Tuesday, May 31, 2011

'The Basement' Deals with Things Below the Surface

Review: THE BASEMENT (Three Elephants 2010)
Author: Stephen Leather

I have to confess that when my own books began to climb the ranks on Amazon UK, my first thought upon looking at the other names up at the top was, "Who the heck is Stephen Leather?" It even sounded like a name I should know. Yet, I couldn't recall ever seeing his books before. So, I checked on Amazon.com. There he was, but not nearly as high up. WTF??? Now, I was exceedingly curious. Why the hell was this guy so popular in the UK, yet so little known outside that realm?

So, I took the only logical course of action. I downloaded a copy of one of his books, which in this case turned out to be THE BASEMENT, despite the slightly creepy cover with the steps leading down to the same, which evoked images somewhat reminiscent of SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.

But things aren't always as they appear. You can't judge a book by its cover. Because when I started to read this one, I was immediately hooked by the voice, which was funny. Yes, funny! See, it's written from the point of view of a guy named Marvin Waller who makes a few offhand observations about America and New York City, in particular. For instance, what a great place it is to kill people. Awesome! And how you can walk around anytime you like with a loaded gun stuck down your trousers. At this point, I'm dying. Um, of laughter. And, of course, you can get away with murder easy there. The secret is to blend.

But Marvin says he wouldn't really do any of these things. You see, Marvin is a writer. Or to be more precise, he's a screenwriter.

Now, Marvin does his screenwriting thing in a cramped little cubbyhole of an apartment with the bare minimum of furniture, because this is the way real writers do things. He is, of course, a stone genius who works on an old typewriter, because real writers work on typewriters, not computers. When Marvin isn't pounding the keys on his ancient typewriter, he's pacing the perimeter of his tiny apartment like a caged lion.

Thing is Marvin's humor masks his frustration and sadness over his inability to get his genius scripts produced, because he can't seem to get them directly into the producers' hands. All because of the damn secretaries! The secretaries of the world have it in for him! It's a conspiracy of secretaries, I tell you! Pinheads!

Ahem. Where were we?

Meanwhile, another narrative is introduced. This one involves an unfortunate woman named Sarah Hall, who's held captive by someone (the unseen narrator). This captor is cunning, ruthless, mean, merciless, twisted and all sorts of other awful adjectives. The captor forces Sarah to do demeaning things to fulfill some kind of sick urge. The narrative is told from the captor's point of view, so we are kept in the dark as to the captor's identity. This narrative is interwoven here and there within the main story and is, in fact, a part of it.

Okay. Let's get down to brass tacks. Torture. I'm not big on it. So ... were these scenes with Sarah Hall beyond the pale? Nope, not hardly. Not one single nightmare resulted from reading this book. The scenes manage to strike a fine balance between being horrifying and suspenseful. For me, the horror wasn't so much the depiction of any physical torture, as the workings of the mind of a torturer.

So, back to the main story. In a desperate bid to bypass the secretarial wall, Marvin takes his pacing from the confines of his flat to the streets fronting the apartment buildings where the producers live, which creates all sorts of problems between himself and various doormen (more gatekeepers!), which leads to some priceless funny dialogue. However, because there's a serial killer on the loose in New York City and Marvin is acting weird, the cops are called. Way to blend, Marvin! :) I mean, not that he's doing anything illegal. He knows his rights. He'll give you chapter and verse of the Bill of Rights and even quote Terry v. Ohio. Impressive! :-)

Once the cops are called, they become a regular nuisance. Showing up all the time, asking questions. Again, lots of funny banter, but matters turn more serious the farther into the book you get.

So, here's the thing. Who is the unseen narrator? Is it Marvin? Does the fact that he's writing a screenplay about a serial killer who becomes a bestselling author tell you anything? Or does Leather want you to think that? Hmm ...

The end came as something of a shocker. And heartbreaking. Yes, heartbreaking! After all, serial killers are sociopaths. And sociopaths manipulate people into trusting them. Then treat the people who trusted them without mercy. And things aren't always as they appear. And writers are such clever liars.

Now my question is, "Why the heck haven't I heard about this awesome author Stephen Leather before?"

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Zen Interior Decorating and Design

Zen Buddhism, a way of thinking and living branches of art. Zen Zen home decor is related to the principle of daily life, which emphasized simplicity and natural harmony. No right or wrong. You do not need a bamboo mat or commercial screen to make your home more Zen. Zen decoration is flexible and unlimited. It all depends on how you imagine the harmony and hope into a tangible image.

Zen Interior Decorating and Design Ideas

Zen Interior Decorating and Design Ideas

The key to Zen is a simple decoration. Our aim is to create a harmonious interior, a simple flow, there is no obsticals, clutter, or on the road, so you 'is' in the moment uneccesary project. Although Zen is a simple decoration, project, in every family should have a specific use, although they simple clear, with strong features.

Zen Interior Decorating and Design IdeasZen Interior Decorating and Design Ideas

Zen to work within, it means using more natural materials to decorate your home. Tone in the home should be simple, and furniture around the house you should have simple, clean lines, and should meet the same color scheme. You can also add attachments, create a Zen room, but that in the carpet weaving areas, different plants and simple flower arrangements, rice lights, and even stones and silk pillows on the couch.

  1. Zen Interior Decorating and Design Ideas

Zen Interior Decorating and Design Ideas

Natural lighting is also very important, because Zen encourages the entire home furnishings and large windows let in the light feeling is very easy to create a more favorable state of meditation. If you are going to your home to a new level, you can also consider creating a Zen garden. The idea is to work with you in this way home you will find a balance between form and space, whether you look or go.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

How About a Little Library Theater?

Public libraries have done quite a bit lately to upgrade services to keep patrons happy and assure their continuing, um, patronage. They've done this, of course, in order to justify their own existence and maintain already nearly non-existent frugal budgets.

So, in a town that's known for its theater, is it such a stretch that the New York Public Library would incorporate theater into its offerings?

Damn, if my public library did this, I'd probably look for excuses to borrow books. A lot. :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Hardboiled Detective is on the Case in 'Black Shadows'

Review: BLACK SHADOWS (Wild Wolf Publishing 2011)
Author: Simon Swift

BLACK SHADOWS takes place back in a time when dames was dames and men wore fedoras. Detectives talked tough, threw punches and pounded the pavement looking for clues, solving crimes because when a detective gets killed it's bad for business and bad for detectives everywhere.

So, it takes place in New York City, circa 1940.

Private dick (aka, detective) Errol Black, aka, Eezy, is sitting in his office when the lovely Claudia comes in and hires him to follow her no-good fiance, George Ferriby, who she thinks is stepping out on her. Why, that awful man! But wait! Then, there's a redhead, and her name is Marlow. Hmm ... sound familiar? Anyhow, Marlow says she's Claudia's sister -- well, not really her blood sister, but her best friend in the whole world.

So ... whilst this is going on there are these other guys doing stuff. (BTW, do you like that word? Whilst? Because you're going to see it a lot. :)) In fact, there's a fat man known as the Coward. Or the Portly Gangster. Maybe. He has a kid with a gun working for him. And it seems a dame is associated with them. I won't say who. Does this sound at all familiar? They want to meet Black up in Woodstock. And hold a rock concert? Of course not. They want to find something. And it's not the Maltese Falcon, believe it or not.

And somehow this all relates to the murder of Dyke Spanner, Black's former partner at The Shadow Man Detective Agency which died with Terry Shadow (accidentally) in a Mob hit on Arthur Flegenheimer five years before.

Plus the Tong, aka, the Chinese mafia, are all mixed up in this, too.

Oh, did I mention the plot is a bit complex? Maybe you've already sussed that out.

Suffice it to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Simon Swift is a clever wordsmith. Thus, some of the book's familiar criminal scenarios read far better than they might in less capable hands. And the plot was a most meandering tangle of threads ... but it all works out somehow, right? :)

And, I might add that Swift can be awfully funny, too. However, even though you might get the idea that Black is like any old hardboiled PI, he isn't just Sam Spade, okay? He actually seems to have a heart, which makes him different and interesting. But he ain't mushy, either. You got that?

So, if you enjoy the old hardboiled detective novels, you're in for a real treat. Because this is a book that truly harkens back to a time when dames was dames and men wore fedoras and detectives were tough talkers. There's just one thing. There was no rock and roll in the 1940s. Oh, no! :-0

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Downloading eBooks from the Library

This article serves to remind us that just because you like to read ebooks, that doesn't mean you can't borrow titles from your local library.

Thanks to partnerships with Overdrive, thousands of public libraries can offer ebooks to their patrons. In fact, they're offered for download on a variety of gizmos with e-reader apps including iPhones, iPads, BlackBerry and Android devices.

And they say it won't be long before you'll be able to borrow ebooks from the library to read on your Kindle, too. OMG! :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Technicolor Sunrise, Singleton Hippie Art

Technicolor Sunrise(c) Singleton 2011"She rose.Rolled lazily out from underthe tumbling,rumbling Acqua tide,and stretched her pajamed arms up...up....up...The Morning Sea splashed her.tickled her Chin,her toes,her soul.....And she smiled,just barely...A Cheshire light rising....""Words and Artwork (c) Singleton 2011 A little Hippie Sunrise painted on the sands of the Inlet, in the early morning

Get Your Free eBooks Here!

You want free ebooks? Here's a list of ten Web sites that offer ebooks for absolutely no cost whatsoever!

Now why would I, an ebook author, post such a thing on this here blog?

Because it's quite likely you won't find the latest books on these sites, for one thing.

We're talking sites like Project Gutenberg. I mean, honestly? I don't think so.

Or Bartleby.com. Well, sure. The next time I want to read Euripides or Homer. Not that there's anything wrong with them. :)

Then there's Fictionwise. Okay, you may have a shot at finding something recent there. :)

Thai Wall Art Decors | Thai Wall Murals

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Chinese Murals With Dragon Grafiti Art Photos

Chinese Murals With Dragon Grafiti Art
Chinese Murals

Chinese Murals With Dragon Grafiti Art
 Dragon Grafiti Art 

Chinese Murals With Dragon Grafiti Art
Chinese Wall

Chinese Murals With Dragon Grafiti Art
 Dragon Art 
Chinese Murals With Dragon Grafiti Art
Chinese Art

Chinese Murals With Dragon Grafiti Art
Chinese Murals Grafiti

Chinese Murals With Dragon Grafiti Art

Dragon graffiti art, the dragon is a symbol of China's state is great. Therefore, the graffiti graphic design often found with the dragon theme, even in the use of China / China's own people, the dragon who became a power and strength of the graffiti graffiti artists want to tell a country is a terrible symbol of the dragon, you can conquer The world.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Baby Wall Paintings

Baby Wall Paintings
 If adults can enjoy these paintings, the children should enjoy the art, and they are still young. As a matter of fact, children are more intense awareness, because of their strong focus on the details. They also have vivid colors, especially the special attraction. This is why the most story books so that children will easily be attracted to it, and the colorful pages with stories of interest. You'll also notice, letters, numbers, and other decorations are used in kindergartens and primary schools are valued very bright, and their children are learning. This is a wall with children can also become art, teach them the same respect as art appreciation.

Baby Wall Paintings

Baby Wall Paintings
 Children are the perfect wall art for children in our bedroom place to hang, because it is they usually stay at home, they will sleep. Children often look around his room before going to sleep, trying to find what to see, that we finally turn off the lights. These paintings and other art on the wall, can be found in our children the art of the start.

Baby Wall Paintings

Baby Wall Paintings

We can also put other rooms, often these works, let the children stay. In this way, they can easily see these paintings, and began looking for them, to learn from them. They can be placed in the game room, music room, or baby room. Nursery wall decoration, but also in the baby's room or nursery, while the smaller children can feast their eyes on the beautiful colors and numbers, they can see their eyes perfect. Of course, parents will also be a collection of nursery wall decoration, for their own children and babies proud. This will give some parents the kind of joy, every time I see these wonderful children's room in their children's paintings hung.

Modern Nursery wall Art | Nursery Wall Decoration Ideas | Jungle Nursery Tree Wall Decals

Modern Nursery Wall Decals Idea
Jungle Nursery Tree Wall Decals

In decorating your child's room or nursery you'll never have to think every work of art or interior decoration, you will need to place there. They can really use it? Find the room color and works of art pieces is the baby / child safety and protection of the durable. Request assistance from the views of the store's sales staff. They can give you a voice to remind its products, such as hotcake sales. The walls are decorated baby's nursery kindergarten largest and most visible part. Background or mood of the room will be the color, drawing, nursery wallpaper, or art, you'd do for you as part of this project, you choose.

Modern Nursery Wall Decals Idea
Nursery Tree Wall Decals

For a little girl's room, hung with pink ribbon flower oil painting, put a pink carpet on the floor area. Install curtains compliment your color theme. Sell ​​baby boys and girls and blue bed sheets pink sheets. Used as the calm blue or green color. Place the baby on the ceiling to see, and they light the stars in bed. You should also consider the wooden floor, not wall to wall carpet. Carpet can harbor allergens may affect the baby's health.

Modern Nursery Wall Decals Idea
Jungle Nursery Tree Wall Decals

Select furniture pieces in the baby can consider them grow. Lead paint should be painted crib. Crib should meet safety standards. The room is decorated with drawers, cabinets, a changing table, chairs and swing. Compiled for future use the shelf when the baby becomes a child. Low shelves can be used as a storage place toys and other items. Buy shelf, you can show your baby 6 months earlier as some picture books.

Modern Nursery Wall Decals Idea
Modern Nursery wall Art 

Modern Nursery Wall Decals Idea
Nursery Tree Wall Decals

These shelves and paint walls and ceiling. The coating can also be used as disinfectants, making the room look clean and hygienic. Hang spelling out the name of the baby, if you have thought of a name for his or her wooden letters.


Baby Wall Art Photos

Baby Wall Art
Beauty Baby Wall Art

Baby Wall Art
Nice Baby Wall Art

Baby Wall Art
Baby Wall Art Image
Baby wall art can be a very simple appearance, will most likely alter the whole atmosphere belonging to the interior space making your kids happy. In order to get a baby nursery as cool wall decals creative space of possible using letters, animated heroes and beasts of the forest.
Baby Wall Art
Picture of Baby Wall Art

Baby Wall Art
Photo of Baby Wall Art

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Big Trouble in Little Tokyo in 'Stalking the Angel'

Review: STALKING THE ANGEL (Bantam Books 1992)
Author: Robert Crais

You might recall I previously reviewed THE MONKEY'S RAINCOAT, a private eye novel written at a time when that genre was considered to be on its last legs. That novel not only got nominated for a couple of major mystery writing awards, but it won an Anthony and a Macavity Award. In addition, it launched the Elvis Cole mystery series, comprised of a whole slew of novels. So much for prognostication, huh?

But this review is of Book Number Two, STALKING THE ANGEL, so let's just take things one step at a time, shall we?

I'll start off by noting that Elvis Cole is quick with a joke. So quick, he had me laughing out loud by Chapter One. That's pretty quick.

He meets his client, a Mr. Bradley Warren, standing on his head (Elvis, that is -- Warren is on his feet). Warren is in a suit. He blusters and frowns. This seems to be his specialty. That and glancing at his Rolex. He has a female (of course) assistant who is attractive (of course) and who abides her employer's attitudes (of course) for reasons only she knows.

Here's the problem: Someone has stolen a priceless Japanese manuscript called the Hagakure. Well, not really priceless -- worth more than three million dollars (BIG money in the late 1980s when this was first written). It belongs to one of his clients. Boy, do they need it back. The cops are involved, but they aren't getting the job done nearly fast enough. (Glancing at Rolex. Frowning.) Oh, and by the way, Warren is supposed to receive the Man of the Year Award in some big deal ceremony. Now isn't that special?

At this point, Cole takes quick action. He tells the would-be client to go pound sand.

*sigh* If only things were that simple. But then there would be no story, so ...

Cole takes the case. What follows is the obligatory visit to Warren's mansion, where comparisons are made to things so gargantuan that even Raymond Chandler might find them to be a bit of a stretch. :) Warren's wife, Sheila is dressed for tennis (what else?) and drunk before noon. Their daughter is teenaged, detached and (maybe) stoned. Hard to tell. Okay, so what's new?

All right, so even if we have seen this particular scenario before, that is so not the point. It's not that it's been done before, it's the WAY it's done that counts. And no one does it quite like Robert Crais.

No one else can take you into the heart of Little Tokyo, where Elvis has to go to investigate the case, and not only make you feel you're there, but ratchet up the suspense as he discovers a body killed in a most gruesome way, probably at the hands of the yakuza (the Japanese version of the Mafia).

In addition, Crais has the amazing ability to build build tension and suspense in his story to the point where you simply can't read fast enough, then suddenly insert something incredibly funny. But then -- boom! -- the moment's over, and things go south. And they turn dangerous. Or sad. Or solemn.

And, of course, there's Elvis' partner, Joe Pike. How could I overlook him? Never! He's essential. Pike is amazing, awesome, kick-ass -- call him what you will. Where would Elvis be without him? Is this a question that comes up later in the series? I wonder ... please, commenters, no spoilers. :)

Okay, so to sum things up, the daughter disappears. And Warren -- well, he just keeps on acting like, "Hey whatever. I'm Man of the Year! How about that?" This leads to stuff happening that's better discovered by simply reading the book, believe me. But know that things eventually get resolved. In a bittersweet way. Okay, a bit heavier on the bitter than the sweet, perhaps.

Have you ever heard of a plot device known as a MacGuffin? Hitchcock used it in his films. It was a thing the characters pursued that didn't really mean anything, but drove the plot. I don't think it's a spoiler to say the Hagakure probably qualifies as such.

PS: Has anyone noticed an interesting resemblance between the Hagakure and the title to this book? :) Just sayin'.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Brick Wall Clip Art

Although the monochrome and color is a popular attraction, so there is a room there are many contradictory elements. Through the use of black and white effect is to create a whole room is basically a blank canvas as a single color. Like its corresponding color, contrast black and white room can provide a focal point, and then use a bold color elements, such as bed covers or a piece of art.

Brick Wall Clip Art
Modern Brick Wall Clip Art

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Brick Wall Clip Art Picture

Brick Wall Clip Art
Brick Wall Clip Art Image

Keep up with trends. Use quilt to update your color scheme is a simple and affordable way to update any bedroom. Use of accents, green, orange, dark brown and gray to create a new and stylish bedrooms. The rebound in the neutral color scheme and unique black and white background, large bright indoor lighting to maintain and function.

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