Friday, January 29, 2016

DR. JOHN- UNDER A HOODOO MOON The Life of the Night Tripper by Mac Rebennack with Jack Rummel

Finished Th 1/28/16

This is one of my hardbacks that I bought and finished in October, 1999. I read and skimmed through it in one day.
This is probably one of the least entertaining rock biographies that I've read. Dr; John comes across as a dour, grumpy man who is all work and no play. He was a junkie for most of his adult life, yet he never uses drugs for pleasure or inspiration- just to get through his day to day life.

Maybe it's because he is so much older than most of the 'sixties crowd' (born 1940).

His work as a producer/writer/arranger is probably the best part of the book. And, he is very much linked into the mystical traditions of New Orleans. He was friends of many of the elderly ladies who practiced voodoo.

He was already established in New Orleans music by the age of thirteen. And, he knows all of the famous musicians from the area (Fats Domino/Little Richard/etc) and all of the players in the bands.

He comes across as a talented musician who has a strong criminal side. The guitarist for the MC5, Wayne Kramer, is who he reminded me of, although that guy is more 'hapless' than criminally inclined.

Certainly not a waste of time, but considering his 'act' and the high spirited tone of his music, I thought he would be more of a 'free spirit'.

Mentioned that Van Morrison is very difficult to deal with. I've heard that from numerous sources.

Dr. John's link at wikipedia-

Monday, January 25, 2016

VICTIM- The Other Side of Murder by Gary Kinder

This was one of my paperbacks and I first finished it the weekend of January 14th, 1996.
Re-finished  Sa 1/23/16
It is compared to Truman Capote's IN COLD BLOOD, and is easily as good. Written at a much higher level than any of Ann Rule's books.

It is about the 1974 Hi Fi Murders of Ogden Utah

The link to the murders on Wikipedia-

Link to the book at Wikipedia-

A great True Crime and a terrible tragedy. One of the killers, Dale Shelby Pierre, is presented in great detail in the book. This guy is a chilling psychopath.

Friday, January 22, 2016


Refinished Fr 1/22/16

This is one of my paperbacks and I finished it the first time, Mo 5/2/94

Like something that would be read at the beach or in an airport, and I devoured it in two days. Light, but engaging.

The 7th Commandment is ADULTERY, but the book dealt with a jewelry store chain that was being used as a way to launder money for a large drug ring

link at amazon books-

The story is about an insurance investigator from Hartford, Conneticut who is investigating an insurance claim in NYC. An elderly owner of a jewelry chain is stabbed on a Manhattan street and the company is on the hook for a three million dollar claim. Three more murders occur and a much bigger scheme is revealed.

Dora Conti is the plump, yet brainy agent and, although happily married to trucker/dispatcher (I know how that goes) she falls for NY detective John Wenden.  But, they do not succumb to the sin of adultery.

I wonder if the Dora Conti character is going to be used again or was it a 'one off'.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

BLACK RIVER by S. M. Hulse

Finished Mo 1/18/16

This was the January, 2016 selection for the Contemporary Book Club. We agreed to read another book, but found that we had already read it. I didn't think that I had enough time to order BLACK RIVER in paper, so I spent ten bucks and downloaded a copy to Kindle.

Loved the book, and can't wait for the discussion.

From Amazon-

A tense Western and an assured debut, Black River tells the story of a man marked by a prison riot as he returns to the town, and the convict, who shaped him.

When Wes Carver returns to Black River, he carries two things in the cab of his truck: his wife’s ashes and a letter from the prison parole board. The convict who held him hostage during a riot, twenty years ago, is being considered for release.
Wes has been away from Black River ever since the riot. He grew up in this small Montana town, encircled by mountains, and, like his father before him and most of the men there, he made his living as a Corrections Officer. A talented, natural fiddler, he found solace and joy in his music. But during that riot Bobby Williams changed everything for Wes — undermining his faith and taking away his ability to play.

How can a man who once embodied evil ever come to good? How can he pay for such crimes with anything but his life? As Wes considers his own choices and grieves for all he’s lost, he must decide what he believes and whether he can let Williams walk away.

With spare prose and stunning detail, S. M. Hulse drops us deep into the heart and darkness of an American town.

customer reviews at Amazon-

This book could be read in a Christian Book Club. Claire, the most 'spirit filled' of the characters does not believe in God. But, the devil is another matter.

Friday, January 15, 2016


Finished Th 1/14/16

 One of my  books and I first read and finished this on Fr 12/9/05. I'm not sure if this is before or after I visited The Joshua Tree Motel, but many of the details were somewhat familiar.

Can't know too much about Gram, and goes nicely with Phil Kaufman's bio that's been 'bathroom reading book' for several weeks.

Review at Publishers Weekly-

Hickory Wind: The Life and Times of Gram Parsons

Ben Fong-Torres, Author, Leslie Wells, Editor
This entertaining biography examines the eventful life of singer/guitarist Gram Parsons, who collaborated with the Byrds on the album Sweetheart of the Rodeo , founded the Flying Burrito Brothers with Chris Hillman and worked with country singer Emmylou Harris. Although Parsons achieved only minimal stardom prior to his 1973 drug-related death at age 26, his fusion of country and rock influenced such bands as the Eagles and the Grateful Dead. Fong-Torres ( The Motown Album ) describes the free-spirited, flamboyant musician's privileged but troubled Southern background and interviews individuals including the Byrds' Roger McGuinn, the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards and loyal road manager Phil Kaufman, who, according to Parsons's wishes, attempted--unsuccessfully--to cremate Parsons's body in Joshua Tree National Monument, a park in California. Fong-Torres drops music-biz names and reports on the colorful 1960s and '70s fast lane with finesse; Parsons's profound, continuing impact is felt in admiring testimonies from friends and fans. 

customer comments at Amazon-

I wish Gene Clark had a biography that was this 'in depth'. And, now I want to know more about Chris Hillman. So many talented guys had their start in The Byrds. My LP copy of 'Sweetheart of the Rodeo' is framed and hanging in the dining room. Gotta take this down  and give it a listen!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

HERE ON EARTH by Alice Hoffman

Finished Mo 1/11/16....David Bowie died last night
I bought this paperback at west branch on Sa 2/7/04 for fifty cents and never read it.

One of Oprah's selections and I think that the contemporary book club has selected one of Alice Hoffman's books.

The novel is supposed to be a kind of homage to WUTHERING HEIGHTS, but I'm not that familiar with this classic. Hollis as Heathcliff??

March and Gwen return to March's hometown for the burial of Judith Dale. She basically raised Gwen and is a pillar of the community.
Judith had a long affair with Bill Justice who was March's father's law partner.  Also, the father of March's best friend, Suzie.
Hank is Alan's son and he is kind of adopted by Hollis. He treats Hank badly. Just the basics and no frills even though Hollis is a wealthy man.  

I loved the book. Sexual obsession at its' worst.
March loved Hollis since his father rescued him from the street when the boy was only thirteen and she was ten.
Alan was March's older brother and later became a drunk. He hated Hollis because he felt that his father favored Hollis. In his mind, Hollis took his place in his father's heart. Alan and his friends are brutally violent to Hollis. He never cracks and ultimately Alan is defeated. Alan is referred to as 'The Coward'.

When March's father dies, Alan takes the reigns, and charges Hollis for everything. Although plunged into debt, Hollis pays back every penny and ends up buying most of the town. He becomes the biggest player in the area, although he never gains the respect of the community. Everyone dislikes him (but not to his face), but many of the women will have sex with him because he is handsome.

Gwen is March's daughter by Richard. Although March loves Richard, they both understand that March truly loves Hollis and has since she was a child. Gwen moves to Massachusetts with her mother and matures. She becomes the mother and her mother acts the teenager.
Gwen falls in love with Hollis's old race horse, Tarot. Caring for something, even a horse, makes her a better person.
Hollis makes money by killing race horses. This is partly how he made is fortune. Horse People call him 'Mr. Death'.

I think that the title implies that 'here on earth, things can get very complicated'. Also an examination of the complications of Fate. Do you get what you deserve or can extraneous accidents intrude on destiny.

I loved the book and will definitely read more by Alice Hoffman. I'll try to get the contemporary book club to read another one.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

SNOW BLIND- A Brief Career In The Cocaine Trade by Robert Sabbag

Finished Th 1/7/16 (After Crown at Westside Dental)

I've owned this hardback for may years, and I'm sure that I've read it before.

The Genesis of this non-fiction book-
"In February 1974 at the Algonquin Hotel in New York, Robert Sabbag was introduced to smuggler Charles Forsman, who was on trial at the time, and agreed to write a book about his exploits"

It's the story of Zachary Swan III (false name for Charles Fosmon),.. The Gentleman Smuggler. He's hip and fashionable, rich 70's guy.
College educated; military background- Marines
Worked in the Advertising Game. Graphic Artist/Printing.

The non-fiction account begins with his bust in Amagansett in October, 1972. Then, flashbacks to his entry into the Smuggling Game and back to his exit.  First in Marijuana, then to Cocaine. Less volume, weight..... much more profit.

Drug Glossary at the end of the book is interesting.

Straight forward narrative, but the characters are not that well developed and hard to keep straight. Several of the ancillary characters were worthy of novels. Not enough development to keep them all straight.

An interesting look at the dope game in the early 70's, but this is almost a half century ago and the laws and social attitudes are drastically changed.

This morning I watched the first episode of a new series about the recent change in Colorado's laws about selling and using marijuana-  ' High Profits'.... I wonder what Zachary Swan (or the real guy) would have thought of this in 1972, or what anyone might have thought in 1972?  Big Change or Not So Much....I think that I would have thought that pot would be totally legal by 2016, over 45 years later.

Worth a look.

The author's page in wikipedia-

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

THE MEPHISTO WALTZ by Fred Mustard Stewart

I bought this paperback at The Book House in Rock Hill, MO (most likely on the motorcycle) on Th 10/19/95 and finished it at The Club on Th 5/10/96.

Refinished Su 1/3/16

The title is a piece of music by Franz Liszt. I listened to it on You Tube.

An older concert pianist and his daughter are harvesting souls so that they can live forever, or something like it.
Myles and Paula are married. He's an ex-concert pianist who is trying to be a writer. Duncan and his daughter, Roxanne want Myles because of his excellent long piano hands.

It's a straight forward narrative, but the satanic plot is not very well developed. The best part of the novel is that it is set in 1969 and written around the same time. Far Out, Baby.

Shalimar and Joy perfume.

Robin Goodfellow a name for the devil.

The cover compares it to ROSEMARY'S BABY, but No Way, Baby.

A quaint period piece about Manhattan in the Swinging Sixties.

Who has a middle name of 'Mustard'?

Saturday, January 2, 2016

L.A. REQUIEM by Robert Crais

Refinished Mo 12/28/15

This was one of my paperbacks and I first read and finished it on Th 10/24/08. That was the day after seven hours of overtime on a forty pole run to Mt. Vernon with Gerry Maher.

The day I finished it in 2015 is the day that the basement on 940 Westview got flooded. We had a three day heavy rainstorm and about one third of the new addition was wet. Water seeped up from the basement floor seam under the steel beam along the ceiling. Also, water came in along the streetside wall behind the couch. There was standing water in the area, and I probably collected eight full buckets of water. By Tuesday morning the seeping had ended, but after running the fans for several days, I wasn't able to use the room until the following Saturday morning.

I read over half of the book on Mo 12/28. I would place rags along the areas that were leaking, and then read for about thirty minutes, and then go around and squeeze out the rags and empty the bucket. I did this from around 530am until about 9pm.

Loved the novel, but didn't remember much of it. I couldn't even recall that the killer actually worked for the police and was the mail-guy at police headquarters.

A series of random killings over many years is actually done by one man. His father was a child molester and was killed by police. The killer was the predator's son, and he feels that he is righting a wrong.

Joe Pike and Elvis Cole Detective Services

Link to amazon-

Author on wikipedia-

Friday, January 1, 2016

S.F.W.- by A.M. Wellman

Finished New Year's Eve, Th 12/31/15, last book of 2015. The title stands for, "So Fucking What" which is Cliff's method of dealing with his life.

Cliff Paul Spab (rhymes with 'scab')with several other people are held captive in a Michigan 7- Eleven for 36 days by a group called SPLIT IMAGE. This stands for something, but pretty meaningless..

Joe Dice, Cliff's best friend, eighteen months younger, is with him and is killed in the bloody gun battle that ends the incident.

Wendy Pfister is also a hostage and she has a big bag of pot that they all smoke. They also drank the store out of beer.

They are being held by a group of suburban terrorists who want complete nuclear disarmament. They are taping the hostages and streaming it on the internet. Spab is loud, outspoken, and profane and he's a star.

After release, Wendy becomes a 'goody-goody' and becomes like a phony Republican for the media.

Directly after released, Cliff has a brief fling with Joe's sister, Monica. They've been friends and occasional lovers since childhood. Joe and Monica had an older brother, Frank, who was killed in a car accident- driving while getting a blowjob.

Cliff flees the Detroit area and splits to stay at a movie theater owned by a guy named Streeter. His room overlooks the marque.

The book ends abruptly with a couple of brief news stories. Wendy and Cliff are at a news conference and both are shot. Wendy is killed and Cliff is shot in the head and never comes out of a coma. The End.

Not worth it as a novel, and not very well developed. Did not make a whole lot of sense and just comes off as extremely odd.

Made into a movie in 1994, but not yet on Netflix. Here's the link on IMDB.-