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).

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Book Reviews: A Land More Kind Than Home & The Crime Interviews: Volume Two ... some neat opera video/Cream ...


A Land More Kind Than Home, Wiley Cash. The death of a mute boy during a church service is the focal point of this intriguing read. The manipulation of religion, the unfairness of life juxtaposed against an all powerful God, the influence of parental relationships through the years and the role of justice in a world unfriendly to logic. Those are some of the themes prevalent in this novel that at times is as noir as The Night of the Hunter (one of the scariest novels AND movies I’d ever read/watched), as hardboiled as any Southern Gothic (think Flannery O’Connor), and as poignant as Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury.

The novel is told by three characters, an elderly religious woman (Adelaide), a young confused boy (Jess) and a Sheriff (Clem) with his own painful past. Each perspective is distinct. The two adults present powerful backstory against the confused innocence of the young boy. There are other characters essential to this tragic tale, but it is the preacher, Carson Chambliss, who takes center stage; the man each fears in their own way. It is Chambliss who reminded me of the preacher in The Night of the Hunter. Each scene with Chambliss, whether inside his church or out in his barn, is tension filled with relief nowhere in sight until the scene ends and the page is turned.

The elderly woman, Adelaide Lyle, was a follower of the church and Chambliss until she witnessed something told at the start of the book (no spoilers here). From that point on, she watched the children of the churchgoers at her home rather than let them attend services. The boy, Jess Hall, witnesses something along with his brother he doesn’t quite understand, except it is the event that will forever change his life. The sheriff, Clem Barefield, is the voice of reason left to sort out the evil mess that was practiced in a house of God.

Snake handling, fire and brimstone and Hallelujahs abound when the Pastor of the church uses the Bible to his own purpose.

And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (Mark 16:17-18)

A Land More Kind Than Home is a wonderful read, amici. It will grasp you very early on and it will not let you go. Each of the three characters telling this tale will pull you along page by page. You will not want to stop reading until you reach a tumultuous ending that will rock you. I defy anyone with a heart to hold back the tears of Adelaide’s summation. The power of absolution and redemption it brings is heartrending. A Land More Kind Than Home is a wonderful book.

Check out the author’s website:

Buy it here, amici:


The Crime Interviews: Volume Two, Len Wanner (forward by Ian Rankin) And while we’re on the subject of books, how about Len Wanner coming through with his second book of interviews. Len has quickly become a name to associate with the best of interviewers anywhere. I remember his interviewing me and how close I had to keep Mr. Webster (madonna mia). Check out his latest. THE CRIME INTERVIEWS: VOLUME TWO, once again Wanner's encyclopaedic knowledge of Scottish crime fiction is put to expert use in his enthralling and revealing conversations with another inspired line-up of stars of tartan noir. His latest interview subjects include William McIlvanney, Tony Black, Doug Johnstone, Helen FitzGerald, Quintin Jardine, Gordon Ferris, Craig Russell, Douglas Lindsay, Ray Banks and Denise Mina. Len does more for crime fiction than just about anybody. Check out his now famous (and greatly appreciated) Facebook page for The Crime of It All

The Old Man and the Sea … Len sent me this link because he knew I’d enjoy it. I hope yous do too …


In my ever fumbling attempts to keep the opera selections somewhat relevant to the posts, here’s Placido Domingo in the title role of Pagliacci about to whack both his wife, Nedda, played by Teresa Stratas and her lover. Those crazy eye-talians ... don’t mess with their women ...

Or there’s a blues version, if you prefer ... from the Cream reunion in 2005, Outside Woman Blues ... originally recorded by Blind Joe Reynolds in 1929.