July 2022

Independent booksellers grew in number, diversity in 2021

One in Five Americans Struggles to Read. We Want to Understand Why.

Words of the Month

dame (n.): c. 1200, “a mother,” also “a woman of rank or high social position; superior of a convent,” and an address for a woman of rank or position, used respectfully to other ladies, from Old French dame “lady, mistress, wife,” from Late Latin domna, from Latin domina “lady, mistress of the house,” from Latin domus “house” (from PIE root *dem “house, household”). From early 14th C. as “a woman” in general, particularly a mature or married woman or the mistress of a household. Used in Middle English with personifications (Study, Avarice, Fortune, Richesse, Nature, Misericordie). In later use the legal title for the wife of a knight or baronet.

Slang sense of “woman” in the broadest sense, without regard to rank or anything else, is attested by 1902 in American English.

We got sunlight on the sand, We got moonlight on the sea

We got mangoes and bananas, You can pick right off the tree

We got volleyball and ping-pong, And lots of dandy games

What ain’t we got? We ain’t got dames!

Richard Rodgers, “There Is Nothin’ Like a Dame,” 1949 (etymonline)

It’s a tricky thing to suss out who is awarded what each year when Buckingham Palace releases The Gazette. For those of us who don’t follow it, the initials attached to the various awards are as confusing as the bureaus outta DC. OBE? GBE? DBE?

We bring this up after the news that Ian Rankin is now SIR Ian Rankin. We could remember Dame Agatha and Dame Phyllis, and Sir Arthur, but who else? This sent us off on a quest for answers – and then we ran into the three-letter question.

To be given Sir or Dame, one must be a subject of the Queen. Hitchcock was born in England, as was Bob Hope, and Sidney Poitier was born in Jamaica, so they all were knighted. Spielberg is an honorary knight, as was Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Dames and Sirs are, or have been, awarded GBE, KBE, or DBE. If you want to know what the difference is, well do your own investigation. It’s pretty simple.

Sir Ian joins a healthy list of authors: Antonia Fraser, Hilary Mantel, Salmon Rushdie, Kingsley Amis, William Golding, Iris Murdoch, PG Wodehouse, JRR Tolkein, and Jorge Louis Borges, to name some in no particular order. Not many mystery or crime writers that we found right off.

A healthy list of writers declined the “honors”: CS Lewis, Roald Dahl, Aldus Huxley, Robert Graves, JB Priestly, Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, and Rudyard Kipling.

There are names that aren’t on any list. For instance AA Milne… Anyway –

Congratulations to Sir Ian, a great writer and a nice guy!

Words of the Month

knight (n.) Old English cniht “boy, youth; servant, attendant,” a word common to the nearby Germanic languages (Old Frisian kniucht, Dutch knecht, Middle High German kneht “boy, youth, lad,” German Knecht “servant, bondman, vassal”), of unknown origin. For pronunciation, see kn. The plural in Middle English sometimes was knighten.

Meaning “military follower of a king or other superior” is from c. 1100. It began to be used in a specific military sense in the Hundred Years War, and gradually rose in importance until it became a rank in the nobility from 16th C. Hence in modern British use, a social privilege or honorary dignity conferred by a sovereign as a reward, without regard for birth or deeds at arms. In 17thc.-19thc. a common jocularism was to call a craftsman or tradesman a knight of the and name some object associated with his work; e.g. knight of the brush for “painter.” Knight in shining armor in the figurative sense is from 1917, from the man who rescues the damsel in distress in romantic dramas (perhaps especially “Lohengrin”). For knight-errant, see errant.

The horse-headed chess piece so called from mid-15thc. Knights of Columbus, society of Catholic men, founded 1882 in New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.; Knights of Labor, trade union association, founded in Philadelphia, 1869; Knights of Pythias, secret order, founded in Washington, 1864. (etymonline)

For your Summer plans –

Top 10 novels about things that go horribly wrong on islands

Classy Stuff

Russian Journalist to Auction Nobel Medal to Benefit Ukraine

Nobel sold for Ukrainian kids shatters record at $103.5M

Serious Stuff

They were killers with powerful guns. The president went after their weapons.

>The Group Banning LGBT Books Wants to Replace Them With Anti-Gay Propaganda

>Long Island library board comes to its senses and reverses ban on children’s Pride displays.

>First they came for queer story time… And what did you do?

>This right wing religious website is telling readers to ruin LGBQT+ library displays.

>A South Dakota school district planned to destroy Dave Eggers’s novel. He went to investigate

=Perspective | Why the press will never have another Watergate moment

=During Watergate, John Mitchell left his wife – so she called Bob Woodward

=Woodward and Bernstein thought Nixon defined corruption. Then came Trump.

=How ‘All the President’s Men’ went from buddy flick to masterpiece

=How Martha Mitchell’s firing of a bodyguard spurred Watergate scandal

=Why ‘The Watergate Three’ Are Remembered as a Duo

=Watergate Still Holds Secrets, Even After 50 Years

=The Target of the First Watergate Burglary Still Wonders: ‘Why Me?’

=How the CIA’s Cuba Debacles Brought the Future Watergate Conspirators Together

=Watergate at 50: Revelations From New Declassified Evidence

=He discovered the Watergate break-in, then died destitute and forgotten

=Opinion: What the Nixon pardon tells us about the perils of letting Trump walk

Michigan prisons have banned dictionaries in the “obscure” languages of Swahili and Spanish.

Suspected murderer of Wisconsin judge had hit list including Mitch McConnell

Blake Masters Blames Gun Violence on ‘Black People, Frankly’

‘I’m Not Jumping in’: Arizona Cops on Leave for Standing by as a Man Drowned

Massive Internet Identity Theft Marketplace Shut Down by Feds

Specialist gang ‘targeting’ Ukrainian treasures for removal to Russia

How a Tulsa grandmother became a vicious Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist—in her own words.

Google Says It Bans Gun Ads. It Actually Makes Money From Them.

Kurt Vonnegut Museum Is Giving Florida 1,000 Copies of ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’ Amid Ban Effort

After 91 years, Black teen exonerated by defense lawyer’s great-grandson

What drove some to resist Hitler — and others to stay quiet

Discovery of 1955 warrant in Emmett Till’s murder sparks calls for arrest

Feds Find ‘Significant Justification’ to Investigate NYPD’s Sex Crimes Unit

Words of the Month

excrescence (n.): early 15c., “action of growing out,” from Latin excrescentia (plural) “abnormal growths,” from excrescentem (nominative excrescens), present participle of excrescere “grow out, grow up,” from ex “out” (see ex-) + crescere “to grow” (from PIE root *ker- (2) “to grow”). Meaning “that which grows out abnormally” (on a living thing) is from 1570s (excrescency in this sense is 1540s). (etymonline)

Local Stuff

Elliott Bay Book Co. sold to longtime manager, Capitol Hill bar and business owners

White supremacism, WA ties, death threats: What to know about Patriot Front arrests near Idaho pride event

Out West, we know the right-wing extremist threat just keeps rising

How A Break-In and A Blizzard Shaped April Henry’s New Mystery

From vacation reads to picks for locals, Vashon Bookshop serves an island’s literary needs

Spokane author Jess Walter on writing short stories, his working-class roots and his hometown

Oregon School’s Ridiculous Battle Over ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Ends With Book Ban

Ransomware attacks increasing in Oregon, nationwide, FBI says

~ Samantha Allen on Writing the Sasquatch Slasher Novel the World Needs Right Now

~ Why Samantha Allen Wrote A Lesbian Sasquatch Novel

Odd Stuff

This Hacker Group Forces People to Do Good to Get Their Data Back

*Attempted Reagan Assassin John Hinckley Jr. To Play Brooklyn Concert

*John Hinckley’s Sold-Out Brooklyn Concert Is Canceled

Eleven members of Rome-based mafia clan face trial over electricity theft

Accused Murderer’s Defense Says Cough Syrup Made Her Run a Woman Over

Minor Literature: Kafka’s Drawings

Cupcake Mogul Led a Wild Double Life Using Dead Baby’s Identity, Feds Say

Denied his high school diploma over a book fine in 1962, he finally walked the stage

Find your next great literary insult in Nabokov’s burn book.

Frederick Douglass Books, a new imprint, will publish nonfiction by writers of color.

One of the country’s oldest Black-owned bookstores is closing.

The sad-sack, fascist Proud Boys have sunk to a new low: storming a library story time.

?James Patterson claims White male writers face ‘another form of racism’

!Author James Patterson apologizes for saying white male writers face ‘another form of racism’

Dog uncovers ‘fugitive Dutch pedophile’s’ child abuse stash and hidden cellphone among ‘rancid’ laundry in dingy Mexico apartment after sniffing out electronics during police raid

Simon & Schuster Will Distribute Jan. 6 Report With Foreword by Conspiracy Theorist

How Jean-Paul Sartre’s relentless pranking forced his teacher to resign

You Could Win This Drug Lord Mansion in Mexico City for $10

Cousins receive mystery postcards sent decades ago: ‘I was stunned’

A Drug Lord Who ‘Died’ of COVID Last Year Was Just Arrested in Europe

Words of the Month

peep (v.1): “to glance, look from a state of concealment” (especially through or as through a small or narrow opening), mid-15th C., pepen, perhaps an alteration of Middle English piken (see peek (v.)). Hence, “to come partially into view, begin to appear” (1530s). Peeping Tom “a curious prying fellow” [Grose] is from 1796. (etymonline)


Amazon employees protested its Pride event over its sale of anti-trans books.

Authors are protesting Amazon’s e-book policy that allows users to read and return

Amazon restricts LGBT goods in United Arab Emirates

Words of the Month

vote (n): mid-15th C., “formal expression of one’s wish or choice with regard to a proposal, candidate, etc.,” from Latin votum “a vow, wish, promise to a god, solemn pledge, dedication,” noun use of neuter of votus, past participle of vovere “to promise, dedicate” (see vow (n.)). Meaning “totality of voters of a certain class or type” is from 1888.


Kalani Pickhart has won the NYPL’s Young Lions Fiction Award.

George Chauncey has won the Kluge Prize for his work in LGBTQ history

Miles Franklin 2022: shortlist revealed for Australia’s prestigious literary prize

Book Stuff

10 Years Later, Gone Girl Is Ripe for a Sequel

20 Famous Writers on Being Rejected

Martin Edwards: My Life In Crime

Shop Talk: Lisa Unger on Waking Up Early, Carving Out Time, and Writing Longhand in the Target Parking Lot

How Agatha Christie’s Deep Respect for Science Helped Her Mysteries Stand the Test of Time

We’re Living in a Golden Age of Australian Crime and Mystery Television

Former Hong Kong journalists open independent bookstore Have a Nice Stay for those who remain amid emigration wave

James Patterson shares his formula for success. It’s pretty simple.

Here are the guest editors for the Best American Series 2022. (see the choice for mystery and suspense!)

Cornell Woolrich, the Dark Prince of Noir

The Disposable Spy: Or, How To Get Away With Revealing Agency Secrets In a Novel

It took a Hundred Years and Two Gays to Decode Her Diaries

The Only Surviving Manuscript of ‘Paradise Lost’

The best independent bookstores in the US [see 1 and 6]

The book that tore publishing apart: ‘Harm has been done, and now everyone’s afraid’

A Newly Discovered Céline Novel Creates a Stir

The Schomburg Center Literary Festival Makes Its Return to Harlem

NY Public Library Is Giving Away 500,000 Free Books This Summer

Inside the Push to Diversify the Book Business

Interview with an Indie Press: Seagull Books

Death Goes Drag: How the Queer Experiences of Mystery Writers Rufus King and Clifford Orr Influenced Their Golden Age Detective Fiction

Be gay, read books: Aesop’s free Queer Library is back

Five independent bookshops you need to visit in Scotland

‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ celebrates 25 magical years

Book bombs: Trump aide tell-alls fail to sell

San Francisco Art Book Fair Returns After a Two-Year Break

Check out a cool new guide to indie bookstores on the West coast.

Author Events (in person)

July 6: Jess Walter signs The Angel of Rome and Other Stories, Powell’s 7pm

July 7: Daniel Nieh signs Take No Names, Powell’s, 7pm

Words of the Month

sufferage (n): late 14th C., “intercessory prayers or pleas on behalf of another,” from Old French sofrage “plea, intercession” (13th C.) and directly from Medieval Latin suffragium, from Latin suffragium “support, ballot, vote; right of voting; a voting tablet,” from suffragari “lend support, vote for someone,” conjectured to be a compound of sub “under” (see sub-) + fragor “crash, din, shouts (as of approval),” related to frangere “to break” (from PIE root *bhreg “to break”). On another theory (Watkins, etc.) the second element is frangere itself and the notion is “use a broken piece of tile as a ballot” (compare ostracism).

The meaning “a vote for or against anything” is from 1530s. The meaning “political right to vote” in English is first found in the U.S. Constitution, 1787. (etymonline)

Other Forms of Entertainment

>‘The Wire’ at 20: ‘This Show Will Live Forever’: David Simon and Edward Burns

>‘The Wire’ Stands Alone

>‘Reality Never Gives You the Perfect Narrative’. In ‘We Own This City’, David Simon and George Pelecanos argue police corruption has never been worse.

>‘The Wire’ in Five Scenes

‘I thought I looked beautiful’ – how we made ‘The Incredible Hulk’

Jon Hamm, Juno Temple, Jennifer Jason Leigh to Lead ‘Fargo’ Season 5 at FX

Film Noirs ‘The Guilty’ and ‘High Tide’ Have Strong Literary Roots

The Old Guard 2 Adds Some Ex-Superheroes to Its Immortal Cast

+‘Dark Winds’: A Pulpy Mystery That Makes Native Characters the Stars of Their Own Story

+‘Dark Winds’ Review: Murder Most Foul in the Navajo Nation

‘The Staircase’ Subject Michael Peterson Addresses HBO Show

The Staircase: For Michael Peterson and Daughter Margaret, the Nightmare Continues With HBO Max

46 Things We Learned from Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Out of Sight’ Commentary

An exclusive first look at the new Netflix true crime documentary, Girl in the Picture

The Story of Lee Marvin, Gene Hackman, and Quite Possibly the Strangest American Crime Film of the 1970s

She played Scout in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ Now she’s got a new role.

‘The Old Man’ Brought Jeff Bridges to TV. John Lithgow Had No Advice. c

Heat: Robert De Niro and Al Pacino reunite to discuss their hit thriller

Norman Lloyd, King of the Hitchcock Collaborators

10 Conspiracy Thrillers for the Truly Paranoid (movies, that is…)

The Wild History of the Real ‘Only Murders’ Building

+From “Fargo” to “Dark Winds,” Zahn McClarnon keeps perfecting his art – but don’t call him an artist

Knives Out 2 has a title and a release date!

David Mamet To Direct ‘2 Days/1963’ Drama On Sam Giancana’s Role In JFK Assassination, From Script By Mobster’s Grandnephew Nicholas Celozzi


Ian Fleming’s lost James Bond screenplay reveals a very different 007

James Bond star Naomie Harris backs Chiwetel Ejiofor to play 007

America’s very own 00-FELON! Disastrous tale of CIA agent who was hired to write James Bond-style novels in a bid to revive agency’s terrible reputation – but ended up a sensational flop before being ARRESTED for involvement in Watergate

Ralph Fiennes Almost Became James Bond Before Bossing Daniel Craig Around

Words of the Month

boggart (n.) also boggard, specter, goblin, sprite,” especially one supposed to haunt a particular spot, 1560s; see bug (n.). (etymonline)


June 1: David C. MacMichael, C.I.A. Whistleblower, Dies at 95

June 2: Barry Sussman, Washington Post editor who oversaw Watergate reporting, dies at 87

June 13: Philip Baker Hall, the Library Cop Lt. Bookman on ‘Seinfeld,’ Zodiac, Hard Eight, Dies at 90

June 13: Baxter Black, cowboy poet and ‘Morning Edition’ commentator, dies at 77

June 14: George Weyerhaeuser Sr., timber company scion who was kidnapped as a child, dies at 95

June 17: Legendary Comic Artist Tim Sale Has Died

June 30: Sonny Barger Dies: Hells Angels Founder, ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ Actor & Rolling Stones Nemesis Was 83

Links of Interest

June 1: Myths surround ‘Untouchable’ lawman Eliot Ness. What’s the truth?

June 3: A U.S. murder suspect fled to Mexico. The Gringo Hunters were waiting.

+June 3: Lakota elders helped a white man preserve their language. Then he tried to sell it back to them.

June 4: Suspect in Litvinenko poisoning dies in Moscow, TASS reports

June 4: How Can People Fall Asleep To True Crime Shows And Podcasts?

+June 6: Puzzle Monday: Secrets of the Original Code-Talkers

June 6: The Mystery of a Billionaire’s Wife’s Disappearance May Turn on ‘Crypto Lead’

June 7: Decentralized Crypto Exchange Offline After Hacker Steals $113M

June 8: Woman Arrested for Murdering Boyfriend After Tracking Him With Apple AirTag

June 8: True the Vote Raised Millions to Combat Voter Fraud—But No One Really Knows Where the Money Went

June 9: The missing daughter of a slain Texas couple has been found alive more than 4 decades later

June 9: Florida man got $4.5 million from COVID-19 PPP fraud, then lost $3 million — and freedom

June 10: The greatest work in English literature: Shakespeare First Folio expected to fetch $2.5m at auction

June 11: Jack Vettriano reveals new muses inspired him to paint again

June 14: A brother’s 36-year fight against one of New Zealand’s worst miscarriages of justice

June 16: Rescued Art Museum: Stolen artefacts recovered by police go on display in Rome

June 17: The Reply Guy From Hell – For almost two decades, this man terrorized women online. Then they decided to band together.

June 17: Ex-Amazon worker convicted in massive Capital One hack

June 20: ‘Master of Disguise’ on the Run After Mexican Authorities Find Girlfriend’s Remains

June 20: How Paintings Lost in a Small-Town Art Heist Were Recovered 50 Years Later

June 21: Alcatraz Escapees, Now in Their 90s, STILL Sought by U.S. Marshals Wielding Digitally Aged Images of Fugitives

June 21: Scientist turned bumbling Miami spy for Russia gets 4 years in cloak-and-dagger caper

June 22: Bill Cosby Sexually Assaulted a Teen at Playboy Mansion, Civil Jury Finds

June 24: Dutch mobster Willem Holleeder sentenced to life in prison over contract killings

June 24: Contractor Loses USB Drive Holding an Entire City’s Personal Details During Drunken Night Out

June 26: How a Detective Helped Nail the Torso Killer—From the Grave

June 27: Subway worker allegedly shot, killed over ‘too much mayonnaise’ on customer’s sandwich

June 28: Biotech Wizard Left a Trail of Fraud—Prosecutors Allege It Ended in

June 28: Ghislaine Maxwell sentenced to 20 years for ‘horrific’ sex trafficking

June 29: R&B singer R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison

June 29: Jamie Bartlett on the Biggest Crypto Scam of All and the Heartless Bulgarian Cryptoqueen Behind It

June 30: Researchers Blame North Korea for $100 Million Horizon Bridge Cryptocurrency Theft Amid ‘Global Manhunt’

Words of the Month

boggle (v.): From the 1590s, “to start with fright (as a startled horse does), shy, take alarm,” from Middle English bugge “specter” (among other things, supposed to scare horses at night); see bug (n.); also compare bogey (n.1), boggart. The meaning ” hesitate, stop as if afraid to proceed in fear of unforeseen difficulties” is from 1630s; that of “confound, cause to hesitate” is from 1640s. As a noun from 1650s. Related: Boggled; boggling; boggler (from c. 1600 as “one who hesitates”). (etymonline)

What We’ve Been Up To


Aunt Dimity & the Enchanted Cottage — Nancy Atherton

Once again, residents are plunging gleefully into Finch’s semi-regular ritual called the Moving-Van Vigil. Never heard of the tradition? Well, it’s where Finch villagers stake out a newly rented cottage and try to deduce who the newcomer is by the possessions as they’re moved from van to house….or what they can extrapolate from the labels on the cardboard boxes. 

When the movers finish hauling their last box, the villagers disperse and chew over their tentative conclusions for three full days, thereby giving their new neighbor breathing space to get the cottage in some semblance of order. Then they descend en masse, casserole dishes in hand, to welcome the latest addition to Finch’s thriving village life.

Violators of this rule are given the hairy eyeball, publicly snubbed, and met with stony silence.

Lori and Tommy are willing to face the consequences when they witness Mr. Windle (the latest unwitting participant of this nosey tradition) in a moment of extreme melancholy, whereupon the two start worrying that the newest addition to Finch means to do himself harm….

Aunt Dimity & the Enchanted Cottage is an excellent addition to the series! It shows Finch and its penchant for nosiness at its very best. Demonstrating how a community bands together to ensure one of its’ own stays safe and remember those who earlier inhabitants failed.

I would recommend The Enchanted Cottage to anyone who loves this series and/or to anyone who needs a lovely light mystery to escape the never-ending bad news cycle. 

Now, all that being said — there is one essential detail to keep in mind….Do Not Read the synopsis on the front fly-leaf. 

I’m serious.

Whoever wrote it did this book and the Residents of Finch a great disservice. First, this anonymous person in the publishing house made it sound as if the villagers completely dismissed Mr. Windle for rebuffing their advances of friendship. Now, anyone who knows anything about Finch KNOWS this would never happen. Especially if they think someone needs help.

Second, this unknown synopsis writer gives away a major plot point in the mystery. I mean…who does that? Albeit when you read the summary, you wouldn’t know, but the moment you start the book? It doesn’t take long to figure out that this faceless writer both told the truth about the mystery and misled you simultaneously. 

If you can, take my word that Aunt Dimity & the Enchanted Cottage is a well-written, captivating entry in this murderless mystery series and is well worth your reading time.


Stories need to be told.

Stories were different, though: they came alive in the telling. Without a human voice to read them aloud, or a pair of wide eyes following them by flashlight beneath a blanket, they had no real existence in our world. They were like seeds in the beak of a bird, waiting to fall to earth, or the notes of a song laid out on a sheet, yearning for an instrument to bring their music into being. They lay dormant, hoping for a chance to emerge. Once someone started to read them, they could begin to change. They would take root in the imagination, and transform the reader. Stories wanted to be read, David’s mother would whisper. They needed it. It was the reason they forced themselves from their world into ours. They wanted us to give them life.

John Connolly wrote that in the first few pages of his amazing book, THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS, back in 2006. It was true then, and it’s true now.

If you haven’t read THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS, first of all, you’re missing out on a classic fairy tale, not one that’s been Disney-fied but the truly grim ones, the real ones. Mind you, there’s laugh-out-loud moments to be found, but this is a dark tale for children and adults.

David, mentioned above, loves the old fairy tales, and found refuge in them when his mother died and his father remarried. World War II was breaking over London, and David goes to live in the country with his father and their new family. Isolated and lonely, David turns to books. But when a downed German plane crashes in the garden where David is exploring, a hole in the garden wall is the only potentially safe place David can go.

Except what’s on the other side of the wall isn’t the neighboring yard. It’s a world filled with all the stories he’s been reading, and unless he is very resourceful and quick, David could be stuck there. Forever.

I’ve told you about this book before, and it bears reinforcing my determination that you should read it, but that’s not the only reason I’m telling you to pick it up.

Here’s what John Connolly said in a recent newsletter:

For some time I’ve been working on a sequel to THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS. I never really thought I’d write a sequel to that book, although I have returned to the universe of it with some short stories over the years. Nevertheless, I’ve had recourse to re-read the original over the last decade or so: first to give it a gentle polish for the 10th anniversary edition, and then, during lockdown, in order to write a film script based on it. (The script provided a way forward, I think, as well as indicating that there was too much material in the book for a two-hour film. The film company is now looking at it in terms of a possible television series, which would provide more scope for expansion, but I’ve done my bit as far as scripts for it are concerned.)

The polish for the anniversary edition, completed in 2016, probably provided the initial impetus, while the screenplay concretized some ideas I’d had. The result is that THE LAND OF LOST THINGS will be published in the autumn of either 2023 or 2024, but most likely the former. There’s some work to be done on it yet in terms of revision, but it’s coming into focus.

YAY! A film/series and a sequel? It doesn’t get better than that!


After watching the series “The Lincoln Lawyer”, I decided to go back to Michael Connelly’s series with Mickey Haller, Harry Bosch’s half-brother. I’d stopped reading that series after the second book in the series, The Brass Verdict, which is what the TV covered. 3rd was The Reversal – which features Bosch as working with Haller. The next in the series was temporarily out of print, so I spent the month catching up with Bosch, and the newest member of that universe, Renee Ballard: The Late Show, Dark Sacred Night, Night Fire, and the Dark Hours. What the hell – if you’re gonna do it, just go overboard! Ballard and Bocsh make a great team. Each of their joint books contain at least one cold case that takes takes up most of the book, and sprinkled in are Ballard’s Late Show cases that work like mini-short stories. It’s a fascinating way to craft a novel. Won’t be another Bosch and Ballard until early November, so not it is back to Haller and the fifth in that series, The Gods of Guilt.

Finally, a personal plea: if you’re not happy with the way the country is going, the way every American’s right to privacy has been eagerly stripped away by the minority, you must resolve to vote in EVERY election. Yes, presidential elections are crucial, but so are all the local and state elections. Don’t like gerrymandering? Vote! Don’t like what the schoolboard is doing? VOTE! Don’t like what your state legislators are doing, or the governor? VOTE! If you’re registered but don’t vote, you’ve helped those who removed your – our – rights. If you’re not registered – register and vote in every election. Because, as you can see, it matters… Protesting is good, showing numbers and raising voices is good. “A few weeks before his death in 1895, Douglass was asked what advice he would give to a young black American. ‘Agitate! Agitate! Agitate!’ the old man answered.”

Remember – Black MEN in America were theoretically given the right to vote in 1870 but that was not enforced – again, theoretically – until the 1964 Civil Rights Act. That now seems to be under threat in many forums. WOMEN in America were not allowed to vote until the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920! So, if you listen to Constitutional Originalists who want the things to return to what the Constitution said when it was written… ‘Agitate! Agitate! Agitate!’ and VOTE!


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