Black Light-Book Review

blacklightcoverI became a fan of author Stephen Hunter upon reading The 47th Samurai. Since then, I’ve yet to come across an author who can describe a violent scene the way he does, or dispel so much knowledge when it comes to guns and ammo.

According to the acknowledgments page, the book Black Light is the third novel of a Bob Lee Swagger trilogy which include the books; Point Of Impact (Which I’ve yet to read, because I saw the movie ‘Shooter’ which is based on the book, hey don’t judge—I got to get my money’s worth when it comes to Netflix you know) the other book is Dirty White Boys.

First a word of Warning: If you are offended by the N word stay away. That word is very popular in this novel…. you good to go? Let’s move on then.

The story takes place roughly five years after the events in Point Of Impact; Bob Lee is now the father of a four year old name Nikki product of his marriage to Julie Fenn (widow of the now dead sniper spotter Donnie Fenn) Two interconnected plots weave along this novel. One takes place in the present and the other in the 1950’s and it involves the investigation of a gruesome crime which saw the death of a young black girl and Bob Lee’s own father; State Trooper Earl Swagger, in the fictitious town of Blue Eye Arkansas. There is a good surprise for Bob Lee I did not see coming, involving a new family member, to say more will ruin things for those among you who’ve yet to read Black Light (which I believe refers to a type of sniper rifle scope technology?) I wasn’t too crazy about how the case gets resolved involving the rich dude at the shooting range near the end, that plot device came across as a bit of a cop-out, I was like wtf? Despite of this I still give it a five star rating, because at the heart of this tale, and amid the flying bullets, viscera, explosions and gunpowder lays a story about fathers and sons. About family, and the ties that bind us through time. Also, the book has one of the best satisfying endings (I mean the very end) I’ve come across in a Stephen Hunter novel.

In Odd We Trust

I’m intrigued by oddities, the strange, and the unexplained. Went looking for some stories to post on here for ya, found a bunch of ‘em. Here are some my favorites. Enjoy.

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Photo Credit: sixpenceee.com/tumblr

In the year of our Lord 1883, Henry Ziegland—heart breaker that he was—broke up with his girlfriend. Then the distressed heartbroken girlfriend committed suicide. With a thirst for revenge the girlfriend’s brother, found Henry and shot him. Satisfied with his deed, the girlfriend’s brother committed suicide too. However Henry Ziegland lived. Turns out the bullet just graced him and lodged itself into a nearby tree. All was good for Henry (probably had a brood all over the state) then one day he decided to dynamite the tree with the bullet in it. After 20 years, the bullet finally found its intended target, impacting Henry in the head and killing him instantly. Final Destination anyone? (Source)

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Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org

A lot has been said about Edgar Allan Poe. The man was a brilliant writer but, he will always be associated with the bizarre and the macabre . The following anecdote cements that notion. In the novel “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket” written in 1838 Edgar Allan Poe wrote about four ship wreck survivors adrift in a small raft, whom after several days at sea, decide to eat the cabin boy (Poor bastard).  In the book the cabin boy’s name is Richard Parker.

In the year of our Lord 1884

A ship by the name of Mignonette sank, leaving only four survivors adrift at sea. The survivors decided to eat the cabin boy. His name? Richard Parker, poor bastard indeed. This case was the first of its kind where the remaining crewmen were tried for murder and cannibalism. Ever since the trial of this case, every university law student has to learn about the case as part of their educational curriculum. (Source)

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Image Credit: Square Enix Online Store.

Deus Ex is a cyberpunk-themed action-role playing video game—combining first-person shooter, stealth and role-playing elements—developed by Ion Storm and published by Eidos Interactive. (Thanks Wikipedia) During the production of this game, one of the artists forgot to add the Twin Towers to the rendering of the city of New York; this mistake was later explained as a terrorist attack.

This all happened in the year 2000. (Source)

 

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Photo Credit: wikipedia.org

Violet Constance Jessop (2 October 1887 – 5 May 1971) was an ocean liner stewardess and nurse. This lady was one lucky dame as she survived the following: The collision between the RMS Olympic and the HMS Hawke. She was on board of the Titanic when it kissed that iceberg. She was also on board of the HMHS Britannic when it hit a mine. This lady was a survivor in the true sense of the word; in doing research (Thanks again Wikipedia) I read that she was the first of nine children—of the nine, only six survived, and that at an early age she contracted tuberculosis  but, despite doctor’s predictions, she survived.

Way to give death the middle finger there Violet, or in her case it would be the ‘two fingers’ salute. (Source)

Her memoir is on Amazon

Reading this type of stuff is addictive right? Click on the links below for more weirdness.

In other weird news: The Ashley Madison maelstrom is being call ‘Black Friday’ by divorce attorneys. Go figure.

Suave Kick Ass Tune Time

But first; a not so quick anecdote,

You kids are probly too young to know the place I’m about to talk about, but ask your ‘drunk at noon’ uncle, ooh better yet, ask grandma, yep she’s got a tattoo in a place you don’t know about. Anyway back in them salad days of rock and roll, easy money and easier poontang. We kids used to attend kick-ass punk shows at Coney Island High, a place where the outcasts met to get their punk rock groove on and where yours truly worked as a barback (for a short time, because I got fired for missing a meeting. Yeah your read that right –a meeting, for fucking barbacks, indeed very punk rock of those pussies) management stuck me working on the top floor (Detention Lounge), now dig this; the booze was kept in the basement of this two story building, yeah that was fun. However I once ran into Joey Ramone in the bathroom, imagined that; taking a leak side by side with the man who invented a musical genre. Tall, lanky, and quiet guy, just as you’d imagine. He just nodded his head at me. Also, I got to throw back a few brewskis near the Dropkick Murphy’s (those fucking Micks are as scary as three year old meatballs) they’re probly grandads by now.

What I loved the most about the place though, was getting the chance to enjoy cool rock shows from the bands that came around, bands like Tito and Tarantula.

Tito Larriva was great, out of his mind great, the band ripped the paint off the walls and the paint off a few nearby Goth kids as I recall. I do remember that the band had this sixteen or seventeen year old looking girl who played the violin, and seemed a bit scared by it all. She still laid it down like the devil’s done lost his way, on the way to Georgia, and instead ended up in a dive bar in the heart of Saint Mark’s Place.

Coney Island High had a big red door that lead to the management office (yeah those pussies again) there was a huge poster tacked to that door, the poster was that of Metal great Ronnie James Dio (RIP) It only had the word DIO on it, but some smart ass had scrawled the letter S next to the letter O thus making it read DIOS which means GOD in Spanish. On seeing this I giggled like a ten year old kid does upon hearing a wet fart joke—To this day I don’t know why I found that amusing, wait, I think I just made that up, the poster was there but… Jesus I’m getting old.

15 Saint Mark’s Place a. k. a Coney Island High is long gone, gone to become a three story condo, no doubt full of money hungry yuppies, whatever became of that door? Anyway enough dread and on with the Latin flavored rock & roll stylings of Tito and Tarantula. Enjoy this dark, dangerously sexy and suave, kick ass tune.

 

Next up ‘Holy Diver” by Ronnie James Dio, yeah? No? Maybe?

No Respect

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Photo Credit: rodney.com

If anyone tells you that writing is easy they’re either lying to you, they have a ghostwriter, or they’re doing in it wrong. Most folks assume that writing is easy, what they don’t realize is that writing a ‘real’ poem, short story,  play or a novel is way more difficult than writing a cleverly facetious one liner on Facebook, Twitter or a fortune cookie (incidentally; does anyone know if they’re hiring?) No? Okey Dokey.

Writing requires a lot of work which often comes waltzing in with a great deal of self-doubt, insecurity, writer’s block, sleepless nights and a bunch of other maladies. Chief among them are the little to no recognition, and or remuneration, i. e you will fucking starve. One of the worse parts of writing though (aside from the editing stage) is when you have to defend your craft, when you have to defend the thing that you love to do the most which is writing. Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, who seems to be a Twitter trendsetter, because she once shook the literary Twitterverse when she twitted about sexism in the publishing industry (Bravo!)  She sent another little ripple, the other day, when she created the hashtag #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter.

As expected writers from all corners of the literary landscape came out of the wood works posting some cringe worthy encounters. Here are a few of those gems. Enjoy.

“#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter  When I retire I’m going to write a book too.” John Fox.

 “#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter  Can I be in your next book?” Sure. In fact YOU are my next book. I’m going to use your skin for the pages.” Mel Salisbury.

 “#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter  You’re pretty good; you should try writing something serious.” Gail Simone.

 “#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter  I could be a writer too; I have all these ideas but no free time.” Kate Leth.

 “#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter  I’m going to piss all over your car. For being a writer.” Wint.

 “#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter  So… is the main character you?” Eric Smith.

 “#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter  What’s your backup career plan? I hear your industry is dying.” Lily Bailey.

 “#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter  I better be careful or you’ll put me in your book. No you’re not that interesting.” Ally Carter.

“#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter  That sounds like so much fun; I wish I could just sit around and write all day.” Kat Kinsman.

 “#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter  Oh you’re a writer? My aunt’s friend’s gardener’s plumber is a writer. You should ask them for some advice.” Daniel Dalton.

 “#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter  This is OK for a first draft. This is a first draft, right?” Fake Dispatch.

 “#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter  It’s pretty impressive that you spend so much time on something that has so little chance of success.” Callie Valentine.

 I’ve gotten a few jabs myself. These are the stand outs.

“You must have money!”

“Self-published, so you’re not really published then?”

“You wrote this all by yourself?”

“How thick is your… book?”

“I don’t read ‘self- published’ stuff.”

“You should write romance, that’s what sells.”

“You should write YA, that’s where the money’s at.”

Brutal I know. Writers are the literary Rodney Dangerfield—no respect I tell ya, no respect at all. Aah, why dwell on it when you have a book to write? Onward.