Charlie's Books

Charlie's Books
Buon Giorno, Amici!

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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, July 23, 2016

Book Reviews: Mad Dog Barked, Rick Ollerman … Jungle Horses, Scott Adlerberg … The RNC Convention … Hillary’s Wikileaks Problem …

Mad Dog Barked, by Rick Ollerman … There’s a lot going on in this baby, including protagonist Scott Porter’s being the owner/boss of his private-eye business and having more than a crush on one of his operators (Trudy) … one problem with that relationship is Trudy’s husband, a cop who doesn’t do right by his beautiful and very smart wife, but does provide the occasional police research for the agency to stay in his wife’s good graces.

Problems evolve and keep the thriller ball rolling when a client comes in, lays down a fat check, and then hands an original Edgar Allen Poe book with a handwritten letter inside that reads like jazz scat. Then the client takes off and winds up dead. So does his personal secretary, a guy watching his house (his head gets caved in) … and so the carousel of thrills and dangerous liaisons begins. There’s a hitman from up New England way, a guy working for the mob up there named Gallo. He’s after the letter more than the book, and he’s willing to kill for it. There’s also an employee or two who aren’t as dedicated as Porter is to his work/business (or theirs). Deals are made, people die, and then enter the FBI. There’s a touch of the Whitey Bulger story that comes with the FBI and although Porter could just hand over the letter and walk away from everything, paid in full, he’s one of those types who doesn’t like to skim on a job.

There’s a lot of action between the very clever dialogue and it flows fast and furious as we speed toward a major confrontation.

Ollerman has the goods and this one could make a few best-of lists, including some award nominations, if the cards are dealt fair and square.

Mad Dog Barked is a clever ride of a thriller that will keep you reading start to finish. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Jungle Horses, by Scott Adlerberg … Arthur has dreams of wild horses running through jungles … these are some of the thoughts he has since he’s gone impotent and can no longer service and/or enjoy sex with his wife … it isn’t a problem for her (Jenny), she’s got a lover (Vaughn) … he’s wealthy and he lives across the street … Arthur has been cuckolded; he accepts the life arrangement he finds himself in … Arthur likes horses more than sex, especially thoroughbreds, almost as much as the horses in his dreams … those dream horses, by the way, are what once excited his life in a very sexual way with Jenny … but now all he does is gamble on horses (and it was here that I was reminded of my own horse-betting quirks on Sunday mornings before leaving for Manhattan and stopping off at Belmont on the way back home; Arthur has all the gamblers quirks) … Arthur’s wife doesn’t know he’s gambling (she assumes he’s just a drunk hanging out in pubs all day), so when he loses big, he borrowers from a bookie/loan shark … and when he gets in over his head, as all inveterate gamblers eventually do, the muscle shows up … but a deal is struck, and although Arthur wonders whether his wealthy friend Vaughn (who is having quite a life with Arthur’s wife, Jenny—they also go to the opera, dinners, etc.), is just looking to get rid of him when he offers to pay the freight on the gambling debts and send Arthur off to a topical island to tend to some other kinds of horses. Arthur leaves his wife and Vaughn and the thoroughbreds behind in London and it’s at this point we get into the mystic. Although I’m not usually a fan of the mystic, it was the absolutely smooth and beautiful pros of the author that kept me engaged throughout. Adlerberg writes smooth, elegant narrative. No spoilers here … but I was genuinely enthused each time I picked up the book to continue reading. Real good stuff, amici, and Highly Recommended.

The RNC Convention … well, we’ll hear their platform is about as medieval as it gets, but let’s face it, nobody pays attention to party platforms, least of all the election winner. If I’m not mistaken, the winner takes the party platform list into the bathroom the day after the election and wipes his/her ass with it … and what the Orange Blowhard had on stage in Cleveland the last night, cheering for a man proud to be gay … cheering for new trade agreements … cheering for a black employee of the Trump organization … well, I guess they were going to wipe their asses with the platform list way in advance of election night.

So it goes.

I watched bits and pieces of all four nights, most of the big speakers (minus Chachi and the Italian fella from some soap opera—oy vey). I’m pretty sure most Republicans, and most voters in general, kind of wish either of the Trump boys were running rather than their father. Both rich brats were completely polished and apparently knowledgeable (at least about what their father obviously is not knowledgeable of). The most striking part of either speech was Eric Trump alluding to a blue collar billionaire with a degree in common sense. Now don’t get crazy on me, I haven’t lost my mind. I don’t agree with 75-90% of what either Trump boy had to say, but how they said it was impressive vs. any political speech I’ve heard, including some of Bernie’s … and there’s no denying that it’s the Harvard & Yale degrees that have us where we are right now. That FACT is just undeniable, like it or not.

I’m writing this Thursday night (as the convention progresses), so I’m still waiting for the Orange Blowhard … and let’s face it, he can blow it “big league” tonight, so let’s wait and see.
One can only hope he doesn’t come down from the ceiling on a cable (ala fart man)… or if he does, that the cable snaps and one of his two rich brat sons do get to take his place.

All the controversy over Melania’s plagiarized speech was okay the night she spoke and some of the following day, but eventually the Trump campaign managed to find a scapegoat (I wonder how thick her envelope was). Nobody was fooled by the screw-up. It was outright plagiarism.

Last night Pence was Pence, and a bit of a surprise regarding his humor. It was delivered well, but CNN kept running his most infamous statements along the bottom of the screen while he spoke. One has to wonder if that same methodology of media agenda will be present when the Democrats meet next week. I’ll be watching, that’s for sure. I can think of some pretty good Bernie lines about Hillary Clinton I wouldn’t mind seeing along the bottom of the screen (to be fair, of course) … and now that wikileaks has left a huge turd in the DNC’s cereal … well, we shall see.

So, until later tonight, I’ll say they get a grade of B. Not for the bullshit they were selling, but strictly for the presentation and how I think independents will react to their convention and candidate.

Okay, it’s started … so far the two openers are losers (Falwell’s son and Sheriff Joe the maniac). Bad, bad, bad, but you’d never know it from the reactions of the yahoos.

Casa Stella Time out … we went out to the Jacuzzi to help my sore back, but we’re back in time for Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee … she’s actually talking about Trump uniting the American people … I’m guessing she smoked a crack pipe before she stepped on the stage … another bad, bad, attempt at a Trump makeover.

Another dud, Mary Falin, Governor of Oklahoma, speaking religion … don’t mind the religion so much, but it’s boring right now. At least she’s addressing minorities, but the crowd doesn’t seem as enthused about that at all.

The Make America One Again convention has a distinct pale to it (i.e., they’re mostly white) … I guess they didn’t notice there weren’t enough token minorities in the crowd. On the other hand, next week America will be presented as “forget what I said about Barry in 2008, I love him now … and he loves me … and I love all of you people—ah, I mean African-Americans and Latinos.”

Reince Preibus … oy vey … NEXT?

Finally, PETER THIEL ... okay, I don't believe in capitalism, but THIS GUY IS GREAT ... he's kicking HRC's incompetence all over the place. How do we get him to go GREEN?

Tom Barrack … very good speaker … good stories … true? Untrue? I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Who better than Mickey Donovan to introduce the Orange Blowhard! You gotta love it ... in a comical way.

Ivanka … good presentation, except for calling Daddy “honest” … oy vey.

The Orange Blowhard his own bad self … it’s not a speech most pundits will care for, but middle America and many independents will eat it up. He stayed mostly on script, and although it went long, the blowhard delivered to those who accept him and probably to those who want something other than another Clinton and/or a Clinton who recently should’ve been indicted.

Hillary’s Wikileaks problem … well, let’s just say the next week will be very, very, very interesting.


Interview with a Charlie Stella … The Pulse’s, Ken Cail interview the Ugly One (moi) … Part I …

Part II