Archive for the ‘US Midwest’ Category
Once, many years ago when I was living in Northern Michigan, Jim Harrison walked into the restaurant where I was dining. He didnâ€™t so much walk in, in retrospect, as lumber in. It was the Blue Bird Cafe and I confess that Iâ€™d been hanging out there in the hopes of catching a glimpse of him.
David Lamb has the emotional life of a Rubikâ€™s Cube. All the pieces are there but it seems impossible at times to get his emotional life organized, put together, and working well. Heâ€™s like a chess game played by one person, every piece under his dominion, tutelage and control. Only he can checkmate his own self. Damned if he does, damned if he doesnâ€™t.
Set in the world of college baseball, this is a book about aspiration, failure, and recovery. There are many good things in it, both about baseball and college, but not enough of them for me to recommend the novel wholeheartedly. Harbach captures the baseball world (as in the quotation above) with convincing authenticity; more of this in a moment. He also has some spot-on observations of academe…
David Loogan lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with his girlfriend, Detective Elizabeth Waishkey and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Sarah. Loogan edits a mystery magazine, and he has made the mental leap from writing and critiquing stories about crime to tracking down villains in real life. In Harry Dolan’s latest novel, VERY BAD MEN, David tells us a story that will explain “the motives people have for killing one another.” As we will see, the reasons for taking someone’s life can vary from a matter of convenience to a thirst for revenge. Loogan, who is a witty first person narrator, gets embroiled in his latest adventure when someone drops an unsolicited manuscript at his office, in which the anonymous writer confesses to committing murder and even provides the name of his next victim.
Michael Harvey’s sequel to THE THIRD RAIL is WE ALL FALL DOWN, in which PI Michael Kelly wears out a great deal of shoe leather trying to save the citizens of Chicago. An unidentified perpetrator may have released a biological weapon in the city’s subway system. When people begin to sicken and die, a highly trained team of brilliant scientists is called in to identify the substance (is it a strain of anthrax?) and try to find a way to contain it. Kelly is a student of Thucydides, who wrote eloquently about the Plague of Athens in his classic work, “History of the Peloponnesian War.” Kelly wonders whether, twenty-four hundred years later, a modern, man-made plague will decimate Chicago.
The titular novices of Marcus Sakeyâ€™s recent novel, THE AMATEURS, are four friends, three men and one woman, who band together against the frigidity of Chicagoâ€™s winters and the loneliness of urban life to form the Thursday Night Drinking Club. But amateur drinkers these four are not â€“ experts in the art of throwing back martinis, the first thing any of these four do in a time of crisis is reach for a bottle of vodka. If only the same could be said for their foray into the criminal underworld.