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).

Friday, April 17, 2015

Book reviews: As Close As You’ll Ever Be … Words to Die For … ESPN’s Britt McHenry … Bolts vs. Wingless in Detroit … Johnny Porno in Poland …

As Close As You’ll Ever Be, by Seamus Scanlon … see, how it works is, you keep looking and sometimes you luck out and find it … and sometimes it finds you. The author was looking for people to help fund his McGowan Trilogy (previously performed in New York and now heading to Galway, Ireland), so I thought, why not? Let me take a bite … and its taste was delicious. This is some very powerful writing, amici. The stories in this book are violent, often hilarious, and always profound. From Galway to where one of my sons lives these days, Washington Heights in Manhattan … just powerful, powerful stuff.


Words to Die For, Lynn Kostoff … well, it’s already received a *STARRED* review from Booklist, so all I can add is the following: Simply put, Words to Die For is another brilliant novel from one of the very best in the business, Lynn Kostoff. It’s 1986 in Indiana, where Raymond Locke works miracles at a public-relations firm called Public Domain. What he does is provide damage control to fuck-ups (whether they’re individuals, corporations, or the greedy SOB’s running the corporations). He’s very good at his job and is famous in the industry for saving a Bishop after the Bishop’s mistress committed suicide and left a very destructive note behind. Raymond is married to the love of his life (love at first sight), Kate. They have an autistic child, Andrew, who requires constant attention and care, but the strains of his job and their son place their marriage in jeopardy.

When an outbreak of salmonella and other poisoning occurs on the heels of Public Domain’s biggest client, Happy Farms Chickens’ (whose motto is: Only The Rooster Gets A Better Piece Of Chicken) grand opening of a couple of fast-food restaurants, a 10-year old girl winds up in a coma. Raymond has to step up big time to try and save the company from the greedy corner cutting it may have enacted for the sake of profit. Not a very envious task to have (protecting scumbags), but Raymond has to do his job and it’s crucial he get it done if he wants to save his marriage and maintain the week-to-week affordability of his stress-filled life. The girl, Tina Brackett, has a father who’s been to hell and back as regards luck, but he’s now sporting less than half a deck. He’s a major problem for all concerned, especially since nobody can figure out what exactly his angle might be … does he intend to sue his former employer, Happy Farms, or take a settlement (of sorts). There are a couple of opportunistic journalists seeking higher profiles of celebrity (and perhaps a Pulitzer) determined to bring down the owner of Happy Farms Chicken, an unlikeable little shit named Lamar Ditell. There’s also an opportunistic prosecutor looking to hang a murder charge on Ditell should the young girl die. There’s a ton going on and all of it is intriguing and very thought provoking. One is constantly asking oneself, why is this decent man working to protect such scumbags?

Against the backdrop of this 1986 story is Iran-Contra scandal (talk about spinning something into nothing) … Kostoff does a wonderful job of juxtaposing the two disasters; how they’re ultimately perceived by a public helplessly hypnotized by the drama spun by professionals. Think that’s not possible? This morning a public opinion poll show 56% of Americans in favor of putting ground troops back in Iraq.

A passage I particularly loved shows how Raymond often felt about his job rescuing people from their lapses in judgment and/or stupidity and/or bad nature(s): As long as he continued to feel appalled. Raymond told himself, he’d be all right. Appalled kept him from getting lost. Appalled was good. Appalled was the line of breadcrumbs he dropped in order to find his way back home.

Words to Die For is brilliant writing, start to finish. Kostoff once again leaves this reader envious of what is obviously his natural gift of masterful craftsmanship. He remains one of the very best in the business today.


ESPN looks horrible, yet again … and they can thank this beauty queen.

“I’m in the news, sweetheart, I will (expletive) sue this place,” McHenry said in the video published online by LiveLeak.

“Yep, that’s all you care about, is just taking people’s money,” McHenry said. “With no education, no skillset, just wanted to clarify that. … Do you feel good about your job? So I could be a college dropout and do the same thing? Why, cause I have a brain and you don’t?”

As she walks out of the lot, she tells the attendant to “lose some weight, baby girl.”

Remember that the woman actually warned Ms. McHenry that she was on camera … so, afterward, once the video went viral, the ESPN starlet had this to say: “As frustrated as I was, I should always choose to be respectful and take the high road. I am so sorry for my actions and will learn from this mistake,” McHenry said.

TK responds to her response with a great big, FUCK YOU, LADY!

And, of course, TK has a resolution to this mishap. Forget a 1-week suspension. How about ESPN do the right thing and FIRE THIS OVER-PRIVILEGED ASSHOLE.
I'm in the news? Really? What a fucking accomplishment. So is Aaron Hernandez in the news.

Bolts-Wingless in Detroit … Oh, Baby … we SO OUTPLAYED the Wingless in Detroit the other night, I couldn’t sleep all night. What was keeping pucks out of their net? No problem, luck like that won’t happen again. Saturday, we begin the sweep!


Johnny Porno in Poland … well, here are the covers …