Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Read any good books lately?
These are books that have stood out in the last year. OK, maybe not so much the last year as the last six months. I'm going by memory here, people and I'm old. So cut me some slack.
The top one is by my friend, Ray Banks. Ray's written a fine series with this as the final installment for Cal Innes. If you don't know Ray's work, pick up a copy. I found Sucker Punch (Donkey Punch in the UK) in my local independent and made sure to turn it face out. It's the least I can do for a pal.
I'm late to the Charlie Huston fan club, but goddamn this stuff is good. These are the first two novels in a 3 novel series featuring Hank Thompson, an alcholic ex-jock who takes care of a neighbor's cat and that, as Frost says, made all the difference.
I just started the third in the series, A Dangerous Man, today. I have other Huston novels in my TBR stack and they've just moved closer to the front of the line.
Here's another one who's been around for a while that I somehow missed until this year. This is David Fulmer's series that kicks ass for historical fiction. If you love American music, murder, corruption in high places and sporting girls, Mr. Fulmer will make you believe he lived the life. Great stuff.
There's only one other writer who I know who does historical fiction better. And that's Patrick O'Brian.
I'm working my way through his 20 book series, reading one or two a year, making them last until I read the final paragraph of the final novel on my deathbed. They're that good.
It also takes me longer to read one of O'Brian's novels because I sit with the Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea so I can look up sailing terms I don't know, which is pretty much all of them. Yes, I do have a geek streak in me.
Lady spies of WWII. Part of my research, and still a great read. Did you know that Julia Child was a woman of the OSS? Indeed.
More research. One day I will finish researching this novel and actually write the goddamn thing.
The true story of 234 Marines holding off repeated attacks by two Chinese divisions in weather so cold the grease on their machine guns froze. Fuck.
Finally, the story of how we installed the Shah of Iran and sowed the seeds for the subsequent overthrow in 1979 and all the shit that followed. For much of the last half of the last century, America supported some very corrupt men in our effort to contain communism. 9/11 was part of the blowback.
I know there were plenty of other books I read in the early months of 2009 that I've forgotten here. But this isn't a bad list.
What did you read that's stuck with you?