Monday, February 3, 2014

A Spanish American War Vet Gets the Ax

Reviewed by James L. Thane
Three out of five stars

On a bitterly cold January afternoon, the detectives of the 87th precinct are called to the basement of an apartment building where the building super is Mr. George Lasser. Lasser is eighty-six years old and a veteran of the Spanish American War. Lasser managed to survive the encounter with the Spanish and a whole host of other difficulties that beset the planet between 1898 and 1963, when this story was written. But when someone plants an ax in the middle of his skull, it's pretty much lights out for George.

There's no evidence pointing at the killer and all of the early suspects have what appear to be iron-clad alibis. This means that Steve Carella, Cotton Hawes and the other bulls are going to have to put in a lot of time and use up a lot of shoe leather, trying to determine who might have had it in for the old man. The guy's wife is totally nuts; his son refuses to leave the house; his three old buddies from the war have nothing to offer, and so there's not a lot of help there.

But Carella is nothing of not persistent, and pushing his network of snitches and other acquaintances, he finally begins to tease out a picture of the victim that may lead to the killer, though maybe not before he or she strikes again.

This is another solid entry in the 87th Precinct series and follows the formula that McBain had worked out in the previous seventeen books. Nothing wrong with that--it's a pretty entertaining formula.

Food, Glorious Food!

In Defense of Food: An Eater's ManifestoIn Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Books like this make me afraid to eat. Then they make me mad at the way I've been eating. Finally, they make me a better eater.

At the start, the idea seems simple: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." When I read that I thought, okay I can stop reading. I know that already, so I've got this shit down.

But what is food today? It may not be what you think it is. Most of what you find at the grocer's is not food. That complicates things just a little bit, doesn't it?

Pollan complicates that simple "eat food" mantra a lot. Which is not to say In Defense of Food is a complicated read. Indeed no, quite the opposite. He actually does an excellent job at explaining it all in layman terms (He even helped me figured out the glucose-to-triglicerides issue I have that two doctors failed to make me fully understand). It's not Pollan's fault eating has become difficult. The problem is that the seemingly simple act of eating these days is more difficult than it used to be for our grandparents due to the food engineering/fiddling that's been happening the last few decades.

There's oh-so much more info I could lay down here for you, but you wouldn't want to bite into a rotten apple, so why would you want me too spoil this for you? No, no, read In Defense of Food. It's enjoyable, it's quick and it's full of information. Ingesting this book will do your body good!