Saturday, November 24, 2018

Master of Puppets

Hangman – Daniel Cole – (ECCO)

You never know quite what to expect when you crack open a novel from a new or new to you author. I missed Daniel Cole’s, Ragdoll – so the follow up, Hangman, it’s cast of characters and storyline was totally new to me. When I delved in, there was a a not unfamiliar chill that ran up my spine. I quickly concluded that it was the same chill I felt when I cracked open Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon, the book that first introduced us to the Hannibal Lecter character and the precursor to Silence of the Lambs.

This is not to say that Cole has copped a Lecter-like character as much as to say that he has spun a twisted, psychological thriller that is intricate and engrossing, and is bound to have you guessing every step of the way. Cole does a masterful job of delivering devastatingly unexpected twists. Bodies begin to appear, strung up in very public places, each etched with messages carved into their chests that proclaim “Bait” or “Puppet.” The question gets posited, is the Ragdoll killer back in action or a copycat, or is it a twisted new killer.

The carnage soon moves from London to New York City with a kicked up element of terror. Irascible and cranky, Detective Emily Baxter is back in a lead role in the investigation on both sides of the Atlantic. This time she gets paired with a British expat – CIA officer – Rouche, a mysterious character chock full of contradictions and nuances. At points I was convinced that he was behind the growing body count based on his loner quality. Cole plays out just enough of his personal life, to make Rouche to be just the right amount of sympathetic.

The story plays out in twists and turns, has Cole offers up red herrings and wrong turns as to who the master of puppets really is. Things get ratcheted up with each step along the way to the very frantic close. Even experienced mystery solvers and thriller fans will be left second guessing their deductions. Cole even manages to re-bait the hook and the end, for wherever the story is going next.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Run With the Big Dogs

The Corrosion of Conservatism - Why I Left the Right - Max Boot - (Liveright Publishing)

Max Boot is a self-alleged conservative, who with the rise of then candidate and now President Donald Trump coupled with the publication of this, his latest book, The Corrosion of Conservatism; Why I Left the Right, has declared his departure from the conservative side of politics due to what he  feels is a major departure truly conservative principles. He has boldly proclaimed himself to be "A man without a party."

Boot is one of  those guys; you know the type, the one's who are so self-aware and so much smarter than you and for that matter so much smarter than anyone else. He takes a mighty swing at trying to explain his reasoning, but ends up falling drastically short. Where he does succeed is in adding his name to the seemingly never ending list  of insufferable, never-Trumper assholes like: Bill Kristol, Jeff Flake, Rick Wilson, Joe Scarborough, Ben Sasse, Jeb Bush, Bob Corker, Evan McMullen, Steve Schmidt, and on and on. Take a close look at that list and what do these clowns have in common? Aside from an astounding lack of pragmatism (seriously do they think Hilary Clinton was a better alternative?) the other commonality is they are all capital L - LOSERS. You've got to ask yourself, why would anyone seek to add their name to that list?

In play here are a couple of unrealistic viewpoints; that we just need to work in a bipartisan fashion and get along with Democrats and we will get things done and be liked by the media. It is that ridiculous, wrong, mindset that kept Republicans shackled in the minority for decades!

Boot and his fellow losers can't seem to come to grips with the fact that politics is a blood sport that needs to  be played to win and that Trump is is current holder of the equivalent of the world championship belt. It boils down to  the difference to running with the big dogs or staying on the front porch. Boot can soothe his sore feelings with invites to liberal cocktail parties, safe in the knowledge that NO one sees his multiple appearances on CNN and MSNBC.