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3 MONK hardcover book set: MR. MONK GOES TO
Since this hardcover set covers three books, I'll have to chain up my reviews of each book. It's a triplicious take on a trilogy!      MR. MONK AND THE TWO ASSISTANTS   …
reviewed Scam. October 08, 2010
Scam
I mean this in the nicest possible way, but Stanley Hastings -- Parnell Hall's New York private investigator -- is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, if you know what I mean. But he is the funniest …
AFB1566745C761BE9BBED01F2659091
This backstage memoir is part scrapbook of the people Dunne photographed during his time in Hollywood, a frustrating memoir of his encounters with them, and an account of his rise in the industry, his …
reviewed The Unscratchables. June 25, 2010
The Unscratchables
Cats and dogs don't live together in "The Unscratchables," a parody police procedural that deftly and punnily mixes the tropes of the genre with a world in which dogs are downtrodden curs segregated from …
reviewed Me and Hitch. April 30, 2010
Me and Hitch
Fans of Ed McBain's 87th Precient novels might know that he also wrote books under his real name, Evan Hunter, but not that he worked on two scripts for director Alfred Hitchcock: "The Birds" and "Marnie." …
Reel Culture: 50 Classic Movies You Should Know
This young adult book is the perfect gift for the budding cinephile, who doesn't know much about cinema history. Much shorter than "1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die," "Reel Culture" lists a precis …
Pim & Francie:
Last night I had a dream in which a shadowy figure appeared at the end of my bed. As it approached me, I aimed my bedside lamp at it and tried to turn it on. My desperation woke my wife, who in turn woke …
reviewed Mr. Monk and the Dirty Cop. September 10, 2009
Mr. Monk and the Dirty Cop
It's an odd feeling to open a book and read that you've drowned in a swimming pool.    To thank me for helping with a previous "Monk" book, Lee Goldberg asked if I would mind being …
reviewed The Last Centurion. August 30, 2009
The Last Centurion
I'll skip the recap since you can find it elsewhere. I had to put down this book after five chapters because of Ringo's choice to write the book as one long monologue, recapping the entire history of …
reviewed Prince Valiant, Vol. 1: 1937-1938. August 19, 2009
Prince Valiant, Vol. 1: 1937-1938
What is the appeal of Prince Valiant? It seems so uncool, so dorky, with its stories of noble knights and that weird narration-under-the-art that I doubt we'll ever see it rebooted as its contemporaries, …
Mental Floss Presents Be Amazing: Glow in the
It takes a lot of work and imagination to be someone other people want to remember for all time. We're not talking about eating-a-lot-of-hot-dogs or profiled-by-People-magazine level of awesomeness. We're …
It's Not Easy Bein' Me: A Lifetime of No Respect
If life gives you lemons, Rodney Dangerfield could have said, he was given the whole damn lemon grove. But the comedian, who died in 20xx, managed to make some pretty fine lemonade in his life, and in …
Book of the Bizarre: Freaky Facts and Strange
"The Book of the Bizarre" is a collection of facts, half-facts, speculations, fiction and outright falsehoods that was not so much written or compiled but excreted.     It reminded …
Carnal Knowledge: Baxter's Concise Encyclopedia of
Harper Perennial has embarked on publishing books that are rewriting the definition of reference work. They're readable, funny, naughty and break new ground in exploring little-known stories.     Firs …
reviewed The Whipping Boy. April 01, 2009
The Whipping Boy
The wife brought home this book for the kids to read, but I scarfed it up this morning and burned through it in the time it took to get the kids ready for school.    The whipping boy …
reviewed Rapunzel's Revenge. November 03, 2008
Rapunzel's Revenge
Reimaging is in the air: Batman is moved into a post-9/11 world, and Robert Downey Jr. is playing Sherlock Holmes without the deerstalker and pipe. Even the witches in Oz have gotten a makeover.    No …
Genius and Heroin: The Illustrated Catalogue of
One difficulty with positive reviews is that there seems to be so few ways to say you like the book. Bad books are bad in their own way, but good books only seem to be good in one way.    "Genius …
reviewed Dumbocracy: Adventures with the Loony.... October 20, 2008
Dumbocracy: Adventures with the Loony Left, the
"Dumbocracy" is a furious diatribe about all the nitwits, lackwits and halfwits that populate, well, heck, everything in the world. Not just politics, but special-interest groups, Israel, the GOP, the …
Mr. Monk Goes to Germany
I'm worried about Natalie. Maybe the job of taking care of Monk, the obsessive-compulsive detective, is getting to be too much for her. On call 24/7, wipes at the ready and always prepared to talk her …
The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story
Fairy tales are usually about a young man who becomes a hero by battling the most dispicable enemies and achieving his heart's desire. In the end, despite great odds, monsters are vanquished, villainy …
reviewed Scratch Golfer. March 27, 2008
Scratch Golfer
On the surface, Wille Thompson's debut comic novel "Scratch Golfer" has several handicaps against it. It's about golf, the devil, temptation and selling your soul to hit par, which sounds like a movie …
reviewed Shakespeare: The World as Stage. March 18, 2008
Shakespeare: The World as Stage
Bill Bryson's "Shakespeare: The World as Stage" is an excellent short biography of the playwright, ideal for someone who has never read a biography of the man. It's short, not only because it's part of …
Beyond the Body Farm: A Legendary Bone Detective
This is a quickie review for a quickie book. Dr. Bill Bass, the man who revolutionized forensics by examining the corruption of the flesh with scientific exactitude, follows up his memoir "Death's Acre" …
reviewed Mr. Monk in Outer Space. January 28, 2008
Mr. Monk in Outer Space
While I was rereading "Mr. Monk in Outer Space," I was reviewing entries in Amazon's novel contest, and I'm reminded once again how deceptively simple it is to tell a good story. It made me appreciate …
Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance: A
"Oscar Wilde and the Death of No Importance" is a celebrity murder mystery, in which the poet is drawn into murder when, while keeping an appointment finds the bloody body of a boy. Not just any boy, …
The Long Embrace: Raymond Chandler and the Woman
"The Long Embrace" is not a conventional biography of Raymond Chandler. Instead, Judith Freeman embraces the writer's right to tell her story the way she wants to, and focuses instead on the marriage …
Mr. Monk and The Two Assistants
Writers of TV series tie-in books face a unique challenge. They have to meet fans' expectations while generating enough story that could fill two or three hour-long shows. But there are benefits from …
reviewed Volk's Game: A Novel. July 09, 2007
Volk's Game: A Novel
Pity the Russians, a people scarred by their country's repeated strivings for empire, now locked in a transition from a collectivist society that promised little for all to a form of capitalism that, …
Undead and Unwed (Queen Betsy, Book 1)
The vampire series rose from the dead thanks to "Interview with a Vampire" by Anne Rice back in 1976. They're still going strong, with the dark fantasies of Laurell K. Hamilton and Kim Harrison, but other …
reviewed Tango for a Torturer. May 11, 2007
Tango for a Torturer
Is it the tropical climate? Is it the tradition of Latin American literature? I don't know. All I know about Cuba is derived from "I Love Lucy," so take that into account when I say that Daniel Chavarria's …
Houdini: The Handcuff King
I just can't help but wonder," the magician Harry Houdini wonders at the end of "Houdini: The Handcuff King," a graphic novel by Jason Lutes and Nick Pertozzi, "will anyone even remember me a hundred …
reviewed Pray for Us Sinners. April 27, 2007
Pray for Us Sinners
Harry Kline suffers from the Jessica Fletcher syndrome, in which those around him always ended up linked to a murder, either as subject or object. Although he's not as deadly as the TV sleuth, in "Pray …
reviewed The Moor. April 26, 2007
The Moor
atching a friend's vacation slides may be an agreeable way to spend an evening, but Laurie R. King tests readers' patience with the same technique when she sends Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock …
The Oxford Dictionary of Art
Over the past few years, Oxford University Press has continued to develop its line of excellent reference works, revising older volumes and adding new subjects. The latest edition of "The Oxford Dictionary …
Speaking Freely: A Guided Tour of American English
The thought occurred to me, while leafing through this massive compendium of American English words and phrases, how much our language is a reflection of our cultures and beliefs. While the French and …
reviewed My Dark Places. April 19, 2007
"Best of all, I'm so glad to be alive," Captain Jack Aubrey said. It was the end of the tape. The end of the story. Fictional naval captain's glad to be alive. Grand.    I was too. …
reviewed Christine Falls: A Novel. April 13, 2007
Christine Falls: A Novel
By now, every book reviewer has heaped cartloads of praise on "Christine Falls," the neo-noir thriller set in 1950s Dublin and Boston, by literary writer John Banville, slumming under the name Benjamin …
reviewed Unholy Grail. April 13, 2007
Unholy Grail
Can a book be so bad that it can still be compelling? "Unholy Grail" might be that book, as it attempts to rewrite "The Da Vinci Code" without Da Vinci, its puzzles and the breathless pace that made Dan …
reviewed The Wayward Muse. March 15, 2007
The Wayward Muse
Before we dig into "The Wayward Muse," Elizabeth Hickey's novel about the artists William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti and their model, Jane Burden, here's an anecdote about Mark Twain. Twain was …
reviewed Surveillance: A Novel. March 09, 2007
Surveillance: A Novel
"Surveillance" is a novel of ideas that attempts to capture the flavor of paranoia and tension in America since the 9/11 attacks.    Set in the near-future, where security measures …
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