Monday, February 12, 2018

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Controlled Burn by, Scott Wolven

I don't remember when I first heard about Scott Wolven, but I remember getting hooked by his stories. A number of years ago, they just started popping up on all the crime fiction zines and each one was brilliant. Wolven didn't have his own blog or website and wasn't part of the crime fiction community like a lot of other writers, but he had an avid following due to the strength of his writing. Unfortunately, we haven't heard much from him in a while.

I finally tracked down a copy of Controlled Burn, his collection of short stories. Every story in this collection is great. He portrays characters at the fringes of society - convicts, ex-convicts, and people who work in cash only businesses because they're hiding from their pasts. His spare, muscular prose is engaging. And yet, like in stories like "Tigers", his language is poetic.

My favorite stories are probably "Tigers", "The Copper Kings", and "Vigilance".

If you're a fan of good writing, you should track this collection down.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Game by, Ken Dryden

Engaging book by one of hockey's legends. This book is part memoir and part hockey history. Dryden draws a number of character sketches of his teammates from the Cup winning teams of the 1970's (In Dryden's 8 years with Montreal, he won 6 Stanley Cups). He also waxes about his reasons for retirement. One particular passage stood out to me. Dryden says in your early 20's, you work and fight and scratch to get better at what you do. Once you hit your 30's, you work and fight and scratch to not lose what you once had. While the ages for professional athletes are earlier, it's a profound insight for the rest of us.

Towards the end of book, Dryden talks about how hockey changed over the century since it was first played. He talks about the introduction of the forward pass, the lines, off-ice training, and the influence of the Soviets and each one of their influences on the game. He also gives his ideas on how hitting, fighting, and the violence we take for granted grew to be part of the game.

If you're a fan of the game, it's worth tracking a copy down.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Song of the Week; Uptown Funk

I like the concept of The Song Society. Jamie Cullum and his bandmates find a song they like by someone else and learn it to record in under an hour. This version of "Uptown Funk" is pretty sweet. I love the rising bassline in the chorus.

If you liked it, you should check out some of the other Song Society posts by Cullum and his band.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Down the Darkest Street by, Alex Segura

Pete Fernandez didn't see the kick coming.

Set roughly a year after Silent City, Pete Fernandez has hit bottom. He gained some minor celebrity from stopping the Silent Death, but drank it, and most of the goodwill of his fellow man, away. After one especially bad night, he decides to clean up his act and it works out pretty well for him. He's got a job at a local bookstore and his ex, Emily, is moving in with him after a separation from her husband. But when Pete gets involved with a case of a missing girl, the kicks just keep coming.

Alex Segura is a writer who needs to be known. He paints the neon lights and the dark shadows of Miami in such vivid detail and has created a wonderful character in Pete Fernandez. From page one, you empathize with Pete and root for a happy ending for him. Since this is noir, every happy ending has a dark cloud behind it.

The Pete Fernandez series is highly recommended. I look forward to reading Dangerous Ends.