Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Very big kitty

For those of you who have seen my California wildlife slideshow, it's time to take another look.  We had a pretty exciting visitor last night and he came at about the time my wife, Hurricane Sandy, was taking our two silly dogs for a walk.  The new picture is near the end of the slideshow.  Here's the link: Critters of the Canyon

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Review of Arnold Crabtree, WWI British Sniper

Arnold Crabtree, WWI British Sniper is a very interesting, and very concise snippet of history.  It is a twenty-minute glimpse into the life and death of a common soldier on the Western Front in the early days of that war that the United States took so very long to join.  One always hears of machine gun charges and gas attacks.  The role of snipers has heretofore been ignored.  I'd like to thank Alex Devaney for shedding light on the topic.

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Review of Pearl Lagoon by Eric Timar

A banana republic, a perpetual civil war, two murders in a sleepy fishing village and a tall, stunning, blond obeah woman, this is backdrop for a story that might have come from Grahame Greene.  In the prohibition era an ambitious young vice-consul investigates the murder of an American in a remote part of Nicaragua.  The exotic setting is the appeal of this story and Eric Timar has done a fine job of conveying the ambiance.  The character development and the dialect is first rate.  Pearl Lagoon will appeal to historical fictions fans and those fond of adventure travel as well anyone who loves a murder mystery.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Review of Charleston Murders

Meet Alexis Dorchester, Charleston socialite, heiress and pampered Southern Belle.  Her husband is gay, the love of her life is a black eunuch, her son is a mulatto, her father is a murderous bigot and her servants are her stepsiblings—certainly colorful living arrangements.  Charleston Murders is a tale of segregation, treachery and mayhem that covers the time period from the 1920's to present.  It is told in the form of a deathbed confession and it's rather long, so it was surely a slow painful death.  The narration is a folksy southern dialect which initially put me off, but in very few pages it began to speak to my inner redneck.  I continued avidly to the climax of the story then I began to hope for a merciful death.  It's a very good book until the aforementioned climax, then its voice changes and it becomes somewhat maudlin and self-indulgent.  In my frank opinion it would be improved were it pruned by about twenty-five percent.
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