The Neon Rain: James Lee Burke

Some long-lived detective serials take their time developing and defining their main character (eg – Ian Rankin’s Rebus). Others spring fully-formed from book one (Harry Bosch; Armande Gamache). Dave Robicheaux is in the latter category. This is the first in Lee Burke’s series, but Dave we know at the end of the series is there right from the beginning. Some series (Lee Child) get old, repeating the success. Others stay fresh (Gamache). Robicheaux stays fresh. The only flaw is Lee Burke often repeats the same lines from book to book, and that gets old.

Get to know Dave. He’s worth it.

Charlie M: Brian Freemantle

I do so love Charlie Muffin.

A much realistic version of an intelligence agent on the ground, relying on his wits and training more than than technology and weaponry.

Nice touches of the class warfare going on in seemingly every reach of the British establishment and how Charlie, with his large chip on shoulder, carves out pieces of his “betters.”

Hail to the Muffin Man!

Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas: Tom Robbins

Robbins is the Marx Marvelous of the metaphor, the Psylocibin Sam of the simile; like carefully-picked magic mushrooms, Robbins shows us things that we would not otherwise see.

He is just a touch too obviously preachy and pedantic in some of Larry Diamond’s soliloquys.

You can’t get much further opposite on the polar planes than the last book reviewed on this site.

A Very Stable Genius: Donald J Trump’s Testing of America/Rucker & Leonnig

An exhaustive compilation of the emptiness, self-serving, greed, hubris and banality that underlays the Trump administration.

Trump is testing America and America is failing to meet the challenge.

For a nation that elevates their Constitution to an almost religious status, little to no one seems to want to defend it.

The French philosopher Joseph de Maistre was correct when he famously stated that, “Every country gets the government that it deserves.”

America got theirs and it is as much a product of every strata and layer of American society as it is of Trump.

Knots and Crosses: Ian Rankin

I’ve been going back to some of my favourite book series and starting at the beginning book. Knots and Crosses is the first “Rebus” book for Rankin. It’s not Rankin’s first overall novel, just the first in the Rebus series. Like THE FLOOD and WATCHMAN, KNOTS AND CROSSES is very uneven and immature. A blessing that readers and publishers stuck with Rankin and let him develop his later mature writing voice.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: Robert Pirsig

I remember reading this three decades ago and thinking the beginning was hard slogging, and then the last part got very, very interesting.

On this reading, I found the whole think tough slogging, and very, very boring.

Some things are just part of their cultural times.