Monday, April 15, 2013

Great Scott! The Masters and a Downhill Lie...

Through the rain in Augusta Georgia yesterday, while a distant purr from a tiger could be heard, an Argentinian made the turn at Amen corner.  A figurative papal whisp of smoke rose from the chimney of Butler cabin signaling we may have a new Masters Champ. But a man from down under sprang to life like a kangaroo and Great Scott!, an Aussie is wearing a green jacket for the first time in Masters history!

There were no green jackets the previous weekend in Florida during a respite from this laughable 'spring' weather we're having in Minnesota.

Yes, my first official round of golf this year was just that... laughable.  To ease my pain and looking for empathy, I began reading a highly recommended  book written by fellow ball striker Carl Hiaasen called, The Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport

Toads and Monkeys.  From shanking toads to being chased by monkeys; to sinking putts and even a golf cart,  Hiaasen's Downhill Lie is a sanctuary for all us hackers and duffers. A book recommended to me by someone who has yet to see me play golf. Perhaps this person is clairvoyant and by my mere physical appearance realizes I'll never break 80 and thought a humorous story will see me through the sand traps of this season.

Downhill Lie is Hiaasen's journal of resurrection. Resurrecting his game of golf, returning to it,  a frustrating tough love of a game he gave up  thirty years plus ago.  Perhaps I should do that, give it up for thirty years, but given I'm a half century old, taking up the game again at 80 doesn't sound too appealing. But then maybe I'll be able to shoot my age?

In reading Hiaasen's hilarity thus far ( I'm about to make the turn as they say in golf lore) I can safely say I'm not alone in the world of foot wedges, training aides both practical and medicinal, and little red books and zen theologies. I find comfort that this singular game, where a club and a dimpled ball is played on a meticulously manicured field of sod, can be as frustating to others as it is to me.

And just as the golf devils divot our games into the hazzards of embarrassment, blind squirrels find a nut every once in a while and we make that great drive, chip in or long putt to rehab us through the lovely sometimes laughable addiction we call, golf.

Thanks to the empathizer( or sympathizer?)  who recommended this book and thank you, Mr. Hiaasen, I hope the back nine is just as funny and entertaining as the front nine.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Harlan Coben's Six Years a real line jumper?

Ever find yourself, fast forwarding to the good parts of a recorded, or in these days, dvr'd or tivo'd TV show? Skipping through the mind numbing potpourri of advertisements?   Well, when it comes to books, there are no ads, its the complete opposite. What we have in mysterys and thrillers are spine tingling plots and hair raising ploys. Such is the case in Harlan Coben's Six Years.  No skipping through the commercials( there are none, it's a book!) for the good parts, but several times one is tantalized to skip ahead. 

A real line jumper as a moniker doesn't sound very, well, euphonious. ( I use this word a lot 'cause I like the sound of it.) but page turner is so overused. But my  vocabularic limitations leave me with...line jumper.  Speaking of jumping, Coben's characters jump right off the page and right at you. His creativity leaves you hauntingly breathless.

So, line jumper it is...

Having read my fair share of crime thrillers, mysterys and suspenseful intrigues, Cobens latest was just that a line jumper. One finds themselves so enthralled, the plot being so intense, that one fights the urge to jump a line or two or three to see what happens next, literally, holding back.

The talent of writing and forming complete sentences in a logical, thrilling way is one thing, but the ability to create a story or novel is truly awe inspiring. Coben does this very well in all his books. How do people think these things up?! Amazing!

Six years its been. Six years based on a promise. Six years of no contact because a promise is a promise, right?

Coben's Six Years is a one bonafide,  line jumper with more twists and turns than Texas tornado! 

 4.5 bookmarks on a scale of 5.


After finishing Cobens new book, I caught myself staring at about 20 books of Iris Johansen that I've never read, only collected or saved until a day when I was ready to try a new author.
 Thinking that Body of Lies was the first in the Eve Duncan series, I grabbed it to read.
But something pulled me to the web.  Was I a victim of my own deception or faultering recollection? Had I formed my own conclusion as to what was the first book? I scanned the many web sites of authors I favor and clicked on Iris Johansen's.
I was grateful. For Body of Lies wasn't the first. The Face of Deception was indeed the first of sixteen of a series with #17 and #18 to be released this year, Hunting Eve ( July) and Silencing Eve  (October).

 The Face of Deception  is where the world is introduced to Eve Duncan, forensic sculptor. With little or no evidence other than a skull, Duncan recreates a persons identity through science to solve a crime and with Face of Deception the construction of a character begins. And begin it does.

One takes a chance when buying an authors books based solely on "wow, look at all of these on the shelf,  the author must be good so I'll buy or 'collect' all of them." Or you're just plain crazy like me and will buy a book based on cover or genre then feed your obsession and continue to buy more. ( Similar to wine, but that's a story for another day.)
 98 pages, now over 170 pages, into the life of Eve, and now having finished it,  I'm completely sold.

Finding a new author is like opening presents on Christmas day, Iris Johansen's books leaves this reader...jumping for joy!

(Books # 10 and #11 read this year)