Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Kevin's Corner 11/16/2004

Kevin’s Corner

Welcome back to Kevin’s Corner. Good to see you again and thanks for stopping by. I meant to have this up sooner but life just keeps getting in the way. Just when I think I have it under control, it slimes away from me again.

As I write this, the election has long past and thanksgiving approaches. That must mean Christmas and time to decorate. Many of my neighbors have already put up their Christmas decorations. We even have a local radio station that is already playing Christmas music and have been for the last two weeks. They said on one of the local newscasts that they did it because they wanted folks to remember them. Works for me! I will always remember not to listen to them.

But in the spirit of the buying season upon us, here are a few book recommendations. Many of these can be found at your local library, which is an even better deal. This edition is mainly about the children in our lives but stay tuned all the way to the bottom for a couple of adult recommendations.

First, for the very young set I would suggest:

Animal Snackers
By Betsy Lewin
Henry Holt and Company
ISBN # 0-8050-6748-5
$15.95 US
$22.95 Canada

This updated children’s book for readers age 4-8 uses small rhyming poems of four lines each and colorful pictures to explain what the animals and birds eat. This is truly a really neat book.

For the older kids and I hesitate to suggest an age range as it really depends on the child in question:

The City of the Golden Sun
By Marilyn Peake
Author House
ISBN # 1-4184-1057-8
Large Trade Paperback
159 pages
$ 12.25 US

This is a sequel to “The Fisherman’s Son” and chronicles the further adventures of young Wiley O’Mara and his companions from the city at the bottom of the ocean. As before, the writing is clear, the descriptions compelling, and the tale vivid as most of the action takes place in the distant past in a time that could have been. Like the first book, this sequel appeals to young and old.

Also very good is:

Jay Walker 4th Grade Noir: The Case Of The Missing Action Figure
By Grant R. Philips
Quiet Storm Publishing
ISBN # 0-9749608-4-5

If you remember the classic “Encyclopedia Brown” series and liked it as much as I did growing up, then this will work for the child in your life. For Jason Walker, forth grade student and son of a police officer, school occupies just part of his day. Sometimes he helps his fellow students solve mysteries and like any good private investigator or police officer, he keeps things quiet. An action figure has been nabbed and it is up to Walker to find it and return it to its rightful owner. Written by Phillip Tomasso III, under the name of Grant R. Philips, he can always be counted on for books featuring interesting plots, characters and plenty of action along with a very good story. Such is the case here in this children’s novel, which is simply a great read. Hopefully, this is the start of a series as this novel is a success for young readers and adults.

So, there you have my children’s picks. All good stuff and something sure to hit any age group in your house. But we can’t leave out the adults and I won’t.

What follows are my mine reviews of two very good books that could be labeled “cozies.” Personally, I hate the term. For me, it brings to mind two elderly ladies sitting in front of a fire, sipping tea and knitting while for three hundred pages they go through the list of suspects and try to figure out who killed the body in the Church Rectory. Just not my thing. By the way, the Vicar did it. You can tell by his shifty eyes and the fact that the Butler was away on Holiday.

I much prefer complicated plots, lots of action with car chases, and guns blazing. Give me the guy in Denmark going down an isolated street in a fog at midnight checking the drop for the disk he is supposed to bring back. What can I say? I like Steven Segal movies too. Not because they are epics but because someday you just want to blow up everything in sight and kill all the bad guys while the beautiful half dressed babe screams a little in the corner and not a hair on your head moves out of place. (Why is it that Chiropractors never sponsor a Steven Segal movie? Seems like the perfect audience.) Besides, bad guys, no matter what they shoot, always miss at point blank range. Which is a good thing as one of the good guys and I also like the fact that my gun never needs reloading. But, I digress.

The following two books, while a little short on my personal “I want violence” meter still fit the bill as great books. Both feature sharp writing and a great plot with many suspects and incredible twists. Both books feature strong protagonists that quickly pulled me into the web of their story. And both books were simply very good no matter what was considered. So, in no particular order, I strongly recommend:

Designed To Kill
By Chester D. Campbell
Durban House Publishing Company, Inc.
ISBN # 1-930754-46-9
Large Trade Paperback
$15.95 US

Following up on his novel “Secret of the Scroll” author Chester D. Campbell brings back Greg McKenzie and his wife Jill for a case that hits too close to home. After the death of the son of their best friends, Greg and Jill begin to investigate the case in Perdido Key, Florida. Quickly ruled a suicide by the locals, they uncover clues which lead them to believe it was murder connected to the construction of a local condo project.

Eye of Newt
By Denise Dietz
Five Star Publishing
ISBN # 1-59414-096-0

Sydney St. Charles is the latest in along line of witches but she does not really believe that she is a witch. Living in Manitou Falls, Colorado, she owns and runs an apothecary shop with the somewhat eccentric help of her great aunt Lillian. When a body part, possible removed from the body of Clive Newton arrives addressed to her niece as a birthday gift, Sydney has no choice to become involved in the search for the killer. As the same time, a journal from 1692 involving a deceased relative who lived in Salem is found in the attic. Are the links in the journal and the current case just coincidence or does the journal hold the key to a modern day killer who is becoming more and more bold?

In both books, detection is the name of the game and used to move the book forward in an n enjoyable way. Both books work and work well and should be considered for those most receptive in your life.

Giving books to others can be a tricky thing so pick wisely. And please remember to support not only the few independents, both presses and stores, left in this county of chain stores and strip malls, but also your local library. Budgets keep getting slashed and libraries desperately need help whether it is book donations, volunteer hours, or good old money.

That is it for this edition. Sermonizing at the minimum as was my attempts at humor (seven consecutive days of gray skis and rain might have a little something to do with that) and several book recommendations. More next time and as always feel free to drop me a note at Kevin_tipple@att.net with your comments, observations, and suggestions.

Thanks for reading!

Kevin R. Tipple © 2004