Mini Book Reviews

You’re in for a treat partner because we have, not one, but two opposing genres in this here review. First up; the always great Michael Connelly’s ongoing Bosch series, and a book I’ve been meaning to read ever since it first came out; the sci-fi action-adventure by Ernest Cline: Ready Player One. Let’s go…

If you want masterful set ups, delicious twist and turns; you can’t go wrong with Trunk Music which also packs a lot of procedural details, great characterization and the introduction of a new lieutenant in the excellently named Grace Billets (or Bullets, as per her nickname) plus, a new partner named Kizman Rider (or Kiz, who may or may not stay in the unit) we’re also re-introduce to Bosch’s old flame Eleanor Wish. The only cats missing here are Crate and Barrel (I really like those guys, this being book #5 of the ongoing series, I might’ve miss the why of their absentia in this story) In Trunk Music we are treated to a fun case with the killing of a movie producer found in the trunk of his car, hence the ‘mob-term’ trunk music. Corrupt cops, back stabbings and blackmail set in the City of Angels where homicide detective Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch and his partner Detective Jerry Edgar are the heroes every police department should have. 5 out of 5

Confession time, I’m not a fan of ‘hard sci-fi’ so this book was a treat. Think a dystopian future steep in the 1980’s and all its pop culture trappings neatly wrapped in an action-adventure story with 80’s video games, avatars, music, movies, TV shows and powerful enemies under the umbrella of an evil corporation, and you have what will, no doubt, become a huge Hollywood summer blockbuster at a time when tinsel town needs it the most. The story is a classic hero’s journey; David vs. Goliath with smart geeks at the helm of a twisty and funny ride. I for one enjoyed the hell out of this book. Great job Mr. Ernest Cline. 5 out of 5

Consumer/Creator

It goes without saying that being a consumer is easier than being a creator. I buy my ticket, grab me a tub of popcorn, a giant soda, and I’m ready to be assaulted by the surround sound of the bombastic score from the new and shiny blockbuster that resembles the last great shiny blockbuster I saw a week ago. See? Easy as pie. You want to write a fun, great and engaging story…you will, undoubtedly, end up staring at a blank screen with the accusatory cursor blinking at you, mocking you. To hell with it, there’s a great TV show I must watch, (and there’s always a great TV show you must watch) because what else are you going to talk about with your co-workers? Easy as one, two, three and the cursor on the page keeps daring you to play.

You cruise over to the giant behemoth known as Amazon and hey! What’s this? A Dead Sea Mud Mask I didn’t know I needed, and over here they’ve got the latest electronic gadget which promises to do pretty much everything for you (short of giving you a mind blowing B. J.) Argan Oil what the fuck is that? But hey I might need it because the celebrity du jour promises that it’ll change my life. And the cursor on the page keeps blinking, laughing at you.

Say you’re a musician and an idea for a song comes to you—out of the ether, as most ideas tend to. You’re pump, you get yer guitar and go at it, but hey wait, this tune sounds like that other tune…fuck it, let’s go play the new Grand Theft Auto, the new Hitman, Candy Crush or the new Monument Valley (great game btw) What does that accusatory little cursor know about having fun anyway? Easy as taking a pill from a baby

The same thing, I’m pretty sure, happens to painters, cartoonist, dancers, etc. Nobody tells you to be a ‘creative type’ (sometimes I get the sense that the world doesn’t need another ‘creative type’ don’t you?) But you do it because is in your nature, because you want to do it, because it makes you feel good, it makes life worth living, it gives you tremendous satisfaction and a great sense of accomplishment. More than likely though, what it doesn’t do, is give you enough bread which you need to live and to keep doing what you love which is being a ‘creative type’ and so, you forged ahead with a fist full of hope, dreams and courage, because, believe it or not, it takes giant pelotas to be a creator, to put yourself outhere to be judged, loved or admired by the masses, or to be hated, judged and dragged through the mud—but you hope for the best.

Hello blank page, did ya miss me? Hmm, you know what? Fuck it, let’s go get a beer, these 516 words are worth it, for today I’m a consumer, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Cheers!

The Hate U Give–Review

Reading YA is not my bag, I’ve got nothing against the genre, is just not my thing. I didn’t know this book was a YA novel, had I known I probably would’ve passed on reading it, I’m glad I didn’t because is much more than just a story about a sixteen year old girl growing up in the hood while also attending a private (mostly White) school.

The story’s core is the social issue of the day, a “torn from the headlines” if you will, meaning: white cops shooting young black men. It’s timely, it’s hard-hitting and it should be require reading for everyone, especially law enforcement personnel.  Here’s a quote from the young protagonist Starr Carter.

“When I was 12, my parents had two talks with me. One was the birds and the bees. The second was what to do if stopped by police. Keep your hands visible. Don’t make any sudden moves. Only speak when they speak to you.’”

A quote many in minority communities are very familiar with. This book is a mirror to some, a reality for others and—hopefully—eye- opening for all.

A solid 5 out of 5 Starrs ( ha! see what I did there?)

Obsessions of the Month

The 80’s were, and still are, some of the best years of many a Gen xer, I’m currently writing a story which takes place in that era. Wow, what an era. The clothing styles, the hairdos, the video games, the movies, and the music—Jesus, what a bunch of cringe-inducing stuff. I’m setting my story in the world of heavy metal music, cocaine trafficking and the “satanic panic” of the era. Writing this story is taking me back to when I was trying to learn to play the guitar parts to those power ballads just so that I could impress the ladies—it didn’t work. The research is a lot of fun though (better than the grim research for my other story about a serial killer in Arizona).

Stay tune.

I’m currently watching the TV series/ crime drama The Wire (I know, fifteen years later, that’s how I do) all fifty episodes spread over five seasons. Great show, albeit a bit dated, what with all the new technology at the government’s disposal these days. One thing that remains the same is life in the hood, fucking shit is still pretty much the same with the little hoppers slinging drugs and killing each other while the politicos and their labyrinthine laws and insidious bureaucratic policies steal, and make life a living hell for those living in the margins of society.

Politicians =gaping assholes.

Very few superhero movies excite me these days—too many to keep up with, and most are just CGI inducing headaches, and this is coming from someone who grew up consuming comic books in unhealthy doses. When Sam Raimi came out with Spiderman in 2001 (Good lord of the flies, I’m fucking old) No one was more excited than me; finally, one of my favorite superheroes on the big screen! I loved it, it was awesome, but then it when to shit and now they’re re-booting it *ugh.* Enters Wonder Woman to save the day, I loved Linda Carter on the old TV show, but this new one looks fucking a-m-a-z-i-n-g, and once again; I’m happy to see a superhero movie. Not like she needs it but: here’s me rooting for Diana, founding member of Justice League, Princess of Themyscira, Daughter of Hippolyta aka Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman.

What you waiting on playa? Go see the movie!