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Year End

I love top ten lists... other people's not mine. Creating a year end list should be filled w/ happy memories good times spent reading enjoyable books. In short it ain't. Anyway

Chris Grabenstein - Tilt A Whirl and Mad Mouse
Michael McGarrity - The Big Gamble
Sean Doolitle - Dirt and Rain Dogs
Will Staeger - Painkiller
Adrian McKinty - Hidden River
Maureen Jennings - Night Child
Mark Billingham - Lazybones

As I may never read all the books in my to be read pile, my New Year's resolution should be to read all of the books I buy in a calendar year.

I also need to keep better track of the books I read in a year so that this time next year this process is not so arduous.

Shelves

My too be read pile is over a hundred books. I actually stopped counting.

This may be thrilling to some, but it depresses me. I have un-read books as far back as 2001.

My newest book is Doolittle's The Cleanup. There are ten other books I would have liked to buy, but that is besides the point.

My oldest..... well..... I have been back building Ferringo and Jefferson Parker so they don't actually count. I have C.J. Box's Open Season from 2001. It is a series I always wanted to read, but well I didn't.

I think 2001 was around the time when I decided that I could not afford to pick up any new authors. I was reading Connelly, Crais, Burke, Lehane, Mosely, etc. Money was tight and I could not afford the 2-3 times a month I had to lay out $20+. I have made this promise a few dozen times since w/ varying degrees of success.

Oh, I am putting up shelves in the attic. A minor victory at this point would be to bring it under 100 books.... but with open shelf space that aint gonna h…

40% Off Coupon + Rain Dogs

I had a 40% off coupon from Borders and I had every intention of getting Duane S's The Blonde. But stupid Christmas meant that I could not get Duane S's The Blonde and instead bought KM a photo book. Oh, well

Finished Sean Doolittle'sRain Dogs late last week. Enjoyed it greatly. It falls into the Crime Fiction genre, but this book, much like his first, was about characters who are really caught at a cross roads in their life. Either you move past your troubled history or fall back into a life that can only lead to your destruction. Doolittle's character's having varying degrees of success transitioning out of their destructive behavior.

The front cover of the book contains a blurb from Dennis Lehane. I find this very appropriate because it appears that Dennis is about to leave the crime genre behind (...for good?) in his oft-delayed Boston epic. It is appropriate because I feel like Sean will do the same at some point. All crime fiction needs a dead body, and i…

Recent Purchases

About a week ago I managed to get in on Dunn and Powell Books latest sale. About 25% of the list was 30% off, the rest of 50% off.

I ordered 6 books. One was not available. James Lee Burke's In the Electric Mist of Confederate Dead. They wanted $10 for it and at 50% off it is a great deal. Even at $10 it was a great deal, so not real surprised that it was gone. I wished that D&P updated the list , but minor quibble.

The books showed up today. Nothing like a package on the porch when you come home from work.

So...... The Dry White Tear by Stephen F. Wilcox. Some bumps to the DJ that I wish were not there cuz I know I could probably get a better copy else where for not much more but I'm ok with it

Next, The Dark Room by Minette Walters. Black DJ means any scuffs come through like it was dragged on ground by your two year old. Again cheap so no biggie there.

I got Pacific Beat by T. Jefferson Parker and The Horse Latitudes by Robert Ferrigno. Pacific Beat has a previous own…

Guard Changing

Have I mentioned that I am a big Clive Cussler fan?

Well good old Clive and his factious hero Dirk Pitt have mad another appearance. The latest in a long series of books dating back to the 70's is Treasure of Khan. Bit of an uninspired title there, but I can over look that.

The book previous to this was Black Wind, which was the first to feature Clive's son, Dirk Cussler as co-author. That book also featured a shift from the dependable and steel plated Dirk to a couple of new faces. Introduced at the dead end of Vahalla Rising, Dirk discovers he has two fully-grown children, named Dirk Jr. and Summer.

Hazah for the shopkeeper! The series can now continue once Clive decides to put down his pen.

I think father and son have found a graceful way for these adventure novels to continue w/o straining credibility. Dirk Cussler can borrow the form his father set w/o having to continue his father's main creation Dirk Pitt. One imagines that Dirk will..... if he is not already doing so..…

Jury Duty

Sat all day for Jury Duty here in Rochester. Murder 2. Ugh. Would have served if asked. Glad I did not.

I read Pistol Poets for one day last week. I was in a bad mood and have not picked it back up.

I brought Sean Doolittle's third book, Rain Dogs. I figured I could read it while I killed time waiting to be picked. I killed 125 pages. Good writing, it was easy. Plus, the paperback fit in my coat. Victor's book did not. I'd link to Victor's site, but I think it is MIA.

I think I am going to split off the food stuff into another blog. I might call it Bun Meet Bun. How is that for a play on words. Yeah pretty crappy.

Members savings .70 cents

Finally managed to pick Sean Doolittle's The Cleanup. Total purchase: $6.79

A bit of karma as Doolittle dedicates The Cleanup to the author of my current book, Pistol Poets. I have actually yet to crack the book. Packers on MNF. Tomorrow I got a mother and sister-in-law visiting so reading may not commence until Wednesday.

This Season's Cocktail

Managed to finish Joe Konrath’s first, Whiskey Sour.

I don’t feel it is a criticism to say that there is nothing original here. The standard tenets of the police procedural/serial genre are all employed quite enjoyably. My chief complaint is that the book is too short. I could have used more character development, but that is what books 2 thru infinity accomplish.

Have moved on to Mad Mouse. Really liked the first in Chris Grabenstein’s Jon Ceepak series. The book was wonderful in getting you to identify with the young Danny Boyle and revere the stalwart Cepak. Who cares if I knew the who… but not the why… done it 350 pages before the authors tell us.

Grabenstein has another series out. Reportedly stand alones that surround a holiday theme. The first and the author’s latest is Slay Ride. The book was released in both soft and hard covers. Borders only had the soft. Grr….

Third in the Ceepak seris is Whack A Mole. I’m in.

Might go back to Konrath’s second, Bloody Mary, but next is Victor…

Book Buying in the Time of Cholera

I could write a short parable about why I will never shop at Circuit city again. Their loose affiliation w/ the American system of alphabetizing was chief among their crimes. Today, I wanted to spend $600+ at one of their stores, and for reasons best left unsaid… I’m trying to be the bigger man… I couldn’t

As far as Blk. Friday goes consumer electronics have laid waste to this day. When I grew up today was essentially the day that I could go out and find a reasonable priced cable knit sweater for my sister at JC Penny’s. Those halcyon days…

Why didn’t I get up at the crack of ass to stand in line at Barnes and Noble or Borders? I don’t know… and neither do they.

Canada - She's a funny place.

I went to Canada on Tuesday. I bought a few books.

While we were driving to Canada’s B+N equivalent, Chapters, We drove past a sign on a residential street. Printed in black marker on a large piece of poster board was the word ‘Poet’ with an arrow at the bottom pointing to the house.

Hilarious. Desperately in need of a camera for moments likes that.


Was hopeful that there would be some British first of a few UK authors I like to read.

Two big stumbling blocks to that were; lack of money and an annoying UK publishing practice of producing both hard and soft cover versions of a book at the time of initial release. As a ‘collector’ there is nothing more frustrating. Saved me a few loonies though.

Maureen Jennings has started a new series. Christine Morris, Forensic Profiler. I can think of now finer historical series out there than here Murdoch books. For the longest time when KM used to say Poor Tom is Cold in relation to whatever book I was reading. Tremendous author. Anyway this book is ca…

Grab Some Bench Cockey.

Finished Backstabber. Enjoyed the book a great deal.

Hmmm? What?

Oh yeah. BUT. I am left w/ the lingering feeling that Cockey has run out of things to do for Hitchcock Sewell. It was almost if he was so excited to move on to the fresh ground of Speak of the Devil that he phoned this one in a bit. And when I say phoned it in… I mean that in the best possible way. Still thumbs up, 7/10. 3 and half stars.

So Joe Konrath’s first. Near about 75 pages in. Don’t know enough to form an opinion yet.

I was just thinking that I don't read enough female authors. And I still am not, but the leadin Whiskey is female, so I am half way there. SparkleHayter and Sandra West Prowell were two of my favs, but Sparkle has not been published w/ any frequency of late. For Prowell is it has been a decade since here last. I hear that there is a real tale of legal woe behind her abscence. I miss both of them.

Went out this afternoon and bought wine for Thanksgiving. I think I am working up to a nap.

Changes about. Check

I need to fancy the blog up a bit. I need a proper masthead. KM is in charge of that. Although I’m sure she sees it as a burden. She has a publishing company with a friend of ours, Tate Shaw. It is called Preacher's Biscuit Books. She is very busy work on things related to that. It fulfills her in very necessary ways.

New masthead. Check

I would like to bring a bit of color into the site. Some of that depends on the above.

Color. Check

There are all sorts of plug-ins I could add to the site, but most are rather ridiculous.

Plug-ins. Judicious check

I could also change the overall template. Blogger has about 6 to choose from and they are all rather dull. There many more stylish ones to choose from on various sites, but is it worth the trouble. Although if I am going to that, I should do it now while the site is rather un-developed. If it all goes to hell I will be able to recreate the site w/o much trouble.

New Template. Check.

I have all of next week off. This might give me some time to…

Used Fiction

Couple things yesterday. Michael McGarrity'sNothing But Trouble. I love this guy! Under the Color of Law and Big Gamble are fabulous books. McGarrity is the James Lee Burke of the Southwest. Or is Burke the McGarrity of the Louisiana Bayou? I’ll give it to Burke cause of longevity.

It will be interesting to see where McGarrity’s books go. At this point in the Robicheaux series we had Dixie City Jam and Burning Angel. Those books are why I love Burke. Black Cherry Blues is the zenith of that series, but Jam, Angel, and Cadillac Jukebox. Amazing.

I’m on the funny kick, but McGarrity’s 8th Everyone Dies my claim the charts on my to be read pile. McGarrity is not all that dark anyway.

The second book I bought was Suspect by Michael Robotham. I saw him talk at the Madison B'Con and I bought his second book, Lost then and there. Finding his first book was a treat. He lives in Australia, but spent many years in London, where he sets his books. A side character in this book is a lead in …

VAT = I not so smart or MacBride and Booth

I have struggled not too mightily to understand VAT. It is a tax and that is where my understanding falls apart. I am under the vague impression that when I'm traveling in Europe I can go through a process of reclaiming any VAT I paid when I leave. I've see the longish lines at the airport. I can't be bothered. I consider it my support of the European lifestyle.
This is all besides the point. I have been working up to buying a handful of things via Amazon UK. KM and I are huge fans of the British TV show Peep Show. KM is at times nearly incapacitated w/ laughter while watching the show. So into the cart you go Season 2.

I had also wanted The Ipcress File. The US edition is long out of print. The UK edition was released late last year or early this year. Somehow in my languorous ordering process the UK edition now seems to have a 4 to 6 weeks delay. Which is code for I'm an idiot for not ordering this sooner.

The two books I ordered were Stephen Booth's sixth book, The…

More with the Funny HAHA

I am working on Tim Cockey's latest Hitchcock Sewell book, Backstabber. He released another book earlier this year under the pen name Richard Hawke called Speak of the Devil. This pen name cloak and dagger was a badly kept secret (jeez he virtually gives it away on his website).

I hope he goes back to Hitch. I love these books. I remember the third book, The Hearse Case Scenario, was a bit rough sloughing. It was a touch darker than the rest, but I do recall enjoying the darker tones. His books are a day of release purchase for me. Although I don't think I have ever bought one on the day of release. However, I am certainly trying to scrap the money together to purchase as soon as I see it on the self.

So far the book has not disappointed. I am about 60 pages in. Cockey has already made w/ the funny and I am enjoying it. Our hero is the kind of loveable douche bag I am drawn to in crime fiction because he is so close to how I see myself.

I will probably keep on this kick of …

It was much smaller on the inside than I thought

KM and I were closing in on our one year anniversary. My in-laws gave us a gift card last year to The Mundo Grill when they were just my soon to be wife’s parents. KM made a 6:30 reservation for Saturday night. We were sat promptly upon our arrival.The restaurant was ¾ full. A $75 gift card did not allow for a bottle of wine, which was good because KM is not really a wine drinker….. but neither am I. More like when in Rome… if Rome happened to have a view of the Citgo gas station across the street.I had a glass of the 2005 Little Penguin Pinot Noir. I don’t know wine at all but it was very nice.Full of flavor w/o being overpowering to my taste buds. Our waitress was just a bit too casual for me, but so what. It made for a relaxing evening, even if her descriptions of the specials and desert menu was not a thesaurus of mouthwatering adjectives. KM ordered the Crispy Duck, and I choose the Butcher’s Choices which was a flat iron steak over mashed potatoes. Now The Mundo Grill is a seafo…

The 2nd Book in an on-going series

Just finished Hard Rain. The second of the Japanese assassin John Rain books penned by Barry Eisler.

I am conflicted. Not about the book. I know exactly how I feel about the book. It is how I wish to portray books I read while in the course of writing this blog. There is enough negativity.

That aside I will say this definitely reads like someone’s second book. I enjoyed his first book in the series, Rain Fall. Interesting character(s), interesting story, interesting location. Not the greatest thing I ever read, but enjoyable. Hell, I bought his second book didn't I?

This second book is nearly plot-less. Lots of standing around, lots of conversations that go nowhere. I'm all for character development, but what I was reading was not development it was an author lost with no clear idea of where to go. The love interest from the first book returns out of flat desperation to add a different voice to the repetitive nature that marks the majority of this book. A side character is kill…

The Bathroom Makes Me Uncomfortable

A couple places of note.

Esan Thai Restaurant. I was talked into going here for lunch primarily because there is less than nothing to eat at the house. I have recently discovered that Cool Whip does not make a nutritious or filling lunch.

It was not very Thai of me, but I ordered the fried rice w/ chicken. Not terribly exciting and neither was the food. Don't know what it was, but w/ fried rice you should just want to shovel it in. Not today. Thai Ice Tea was delicious. Varied lunch menu means I‘ll go back, but not often.

Friday night we went to Pomodoro Grill. It has a funky location and is in a funky little building. I am desperate to like this place, but that has yet to happen. I freely admit to being a bit of a restaurant snob. I like trendy places and will over look mediocre food if the atmosphere works for me. Nothing about Pomodoro does works for me. Noisy but not in a good way, an open kitchen that seems obvious, and the bathrooms, as I have mentioned above, make me unco…

You Saved $2.10

Well I pulled the trigger on the Wiprud books this afternoon. A little consumer therapy never hurt any one.

The disappointment was not getting the new Sean Doolittle, The Cleanup. Should have hit the shelves on Tuesday, but not at Borders apparently.

Anyway the condition on the three soft covers was not so good. Serviceable, but still. I feel like condition is less important on soft cover than hard cover. The reason? Cuz I value soft covers less. The arrogance..... I know.

Total purchase from Borders was $20.38. There was a 30% off coupon in there

Finally.... as if there has been a long wait for this.... KM and I went Ruby Tuesday's and had their mini-hamburger. Forestalling glutton for another day we chose the two mini hamburgers and salad bar instead of the more ridiculous four-burger deal.

Brian M. Wiprud

Like any serious book reader what really interests me is a 'hot' looking dust jacket or book cover. So, of course, I was taken by Brian M. Wiprud's books.

This highlights two things. One is I need to figure out how to post pictures on this blog and two, I need to read his books.

I have been really going through a pretty dark period in my reading. Very dark, very noiry. Hard Case Crime books. I read Duane Swierczynski's book. The Hunsicker book Still River. I need something that is going to make me laugh. I am hoping they will be along the lines of Tim Cockey's Hearse series.

I have been trying to bring my 'to be read pile' under control for say the last two years... so the prospect of buying three more books does actually give me a moment for pause.....but they are soft cover so they are as good as bought.

We had guests this weekend

My wife's best friend and his wife visited us this weekend. So that means every meal was a chance to eat at one of Rochester's fine eating establishments.

Today we ate the South Wedge Diner and at Panera Bread. Yesterday we ate Lindburger's (more on this later). For lunch we ate at Open Face.

This place sticks out for me because for a very brief time they served Maid-rite Hamburgers.If you are from the Mid-west you might know what these are..... for those of you who do not it is best described as a crumbly hamburger. When they served them I enjoyed the nostalgia even if I thought the mustard dressing they had on it was a mite to strong. The other delicacy they serve is Moxie soda. Moxie is best described as cough syrup in the form of a soft drink. An acquired taste, but one that a friend or two enjoy even if I don't. Hugely popular during the turn of the last century, it is now reduced to a specialty drink produced in Pennsylvania.

Anyway it was sandwiches all around. T…

Collecting Crime Fiction

I am a collector. I love every single one of my crime fiction books. Most were bought at stores, but a few were bought at what would broadly be defined as Book Fairs. And maybe I love those books a little more than the rest.Back a few years ago there was a brief time when I collected for profit. Which anyway you look at it was foolish. I bought things I never would have purchased because I thought there was money to made. See?Foolish. As if I would ever sell any of them to reap this profit.Ultimately it meant I bought books that I just did not like. Too my credit I read them, and too my greater credit I never bought another of the author’s books. Supposed profit or not. But I still collect. Maybe this obvious to everyone already, but the book, the object of my fervor, has little to do with why I collect. It is the pursuit that holds all of the attraction.Even if the pursuit is reduced down to searching the stacks of several Border’s to find the one dust jacket that has not been a obli…

Jefferson, Pelecanos, Mina

I'm a Barnes and Noble member. I have also joined Borders Rewards program. And besides collecting data for the NSA, it allows me to buy books cheaper. I pay for B&N.... or at least my wife does in the form of a Christmas gift to me. The Borders program is free.... for now. I know, Independent Booksellers Unite!

Anyway, I was rambling around B&N to find Elizabeth Castro's book on Publishing a Blog w/ Blogger, when I found T. Jefferson Parker's Cold Pursuit taking up valuable space on the overstock table. Have yet to read him, but have managed to acquire many of his books in a similar manner. A few Ebay, a few overstock.

The other two buys were the latest from George Pelecanos and Denise Mina. Pelecanos got a huge push from his publisher for this book, The Night Gardener. I had a great deal of trouble with George's first two books. A Firing Offense and Nick's Trip. Something brought me back for his third, Down By the River Where the Dead Men Go. I will follow …

The Seventh and Eighth Maxim

So I am mainly writing this blog so that I can write about crime fiction. Every now and again I may talk about food. Because besides wanting to open a Crime Fiction bookstore here in metropolitan Rochester, Ny I would like to open a restaurant. I want to do none of the work to actually make either one of these dreams come true, but still.

My tagline in the header alludes to the fact you should not have to pay over $25 retail for either a good book or a good steak. Barnes and Noble and Borders (no I am not making these linkable.... I feel bad enough for not supporting Independent bookstores) take care of the first half with discounts and overstocks, but the steak in this town I frequently but gladly break what should be maxim number seven.

Maxim No. 8? "Don't double space after a period, exclamation, or question mark at the end of sentence". My wife would kill me. She tells me that due to computer type setting or some such nonsense it is no longer needed. That's going t…

The Six Maxims

1. "Avoid fried meats which angry up the blood".
2. "If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts".
3. "Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move".
4. "Go very light on the vices, such as carrying on in society - the social ramble aint restful".
5. "Avoid running at all times".
6. "And don't look back - something might be gaining on you"

My mother and father gave me photograph of Satchel Paige for my birthday. I have yet to frame it. But it got be thinking about Satchel Paige. He was a pitcher in the Negro Leagues, and despite not player in the Major Leagues until late life is still remembered as one of the greats. This summer they dedicated a statue of Satchel Paige at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Copperstown. It is only a few hours away from here, and the next time my Dad visits I think we will take a drive down I-90 and check it out.

What does this have to do with crime fiction?…