Words of the Month
Viewpoint: Was CIA ‘too white’ to spot 9/11 clues? [see Words of the Month]
The Long Read: On 15 September 1981, 10-year-old Ursula Herrmann headed home by bike from her cousin’s house. She never arrived. So began one of Germany’s most notorious postwar criminal cases, which remains contentious to this day.
Words of the Month
homophily: “This is a common phenomenon in recruiting… people tend to hire people who think (and often look) like themselves.”
Odd’s N Ends
Other Means of Entertainment
David Strathairn Joins Guillermo Del Toro’s Nightmare Alley (JB says if you’ve never seen the original, with Tyrone Power, you should. It’s a great film noir, even though it isn’t really a mystery!)
William Kent Krueger, Oct. 4, 7pm, Powell’s
Dylan Meconis, Oct. 11, 7pm, Third Place/Ravenna ~ “cartoonist, writer, and illustrator who created the graphic novels Family Man, Bite Me!, and Outfoxed, which was nominated for a Will Eisner Comic Industry Award”, AND she’s the daughter of Charlie Meconis, one of our long-time customers, friend of the shop, Tigers’ fan, and all-around hip fellow!
Clyde Ford, Oct. 15, 7pm, Elliot Bay Books
Curt Colbert, Oct. 20, 3pm, Elliot Bay Books
Benjamin Percy, Oct. 28, 7pm. Elliot Bay Books
Martin Limón, Oct. 30, 7pm, Third Place/LFP
Words of the Month
misleared (adj.): Scottish, from 1560, ill-mannered, Ill-bred. (thanks to Says You!)
Links of Interest
September 3: Banksy artwork stolen from central Paris
September 3: BBC’s secret World War Two activities revealed
September 5: How a Hitler bust was found under French Senate
September 5: Loch Ness Monster may be a giant eel, say scientists
September 8: Lt. Joe Kenda of “Homicide Hunter”: “I never pulled the trigger because I never had to”. Legendary homicide detective on the end of his hit show and how he solved all those crimes without killing anyone
September 11: Message in bottle saves family stranded on waterfall
September 12: The Distinctly American Ethos of the Grifter
September 14: CIA unveils Cold War spy-pigeon missions
September 19: Why Some People Become Lifelong Readers
September 19: Black panther found prowling roofs in French town
September 23: Scotland’s secret WW2 fuel depot
September 23: The Mysterious Origins of the Uncrackable Video Game
September 24: 8 HELPFUL READATHON HACKS
September 24: The monster of all US conspiracy theories
Words of the Month
Coulrophobia: abnormal fear of clowns
A New Word added to Merriam-Webster Dictionary in September 2019! Their comment: “Although Hollywood releases and dictionary updates are not coordinated, even for publicity purposes, this entry hits your screens within weeks of the premieres of both It Chapter Two and Joker.”
September 6: Marita Lorenz, the spy who loved Fidel Castro died
September 23: A great personality and competitor! Amber will miss watching him cook very much. Chefs Remember Carl Ruiz
What We’ve Been Up To
Last Week on Finder Of Lost Things….We found out the details of Tiffany Grindle’s disappearance and subsequent discovery by The Grumpiest Park Ranger.
Next Week…We find out if the police (and the paper’s police blotter) have figured out who Phoebe and Dourwood were two of the four pirates running around Nevermore…
Vendetta In Death – J.D. Robb
“NO MATTER YOUR RACE, CREED, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, OR POLITICAL AFFILIATION, WE PROTECT AND SERVE, BECAUSE YOU COULD GET DEAD.” The sign in Lieutenant Eve Dallas’s bullpen should also include a phrase, ” …OR CHARACTER, WE PROTECT…” Because once again Dallas, Roarke, Peabody, Feeney, and McNabb must stand for victims that are far from innocent.
Vendetta In Death takes the Me Too movement and deftly combines it with an unstable personality which ends up creating a vigilante. A serial killer bent on cleansing New York of the men who perpetrate crimes against women. Rather than making sure they face actual justice our vigilante, calling herself Lady Justice, bestows her own in a very public fashion. Now it’s up to Dallas and her team to find the killer before she strikes again.
This is a fast fun read. Perhaps not as dense as some of the installments in the In Death Series, it is still satisfying. Even better, it furthers the storylines of a couple of the regular cast members, which is always fun to read.
(Robb also dispenses with the boilerplate introductions of her characters in this book! Which I must say moved the book along better and for us, long-time readers it was a fantastic improvement to the story!)
Wonton Terror – Vivien Chien
Have I told you how much I enjoy reading this series?
Chien’s culinary-themed mystery should be the way every mystery of this genera should be written. I’m not joking. Chien works her food theme into the mystery flawlessly where it is both ever-present but NEVER detracts from the mystery itself.
That is some serious skill.
Our heroine Lana Lee is flawed, fearless, and fun. She’s also slowly learning what it means to be an amateur detective: stepping on toes, accidentally offending people, getting repeatedly told to stay out of things, donning a disguise, and deducing. All while managing her family’s noddle shop and balancing the twin insanity of her new hostess and her family!
In Wonton of Terror Lana runs into some old family friends who, as it turns out, have some serious problems. When their food truck blows up, killing one of the owners, Lana finds she isn’t short on suspects or motives!
I would suggest this book/series to anyone who enjoys a good cozy read every now and again. Don’t let the foodie cover fool you this book is all about the mystery!
We all know how damaging lies can be, right?
So, what if telling a lie was illegal? Any lie? Think about it for a moment.
That’s the premise of Ben H. Winters’ latest bit of speculative fiction, Golden State (Mulholland), and it makes for some fascinating and disturbing reading, which is only made more relatable due to Mr. Winters’ incredible talent.
Something has happened outside the Golden State, and whatever it is was Unknown and Unknowable, but the fine folks of the Golden State have sealed themselves off from everyone else. Within their society, everything rumbles along as usual. If you steal the petty cash and it’s discovered, the cops will come haul you away where you’ll stand trial, and the punishments are pretty much what you’d expect.
But if you lie about it, in public much less in a court of law, well then things become exponentially worse for you. Your petty crime has just been superseded by the felony you just committed. Because telling a lie is the absolute worst thing you can do.
Ah, but how will anyone know if you lie? How does anyone really know? In this fairly dystopian setting, the Unknown and Unknowable Event has left some people with the ability to see lies. To hear them. To notice a shiver in the air, a bending of the atmosphere, and they know. These people are trained to be members of the Speculative Service, an elite force that takes very seriously their charge to determine if an untruth has deliberately been uttered.
Not that you could get away with it anyway, since everything is being recorded at all times. And I do mean everything. If you have nothing to hide, you don’t need privacy. All the logs will simply go into storage, where they’ll be kept forever. Right?
Lazlo Ratesic is a veteran agent for the Speculative Service. He’s been guardian of the Objectively So for decades now, and he’s used to doing it alone so when he’s saddled with a rookie, he’s understandably grumpy. But she’s smart and has a greater talent for discerning the truth than he does, and if that isn’t annoying enough, she’s intense and thorough. He can’t wait to shove her off onto someone else.
Golden State is classic noir with a speculative twist. It’s compelling, it’s thought-provoking, and it’s very, very human. Lazlo Ratesic has faint echoes of Ben Winters’ other protagonist whom I adore, Hank Palace, but he’s completely his own person. Imagine an odd but powerful mash-up of The Maltese Falcon and Fahrenheit 451, if you can.
It’s hard to believe that the man who wrote Golden State also wrote fabulous children’s books, but there you go. Didn’t I say Ben H. Winters is talented?
It’s April in Absaroka County. Walt’s been back a month and his wounds have not yet healed. Not only are his physical wounds bothering him, his psychological ones worry him and everyone around him. He’s chagrined to find out he has “minders”.
“It is difficult to confront madness, because insanity is a stranger to reason and any reasonable response would be insane.” Henry’s approach to the world is sometimes difficult for Walt – and us – to follow. But the questions of reason are real in Land of Wolves because Walt has been surrounded by wolves for so long. Some have been circling him. Some, like one in his book, appear to be watching him. And then there is Walt’s unease that he himself has become a predator. He tells Vic he feels “disconnected”. I think he’s always feared that he would, or had, become a wolf. “‘So, what is it I’m so damned terrified of, Doc?’ ‘Why Walter, I would’ve thought it was obvious.’ He smiled his sad, worldly smile. ‘Yourself.'”
By the end of the book, he’s come to understand that he’s a shepherd, one who guards against the wolves. He needn’t have worried.
Entwined in this search for a human wolf, Craig Johnson plays with his cast to lift the dark questions Walt keeps under his hat. They worry about Walt but also gig him about his condition. And due to Walt’s lackadaisical approach to signing what Ruby puts on his desk, he now has a computer on that desk. It’s a source of great amusement. “An entirely new screen appeared, and I could see an abbreviated version of my email response boxed in the left-hand corner. I shouted to the outer office. ‘It worked!’ Ruby’s voice came back in response. ‘We’re all so proud of you, Walter.'”
In tone, the book reminded me of Another Man’s Moccasins. While the over-all story is a search for a killer, it’s the under-story that captures your attention.
And pay attention to Craig’s acknowledgements. That’s the true beginning of this tale of wolves.
One last thought ~ as if I needed another reason to stop by the Red Pony for a Ranier, it ends up that Henry has “A Night in Tunisia” by the Jazz Messengers on the jukebox. ‘Nuff said!
And while we’re on the subject of predators, I finally got to a book I’d picked up months ago. I’d heard the sad story of Michelle McNamara, how she’d spent so long investigating the wolf she tagged the Golden State Killer, started writing I’ll Be Gone in the Dark but died before she finished the book and, even more frustrating, before he killer was arrested.
McNamara was a wonderful writer. She was able to make analogies that give the book color and convey a sense of the dread felt by people of the time and places. One of the most effective was writing about a scene from The Creature from the Black Lagoon where the woman swims while the creature moves along below her, unseen until the end of one claw brushes against her foot. That captures the evil that roamed California in the form of the GKS and the many other names hung on this fiend during his different phases, leaving people uneasy knowing that this evil was out there, just below their calm, suburban surface. And his disturbing ability to move through houses and neighborhoods – and, seemingly, time – brought echoes of the Manson family creepy-crawling homes while people slept.
I have to admit that the structure of the book was bothersome. It hops around in time and that makes it difficult to follow the monster’s path. But the book fit in well with my current immersion in true crime. I inhaled it.
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