liking. I always thought that it was a good job he wasn't made out of chocolate, otherwise he would have ate himself a long time ago.”

Yes, I have to agree with Col that Kinky is a bit full of himself but I think anyone who runs for public office has somewhat of an inflated ego to begin with.

Well, I got along with Kinky and accepted his outrageous behavior and put it aside. (Even saying Kinky and behavior in the same sentence, sounds odd to me.)

Kinky, the author, writes his book in the first person and guess what? The protagonist is Kinky. Kinky the protag (opposed to the real Kinky) smokes cigars the entire day, drinks Jameson (an Irish whiskey) does a line of coke from time to time, well, in the book Kinky does pretty much what Kinky wants to do. Which is probably not far removed from the human, real Kinky Friedman who drinks Jameson and from pictures I've seen, always has a cigar in his hand.

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Apparently Kinky’s Two Favorite Things in Life

Kinky is in New York and is a P. I. It’s very hard to describe whether he’s a serious P. I. or not because I’m just not sure. Nevertheless, a friend calls from Madison Square Garden that her prized kitty is missing from her carry crate at the cat show. She needs Kinky to find her kitty which has four white feet, white socks.

cat white feet photo: white cat feet lying down kittyfeet.jpg
Only two showing but this kitty, I’m certain, has four feet

The characters, of course, are as kinky and weird as Kinky but all in all, being honest, I liked the book. Surprised, too, because I didn’t think I would, didn't expect to like it.

This fellow is so irreverent about everything that it’s outrageously funny. A couple of the titles of his books: Texas Hold 'Em: How I Was Born In A Manger and Died In The Saddle, And Came Back As A Horny Toad; and Elvis, Jesus and Coca-Cola.

And smug? Like a Jackson Burnett (who recommended Kinky to me) said, he's from Texas! Although Kinky was born in Chicago, he’s been a Texan his entire life.

Texans are unique. They’re not quite like the rest us in the U.S. and they proudly stand apart. I haven’t heard anything about it recently, but a bill was proposed in the Texas Legislature to secede from the Union, the United States of America. And it wasn't a joke like our Conch Republic in Key West seceding.

Seen that slogan “Don’t Mess With Texas”? Well, they mean it. (Lewis Black, a political satirist ignores that saying and motto in a big way as seen on The Daily Show last month: Lewis Black on TDS)

Yes, Kinky Friedman is different but I enjoyed this book, it was a bit quirky and off the radar but it was entertaining and a fun read.

Although I'm not running to the library to get another, or running to see my friend Vanessa at All Books and Comics, if I find some, sure, I'll pick them up. They won't tax my mind, that's for sure.

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Mount Kinky...Think He's Full of Himself?

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Maybe a campaign poster in 2006?

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Kinky and Willie Nelson---Kinky Hangs With Good Company

Fletch's Fortune (Fletch Series #3)

Fletch's Fortune - Gregory McDonald All of us at one time or another have gone through the stress of a broken modem, router, computer tower, laptop and/or a million other things that can occur to prevent access to the internet.

Internet access has become in some respects, imperative for many of us. So when lightening hit and destroyed my modem/router, and I spent five hours just on the phone trying to resolve the problem, I needed a book that would lighten my mood and lower my blood pressure and stress level.

For me, something nonsensical or funny or light was the ticket. So who do I reach for? Fletch is my man...Irwin R. Fletcher, the smart ass newspaper journalist who is now a man of leisure due to the fortune he acquired in book #2. Fletch now lives in Italy (mostly) and writes for European artsy/fartsy magazines.

A movie was made called Fletch Macdonald's first book and starred Chevy Chase. In my opinion it was perfect casting so I read the entire book thinking about Chevy pulling all these stunts.

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Chevy Chase is Fletch

As an aside from IMDB "Gregory McDonald, the author of the Fletch novels, had casting approval over the film. He rejected both Mick Jagger and Burt Reynolds before he decided on Chevy Chase for the lead." Great going Mr. Mcdonald. (Mcdonald does not cap the "d" in his name.) And Mick Jagger? OMG, glad that didn't happen.

Fletch was just what the doctor ordered...light, breezy, easy and at times laugh out loud funny.

Under normal circumstances, I would probably give this a three star rating but due to my frame of mind (which was NOT good) it's a solid three and a half and I round up, so four stars it is. Yes, it served its purpose lifting my spirits and my attitude and lowering my stress level.

And yes, as you can guess, my computer is working just fine. It took much thought to identify and confirm the problem and this book did not distract me from that, which was my number one priority.

The Final Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The Final Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes -  Arthur Conan Doyle Maybe later...I have draft...maybe later.
Iron River - T. Jefferson Parker Ya know...if I had wanted to read a trilogy or whatever...an ongoing series which cannot be read as a stand-alone, I would do that.

But reading a book, I think the reader deserves to know whether the book is part of an ongoing series that is open-ended (leaving the reader with numerous loose ends) or not; readers expect a book to be a stand-alone that is unless it says otherwise. A book at the last page reads "The End" for a reason.

I find it important that the Charlie Hood series be read in sequence which I like to read in sequence anyhow. But because this book, #3 in the series, relies somewhat heavily on the past two books and Charlie's previous relationships it's most important that book #1 and #2 be read before this book.

In fact, if someone had just picked this one up at the library and decided to read it because they liked the cover, the blurbs on the back of the dust cover or the rah-rahs that TJP has received, I can see where they would never read another Parker. There are far too many references to previous relationships and events and far too many story-lines left hanging at the last page.

For that reason, and that reason only, I'm giving it three stars other than four or five. I gave five stars for the first in the series L. A. Outlaws and four to the second, The Renegades. And let it be clear, I simply LOVE Parker's writing, just love it!

But hell's bells, I may not even finish reading the series I'm so pissed about all the hanging story-lines. Not as bad as the hanging chads in Florida, but real close. Still pissed about those chads, too.

Six Wives of Henry VIII

Six Wives Of Henry Viii - Paul Rival Over the years I've read so many books about Henry VIII and his six wives so there were few surprises here for me. That has nothing to do with the rating I gave, the fact that I already know so many of the general details.

However, I did notice a few "facts" which I believe other historians would question.

And it was not clear whether some of the quoted comments were taken from official documents. That was a bit problematic for me but I just overlooked it with the attitude that none of the comments were verbatim from authenticated documents secured in the Tower. (Just kidding, folks. We know there are only ghosts in the Tower, no documents.)

But it was an easy read and refreshed my memory about Henry VIII and his six wives.