Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Reviews you can use (and a plug)

While I found this novel by Ms. French to be enjoyable on one level, on another I found it deeply disappointing. The novel is about a police investigation into a murder of a young girl who was destined to scale the heights of the ballet world. And one of the Irish detectives who is investigating the case was, when young, one of three children who were part of an unsolved murder/kidnapping/missing child case. As a youth he was found clinging to a tree in the same forest where the young ballet dancer was found murdered many years later.

So what we have here is ostensibly two parallel stories about two separate cases that took place in the same section of woods in Ireland. But what we get is one very good story about the murder investigation and one very sub par and unfulfilled story about the detective who tries to make sense of and piece together what happened to him when he was a young teen in those same woods.

Ms. French succeeds in telling one story but leaves the other to twist and ultimately die in a not satisfying manner. She creates a claustrophobic atmosphere that works well when she's writing about the murder of Katy Devlin, the young ballet dancer, but not so well in the underdeveloped story about the crimes that happened to the detective. I therefore recommend this one with many reservations. Had Ms. French reached satisfying conclusions to both of the cases in her novel then I'd recommend this one highly. It's a decent read.

Have you had enough of superhero graphic novels and collections where the superhero always wins? Are you tired of stories about the superhero who wears his or her undies on the outside of their costume, no matter how quirky or deconstructed? If so, then the wildly innovative and offbeat Chew is for you.

It's the story of a detective, Tony Chu, later a federal agent, who gets psychic impressions from the food he eats. If he eats a burger he can 'see' the life and death that that particular cow had. Same thing with all meats and anything he eats, except beets. So you can see how his 'talent' comes in handy in a world where the federal government has banned the cooking and eating of chicken due to 'bird flu.'

While investigating a murder of a government food inspector Chu bumps up against his estranged brother who is a former TV chef, the mob, chicken smugglers, Russians near the Arctic circle, his boss, and his own partner, who also shares Chu's weird talent. Chu also finds himself in love with a food writer who's talent is that she writes about food so well that people can taste whatever she writes about, which is great for Chu because he can finally taste food without having to relive all that happened to it before it became food.

I fucking love this character and this graphic novel collection. It's got quirky interesting characters, plenty of action, plenty of interpersonal drama, a smidgen of science fiction, and a super interesting story that is a wild ride full of surprises. I love the writing, the art, everything. I can't wait to read the second volume in the this collection, and thank goodness my local library has it.

This one I super highly recommend.

This book tells in plain and simple language, that the non scientist, can understand about the causes and effects of the man made climate change that we're currently experiencing. It's written by one of the leading international authorities on coastal issues, Orrin Pilkey, and his son, my good friend and confidante Keith Pilkey.

Even if I didn't know Keith and and if I hadn't met Orrin a few years ago, I'd give this slender yet info packed book a big thumbs up. It's easily readable and it gives you the stark facts surrounding global climate change, and it even has a chapter on debunking the doubters. The authors aren't bought and paid for by Exxon or by FOX Noise, so you get the real unvarnished truth.

I highly recommend and am glad to plug this book by my friend and his dad.

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