Good citizen and bad citizen, Nuclear weaponary, War games, KGB, CIA, Russia and America, presidents, secrets and defections. These all feature somewhe...moreGood citizen and bad citizen, Nuclear weaponary, War games, KGB, CIA, Russia and America, presidents, secrets and defections. These all feature somewhere in this storys timeline. The author tells the tale of two young girls in America, rather wealthy ones, who find a war with Russia quite scary and decide to due the good deed of writing to the Russian president with a letter of concern. The main character who as already lost her sister to illness has forged a relationship with one particular schoolmate who catches the hearts of Russian officials in her letter and soon finds that she is also lost to a tragic accident. The writing never bored with all the Americans in Russia storytelling it held my interest to the end, the story edges around the spy field and defecting it does not go deep undercover but does a good job showing how some citizens defect in its storytelling. The tv series The American is doing well in the ratings, the Russian and American story seems to still pull in interest and so this tale may provide some decent entertainment in its reading, a story that has some historical significance.(less)
'Work close to heaven!' That was the advertisement that Mr Devin Jones one Summer reacted to, and this stand up guy at the age of twenty one was soon to become Howie the Happy Hound suited up in Hound attire doing the Hokey Pokey dance with kids at Joyland, a fun amusement park, a place where fun was lived out in its highs of rides and pitch darkness of the Horror House. There is unfortunately no tunnel of love, just in case anyone reading wants to hope on a flight out to Joyland. The nearest to a tunnel of love is the Horror House but as you embark on that ride, with zombies and skeletons leaping out of nowhere to surprise you in the dark, watch out for any lonesome dame stranded, lurking, wearing a blue skirt and blue sleeveless blouse and a matching blue Alice band, she is not part of the outfit, the fun, she is out of place in Joyland, her presence, the mystery behind her, the suspense that surrounds her is the hook in the tale, one of which our master storyteller Mr Stephen King has used to great success i have to say, one to have you hooked and transported to this summer and the lead characters days working at Joyland.
Published by Hard Case Crime, a publishing house that specialises in suspense, mystery and noir, its no surprise that King chose them to tell this throwback suspense and mystery story. He has used a great setting a theme park, just liked great stories such as Something wicked This way Comes by Ray Bradbury, a memorable and strong character is present with the young protagonist Mr Devin Jones with hero qualities and some flaws, and another even better character Mike a young boy who is severely ill and wheelchair bound, you will also read of some love for the main character one gone and a possibly another to be gained. This story has the reader ponder and read over the good days that have past, the love that was lost and found, the death that was faced and the life that managed to live on, a quaint feeling left upon the reader cast, on the good people lost and struck from this earth but the wonderful memories that lay and they left behind. Joyland somewhere, somehow, may be found across the world, across seas and across lands, in hearts and minds, through efforts and great human endeavor, in fun-houses, parks, and happy days, everyone has some fun-house days to remember, recollect and reflect on the silver-lining and on the others of whom have left behind a memory gone from this passing world but never be forgotten. A modest story can have great ramifications and reverberations, there is a power present in this great storytelling and of one I am in awe of Stephen Kings ability to do right, he connects and transports his reader. In this tale he weaves you slowly in, with the telling of the main character Devin Jones and his humble efforts on a summer job at Joyland, a place of fun, and slowly revels some darkness and then some light with the great character Mike and his dreams of being out of his wheelchair high up in the sky on a ride, like the kite he regularly reels from his seat, as dreams are forged, and he breathes the air you have the great feeling of freedom he must have felt and then the darkness comes again and then.......the rest lays in wait for you to read this Summer, run and buy it in truck loads and give out for free.
"I remember Mike's day at the park—Annie's day, too—as if it happened last week, but it would take a correspondent much more talented than I am to tell you how it felt, or to explain how it could have ended the last hold Wendy Keegan still held over my heart and my emotions. All I can say is what you already know: some days are treasure. Not many, but I think in almost every life there are a few. That was one of mine, and when I'm blue-when life comes down on me and everything looks tawdry and cheap, the way Joyland Avenue did on a rainy day—I go back to it, if only to remind myself that life isn't always a butcher's game. Sometimes the prizes are real. Sometimes they're precious."
"Who knows, this place might be your future."
"Maybe," I said, although I already knew what my future was going to be: writing novels and the kind of short stories they publish in The New Yorker. I had it all planned out. Of course, is also had marriage to Wendy Keegan all planned out, and how we'd wait until we were in our thirties to have a couple of kids. When you're twenty-one, life is a roadmap. It's only when you get to be twenty-five or so that you begin to suspect you've been looking at map upside down, and not until you're forty are you entirely sure. By the time you're sixty, take it from me, you're f*****g lost."
"There's one Hollywood Girl on each Helper team.....They run around in these short green dresses and green high heels and cutie-pie green hats that always make me think of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Only they re the Merry Chicks. They tote Speed Graphic cameras, like the kind you see in old movies, and they take pictures of the rubes." She paused. "Although I'd advise you against calling the customers that yourself."
"Already been warned by Mr. Dean," I said.
"Figures. Anyhow, the Hollywood Girls are told to concentrate on family groups and dating couples who look over twenty-one. Kids younger than that usually aren't interested in souvenir photos; they'd rather spend their money on food and arcade games. So the deal is, the girls snap first, then approach." She did a breathy little Marilyn Monroe voice.
" 'Hello, welcome to Joyland, I'm Karen! If you'd like a copy of the picture I just took, give me your name and check at the Hollywood Photo Booth on Hound Dog Way as you exit the park.' Like that."
"This is a badly broken world, full of wars and cruelty and senseless tragedy. Every human being who inhabits it is served his or her portion of unhappiness and wakeful nights. Those of you who don't already know that will come to know it. Given such sad but undeniable facts of the human condition, you have been given a priceless gift this summer: you are here to sell fun. In exchange for the hard-earned dollars of your customers, you will parcel out happiness. Children will go home and dream of what they saw here and what they did here. I hope you will remember that when the work is hard, as it sometimes will be, or when people are rude, as they often will be, or when you feel your best efforts have gone unappreciated. This is a different world, one that has its own customs and its own language, which we simply call the Talk. You'll begin learning it today. As you learn to talk the Talk, you'll learn to walk the walk. I'm not going to explain that, because it can't be explained; it can only be learned."
These stories present some high quality storytelling, with a great sense of place and people, the author manages to get you in a place, amidst struggl...moreThese stories present some high quality storytelling, with a great sense of place and people, the author manages to get you in a place, amidst struggles and different lives. The writing flows well and there is possible strains of a Mark Twain like humour in the social, travel and moral writings here. Excellent collection of short stories for reading, interesting encounters within the world that spins in and around Che Guevara and others.
Some of the eight stories briefly reviewed.
Near-Extinct Birds of the Central Cordillera A hostage situation of a scholar a man with no money and no one to pay up for is in a dilemma of mistaken identity, they think he is a soy but his binoculars and map are for spying on nature in his love for birds. Nicely done short story, excellent story material used, the setting, dark humour, and great writing style makes this a great story to read occurring during a revolution in Colombia.
" "I'm not a spy," Blair answered in his wired, earnest way."I'm an ornithologist. I study birds." "However," Alberto continued, "if they wanted to send a spy, they wouldn't send somebody who looked like a spy. So the fact that you don't look like a spy makes me think you're a spy." Blair considered. "And what if I did look like a spy?" "Then I'd think you were a spy."
"During the day Blair was free to wander around the compound; for all their talk of his being a spy, the rebels didn't seem to mind him watching their drills, though at night they put him in a storage hut and handcuffed him to a bare plank bed. His beard grew in a dull sienna color, and thanks to the high-starch, amoeba-enriched diet he began to drop weight from his already aerodynamic frame, a process helped along by the chronic giardia that felt like screws chewing through his gut. But these afflictions were mild compared to the awesome loneliness, and in the way of prisoners since the beginning of time he spent countless hours savoring the lost, now clarified sweetness of ordinary days. The people in his life seemed so precious to him— i love you all! he wanted to tell them, his parents and siblings, the biology department secretaries, his affable though self-absorbed and deeply flawed professors. He missed books, and long weekend runs with his buddies; he missed women so badly that he wanted to gnaw his arm. To keep his mind from rotting in this gulag-style sump he asked for one of his blank notebooks back. Alberto agreed, more to see what the gringo would do than out of humane impulse; within days Blair had extensive notes on counter-singing among ,Scaled Fruiteaters and agnostic displays in Wood-Rails, along with a detailed gloss on Haffer's theory of speciation."
"Blair was twelve when it first happened, on a trip to the zoo—he came on the aviary 's teeming mosh pit of cockatoos and macaws and Purple-naped Lories, and it was as if an electric arc had shot through him. And he'd felt it every time since, this jolt, the precision stab in the heart whenever he saw psittacidae —he kept expecting it to stop but it never did, the impossibly vivid colors like some primal force that stoked the warm liquid center of his soul."
Reve Haitien Days after Haitian coup a two chess players meet an deal is forged to use art in a bid to aid a revolution. Another great tale with a sense of place, people and grande struggles.
"He led Mason around the palace and into the hard neighbourhood known as Salomon, a dense, scumbled antheap of cinder block houses and packing-crate sheds, wobbly storefronts, markets, mewling beggars underfoot. Through the woodsmoke and dust and swirl of car exhaust the late sun took on an ocherous radiance, the red light washing over the grunged and pitted streets. Dunes of garbage filled out the open spaces, eruptions so rich in colourful filth that they achieved a kind of abstraction. With Mason half-trotting to keep up the mulatto cut along side streets and tight alleyways where Haitians tumbled at them from every side. A simmering roar came off the close packed houses, a vibration like a drumroll in his ears that blended with the slur of cars and bleating horns, the scraps of Latin music shredding the air. There was something powerful here, even exalted; Mason felt it whenever he was on the streets, a kind of spasm, a queasy, slightly strung-out thrill feeding off the sheer muscle of the place."
"On these nights the gunfire seemed diminished, a faint popping in their ears like a pressure change, though if the rounds were nearby the mulatto's eye would start twitching like a cornered mouse. He is a man, Mason thought, who's living on air and inspiration, holding himself together by the force of will. He was passionate about the art, equally passionate in his loathing for the people who'd ruined Haiti. You don't belong her, Mason wanted to tell him. You deserve a better place. But that was true of almost every Haitain he'd met."
The Good Ones Are Already Taken This tale deals with a solider returning back home from a war in Haiti to his wife with a strange case of a voodoo marriage.
Asian tiger A Texas man out in Burma working at a golf resort gets involved in high league dealer brokering while escorting and coaching his budding golfers of powerful positions in the world of business.
"Shwedagon: he'd never seen or even imagined anything like it, a sprawling, technicolor theme park of the soul, ten acres of temples and statues and gem-encrusted shrines surrounding the bell-shaped spire of the towering central zedL Sonny eyed the zedi's dazzling golden mass, its bowl base and tapering vertical flow, and after a while realized that he was looking at the world's largest, albeit upside-down, golf tee. An omen?Meanwhile his guide was intoning the Buddha's main tenets, telling Sonny that life is dukkha, all pain and illusion; that the cycle of thanthaya, death and rebirth, will continue as long as desire remains; and that through bhavana, meditation, one might achieve the proper karma for enlightenment and nirvana. Yes, Sonny thought, yes yes all true-he felt something swelling in him, a weepy and exhausted soulfulness, a surrender that felt like wisdoms first glimmerings, and coming down off the plinth he acknowledged the moment by passing money to every monk he saw."
"Oh. Oh" It wasn't so much a bribe as a, ah, gesture, a little goodwill grease for the wheels. It wasn't long before Sonny realized that a giant corporate ratfuck was happening out on the course. If you wanted to do business in Burma you had to cozy up to the generals, and the best place for that was the National's elegant links. Which put Sonny in a classic trickle-down position: over the next few days he received a case of Bordeaux from Singaporean financiers a carved elephant from Thai teakwood barons, a kangaroo-skin golf bag from Malaysian gem traders. ' So popular," said Tommy Ng in a voice like dry ice. "Two weeks in Mvanmar and look at all the wonderful friends you have." But Sonny was troubled —these people thought he could pimp for them? He was just the pro, a performing human whose job was to stun them with his mighty swing and tell colorful stories on the verandah after the round. They were all, generals included, relentless jock sniffers eager for inside information about their favourite pros. Did you ever play with Palmer? they'd ask him over drinks. Was Nicklaus really the best? Tell us about Tiger, is he as good as they say! If Sonny didn't have an actual personal anecdote he'd make one up, something dramatic or funny to make everybody feel good."
Brief Encounters with Che Guevara Starts with a southern man has an attraction for a woman connected with thee Che, he later finds himself in Bolivia as a removal guy where he meets and has discussion with a man who says he was the killer of Che. In his thirties he finds himself in Haiti and he's now married with children. And your taken in the narrative on to his forties when Fidel is in power and the grave of Che has been located. Interesting encounters within the world that spins in and around Che.
"School tradition required my parents to host receptions for the faculty several times a year, and it was at these gatherings —peeking with my sisters from the top of the stairs at first, then later as a fringe participant, serving punch with the help in my coat and tie —that I became aware of my attraction to Mona Broun. Mrs. Broun was a faculty wife, a trim, petite woman in her early thirties whom I confused for a time with the actress Natalie Wood. She had the same wholesome looks as the famous movie star, the same well-scrubbed, faintly exotic sex appeal, along with fawn-colored hair worn loose and soft, this at a time- the mid-sixties—when the women's hairdos, in the South at least, resembled heavily shellacked constructions of meringue. But it was her eyes that got our attention from the top of the stairs,intense brown eyes with rich, lustrous tones like shots of bourbon or maple syrup, framed by sharp, exaggeratedly arched eyebrows like the spines of enraged or terrified cats."(less)
The information contained within, the evidences and theories, may help us have a safer and more humane society in the future or it may not, but you wi...moreThe information contained within, the evidences and theories, may help us have a safer and more humane society in the future or it may not, but you will read some shocking facts found in piecing together the anatomy of violence. Have you ever wondered at the evil that men do and the theories why? Behind the fictional characters like Donald Draper of Mad Men, Norman Bates of Psycho, and Rambo of First Blood there is an unseen tapestry, of thinking and behaviour. Behind the shocking truths that hit our news reports of school shootings, mass murders, terrorism, news on violence and abuse there are darker truths that lurk in the anatomy of the offender and this book dissects and examines the flags of danger. The author tells you of the evidences found in researching the anatomy of violence. This work explains the shades of the brain, the behaviours displayed, the social and the home aspects that contribute to an evolution into violence, he does not blame and pass down the roots of violence to Cain and Abel in their act of killing of kin and then on being a born condition with no other possible ailments, but explains the roots of violence with more insidious and complex workings at work. With the simple imaging of the brain the hallmarks of a persons potential for violence could be documented. This reading may have you looking at people you recognise in society and in your home and thinking of ways they could be helped, this reading is a much needed essential work on a human stain that will never magically be wanded away but needs efforts by all the faces of humanity in its toil and struggle to be cured. Written with vast and great knowledge on the subject in an easy read terminology that everyone could understand, one that can could be used many times over for referencing particular conditions of behaviour. Evidences and theories pieced together giving plenty of food for thought on the anatomy of violence.
Excepts "The bright sunlight of my sisters radiant life was overshadowed by a particularly acute form of leukaemia. On September 18, Roma's life was snuffed out-perhaps mercifully-in just two weeks, although that's painfully long compared with the victims of most acts of violence. We all miss her, just as Clare does to this day. I have reflected a great deal on Roma, and her death has profoundly affected my thinking. The other cancer that bloodies the lives of so many other people-violence-is to me as much medical as the sickness that killed my sister. For me, Roma's death is a metaphor for how I think we need to treat violence. It requires more compassion, less retribution, and a new clinical perspective that I want to move you toward considering."
"Do violent offenders have abnormal functioning in terms of how they think, feel, and behave? Yes, they certainly do. Does this "dysfunction" have a biological basis? Is something not going right in their development? I have argued that crime germinates early in life from a neurodevelopment and genetic base. I've suggested that there is a heck of a lot that is just not working right in violent offenders. They are also impaired in how they perform in life-whether at school, at home, or at work. Violence certainly causes distress to others, and the offender himself is frequently in a distressed state. Repeated violent offending is a clinical disorder." (less)
The setting Tijuana, in this story its a place were people minded their own business if they valued their life.
There is one character Malone a driver...moreThe setting Tijuana, in this story its a place were people minded their own business if they valued their life.
There is one character Malone a driver of sorts that would get you across the border in the boot of his motor vehicle for a good price and he is about to handle goods that needs more than anyone else to be reunited with her estranged young daughter, she is on the run from some trouble aka Angel baby. Malone turns out to be a likeable character even though he is a bit of a shady one, you sometimes may spot him in knee-length Bermuda shorts, a tourist t-shirt from Cabo San Lucas, and flip-flops, a typical Gabacho all in the cause of blending in.
Jeronimo, a bad ass mexican is on his tail and needs to get her back. He has a shaved head, mahogany skin, tattoos covering both arms and boiling up out of the neck of his T-shirt.
So the scene is set and the events unfold in great pace the whole story has you hooked in anticipation and resolve, cleverly developed characters, spot on dialogue and action, this author has done a top notch job in telling this story a pulsating thriller that brings me back to tales like Savages by Don Winslow, Savage Season by Joe Lansdale, Point and Shoot by Duane, Donnybrook by Frank Bill and Carrion Birds by Urban Waite.
"A powerful man has enemies, a successful man breaks hearts, and the loser will always try to destroy the winners and drag them back down into the mud."
"She knew all his fears, all his weaknesses, and how to use them against him. And that's why we married her, he sees it now, the real reason: to keep his greatest enemy close."