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Bad Boy: An Inspector Banks Novel
This is Peter Robinson's nineteenth crime novel and his twentieth book. Most feature Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks, of the Eastvale police department. The Inspector Banks novels are all satisfying …
reviewed The Widower's Tale: A Novel. September 07, 2010
The Widower's Tale: A Novel
Widower's Tale is a lovely story, which is at once both simple and complicated. One of its (many) virtues is that it is rich in observations of that quirky animal, the human, but not at a distance -it …
reviewed Here. August 31, 2010
Here
When this slim volume arrived in the noon mail, I put down what I was doing and read it right away. That's how much I enjoy Szymborska's exceptional, soaring yet concrete poetry. It didn't hurt that the …
reviewed Skippy Dies: A Novel. August 18, 2010
Skippy Dies: A Novel
About a hundred pages into Skippy Dies, I put it down for the evening and, as I walked away from it, realized I missed it already. I'd grown fond of the book. Surely that's an odd emotion to feel for …
reviewed The Familiars. August 07, 2010
The Familiars
The Familiars reads like it was put together with a cookie cutter -take one piece from this story, another from a second tale, etc., etc., until you have a booklength adventure. It is second hand and …
reviewed Thirteen Hours. August 07, 2010
Thirteen Hours
This is the first crime novel I've read by South African author Deon Meyer but it won't be the last. Thirteen Hours is one of those rare thrillers that, started, you don't want to put down until finished. …
The Cookbook Collector: A Novel
Reading that an author is "a modern day Jane Austen" can be off putting today. In recent years, there have been too many adaptations and extensions of Miss Austen's classic tale of love and manners. Poor …
A Place of Greater Safety: A Novel
This novel is about the making of a monster. Of course, it's about more than that. The book is too rich and full and alive to limit itself to the evolution of one character to the exclusion of the rich …
reviewed Inside Out: A Novel. July 10, 2010
Inside Out: A Novel
Inside Out is a sequel to Fault Line, which also featured black ops soldier Ben Treven. In this installment, Treven's assignment is to find and neutralize (but not kill) a rogue operative who has stolen …
The Last Talk with Lola Faye
Lucas Page is middle-aged historian who has resigned himself to disappointment --in his writing and teaching but equally in his life. He comes to St. Louis, to the Museum of the West, to lecture on his …
reviewed Faustus. July 10, 2010
Faustus
I read Faustus with high anticipation, but it disappointed -or rather, perplexed--me. My judgment is highly subjective -don't trust it alone--but in the first act, where, naturally, the playwright must …
reviewed The Cryptogram. July 10, 2010
The Cryptogram.
The Cryptogram is outstanding. There are only three characters (that's good for Readers' Theater): a mother, a young boy who is waiting for his father to return and take him on a camping trip, and the …
reviewed The Investigation. July 10, 2010
The Investigation
I've wanted to direct Peter Weiss's The Investigation since I first read it in translation in the mid-sixties. Weiss is better known for his brilliant Marat/Sade, a reinterpretation of the assassination …
Long for This World: The Strange Science of
It is no surprise that a book by Jonathan Weiner should be elegantly written and filled with interesting information. Weiner knows his science and he writes like a dream. If I were to place him on a spectrum …
Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood
"The thing that most surprised me about fatherhood the first time around was how long it took before I felt about my child what I was expected to feel. Clutching Quinn after she exited the womb, I was …
reviewed Aurorarama. June 25, 2010
Aurorarama
Aurorarama is the first in a projected series of fantasy novels set in New Venice, a fictitious luxury city that is "the pearl of the Arctic." The action takes place in just-post-Victorian times: the …
reviewed Beautiful Malice: A Novel. June 24, 2010
Beautiful Malice: A Novel
This seems to be Rebecca James's first novel and as such, it's not bad --save for the ending. It's another "Girlfriend from Hell" novel but the character (and past trauma) of the good girl Katherine are …
reviewed My Mama Pinned a Rose on Me. June 05, 2010
posted in Music Matters
My Mama Pinned a Rose on Me
This album is apparently a composite of two sessions, one with Mary Lou Williams alone on piano (joined on the first cut and one other by singer Cynthia Tyson) and the other a duet session, with consummate …
reviewed My Mama Pinned a Rose on Me. June 05, 2010
posted in Music Matters
My Mama Pinned a Rose on Me
This album is apparently a composite of two sessions, one with Mary Lou Williams alone on piano (joined on the first cut and one other by singer Cynthia Tyson) and the other a duet session, with consummate …
reviewed 69 A.D.: The Year of Four Emperors. June 05, 2010
69 A.D.: The Year of Four Emperors
69 A.D. was not the happiest year for the Roman Empire. Nero had committed suicide the previous June, and was succeeded by Galba. But Galba was assassinated on the fifteenth of January. Then came Otho, …
reviewed Dead Man's Cell Phone. June 05, 2010
Dead Man's Cell Phone
In one of Edward Hopper's most famous paintings (Automat, 1927), a woman sits alone, a cup of coffee on the table in front of her. She is alone, as most of the people in Hopper paintings are, even when …
reviewed Dead Man's Cell Phone. June 05, 2010
Dead Man's Cell Phone
In one of Edward Hopper's most famous paintings (Automat, 1927), a woman sits alone, a cup of coffee on the table in front of her. She is alone, as most of the people in Hopper paintings are, even when …
The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ
Philip Pullman is the author of the justly acclaimed and immensely popular trilogy of children's adventures, His Dark Materials. Although he gave the annual lecture this year on religion and education …
The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ
Philip Pullman is the author of the justly acclaimed and immensely popular trilogy of children's adventures, His Dark Materials. Although he gave the annual lecture this year on religion and education …
The Love Song of A. Jerome Minkoff: And Other
I first came across Epstein's writings when he was editor of The American Scholar and published lapidary essays -as funny as they were enlightening--under the nom de plume Aristophanes. Then in 2007, …
The Love Song of A. Jerome Minkoff: And Other
I first came across Epstein's writings when he was editor of The American Scholar and published lapidary essays -as funny as they were enlightening--under the nom de plume Aristophanes. Then in 2007, …
Ibsen's Peer Gynt: American version
Peer Gynt would be a most unusual play to be written by any playwright but especially by arch-realist Henrik Ibsen. The play was first published in 1867 and premiered some time after that. (No date is …
Ibsen's Peer Gynt: American version
Peer Gynt would be a most unusual play to be written by any playwright but especially by arch-realist Henrik Ibsen. The play was first published in 1867 and premiered some time after that. (No date is …
reviewed Damaged: A Maggie O'Dell Novel. May 29, 2010
Damaged: A Maggie O'Dell Novel
This is the first thriller I've read by Kava but it won't be the last. It's her tenth novel and the eighth featuring FBI profiler Maggie O'Dell, so I've got a good deal of reading ahead of me. O'Dell …
reviewed Damaged: A Maggie O'Dell Novel. May 29, 2010
Damaged: A Maggie O'Dell Novel
This is the first thriller I've read by Kava but it won't be the last. It's her tenth novel and the eighth featuring FBI profiler Maggie O'Dell, so I've got a good deal of reading ahead of me. O'Dell …
reviewed 3 4 5: The Verve Small Group Sessions. May 19, 2010
posted in Music Matters
3 4 5: The Verve Small Group Sessions
BC, alto sax.   1-8. With Teddy Wilson, p, and Jo Jones, dr. 9-16. With Don Abney, p, George Duvivier, b, and Louis Bellson, dr. 17-19. With Oscar Peterson, p, Herb Ellis, guit, Ray Brown, b, …
reviewed 3 4 5: The Verve Small Group Sessions. May 19, 2010
posted in Music Matters
3 4 5: The Verve Small Group Sessions
BC, alto sax.   1-8. With Teddy Wilson, p, and Jo Jones, dr. 9-16. With Don Abney, p, George Duvivier, b, and Louis Bellson, dr. 17-19. With Oscar Peterson, p, Herb Ellis, guit, Ray Brown, b, …
U is for Undertow (Kinsey Millhone Mystery)
After twenty-one novels, Sue Grafton could be excused if she were tired of her feisty P.I. heroine Kinsey Milhone. But if this novel is an indication, she's not. Not at all! Other detective series have …
U is for Undertow (Kinsey Millhone Mystery)
After twenty-one novels, Sue Grafton could be excused if she were tired of her feisty P.I. heroine Kinsey Milhone. But if this novel is an indication, she's not. Not at all! Other detective series have …
A Visit from the Goon Squad
Seventy-seven pages into Visit, there is an exchange that is emblematic of what goes on in this firecracker of a novel. Scotty, the super-talented guitar player from Bennie's seventies garage band, shows …
reviewed Spies of the Balkans: A Novel. May 10, 2010
Spies of the Balkans: A Novel
Once again, Alan Furst has fashioned an absolutely first-rate spy thriller --although, as in his other novels, espionage is peripheral to the real thrust of the novel, which is to evoke desperate times …
reviewed Spies of the Balkans: A Novel. May 10, 2010
Spies of the Balkans: A Novel
Once again, Alan Furst has fashioned an absolutely first-rate spy thriller --although, as in his other novels, espionage is peripheral to the real thrust of the novel, which is to evoke desperate times …
reviewed Baby (1983 Original Broadway Cast). May 05, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Baby (1983 Original Broadway Cast)
Baby came out in the middle of a strike on Broadway and as a consequence its run was short but as a musical, Baby is fairly strong. I'm not a great lover of Broadway musicals but in the late eighties, …
reviewed Baby (1983 Original Broadway Cast). May 05, 2010
posted in Music Matters
Baby (1983 Original Broadway Cast)
Baby came out in the middle of a strike on Broadway and as a consequence its run was short but as a musical, Baby is fairly strong. I'm not a great lover of Broadway musicals but in the late eighties, …
reviewed The Book of Murdock. May 05, 2010
The Book of Murdock
Loren D. Estleman is a prolific author of mysteries and also westerns, and equally good at both genres. This is his 43rd novel. Not bad! His books never disappoint --they're always fun to read-- but some …
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