Archive for December, 2010
Busted Flushâ€™s latest collection of new short stories DAMN NEAR DEAD 2 is a follow-up to DAMN NEAR DEAD, this time with not only a new collection of stories, but also new authors that were not in the first collection. Bill Crider, who won a Derringer Award for his story â€śCrankedâ€ť in the first collection, is the editor of this new collection of â€śGeezer Noir,â€ť which starts with an introduction by Charlaine Harris.
Author Elliott Sawyer earned a Bronze Star while serving tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a captain in the 101st Airborne Division. His intimate knowledge of military operations enables the actions scenes to come alive and lend credibility to his characters. Jake Roberts has a not-so-pretty past, and his punishment is to lead a platoon of misfits with past drug, alcohol and assault charges. The battalion commander sends the Kodiak Platoon on the â€śdirtyâ€ť missions that no one else wants. During one of these night details, the platoon stumbles across a cache of funds, stolen by a corrupt contractor. Jake and his men opt to smuggle the cash back to the U.S. when theyâ€™re discharged rather than turn it over to the authorities. They call it their severance pay.
The first time readers met this village lawman was in Bruno, Chief of Police. He was something of a French version of Andy Taylor of Mayberry: as a matter of course he didn’t carry a gun, he sometimes upheld the spirit of community well-being rather than enforce the letter of the law, and he dealt with the villagers with a natural but unadvertised psychology instead of simply compelling obedience. He was also single and had a history of discreetly dating a number of women. He was the only local police officer, having no Barney Fife at his side, but when crimes of greater significance than a parking ticket arose he had to collaborate with his immediate boss, the town mayor, and with wider French enforcement agencies, including the national police. He, unlike Sheriff Andy, had a bit of a repertoire in the cooking department and was especially famous in the tiny PĂ©rigord commune for whipping up heavenly truffle omelettes. Bruno, whose actual but never used name was BenoĂ®t, was deeply content to remain in Saint-Denis, although as a highly decorated former soldier who had traded in one uniform for another, his services would have been eagerly accepted by the Police Nationale in Paris itself.
One of the most striking pictures in Sam Keanâ€™s entertaining book, The Disappearing Spoon, is of an innocuous ceramic pot. The â€śtrendyâ€ť Revigator, the caption points out, is a pottery crock lined with nuclear radium. â€śUsers filled the flask with water, which turned radioactive after a nightâ€™s soak. Instructions suggested drinking six or more refreshing glasses a day.â€ť
True to its title, THE DISAPPEARING SPOON is full of such awesome and intriguing facts and tales related to the periodic table. The â€śdisappearing spoonâ€ť of the title for example, would make a cool April Foolâ€™s trick. Fashion a spoon with galliumâ€”which molds easily and looks like aluminumâ€”and set it out with tea. Guests would be horrified to see their spoons â€śdisappearâ€ť as they used it to stir their Earl Grey, Kean reports.
In SUGAR MOTHER, middle-aged Australian OB/GYN Cecilia Page leaves for a year-long fellowship abroad. Her husband, English professor Edwin decides not to accompany her in spite of the fact that she â€śasked repeatedlyâ€ť that he join her. This is not the first occasion of separation; Cecilia enjoys travel and hotel rooms, but Edwin does not. He prefers his â€śpleasantly shabbyâ€ť home, along with his routine and no expectation of surprises. While Edwin and Cecilia, a childless couple, appear to be the epitome of conservatism, even they have their mad moments.
In JANE AND THE MADNESS OF LORD BYRON, by Stephanie Barron, Jane and her brother, Henry, embark on an expedition to the seaside to recover their spirits after the passing of Henry’s wife, Eliza. In the spring of 1813, Brighton was a “glittering resort and “the summer haunt of expensive Fashionables,” including the profligate Prince Regent and his cronies. Although Jane is at first is aghast at the thought of staying in a vulgar place devoted to “indecent revels,” she realizes that “Henry would never survive his grief by embracing melancholy.” In fact, “Brighton, in all its strumpet glory, was exactly what he required.”
December 26, 2010
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 19th-Century, Amateur Detective, Lord Byron, Stephanie Barron, Time Period Fiction Â· Posted in: Alternate History, Facing History, Sleuths Series, United Kingdom