Friday, July 24, 2009

The Way Some People Die, by Ross MacDonald

This book is an example of why I started this blog.  I've probably read this book twice before and I'd really like to know if I've already picked up a book before starting it.  Having said that, I love MacDonald and the Lew Archer series.  Hands down one of the most entertaining detective writers of all time.  MacDonald's Archer books are what detective fiction should be.  Tough guys, hard times, conniving women... yet Lew Archer for all his tough outside won't take the easy money, couldn't live with himself if he turned his back on the junkie hooker.  I could start this book from the beginning after just finishing it, such a great read.   

Monday, July 20, 2009

Run Silent, Run Deep by Commander Edward L Beach

Back when I was about 13 (1986) I got my very first real computer (not just a game machine, but keyboard, disk drives, etc.).  It was an Atari 65 XE.  I still have it in fact, along with several disk drives and other atari computers (130 XE, 2600) and boxes of peripherals and software.  So much that I've only recently seriously considered getting rid of it, as the boxes take up almost all of the storage unit we own in our condo, barely leaving room for the other items we need to store.
This Atari computer was fantastic, I loved the thing.  I spent hours (when I should have been building muscle and chasing girls) playing games and figuring out how computers worked.  One of my favorite games was Silent Service: The Submarine Simulation (tied for first place with SS was M.U.L.E., but I won't bore you with a bigger digression).  My memory is that the game, published by MicroProse, came with an instruction booklet with a foreword by Commander Edward L. Beach but I am unable to verify this through web research.  I mention that b/c I believe it was the first time I had heard of Beach.  I didn't own the game though, it was owned by a friend of mine.  I had a data copy of the game, but not a copy of the instruction booklet, so it took me months to figure out how to play the game.  But once I had the controls and basic strategy figured out, I was hooked.
Some time after figuring out how to play the game I was in a book store and noticed a book with a familiar name attached.  That book was Submarine! by none other than Commander Edward L. Beach.  This collection of WW2 submarine stories (true stories) was incredible, I still own that battered copy.  I almost entered the Navy based off that book and the Silent Service video game.  At 13 though I wasn't much of a reader, so I never bothered trying to find the book for which Beach was most famous, although I did watch the movie over and over, as well as all other WW2 submarine movies available to me.  But armed with the strategies described in the short stories in Submarine!, I became much better at Silent Service the video game.
Back to the present day:  several weeks ago I was at an auction house next door to my condo, they were auctioning off books from an estate, and among all the nice hardbacks were dozens of boxes of paperbacks.  I went through what was left and pulled together 20 books I was willing to bid on, had them merged into a lot and placed my absentee bid.  Of course I won, who they hell else was going to bid on a collection of 20 random books I had individually selected?  Add to that they were all about 30 years old, although in good condition.
So for $12, I got my books, two of which were by Beach.  One of them was (finally, you're thinking) the book I just finished, Run Silent, Run Deep.  I loved it.  The movie was only loosely based on the book, so much of this was new to me.  In fact I've struggling not to buy a submarine simulator now but damn I want to play one.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

To Kingdom Come, by Will Thomas

This was the second book in a series by Will Thomas, the first was titled Some Danger Involved which I read a few months back.  I enjoyed the first book quite a lot, but didn't find this second in the series to be as much fun.  Still an easy and enjoyable read, but it makes me much less excited for the remaining books.  I'll pick up the third book soon and let that one decide if I continue with this Sherlock Holmes-like series.
In the interest of full disclosure, before reading To Kingdom Come I had tried to read a Ray Banks novel, one of the first in his Cal Innes detective series, Saturday's Child.  I made it about a quarter of the way through the novel before deciding it wasn't for me.  I'm not sure what it was, I just could not get into this book.  It wasn't too disturbing or anything like that, I was just bored with the book.