Friday, August 22, 2014

A Review of Interest (To Me, Anyway)

Whodunit: mini reviews of mysteries | Toronto Star  

Okay, they're all interesting, but one of them is of my book.

Soon the Germans Will Have No Rights Left At All

SFGate: A German court says a landlady was within her rights to evict a man for persistently using a squeaky swing set in his apartment late at night as a sex prop.  

Hat tip to Art Scott.

29 Classic Young Adult Books That Changed The World

29 Classic Young Adult Books That Changed The World (And Are Also Great Reads)

Paging Art Scott

Hot Pepper Gummies Made From Real Chillies 

Song of the Day

Buck Owens - I've Got a Tiger by the Tail - YouTube:

I Miss the Old Days

10 Already Obsolete Things Included in the 5000-Year Westinghouse Time Capsule 

Today's Vintage Ad


The Unexpectedly Delightful Origins of 15 Common Words

The Unexpectedly Delightful Origins of 15 Common Words

PaperBack



Harvey Kurtzman, Harvey Kurtzman's Second Help!-ing (Specially revised by the author), Gold Medal, 1962

They're going to sell it as soon as they can find a fence

Women caught on camera stealing a neighbor's entire front lawn   

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Could He Have Been Reading a Certain Classic Novel?

Rick Perry Says Terrorists Could Be Entering U.S. Along Mexico Border

Robby the Robot: The Camera Whore Who Took Hollywood

Robby the Robot: The Camera Whore Who Took Hollywood 

Map of what each state is worst at

Map of what each state is worst at 

Vintage Treasures: City Under the Sea by Kenneth Bulmer

Vintage Treasures: City Under the Sea by Kenneth Bulmer

A Forgotten Series?

Black Gate: Those Sweet Silver Blues: Garrett, PI

Vintage Treasures: Pavane by Keith Roberts

Vintage Treasures: Pavane by Keith Roberts

The Long-Awaited Return of Bulldog Drummond

The Long-Awaited Return of Bulldog Drummond

FFB: Wolf House -- Jack Lynch

This is a slight revision of an FFB post from June 27, 2008.  I'm rerunning it for two reasons.  One is that Brash Books is going to reprint Jack Lynch's novels, so they won't be forgotten anymore.  This is great news.  The other reason is that I'ven ow visited Jack London State Park, where some of the book is set.  I have a few photos that I'll put on the blog to give you some local color.

It wasn't so much that I forgot about Wolf House. I didn't even know it existed until I read the bad news about Jack Lynch's death on Jiro Kimura's Gumshoe Site. (I highly recommend that you read this obituary. Lynch was an interesting guy.) At any rate, as soon as I learned about Wolf House, I bought it. After all, and we're getting to Forgotten Books now, I'd read all seven of Lynch's previous books about p.i. Peter Bragg. They were published first by Gold Medal and then by Warner Books. One was nominated for an Edgar. Two were nominated for Shamus Awards. But Lynch is pretty much fogotten now. That's too bad, because his books are quite good.

That being said, Wolfe House isn't the best of them. It was published only a few years ago by some imprint of iUniverse. I suspect that it was written earlier and that Lynch finally decided to publish it himself if he couldn't interest a mainstream press in it. There are some attitudes in the book that seem to date it back to an earlier time, though not everything does.

Some people will be put off immediately because the book begins when Bragg gets a call from a psychic who believes that someone is killing people and dumping the bodies in Jack London National Park, the location of Wolf House, a home London had begun building but which was mostly destroyed by fire. Only the shell remains. The psychic turns out to be correct, and Bragg is drawn into the search for the serial killer. There are a few holes in the plot, but this is a smoothly written p.i. novel of the kind they don't write anymore. It's not gaudy or showy, but Bragg's a good narrator, and the characters and the local color ring true. If you don't want to read this one, why not try one of Lynch's earlier books? I recommend them all, and, as I mentioned, they're about to be returned to print (and become available as eBooks) from Brash Books.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I Want to Believe!

Microbial life found living on the exterior of the International Space Station, say reports

Machu Picchu named 'world's top landmark'

Machu Picchu named 'world's top landmark'  

Slideshow warning.

Factory Town -- Jon Bassoff

I think I can safely promise that you won't read another book like Factory Town this year.  Or maybe ever.  It's a strange, dark, hallucinatory trip.  There's a prologue.  Some people, so I've heard, skip prologues.  Don't skip this one.  It's the key to what's happening in the rest of the book.  Read the epilogue, too, as it ties in very well with the prologue and the book's events.  I'm trying not to give too much away here.

Russell Carver comes to Factory Town looking for a girl named Alana.  Factory Town is nightmarish, and so are the things that happen there.  In fact, as I read some of the vividly rendered scenes in the book, I thought that John Bassoff might have been spying on my own nightmares.  As in all nightmares, strange things happen.  The picture of Alana, a computer printout, changes.  Long journeys cover short distances.  The real and the unreal shift and change.  As Carver continues to look for the girl, we gradually come to realize that he's also looking for himself and searching through his own past.  

If Factory Town is sometimes confusing, it's only because it's meant to be that way.  Everything comes together by the ending, and you'll find that the journey through the decaying landscape is well worth the trip.  Check it out.

25 Great Pieces of Life Advice From Literature

Flavorwire: 25 Great Pieces of Life Advice From Literature

Song of the Day

THE SILHOUETTES - "GET A JOB" (1957) - YouTube:

California

I have no idea who the Grim Reaper was looking for, but there he was on the streets of San Francisco.  Okay, the sidewalk.  And he was protected by traffic cones.

Today's Vintage Ad


Can there Ever Be ‘Too Much Johnson’?

Watch Orson Welles’ Long-Lost, Pre-‘Citizen Kane’ Movie ‘Too Much Johnson’ 

10 Fascinating Knives From History

10 Fascinating Knives From History

PaperBack



Gordon Mitchell, Henry's Wife, Midwood, 1961

"The Call of Cthulhu"

Mental Floss: H.P. Lovecraft keeps getting name-checked in pop culture. Here's why he matters.

Okay, maybe not in the same way that Iliad is epic

These Writing Tips From George R.R. Martin & Robin Hobb Are Just Epic

Neanderthal Update

Our life with the Neanderthals was no brief affair: (Reuters) - Far from wiping out Neanderthals overnight, modern humans rubbed along with their shorter and stockier cousins for thousands of years, giving plenty of time for the two groups to share ideas - and have sex.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

Tampa Bay Times: A Tarpon Springs man found trouble recently when he attacked the diaper aisle at a local Walmart. 

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

The most spectacular libraries in the world

The most spectacular libraries in the world 

Hat tip to Art Scott.
Really long slideshow, but some great photos.

Nicolas Cage Update

Even By Nic Cage's Bizarre Standards, Outcast Looks Off-The-Wall Insane: Stop the Oscar race, 2015. Your Best Picture winner has been found.  

Hat tip to Randy Johnson.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

Man chokes cabbie with phone cord after trying to pay with fake $100 bill