Current Reading: Powell, Frank, Rader-Day

A Murder ComingI finished A Murder Coming, a collection of mystery short stories by James Powell. The stories are full of humor and quite well written, but there is a bit more zaniness than I prefer. “The Maze In The Elevator” is a good example, in which a man steps into an elevator already occupied by another man. When the elevator stops between floors, the second man confesses to a murder, and that’s just the beginning of the strange conversation. It’s almost science fictional in feel.

sullivan's Island

In the mood for a Summer Reading type book, just for a change, I came across Sullivan’s Island by Dorothea Benton Frank. This is straight best-seller general fiction, (it was on the NY Times Best Seller lists in 2000) not at all my usual reading, but I enjoyed it. It tells the story of a family growing up on a South Carolina barrier island in 1963.

PLTThe chapters alternate between 1963 and the family members in 1999. It’s pretty well written and was engaging enough that I enjoyed it.

Barbara finished Before He Finds Her By Michael Kardos, which she liked pretty well, though she’s not going to add Kardos to her favorite author list. Now she’s reading Pretty Little Things by Lori Rader-Day. Next up for her is The Fifth Woman by Henning Mankill.

How about you?
What are you reading?

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Fiction, Mystery. Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Current Reading: Powell, Frank, Rader-Day

  1. Te Lahesi Coates. So depressing.

  2. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I do like the occasional change of pace, like your “summer” book, from time to time.

    Patti, I decided it was too depressing to read. It’s depressing enough watching the press allow Trump to lie over and over and over about everything and do nothing but say, “well, Hillary is a big liar too” as if their “lies” made them equivalent.

    But, to happier thoughts, reading. Not a great week but I got a few things finished. Steve Lewis reviewing a Jack LeVine book by Andrew Bergman reminded me I hadn’t read the third of that series, written in 2001 – 25 years after the first two books – so I picked up Tender is LeVine and read it. (Awful title, by the way.) LeVine is a New York PI. It is now 1950 and a member of the NBC orchestra tells him he believes Maestro Arturo Toscanini has been kidnapped and replaced by a double. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by that plot? When the musician is murdered the next day, the hunt is on, and it takes LeVine to Havana and early Las Vegas, and brings in such real figures as Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano. I’d recommend all three books. Fun stuff.

    I borrowed an ebook copy of the fourth Kate Burkholder mystery by Linda Castillo, Gone Missing, from the library, and raced through it. I’m sure the author wanted to avoid “Cabot Cove syndrome” – after all, how many murders can there be in a relatively small town before it gets ridiculous? – so had Burkholder “consult” for her sometime boyfriend John Tomasetti on some missing Amish girls elsewhere. This is a very good series and I’ll read the next one shortly.

    I’ve been trying to clear up the free (or cheap) ebook short story collections I’ve downloaded from the Kindle. The latest was Pulp Ink 2: Stories of Crime & Horror, edited by Nigel Bird & Chris Rhatigan. (I didn’t notice I had the first collection too, which I will read next.) Stories are mostly OK or better. Notable ones are Patti Abbott’s invisibility story, a goofy fish tale by Katherine Tomlinson, and the incredibly over-the-top “One-Armed Bandit” by Eric Beetner.

    Current reading: Ron Faust’s Florida and Caribbean-set When She Was Bad and Stephen King’s Hearts in Atlantis, though I have a couple more library books as well.

    • Jeff, I read the first couple of Bergman books and liked them a good bit, so I’ll look for Tender is LeVine. All the titles were punish, weren’t they?

      I really must try the Kate Burkholder books. I have a bunch of ebooks on the iPad, but never seem to get to them. One of these days. I think Barbara has the latest King on request at the library, and it may pop up soon.

  3. Deb says:

    I’m trying to decide if I’m going to finish Stephen Baxter’s FLOOD, a dystopian novel about the rise in water levels due to global warming. The story of entire coastlines and even countries disappearing would seem to be sufficient to propel the story, but Baxter throws in the stories of five former hostages and how their post-rescue lives intertwine. As someone once said about Diet Chocolate-Cherry-Vanilla Dr. Pepper, I think we can all agree this has too much going on. Right now, I’m on the bubble about finishing it, but I have a feeling I’m going to need a lot of escapist reading this week!

    • Ha! (in regard the Dr. Pepper line). Escapist reading would seem to be the order of the day, considering all that has been going on in the country, plus the GOP convention., which I will mostly ignore, I think. I have a SF collection I’m starting today.

      Re: Flood, I have decided life’s too short to continue reading a book I don’t like, regardless of how many pages of it have passed before my eyes.

  4. Like Deb, I’ve struggled through a number of Stephen Baxter novels. They are all LONG! I just finished Daniel Silva’s THE BLACK WIDOW, a spy novel. And, I have my ticket to Friday’s STAR TREK: BEYOND.

  5. Jerry House says:

    Aside from the computer being down for a couple of days and the world going to Hell in a handbasket, it’s been a quiet week here. We fed the snake a large rat, had Chinese food, and celebrated the Kangaroo’s birthday (he’s now four) — none of which was done at the same time.

    I’ve tried several of Powell’s stories in old EQMMs, Richard, but they just didn’t appeal to me. Perhaps I was reading the wrong stories.

    For some reason, the third Jack LeVine book slipped under my radar. I really enjoyed the first two when they came out and I’m going to have to seek out the third.

    I finally got around to reading Craig Johnson’s THE COLD DISH, the first book in the Longmire series. Although, like you, I prefer reading series in order, sometimes fate intervenes. I had read everything but the first two books, when I managed to get this one from the library. Book 2 is on order, so I’ll be all caught up when the newest Longmire hits this fall. Anyway, THE COLD DISH was very enjoyable and it was interesting to compare this early book to the later, more seasoned books.

    Since I had now read all the Charlie Parker books by John Connolly (the new one is also out this fall), I thought I try some of his other work. THE GATES is the first in a fantasy trilogy featuring eleven-year old Samuel Johnson and his dog Bosworth. In this one — sort of a combination of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams — they face some very incompetent demons. Great fun.

    I also read one juvenile, MISS PICKERILL GOES TO THE ARCTIC by Ellen MacGregor, the last in the series (about an adventurous old maid and her beloved — yet unnamed — pet cow) before the author’s death; the series continued with another writer and with MacGregor’s name still getting top billing even twenty year’s after her death.

    I also finished one story collection and one anthology. Joe Hill’s TWENTIETH CENTURY GHOSTS is an impressive debut collection with some powerful stories and a few derivative ones. His second collection, this time of novellas, is due soon. Geraldine Beare edited CRIME STORIES FROM THE STRAND covered over fifty years of the magazine and was my FFB this week. A strong anthology.

    I also read three graphic novels this week: BRIGHTEST DAY, VOLUMES 2 and 3 by Geoff Johns and Peter J. Tomasi and Rick Remender’s ALL-NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA, VOLUME 1: HYDRA ASCENDANT.

    I’m now reading John Connolly’s THE BOOK OF BAD THINGS, a stand-alone fantasy. I also have that Scientology expose waiting. After that, who knows?

    Have a great week.

    • I hope you get a new, high-function computer soon, Jerry.

      Happy birthday to the ‘Roo. I can see how the Powell stories would be a matter of taste and mood. I enjoyed most of them, but was glad the collections was thin. I’ll seek out the third Levine too. I have (as I think I’ve said before) Craig Johnson’s THE COLD DISH sitting near the top of the TBR for some time, but keep picking up another book instead. One of these days.

      I’m sure Barbara won’t be reading that John Connolly, as she doesn’t do fantasy. I think we’ll both be skipping MISS PICKERILL GOES TO THE ARCTIC by Ellen MacGregor, just not my thing. You can guess my response to the ghost story collection. I saw your FFB and it looked quite interesting. Enjoy your week.

  6. macavityabc says:

    I like Powell’s stories a lot, but only in small doses. I second Jeff’s recommendation of Bergman’s LeVine books. Great stuff.

  7. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I liked THE GATES by Connolly a lot too. It was goofy fun. But when I went back a couple of years later and tried the second book, I just couldn’t get into it at all.

    Crippen & Landru did a Powell collection that I read, A POCKETFUL OF NOSES: Stories of One Ganelon or Another.

  8. Just started Dark Victory, a Star Trek novel, and reading The Jonah Hex compendium

  9. steve oerkfitz says:

    Big fan of the Andrew Bergman novels. Just rewatched The In Laws , a movie he wrote.
    Just finished Zigzag by Bill Pronzini. Am now beginning The Heavenly Table by Donald Ray Pollock and a collection of stories edited by Jonathan Strahan called Drowned Worlds.
    On my immediate TBR pile:Underground Airlines by Ben Winters, Stiletto by Daniel O’Rourke, and new novels by Peter Lovesey, James Sallis andPeter Speigelman(Dr Knox)

    • Steve, Zigzag is high on my soon list. I saw a post on Black Gate on that Strahan anthology, and it looked interesting, but I am so far behind on short story reading!

      • Jeff Meyerson says:

        “Serpentine, Shelly, serpentine!”

        THE IN-LAWS is one of those movies I can watch again and again. You don’t know how many times we’re driving around and see something where we can say, “He has flames on his car!”

  10. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Yippee! I had no idea James Sallis had a new book out. Just put it on hold.

  11. Cap'n Bob says:

    I’m reading One Too Many Blows to the Head, by JB Kohl and Eric Beetner. A fighter’s manager/older brother seeks out the man who rigged a match that got the fighter/kid brother killed, leaving a string of corpses in his wake. In alternating chapters, a cop seeks the killer of people in the fight game. The mystery is who Mr. Big is. So far I’m enjoying it a lot.

  12. Andrea J says:

    I finished Conqueror’s Pride by Timothy Zahn the other night, and jumped right into the sequel, Conqueror’s Heritage. the first book is from the human’s POV, and the 2nd book is from the alien’s POV. cool aliens!

  13. Richard, I’m still reading FATHERLAND by Robert Harris and recently took up ALL THE KING’S MEN by Robert Penn Warren, which is not an easy read. I’m also re-reading a bunch of comics, mostly early pocket-size war and western.

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