Charlie's Books

Charlie's Books
Buon Giorno, Amici!

Our motto ...

Leave the (political) party. Take the cannoli.

"It always seems impossible until it's done." Nelson Mandela

Right now 6 Stella crime novels are available on Kindle for just $.99 ... Eddie's World has been reprinted and is also available from Stark House Press (Gat Books).

Thursday, December 31, 2009




Murder in Four Parts ... The town of Clearview has more than its share of nuisance police calls but every once in a while the real stuff goes down and Sheriff Dan Rhodes is the one who has to take care of it, including an alligator eating chicken(s), a disgruntled divorcee determined to streak his way to revenge (and a strange sense of justice) and the never-ending squabbles among and between neighbors. In Murder in Four Parts (#16 by my count in the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series), a local florist is found dead, his head caved in and there are any number of suspects. His shop is one of a few different stores located in a strip shopping center that is feeling the pinch of bad economic times and the bigger nearby competition. There’s a gambling joint there that figures into the mix as well as some of the seedy characters frequenting it. Rhodes’ sidekicks, Hack and Lawton (these guys are great and I’ve known several such BB’s in my day) have a way of inviting frustration for the good Sheriff with each new discussion (business or otherwise); they are well skilled in the art of ball-breaking. Dan does his best to play off these two. It isn’t easy but it is always enjoyable for the reader.

Aside from local squabbles between neighbors and such, the town of Clearview also has its fair share of curmudgeons and short tempered types. Dan is forced to deal with those characters on their terms a time or two (including a pretty funny fight involving paint) but he’s become a master of dealing with the people he knows so well in a more reserved manner. There are twists and turns aplenty. There is also a reference to an old flame of mine (not that she knew it) ... Adrienne (rackem’ if you got’em) Barbeau.

Swamp Thing ... one of the greatest movies of all time.

Ultimately, what makes the Sherriff Dan Rhodes series so enjoyable are the characters; we all know people just like them; we all know of the kinds of squabbles Rhodes has to wade his way through and we all wish we had a guy like Rhodes to keep things cool while those around him are blowing their gaskets. A couple of women have written a book based on Sheriff Dan and it has become quite the big seller (with a movie based on the book to boot). Rhodes insists it has nothing to do with reality, except for his looking like Brat Pitt.

Still, not all the problems of Clearview are resolved with talk alone. A scary train chase involves some acrobatics and gymnastics before it is over and pits Rhodes against the bad guy. Does Sheriff Rhodes join the Barbershop Quartet (a no spoiler moment here, folks)? Well, I’m not sure, but somehow I see Annette O’Toole looming large in his future.

We don’t provide spoilers at Temporary Knucksline and prefer yous to read, amici. Like Ed Gorman, Bill Crider has been in the business for more than a gazillion books/short stories and novel series. You can read up about the author here (it is pretty amazing how much this man has accomplished and continues to accomplish).

Murder in Four Parts is a very enjoyable read about a Sheriff and his town and a few characters that will make you smile from beginning to end.

Next Knucksline review will be on Raymond Carver’s Fires (essays, poems and stories).

Mammoth ... Gael García Bernal (Y tu mamá también) stars in this movie about a young well-to-do family that seemingly has it all juxtaposed against the lives of their live-in maid and her two sons back home in the Philippines. Bernal is a genius at designing video games and is about to sign a multi-million dollar contract but has to travel to Thailand to do so. Of course he gets stuck there, leaving behind his wife (a very busy surgeon) and daughter. The girl is being taken care of by a Philippine live-in maid who has two boys of her own across the world. The story lines intersect and break apart. It’s a good movie, but a new release I had to spend $7.99 for. Waiting until it’s cheaper On Demand might be the way to go.


WTF ... is Dick Cheney really tossing verbal bricks about Obama-Bush III’s response to terrorism? Look, we at Knucksline would like to see military tribunals and then very quick executions for the guilty, but the last person we want to hear from on any of this is the guy who led us (and the moron he worked for) into a war with Iraq for no good reason. He really has become more despicable than he already was and the fact this Mr. Braveheart chose deferments, five of them, rather than show the patriotism he so often brandishes in his offensive rhetoric says it all. Hawk that Cheney is, he’s never done much of anything aside from proposing wars, sending young people to their deaths and shooting a friend in the face. He’s no doubt rooting for something terrible to happen during Obama-Bush III for the sake of his legacy and party, but we here at Knucksline would prefer it if he just went home to Wyoming and focused on improving his shooting skills. He had his chance, 8 years to get OBL and what he gave us instead we’ll be reeling from for decades.

The bomber ... the DOC was upset we didn’t spend more time on this clown because we refuse to take those “agencies” serious. So long as Whitey Bulger continues to outwit the FBI while the Justice Department deals away serial murderers for the sake of single prosecutions, we can’t be bothered with the lack of communication and dissemination of information between the several federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. We’re sure most FBI (and other law enforcement agents and officers) are as pissed off as we are that the Justice Department time and again finds it necessary to let murderers (of as many as 21 people) start a new life under a new name in some unknowing community, but so long as they go along with business as usual rather than stand up and publicly decry what I read about in Playboy’s last issue (an article about a DEA agent that is probably more par for the course than otherwise), we’re not going to jump on this (or any) President about who slips through the cracks because of incompetence or lack of effort in the relevant department agencies. The Justice Department continues to let home grown murderers they know are guilty go free … why should they bother catching ones that “might be” guilty?

And if you don’t think the practice of deal making exists on the terrorist level, you probably were waiting near the fireplace to take Santa’s picture last week.

In the meantime, this guy seriously deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.

Blackwater ... for those who think America’s image around the world is enhanced because we hold criminal prosecutions at home for alleged terrorist criminals, the Federal Courts may have just turned that theory on its head. From the Washington Post: A federal judge on Thursday threw out charges against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards accused of killing 14 people in a 2007 shooting in downtown Baghdad.

Does anybody really think this decision will be considered justice outside of this country? Does anyone think the trial of any of the terrorists/criminals will be regarded as fair outside of this country? Use any excuse to permit those charged with the crimes a day in court, but please give up on our image around the world already. Like Sonny in a Bronx Tale said, “Nobody cares.”

Maureen ... feeling somewhat less indifferent to Knucksline’s take on the bomber, Ms. Dowd delivers a Bushism aimed at Obama … or was it the other way around? Click here.

Afghanistan ... oh, boy ... here we go again ... Click here. Word is all those Americans killed and injured worked for the CIA.

And then there’s this from the LA Times ...

Heck of a job Barry, indeed.

Necessary war my ass.

Happy New Year!

How 'bout those Buffalo Jills!


And the DOC says ...

And a happy New Year to you too, Knuckster.

Sorry it took so long to get back to you. I'm just not myself when the bamster is on vacation. I miss him not being on TV 4-5 times a week, constantly showing up on my favorite shows...Meet the Press, David Letterman, Rachel Ray, American Chopper. Now, the attention whore is golfing his way across Hawaii after his nearly successful attempt at poisoning Rush Limbaugh.

I even miss that weird speech pattern of his. The only thing that comes close to it is the chick in my GPS.

Cheney's deferments? Come on, Chaz. Deferments in Washington are like assholes. Everybody's got one. ... except G.W. He flew jet fighters and it's a bitch flying one of those things with a hangover (that should get those veins exploding in your head).

It's probably not such a good idea for you to be bad-mouthing Blackwater. Many of the Bamster's "saved or created" jobs are in that very organization.

You also seem particularly down about Obama's "Necessary" war... Afghanistan. A country with virtually no natural resources. No oil. No trees. No grass. No wildlife except for spiders the size of Smart cars. It seems the only thing that will grow in Afghanistan is opium. Next year I'm going to plant my whole garden with poppies. If those suckers will grow in that shithole, they have got to be some bad-ass, hard-to-kill flowers.

Now, you might ask why the hell would we want Afghanistan?

Numero uno... moon landing pictures. If we ever have to fake moon landings again we won't have to build Hollywood sets. We've got Afghanistan.

Numero secondo... rocks. When the Bamster has spent all the money in the country, what will be the new currency... rocks. Afghanistan's got them.

Numero thirdo... tourism. When the jet set finds out that Afghanis are even more rude than the French... Kabul will be the new Paris.

Now, Maureen Dowd turning on Fredo is a whole other thing. That's Betty turning on Archie. That's Grace turning on Will. That's Mrs. Woods chasing Tiger down the driveway with a 9 iron. That's all the amicis skipping the Knuckster's party because of snow flurries.

What is this world coming to?

Come back BO. I miss you.