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).

Saturday, March 21, 2015

SNHU MFA Graduate, Shane Remer … The Accidental Tourist … Official Dogfella Cover … Robert Durst/The Jinx … Netanyahu (or is it Netanyahoooo) … Matthius Steiner …

Shane Remer … received a B.A. in Communication in 2011 and his MFA in Fiction in 2013. He currently works as a paraprofessional at Charlestown Middle School in Charlestown, New Hampshire. Shane also coaches the Charlestown Middle School boys' soccer team, and is co-author of a blog with Jon Stern and Darren Rome Leo called Three Guys and a Keyboard.
Shane is also a devout Seattle Mariners and Seahawks fan … and has convinced himself that it was a great play by the Cheatriots that lost a back-to-back bid to repeat as world champions for the Seahawks rather than the obvious FUCP (F’ed Up Play Calling).
Shane’s thesis, A Grave for the Living, finds two homeless men meeting a boy running away to save his mom’s life. The two men, Goose and Beans, must decide whether or not they should help the boy (Ten-Speed). Turning the kid in could mean abuse for the boy and his mother at home, but leaving him alone could mean letting him wander the drug-stricken streets of Bridgeport, CT.  And then there’s Goose’s background, which hints at pedophilia. Beans suffers from schizophrenia and has occasional auditory hallucinations.
From Shane’s graduate reading:
Never let anyone tell you that you’re good enough. It’s a dangerous trap that wrecks creativity, ambition, relationships, and love. You don’t have to be the greatest at anything you do. Most of us aren’t even the greatest versions of ourselves. And that’s fine just as long as you’re passionate.
What I’ll read tonight is my best work to this point, but it’s not the best work I’ll ever create.
I truly thank everyone who has supported me, told me I could be better – a better writer, a better friend, a better man. I thank you for allowing me not to live trapped by the fears I create, or sustained by the dreams I chase, but instead by the reality I direct.
And to the mentors who have told me plenty of times I could be better – Jessica Anthony, Rick Carey, and Merle Drown – may my thanks and gratitude be expressed by acknowledging you, not in this speech alone, but in published works, too.
My thesis, A Grave for the Living, joins two homeless men who meet a boy that runs away to save his mom’s life. The men, Goose and Beans, have decided to care for the boy, Ten-Speed, mainly because of Goose’s direction. Beans is a man with schizophrenia and Goose has a troubled past that hints at pedophilia.
At this part of the story, Goose has located a foreclosed home where they camp out for the night.
They found what looked like foreclosed property about half a mile away. The back door was unlocked and there were old blankets in one of the rooms. Cats had pissed on the mattresses, so they flipped them over, slid the beer bottles and trash against the wall, and fought off headaches from the stench. Windows rattled in the frames. Beans tried bleeding the furnace in the cellar and had as much success with it as he did finding money in his wallet.
Goose woke up six times during the night, which meant he slept well. The sixth time he woke up, gray light filled the room and his breath formed heavy puffs that sank immediately. It was late morning, maybe close to ten, and clouds were settling in thick patches outside. Ten-Speed slept with his head poking out from a blanket. He slept on a mattress on the far side of the room. Goose slipped out from his blankets and stepped over his backpack next to Ten-Speed.
Ten-Speed breathed deeply. A bruise was turning yellow on the back of his neck, just below his ear. Goose brushed some of the hair away. Ten-Speed took a deeper breath and Goose leaned back, waited until the kid’s breathing had settled, and pulled the blanket up against the kid’s neck. He placed a hand on Ten-Speed’s shoulder and smiled.
He rubbed his hands on the way to the bathroom and rocked on his feet to stay warm while waiting to piss, but nothing wanted to work. Outside the window two teens hopped a fence on the property’s backyard. One carried a camera. They raised their heads and the kid without the camera pointed at him and laughed. Probably hadn’t seen a grown man piss before.
Not that Goose was pissing. He was still waiting. Maybe the lumps in his body weren’t knots from tired muscles, or cysts, or misaligned bones. Maybe they were cancer. And maybe it didn’t matter anymore if he ever got off the streets. Cancer doesn’t care where a man lives, it just cares that he’s capable of dying.
Hushed voices came through the hallway – not Beans’ or Ten-Speed’s. They were young and excited. Feet slipped past the bathroom along the hall. Goose zipped his pants and pried the door open enough to see into the hallway. Two thicker bodies with hoods pulled over their heads stood in the doorframe leading to the bedroom. The taller one had a camera aimed at the other kid, his friend. The friend had his fists curled and Goose knew immediately. They were Bum Beaters, people that filmed themselves beating up the homeless so they could post it online.
Goose searched the bathroom. Outside, a fist hit muscle – it was a sound he couldn’t mistake. Beans’s yelled at the teen to stop. Another first, this time against a face. Goose found a plunger and lifted. It wedged between the toilet and the wall. Another strike and bodies crashed against the wall in the room. Goose struggled with the plunger. Outside, another punch, another yelp. Goose freed the plunger and charged into the room where the shorter one, the teen, was on top of Beans and whaling him in the side. The teen had wide eyes filled with the kind of evil pleasure a man should never have. Goose hit the teen above his ear with the rubber part of the plunger. It stunned the teen and he rolled off Beans, pressed a hand against his head and rubbed it.

The Accidental Tourist, by Anne Tyler.
I never saw the film, but was intrigued by the title when searching for something new to read … very fortunate choice, it turned out to be … the death of a child has the potential to ruin any marriage/relationship and it’s no different in this wonderful novel that begins after the tragedy.  Macon Leary writes travel guide books for a living. He comes from a particularly persnickety family. He believes there’s a method to life and it shouldn’t be altered … Macon is often devoid of emotion so when he gets the bad news from his wife (she wants to talk) … it turns out that what Sarah wants is to talk of separation, and separation it is … so she leaves and Macon is left alone with his dog, Edward, to write his books and deal with life on his own … except he quickly finds Edward to be unruly (he bites people, Macon learns from the dog kennel where he’s used to housing Ed) … forced to find another on his way to the train/airport, he comes across one Muriel Pritchett (she’s a Godsend, you ask me) … she’s kind of the opposite of Macon and his whack-a-do (yous ask me again) family … and from this point on, even though I cringed at some of her desperation, I was rooting whole-heartedly for her to be saved (and to save) Macon from the life he seemed destined … Macon breaks a leg, goes to live with his whacky family … and … and there’s more (so much more), including Sarah making her comeback to the marriage with a surprise visit on foreign soil … it is all so well told, I ordered 4 more Anne Tyler books (I’m reading Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant now, which is also amazing) … so no spoilers … why do both members of the Stella famiglia continue to work 2 jobs, yous ask? Because we buy books like crazy persons, that’s why … so, amici … trust me on this, if you haven’t been as neglectful as I have regarding this (and so many other) wonderful authors, take a dip in Ms. Tyler’s pool … I promise you’ll be back for more.
Here’s the official Dogfella book cover … go get this book!
Robert Dust/The Jinx … Okay, so all the Principessa Ann Marie and I want to know is how the hell does the New York City cop featured in the documentary sleep nights?  Was he totally incompetent, paid off, or (more than likely) told to ignore Durst’s self-proclaimed explanation about his wife going back to New York (where the doorman saw her, except he didn’t) … and/or the telephone call (apparently made by another Durst murder victim, Judy Berman), or any of the other lies that didn’t seem to bother Detective Struk.  Seriously, is there something we’re unaware of regarding Struk’s neglect of obvious lies?  Durst lied about making a phone call, lied about stopping for a drink at his neighbor’s, lied about the doorman seeing his wife … and that’s okay? Nothing to follow there. The guy’s wife is missing? Oh, well, those things happen …
Hopefully, at least ONE investigation (obviously not the police in NY and/or LA) will permit his first wife’s family to sue for wrongful death … and hopefully they’ll win and get every single dime that corrupt crop of losers possess … TK used the HBO poster for the Durst case rather than anything else, because as of right now, HBO deserves the credit for busting this 30 year old fiasco of a missing persons turned likely serial killer case.
Netanyahu (or is it Netanyahoooo) … so Bibi came here and shit all over Obama and the Democrats, and then raced back home to declare there would never be a Palestinian state while he was Prime Minister, AND that Arab voters were turning out in droves so Israeli wingnuts needed to vote in droves to counter the Arab vote … because he wants to live in peace? Batshit crazy as that reads, the guy is no nut. He was a desperate politician looking to lock arms with what he perceives will be a never-ending relationship with the United States, especially with the GOP behind him. I don’t think he fears a Hillary Clinton Presidential victory, because let’s face it, Hillary is a lot more hawkish and much less trustworthy than Don Barzini. Our myopic view of Middle East events has become alarming, especially when one considers the amount of support the GOP is feeding Netanyahu’s war drums (and their own representatives of defense contractors, oil companies and other defenders of sending other kids off to war) … the public blow jobs the GOP continues to give Bibi would be funny if they weren’t so divisive. Bibi accomplished what he set out to do (Part I) … it’s Part II that is dangerous.  Will we be drawn into another war? Only time and another Presidential election that offers us two sides of the same coin will tell …
And before anyone send me ALL CAPS messages about how I’m a self-loathing Jew (I was born and raised Catholic and couldn’t reject that bullshit fast enough) or that I’m an Anti-Semite (I think ALL religions are silly but respect their right to be so, so long as they don’t harm other people—which they all tend to do—I’m just sayin’) … do me (and yourself) a favor … join the IDF and have at it already … or if you’re too old, send YOUR kids to fight wars you’re so passionate about … or join one of the American Militias going over to Syria to fight … otherwise, it’s nothing but smoke you’re blowing, and I already have my own pipe.
The Strongest Man in the world … Matthias Steiner (back in 2008) … an incredible lift … all emotion … his wife was killed in a tragic car accident. He’d sworn to her he’d win a gold medal one day in the Olympics … here it is.

Bibi talked to Boehner … and Moe talked to Barzini …