Like zombie novels anything
billed as a medical thriller is a no go for me right off the bat. For this
final Friday in August, Kaye George
reviews the July release of Panacea by
F. Paul Wilson.
Unfortunately, this also marks the final Monday With Kaye blog post for awhile. Kaye has a lot going on and desperately needs to take a break. With huge thanks and anticipation of her glorious return to this time slot sometime in the future....
Panacea by F. Paul Wilson
medical, slightly supernatural thriller from this multi-dimensional writer, and
it’s a good one. I believe this is a stand alone, but there could be more
touches down in the Yucatan, Israel, and other places—usually with disastrous
results. However, Laura Fanning, medical examiner for Suffolk County, and her
silent, dangerous-looking bodyguard, feel they’re drawing closer to discovering
what the panacea is about with each foray.
Laura has a
daughter who is recovering from cancer and is in precarious condition. Laura is
reluctant to leave her with her father (Laura’s ex), but she receives a
stupendous offer from an ailing billionaire to journey to a Mayan village and
learn about a miracle cure. She’s the perfect person for the job because of her
medical knowledge and because she’s half Mayan and speaks the local language.
It all starts
amid an arson investigation with a murdered victim. It appears that the dead
man has been growing something in his house, marijuana is what law enforcement
assumes. When another case pops up that is almost identical, people take
notice. Both victims have similar back tattoos and both were connected with a startling
series of seemingly miraculous recoveries from unrelated illnesses. On her
journeys, Laura finds herself entangled with two opposing groups, one called
536 and the other called the panaceans. The latter has possibly been secretly
curing people for centuries and the former has been attempting to prevent them for
almost as long.
only has to deal with the warring clandestine factions with some incredible
abilities, and searching for a cure she doesn’t believe exists, but also is
having problems trusting her bodyguard—while being drawn to him against her
twists and turns and high adventure, this thriller will grip you to the end.
Books relating to librarians, cats & murder. I'm giving away copies of
Miranda James' Arsenic and Old Books & Laurie Cass' Cat with a Clue.
Details on my blog, http://www.lesasbookcritiques.blogspot.com. Entries
from the U.S. only, please.
After recently reviewingTHE
TIGHTROPE MENby Desmond Bagley, today Barry Ergang reviews
something entirely different with Hail,
Hail, Euphoria! by Roy Blount, Jr. Make sure you check out Patti’s blog for the other reading
HAIL, HAIL, EUPHORIA! (2010) by Roy Blount,
Reviewed by Barry Ergang
I’ve been a Marx Brothers fan for as long as I
can remember. Groucho is the first one I saw in early childhood on “You Bet
Your Life,” his quiz show which started on radio and later aired on television.
My maternal grandmother, who lived with us, preferred listening to radio rather
than watching television programs, and I have a vague memory of listening to
“You Bet Your Life” on radio with her one evening, then a night or two later
watching the same episode on television with my parents.
Eventually I must have seen Harpo (and
possibly Chico) guest-starring on TV, as well as some of the brothers’ films. In
any event I loved the comedy, even if as a child I didn’t understand the wordplay
between Groucho and Chico that I came to love later on.
This brings me to a digressive reminiscence you
can read or skip over. Back in the late 1960s or early 1970s, there was a Marx
Brothers revival, and a local movie theater ran their classics over a period of
several weeks. One of my closest friends and I attended several showings. On
one of them—I don’t recall which and it doesn’t matter—someone in the audience
had brought his very young son. Every time Harpo appeared on the screen, the
little boy erupted in laughter and his father tried to shush him. It bothered
me. Nobody else in the crowded audience voiced any objections—the child’s
laughter was infectious—and I silently wished the father would be the one to
shut up. His son, although too young understand the wordplay, loved Harpo’s antics,
so why not let him revel in them? I can only hope that when he grew older, the
kid came to appreciate the Marx Brothers as I and so many others have.
Which brings me to Hail, Hail, Euphoria! by humorist Roy Blount, Jr. I discovered its
existence several months ago, as of this writing, when it was offered in an
e-mail I received from one of two e-book sites I subscribe to: Early Bird Books
and BookBub. Its subtitle is “Presenting the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup, The Greatest War Movie Ever
Made.” I’ve never considered it in terms of war movies, but it has not only always
been my favorite of the Marx Brothers films, I’ve also long maintained that it
is one of the greatest film comedies ever made. So of course I had to have this
book, according to the author of which “In 2009 an international panel of
critics voted Duck Soup the
thirty-seventh greatest film of all time.”
Roy Blount, Jr. goes through the film scene by
scene, offering his personal observations and analyses. I found some of his
attempts at humor more than a little strained, and some—but not all—of his
analyses and efforts at “critical insights” to be confusing and/or pointless
meanderings. What really worked for me were passages of biographical
information about the Marxes themselves, Duck
Soup’sdirector Leo McCarey, how
some of the final screenplay and what wound up on-screen diverged from the
original, and the making of the film itself. Here’s an example of a Marxian
“Groucho once interrupted a charity tennis
match between himself and Charlie Chaplin by spreading out a picnic lunch on
the court and eating it as Chaplin fumed. Harpo would pick the pocket of
another guest at a garden party, count the money, slip the wallet back into the
guest’s pocket, and then bet the guest a hundred dollars he could tell him
exactly how much money he was carrying. Chico had to go on the lam sometimes
when he owed too much money to the wrong people.”
What worked for me might not work for
everyone. Some might find the author’s analyses more penetrating and
intelligible than I did. Were I to grade Hail, Hail, Euphoria! according
to Internet book sites’ usual one- to five-star rating system, I’d give it a
three out of five.
Ultimately, I’ll leave it to Marx Brothers
fans to decide for themselves.
for Cash begins the almost 30-year-old U.S. Marshal Cash Laramie
is in Cheyenne, Wyoming to see his boss, Chief U.S. Marshal Devon Penn. Also in
his office is an attractive redhead by the name of Berenice Rohmer who is a
family friend of Penn’s. Her brother has gone missing in the Dakota Territory
out by Rock Springs and Green River.
Baron Hans Von
Kempelen has opened a new casino in the area. Berenice’s brother, Horace, planned
to do some business with the Baron. Apparently, Horace got there because
additional funds were recently withdrawn by Horace at the local bank. Yet, it
has been two weeks and Berenice has not heard anything from her brother. While
Penn wants to send Cash solo to investigate, Bernice adamantly insists on going
with him, and soon they are on the trail to the casino.
While on his investigation,
Cash might cross paths with his old friend and occasional partner, Marshal Gideon
Miles. Chief Penn has already sent Miles into the area to bring back a suspect
murder for trial. Vincent Raven, who once served in the ninth cavalry,
claims his is innocent and did not kill the local postmaster, Mr. Edgar Clemm.
He is equally adamant that as a black man, like Miles, he won’t get justice. His
story of what actually happened makes quite a lot of sense even before Marshal
Miles starts asking questions. It isn’t long before Miles is on the hunt for
the real killer and sure that Raven is a good man falsely accused. Proving that
innocence is going to be difficult.
As the pages fly by
and the action intensifies the storylines slowly came together in another great
read well worthy of this long running series. Coffin for Cash is the
latest in the series and one that is guaranteed to stress the reader quite a
bit more than one place. A highly entertaining adventure, this latest read serves
as a great introduction for readers new to the series while also providing a
quality tale for those of us who have been fans since the early days. It is a
mighty good read and highly recommended.
Coffin for Cash (Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles Book
Thuglit: Last Writes is the latest, and unfortunately, the
last issue of Thuglit franchise. The final issue contains twelve quality stories
that are very good in their own right as well as also honoring what has come
After a very short
introduction from Editor Todd Robinson, Nick Kolakowski is up with his story “A
Bad Day in Boat Repo.” The client is Clive Stevens and he has a cargo vessel in
Cuban waters. The crew was paid off to walk away from it and the harbormaster
wants an incredible amount of money to release the ship. Mr. Stevens can’t use
the normal channels, won’t pay the money, and wants the narrator to repo the
vessel and bring it back to the Bahamas. Since Mr. Stevens is adamant against
employing the authorities clearly means the cargo is something illegal and most
likely drug related. That is the first strike against taking the gig and there
are a number more culminating with the fact it is in Cuban waters. But, there
is a lot of money at stake so soon the repo man and his number two, Limonov, have
a plan and are on the way from the Bahamas to Cuba.
Ray did not want a
baby in “What’s A Jim Hat?” by Nick Manzolillo. But, things have changed and he
knows he has to do what needs to be done. His woman, Snack, is pregnant and he
has to provide. He’s going to talk to Lou because Lou is his local conduit to
the local crime boss. Hopefully, there is something he can do. All he is
looking for is an opportunity as he needs the money bad.
Somebody should have
shot Richie Vaillard years ago. He would have been shot down in the states.
But, this is Canada and so it took way longer for Richie to get his. In “The Missing
Piece” by Aaron Fox-Lerner, Guy did it. Now his big brother has to keep his
baby brother safe and out of a mess that seems to getting bigger and worse by
He knows his meeting
with Jackie is a last supper of sorts. Differences have to be settled in “Separate
Checks” by Mike McCrary. Hunter has his gun, has made plans, and is keenly
aware of what she can do as he has seen her kill a lot of people.
Duchamp is taking
Sara out to the ghost town in the swamp. Mid-August and the heat and humidity
take their toll on the two in the small boat. But, what is coming up out of the
swamp thanks to Westerfield Chemical is far worse in “The Last Living Thing” by
Willie Lynn isn’t in
the best of moods in “Flip the Record” by Patrick Cooper. The August sun and
humidity certainly isn’t helping him as he lives out his days at the retirement
community. The property manager of the place in Boca Raton isn’t helping
either. Jazz records and his friend Henry keep him centered in the moment.
Though he isn’t always with it, Willie has got a plan to liberate some cash so
the two of them can get out of the Gracious Homes Retirement Community hellhole
and go hang out on a Mexican beach.
Abby has been having
a hard time of late in “Juke” by Kyle Summerall. It hasn’t been easy on her
partner. The stress and all has taken a huge toll. At least there is always Larkin’s
Bar for some escape from reality with folks who don’t know his personal
It never is a good
idea to date a coworker. Especially if it the hired help. Amber didn’t check in
and he knows that means the worst. Not only for her, but for him too in
“Forever Amber” by Dale T. Phillips. The only question is how many he can take
A screaming child in
your backseat will drive any parent insane. The jackknifed tractor trailer, the
gridlocked road covered in ice, and everything else isn’t helping Travis
Hayes in “All Things Come Around” by William Soldan. Trying to get home any way
he can and to escape the gridlock, he follows a number of cars off the nearest
exit only to then realize he is back in the old neighborhood where he had a far
different life and plenty of memories.
Lonnie leads the life
of a scammer and a thief so Vanessa isn’t supposed to know where she lives.
But, she is in his place as “Prowl” by James Queally begins and that is most
definitely not a good thing. The big Armenian with her who is built like a
linebacker is going to have to be dealt with the hard way.
Despite the drought,
the almond trees around them have somehow thrived. For Colby and Trav the plan
is to do some payback to Galinger Farmworks. These folks have been taking all the
water in the Central Valley of California, among other things, and they have to
be stopped and sent a message. That is easier said than done in “Tulare” by
The candy apple red
Plymouth Duster in the far corner of the garage has caught the customer’s eye
in “Slant Six” by S. A. Cosby. He wants to buy it and thinks he made a good
offer. The customer has no idea what the car represents and why it would not be
for sale. The car cost far too much and more than he could ever get back.
As one expects in the
series, the nine tales in this last issue are all solidly good ones. Thuglit:
Last Writes features crime fiction at its best as well as subtle and not
so subtle social commentary. The
struggle to survive permeates every story to its core. Thuglit: Last Writes is
not only a highly entertaining read, it is a fitting end to what has been a
great ride in the passenger seat as the black sedan, driven by a succession of
talented folks, sped down shadowy dangerous streets.
Thuglit: Last Rites
Editors Todd Robinson, Allison Glasgow,
and Julie McCarron
eBook (print format available)
Material was picked up back in late June to read and review
by way of funds in my Amazon Associate account.
Christina and her
friends like it when there is a summer shower followed by a rainbow. It is one
of the things they love about summer. That was until one day when the rainbow
slowly began to disappear as it vanished into the ground. The entire rainbow
just kept going over until the other end of the rainbow disappeared.
ever seen anything like it. None of the kids has any idea why it happened. Nor
did the any of their adult family members. It would be awhile before they could
talk to their teachers at school about it as that wouldn’t start until
The kids decided that
when the next shower happened and the rainbow formed they would ride their
bikes to where the rainbow was to find out what was going on. When that
happened the kids jumped on their bikes. They rode and rode and eventually had
to walk into some woods. The last bit of the rainbow led them to a clearing where
they found The Boy Who Ate Rainbows.
They also learned his
name is Duncan and a lot more in this cool tale for kids written by Barry
Ergang. Originally written as a fourth birthday gift for the daughter of close
friends, the read is a cool mystery fantasy that has a number of important
teaching moments for children. Not only was the book a hit with a birthday
girl, the read was a big hit with her fellow Montessori classmates. That led to
four pictures by those students being included in this edition.
A short tale of
understanding, compassion, and hope for the future, The Boy Who Ate Rainbowsis a fun read for both kids and
adults. While the original tale and artwork may be nearly 20 years old, the
message contained in these 18 pages is universal and timeless.
Writer, Reviewer, Editor, Professional Chair and Table Controller
Those interested in discussing editing and other writing projects can contact me at kevinrtipple at verizon.net
Donations Very Desperately Needed!!!!
Sandi's cancer fight continues. If you can help and would prefer to donate directly, please contact TEXAS ONCOLOGY in SUITE 220 of Building D at Medical City Dallas Hospital in Dallas, Texas and arrange your direct donation in Sandi's name with Debra, the financial counselor. We thank you for your prayers, thoughts, and support as the battle continues.
Fourth Place Finish
to be determined....working on reviews
to be determined....I have two reviews to write first.