Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Bad Boy Boogie, by Thomas Pluck

We meet Jay Desmarteaux when he is released from prison after serving 25 years of a life sentence for killing a school bully. His release has been paid for by an old friend who then tries to get him out of town. Jay refuses and gets himself a normal job, but everyone who knew him way back when keeps telling him he's not wanted and he should just leave.

The description of the book is a little misleading. Jay doesn't try to get his revenge by living well. He gets his revenge by killing everyone who screwed him over. He killed the bully in defense of his friends, but they all hung him out to dry at the trial, leaving him to take the rap alone. Almost immediately, he begins stalking and systematically eliminating these cowards.

The story is told in present day and flashbacks to Jay's childhood before and during the tormenting by the bully. Pluck sets a breakneck pace, but I began to jumble who was on Jay's side and who wasn't. It didn't help that in the present day some of the characters' motivations were a bit of a muddle. After a while, I started to notice repetition in word use. Everything in a 50 page stretch smelled like sulfur, and almost every character's face at one point experienced rictus.

Pluck created some interesting characters and is a propulsive writer, so I'd say this book is a 3.5 instead of a flat 3. It's a very pulpy and violent revenge thriller of the kind you don't see much anymore.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Song of the Week: First I Look at the Purse

Sometimes I find myself listening to Soul Town on SiriusXM. This week's song is one I hadn't heard of before until I listened to that station.

Here are The Contours with "First I Look at the Purse.".

Monday, October 2, 2017

Song of the Week: Hard Lesson Learned

This is one of the more country-fied songs from Lay It On Down, the new Kenny Wayne Shepherd album. It's a pretty good song and this performance is from the concert I went to in August. I'm glad somebody was able to capture a couple of the songs from that great show and share them.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Silent City by, Alex Segura

Segura captures Miami and its different neighborhoods really well. Pete Fernandez is a compelling character who feels lived-in. You feel his pains and enjoy the beers he does. Some of the other characters aren't as well drawn and the story sometimes fell into cliche. I also found it a little annoying that every chapter had some reference to a little known band. Overall, the book was briskly paced and very readable. I'll be reading the next Fernandez book.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Monday, September 18, 2017

Monday, September 11, 2017

Song of the Week: Wander This World

This week's song is from blues guitarist Jonny Lang. He hit it big in the late '90's when he was still in his teens with songs like "Lie to Me" and "Still Rainin'". This week's song is from his second big label album Wander This World which contains the aforementioned "Still Rainin'".  It's the title track "Wander This World" which I hadn't heard before it popped up on Bluesville the other week.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Savior's Game by, Sean Chercover

A disappointing end to Sean Chercover's Daniel Byrne trilogy. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, but each book has been a step down from there. Gone are the strong characters and moral complexities of The Trinity Game. Gone are the global conspiracies and globe-trotting adventures of The Devil's Game. Now, Daniel Byrne finds himself in a mystical land where everyone has super powers and thinks that life on Earth is just a dream. There is a lot of metaphysical double-speak and exposition to set up what people know and an do in the world, called "Source", but then Daniel barely does anything in that land.

Also returning is the repetition of the verse from James that "faith without works is dead". Chercover doesn't push the false doctrine of works righteousness like he does in the first book, but it's a prime example of the muddle that is character motivations in this book. Byrne easily rejected the priesthood in the first book and doesn't believe in God in this book, so why would he repeat this scripture verse over and over? He has no faith, nor is he searching for one, so it makes no sense. Also, there is a heel turn by one of the characters from earlier in the series that serves no purpose except to put obstacle in his way that Byrne easily overcomes and create a race-against-the clock climax.

Chercover is a talented writer who can create complex characters and strong plots, but The Savior's Game is a complete misfire.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Song of the Week: Work Song

Happy Labor Day. To celebrate the day, here is Cannonball Adderley with "Work Song".