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  #51  
Old 10-17-2019, 09:07 AM
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Started today on Joe Hill's newest collection, Full Throttle. I have read several of these stories before, but don't mind reading them again. I've been amazed by all of it so far...the man is just a wonderful writer. The only books I generally purchase are Stephen King's, but I'm giving serious consideration to collecting Joe's stuff as well. Five stars!
  #52  
Old 10-17-2019, 01:50 PM
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You do know Joe is Stephen's son, right? I agree, he is good; the apple didn't fall too far.
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Old 10-17-2019, 02:16 PM
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Yes, and the intro to Full Throttle talks about some of Joe's childhood memories. Really fascinating.
  #54  
Old 10-18-2019, 10:00 AM
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I found Katherine Howe's The Physik Book of Dale DEliverance in the library and started listening to it. It's pretty good in general, but I'm severely annoyed that the Ph.D. candidate protagonist severely screws up the history of the Salem Witchcraft trials -- and during her oral qualifying exam, at that! To have one of her professors then comment on her knowledge as "excellent" really hurts after that. But I'm going to give the book a chance.

(In case you're wondering -- she says that no historians took the idea of witchcraft seriously -- not true. Some have assumed that witchcraft WAS practiced at Salem, and have made the case for it. The historians generally don't believe in the reality of supernatural phenomena, though. Furthermore, she says that Cotton Mather was a prosecutor at Salem. He wasn't, and had no real connection with the case or the court, aside from defending them and their decisions. He seems only to have visited Salem once during the trials, but had no jurisdiction there.)
Just finished this book (The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane) last night. It was good enough to finish, but not good enough to recommend. The author is the type who will go to great lengths describing the way a person looks, the gestures they make, the way a room is decorated, etc. to the detriment of the story.

Last edited by The wind of my soul; 10-18-2019 at 10:00 AM.
  #55  
Old 10-18-2019, 10:39 AM
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Joe Hill's writing for the Locke & Key graphic novels, set in Lovecraft, Mass., is very good. Impressive artwork, too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locke_%26_Key
  #56  
Old 10-18-2019, 10:56 AM
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Just finished this book (The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane) last night. It was good enough to finish, but not good enough to recommend. The author is the type who will go to great lengths describing the way a person looks, the gestures they make, the way a room is decorated, etc. to the detriment of the story.
I just finished it yesterday, and found it moderately interesting.

What disturbs me is that Howe gets a lot of things wrong. She has her heroine, at her Ph.D. Qualifying orals at Harvard say that Cotton Mather was a magistrate at the Salem Witchcraft Trials. He wasn't. He never had any jurisdiction over that region, and never sat on the courts. He helped arrange the court, and did go in FOR ONE DAY and inspected things, and he wrote a vigorous defense of the people who WERE the judges, but he was not himself a judge at the trials.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotton_Mather

Her professor praise her for her accuracy in her examination. That hurts.

She says that no historian took Salem witchcraft seriously, and that no one believed that folk magic crossed the Atlantic to the Americas by Puritan days. Evidently she never read Chadwick Hansen's Witchcraft at Salem, which shows pretty conclusively that witchcraft and folk magic WERE practiced at salem (and that book came out long berfore the date most of the novel is set, 1991). Nor all the other books that have been published on the practice of magic in Colonial New England since, all by reputable scholars.

If she was doing this to provide background for her story, I can understand her bending the vfacts a little, but it really isn't necessary. She apparently was unaware of all the above.





Oh, well, I thought. She's a first-time novelist working outside her field. She'll get better with time.


Nope.


She has an MA in New England Studies from Boston University and lived in the Salem-Marblehead area.


!!!!


And after this they got her appeared on multiple TV shows and hosted Salem: Unmasking the Devil for the National Geographic channel. And Penguin books got her to edit The Penguin Book of Witches !!!


There ain't no justice in the world.
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  #57  
Old 10-18-2019, 12:50 PM
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Started Andrew Mayne's, Dark Pattern. It's book 4 of his The Naturalist series. The series centers around Dr. Theo Cray, a computational biologists, turned serial killer hunter. Cray is somewhere on the sprectrum, and doesn't get along with most people, but has a knack for seeing the obvious within the chaos.
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Old 10-18-2019, 02:25 PM
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For Halloween... I'm reading Frankenstein again.
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Old 10-18-2019, 06:29 PM
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https://www.amazon.com/Crucible-Grea.../dp/1610397827



Crucible: 1917 to 1924 - The Long End of the Great War and the Birth of a New World.

One of my favorite times in history to read about are the late 1800s - early 1900s and, well, the birth of a new world. Planes, trains and automobiles etc, the US becomming a world power. The book is in chronological order, and alternates between different cities around the world and what is happening. Here are a couple of paragraphs (or pages) about what is happening in Petrograd. Then we move to London, then to Budapest, then to the front lines of the war, now a little about Einstein, then to Washington, and so on for 600 pages.

The book starts in Petrograd with the assasination of Rasputin, which of course would be followed by the assasination of Nicolas II. I've mentioned before that I have a fascination with Russia and have read several books up to the revolution. Not much about the specifics of what happened after. Coincidentally, just re-watched Reds the other night for about the 20th time. Emma Goldman - The dream may be dying in Russia but I'm not. I'm getting out.


I have a very good general knowledge of this time period, can't wait to get immersed in the details. Not just about Russia but the entire world.
  #60  
Old 10-19-2019, 12:09 PM
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I'm about to finish In the Wake of the Plague: The Black Death and the World It Made by Norman F. Cantor. It covers a wide range of history and conjecture, all linked to the great plague that decimated Europe in the middle of the 14th century. Some of Cantor's conjectures and prejudices seem so outrageous, one wonders how he got such distinguished academic credentials! But it's still a good read.

Very different in tone, though also covering a very broad range of causes and effects, is the book I read many years ago about the worldwide Plague eight centuries before the Black Death: Catastrophe: An Investigation into the Origins of the Modern World. Both books are fascinating.

While here, I'll mention another recent addition to my library: Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology. It's a must-read for any layman interested in biochemistry.
  #61  
Old 10-20-2019, 12:25 AM
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...One of my favorite times in history to read about are the late 1800s - early 1900s and, well, the birth of a new world. Planes, trains and automobiles etc, the US beco[]ming a world power....
Then I highly recommend Edmund Morris's bio trilogy on T.R., beginning with The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. Sweeping, richly detailed but very readable.
  #62  
Old 10-20-2019, 05:44 PM
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Finished The Marriage Bureau: The True Story of How Two Matchmakers Arranged Love in Wartime London, by Penrose Halson, which I enjoyed. It had a lot of information about that time and place that I'd never read before. Funny and tragic in spots, along with a number of unavoidable cliffhangers.

Now I'm reading The Flowers of Vashnoi, by Lois McMaster Bujold.
  #63  
Old 10-22-2019, 04:18 PM
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Finished Lois McMaster Bujold's The Flowers of Vashnoi, which I thought was very good.

Now I'm reading Mother Wore Tights by Miriam Young. It's about her parents who were in vaudeville.
  #64  
Old 10-23-2019, 08:03 AM
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Finished Catton's The Civil War.



I now have Poul Anderson's Operation Luna (his decades-later sequels to Operation Chaos, which I just read this year) and Ibi Zoboi's My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich, a book mixing black history, blues-funk-hiphop music history, and science fiction. I picked it up at the Boston Book Festival after listening to the author (but had to run, so I couldn't get it signed).
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  #65  
Old 10-23-2019, 10:09 AM
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...Just started Patrick O'Brian's Treason's Harbour, the next in his series of Napoleonic sea adventures, which has Capt. Aubrey stuck ashore in Malta while his warship is being repaired all too slowly, and his friend Dr. Maturin under surveillance by French spies.
Finished it. Good stuff, as always from O'Brian, although it ends on something of a cliffhanger. Best line of the book: an Admiralty official is described as "not overburdened with principles."

Next up: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, a post-global-pandemic novel of which I've heard good things.
  #66  
Old 10-24-2019, 10:39 AM
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I just finished reading Death's Acre by Dr. Bill Bass, about the body farm at the University of Tennessee. It's all about how he started it and how it grew to help forensic science. It was fascinating and I highly recommend it. Yes, it's gruesome, but they learned SO much about how bodies decompose under different conditions and it helped law enforcement convict killers. He even worked on the Tri-State crematorium case and had a hand with the Homolka case.

Last edited by ivylass; 10-24-2019 at 10:39 AM.
  #67  
Old 10-24-2019, 05:37 PM
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Finished Mother Wore Tights by Miriam Young. It's about her parents who were in vaudeville.
Meh.

Now I'm reading The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire.
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Old 10-24-2019, 07:27 PM
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Then I highly recommend Edmund Morris's bio trilogy on T.R., beginning with The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. Sweeping, richly detailed but very readable.
I read his Theodore Rex. And Doris Kearns Goodwin's The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism.

Both very good
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Old 10-24-2019, 11:33 PM
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Morris's entire TR trilogy is great, so I recommend you go back and read the first volume. You'll be glad you did. David McCullough's Mornings on Horseback, about TR's childhood and early adulthood, is also excellent.
  #70  
Old 10-25-2019, 12:27 PM
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Recently finished:
Forerunner: The Second Venture, SF by Andre Norton.
Owl Be Home by Christmas, the 26th Meg Langslow mystery, by Donna Andrews.

Now Reading:
Brothers Down: Pearl Harbor and the Fate of the Many Brothers Aboard the USS Arizona, by Walter R Borneman. There were 38 sets of brothers -- 36 pairs and three trios -- stationed aboard USS Arizona on 7 Dec 1941, along with one father-son set. Only 15 of these 80 men survived the ship's sinking....
  #71  
Old 10-25-2019, 12:32 PM
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Now Reading:
Brothers Down: Pearl Harbor and the Fate of the Many Brothers Aboard the USS Arizona, by Walter R Borneman. There were 38 sets of brothers -- 36 pairs and three trios -- stationed aboard USS Arizona on 7 Dec 1941, along with one father-son set. Only 15 of these 80 men survived the ship's sinking....
My mother in law's eldest brother was on the Arizona that day, he was one of the unlucky ones....
  #72  
Old 10-27-2019, 04:29 PM
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Finished Falls the Shadow, by Sharon Kay Penman, the second novel in her Welsh Princes trilogy. Historical fiction covering the middle part of the 13th century. Very good. Wales actually takes a backseat in this installment, which focuses on the adversarial relationship between England's incompetent King Henry and the French-born Simon de Montfort, the latter widely considered a visionary pioneer in representative government in England. My understanding is the spotlight will swing back to Wales in the final installment, with the consequences for that country of those tensions. The title of the book comes from TS Eliot's "The Hollow Men":

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow


But before I take up the final book in the trilogy, I shall read The Wanted, by Robert Crais. I've never heard of him despite this being Crais' 21st novel, but my neighbor, a fellow Michael Connelly fan, gave it to me. Said it is LA detective fiction in the same vein as Connelly and that there is some overlap in the two universes, what with occasional mentions such as "the detective who lives over the hill from me" in reference to Harry Bosch.
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Last edited by Siam Sam; 10-27-2019 at 04:31 PM.
  #73  
Old 10-27-2019, 04:59 PM
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Finished The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire, which was excellent. I hope she keeps writing this series.

Now I'm reading The Sound of Silence: Growing Up Hearing with Deaf Parents, by Myron Uhlberg.
  #74  
Old 10-28-2019, 09:18 AM
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My current book is The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher (a.k.a. Ursula Vernon). It's about a girl cleaning out her grandmother's old house and discovering some weirdness out in the boonies. It has a nice Lovecraft vibe and it's also somewhat gentle and amusing, especially for dog owners. Sample sentence regarding the dog, "Bongo's nose is far more intelligent than the rest of him, and I believe it uses his brain primarily as a counterweight."
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Old 10-28-2019, 01:20 PM
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Right now I'm in the middle of In the Woods by Tana French, and I'm enjoying it immensely. The scene where the detectives interview the victim's family is mesmerizing, with everyone seeming perfectly normal while simultaneously being just a little...off.

My only nitpick: Ms. French's protagonist is a male detective, with the story told in first person, and I don't think she gets inside the male mind in a way that's completely convincing.

On the other hand, if the ending of this one is as good as the beginning, I'll be reading all her books regardless of gender issues.
  #76  
Old 10-28-2019, 07:12 PM
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Finished The Sound of Silence: Growing Up Hearing with Deaf Parents, by Myron Uhlberg. I thought it was very good.

Now I'm reading The Honour of the House, by E. M. Channon.
  #77  
Old 10-28-2019, 10:28 PM
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My current book is The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher (a.k.a. Ursula Vernon). It's about a girl cleaning out her grandmother's old house and discovering some weirdness out in the boonies. It has a nice Lovecraft vibe and it's also somewhat gentle and amusing, especially for dog owners. Sample sentence regarding the dog, "Bongo's nose is far more intelligent than the rest of him, and I believe it uses his brain primarily as a counterweight."
I need to move that one up the queue!
  #78  
Old 10-29-2019, 03:53 PM
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Apparently The Twisted Ones is a retelling of "The White People" by Arthur Machen, a short horror story I haven't read.


I also picked up a children's book, 26 Absurdities of Tragic Proportions by Matthew Woodruff, but I'm going to return it to the library unread. It's a book of short stories based on the alphabet book Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey. However, I don't have a copy of Gashlycrumb on hand to use as a reference, and Absurdities doesn't give the stories their proper titles, e.g. "A is for Amy who fell down the stairs." I thought it would be cute, but without the charm of the Gorey illustrations, I can't summon the motivation to get through any of this.
  #79  
Old 10-29-2019, 04:16 PM
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Well, that was a waste. Times two.

I picked up a free Kindle book, All He Ever Wanted. Set in the early 20th century (right before WWI) it's about a professor who falls in love and marries a woman, despite her telling him she doesn't love him. Lots of navel-gazing and he gets pissed because 1) She wasn't a virgin on their wedding night and 2) She got herself a secret she-shed. I know, presentism and all, but after pages and pages of him expounding on some correspondence he found between his wife and her lover's brother I gave it up.

Then I tried reading a Patricia Cornwell book, Book of the Dead, because of Death's Acre. It was awful. There were two characters, one named Marino and the other name Maroni and I had them confused for about a third of the book. I gave it up when Marino, her assistant coroner or whatever, was giving a medic a hard time about where he lived and where he came from. It seemed like such superfluous nonsense that came out of left field. Are all her books like that? Should I try another one?

I dove back into the arms of the reliable Stephen King. Despite him saving the book was never going to be available other than as a paperback, Joyland is an e-book now.
  #80  
Old 10-29-2019, 04:29 PM
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I love me some T. Kingfisher/Ursula Vernon. Adding that one to my list!

I finished The Empress of Forever recently. It started off pretty uninspired: a rich technocrat decides she's gonna create an AI that's gonna change the world. Then things get a little weird. I almost set it down.

I'm glad I didn't.

By the middle of the book, you've got:
SPOILER:
Said technocrat, only her lack of a soul--i.e., an inability to connect to Future-Internet--makes her incredibly powerful;
-A psychopathic galactic space-pirate
-A shapeshifting nanomachine blob with the personality of a sulky teenage boy;
-A futuristic martial art religious zealot
-A pilot who's never flown a spaceship before but who develops gears in her eyes when she first interfaces with a spaceship, due to genetic engineering

It's delightfully silly and over the top and weird. I enjoyed myself a lot with this book, once I got past the first section.

Currently reading City in the Middle of the Night, by Charlie Jane Anders. I really didn't care for her first book, but this one is better: on a tidally-locked planet, there are aliens and political revolutions and smugglers. It's pretty good, but not blowing my socks off or anything.
  #81  
Old 10-29-2019, 10:58 PM
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Apparently The Twisted Ones is a retelling of "The White People" by Arthur Machen, a short horror story I haven't read.


I also picked up a children's book, 26 Absurdities of Tragic Proportions by Matthew Woodruff, but I'm going to return it to the library unread. It's a book of short stories based on the alphabet book Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey. However, I don't have a copy of Gashlycrumb on hand to use as a reference, and Absurdities doesn't give the stories their proper titles, e.g. "A is for Amy who fell down the stairs." I thought it would be cute, but without the charm of the Gorey illustrations, I can't summon the motivation to get through any of this.
Based on your enthusiasm, I started it yesterday It can rotate with Ronan Farrow's newest book.

Damn that you're a continent away, I have the Amphigorey books by Gorey that have the Gashlycrumb Tinies in them! I would loan if you were closer!
  #82  
Old 10-30-2019, 08:39 AM
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I love me some T. Kingfisher/Ursula Vernon. Adding that one to my list!
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Based on your enthusiasm, I started it yesterday
I'm glad! I've really been enjoying it and plan to check out some of her other stuff too.
  #83  
Old 10-30-2019, 09:33 AM
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Finished The Honour of the House, by E. M. Channon. Meh.

Now I'm reading God Can Move Mountains: The Story of the Christian Appalachian Project, by Father Ralph W. Beiting.
  #84  
Old 10-30-2019, 09:43 AM
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Then I tried reading a Patricia Cornwell book, Book of the Dead, because of Death's Acre. It was awful.
Someday somebody's going to write a biography of Patricia Cornwell that will be a textbook example of a perfectly good mystery author slowly descending into madness and incompetence. And it's all thoroughly documented in her writings.
  #85  
Old 10-30-2019, 10:34 AM
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My current book is The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher (a.k.a. Ursula Vernon). It's about a girl cleaning out her grandmother's old house and discovering some weirdness out in the boonies. It has a nice Lovecraft vibe and it's also somewhat gentle and amusing, especially for dog owners. Sample sentence regarding the dog, "Bongo's nose is far more intelligent than the rest of him, and I believe it uses his brain primarily as a counterweight."
I met Vernon a couple of years ago at Arisia. My wife and I bought and read a couple of her books. I hadn't heard of this one, which sounds pretty different from her others.
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Old 10-30-2019, 01:06 PM
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I'm glad! I've really been enjoying it and plan to check out some of her other stuff too.
The Seventh Bride.... creepy and atmospheric but really really good. And for adventure, warped technology and otherworldly creatures, there's the Clocktaur series, starting with The Clockwork Boys.
  #87  
Old 10-31-2019, 02:12 PM
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Finished God Can Move Mountains: The Story of the Christian Appalachian Project, by Father Ralph W. Beiting, which I thought was very good.

Now I'm reading Bite Club by Laurien Berenson. It's one of her Melanie Travis cozy mysteries.
  #88  
Old 10-31-2019, 04:08 PM
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My bookclub choice for this month arrived today: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. I've been quite eager to read this...

I am about a third of the way through Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher aka Ursula Vernon. She DOES hook you and pull you into the story quickly! Let's give it up for overactive, somewhat stupid dogs!
  #89  
Old 10-31-2019, 07:36 PM
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I met Vernon a couple of years ago at Arisia. My wife and I bought and read a couple of her books. I hadn't heard of this one, which sounds pretty different from her others.
Nah dude, this is straight up Ursula with out the kid protections on....
  #90  
Old 10-31-2019, 07:40 PM
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New thread: Who the hell turned on the AC already?! It's only November!
  #91  
Old 11-01-2019, 08:59 AM
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Someday somebody's going to write a biography of Patricia Cornwell that will be a textbook example of a perfectly good mystery author slowly descending into madness and incompetence. And it's all thoroughly documented in her writings.
Oh? Do tell. I know there was some controversy about her having an affair with a married woman and hubby was none too pleased...it was enough to become an episode of one of the Law and Orders.
  #92  
Old 11-17-2019, 03:31 PM
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Finished The Monkey's Raincoat, the first of a string of novels by Robert Crais featuring private detectives Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. Murder, kidnapping and drug deals in 1987 Los Angeles. Very good. The title is a reference to the 17th-century Japanese poet Matsuo Basho, who wrote: "Winter downpour; even the monkey needs a raincoat." The novel won the 1988 Anthony Award for "Best Paperback Original" at Bouchercon XIX and the 1988 Mystery Readers International Macavity Award for "Best First Novel" and has since been named one of the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association. A little strange though in that I read Crais' 2017 novel first and then this 1987 one -- written 30 years apart, mind you -- and he has the same cat in both. Definitely the same cat, an old street cat he lets live with him and which had once been shot in the head with a .22. This is one tough cat.

Next up is Crais' second novel, Stalking the Angel.
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