Recent Read: Fear: Trump in the White House

FFBE3047-F521-43C5-8658-F29B7D1C1668Whether or not Donald Trump supporters like it, Bob Woodward is a well-respected investigative reporter, the author of 18 books, and has won two Pulitzer Prizes. His deals in fact and they have never been in dispute. Subsequently, his new book cannot be easily ignored. Fear: Trump in the White House tells the story of a president, who starts many of his days at 11AM, feasts on hot dogs and diet coke and more importantly lacks even a teenager’s view of world events.

 Woodward does not take sides, he is an even handed observer, listening and reporting. He expresses no personal opinion on Trump or others.  He just flat out reports. These days when there is so many one sided attacks by the news media Woodward’s style is refreshing.

For Trump everything boils down to money. He  questions over and over why are we spending billions of dollars on military resources in South Korea and we get nothing in return. When his team attempts to explain the military, and financial, advantages, he still doesn’t get it. Finally, Defense Secretary James Mattis blurts out we are preventing World War III!

What makes Fear most enticing and believable is it is based not just on the recollections of a variety of eyewitnesses but is supported by transcripts of conversations and exact dates

Less reliable books like Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff who relied mostly on Steve Bannon as his main source, and Unhinged by former White House aide and fired Apprentice star Omarosa Manigault Newman, both of whom had axes to grind  and present views that are most likely slanted. Woodward’s book is straightforward and provides a complex and frightening take at the inside workings of the Trump White House.

Fear: Trump in the White House is a riveting, page turning look at an ill-equipped, unpredictable, childish, cruel, compulsive liar with a short attention span who has no respect for anyone including his generals, staff and himself.

Recent Read: Baltimore Blues

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Baltimore Blues is the  first in author Laura Lippmann’s Tess Monaghan series. Tess is an out of work journalist after her newspaper shut its doors. Unemployed and skimping by on money, she accepts an offer from her good rowing buddy Rock to tail his fiancé Ava, a lawyer, who has been acting strangely. It turns dark when Rock is accused of murdering shady legal beagle Michael Aromowitz, who  Tess recently uncovered as Ava’s lover. They have been spending some special lunch time at a local hotel. Tess now finds herself trying to prove Rock’s innocent without getting herself caught in the crosshairs and getting killed herself.

Tess Monaghan is a great character  and Lippman surrounds her with a great cast of characters who are quirky and funny. From the get go you know that the city of Baltimore is as much a character in the book as the  people. Lippmann knows the city and you can feel its feel and taste throughout the book.

Baltimore Blues is a fine introduction to the series.

 

 

Fall Season 2018

fallThe unofficial end of summer and the beginning the fall season traditionally is the Labor Day Weekend.  Kids are back in school or soon will be, and the various arts begin to  release their upcoming films, music, and books. This all means it’s time again for my take on some of the books I most look forward to reading during these final months of the year. There are most likely some other releases that I am unaware of at this point that I would add to this list.  i hope so, I always like my ‘to read’ list to be high. Let’s hear what books you are looking forward to reading.

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The latest Jesse Stone novel from Reed Farrel Coleman who has done an amazing job in keeping the spirit and style, and adding just a bit o his own, of Robert B. Parker alive. Available in September.

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From Hard Case Crime, a 1946 art heist from a Boston Museum turns into a twisty ride for the thieves, the police and some former college students. Coming in October.

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This sounds fascinating. A collection of short crime fiction inspired by the songs of the late Lou Reed. Available in early September.

Road

My thanks to Facebook friends, James Thane and Erin Mitchell for bringing this book, and author, to my attention.  The story is set against the assassination o JFK  which spiked my interest. Coming in October.

Lupica

Author/Sportswriter Mike Lupica bring’s Robert B. Parker’s P.I. Sunny Randall back. Parker introduced Randall back in 1999 with Family Honor. Five more books in the series followed before Parker passed away in 2010. Parker’s other long running series Spenser, Jesse Stone, and Virgil and Everett have all continued  with commissioned authors Ace Atkins, Reed Farrel Coleman and Robert Knott respectively carrying on the torch. Now Sunny is back.  On bookshelves this coming November.

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Harry Bosch meets Renee Ballard in master Michael Connelly’s latest. Due October 30th.

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Crime ridden dark tales from the Sunshine State with John D. MacDonald, Lawrence Block, Tim Dorsey, Reed Farrel Coleman, Craig Pittman and others. Available in September.

Woods

My guilty pleasure of the season. Coming in October.

 

Doors

Another dig into the crime archives brings Oakley Hall’s  So Many Doors back into print after almost 60 years. Coming from Hard Case in November.

 

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From the man who brought you All the President’s Men now brings his sharp focus and reporting skills exposing the chaos of the first years of Trump’s White House. Due in September.

 

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Lisa Brennan-Jobs memoir of growing up the daughter of Steve Jobs and artist ChrisAnn Brennan.  Due early September.

Bitter Ends – New Collection of Short Stories

Bitter Ends, my new collection of short stories is coming soon. Looking forward to having it available either later this year or early next year. Below is a preview of the cover. More details to follow.

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Recent Read: The Most Dangerous Thing

Laura1Considering that Laura Lippman’s most recent book (Sunburn) I will be ranking as  one of the best novels I read this year; it’s a modern day masterful noir, it made this most recent read by the author even more of a disappointment. The Most Dangerous Thing revolves around five childhood friends who have a dark secret. Like most friends from  school age days, they have gone on to adulthood and separate lives. With the recent death of one of the five, the remaining friends reluctantly find themselves reuniting. Long ago buried, dark secrets  resurface, unknown facts are exposed in a slow and lethargic fashion that make this book a perfect antidote for someone with insomnia. There are too many characters and too much character development that continuously slows the pace. Tess Monaghan, Lippman’s on going character makes a cameo appearance, but it does not help. I have read five of Lippman’s books, including Sunburn; all were terrific reads. I look forward to reading more of her work. The author is a fine writer, but this was a misfire.

Aretha – Let it Be

So sad to hear about the passing of the iconic Aretha Franklin. Tributes are pouring in from all over, so anything I can add is of little consequence. I just wanted to post this video of Aretha’s version of the Beatles, Let it Be. A huge fan of Franklin’s, Paul McCartney sent a demo to Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records in hopes he would pass it on to Aretha.  Like many, The Beatles were big admirers of the Queen of Soul and were thrilled when she recorded many of their songs.

Here is a link to the Rolling Stone article, Why Nobody Sang The Beatles like Aretha. 

Recent Read: The Chill in the Night

ChillThe young and beautiful lawyer Lainie Goff is on the fast track at her law firm until one night she disappears and  is soon discovered naked, frozen and dead in the trunk of her car at  Portland’s Fish Pier on a cold night in January. A witness, Abby Quinn, a young woman with a history of schizophrenia soon appears but just as quickly ends up missing.  Will she be found before the killer finds her? Did she really see the murder or was it a hallucination? Abby’s history of mental problems, she is known for hearing voices and seeing strange things, makes her an unreliable witness. Would a jury believe her testimony? Former NYC cop, now a Portland detective, Michael Savage is extremely determined, dedicated, and fighting his inner demons, along with his partner Maggie Savage are up against a slick and nasty killer. There are multiple suspects, all with good motives. First off there is Goff’s married boss/lover at the law firm. Did she threaten to out their affair to his wife after she was denied a partnership in the firm? There is  the ex-priest who now runs Sanctuary House, a home for abused kids, where Goff was a board member and volunteer. The organization is the sole beneficiary of Lainie’s will. Then there is the superintendent/handyman where Goff lived, a creepy dude with strange sex fixations including getting caught by McCabe sniffing Goff’s underwear.

The Chill of the Night is author James Hayman’s second novel in the McCabe and Savage series. It is my first book by the author. McCabe is nicely drawn.  We learn he has an artist girlfriend, an ex-wife, and a daughter he cares deeply about. His partner Maggie Savage comes across as more of a secondary character. I would like to learn more about her. Maybe, she will be more prominent and developed in later books in the series.

Set in Portland, Maine, The Chill of the Night is a suspenseful mystery/thriller and a entertaining read.

 

 

Reflections

One of my favorite subjects to photograph are reflections.  Reflections are all abstract versions of life. Using water, mirrors, windows or any reflective surface can transform an image into something richer,  unique, and even artistic.

Tennessee Near Smoky Mountains

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New Hampshire

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Macy’s NYC Easter Window – 2008

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Skyscraper Reflection

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Sandhill Cranes Sunset

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Grand Tetons

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Ghost Ranch – New Mexico

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Dorothy

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Water Reflection #1

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Water Reflection #2

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San Juan Islands – Whales

The San Juan Islands consist of a string of islands (over 100) located in the northwest corner  between the mainland U.S. and Vancouver, B.C.  We stayed in the town of Friday Harbor, the big tourist spot on the island of San Juan. From there for three days we went out on the nearby waters, including the Strait of Georgia, to photograph Orcas and Humpback Whales, Seals,  Porpoises and Eagles. We also spent a few hours at the San Juan Island National Historic Park where we photographed Foxes.

This is the first in a series of photographs I will be posting. Enjoy.

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