Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ode to Robert B. Parker

As I say, I'm not sure I'd have undertaken it....
oh, yeah, I would. They were offering me a lot
of money.
Robert B. Parker

Hearing Robert B. Parker died last week saddened me. I looked forward to a Parker book, whether it be a mystery or a novel. I enjoyed his characters, Jesse Stone, Sunny Randall and Spenser...with an s, like the poet. Picking up a Parker mystery, you were visiting old friends, you caught up with them...and the latest murder/investigation/violent event that is about to transpire with them.

While I like his mysteries immensely, his novels were always a nice surprise. Here are a few of my favorite Parker non-mysteries:

One of the best books I've read about Wyatt Earp was Gunman's Rhapsody. Parker's Earp is a man of few words, he lets his actions speak for him.  Earp is strong, fast and quiet, the way I would picture this icon of the old west to be. Earp doesn't seek out violence, it just seems to find him. Earp and his brothers, Dodge City, Tombstone, Doc Holiday and the OK Corral--they are all here. Loved it.

Double Play takes place in Brooklyn. It's 1947, and Jackie Robinson is breaking the color barrier by joining the Dodgers. Joseph Burke, a WWII vet trying to re-adjust to life after the war, is hired as his body guard. An imagined friendship between two men who each taught each other something about acceptance. The banter between Robinson and Burke is wonderful, and says so much, about the way things were then, the beliefs and fears of people at that time, and the sacrifices made to accomplish what is important.

Appaloosa is about two gunmen who change their ways to try and rescue a town from bad guys, with a leader who lets his men do whatever they want. Not your usual bad guy/good guy western, it is more about the customs and way of life in the west in the 1800's. Violent, romantic and full of surprises, this is not your typical western.
*This was made into a movie starring Ed Harris, Jeremy Irons and Vigo Mortensen. Read the book, give yourself a treat and watch the movie. Good stuff.

For me, Parker wrote some of best westerns I have read. Both Gunman's Rhapsody and Appaloosa will give you an eyeopening visit to the old west; Double Play made me wish that the friendship between Jackie Robinson and Joseph Burke wasn't fiction because of the way Parker wrote about it. I hoped that Robinson did have someone like Burke to help him during that time. If you have only enjoyed Parker's mysteries, give his novels a try. Trust me, you'll be glad you did.

Thank you Robert B. Parker for writing some terrific books, introducing us to some great characters, and for making reading an enjoyment. You will be missed.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Get Cookin' With a Good Book!

Get Cookin' With a Good Book at the Mattituck-Laurel Library! 

Begins January 19, 2010 at 10am!

Come on down at 10am, sign up, pick up your packet and get cookin'! The one requirement is to read a book with recipes..not a cookbook. There is a list of books with recipes in your packets, both fiction and non-fiction. Every time you finish a book, fill out a raffle ticket and be entered to win one of our end of club prizes. Read eight books and receive a cookbook which contains some of the library staff's favorite recipes!

See you soon!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Defector

The Defector
by Daniel Silva

"Vengeance is mine, and I will repay"

Oh yeah, I ended 2009 reading The Defector....and what a way to end the year. For those who don't know, Daniel Silva is one of my all time favorite authors. Right from his first book, The Unlikely Spy, which is on my all time favorite top ten list, he has never disappointed me.

Silva's Gabriel Allon series, which began with The Kill Artist, is one I highly recommend to everyone. The Defector is an continuation of Moscow Rules, which I reviewed here March 30, 2009. Seems that Grigori Bulganov, who saved Allon's life and defected in Moscow Rules, has gone missing and the thought is he re-defected back to Russia. Allon isn't buying it, and he sets out to keep his promise to Bulgunov--not to let him end up in an unmarked grave, or any grave if he can help it. Allon gets his team together to head once again go head to head with Ivan Kharkov, who wants Allon dead for events that happened in Moscow Rules. Kharkov also wants vengeance on Allon and this leads him to do something very stupid....but it does make Allon have to go back to Russia. Kharkov should be careful what he wished for because as Tolstoy said...I will repay.

Another page-turning adventure with Allon. There is a point in Silva's books where you get to the "I am going to finish the book no matter what!" point...that's why I finished this New Year's Eve just before midnight...which was a great way to end the year.

I get the feeling Allon will be taking a much needed rest from saving the world for awhile; I just hope it isn't too long because I will miss him and his cohorts. I take solace that Silva has such great secondary characters, he could flesh any of them out and have them have their own adventures...with Allon being a secondary figure. If you haven't read Silva yet, how come? I recommend this series to everyone who enjoys good thrillers/espionage/international spying....Begin with Allon's introduction in the Kill Artist, this is one series you will be glad to get hooked on!

Happy 2010 and always, Happy Reading!!