books, music

Gun Street Girl by Adrian McKinty

McKinty is my favourite author of late.

Gun Street Girl the 4th (2015) in the Sean Duffy series.

Dark themes. Yet I laughed at something on nearly every page.

When Duffy grudgingly takes on a double murder case, he finds himself on the trail of a conspiracy which could cost him everything.

Belfast, 1985.

Gunrunners on the borders, riots in the cities, The Power of Love on the radio. And somehow, in the middle, Detective Inspector Sean Duffy is hanging on, a Catholic policeman in the hostile Royal Ulster Constabulary.

Click PLAY or watch the Tom Waits song from the same era on YouTube.

books, ethics, government

A Spy Among Friends by Ben Macintyre

Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

More entertaining than the fiction of Graham Greene, Ian Fleming, or John Le Carré.

In the case of Philby, truth stranger than fiction.

I can see how Kim Philby evaded detection for so long — but not Guy Burgess. He was a hopeless alcoholic looking for trouble, yet kept getting promoted.

Those closest to him—like his fellow MI6 officer and best friend since childhood, Nicholas Elliot, and the CIA’s head of counterintelligence, James Jesus Angleton—knew him as a loyal confidant and an unshakeable patriot.

Philby was a brilliant and charming man who rose to head Britain’s counterintelligence against the Soviet Union. Together with Elliott and Angleton he stood on the front lines of the Cold War, holding Communism at bay. But he was secretly betraying them both: He was working for the Russians the entire time. 

Amazon, books, product complaints

Audible Originals

I’ve sent plenty of money to Amazon via my subscription to

This is probably my last year.

The IOS app is lousy.

Books are overpriced in my opinion. I pay about US $10 each by taking advantage of special deals.

In 2020 almost every audio book I want is available through my library — so long as I’m willing to wait a few weeks.

Like every subscription service, Audible has tried since 2016 to keep my business by including original content unavailable elsewhere. Podcasts. Novellas. Much of that is free for subscribers. Two books / month, for example.

But it’s not enough to keep me.

The Getaway by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen, for example.

2 hours long. Not a bad little psychological thriller. But not enough to motivate me to stay on with Audible.


Star of the North by D.B. John

Not a great book.

BUT the most insight I’ve ever gotten into the weird world of North Korea.

Star of the North opens in 1998, when a Korean American teenager is kidnapped from a South Korean beach by North Korean operatives.

Twelve years later, her brilliant twin sister, Jenna, is still searching for her, and ends up on the radar of the CIA. When evidence that her sister may still be alive in North Korea comes to light, Jenna will do anything possible to rescue her–including undertaking a daring mission into the heart of the regime.

… braided together with two other narrative threads.

In one, a North Korean peasant woman finds a forbidden international aid balloon and uses the valuables inside to launch a dangerously lucrative black-market business.

In the other, a high-ranking North Korean official discovers, to his horror, that he may be descended from a traitor, a fact that could mean his death if it is revealed. …


Redemption by David Baldacci

  • Memory Man (2015)
  • The Last Mile (2016)
  • The Fix (2017)
  • The Fallen (2018)
  • Redemption (2019)

The 5th book in the series was best so far, for me.

Amos Decker is the obese genius with perfect memory.

In this one, our hero returns ‘home‘ to Burlington, Ohio, where his wife, Cassie, daughter, Molly and brother in law, Johnny, were killed.

He is there to commemorate what would have been Molly’s 14th birthday.

Unexpectedly, the first killer Decker ever put behind bars turns up. Released from prison because of terminal cancer.

It’s his dying wish that Decker clear his name.