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, July 12, 2014

Book Reviews: A Small Sacrifice and All the Young Warriors … Two Fine Documentaries … A Terrific Movie … and Lebron who?


A Small Sacrifice … by Dana King … the JonBenét Ramsey story, Chicago Outfit style … Nick Forte has a sharp tongue, a very sharp tongue … but he’s also clever and full of righteousness … when he’s asked to take on a case to improve the public relations of the father of the murdered child (in this case, to prove a negative), he quickly finds himself the target of Chicago mobsters (the outfit) … hard guys who avoid the flash that brought down New York, but are every bit as ruthless. The narrative is crisp and full of sarcasm, the dialogue loaded with smart wisecracking, and the story moves quickly. It’s a first person noir delight with a couple of well-timed punches to the gut. King is one of the best around these days, so don’t miss out on this Shamus nominated thriller. Highly Recommended.

Get it here:

All the Young Warriors … by Anthony Neil Smith … a tight and compelling read that starts in the harsh cold of Minnesota, where two cops are slaughtered, and ends under the burning hot sun in Somalia. Things happen fast in this one. You’ll be hooked early on as one of the two cops murdered after a routine roadside stop is pregnant. Her lover (Bleeker) is also a cop, but he’s not on the scene. The killer, Jibrill, is a young Somali raised in the states but devoted to the Islamic fundamentalists seeking to transform the world by way of Sharia law. Alongside the killer is his best friend, Adem, whose father is a former radical Islamist who changed his ways for the sake of his son. Mustafa (Adem’s Dad) foresaw the direction all the young warriors were headed and decided to steer his blood away from the extremism. Adem is curious and wants to learn what it’s all about to be a Somali, not just one of those who’ve wound up in Minneapolis-St. Paul, but what it’s like back in the mother country. Then there’s Bleeker, hell bent on avenging his lover and child’s death. He wants the killer bad enough to chase him across the globe.

When the action turns to Somalia, it’s bloody and scary and well-research material. At first I wasn’t thrilled about the trip there, but I was quickly anxious to remain under the burning hot sun after reading just a few passages. Thomas Hobbes wasn’t kidding about the state of nature being nasty, brutish and short (and Somalia probably gets as close to a state of nature as is possible). One would think Hobbes ventured into the future to spend some time amongst all the young warriors.

This novel becomes more intriguing with each new scene, making it difficult to stop reading. I did so today on the way to the Dentist, while in the office (only stopping while I was being tortured), and then again on the way home (I read and walk all the time), and then finishing the epilogue at home before sitting down to write this review. In fact, I purposely put off posting the blog Friday (our usual posting date) because I wanted to finish All the Young Warriors after starting it earlier in the week (it was scheduled for review next week).

I say buy it and enjoy the adventure. It’s a compelling read you won’t want to put down. Anthony Neil Smith turns out yet another winner. This one is a current events, as well as a history lesson. It will hook you early and keep you entertained through to the finish. A compelling and exciting read, start to finish. Highly Recommended.

Get it here:

Hendrix … who knew he was a paratrooper? I didn’t. Who knew a guy that talented could be so shy? Who knew his first love was the blues? I didn’t. Who knew how often he carried a guitar around with him 24/7? A fine documentary available on Netflix. I was never a huge Hendrix fan because of some of the loud stuff (although I really enjoyed watching his drummer, Mitch Mitchell). Some of Hendrix music remains classic for me (Hey, Joe), but I always thought (and continue to think) that nobody played the guitar as well as Stevie Ray Vaughan. Hendrix certainly wasn’t any slouch. I just wished he would’ve had more time to explore what he apparently loved, the blues. Recommended.

Bettie Page … I’ve seen a movie about her, read some, too, but this one really goes into the background, especially late in life, about America’s favorite pin-up. The ultimate pioneer against the hypocrisy of censorship in the 50’s, she was also a strong-willed woman who didn’t take much shit from men. She was also fiercely loyal to friends. Unfortunately, she was affected (or infected) by the religious bug at a crucial point in her life and she suffered some mental issues, but she came back swinging and remains a fascinating woman to this day (six years after her passing). Highly recommended and also available on Netflix.

Two Lives … a movie about the double-dealing life of a spy in post-WWII East Germany and Norway … there’s nothing else to say without ruining this one with a spoiler, but it is an intriguing and wonderful (and heartbreaking) movie. EXTREMELY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Liv Ullmann stars …

LeBron who?

Well, actually, I’m really very happy that LeBron James is returning to the team he abandoned for the sake of buying champion rings. Although it didn’t turn out quite the way he wanted, only winning 2 out of 4 chances, this is probably the ONLY way he gets to challenge the all-time throne still owned by Michael Jordan. If he can win in Cleveland without amassing another big 3, he’ll gain some ground. Even a single championship in Cleveland will go a long way to restoring some of his glitter, but until then, his Airness continues to be #1 all time for us here at TK.

Now, anybody realize how close it is to hockey season again?

Stay thirsty, my friends …


Think these two are in love? Well, they’re married … the singers, I mean. Wonderful stuff … and two of the lines from the duet are inside our wedding rings, me and my bella, the Principessa Ann Marie.