Monday, October 23, 2017

Black Goat Blues By: Levi Black

Black Goat Blues (The Mythos War #2)Black Goat Blues by Levi Black
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great urban fantasy, I already said elsewhere that I love Lovecraftian stuff way more when Lovecraft doesn't do it. The Mythos war is a great series and Black Goat Blues is a tight, bloody, action packed visceral work. It is a pretty by the book urban fantasy series, but the sheer force and wonderful vision of the world and the characters make it worth the read.

I look forward to more of this world. check it out

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Breaking Good!

A Life in PartsA Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

That was really good. I mean really good! I knew I was going to enjoy it, because I'm a Brian Cranston/Breaking Bad fan, but this was exceptional.

Acclaimed actor Brian Cranston is a surprisingly good storyteller and the man has some stories to tell! I found this online in audiobook form with him doing the reading and that, imo, is the best way to read an autobiography. Who better to relate their life story than the person who lived it? Sure, some people absolutely suck at reading and shouldn't be allowed in a recording studio. Cranston's not one of them. He's got a great reading voice and he knows the passages requiring special inflection. At certain points, he acts this book and it's all the better for it.

As I alluded to earlier, Cranston has had an interesting life. From early childhood onward, his life has been a rollercoaster of unlikely twists and turns, pockmarked by the occasional emotional landmine. Even his parents provide intrigue and his take on their colorful pasts gives insight into his own.

After a thorough and thoroughly enjoyable retelling of his youth and early career paths, A Life in Parts takes us right up through Breaking Bad and a bit beyond. Being such a big BB fan, I knew I was going to enjoy that part of the book. However, I was extremely pleased to find myself fully engaged through out this most excellent autobio.

I give my highest recommendations for Cranston fans. Hell, I'd recommend this even if you weren't familiar with his work. If you like a good biography, this one won't let you down!

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Boston Crime in the '90s

A Drink Before the War (Kenzie & Gennaro, #1)A Drink Before the War by Dennis Lehane
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A crime drama set in '90s Boston?! Yes and thank you!

I came of age in the 1990s just 45 minutes outside of Boston. So much of this book speaks to me.

What didn't feel as intimate was the race relations/strife plot. There was one black family in my sleepy little suburban hometown when I grew up. I'm sure we had racists, but racism wasn't a thing because there weren't races, just a bunch of whities. The subject didn't come up unless it was in the newspapers. The city had its problems, has had its problems right along. A Drink Before the War touches upon Boston's race problem in a grand, as well as intimate, way.

Plot summary quickie: Two private investigators are tasked by local politicians to retrieve certain documents. The pair end up in the middle of a gang war. But something deeper and darker is going on, which pushes our heroes to go above and beyond the call of duty. Also, during the investigation one of the investigators struggles with memories of his own past while the other deals with an abusive husband. Big and small, political and personal storylines pulse throughout A Drink Before the War.

I loved the two main characters, maybe not as people, but at least as well developed characters. Why not as people? Well, no one is clean. I mean, just about everyone in this book has flaws. Some are bigger and harder to overlook than others. But Dennis Lehane was looking to prick his readers' moral repugnance and he did a hell of a job, all while telling a fast-paced thriller.

There's nothing wrong with this book from my perspective. So why didn't I give this a five star rating? It's fantastic! And yet, it doesn't quite feel like a masterpiece. Maybe it's because it spends most of its time in the dirt. You feel filthy after reading this one, tarnished by the crooked politicians, the degenerates, gangland violence, unrepentant slayings, etc. However, that was its intent and it succeeds...oh man, does it ever succeed.

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