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, March 26, 2011

Hello Kitty Must Die ... Jimmy goes kindle ... Johnny Porno Reading ... and The Doc says ...


We have a review of an absolutely terrific book to start the games ... then a Jimmy Bench-Press announcement (kindle), a reminder about a Johnny Porno reading and then our favorite right wingnut (The Doc) is back to break my shoes/balls with an accusatory email/post, which was officially sent to me last night but I had already turned in after my daily unemployed dose of several foreign flicks. The title of the email was: Since you don't write for Knucksline anymore (too busy, I guess). So, let us begin with a book TK very highly recommends if you feel like laughing until you piss yourself ... because it is one very clever, very funny tale of one gal gone wild.

The Principessa Ann Marie said, “Rigoletto (our dog), Daddy’s laughing out loud. He must like the book he’s reading.”

I’ll say. The ugly one (moi) was laughing quite a bit the last two days. The cause was Hello Kitty Must Die, by Angela S. Choi: Twenty-eight-year-old Chinese-American Fiona Yu is a Yale graduate and an associate at a law firm big enough to demand 90 hours of billable time a week as well as an immediately down gradable self-esteem for when the obnoxious partner she works for chooses (at will) to make her feel like shit. Lawyers fresh out of law school choosing to pursue that type of legal career (the ones with the ever growing carrots of cash held inches from their noses) must learn to endure quite a bit of arrogance as well as the elimination of anything close to a normal social life. Billable hours rule their day; self-esteem is on hold.

But in this incredibly hilarious tale of one woman’s war against the stereotypes enveloping her being; a traditional Chinese family she still lives with that is upset she’s yet to marry, the pressure of mixed cultures (her skin isn’t white enough and she’s too fat at 5’3”, 105 pounds), all Fiona (Fi) wants to do is own herself, as a woman and as a person. To do that, Fi feels she needs to be the one to take her own virginity.

I kid you not.

Page 1, Paragraph 1: It all started with my missing hymen.
Page 1, Paragraph 2: One week before my twenty-eighth birthday, I decided to take my own virginity with a silicone dildo coated in two-percent Lidocaine gel.

If that isn’t going to hook yous, the rest of the first chapter certainly will because what happens from there is an incredibly imaginative, ironic (in a good way), cynical (in a great way) and out and out hilarious tale of a woman hell bent on doing it her way. Temporary Knucksline never offers spoilers for potential readers and this book should have several boatloads of readers, so all I’m going to add to the plot is serial killer(s)/mercy killing(s)/self-defense killing(s) ... or maybe a combination of all three, but the bottom line is Fi’s Dad is “arranging” dates for her because it’s time she’s married. Like Knucks, Fi was tortured having to sit/live through catholic school growing up, but Fi was luckier than moi. Fi had a friend who had “issues” to say the least ... the kind that some might say manifest a sociopathic/homicidal potential. Moi had a Strat-O-Matic baseball game. Fi's attempt at deflowering herself results in the discovery that she’s without the proverbial cherry (born without one), so it’s off to a plastic surgeon to have one built. This is one very determined (i.e., a Yale, Prada/Jimmy Choo wearing lawyer) woman who will be the ONE to take her own virginity at whatever the cost (and it’s pretty expensive to have a hymen surgical installed).

Oy vey ... which is another thing, some of what I loved about this book (and which made me smile and chuckle aloud) were uses of the following: Oy vey (Yes, TK fans, my favorite) ... hypoglycemia (Knucks has it) ... a form of the “c” word that also means “Yes” Hai, Hai (yous guess which is which--better yet, read the book and see for yourselves). ... there was even a bench-pressing incident (like the kid from USC (I think) who dropped 275 on his neck and required several surgeries afterward) ...

Okay, so back to the plot but without spoilers ... guess who the hymen building plastic surgeon turns out to be?

Oy vey ... you’ll have to read the book to find out. Hello Kitty Must Die was a two day read only because I wanted to be the first socialist 318 pounder (that’s right, Doc, minus a duce and I still blame the weight gains on Wall Street, George Bush and Barack “Didn't I screw the union workers who voted for me by ignoring that promise to walk the protest line?” Obama) to hit 73 minutes on the aerobic circuit the other night in the gym ... and wound up a cripple for it Friday. This morning I woke up and instead of writing, I grabbed my kindle and read straight through to the end of Hello Kitty Must Die.

Frankly, I LOVED this book. I’m not usually a big fan of humor in crime fiction. In fact, just a few writers are able to pull that off for me with any consistency (Duane Swierczynski & Victor Gischler being the names that come to mind). More often than not, I find myself angry for having to read setup paragraphs for one-liners. Hello Kitty Must Die is nothing like that. It is simply an incredibly creative spoof (I felt) on some of what our culture is/does to us. Fi wears painful stilettos (Jimmy Choo, Prada, etc.) because she wants to experience the pain (looking good costs in more ways than one) ... paying $10-15 for a Bellini is also painful, especially once one acknowledges the rest of the crowd drinking the same designer swill ... that some people really do deserve to die is up to the individual reader, but like I always used to tell the wife/wives (all 4 of them), “Being a killer doesn’t make you a bad person.”

So it goes ...

Now, here’s the other reason to read this book. The author, Angela S. Choi, as it turns out, really did gradumacate (that spelling is for my kids, so lay off, Doc) from Yale, really was/is an attorney and actually chose to write over sacrificing her life to 90 hour billable weeks. I have a few attorney friends from the various law firms I've worked (after I went legit, of course) who chose to do the same; whether it was to write or breathe or enjoy their lives is all the same in the end; their individual choices to walk away were choices to do what they wanted rather than what is prescribed by social expectations/family/money ... whatever. Good for them. Good for the author. Support the cause, purchase this book. It is available in paper and on kindle.

Hello Kitty Must Die ... a Top of the Line Temporary Knucksline Pick.

Now, for some news on the home front. Jimmy Bench-Press ... is now available on kindle.

"It's even harder to be soft-hearted about the gangsters in Charlie Stella's blood curdling, convincing "Jimmy Bench Press"...Stella is a kind of obscene Ring Lardner, finding a lean, rancid poetry in his characters' vernacular, and rendering it with flawless precision and humor."– Washington Post Book World

Jimmy Mangino figures he’s overdue. Already he’s done two stretches in the joint. But he’s back, and he’s still a good earner for the family. You got a loser you need to lean on, Jimmy lends his strong arm, and he doesn’t flinch at murder, not for the Vignieris. He also bench-presses four hundred pounds. Jimmy wants to be a made man. Alex Pavlik wants to take Jimmy down. Pavlik, the edgy Polish cop who tailed Eddie Senta in Charlie Stella’s enthusiastically reviewed debut, Eddie’s World, has been transferred to Organized Crime from Homicide, where his short temper, keen sense of justice, and too-ready prizefighter’s fists have proved to be a volatile combination. Tough-talking, taut, and craftily plotted, Stella’s second novel takes Pavlik and his new partner, another New York police detective, John DeNafria, into the shifty world of Jimmy Bench-Press when wannabe-mobster Larry Berra hires Mangino to collect on a bad loan to a sixty-three-year-old Italian barber with a Cuban girlfriend. Jimmy’s got his fingers in any number of illegal pies, from extortion to murder, among purveyors of drugs and porn. Enough to get a man made, maybe.

Reminder ...

Johnny Porno at The Raconteur ... Hey, reserve Thursday, April 7th soon as yous can ... an evening with Knucks? Oy vey ... he’s reading from Johnny Porno in Metuchen, New Jersey ... April 7, at 8:00 p.m. at The Raconteur (April 7, 8:00 p.m.). The Raconteur offers wine and Johnny Porno ... where half the proceeds will go towards keeping this small independent bookstore from getting crushed.

The Raconteur
431 Main Street
Metuchen, NJ 08840
(732) 906-0009

Anyone who needs a sleepover and ride to the train the next morning, write me.


And now, as promised (albeit a day late), The Doc says...

Hey Chaz,

TGIF, eh, baby? Oh, I forgot you’re on the government tit now… sitting around Casa Stella, smoking your silly pipe, watching foreign films. You know, another month of this and you will officially be French.

NY vs. NJ
Manhattanites always bitch and moan about the “bridge and tunnel crowd”. I was one of the few New Yorkers who was actually born and raised in Manhattan… and I would never move back. I’ve only been in NJ for about 5 years, but it has some nice features.

People don’t honk their horn 0.5 milliseconds after the light turns green.

If you have your left blinker on, drivers will wave you on to make your turn in front of them.

If you make eye contact with someone they will actually say “Hello”. Forget the “Hello” part of that. In NYC if you simply make eye contact you are probably in a “flight or fight” situation.

Now for the bad part of life in Joizy:

You have to buy your beer in a liquor store. This has too many dark connotations.

I’m going to the liquor store.
I’m going to buy liquor.
I’m going to get “liquored up”.

In NYC I bought my beer in a deli. Hell, you can buy muffins in a deli. You could probably even buy flowers for your wife in a deli. You could tell your neighbors, “Well I went to the deli to buy muffins for Sunday after church, but then I saw some beautiful flowers and I decided to buy them for my beloved wife. On the way out I noticed that Budweiser was on sale and decided to invite some homeless people over for muffins and shots and beers.”

You could even cover the brewskies with the muffins and flowers and your neighbors will think you’re Pat Boone.

The Fredo Chronicles

Well, our Nobel Peace Prize winning president is currently presiding over 3 wars. That puts him one up on “W”, and “W” ain’t likely to catch up at this point. I guess Fredo is the winner.

The Lame Stream Media

Everything must be hunky-dory in Japan now. I haven’t seen any stories about it since the Bamster started lobbing 100+ $600,000 Tomahawk missiles into a country that doesn’t have anything worth $600,000 to destroy. Another coup for the Bamster!

In all fairness, I really shouldn’t pick on him now. I think he might still be on vacation in Rio.

Have a great weekend, brother

PS: Ask me about this song sometime after a couple of beers.