Irresponsible Reader

Irresponsible Reader

I read widely and voraciously, with little discipline (although I have my bouts). And then I write about it -- sometimes a little, sometimes more (not sure how often I get to "a lot", so let's go with "more" instead). I'm a Mystery junkie and have been since I can remember, I love Urban Fantasy, I can't pass up good Science Fiction or Fantasy, I've been known to dabble in Chick Lit ('tho, honestly, I'm more comfortable in "Lad Lit"), even a decent Western will do the trick.

Saturday Miscellany - 12/8/18

I started a new job this week, which is what I'm blaming my relative silence on -- I did almost complete a few posts, to be honest (and a little self-justifying). Just nothing I'm quite ready to push "publish" on. But I have an ambitious schedule for December, so I need to get busy (and I have a little bit of November to finish with, too -- oops). Here's hoping next week is busy around here.

 

Anyway, here are the odds 'n ends over the week about books and reading that caught my eye. You've probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:

 

  • The Frame-Up by Meghan Scott Molin -- a comic writer/artist consults with the LAPD in a hunt for a real-world costumed vigilante in one of the most enjoyable debuts of the year. I talked a bit about it Monday
  • Blood of Ten Kings by Edward Lazellari -- The third volume of the Guardians of Aandor -- an Epic Fantasy/Urban Fantasy hybrid of sorts -- hit the stores this week. Listening to Lazellari describe the books on the latest Once & Future Podcast sold me on volume one.
  • King of the Road by R. S. Belcher -- I missed the first novel in this UF series last year, but a group of Truckers descended from the Knights Templar who defends the roads of the US from supernatural threats -- and a biker gang, apparently -- has got to be worth a read.

Lastly, I'd like to say hi and extend a warm welcome to awesomeyou (nice blog, but I can't read that side bar -- as pretty as it is), whinney, Di Salvo Cambiamento (I assume the blog is nice, but I can't read that language), Arganise Campbell (a very busy young woman) and Shalini for following the blog this week.

 

Source: http://irresponsiblereader.com/2018/12/08/saturday-miscellany-12-8-18
Review
3.5 Stars
A Winsome Tale of a Rookie Teacher
Mr. Pizza - J. F. Pandolfi

On the verge of graduating from college, Tony Piza (long "I", and yes, he's heard all the jokes), decides he's not ready to head to law school and would like to take a year off. Inspired by a suggestion from his roommate, he applies to teach at a Roman Catholic school near his home. He figures that it'll be pretty easy -- spout some facts and figures from the text-book, assign some homework, do a little grading, catch up on his reading. All while living rent-free with his parents and sister. Despite never having taken an education class, nor showing any previous interest in education, and some iffy interview questions, he's hired.

 

Early on, he performs his duties just as he planned -- and it's as successful as you imagine. But before long, he starts to see his students as individuals, not some faceless mass. It's just a few steps from there to caring about their education and trying to do something about it. Tony also makes some friends with fellow teachers -- two other lay teachers (including the other male staff member), and one nun. They start to rub off on him -- and even inspire him.

 

But that doesn't mean he turns into Professor Charles W. Kingsfield Jr or George Feeny, he's more like a version of Gabe Kotter or Charlie Moore. Unconventional, off-kilter, and comical -- yet challenging. Both his lectures and his assignments bring out the strengths and weaknesses his students (and their parents) were unaware they possessed. They also get Tony in trouble with parents, school administrators and school board members.

 

Essentially, the novel is a bildungsroman, watching Tony's development from someone who sees teaching as a vacation from his real life to someone truly invested in it. I don't want to say that it's a smooth transition or that he flips the switch and becomes the World's Greatest 6th Grade Teacher ™. That would make for a very dull novel.

 

Pandolfi writes in a very smooth, assured style. There's not a lot of artistic flourishes -- that's not a critique, just an observation. It is charming, frequently amusing, and pretty earnest. I was a little afraid after reading the description that this would be a satire that tried too hard, one of those books where you can see the writer trying to be funny (which almost never works) -- but I'm pleased to say that it wasn't. Tony seemed to try too hard, but not Pandolfi -- a character doing that is annoying, but it's a character trait; a writer doing that is frequently a a deal breaker.

 

Tony's antics and judgement are a mixed bag, as I mentioned. Early on, some of his jokes/behavior didn't seem like fun, they seemed capricious and even mean -- but so did M*A*S*H's Hawkeye and Duke Forrest (the book and movie versions, anyway). From the get-go the 1973 setting and sensibility put me in that frame of mind, so that's where my mind went. And sure, part of the book is to show his growth from that, but it's pretty off-putting. Similarly, I had trouble swallowing how tone-deaf he was when it came to jokes about Roman Catholics (even after being warned), yet he was reflexively sensitive to other people/problems (frequently in a way that seemed at least somewhat anachronistic).

 

Ultimately, I was able to get past that -- and it's possible that without me putting something about that in my notes, I'd have forgotten to mention it. Because of his growth, by that last third or so of the book, you see almost no signs of this (except when his past comes back to haunt him). So, I guess I'm saying, if you're put off by some of his early behavior, give him a chance.

 

His sister, Patty, has Down's Syndrome. I really appreciated the way that Pandolfi treated her. She's simply a character -- there's no After-School Special moment with her, she's not an object of pity -- she's simply Tony's little sister. There are funny moments with her, some sweet moments with her -- just like there are with Tony's mother and father.

 

Tony's students, fittingly, come close to stealing the novel from Tony. As is the case with the Bad News Bears, the Sweathogs, Fillmore High's IHP class, etc., you have to want to see the kids do well to care about their teacher. They're a diverse group, each having some distinctive characteristics and/or problems. They come to believe in their "Mr. Pizza" long before the staff, or even Tony -- and stay his biggest supporters through the ups and downs that ensue. If you don't like at least most of the students, there's something wrong with you and you should seek professional help. Or just re-read the book, because you probably missed something.

 

The rest of the cast of characters are well-drawn and believable. There are a few that I'm glad we didn't get much time with (Tony's extended family, for example). His friends, fellow teachers and principal are strong characters, a couple of them are better developed. But that's simply due to time spent with them. Pandolfi has a gift for good characters, which is half the battle in a novel.

 

Mr. Pizza is a charming tale of a young man maturing at a turning point in his life. There's some good laughs, some uncomfortable moments, and some earnest emotional beats. The book is a pleasure to read and it -- and it's protagonist -- will win you over and get you rooting for them both.
--
Disclaimer: I received this book from RABT Book Tours in exchange for this post and my participation in the book tour.

 


✔ Read a book with your favorite food in the title.



Source: http://irresponsiblereader.com/2018/12/06/mr-pizza-by-j-f-pandolfi-a-winsome-tale-of-a-rookie-teacher
Review
4 Stars
Likeable Characters, Strong Mystery, & Geeky Fun Combine for a Winning Debut
The Frame-Up - Meghan Scott Molin

There are some posts I'm not sure how to start. Introductions are probably the hardest part for me (I say this today, tomorrow I'll be struggling with a conclusion). I thought about starting this post this way:

If you liked . . .
* the Dahlia Moss books, but want something less sit-com and more dramedy
* the Kirby Baxter books, but wish that Molly was the star?
* Seanan McGuire's Antimony Price, but wish you didn't have to put up with the cryptozoology?
and/or
* the Castle pilot episode

...then this is the book for you!

 

But that just seemed frivolous. So I abandoned it.

 

A chance encounter in a slow-moving coffee shop line and an overheard offhand remark leads to LAPD Narcotics Detective Matteo Kildaire consulting comic book writer Michael-Grace (call her "MG") Martin about an unusual crime. A couple of drug dealers had been tied together and left for the police, a photo printed in the newspaper (or at least an online version of it) reminded MG of one of her favorite comic book panels when she saw it -- a panel from a comic in the Eighties. It turns out that there are additional reasons to tie the crime scene to that particular comic, and the detective could use some help. He's clueless about this kind of thing and is desperate to get any kind of line on the vigilante responsible.

 

Matteo is concerned for various and sundry reasons that MG and her coworkers at Genius Comics might be a target for trouble (and/or responsible for it). MG is intrigued by the entire thing (and the fact that an incredibly hunky detective is talking to her about it doesn't hurt, even if he is the Muggle-ist Muggle around) -- actual crimes being committed around town by someone very inspired by the comics that shaped her early geekness?

 

Now, Matteo doesn't want word to get out about a. MG consulting for him; b. the close eye Genius Comics employees are being watched with; c. really anything about the vigilante. So he poses as someone MG's dating, without really consulting her on it. Spending time with her in social settings allows him to investigate her coworkers and friends -- although he really seems interested in getting to know her better.

 

MG's dealing with several things in her own life -- she's up for a big promotion at work; her side project of designing costumes (for cosplay, and her friend Lawrence's drag queen act) is dangerously close to turning into something more than a hobby; and somehow she has to work in a fake relationship (without tipping off the true nature of things to her roommate or Lawrence).

 

The chemistry between the two main characters is fantastic -- Matteo comes across as a very nice guy, the kind of person you'd like to think every detective is -- driven, honest, kind. MG's the kind of person I'd like to hang out with -- creative, funny, geeky (although her LOTR views means we won't be best friends). When you put the two of them together they work really well -- on a detective/consultant basis, or as a couple. It's obvious from at least Chapter 2 that the sparks are there, so I don't feel too bad talking about this -- but they do keep it pretty professional. Mostly. Whether they're being professional, or they're in one of their more personal moments, these two are a great pair.

 

Now while the pair are getting to know each other, the crimes associated with the comics continue to pile up, get more serious and start to involve significant damage and danger to human life. Other than Matteo, the police and the FBI aren't that convinced that MG can really help them. And at least one of her friends becomes a person of interest in the investigation. These two things spur MG to do some independent investigating in addition to her consulting. Which goes about as well as you might think for a comic book writer/would-be fashion designer starring in a comedic novel.

 

And it is funny. MG is a great narrator -- honest about herself and her foibles; snarky about the foibles (and strengths) of those around her; clever, witty and her narration is chock-full of geek-culture references. Molin tends to over-explain some of MG's references. You don't need to tell me that "Winter is coming," is a Jon Snow line. You can just say it and everyone will know you're talking about Game of Thrones (or Death and Boobies, as MG prefers). I don't remember noticing that later on, I either got used to it or Molin course-corrected. Either way, it's not a major problem.

 

The story is strong, the culture around Genius Comics is interesting (and rings true), the secondary and tertiary characters are fun -- it's a very satisfying debut novel. I do think that MG's roommate and coworkers could've been developed a bit more. At least we could've spent more time with them, not much, just a little (except the roommate, we could've had more time with him -- but that seemed intentional). But that's about my strongest criticism, come to think of it. There are some scenes that are just fantastic -- Matteo watching the original Star Wars trilogy with MG and her coworkers for the first time is magic. There's a moment in the last chapter that's a little better, too (but I won't spoil anything). Molin can tell a good story and capture small elements well.

 

I started this by joking around about the kind of people that'll like this book -- but seriously, there's something about this that'll appeal to most. Just thinking of friends/family/workplace proximity associates who read novels -- I can't think of one who wouldn't find something in this to enjoy. My mother would like the interplay between the characters (particularly between MG and Lawrence) and the story, even if she didn't get most of the fandom references; my buddy Paul would like MG's spirit, the mystery, and Matteo; Nicole would dig the mystery, MG, and the fandoms (even if she doesn't share them, she'll get it), MG's design work, too; I've got another friend who'd like the mystery but would roll his eyes at some of the relationship stuff; Rosie would get a kick out of it all, especially MG's voice -- and so on. Okay, to be honest, I can think of one reader I know who wouldn't like it -- between the subject matter, the voice, the crime story -- it'd be beneath her (unless Molin gets interviewed by NPR, then she'd be a big fan). My point is -- there's at least a little something here for everyone to get into, if you don't let any of the particulars of the setting or character get in the way.

 

Sure, I liked Dahlia Moss/Kirby Baxter/Antimony Price/Castle without any of the conditions that I started things off with -- so this was definitely in my wheelhouse. But more importantly, it was a fun story well told, with charming characters that you want to spend time with. If I'm reading Molin's tweets correctly, we're looking at at least a trilogy with these people -- I'm all in for that, I'm very interested to see where she takes the story and the characters. I fully expect that I'm not going to be alone in my appreciation for The Frame Up.

 

Disclaimer: I received this eARC from 47North via Little Bird Publicity and NetGalley in exchange for this post -- thanks to all for this great read.

Source: http://irresponsiblereader.com/2018/12/03/the-frame-up-by-meghan-scott-molin-likeable-characters-strong-mystery-geeky-fun-combine-for-a-winning-debut
November 2018 Report

Well, November happened. Lot's of pretty cool stuff in my non-blog life, and things related to the blog. Pretty good reading month -- almost good writing month. Some less-than-good reads, plenty of great reads. Nothing to complain about, that's for sure.

 

So anyway, here's what happened here in November.

 

Books/Novels/Novellas Read/Listened to:

Dark Sacred Night The Green Viper You Had Me at Woof
4 1/2 Stars 3 Stars 2 1/2 Stars
The Place You're Supposed to Laugh Be Brave, Little Puffy The Twisted Web
4 1/2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars
By Faith, Not By Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation Her Last Move Degrading Orbits
5 Stars 5 Stars 3 Stars
Ghost Story The Summer Holidays Survival Guide Know Me from Smoke
4 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars
Ways to Die in Glasgow Kitties Are Not Good To Eat Rediscovering Humility
3.5 Stars 3 Stars 3.5 Stars
The Lord's Supper as the Sign and Meal of the New Covenant Dry Hard The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck
4 Stars 3.5 Stars 2 1/2 Stars
Small Town Nightmare The Complaints My Sister, the Serial Killer</a
3 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars
Curse on the Land They Promised Me the Gun Wasn't Loaded Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse
4 1/2 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars
Fletch (Audiobook) The Frame-Up Play Dead
5 Stars Still Deciding 4 Stars
Them            
5 Stars            

 

Still Reading:

John Owen vol 4 Grounded in Heaven      

 

Reviews Posted:

 

Book Challenge Progress:

Angel's Guilty Pleasures

You Had Me at Woof (Audiobook) by Julie Klam, Karen White

The Complaints by Ian Rankin

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite T

hey Promised Me the Gun Wasn’t Loaded by James Alan Gardner

Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse by Lee Goldberg, Laura Hicks

Play Dead by David Rosenfelt, Grover Gardner

The Green Viper by Rob Sinclair

The Place You’re Supposed to Laugh by Jenn Stroud Rossmann

Be Brave, Little Puffy by Arline Cooper

The Summer Holidays Survival Guide by Jon Rance

Know Me from Smoke by Matt Phillips

Kitties Are Not Good To Eat by Cassandra Gelvin

Dry Hard by Nick Spalding

Small Town Nightmare by Anna Willett

You Had Me at Woof (Audiobook) by Julie Klam, Karen White

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Her Last Move by John Marrs

Rediscovering Humility: Why the Way Up is Downby Christopher Hutchinson

The Frame-Up by Meghan Scott Molin

The Green Viper by Rob Sinclair

The Place You’re Supposed to Laugh by Jenn Stroud Rossmann

Be Brave, Little Puffy by Arline Cooper

The Twisted Web by Rebecca Bradley

Degrading Orbits by Bradley Horner

The Summer Holidays Survival Guide by Jon Rance

Know Me from Smoke by Matt Phillips

Kitties Are Not Good To Eat by Cassandra Gelvin

Dry Hard by Nick Spalding

Small Town Nightmare by Anna Willett

✔ Read an audio book with multiple narrators: Ways to die in Glasgow by Heather Wilds, Napoleon Ryan

✔ Read a book you chose based on the cover: Know Me from Smoke by Matt Phillips: A heart-wrenching noir love story.

 

How was your month?

Source: http://irresponsiblereader.com/2018/12/01/november-2018-report
Saturday Miscellany - 12/1/18

Odds 'n ends over the week about books and reading that caught my eye. You've probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:

 

The Cranky Bookseller's Guide To Holiday Shopping -- handy tips

Here are the Biggest Fiction Bestsellers of the Last 100 Years (And What Everyone Read Instead) -- an interesting follow up to Emily Temple's Books That Defined the Decades series

Jonathan Franzen was mocked for sharing his writing tips. Me? I’m all ears -- Hadley Freeman pours some cold water on the snark towards Franzen last week. Not much, and probably not entirely convincingly, but I appreciated her point

Celebrating Indie Publishing with @IPatrick_Author @fahrenheitpress -- The Quiet Knitter interviews Ian Patrick

ROBERT B. PARKER’S BLOOD FEUD: Five Questions with Mike Lupica -- The Real Book Spy has some questions for Lupica

The best mystery novels of 2018 -- Oline Cogdill, mystery reviewer extraordinaire, names her top 16 for the year.

Top Ten of 2018 -- from Liz Loves Books

 

 

 

 

The Wraith by Jeffery H. Haskell -- set in his Arsenal universe, Haskell introduces a darker hero.




Source: http://irresponsiblereader.com/2018/12/01/saturday-miscellany-12-1-18
Review
4 Stars
The Newest Canadian Super-Heroes are Back in Action
They Promised Me the Gun Wasn't Loaded - James Alan Gardner

When I read the first book in the series, All Those Explosions Were Someone Else's Fault, back in January, I said "the sequel can't get here fast enough." I didn't quite expect to be reading it 11 months later, but I'm okay with that.

 

It's just a couple of weeks after the events of the previous book, and the newly formed team of superheroes has gone home for Christmas break. Now with just a few days before classes start up again, the team is coming back. In the last book we focused on Kim/Zircon, this time our protagonist is her roommate/teammate Jools/Ninety Nine.

Jools doesn't even make it out of the airport before she's dealing with the police and a powerful Darkling -- and maybe a powerful Spark artifact.

 

(Quick reminder: In this world there are two super-powered groups: the Darks/Darklings and the Sparks. The Darks are all the supernatural-types you can think of (and some you can't): vampires, weres, etc. The Sparks are Super-Heroes and the like (although some have gone astray))

 

Jools, with a little help from her friends, gets out of that mess -- only to find herself signed up for more.

 

Soon, in an effort to keep this artifact from falling into the wrong hands -- Jools finds herself cut off from her friends and in the secret-hideout with a very maverick group of Sparks -- a modern-day Robin Hood and his Merry Men. This gives her an opportunity to watch other Sparks in action, to see how they live and think -- and come up with some ways to evaluate her new lifestyle. Also, there's a lot of fighting and nifty tech to read about.

 

I wasn't crazy about how little time we got with the rest of the team because of this, but I think in the long run, it'll work for the strength of the series. And when we get the team together again, it's even better to see than it was before.

 

Again, I had a blast with this book. Gardner's world is ripe with story-telling possibilities and I'm enjoying watching him develop these characters and this world. Jools is a great character -- a solid combination of vulnerable and snarky, unwise and ridiculously intelligent -- you'll probably end up with her as your favorite character in the series (at least until book 3). Go grab this (and the other one, too) now.



2018 Library Love Challenge

Source: http://irresponsiblereader.com/2018/11/30/they-promised-me-the-gun-wasnt-loaded-by-james-alan-gardner-the-newest-canadian-super-heroes-are-back-in-action
Review
3 Stars
Heart-warming and Funny Bone-Tickling
The Summer Holidays Survival Guide - Jon Rance

‘Oh, Dad, how little you know,’ said Liv, her head returning to her phone.

 

How little I know. I have a feeling this one cold, hard sentence, uttered from my twelve-year-old daughter’s lips, might sum up my life.


Ben Robinson is an art teacher, in his mid-40s, and is trying to figure out how he'll survive the upcoming summer holidays -- 6 weeks with his three kids, and a marriage who's spark is gone out (possibly for good). Oh yeah, and an aging father with dementia moving in with them, rather than a nursing home. Meanwhile, he's trying to prepare for a half-marathon, which is about a whole marathon more than he's ready for.

 

We get a day by day (or close to it) account of how this goes for Ben. The short version is: not very well. Particularly in the beginning. Ben meddles in his fifteen year old son's love life (with some really bad sex tips -- all of which I'm considering passing on to my kids), cannot understand his twelve-year-old daughter's social media life (and nascent pubescence), and derails his eight year old son's summer plans without trying. Things go downhill from there, really.

 

His dad is having trouble remembering that he doesn't live in the same home, or that his wife has been dead for a few years -- this is a source of strain for both Ben and his father -- and the relationship becomes strained. Ben is having trouble seeing his father this way, and his father is having trouble being this way. Both are trying their best, but this

Speaking of a strained relationship, the number of things wrong with his marriage keeps growing, and every thing that Ben tries to do to fix it just makes things worse. He and his wife aren't communicating well -- one of those problems that keeps feeding itself and growing worse.

 

Throw in an accidental participation in an anti-Brexit demonstration, a road rage incident leading to social media notoriety for one member of the family, teen romance problems, summer-altering injuries, and well -- clearly, someone needs to write a survival guide.

As Ben and his family try to get through their struggles intact -- and maybe even better than that -- there's plenty of fodder for humor. There's a lot of heartwarming material, some real laughs and more than a few chuckles. There's some really effective writing and characterization.

 

However, there's also Rance's need to go for the big laugh. And here, he basically turns Ben into Basil Fawlty -- with all the wild schemes, failing schemes, shouting, misunderstandings and slapstick involved. I don't think any of these scenes or moments worked for me. When he's going for subtle laughs, or those that grow from character, I really enjoyed it. When the subject matter is serious (or at least non-comedic), Rance is really strong. It's when he's obviously trying that he falters.

 

‘Marriage,’ said Dad. ‘There’s always ups and downs. You just keep riding it, son. It’s like a rollercoaster. You can’t get off, so you just hold on, and do your best to enjoy it.'

 

‘I’m holding on for dear life, but life is harder than it was, Dad. The world has changed. The rollercoasters are bigger and scarier now. The drops are bigger, the hills higher.’

 

‘Oh tosh. The world might change, but people don’t. Love is still love, clear and simple. Don’t blame the world for your problems, son. Hold on tighter. Love stronger.’

 

That's one of the more earnest moments -- and there are plenty of them in the latter part of the novel, all set up well in the early part -- and it shows the heart of the book -- and there's plenty of heart. Rance won me over, and got me to put more of his books on my list because of these kind of moments, and the genuine laughs I got from the smaller moments, I've got more of his stuff on the TBR.

 

It's a nice, pleasant book that'll tickle your funny bone and warm your heart.

Source: http://irresponsiblereader.com/2018/11/30/the-summer-holidays-survival-guide-by-jon-rance-heart-warming-and-funny-bone-tickling
Review
4 Stars
A Charming, Dark, and (somehow) Fun Serial Killer Tale
My Sister, the Serial Killer - Oyinkan Braithwaite

Ayoola summons me with these words -- Korede, I killed him.

 

I had hoped I would never hear those words again.

 

That's one of the best pair of opening sentences I can recall. How do you not get hooked right there? You get so much in those two sentences, you know that Ayoola has killed multiple times, at least three (otherwise, Korede would've said something like "What, again?"); the fact that she says "him," instead of "someone" or a name suggests that Korede will know who she's talking about without explanation; and you hear a put upon sibling fed up with their sister's antics.

 

And yeah, that's the book in essence -- Ayoola has killed her third boyfriend (in self-defense, she swears . . . again), and calls on her big sister to come help clean up. Korede's a clean freak -- she's not quite OCD, but close. When life gets stressful, she cleans, and with her little sister, she's got plenty of stress in her life.

 

Korede is beginning to think that Ayoola might not just be the innocent girl who has been able narrowly escape assault. Three kills, she's read online, qualifies you to be a serial killer. And what's worse -- the doctor that Korede has unrequited feelings for has caught her sister's eye, too (and vice versa) -- and that can't be good for him. I had about a dozen ideas how this was going to end -- and I was wrong on every point. Which is good, because Braithwaite's ideas were far better than mine would've been. She zagged when most would've zigged and nailed the resolution to this book.

 

This is enough to make an entertaining and suspense filled book. But then you throw in the characters that Braithwaite has created and things take on a different twist.

Korede's a nurse -- a demanding, dedicated, compassionate one. Ayoola is a vapid knockout who knows that it doesn't matter what she knows, does, or thinks -- she's convinced that all she has to do is continue to look good and make men feel good about themselves and she's set. This seems shallow, but neither Ayoola or Korede can prove that she's wrong.

 

The dynamic of the long-suffering, responsible, plain(er) sibling doing the right thing and looking out for the spontaneous, outgoing, super attractive one isn't new. Adding a mother who takes the responsible one for granted and dotes on the other, doesn't change things, either. But somehow, Braithwaite is able to depict these three in a way that seems wholly familiar (so you can make assumptions about a lot of the relationship) and yet it feels so fresh she might have invented the archetypes.

 

If Jennifer Weiner lived in and wrote about Lagos, Nigeria and included murders in a tale of sibling rivalry and learning to accept yourself -- you'd get something a lot like this book. There's an intangible, ineffable quality to Braithwaite's writing that I cannot capture better than that -- but it's better than my illustration sounds. The story goes to some really dark places, and there's really no reason to find the characters or story so charming -- but that's all down to Braithwaite's fantastic authorial voice. Yes, it's about murder, the importance of family, self-sacrifice and what's more important in this life -- skill, intelligence and dedication, or beauty and sex appeal; but you might as well be reading about Bridget Jones counting cigarettes and worrying about Daniel Cleaver and Mark Darcy.

 

One other thing -- this is just a wonderfully designed book. The size -- smaller than your typical hardcover -- is distinctive, the typeface used in chapter headings and page numbers are peculiar enough to stand out. The whole thing just feels like a different kind of book. Does this make an impact on your enjoyment of the novel? Probably not, but I appreciated the experience and look.

 

I can't think of enough ways to praise Braithwaite -- there's an intangible quality to this book that just won me over pretty much on page one. You will not believe that this is her first novel -- and you will hope it's not her last. The sibling rivalry story was well-told and engaging, the hospital stories were enough to be the core of a very different novel by themselves, the serial killer story was unpredictable. The characters are the kind that you'll remember for a long time. Stop reading me and go find a copy of this book.

 

2018 Library Love Challenge

Source: http://irresponsiblereader.com/2018/11/27/my-sister-the-serial-killer-by-oyinkan-braithwaite-a-charming-dark-and-somehow-fun-serial-killer-tale
Review
3 Stars
A Creepy and Fast Adventure
Small Town Nightmare - Anna Willett

She wondered how much she should reveal. Her history was painful, and rehashing it for a stranger wouldn’t really help.

 

“It’s complicated, but I know he wouldn’t not show.”“Not unless something stopped him?” Damon asked, finishing her thought.

 

“Something or someone.” As she spoke, they rounded a bend and the road tapered downwards. In the distance she could see a cluster of buildings dotted with patches of open fields and circled by forests. Night Town. The sight of it sent a ripple of gooseflesh running up her arms.

 

“You think he’s down there somewhere?” Damon had turned in his seat and was studying her as if searching her reaction.

 

“It’s the last place he mentioned before disappearing.” She gripped the wheel tighter. “If he’s there, I intend to find him.”

 

When your younger brother, the one you spent a few years raising yourself after your parents' death, goes missing -- you throw caution to the wind to go find him. Especially if you're a gutsy crime reporter like Lucy. She heads of into a part of the country she's not familiar with, into a town she'd never heard of, to find out what happened to her brother in the week since she'd heard from him last. Along the way, she comes across a helpful stranger -- a drifter of sorts, like her brother -- who is willing to lend a hand to the search. Lucy doesn't care (much) why he's willing to help, she's just glad someone is taking her seriously.

 

When she gets to Night Town (such a friendly, welcoming name, isn't it?), she's met with general apathy toward her plight -- and maybe a trace of antagonism. It's tough to say why people are so resistant to helping her -- maybe because she's a stranger, maybe they don't like drifters, Lucy could come up with a dozen reasons, but that wouldn't change things. None of the local residents seem inclined to help. It's a good thing she's found Damon. One of the men at the local police station seems indifferent (at best) to her problem, but the Senior Sergeant is eager to take a report and do what he can to find her brother.

 

Now, as is the norm for small fictional towns that outsiders find trouble in, there's one family that owns about half the town, and employs the other half. Samuel Nightmesser is the only living representative of that family at the moment, so Lucy and Damon look into him (lacking any other ideas, hoping they'll come to them), while Senior Sergeant Day investigates in a more official capacity. We don't see much of the official investigation, but it's reassuring to know that not everyone in town is necessarily in Nightmesser's pocket.

 

It soon becomes evident that there's more afoot than a missing drifter, and that someone in town is prepared and willing to take steps to dissuade Lucy from turning over any more rocks to see what's underneath. The reader knows a bit more than Lucy, and learns pretty quickly that there's more to some of the people in her life than meets the eye. From there, it's just a matter of Lucy and her associates putting the pieces together, uncovering all that's afoot and trying to survive -- and maybe help her brother to survive, too.

 

It didn't take me long to write in my notes that "this is going to get creepy soon." It did. I also noted "this is going to have an ugly end." It did, and not necessarily in the way I expected. I also guessed right about a couple of identities. I think most readers will guess these things around the same point I did. Doing this doesn't make any of the reveals or the novel less effective. If anything, it helped build the tension, because you were waiting for particular shoes to fall. I should also add, that there were at least three reveals and twists that I didn't see coming, and one of them took me completely by surprise.

 

The morbid and creepifying elements of this book are really well done -- I'd have liked to seen a bit more of them, honestly (and I don't typically need a lot of that -- but it would've helped, I think). Willet has a gift for using that kind of thing to reveal character, not just to advance the plot. I should probably note there's at least one sentence toward the end of the novel that you should probably not be eating anything while you read. Just a friendly tip -- set aside your snacks during the last 20 percent of the book.

 

The action is fast, the book grabs your attention and keeps it throughout -- there's not a lull in the action and there's nothing dull within a mile of the text. It's a quick read (perhaps, too quick) and one that'll keep you entertained.

 

I want to stress that I enjoyed Small Town Nightmare, and my guess is that I'm not alone in this. However, it felt rushed. It felt undercooked. If things -- details, tension, mystery, relationships, etc. -- had been given a little more time to develop and grow; if threads hadn't been left dangling (or had been cut entirely); if motivations were clearer; I can easily see myself excited about recommending it. But, I can't do that -- I can recommend it, and I do think most of my readers will like it. I'm just not over the moon about it.

---
My thanks to damppebbles blog tours for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials they provided, which did not influence my opinion, merely gave me something upon which to opine.

Source: http://irresponsiblereader.com/2018/11/26/small-town-nightmare-by-anna-willett-a-creepy-and-fast-adventure
Saturday Miscellany - 11/24/18

Naturally, after a big week last week -- a small list. But I quite like the list of odds 'n ends over the week about books and reading that caught my eye. You've probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:

  • Recommended: Jane Mount and Oyinkan Braithwaite I don't listen to every episode of this podcast, honestly. Usually only if there's a guest like/want to hear from or at least one book I want to hear someone talk about. This episode features people less-than-3'ing The Phantom Tollbooth and Jane Eyre -- Braithwaite charmed me, I was very pleased when I realized she was the author of My Sister the Serial Killer, which I'd just checked out from the library.

  • Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch -- the gloves are off and the Folly (and the rest of the Metropolitan Police) are giving everything they have to take down the Faceless Man. Best of the series, a href="https://wp.me/p3z9AH-3Ah" target="_blank">as I said recently.
  • My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite -- Not only does Braithwaite had great taste in books (see above), she's written a witty and dark tale of a Nurse who finds her self trying to protect a sister with a knack for killing her boyfriends.
  • August by Jim Lusby -- A dark crime story involving child abuse, the drug trade, populist politicians and more in Ireland. Bought it instantly, and trying to find a spot in my calendar for it.
  • Big Damn Hero by James Lovegrove -- The first Firefly novel -- a job for Badger goes wrong. Whoda thunk it?

Lastly, I'd like to say hi and extend a warm welcome to Moonlight Snow, Fashion-Creative thinking and jennifertarheelreader for following the blog this week.

Source: http://irresponsiblereader.com/2018/11/24/saturday-miscellany-11-24-18
Review
3 Stars
What comes next for the Star-Crossed Axel and Helen
Degrading Orbits - Bradley Horner

So, in each of the three books by Horner that I've read, he throws his readers deep into a technologically-enhanced future that requires a very specialized vocabulary. The books are chock full of what I'll be calling SF hooptedoodle, which is cool -- it can be intimidating at times, it can be overwhelming at times, but it suits his fiction well. Now, in Darkside Earther (this book's predecessor), Horner told a sweet teen love story surrounded by SF hooptedoodle. Degrading Orbits, on the other hand, frequently feels like a swamp of SF hooptedoodle with a little bit of a human story here and there.

 

This is all about the fallout from the climatic events from Darkside Earther, how Axel's parents are trying to save him, the Ring, and their careers (not necessarily in that order). They do this by putting Axel under the care of a security team to protect, heal and train him into being what his parents need him to be.

 

The biggest part of this protection and training takes the form of cutting off all communication with Helen and the rest of his friends and former life. Axel obviously doesn't want this, but is unable to do anything else.

 

Thankfully, Helen, his friends and the large gaming community they're part of are busy trying to hack into his brain -- among other things. We don't get to see most of what they're up to, but we do get to hear summaries of it in the brief moments that Axel and Helen get to spend communicating. And it sounds very promising.

 

My biggest problem with this book is that Helen and Axel have practically zero agency -- what they do has almost no impact at all on the events of this novel. And the events of the novel aren't affected all that much (with one exception) by anything Axel does. Now, it's pretty clear that what they did do in this novel will have huge impact on what's to come. But here it was less useful than using a piece of crabgrass to pick a deadbolt. I know that's how things have to go sometimes, but it's more than frustrating in a novel.

 

I liked these characters going in and was looking forward to seeing how they recovered from the previous book. So I was a little disappointed in this one, but I do have every confidence that this was necessary to set up a great finale. I'm looking forward to being proven right. In the meantime, I had enough fun watching Axel get put through his paces and Helen trying to save the day. I even enjoyed trying to suss out what was going on with the SF hooptedoodle.

 

In the end, while this didn't work for me as much as I wanted it to, I still enjoyed it and am looking forward to seeing how Horner wraps up this trilogy -- I'm sure that this book set up things for that conclusion in such a way that the things that I wasn't crazy about in Degrading Orbits won't be as prominent in it. It's a good book, even with my quibbles -- but it could've been a little better.

Source: http://irresponsiblereader.com/2018/11/23/degrading-orbits-by-bradley-horner-what-comes-next-for-the-star-crossed-axel-and-helen
Review
3 Stars
...and other useful and cute advice on feline care for the younger set.
Kitties are Not Good to Eat - Cassandra Gelvin

This is just adorable. That's really all I have to say.

 

This is a board book -- I'd honestly forgotten those existed -- so dial those expectation in to the correct channel. This is a collection of cute cat pictures (you know, the things the Internet was full of before we entered the era of heightened political discourse we're now in) that are sure to delight little kids. Accompanying these pictures are handy rhyming tips like, "Kitties were not made to fly / And they do not want to try."

 

Maybe not advice you need, but for a 2 year-old this could be life changing stuff -- life extending, even.

 

The photos are fun, the text is, too. I can't imagine that the target audience of a board book (or their electronic equivalent) wouldn't love to hear this read to them a few times a day. Potentially more importantly, this won't become really annoying to the reader all that quickly (it will eventually, but what doesn't?)

 

A cute book that will entertain and/or not annoy -- that's pretty much all you can hope for with a board book. Give this a shot.

 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest take.

Source: http://irresponsiblereader.com/2018/11/23/kitties-are-not-good-to-eat-by-cassandra-gelvin-and-other-useful-and-cute-advice-on-feline-care-for-the-younger-set
Review
4 Stars
A heart-wrenching noir love story.
Know Me from Smoke - Matt Phillips

If you're looking for an example of noir -- in the classic sense -- look no farther than Matt Phillips' Know Me from Smoke. You can tell that's going to be the case from the opening paragraphs. The first chapter builds on those first three or four paragraphs and sets the atmosphere, the mood, the tone for the rest of the book -- and pretty much casts a spell on the reader, too. The second chapter -- where we meet our second protagonist firms that up, and from there Phillips builds on this foundation to deliver a book that will stay with you long after you're done with it.

 

But let's step back from that for a minute -- we begin by meeting Stella Radney. She's in her mid-40's, a lounge singer, and a widow still grieving her murdered husband twenty years after his death. During the robbery that left Virgil dead, Stella was shot as well and the bullet's still in her hip -- a constant reminder that her loss and pain are physical as well as emotional. Both pains seem a bit fresher in the beginning of the book because Stella's been informed that new DNA technology (unavailable 20 years ago), has led the DA's office to reopen the case and they hope to have an arrest soon. Stella's feeling a little raw, hanging on only by more alcohol than is probably good for her and losing her self regularly in the music she performs.

 

Royal Atkins is a free man, a man with a second chance -- a convicted killer released on a technicality and determined to make the best of his second chance. Sadly, a couple of men at his halfway house decide that the best thing for Royal would be to join them and pull a few stickups -- and a few other forms of robbery as well. Royal resists -- but it's as clear to him as it is to the reader that this won't last.

 

Stella and Royal meet and the chemistry is instantaneous. The chapter where they meet for the first time is possibly the best chapter I've read this year -- just magic. For obvious reasons, Royal edits the personal history he tells Stella, and his associates from the halfway house use this to blackmail him into going along with them. He's trying to build a new life, she's trying to rebuild her life, and neither of them want to be alone in the process.

 

So we get to watch the growing love story of Stella and Royal, Royal's history being used against him, the crime spree, and the certainty that this is going to all going to come to a messy end. A little before the halfway point, I put in my notes, "if I stop, some broken people get to live a decent life. If I read another chapter or two, everything will fall apart and lives will be ruined. So tempted to walk away from it." I really was -- I liked these two so much, I wanted to let them have this chance.

 

But there was no way I was going to stop, Phillips' prose was too good to abandoned, and I had to see what actually happened to these characters (no matter how inevitable the end seemed). Seriously, I'd have kept reading just so Stella could think about her relationship to music and songs some more -- those sections of the book are practically poetry.

 

There's conversation between a couple of characters about Pulp Fiction -- and Tarantino's work feels appropriate to this book. But not that movie. Jackie Brown is the movie that this feels like. Maybe the novel, too, but I haven't read Rum Punch. They're both from the same species of sweet, second-chance at love story in the middle of a story of crime, criminals and ex-cons.

 

This is going to go for my entry for "Read a book you chose based on the cover" in the While You Were Reading challenge -- it's not entirely true, but the cover is fantastic and got me to read the blurb a few times, so it's close enough.

 

I love that title, too.

 

There's just so many things that are right about this book, and so little that's wrong. This is a winner -- it'll grab you by the heartstrings, will pull you along through the highs and lows of this story, and only let you go some time after you finish (I'm not sure how long that effect will last, but it's been almost a week and it really hasn't let go yet).

Review
3.5 Stars
Who needs to drink when you can have this much fun reading?
Dry Hard - Nick Spalding

Kate Temple's in PR, Scott Temple's a marketing director for a distillery. Both of them rely on alcohol to get through their days (and nights). They used to have each other to rely on and curb their use, but as they've become more successful, they have to do more things away from each other and they really don't have anyone to watch out for them. Also, because they spend less time with each other, both have a hole they need to fill throughout their days -- which usually involves more drinking.

 

Things are getting bad enough that they both endanger their jobs (not to mention the property and safety of others) thanks to drunken escapades. But this doesn't give either of them much pause -- if anything it drives them to the bottle even more. Their teenaged daughter, Holly, can't understand why these two can't see how bad their drinking is, how much it's hurting their marriage, how much it's affecting her life. So, at Christmas, she decides to secretly film them at their drunken worst (which starts pretty early in the evening) and then she shows it to them, hoping this video intervention will awaken them to their problem.

 

It doesn't work -- her parents defend their drinking, downplay the mortifying things they do on video and generally blow her off. So in a fit of adolescent pique, she uploads the video to YouTube so her friends can see it. But the video catches the attention of a couple of popular YouTube celebrities and next thing they know, Kate and Scott are a viral sensation.

 

This very public shaming convinces them that they need to make some changes, and decide to cut out drinking totally. Holly tries to get them public support by uploading videos chronicling their efforts to live dry for a year, attaching the hashtag #DryHard. Things do not go well -- well, maybe well, but not smoothly.

 

Now, here's where Spalding distinguishes himself from almost every other writer on the planet -- he makes all of that hilarious. Yes, Holly's going through a lot because of her parents, but even in the way that Spalding describes it, her hardships are funny. At the 14% mark, I wrote in my notes "I have no idea if he can tell a story, but Spalding can make me laugh!"

 

I can thankfully report, he can tell a story -- and still makes me laugh. The comedy comes from the situations, from the slapstick-y way his characters navigate the situations, and just the way he narrates (typically through the protagonists' voices). It's not just one thing that he does well -- he can bring the laughs through multiple channels. Yes, the couple are careening toward rock bottom, but you laugh about it; yes, they're dealing with very serious life and death issues -- but Spalding makes you find the humor in the situations; they have monumental struggles that don't go away just because they sober up, but you'll ber chuckling and chortling while watching them flounder.

 

Oh, also, this has nothing to do with the plot, but Spalding's description of Gin Fawkes -- a flavored gin using orange peel and cinnamon produced by Scott's distillery -- is enough to make me consider becoming a teetotaler. Fantastic stuff. Funny and horrifying in equal measures.

 

This is the story of a family in crisis and the great lengths they go to to preserve that family. That right there sells me on the book -- everyone wants the same thing -- Kate and Scott's marriage to recover. There's not one person in the family thinking of pulling away, there's not one more committed than the rest -- both spouses are flawed and fallible, even Holly makes mistakes and loses her way, however briefly. No one's blameless, no one's to blame, Scott and Kate have got themselves to this point together, and together they'll make it out. Too many books like this will take the "side" of one spouse -- one is committed, one is faithful, one is stupid and blind to their own faults and one is the bigger/wiser person, etc., etc. Spalding doesn't do that -- he presents the Temples as mutually dysfunctional, mutually aspirational, and human.

 

Unlike a lot of similar authors, if Spalding had the opportunity for an honest, heartfelt emotional scene or a series of laughs -- he'd pick the laughs 99 times out of 100. Thankfully, if he could go for a fairly honest and quite heartfelt scene with laughs, he'd go for that too. If he'd gone for fewer laughs and more of the honest and heartfelt moments, he might have a more complex, realistic, and substantive novel. Something more akin to Jonathan Tropper or Nick Hornby at their best. Instead, Spalding produced an entertaining, funny and frequently hilarious novel. The substance is there -- but it's hidden and easy to miss between the chuckles.

 

If you take the time to look for the substance/depth -- you'll find it and appreciate its presence. If you don't and just laugh, you'll be fine and have a good time -- either way, you win.

 

This was my first Nick Spalding book -- it will not be my last. Fast and funny -- I had a blast reading this and laughed out loud more than I can remember doing in a long time. Read this. You'll enjoy it.

 

Disclaimer: I received this eARC from Amazon Publishing UK via NetGalley in exchange for this post -- thanks to both for this.

Source: http://irresponsiblereader.com/2018/11/21/dry-hard-by-nick-spalding-who-needs-to-drink-when-you-can-have-this-much-fun-reading
Craig Johnson in Boise

I put off posting this to go along with the blog post for the book. Which I expected to do a month and a half ago. Whoops.

 

To celebrate the release of his new book in September, Rediscovered Books, brought Craig Johnson to town for a reading, signing and whatnot -- continuing something they've been doing since Johnson first started doing public appearances.

 

Johnson started off talking about his connection with Rediscovered and the early days of touring and public appearances. Then he sifted into talking about the new book (The Depth of Winter) and some of the preparation work he did for the book -- including a snowy trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and a visit to Mexico where his guide kept insisting that he not tell anyone who he was (he'd be too attractive to kidnappers).

 

He did a little reading from the first chapter of the book -- Johnson comes across as a natural at this. No offense to George Guidall, but Johnson would make a great Longmire audiobook narrator. Then he shifted to audience questions -- which ranged from some talk about the TV series (maybe too much of that, but that's probably just me) to the similarities between Vic and Mrs. Johnson to some of the early writing of the series. Johnson quickly and deftly transitioned from an answer to the question to an anecdote along the same lines, giving the audience member what they wanted to know and more. It was really one of the better Q&A sessions that I've been present for.

 

Then the signing kicked off -- when my friend and I got close we heard a great story about Grace Slick's reaction to The Western Star (I'd have paid good money for that story). My friend got in a good question and then it was my turn. And I got a refresher on why I blog instead of doing a podcast or vlog. Aside from one almost clever response to something he said, all I could muster up was 3-4 "Thank You"s to getting the picture, his signature and whatnot. No interesting question, no insightful comment about the series, observation about his work -- or even an articulate appreciation for something about his writing. Nope. Just "Thank you," and a feeling of inadequacy and inarticulateness.

 

Before the event, while my friend and I were waiting in line to pay for parking, I see a gentleman walk up wearing a large hat. I mutter something to myself about hoping I didn't get stuck behind this guy, because between that hat and his height, there was no way I'd be able to see Johnson. Actually, given the "Western wear" the guy was sporting, he could almost pass for Johnson, I remember thinking. Except this gentleman was younger than I remembered pictures of Johnson appearing. Naturally, about ten minutes later, we're talking to people sitting in the same row who talked about riding up in the elevator with Johnson. I said something about talking myself out of thinking he was in line behind us for parking. They replied with something about the green plaid shirt and I felt like the world's worst fan. Clearly, I care more about a writer's words than his appearance. On the plus side, not recognizing him spared both of us the opportunity to unleash my eloquence on him earlier.

 

That aside, it was a great night -- Johnson can tell a story in person as well as he can on paper. Sure, the audience was already predisposed to enjoy him -- but he kept our attention and rewarded it. If you have a chance, I highly recommend going to one of his public appearances -- you'll have a blast.

Review
3 Stars
Walt Goes South of the Border on a Rescue Mission
Depth of Winter - Craig Johnson

Spoilers for The Western Star appear below, read at your own risk if you haven't caught up.
---

"I wish we had more weapons."

 

I thought about the fact that we pretty much just had the Colt at my back, the FN, and the collection of antique weaponry in the gym bag. “Me, too.”

 

He lit the cigar and pocketed the lighter. “You know he is going to kill you.”

 

“I know it’s a possibility.”

 

He took a deep puff, savoring the tobacco, and then slowly exhaled. “I’d say it’s a probability.”


With just a little adjustment to what happened at the end of The Western Star, Johnson picks up shortly after Walt takes off on the trail of Tomás Bidarte who has arranged for the kidnapping of Cady. It's a suicide mission and not one with much likelihood of success -- but Walt's convinced he has no choice and is determined he will survive long enough to get Cady freed. He has no plan (that we know of) to keep her safe after he's dead, but seems to believe he'll have made her safe beforehand.

 

To do this, he elicits some help from a maverick-y US Border Patrol agent and some interesting characters from a blind and legless man who serves as Walt's guide, his nephew, and a former spy turned doctor to help him get to and infiltrate Bidarte's compound. The most intriguing of Walt's new allies is a young man named Isidro, a Tarahumara and a sharpshooter that puts Vic to shame. Both his mannerisms and backstory really sold me on him -- more than I expected.

 

I've pushed off writing this post because I'm not sure what to say about it. Yes, it was exciting. Yes, there's a lot of good action -- and seeing Walt out of his element, dependent upon others to explain the world around him and for backup is a nice change of pace.

 

But . . .

 

It's not Walt Longmire. Walt's an honorable man. A man of law and order (I know, I know...he's also going to make exceptions where Cady is concerned). He's a guy who figures things out, he's not a one man (or one man with strong support) vigilante army. That Walt is hard to find in this book, replaced with some sort of not-quite Bryan Mills-level action hero.

 

Bidarte's become some sort of super-villain. Some sort of strange mashup of a James Bond villain and the head of a CBS procedural's Drug Cartel. And that was hard to take. I also have a hard time swallowing the idea of . . . well, I can't talk about that without spoiling anything. But there's an auction -- and I can't buy: 1. the idea of it; 2. the number of bidders; 3. how that all played out. If you read/will read the book, you'll know what I mean.

 

I am so glad I got to meet Isidro, and I wouldn't mind more time with The Seer and the doctor and their families -- or even the Border Patrol agent (he'd be a lot of fun with Walt's FBI or State Police friends). But under very different circumstances. The story is exciting -- there's some good chuckles, a couple of great fight scenes, a lot of heart. There's a lot to commend this book for. But it's not a Walt Longmire book to me, and that's its fatal flaw.

 

Going into this, I feared it'd be Johnson's equivalent to Parker's A Catskill Eagle, a book that had Parker's character act out of character on his mission to save the most important woman in his life. But I hoped that Johnson would be able to avoid the problems that Parker ran into. I don't think he succeeded, I'm sure that others will disagree. This one just didn't do much for me, and the more time I think about it, the worse it fares. So I'm going to try to not think about it again for a while.

 

I do look forward to seeing Walt back in Wyoming, dealing with some/all of the fallout and repercussions of the events of this book. But most of all I look forward to seeing Walt be Walt again.

Source: http://irresponsiblereader.com/2018/11/20/depth-of-winter-by-craig-johnson-walt-goes-south-of-the-border-on-a-rescue-mission