Monday, November 25, 2013

Steve Weddle, Country Hardball, and More

I broke out of the rut last Wednesday and made a quick trip to the Fountain Bookstore in Richmond for the launch of Steve Weddle’s Country Hardball. I’ll not go into details of the book here (Steve already knocked that one out of the park a couple of weeks ago); suffice to say I started reading it yesterday and was quickly roped into to seeing how the individual short stories will come together. Each stands on its own, but this is already shaping up as a book that will be greater than the sum of its parts, and its parts are formidable.

In addition to the privilege of meeting Steve’s lovely wife, lovely mother, and lovely children (not to mention Ben LeRoy of Tyrus Books and über agent Stacia Decker), visiting Fountain was a treat. It’s the kind of old fashioned bookstore every town used to have, in a funky part of Richmond where it fits perfectly. Anyone in the area would do well to stop by and buy a book. Country Hardball, for instance.

Steve’s hot week continued with a reading event at The Mysterious Bookshop in New York, where it is no mean feat for a first-time author to draw such an opportunity. Hearty congratulations to Steve and everyone involved with Country Hardball.

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Judy Bobalik alerted her Facebook friends to a special on Kindle versions of many of Ed McBain’s books, at $1.99 each. Over twenty 87th Precinct novels were available, with original publication dates ranging from the late 50s into the early 90s. A great cross-section of the master’s (deservedly) best-known series, with a few of the Matthew Hope books thrown in. I’m much less familiar with Hope than with the Eight-Seven, but what I read made the inclusion of those books a no brainer. I was so jazzed I accidentally bought a book I already own. (Reed Farrel Coleman’s Innocent Monster is also on sale for $1.99).

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Last Monday I visited the Bowie MD library to hear a talk by Gus Russo, an expert on the Kennedy assassination. (Yes, I was out two nights in one week. Actually, three, as there was an homeowners’ association meeting on Tuesday. Good thing a four-day weekend is in the offing.) I’m not a Kennedy assassination buff. I was there to ask Russo to sign my copy of The Outfit, his history of the Chicago mob and a fascinating read. Still, his talk was worth the trip, as he convincingly debunked many conspiracy myths, providing common sense and Occam’s Razor reasoning that confirmed what I had suspected all along, as well as a couple of pieces of evidence of which I was unaware. His easy going and friendly manner made the hour fly by. I highly recommend making the effort to anyone with an opportunity to hear him speak.

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Delbert McClinton’s The Rub really needs to have a book or a movie based on it.


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Reading of a library closing brought to mind something I’ve believed for many years. Libraries are the physical proof of man's higher evolution. No other creature has a way to store the accumulated knowledge of its species; everything must be taught individually. Only man can make knowledge available to be accessed at any later time, and libraries are where it's done.

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