Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Last Five Books I've Read

Guardian of Lies  Guardian of Lies-Steve Martini . Very good, Paul Madriani the Southern California defense attorney, defends Katia Solaz, a Costa Rican beauty facing a murder charge committed by Liquida, the Mexecutioner. Busy action involving escaped Guant├ínamo prisoners, a Colombian rebel base, a Mexican drug cartel and a plot to bring the war home to the Great Satan via a nuclear device. Fun use of tech devices by the FBI.

Rain Gods  A Novel (9781439128305)  James Lee Burke  Books.htm

Rain Gods-James Lee Burke .  Enjoyed this one. Similar setting as No Country For Old Men but Burkes' use of language and characters is so original and he had me writing musical scores as if it were a film. Jimmy Dean, Johnny Paycheck, Marty Robbins, Waylon and Willie tunes kept creeping into my mind. A young Iraqi war veteran and his girlfriend, who sings Carter Family Spirituals in honky tonks that made John Wesley Harden nervous,  find themselves on the run after a series of brutal murders in South West. Fortunately, Sheriff Hack Holland is on the case and back in a world he'd tried to leave behind so long ago.

Tempted By Trouble Tempted By Trouble-Eric Jerome Dickey. Hopefully you have read my review, but Eric has done it again with a story filled with themes from today, The price of love, the cost of morality. What would you pay for your self respect?  At once Noir Caper story with dashes of Road Story, Thriller, Love Story, Crime Novel and a Moral Tail, but as Eric recently told me, "I don't work about the box. All I care about is the writing." Tempted is bound to top all the best seller lists as Eric once again sets the bar awful high for anybody writing modern fiction.

Tokyo Year Zero

Tokyo Year Zero-David Peace. I hadn't heard of David Peace or this novel, but as I was exiting a grocery store my volunteer driver wanted to buy a lottery ticket and parked me near the entrance and wouldn't you know it, they had a bargain bin with books. Maybe there is a god. This is a darkly disturbing novel based on a real-life serial-killer case in post-WWII Japan. The despair of the "defeated" and the hate for the "victor" and the horror of how that war ended are the back drop . Inspector Minami of the Tokyo police walks a lot of tight ropes in this tale from the British author who lives in Japan and is a winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction. Minami is married and a father of two, is smart, tenacious and experienced; he's also addicted to sedatives, keeps a mistress, is in the pocket of a local crime lord and not above sampling the wares of prostitutes he encounters while roaming the city at night.

Knots

Knots-Nuruddin Farah  It's easy to see why Nuruddin Farah's name keeps getting mentioned as a likely recipient of a Nobel for Literature. This is a strange and compelling read that will haunt you. Somalia, is shown in all its war-ravaged sadness. Cambara is a young Somalian-born woman who has spent most of her life in Toronto. Through the carelessness of her husband and his mistress, Cambara's son has drowned and she returns to her home to properly grieve. Once there, she attempts to wrest her family property from the warlords who seized it. Despite squalor, poverty, sexual depravity, petty meanness, and the constant threat of violence, Cambara and a small cadre of good people struggle against daunting odds and the story reminds us that home, even in a forgotten and forlorn place in the world, is still home. The story showcases the solidarity and civilizing influence women have, even in the direst circumstances imaginable. This is not a beach read. If you have any desire to explore the world and learn about hero's that don't drive fast cars and wear Jimmy Choos , it is a story not to be missed.