As you see, I took the summer off from the blog-o-sphere. Been doing really important stuff, going to baseball games, gardening, jogging less and slower than usual, and goofin' around with my dogs. Like I said, important stuff. But I can't hold back the angry hordes any longer. A blog-posting I must go.
I did squeeze in a lot of reading this summer, but I won't bore you with reviews of every one. I will, however, bore you with highlights. In order of most recent:
* Memory - by Donald Westlake. My man DW wrote over 100 books in his career and this was the last one, though another was published posthumously (that's after he died for those of you from Iowa). The majority of his books are sarcastic, satirical, dark comedy; but this was just plain old dark. I was in kind of a jammed up funk myself for a few days and normally a Westlake novel, like a Prince CD, would unfunk my junk; but this just funked it up more. Was glad when I was done. Did I mention it was dark and depressing. Even the ending. Gave it a 6- on the Haugenometer.
* Man Hungry - by Alan Marshall (aka Donald Westlake). DW wrote under at least 4 pseudonyms, and this was his first of any of them, written back in 1957. I've resolved to read all of Westlake's books. It actually crossed my mind to read all of them uninterrupted (I've got about 80 to go), but I nixed that idea for being too weird, even by my standards. This book was vintage Westlake, albeit a little more the sultry pulp fiction side. This had to be pretty salacious stuff by 1950s Happy Days standards, as there were hookers, lesbians, college professor/student sex and lots of vodka. Good characters, some dark humor, and all the twists and turns you come to expect from The Donald (the one I like). Gave it a 7 on the Haugenometer, because I really liked vodka in college.
* Gathering Prey - by John Sandford. Detective Lucas Davenport chases bad guys from my backyard (Sturgis) to Minneapolis and beyond. You don't find a lot of popular fiction featuring Jugaloos. Sandford pulls it off though, as usual. Haugenometer hit 7 again.
* Tiger Shrimp Tango - by Tim Dorsey. I keep telling myself I'm done with Dorsey, but then he puts out a new one and I can't resist the stupidity and hijinks of Serge Storms. It's like the SpongeBob Squarepants of novels. Sometimes you just have to go for the chuckle. Managed a 6- and I lost a few brain cells in the process.
* Pastime - by Robert B. Parker. This is the 18th in the Spenser series (think Tom Selleck and Spenser for Hire). It was good, not great. A 6.
* Getting Off - by Jill Emerson (aka Lawrence Block). As lifelong buddy with Westlake, Block shared his affinity for pseudonyms. This was one of Block's oldies too, as I continue to delve into the 1950s-60s noir novels, which sounds better than saying I'm dabbling in soft-core porn (of which Block wrote 7 novels as Jill Emerson). Basically the main character, a woman, kills men after she sexes them and is now going back and killing the ones she missed earlier in her life. Her lesbian lover eventually joins in the fun. It was Penthouse Letters meets Murder Mystery. I liked it. 7+.
* The Rembrandt Affair - by Daniel Silver. Another in the Israeli spy thriller series with art restorer/secret agent Gabriel Allon. 7-.