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Friday, July 03, 2015

Question of the Week

When Paul wrote to the Ephesians did they write back?  Or did they just consider his letters as junk mail?

Lullaby Town by Robert Crais


Cole is hired by an arrogant and self-absorbed Hollywood director to find his estranged wife and son, now gone for more than 10 years.  He just wants to connect with his son.  Finding the woman is easy enough, but Cole learns she is now the VP of a small-town bank who is being used by some Boston mob bosses to launder money.

Now, I think Cole screwed up by trying to fix things in his macho way. A quick call to the FBI (despite her reluctance to enter witness protection) might have solved things since she had evidence of all sorts of wrong-doing.  Cole risked messing up her life and that of her kid.  She wanted nothing to do with Peter, the Hollywood bigshot, and to my way of thinking should have had nothing to do with Cole either.

All that aside, at least Cole uses his brain to figure a way out for her by pitting one member of the “family” against another. The spate of violence at the end is really not their doing. It was also refreshing that neither Cole nor Pike found it necessary to jump in Karen's bed.

Satisfactory, although Pike starts to grate after a while.

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Thursday, July 02, 2015

Tripwire by Lee Child

I have read or listened to several of the Reacher series, but it struck me while listening to this, the third in the series, that Jack Reacher is an extremely boring person who lives a prosaic, boring life.  He seems to have no interests, no love of music or books, or hobbies.  He suffers from terminal pseudo-guilt that inevitably gets him sticking his nose into situations fraught with potential violence.  One character in this book described him as looking like a “condom overstuffed with walnuts.”  He seems to consider that as being “in shape.”  He has no family, no ties, no job, no intellectual interests. Geez, the last guy I would want to have a conversation with.  Yet girls fawn over him (the author must think women are insipid little creatures.)

Some of the scenes were unnecessarily graphic.  We know Hobie is a bad guy; it’s not necessary to beat us over the head with his sadism.  The books would be far more satisfying if Reacher used a little more subtlety, more brain,and less brawn.  OK, if you like fantasy;  I doubt if I’ll read any more.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Praise be to God: New Rules in Texas

Praise be to God!
Thanks to the ruling by Texas governor Gregg Abbott:

  1. County Clerks can ignore the Supreme Court and not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if their religious belief says so;
  2. Public librarians will no longer have to check out the Book of Mormon if it violates their religious belief (the Koran has already been removed from the shelves.);;
  3. Pharmacists will no longer have to dispense drugs of any kind if it conflicts with their Christian Science beliefs;
  4. Vegan pizza parlor clerks will not have to sell sausage pizza to anyone as it conflicts with their religious beliefs;
  5. Protestant clerks will not have to sell rosaries to Catholics;
  6. Protestant carpenters will not have to work on building mosques;
  7. PETA members will not have to sell materials to livestock farmers nor issue hunting licenses; nor sell any guns at Walmart;
  8. Clerks will not have to sell anything resembling a Burka or any material that could be used for one;
  9. Unitarians will not have to serve anyone.
  10. The only way to get anything done will be to hire atheists.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Goodreads | Eric_W Welch (Forreston, IL)'s review of Potsdam Station

# 4 in the John Russell series. At the end of volume 3 in this excellent series, Russell had escaped to Sweden and Effi had returned to Berlin, hiding in plain sight disguised as an old woman by using her make-up and acting skills. Germany had just declared war on America and the Gestapo sought both of them. Fast forward to April, 1945. Paul, John’s son, is sixty miles from Berlin on the eastern front as part of a Panzerfaust unit as the eastern front shrinks, Effi is surviving but also working to help refugees escape, and Russell is in Moscow hoping to enter Berlin with the Russian troops to find Effi.

Downing follows the travails of John (struggling to get back to Berlin to find Effie), Effie (hiding from the Gestapo as she helps refugees escape the city), and Paul (trying to stay alive as his unit is pushed back to Berlin)  as each tries to survive the war in the inferno that 1945 Berlin had become.  And Downing vividly describes that hell.

I won’t risk spoiling anything about the plot. Let it be enough to say this series is excellent, but please read them in order.

NB:  Re the Kindle edition.  The book switches perspectives regularly, e.g., from Russell to Effi to Paul and back, and there is often no transition in the Kindle edition, it’s just the next paragraph, no space, no chapter, no nothing. That needs to be fixed. On the other hand, I see there are new editions out and mine is an older one, so perhaps that has been fixed.

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