Friday, August 30, 2013

The Care and Feeding of Houseplants by Art Taylor - Ellery QueenMystery Magazine, March/April 2013

Infidelity.  Watch out.

Felicia is married to a timid man.  She has an affair with Roger who is fitter, stronger more of a man than her husband. 

Never underestimate what a man is capable of.

I did not read this in one sitting but nibbled at it all day.  It is so well written that I kept thinking about it as I was working around the house.  The characters and situation were fresh; Roger's confidence and arrogance - made me dislike him intensely. 

Taylor is an accomplished short story writer.

Art Taylor

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Return of Crazy Horse by Clark Howard - Ellery Queen MysteryMagazine, March/April 2013

Nelson Clay, assistant curator of the Great Plains Native American Museum is approached by a young girl who claims to know where the burial site of Chief Crazy Horse is.

On one level there is the story of how to prove the authenticity of the claim, then there is the conflict of nepotism between Clay and his boss.

As the story progresses interesting relationships develop to a satisfying twist ending.

This is my second encounter with Howard's writing and I look forward to more.
Clark Howard

Monday, August 19, 2013

Book Report #67 - Bossypants by Tina Fey

You can count me as a fan of Tina Fey's.

She has managed to make, what can be a stodgy form, a lot of fun.  Fey is a very intelligent person who has a wonderful way to look at the small things in life.

I've only come to know her through her work on 30 Rock so it was great fun to read about her work on Saturday Night Live and her movies.

She treats the telling of her life much like you'd expect her to tell it at a party; by keeping it light and funny. 

My wife and two daughters loved the book and I could hear each one of them laugh out loud.

I liked it very much (although, being male, I may have missed some of it).

Friday, August 16, 2013

Huddling Place by Clifford D. Simak - The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume I

A surprisingly compelling story about a man struggling with agoraphobia.

Although humanity has ventured out to the planets some old psychological problems still plagues society.

After seeing his son off on a trip to Mars he discovers that he simply cannot deal with the crowds and the strangeness of the space port; he is terrified of being away from home and desperately works to get back there.

A few months later he discovers a good friend is dying on Mars and only he can save him.

How will he make the trip?  Will he?

July 1944

Clifford D. Simak

Friday, August 9, 2013

Robers' Roost by Loren D. Estleman from AMOS WALKER The Complete Story Collection

Walker is summoned to the bedside of a dying man.  He is asked to solve the death of a Prohibition era driver who's vehicle broke through the winter ice of the Detroit River.

The dying man, Oscar Chubb, an ex-cop, wants Walker to get enough evidence to prove Specs Kleinstein, a known racketeer and bootlegger, was responsible for his adopted brother's death, who was driving that car.

Walker has to get a vehicle pulled from the Detroit River that has been lying at the bottom for over 50 years.

Even though this is the coldest of cold cases, somebody does not want it investigated.

A solid story.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Book Report #66 - The Overlook by Michael Connelly

Harry Bosch gets a call, in the middle of the night, a body has been discovered on a Mulholland Drive overlook.

The victim is a medical physicist who'd been killed execution style.

It's quickly discovered the victim had access to large quantities of radioactive cesium.  Normally cesium is used in the treatment of cancer; in the wrong hands it could be used in the production of a dirty bomb.

The FBI are instantly involved since this case could have a terrorist angle to it.  Predictably there is tension between them and the LAPD.  When Homeland Security becomes involved mistakes begin to happen caused by inter-agency rivalries.

I've always found Connelly's writing to be an easy read, having been a crime reporter for the LA Times he has the ability to make a story flow.  This book first saw publication as a serialized story in the New York Times Magazine which explains the low page count.  There is very little time given to the struggles of just being Harry Bosch that is usually found in one of his books.

It was still a well crafted, plot driven story that I enjoyed very much.

Michael Connelly

Friday, August 2, 2013

Greektown by By Loren D. Estleman from AMOS WALKER, The Complete Story Collection

This is my fist stab at the Amos Walker cannon.  I thought a collection of short stories would make for an easy introduction to a new series, at least, new for me.  Eastleman has been writing this series since the 1980's.

Amos Walker is like a lot of PIs in fiction; he's a loner and has pals in the police department and at the city newspapers.  Unlike most PIs his character is based in Detroit, the only other author I know of who uses Detroit is Elmore Leonard - good company.

This first story revolves around a serial killer; Walker's client thinks it's his own half brother and wants him to find his brother before the police do.

Walker then has to walk a fine line around the police, never letting on that he's in fact on the case representing the suspect.

The police get their man and Walker discovers the reasons behind it all.

First published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, August 1983.
August 1983

Loren D. Estleman