Saturday, August 27, 2016

Flashman, by George MacDonald Fraser

Title:. Flashman
Author: George MacDonald Fraser
Borrowed from Fairfax County (VA) Public Library
Started: 8/23/2016
Finished: 8/27/2016

First in the Flashman series, I've changed my tune completely and now really enjoy these books. I think the first I read (Royal Flash) wasn't a good place to start.  This one Flashman, was pretty good.  The third book, Flash for Freedom is so far the best.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Doomsters, by Ross MacDonald

Title:. The Doomsters
Author: Ross MacDonald
Purchased used from Amazon (print) in a three book collection titled "Archer in Jeopardy"
Started:  8/22/2016
Finished: 8/26/2016

Another Lew Archer book, this was a darker, more introspective Archer.  Less wise cracking, but I really enjoyed it. Much more Archer background.  This three book set also includes a note from MacDonald on his upbringing which was a nice addition.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Flash for Freedom, by George MacDonald Fraser

  • Title:  Flash for Freedom
  • Author: George MacDonald Fraser
  • Borrowed from Fairfax County (VA) Library (AudioBook)
  • Started:  8/18/2016
  • Finished: 8/23/2016
My second Flashman book, third in the series.  I liked this one a lot more than the previous (second in the series) book.  I'm going to give the first one a go and see what I think.  These are expertly read by David Case, who I see died in 2005.  I'd listen to books narrated by him all day.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Tripwire, by Lee Child

Title: Tripwire
Author:. Lee Child
Borrowed from Worcester County (MD) Public Library (Kindle edition)
Started:. 8/21/2016
Finished: 8/21/2016

Despite finding these books vaguely annoying, I'm blowing through the Jack Reacher series.  A lazy, hung over Sunday had me start and finish this one in about 6 or so hours today.  So-so, easy stupid page turner. Not a complaint.

Die Trying, by Lee Child

Title: Die Trying
Author: Lee Child
Borrowed from DC Public Library (Kindle edition)
Started: 8/18/2016
Finished: 8/21/2016

Second jack reacher book. Better than the first, not great, but I have to admit I'm enjoying these anyway. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

I, The Jury, by Mickey Spillane

  • Title:  I, The Jury
  • Author:  Mickey Spillane
  • Borrowed from Audible (free trial, Audiobook)
  • Started: 8/16/2016
  • Finished: 8/18/2016
If you scroll through the books I've listed on this blog you will see a majority are some form of detective fiction.  I love it, and I love the hard-boiled stuff.  One series I've never picked up is that of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer.  I could not find the print edition of the first book in the series (this one, "I, The Jury") at any local library, so when I saw the audiobook was on Audible and I am in the middle of a free trial, I gave it a go.

This book is horrible.  One of the worst books I've ever read.  This was compounded by the fact that the reader of the audiobook was the worst I've ever endured. I've said before that a great narrator can make an average book amazing, and a poor narrator can make a great book average.  What I have never experienced is a HORRIBLE book being read by and even worse narrator.  I guess I can cross that off the bucket list.

I'm not going to bother trying to catch this series in order, but I will give another Mike Hammer book a shot, only this time either in print or one of the books narrated by Stacy Keach.  I, The Jury was NOT narrated by Keach.  Maybe Keach reading, and a later book in the series, will prove a better mix.  But I have my doubts.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Royal Flash, by George MacDonald Fraser

  • Title:  Royal Flash
  • Author:  George MacDonald Fraser
  • Borrowed from Fairfax County (VA) Library (AudioBook)
  • Started:  8/12/2016
  • Finished: 8/17/2016
I'm not sure how I have been ignorant of the Flashman series (or 70s movie).  I would have loved these in my 20s.  In my 40s, the rakish coward is less enthralling, but the book was read very well and I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it overall.  Not sure I'd seek out others in the series (though I might), but I will definitely seek out the movie one of these days.  Maybe TCM will play it... 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Hangsaman, by Shirley Jackson

  • Title:  Hangsaman
  • Author:  Shirley Jackson
  • Borrowed from Fairfax County, VA Library (Kindle Edition)
  • Started: 8/5/2016
  • Finished:  8/14/2016

A Shirley Jackson book I had not heard of?  And it is loosely based off a famous disappearance?  Wow, this is going to be great!

Two weeks later...

What the hell did I just read?

I was lost with this one.  I get the basic plot (raped/assaulted, strange relationship with family, etc.) but I was lost of the finer points.  The police detective interludes in the first part?  The "Tony" character in the last part.  Not sorry I read it, but not the book I was hoping to read.

Friday, August 12, 2016

A Right to Die, by Rex Stout

  • Title:  A Right to Die
  • Author:  Rex Stout
  • Borrowed from Fairfaix VA Library (audiobook)
  • Started:  8/8/2016
  • Finished:  8/12/2016
Another Nero Wolfe book, so-so overall.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Barbarous Coast, by Ross MacDonald

  • Title:  The Barbarous Coast
  • Author:  Ross MacDonald
  • Borrowed from Fairfax County (VA) Public Library (audiobook)
  • Started: 8/7/2016
  • Finished: 8/10/2016
After finishing the last Lew Archer book "The Ivory Grin" I skipped the next one in line ("Find a Victim") as I have read that book several times, and hated it each time.  Find a Victim is my least favorite of the Archer novels.

The Barbarous Coast was pretty good.  Not the best Archer by far, but enjoyable overall.  The biggest issue is the number of times Archer is knocked out.  I think it happens three times in the same day in one scene.  I don't mind being asked to put aside reality for a while, but beaned in the head three times in the same day with fists, gun butt, and sap?  You'd be lucky to wake up, and if you did -- probably not speaking normally again.

The write up of Malibu in the post-war period is pretty good though.  And I love the end where bad guy tries to get Archer to take $100,000 to not blow the cover off the murders.  I'm paraphrasing here but the bad guy says something like "don't you want the money?" and Archer replies "oh I want it alright.  But if I take the money I have a feeling the I wouldn't own it, it would own me."

I would love to know what MacDonald was like to talk to in person.  I guess I could read the recently published letters between MacDonald and Eudora Welty.

Next book up is "The Doomsters" which is not available to me as an audiobook, so I bought a used copy (part of a collection called "Archer in Jeopardy" which includes two other novels I can't get as an audiobook).  I also purchased a collection (used) of all Archer short stories.  

2016, the year of Lew Archer.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Master And Commander, by Patrick O'Brian

Title:. Master and Commander
Author: Patrick O'Brian
Borrowed from DC Public Library (Audiobook)
Started: 8/2/2016
Finished:  8/7/2026

Second time reading this book. Even better the second time. Love this series.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Killing Floor, by Lee Child

  • Title:  Killing Floor
  • Author:  Lee Child
  • Borrowed from DC Public Library (Kindle Edition)
  • Started: 7/29/2016
  • Finished: 8/4/2016
Not sure how I feel about this book.  I found myself drawn to reading it, but much of the time shaking my head at some of the asinine things that happen.  The suspension of disbelief required when reading this book is astounding.  Still, I kept reading and often times enjoying the book.  I hate to admit this, but I'll probably keep at the series (Jack Reacher -- this is book 1).

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Ivory Grin, by Ross MacDonald

  • Title:  The Ivory Grin
  • Author:  Ross MacDonald
  • Borrowed from Fairfax, VA Public Library (AudioBook)
  • Started: 7/27/2016
  • Finished: 8/1/2016
Book four in the Lew Archer series.  Not as good as books 2 & 3, but still very entertaining.  Love this series.

Playmates, by Robert B. Parker

  • Title:  Playmates
  • Author:  Robert B. Parker
  • Borrowed from "little library" in Northside Park, in Ocean City, MD
  • Started: 7/28/2016
  • Finished: 7/29/2016
A forgettable Spenser book (#16 Amazon tells me), easy beach read...