Charlie's Books

Charlie's Books
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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).

Friday, January 14, 2011

Book Review … Playoffs … Speechifying … Ooops … Will the GOP muffle Palin?


The Dead Women of Juarez, Sam Hawkin … 2011 is proving to be a terrific year for reading and author Sam Hawkin’s, The Dead Women of Juarez, maintains the momentum in this extremely well written debut novel. Kelly Courter is a boxer with a drug-addled past that precludes him from boxing where the money is (back in the states). But across the border, Kelly can play the token white boy to be beat on by Mexican pugilists and for a crowd more than happy to see a gringo get his. The background to the book and its title are the horrific statistics of the missing (presumed dead) women of Ciudad Juárez; statistical facts that would mortify anyone with a heart. The missing women are those who’ve been abducted/raped/abused and murdered (feminicidios/“femicides”) due to the absolute indifference to human life amongst the drug traffickers and the corrupt police they own. It is a problem that continues to this day.

The book initially features the gringo boxer Kelly, his Mexican girlfriend Paloma and her drug dealing brother, Estéban. Kelly is down on his luck and knows he can only live by his fists and by working for Estéban. Paloma works for a support group of women trying to find justicia for the missing women of Juarez. There’s also a police detective, Rafael Sevilla, whom we meet early on and as the novel progresses (with wonderfully compelling twists), the story becomes the detective’s; his battles with past ghosts of his own, Johnnie Walker Black (Red when Black isn’t available), police corruption and ultimately justicia itself.

There will be no spoilers here. The book is extremely well written and so documentary-like, it will feel as real as it gets. You will feel the relentless heat of the Mexican sun and taste the dust from the roads; you’ll smell the odors of the rankest parts of the city and feel the pain of innocent men tortured to protect the guilty. Mostly you won’t put this book down once you start.

This is one hell of a debut from an author with the chops Hollywood should be watching. The Dead Women of Juarez deserves a trip to the big screen. More importantly, it deserves to be read by the lot of us. It is that compelling. It is that good.

The Playoffs … Okay, so the Y-E-T-S, Yets, Yets, Yets may be real after all. Their victory over the Coltless last week was impressive (the ground game anyway). I’m still not so sure about their defense (it was the ground game that kept Manning off the field and thus the scoring down). We won’t know until, as Tom Goldie Locks Brady said, about 7:30 p.m. Sunday night. Personally, I’d love to see Mr. foot-in-mouth disease get the win (because I really don’t like the Patriots) but there’s no doubting the greatness of old Cheaterface himself (Belichik) or Tom Brady. I’ll be glued to the couch (with pizza boxes stacked alongside me) from 4:30 on …

Who’s not rooting for the Sea Pigeons? Even with Running for Cover Pete Carroll at the helm, you gotta root for the Sea Pigeons. And let’s face it … the Cubs just aren’t that good a football team. As my son Dustin pointed out to me: “How cool would it be if Green Bay beats the Bears and Seattle beats Atlanta and the Packers had to travel to a 7-9 team for the NFC Championship?”

Way cool, Knucks says … and the NFL deserves it for making their playoffs a tournament more than a genuine championship.

Knucks' Locks of the Week … Wes Cravens fall short again to the Steelers … Yets lose in OT … Seattle can’t get it done in the dome … and the Pack is back.

Speachifying … President Obama gave one of his signature speeches for unity last week that more resembled a political rally than a memorial but how could we possibly think a politician would do such a thing?

Exacatamundo … while I’m sure his intentions were sincere, I sincerely doubt his motivations to fly to Arizona were anything more than political.

But I digress … what bothers me more are the facts being ignored in the middle of all the left-right hoopla stirred by the event. Since the Congresswoman was shot, how many other American citizens were killed by gunshots in the United States? While the numbers (taken individually or as a total) may not be as sexy to the media and probably lack the circus atmosphere of the Arizona shooting (having been a political event and/or adding the death of a nine year old child to the mix), somewhere in this country someone younger or about the same age was also murdered (for whatever insane reason). This is not to marginalize what happened in Arizona by any means, but something tells me there were other tragedies coast to coast/islands to Alaska that just didn’t guarantee the media spotlight politicians (all of them) can score points off.

No, I don’t think President Obama was happy a Congresswoman (even a blue dog) was shot and maimed and that six others died (including a nine-year-old) and/or that fourteen others were wounded by a madman in a political hotbed of a state … but make no mistake that his appearance there was way more political opportunity than any heartfelt need to address the nation.

Does that make him a bad person? No, it makes him a politician. You’ll have to take it from there.

Oooops … The Labor Department said first-time applications for unemployment benefits jumped 35,000 from the week before, to 445,000.

As to Sarah “Blood Libel” Palin … is there anybody in her camp that can shut this broad up? Seriously, how fucking obtuse can one person be? As her loyal ranks decrease daily, it will be interesting to see just how far the GOP will be willing to let her speak as the Presidential elections draw nearer.

I couldn’t embed this because of NBC … if this isn’t scary (Tina Fey playing Sarah and then Sarah playing Sarah), I don’t know what the MF is.

Oy-fucking-vey …