Current Reading: Heywood, McManus, Sullivan

Note: while Patti Abbott’s blog Pattinaise is on hiatus,
she may not be doing her Monday “Things That Are Making Me Happy” post.
Please f
eel free to make a comment here on whatever is making you happy.

Meanwhile, my reading:
Chasing A Blond Moon
by Joseph Heywood – mystery, hardcover. I have enjoyed the two collections of Heywood’s short stories, Hard Ground and Harder Ground, the former more than the latter, so I thought I’d try one of the novels. This is the third (fourth?) in the series, the others were not available in my library, so it’s the one I got.

I happen to be a person who generally does not like to see or read about harming animals. I’m okay with the destruction of monstrous ants or suchlike, but when an author snuffs a dog, cat, or bunny, I’m not happy. I understand people hunt, and in the course of a story if hunters shoot a deer, I can accept that, though I’m not particularly happy with it. So when it soon became apparent, as I started reading this novel, that it was going to be about baiting and killing bears, for sport(?), that was it for me. I stopped reading. This was a DNF.

The Double-Jack Murders by Patrick McManus – mystery, ebook. This is the third in the humorous (or intended to be) Sheriff Bo Tully series. I read the first two and was just entertained enough to read this one. Tully is a Sheriff of Blight County, a large, sparsely populated county in Idaho. His grandfather and father were both Sheriffs before him, and he is widely known and mostly revered. In this one, a resort owner asks Tully to find out what happened to her husband, who disappeared 20 years before. Bo does some searching, and finds a slim connection to a mining company which has since closed.

There’s more, but that should be enough to give you an idea. These are soft, easy to read books that I found made a good break between other books.

Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan – fantasy, hardcover. The series is titled Legends of the First Empire. I read a fine review on the Black Gate blog of this, and since it had been a long time since I’d read any of what is generally called “epic fantasy” I decided to try it. The review showed three volumes, all in print. I got the first book from the library and dug in. I liked the setting, the world building was good, with some different races (which would translate to human, elf and, later, dwarf but here have different names), the primary character is somewhat unsure of himself but gains in assurance as the book goes on in it’s 490 pages.

Age of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan – fantasy, hardcover. I finished the first book in this series and went straight on to this one (slightly longer at over 500 pages). The story is continuous, and the threats to the humans at the end of the first book result in a battle at the beginning of this one. But it is plain that the humans are outmatched and need better weapons. The dwarves have them, but are not trustworthy and a large portion of the book has our three main characters in dwarf lands, where they must break a curse in order to secure swords. Meanwhile, in the land of the elves, there is an attempt on the high leader’s life, and generally things are not going well…

I found myself liking the world, the overall story, the individual plot lines and characters, and was eager to move to the third book, only to find a rather long wait at the library. Sigh.

So how about you?
What have you been reading?

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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23 Responses to Current Reading: Heywood, McManus, Sullivan

  1. Steve Oerkfitz says:

    Familiar with the authors you have been reading but I haven’t read any of them. I am currently reading Hangman by Daniel Cole, a sequel to last years Ragdoll. Recently finished reading Nightflyers and Other Stories by George R. R. Martin, a collection of his SF stories from the 70’s. I liked it a lot. Also finished She’s Leaving Home by William Shaw, first in a series of 4 police procedurals which take place in the late 60’s. I liked it a lot. I had read his stand alone The Birdwatcher last year and enjoyed that.

    • I remember RAGDOLL got good reviews, Steve, so hopefully HANGMAN will be good too. You read some books you liked a lot, that’s always a good thing, isn’t it? Much better than being disappointed. I might try the Martin.

  2. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I almost took the first Heywood book to read, but there are so many other things ahead of it.
    I suppose some might think me a little too negative about THE SHERLOCK HOLMES STORIES OF EDWARD D, HOCH, but I’m a big fan of his Dr. Sam Hawthorne and other series, and I thought these were for the most part nothing special compared to those. They are OK as pastiches, readable as always with Hoch, but none of them stand out as great. Other stories I’m reading are in Elizabeth McCracken’s THUNDERSTRUCK and Other Stories, which was recommended by Lorrie Moore but is not overwhelming me. Readable, but not going on a favorites list. I’m also reading O. Henry’s STRICTLY BUSINESS when I need something shorter and faster.

    The main book I read this week was GIVE ME YOUR HAND by Megan Abbott. You can get the plot from George Kelley’s blog last week. It’s a terrific book that keeps you reading as you want to know the characters’ secrets and what will happen next. Kit Owens is more than a little bit unreliable and there are times you want to shake her when she is doing something stupid, but you are unlikely to put this down unfinished,
    I’m currently reading a book for our times, TEN ARGUMENTS FOR DELETING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS RIGHT NOW by Jaron Lanier. We do not have a Facebook account (let alone Twitter or anything similar) and do not intend to ever change that (and stay off my lawn!). He has some very relevant and on target things to say about addiction (as in Trump and Twitter). It’s short and a fast read, even though I’m sure the Kelleys (George and Patrick) would understand the technicalities more than I do.
    I downloaded a book that has been compared to THE STAND and THE PASSAGE, Deon Meyer’s FEVER, but then the even more compelling sounding (to me) SHE RIDES SHOTGUN by Jordan Harper, winner of the current Best First Novel Edgar Award, also came into the library, so I’ve downloaded that as well. We’ll see which grabs me first. And I have a “real” library book too, Spencer Kope’s second “Steps” book, WHISPERS OF THE DEAD.

    • I’ll get to that Abbott eventually, but I’m far behind. For short stories, I’m just finishing up Poul Anderson’s Psychotechnic stories, and also still working my way through ROGUES, edited by Dozois and Martin (which unfortunately I have mislaid).

      I have no social media accounts, unless you count this blog and email, and have no intention to get them. However it seems more and more the only access to interesting things is “see our Facebook page” which ticks me off. I usually read the best first novel Edgar winner, but didn’t this year, reading one of the Nero Wolfe finalists instead (RAGGED LAKE, which I liked but Steve didn’t as much). I might try SHOTGUN depending on your opinion when you’re finished.

  3. The sweltering weather here is keeping us indoors…which is okay by me. More time to read! While you are reading Big Fat Books like AGE OF MYTH and AGE OF SWORDS, I’m reading a bunch of skinny books. I just finished SUPERIOR DONUTS, a play by Tracy Letts. CBS is broadcasting the TV version, but the play is pretty dark. Carrie Vaughn’s THE WILD DEAD is in the On-Deck circle. And after that, Cassandra Khaw’s A SONG FOR QUIET will be up (103 pages).

    I’m happy that the Buffalo Bills will be playing their first pre-season game this week against the Carolina Panthers.

    I’m happy my daughter Katie will be closing on her new condo in Boston tomorrow. Diane plans to fly to Boston next week to help Katie “settle” her new home. And, Patrick might fly in to paint Katie’s condo. I, on the other hand, will be here picking up the mail and keeping the house safe.

    I hope things are improving for Patti and Phil.

    • Jeff Meyerson says:

      George, we saw SUPERIOR DONUTS on Broadway in 2009, with Michael McKean very good in the lead role. Definitely darker than the TV series, but after AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, that was no surprise!

    • Yes, it’s sweltering here, too, 90s all week again. We’d have set a record for consecutive days except we had a day that was 89. Still, it’s miserable, and we close the windows the second the air kicks on about 10:30am. It seems too early for football, and I can’t get interested yet. Maybe in another month, when it’s for real. Good for Katie getting her condo. Property in Boston is darned expensive, isn’t it?

      I add my good wishes to your for Phil and Patti.

  4. Not familiar with any of the authors you mention, Rick, but I too will not read a book where animals are killed unless it’s, say, a passing hunter thing and even then I’m not happy. I’m also not a big fantasy reader although I loved LORD OF THE RINGS. Maybe I’ll take a look at the Michael Sullivan books. Added them to my Pinterest TBR board. It’s the easiest way I keep track of what I want to read or even what I’ve read. My memory, alas, is in prime old lady mode.

    I’ve lately been reading mysteries by George Bellairs which I am enjoying. Though I’ve come across a couple of duds, mostly, I’m having fun. Also rereading a some Georgette Heyer (but then I always seem to be doing that with Heyers) and other assorted romances which have a calming effect on my stressed out self. Hiding from reality I guess.

    Also, a friend gave me the bio of Walt Disney by Neal Gabler – I’ll be tackling that soon. In fact there’s a helluva huge stack of books just sitting here waiting. But I seem to be taking a break from anything too serious or mind-bending at the moment.

    • Jerry House says:

      I’m not overly fond of dead animals, either, Yvette, although two of the most memorable short stories i read had them as centerpieces. Charlotte Armstrong’s “The Enemy” concerns the poisoning of a beloved dog but ends on a triumphant note. One of the funniest stories I have ever read was by P. G. Wodehouse (I can’t remember the title;perhaps someone out there does) is about a very dead cat. As a cat lover I felt guilty at how much I laughed.

    • Yvette, as you know, I’m a faithful reader of your blog, may even have a comment awaiting your pleasure on one of your recent posts, so I’ve been following along with your Bellairs reading and did get one in ebook from Azon. If you like the first book, you’ll like the second better, but you may not be up for the page count. Isn’t there always a huge stack of books waiting, not to mention the things on the way from the library? A wonderful thing, really.

  5. Jerry House says:

    I’ve incorporated things that are making me happy into my Monday blog, at least until Patti returns. One thing that makes me very happy, Rick, is your blog, as well as George’s, Yvette’s, Todd’s, Evan’s, and so many others. It’s great to interact (passively, for the most part) with so many wonderful and smart people.

    Not much reading this past week, I’m afraid. I did finish John Connolly’s HE, and am dipping into some of his short stories. In fact, short stories seem to have taken up most of my reading time. I did finish the Eric Frank Russell SF collection SOMEWHERE A VOICE and I can feel a EFR reading binge on the horizon. I also read four graphic novels. JONATHAN KELLERMAN’S MONSTER, adapted from one of his Alex Delaware novels, was good but I just couldn’t get into the artwork. PENNY DREADFUL, the first volume continuing the television series, was dreadful. I also read a volume from 100 BULLETS but reading them out of sequence has its drawbacks. I also read the first volume of Brian Azzarello’s MOONSHINE, which is very promising.

    I hope to tackle Victor LaSalle’s THE BALLAD OF BLACK TOM and Lester’s del Rey’s ROCKETS TO NOWHERE (written under his “Philip St.John” pseudonym and the only del Rey in Winston’s ‘Adventures in Science Fiction” series I have not read) this week. And, probably, a ton of short stories.

    Temps here have been well above a hundred with a humidity bordering on bath water. I hope things are bit more tolerable at Casa Robinson.

    • Thank you, Jerry, for that nice compliment on this blog. And yes, compared to your weather, it is better here, though in the 90s, the humidity is about 35-40%, muggy but not awful. I guess your weather is the tradeoff for no winter snow.

      I haven’t read a graphic novel in ages. Ought to pull a few off the shelf and indulge. I think I read ROCKET TO NOWHERE when I was a young ‘un, but have no memory of it. I read as many of the Winston books as I could lay hands on.

  6. tracybham says:

    Just finished FOLLOW HER HOME by Steph Cha. Described as LA Noir. It did not seem that way at the beginning but it got darker towards the end and I ended up liking it a lot.

    Before that I read DARK PASSAGE by David Goodis. Did not know what to expect but it was another one I really liked by the end. Soon we will be watching the movie.

    And now I am reading DEATH IN THE CLOUDS by Agatha Christie, a Hercule Poirot mystery.

    I will have to tell my son about the Michael J. Sullivan series. Sounds like he might like it.

    • I don’t do “dark” any more, I draw a line somewhere, when things start to get ugly and why bother when I don’t much enjoy it and there’s enough darkness in the newspaper. I remember that Christy well, I’ve read it a couple of times. In a sense, it’s a locked room mystery.

  7. Rick, most of the country suffers from excessive temperatures. My sister lives in Tucson and it’s over a 100 degrees there every day! I told my sister, “You live in Hell.” Yet, we still have politicians insisting Global Warming is a myth!

  8. Jeff, the temperatures of the Great Lakes are also breaking records. Yet, our Government doesn’t see the danger! The EPA now rejects Science and prides itself on how many regulations it’s dismantling. Meanwhile we’re all going to cook because nothing is being done to restrain the heat!

    • Maybe not all of our government, but the person in the white house at the end of the street sure does, and his rich buddies keep encouraging him to drop all regulations (like auto exhaust regs) and let the planet, and it’s people, unless they’re rich, go to Hell. Yet half the people seem to think he’s just tops.

  9. Rick, half the people are being conned by Russian manipulation of Social Media and Fake News. Our Government seems powerless against these attacks on our Democracy. Our country is being divided by Outside Forces!

  10. I’m almost done with the 2nd volume of THE COMPLETE PSYCHOTECNIC LEAGUE by Poul Anderson. I read the 3rd a couple weeks ago. I think the stories in the last were better than the 2nd, but over all, I prefer his other series, the Polesotecnic League.

  11. I agree with you on Anderson’s series. I’m a fan of his Flannery stories.

  12. Pingback: Reading – The DNFs | Tip the Wink

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