Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Richard M. Cohen – I Want To Kill the Dog (Blue Rider Press)

I want to be perfectly clear upfront; I do not hate dogs, cats or any other pets. That being said, I came to the conclusion a few years back that pet ownership is a form of mental illness!

It was the story of a women who spent tens of thousands of dollars and involved a kidney transplant for a mutt including the purchase of a pure bred, cross country airplane trips for the surgery and $1500 per month anti-rejection drugs that drove me to the conclusion. A trip to the local SPCA or shelter could have rewarded this women with a wonderful loving animal, but she chose to squander a fortune on “a member of the family.”


So when I started reading Richard M. Cohen’s book, I Want To Kill the Dog, I thought I had found a kindred spirit. Cohen laments that his wife, TV personality Meredith Vieira and his family allowing the family mutt, Jasper to rule the roost. It sounds like Jasper was not the first of the four-legged ruler to run the show in his house.

After being subjected to fury terrorism, Cohen clearly is in my court and not bow wowing down at the pedestal of four-legged friend worship. For him a dog is just a dog, not a member of the family.

This short, at times humorous, little book elevates the value of family with a sense of humor over that of man’s so-called best friend.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

John Taylor – In the Pleasure Groove (Dutton)

Confessions of a music addict:
- I love music…a wide range and variety of music.

- I am also a fan of music related biographies even if they fall into the formula of something out of the Behind the Music series…you know; boy gets guitar, boy forms band, band becomes hit, band goes on tour, band gets girls, band does drugs, band has a falling out, guitar player goes to rehab and drummer goes back to delivering pizzas, guitar player gets clean, guitar player orders pizza and drummer delivers, a tearful reunion ensues with plans for a new album and tour!

- Duran Duran would not have been my first choice of 80s bands to have survived and continue to have a successful career three decades later.

I approached Duran Duran bass player John Taylor’s bio, In the Pleasure Groove, not from the perspective of a sweaty palmed fan, but that of a fan of music bios and Taylor’s thundering rhythm foundation he laid down with drummer Tony Thompson for the band Power Station.

Groove serves up a generous helping of all the usual go to storylines of a music bio; Taylor details his musical start during the heady punk rock days of the Sex Pistols and how has his skills developed not only did his sound evolve but also the band’s look, heavy on the eyeliner and women’s clothes.

The early days were replete with revolving door band members and the magic moment when the right mix of players came together to create what would become the final version of the band. Hitting the road and record deals come quickly followed closely by recording, debut albums and the nearly mandatory trek to the United States.

Taylor laces just the right amount of personal anecdotes that the formulaic story doesn’t become dull. Yes there are your standard stories of drugs, rehab, and a parade of model girlfriends and wives. In the Pleasure Groove is an entertaining, quick read.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rick Santorum – American Patriots: Answering the Call to Freedom (Tyndale House)

More often than not when we hear or read stories of America’s founding it is packaged in the form of group of men dubbed “the Founding Fathers.” With American Patriots: Answering the Call to Freedom, former Presidential candidate, Senator Rick Santorum delves into the deep bench of folks who sacrificed blood, sweat and fortune to contribute to the founding of this great nation.

Broken down into three section; Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness the book spells out 25 tales of the heroes to that founding. While the contributions of the likes of the familiar; Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Franklin are widely acknowledged, Santorum also provide detail into the likes of Dabney, Hart, Darragh, and Francisco and the critical role they played.

At a time when our nation is in danger slipping into an abysiss this book is a strong reminder the sacrifice those present at the founding made for the liberty that so many will so easily sacrifice for silly handouts from the government. I would recommend buying a copy for any Obama voter, but they would likely be too distracted by their Obama phone and too stupid to read it anyway.

 Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

Nelson DeMille – The Panther (Grand Central Publishing)

Nelson DeMille’s wise-cracking former,  New York detective turned terrorism fighter John Corey returns to working his way through the feline themed terrorists in the The Panther.

After finally dispatching the Lion, in a two book story arc, Corey and his FBI agent wife Kate Mayfield find themselves tossed into the role of bait for the terrorist who masterminded the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen.  DeMille spins his cast of familiar players  including; Anti-Terrorism task force members, double and triple dealing CIA types and equally suspect Middle Easterners who’s allegiance seem to be for sale to the highest bidder.

Demille’s storyline loses a bit of punch as the book drags between action sequences. It is his attention to detail, character and setting authenticity and Corey’s punch line humor that will carry the reader through the progression.

While Corey plays the buffoon, it is his tack sharp eye to detail that helps him see through the carefully drawn plotting of his demise, not only by the terrorists, but also his alleged allies in the in the CIA. In the end it is the skillful twists and turns crafted by DeMille that make him the master of the thriller.

While Demille’s usual suspects make appearances, those new to his stories will find The Panther entertaining and engaging.