61 Hours by Lee Child has Jack Reacher wondering about he wishes for. Jack is stranded in a town after a bus accident. Of course there are complications in the town. They have a high risk prison facility five miles out of town and well things happen. Don’t they always when Reacher is around. Greek philosophy is the central theme with a guy named Plato and other characters, Jack has his hands full and he loves it, especially the lady who has taken over his old job at the 110th. It’s exactly as I suspected and enjoyed the reading experience. Seeing the patterns and with the third eye will discern the formula in the next installment of Jack Reacher, one man against them all. There is no future, he is the universal soldier.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Let Me be Frank With You by Richard Ford continues the dialogue Frank Bascombe has with himself as he strolls and ambles through life. This four-vignette novel begins with a horrendous story about an Indian war and the devastation of Sandy to a NJ shore town. The common thread is that “I’m Here.” Frank, at 68, wants to remind himself that he is here, relevant maybe, but definitely here.
Not sure why HLM is an appropriate pen name for Frank the author. He reads lots and then reports on these articles in his column. In the part titled “Everything Could Be Worse” he constant refrain after reading some of this stuff is: “WHAT MAKES THAT NEWS?” Visiting old homes I used to live in was fun once upon a time to me, now it’s not. In fact it seems kind of weird now that I think about it. Walking up to the front door of a house in which I used to live with the expectation of being invited in is preposterous today. I wouldn’t let anyone into my house that claims to have previously lived here. How do I know he isn’t casing the joint for a future robbery or just looking for a squat that night or beyond? This is where my mind went when Frank invited a woman, Ms. Pines, a black woman who teaches history in a nearby town. When she lived there in the 50’s her dad was the first black to work at Bell Labs. Her mom was an Italian Opera singer. She hadn’t been in the house since she moved out in 1979 after the tragedy, which is News to Frank. Yes, it could be worse.
“The New Normal” is the title of the third part and hovers around a new community living paradigm not old age homes for sure, but a more specialty or designer kind of home now for the aging but yet infirmed, a new social community, real, not virtual. Frank’s former wife, Ann, mother of their two children is in one of these enclaves for Parkinson’s. “She is brave to have me here, since I record the progress of her ailment like one of the sensors charting her decline from the prime that seemed always to be hers. The world gets smaller and more focused the longer we stay on it.” (p 160) The conversations are more about such things as “to whether suicide is a religious issue or a medical one.” Jacques’ seven ages speech echoes in these pages.
Ann’s study of the death of others is the title of the fourth part. The “Death of Others” begins yesterday, two days before Christmas. A visit to a friend in a hospice, a chat with the oil delivery man bring back memories of his now divorced wife, his dead son of thirty years, whom he thinks of every day precedes the Christmas visit to his son in KC. It’s another Christmas and more knowledge of the past is revealed as he narrows in on his own end of life path.
Monday, March 23, 2015
Chilled to the Bone by Quentin Bates returns me to Iceland and a grizzly murder and set of catastrophes sparked by the financial crisis and terrorism. Human rights will always win out as we see in this intricate and complex tale of sexual urges that begin the cascading events about to unfold. Acting hasn’t been good enough so she turns tricks sort of. Ex cons, politicians, hackers, and reporters make for an entertaining journey. And of course there is that perfect cop. In this case Gunna, who has plenty of her own personal problems. It’s good to be back in Iceland.
Friday, March 20, 2015
Murder by Sarah Pinborough concludes the two-volume journey into the unsolved murders of the late 1800’s. Remnants of the Ripper case linger with announcements of the death of purported Rippers. Juliana has given birth to little James who will become the center of attention. Dr. Bond’s mind is racing as he wrestles with the unsolved former mysteries and is interrupted by a new set of bizarre murders: that of little children who are left in boxes in the Thames. More little souls for the Upir?
The priest is found dead. Dr. Bond visits Aaron. Tag you’re it.
What we have here is “the ends justifies the means” kind of tale. How our murderer justifies the killing sis astonishing. We are dragged into this opium-induced hallucination of a life or a dream. Which is it? Whatever it is the metallic taste that visits our palate once in a while and that is creepy. It makes me wonder about my own justifications and “monkeys” on my back.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough begins a two-volume journey into the unsolved Thames Torso murders of the late 1800’s. One curiosity is that the narrator, Dr. Thomas Bond uses “half-past ten” instead of the traditional “half ten.” Dr. Bond has been having trouble sleeping as news of Jack the Ripper spreads through Whitechapel and he now has his own Torso case starting up. He uses opium to help him sleep or just get by in 1888.
Back to 1881 to meet a fifteen-year-old Aaron Kosminski, a Jew, running from his dreams, his gift of vision he received from his grandmother. Fleeing to London stops his dreams. They flee because as Jews and as the pogroms in Europe continue, they will be blamed for the death of Tsar Alexander II. Then in 1886, in London, the visions come back and he portends evil, which takes the form of Jack and this other murderer, the Torso murderer.
Finally there is the priest, the mysterious Jesuit priest seeking the evil force. He uses high-grade opium to finely tune his senses and ability to feel and sense the evil.
The first intersection of our heroes is when Dr. Bond and Aaron meet. “I shall have an adventure” is the call of the day as the trio goes monster hunting. “He (Aaron) was a monster seeking a monster.” Finally the two decide they must find the priest. The monster they seek flows into the victim through water since it resides on the river’s bottom until it is hungry and then it surfaces. Love the metaphor? The evil is named upir.
London is in mayhem as Jack the Ripper terrorizes Whitechapel and the Torso Murder is silently dismembering women and collecting heads. This is the goal of terror, mayhem and we have it in spades. The evil hunters are on the trail as we watch them approach the ultimate goal. Now Juliana will have her baby in peace, we think. As Aaron aptly wondered, “who was the hunted and who was the hunter.”
Now from Mayhem to Murder, how delicious.