Friday, June 18, 2010

A Slew of Fiction, a Collaborative Crider, and a Brief Commentary

Brief Commentary

Is there really such a thing as "summer fiction"? There is a summertime movie season but do publishers release books as summer blockbusters? This time of year you see multiple comments about beach books and summer reading lists but do reading patterns change that much during the season? Is it all a marketing method to keep people reading and buying books during the summer?

It seems like people would read less during the summer because of the nice weather and long days. The only people I see as "summer readers" are people whose work patterns change in the summer to allow them more time, like teachers and students. Other people, like farmers, have less time.

Don't get me started on "beach reads". Quick and easy fiction is always around and I much prefer to travel with a paperback than a new hardcover.


The Nearest Exit by Olen Steinhauer. What's the deal with this guy? His books are supposed to be really well done and he hit the NYT bestseller list. So why have I never heard of him? This novel is an international spy thriller.

The Outside Boy by Jeanine Cummings. Young boy Christopher is an Irish tinker in 1959 Ireland. Tinkers are gypsies and when Christopher's his family settles down for Christopher and his brother to get schooling and first Communion they are still considered outsiders.

Skin by Mo Hayder. Here is another author I've been meaning to get to. Hayder writes some horror style thrillers set in the UK. Police diver Flea and cop Jack investigate rash of suicides connected to a "nearly bottomless network of flooded quarries just outside the city".

Nashville Noir: a Murder, She Wrote mystery by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain. I very much doubt this is traditionally "noir-y", I presume it is a cozy. Who owns the rights to the name Jessica Fletcher? The book is printed with an NBC logo but they use Angela Lansbury's image on the cover. Plus they credit the series creators. It sounds like a licensing and royalties nightmare.

Predator by Terri Blackstock.

Mississippi Vivian by Bill Crider and Clyde Wilson. Wilson was a famous private investigator in Houston. The flyleaf says Crider has written more than fifty novels. He must have written those before the Internet took all his time.

Rolling Thunder by Chris Grabenstein. Another John Ceepak mystery set in the New Jersey shore town of Sea Haven. Fun mysteries.

Snow Angels by James Thompson. Mystery set in Lapland above the Arctic Circle. This one sounds really good.

The Big Bang by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins. This is an interesting title because Collins has a big brain. Seriously, the guy's head is filled with all sorts of interesting information and stories.

The Book of Spies by Gayle Lynds. CIA has rare books expert Eva Blake help identify and find a secret library from Ivan the Terrible.

Black Blade Blues by J.A. Pitts. Another of those modern day vampires, dragons, tattoos, swords, etc. novels that my wife enjoys.

Morning's Refrain by Tracie Peterson. Flutist engages in romance.

Death Echo by Elizabeth Lowell. "A novel of suspense".

Never Let You Go by Erin Healy. Fantasy elements with Lexi. "Lexi is losing it. The husband who deserted her is back in town, wanting to see their daughter Molly. Her sister's shameless murderer is up for parole. An unsavory old friend is demanding payment for debts that Lexi knows nothing about."

The Story Between Them by Molly O'Keefe. Paperback romance.

Little Bee by Chris Cleave.

Losing Charlotte by Heather Clay.

Infamous by Ace Atkins. I read an Atkins book once and it was really good. This is a historical novel of George "Machine Gun" Kelly and his nutso wife who wanted him to be a famous crook.

The Passage by Justin Cronin. 766 page novel of apocalypse.

Large Print
Hannah's List by Debbie Macomber.

The Walk by Richard Paul Evans.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Human Bones!

Human Bones!

Aztalan State Park, just to the East of Lake Mills, has been studied for years. About 100 years ago excavated human bones were thought to be from cannibalism. Cannibalism! The eating of human flesh! Boiled heads!

Anthropologist/Archeologist Katie Rudolph, a recent UW-Milwaukee grad, says the bones are the result of warfare, not cannibalism or zombies. Will this make tours more or less interesting to Cub Scouts? Ms. Rudolph gave a presentation on her findings to the Friends of Aztalan Park on March 13th. She did a good job. Watch her presentation below.

Part One

Part Two

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Six Novels and One Customer Service Guide


Through the Cracks by Barbara Fister. Chicago Private Investigator takes on case of rape victim. The man convicted for the rape 20 years was exonerated and the victim wants the real rapist caught.
Lets look at the author bio...Barbara Fister lives in rural Minnesota, where she works as a librarian at a small liberal arts college. Hmm. That sounds familiar. But,
1) It's not really all that rural (30,000 people).
2) Library? That sounds familiar, too.
3) College? Does the inside of the window still grow a sheet of ice in the winter?

Sleepless by Charlie Huston. Huston's previous novel was nominated for several awards. A plague of insomnia has spread around the world. LAPD undercover cop suffers the disease and is charged with stopping the illegal trade in the one drug that can bring sleep.

Procession of the Dead by Darren Shan. An adult novel by the uber-popular Young Adult novelist.

Junkyard Dogs by Craig McDonald. McDonald is another guy with good reviews and award nominations. He is also another writer I have not yet gotten to. Sheriff Longmire gets involved in a modern Wyoming range war between a junkyard and a would be land developer.

So Cold the River by Michael Koryta. That's a tough name for me to type. Filmmaker Eric Shaw is hired to produce biography of a rich millionaire. Shaw travels to the former resort town of the rich man. Staying at a recently renovated mineral springs resort Shaw starts to experience hallucinations.

Bodily Harm by Robert Dugoni. The cover makes this look like a thriller. It is. Attorney David Sloane is told that the medical malpractice case Sloane just won is an error. The real culprit is a toy company's faulty product. When Sloane visits the toy designer's apartment he finds the place ransacked and the designer missing.


Super Service: seven keys to delivering great customer service by Val and Jeff Gee. Revised and expanded version. With cartoon illustrations.