books

How It Happened by Michael Koryta

Michael Koryta keeps getting better.

How It Happened is his 2018 release.

Kimberly Crepeaux is no good, a notorious jailhouse snitch, teen mother, and heroin addict whose petty crimes are well-known to the rural Maine community where she lives.

So when she confesses to her role in the brutal murders of Jackie Pelletier and Ian Kelly, the daughter of a well-known local family and her sweetheart, the locals have little reason to believe her story. …

Yet Rob Barrett, the FBI investigator and interrogator specializing in telling a true confession from a falsehood believes her story. He just can’t prove it.

As always Koryta is superb in putting together a plot. And excellent writing the bad guys.

I highly recommend this book.

books, TV

Electric Dreams (2017 TV series)

Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, or simply Electric Dreams, is a science fiction television anthology series based on the works of Philip K. Dick.

The series consists of ten standalone 50-minute episodes based on Dick’s work …

Rotten Tomatoes has an approval rating of 73% — but I’d still recommend it. Especially if you like the similar, but superior, Black Mirror episodes.

Good actors. Good acting. Some interesting dystopian stories.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

books

Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler

I’ve not previously read Anne Tyler, though she’s published 23 super popular novels.  Three times nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Her 2020 book is Redhead by the Side of the Road.

A slow paced, entertaining slice of life.

Micah … runs Tech Hermit and runs around the neighbourhood fixing computer problems for old ladies who – and you’d be right to bet Tyler mines this for full comic potential – don’t know what a modem is or does. …

He lives rent-free, alone, keeps to himself and sticks to a routine “etched in stone”: Friday is vacuuming day, Monday floor-mopping, and so on. Even his relationship with his “restful to look at” teacher girlfriend has, by his own admission, “solidified”. …

Micah’s peaceful life gets blown up.

Guardian Review

books

Thunderstruck by Erik Larson

Larson’s true-crime historical non-fiction 2006 book is excellent.

I loved learning about technology of the day. This time the early 1900s.

Guglielmo Marconi, the young Italian entrepreneur. Often credited as the inventor of radio. He shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics. He had no training in physics. And was a jerk.

Hawley Harvey Crippen, who murdered his overbearing wife and fled Britain with his mistress, unaware that Scotland Yard was hot on his heels. Nice guy — aside from the murder

The two men never met, yet their interacting stories make up this tale.

The climax occurs during a trans-Atlantic chase which, thanks to the miracle of Marconi’s invention, was followed by millions of people around the world—with Crippen and his mistress completely unaware.

books, humour

Jerry Seinfeld – Is This Anything?

Like everyone, I loved the TV series.

Since then I’ve not had much time for Jerry Seinfeld. He’s just not as funny.

During the Pandemic Jerry dug into his box of one liners and threw them together into a short book.

Amazon

He’s careful to say very little about the sitcom. Seems a sore point for him.

I did chuckle throughout. But it’s not essential reading.

Jerry’s thing is to see the funny side of everyday things. But I’d say George Carlin did it better.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

books, movies

Queen’s Gambit

You don’t need to like nor know anything about Chess to enjoy this TV series.

It’s 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

On October 28, 2020, the series became the most watched series of the day on Netflix.

The Queen’s Gambit is an American drama television miniseries based on Walter Tevis‘s 1983 novel of the same name.

… a fictional story that follows the life of an orphan chess prodigy named Beth Harmon from the age of eight to twenty-two during her quest to become the world’s greatest chess player while struggling with emotional issues, with drug and alcohol dependency. The story begins in the mid-1950s and proceeds into the 1960s …

All the acting is good.

I probably enjoyed Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Benny Watts best.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

books, movies

The Third Twin by Ken Follett

Having read all his historical fiction, I’m now moving on to Ken Follett’s other books.

This one is excellent.

The Third Twin (1996) deals with genetic engineering and the nature and nurture debate through the subject of identical twins raised apart.

Jeannie FerramiPsy.D., is an associate professor and criminality researcher.

She falls in love with law student Steven Logan.

Problem is — Steven is charged with rape. And DNA confirms he did it.

Or did he?

A 1997 television film based on the book starred Kelly McGillis as Doctor Jean Ferrami and Jason Gedrick as Steve. I haven’t seen it.

books

One Good Deed by David Baldacci

I’d already written off  David Baldacci as not nearly as good as Koryta, Rankin, Silva and Michael Connelly. 

So why bother?

He’s super popular but not all that good a writer.

For some reason I tried Baldacci’s 2019 book One Good Deed and was pleasantly impressed.

It’s surprisingly and refreshingly simple.  Slower.  Cleaner.

It’s 1949. When war veteran Aloysius Archer is released from Carderock Prison, he is sent to Poca City on parole with a short list of do‘s and a much longer list of don’ts: do report regularly to his parole officer, don’t go to bars, certainly don’t drink alcohol, do get a job — and don’t ever associate with loose women.

The small town quickly proves more complicated and dangerous than Archer’s years serving in the war or his time in jail. Within a single night, his search for gainful employment — and a stiff drink — leads him to a local bar, where he is hired for what seems like a simple job: to collect a debt owed to a powerful local businessman, Hank Pittleman.

Soon Archer discovers that recovering the debt won’t be so easy. …

books

The Silent Hour by Michael Koryta

The 4th and last book (2009) in the Lincoln Perry series is somewhat like the rest.

Great plot. Lincoln unlikeable as ever.

Alexandra Cantrell, daughter of a notorious Mafia don, and her husband, Joshua, set up a house for paroled murderers.

Only Koryta dreams up things like this.

Parker Harrison served fifteen years for murder but claims Alexandra’s intervention saved his life. Now he wants to find her–and he’s not the only one.

Lincoln Perry takes the job.

books

The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel

I’ve now read all 5 of St. John Mandel’s books.  All excellent.

As usual, Lola jumps forward and backward in time.  No author does this more skillfully.

“Emily St. John Mandel nails it with The Lola Quartet.

She had me from page one, when Anna, a 17 year old with a new baby and $120,000 in cash which clearly does not belong to her goes on the run.

I loved this tale about what not to do after high school.

It’s the story of four flawed members of a high school jazz band after they graduate, lose contact and disperse to follow their dreams,dreams which one by one melt away as they each struggle and falter in a world where doing the right thing is never as clear as it sounds.

Each is connected to Anna’s colossally bad decision whether they realize it or not, and it eventually forces them back together ten years later, to the story’s dramatic climax. …”

Kris Kleindienst, Left Bank Books, MO