Framing the Dialogue

Book Reviews

Atlas, Babylon

“Then the sound came, a long, deep, powerful rumble increasing in crescendo until the windows rattled, cups danced in their saucers, and the bar glasses rubbed rims and tinkled in terror. The sound slowly ebbed, then b1959oomed to a fiercer climax, closer.”

Written and released in 1959, Alas, Babylon was one of the first dealing with the aftermath of a nuclear war.  I wasn’t born yet, but I do remember growing up during the Cold War.  Mutually Assured Destruction was a hell of a thing to live with.  Author Pat Frank showed us how a small Florida community dealt with the aftermath of a world nuclear war.  This novel didn’t get into too much of the what/how of the actual bombs, just how this community worked to survive and hoped for the best, but were realists.


I’d read most of Ted Bell’s Alex Hawke novels, but had missed a few the past years.  When I saw Overkill at Sams Club I treated myself to the hardback.  The story had all of the main characters found in the Hawke series and even a famous Russian leader who is obviously bat-shit crazy.  You can probably guess his name.  The premise of the book with an assassination attempt, kidnapping, and general mayhem.  Hawke, of course, is in the middle of things.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

Imagine a world where humans are a lower life form saved from the brink of extinction by higher life forms.  Humans are not highly regarded.  That’s the world in the “GC” where we meet the crew of the Wayfarer with a mixed crew of different species and life chaotic and crazy.  In The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet the crew’s job is to bore wormholes between different planets creating a shortcut between different worlds.  A new crew member with deep secrets has to work to fit in to the new crew and to get used to the dangerous work that they all do.

Rogue Lawyer

A Rogue Lawyer is one who’ll represent the unrepresentable…the lowest of the low, rapists, murderers, gang members…you get the picture.  Author John Grisham’s character, Sebastian Rudd, is such a lawyer also known as a criminal defense lawyer.  While the money is sometimes good, Rudd finds that very few people like him.  Certainly not the cops or prosecutors, and often not his clients, many of whom are ultimately convicted.  It seem criminals don’t like it when they are held accountable for their crimes.  Add to this mix Sebastian’s ex-wife who is also a lawyer and her mission to prevent their son from ever seeing his father.  Sebastian has a lot on his plate.

Death Do Us Part

“No, I didn’t think about the dog.  It hadn’t hit me yet that taking on a big dog like Ruby was a major, life-changing responsibility.  I still felt grateful to my old buddy Frank for remembering what a good friend I’d always been.  When I murdered Frank, I never dreamed he’d leave Ruby to me.  Who’d believe he’d help me out by making me look like such a good guy?  I mean, you don’t leave your precious dog to the guy who murdered you – do you?”

Trent’s Last Case – The Woman in Black

Originally published over a hundred years ago, Trent’s Last Case brings newspaperman (I cannot remember his first name) Trent to a small town where a very famous person has died; no he was murdered.  Mr. Trent has been dispatched by his publisher to try and solve the case.  You see Trent has been remarkably good at solving crimes.

“You have come down to write about the murder.” “That is rather a colorless way of stating it,” Trent replied, as he dissected a sole. “I should prefer to put it that I have come down in the character of avenger of blood, to hunt down the guilty and vindicate the honor of society. That is my line of business.”

The Golden Age of Murder

“Even in a book of this length, it is impossible to explore in detail every issue touched on in the text. The notes provided at the end of each chapter, inevitably selective, seek to amplify some facets of the story of the Golden Age and its exponents, and to encourage further reading, research – and enjoyment.”

The Alchemist

In Paulo Coelho’s fable, The Alchemist, we follow the life of a poor shepherd boy, Santiago, who wants to travel beyond his world.  His first step was to become a shepherd and thus travel with his sheep beyond what his parents have done.  This seems okay until he meets an old man who fills him with both the courage and yearning to expand his boundaries.  Santiago’s journey becomes our journey as this story we can learn a lot about life, decisions, and indecision.

“What’s the world’s greatest lie?’ the boy asked, completely surprised. ‘It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate.”

The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove

“Jenny went off to the kitchen, trying to put the morning together in her mind, pieces of conversations as surreal as a Dali jigsaw puzzle.  There was definitely something going on in Pine Cove.”

In his second novel in the Pine Cove series, author Christopher Moore brings us back to the lovely, quaint, summer, tourist town of Pine Cove, California.  There is not much connection with the first in the series other than a few of the characters as they enter the post-tourist season.