Ted, White, and Blue by Ted Nugent

I think Ted Nugent is, like, the illegitimate love child of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, with a little bit of Glenn Beck's genes spliced into the mix. Or maybe more like Michael Savage on steroids, (except Nugent piously proclaims he never did drugs or booze of any kind). Given that, liberals should cower in their Birkenstocks that the Nuge might ever decide to run for office. Given that his home state is Texas, and Texas is pretty much solidly "red", he'd be a pain in their posteriors for years to come.

Nugent can write, and pretty convincingly, I might add. Even on issues which I am in opposition with him, he was close to convincing me to switch sides. But even on topics with which I agree, Nugent can come off rather pushy and sometimes self-aggrandizing for the purposes of his political agenda. Needless to say, it would behoove liberals not to pick up the book unless you want to be frothing at the mouth before the end.

The best parts of the book, for me, were the sections on global "warming" and immigration. Yes, Nuge, I agree with you 110% on the issues of illegal aliens and the fact that English should be mandated as the official language of this country. And I'm pretty sure global warming is a crock of s***. The least liked part, aside from the kissy suck-up intro from Bob Coburn, was the section where Nugent tries to convince everyone that we should nuke every one who disagrees with us back to the Stone Age. ("War is the Answer")

Read this book with an open mind, if you can. That's a tough call, if the standard reviews on the book sales sites are to be taken into the mix, as usual they run the gamut from the overly fawning (conservatives) to the virulently vituperative (liberals). My own personal rating is less biased, since I am neither. An entertaining read overall, whether I agreed with his viewpoints or not.

I give it 7 stars.


Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip by Steve Dublanica

I have never been, nor have I ever had the desire to be, a waiter. My personality is strongly in direct conflict with the self-righteous, self-centered attitude that I percieve sometimes from my surrounding patrons on the occasions that I do go out to eat. How people are able to deal with that on a daily basis has always been a mystery to me. And that is even despite having a good rapport with a couple of wait personnel at a couple of establishments.

This is an eye opening book into that world, not only as the waiter deals directly with customers, but also a view into the back room world between waiters and the support staff in the kitchen. You may dive into this one not giving a damn about the author himself, but by the end, you may find that you too, have become a compadre to the cares and woes of him.

This is a book that is at times amusing, and again at other times makes you want to strangle someone. Included at the back, for those who are clueless as to how to act in a public restaurant (as opposed to a place where there is a kid at the counter asking you if "you want fries with that"). Most of these, you may already know and abide by, if you are among the 80% of customers the author says are normal good customers. But it is good to give them a glance, just in case.

I rate this one 9 stars


The "Nameless Detective" Ouevre by Bill Pronzini

Bill Pronzini's "Nameless Detective" series, as I hinted at in my last post, is my favorite detective. There are four distinct changes in "Nameless'" life where I divide the character and the output of the author. Sometimes these changes are for the better, and sometimes for the worse, but all matured the character and sent him on the ultimate journey of his life.

The Snatch (1971).
The Vanished (1972).
Undercurrent (1973).
Blowback (1977).
Twospot (1978).
Labyrinth (1980).

These are the ones I like to refer to as the pre-Kerry era novels (see next section for more on Kerry Wade). Sadly, I think most of them are out of print. I managed to find Undercurrent at a library book sale, and I got Twospot from an e-Bay seller. But I have never seen or read the rest of them. These are the early in-developement novels, and I liked the two I read. I'm sure the others are just as good.

Hoodwink (1981).
Scattershot (1982).
Dragonfire (1982).
Bindlestiff (1983).
Quicksilver (1984).
Nightshades (1984).
Double (With Marcia Muller) (1984).
Bones (1985).
Deadfall (1986).

The Kerry Wade era. My first encounter with "Nameless" was in Hoodwink. I fondly remember this adventure, not just because it is where he meets the future love of his life, Kerry Wade, but the mystery is set at a pulp magazine convention, something that is a passion for the detective. The series in this particular era also include the fall from grace of his friend, the police lieutenant, Eberhardt. These are the ones I turn to on those cold winter nights when I can't sleep.

Shackles (1988).
Jackpot (1990).
Breakdown (1991).
Quarry (1992).
Epitaphs (1992).
Demons (1993).
Hardcase (1995).
Sentinels (1996).
Illusions (1997).
Boobytrap (1998).
Crazybone (2000).
Bleeders (2002).

Beginning with Shackles, "Nameless" takes on a darker feel. This is primarily due to the fact that "Nameless" is kidnapped and held prisoner in the Shackles entry. Most of these are good reads, although I do admit to not being able to reconcile the changes that resulted from his kidnapping, at first. Note: Boobytap, which won the Private Eye writers Shamus Award, is definitely worthy of the accolades.

Spook (2003).
Scenarios (2005).
Nightcrawlers (2005).
Mourners (2006).
Savages (2007).
Fever (2008).

In the newest incarnation, "Nameless" hasn't really changed, but I dilineate from the others because this is where the author has, for reasons that don't really set well with me, but I can understand, has chosen to divide the time between the first person narrative of "Nameless" and third person narratives of his partners at the detective agency, Tamara Corbin and Jake Runyon. According to what I've read, it seems that Pronzini was going to retire the series and the character after Bleeders, but was convinced to bring him back. In this part of the series, he is supposed to be semi-retired, but he appears to be just as active as ever.

I reccomend that you start out with the first novel and read them consecutively, but you do not necessarily need to do so. "Nameless" does age over the span of the series, but not as rapidly as the span of the novels. if that were true, our hero would be a doddering octogenarian, competing on the level of say Buddy Ebsen's Barnaby Jones.


Fever by Bill Pronzini

I can believe it, given my work ethic on this blog, but it still came as a surprise that I have not reviewed any of Bill Pronzini's "Nameless Detective" series of mysteries. I'll have to rectify that more closely next post, but I want to cover the newest one right now.

Fever is the 33rd entry in the series revolving around the so-called "Nameless Detective", (although that has become something of a misnomer in recent years, since, although the author never gave his first person narrator a name, some characters in the story have addressed him or referred to him as "Bill"). The character is an ex-cop who has been running his own private detective agency.

In this particular entry, the seedy side of online gambling is brought into the open. The main plot revolves around a rich, sometimes doting and sometimes callous, husband trying to find his wife. In a very intriguing subplot, one of "Nameless'" associates is investigating the beating of a devoted mother's son. As is often the case, the two stories seem to dovetail into each other around an online gambling addiction and some very shady dealings.

All in all, I think this is only a mediocre piece from what is still my favorite book detective. I rate it 6½ stars. Next post I will rank the entire output in the series.


Everybody Wants Some: The Van Halen Saga by Ian Christe

Most (I say most, not necessarily all) Van Halen fans fall into one of two categories. Either they loved the David Lee Roth era VH, and either hated or were at least ambivalent about the "Van Hagar" recreation of the late 80's - 90's, with Sammy Hagar taking the reins as the frontman, or they thought the addition of the red Rocker was a vast improvement. ( I sincerely doubt there were very many who thought that Gary Cherone as the third incarnation leader was the best, or there would have been more than one album from that stage.)

I state at the outset that I fall into that first category. Needless to say, I enjoyed the first third of the book better than the other two. But that's not saying much. To a person who wants to delve into the behind-the scenes story, this is not really the book you want. I don't know for sure if Christe ever wrote for Circus or Hit Parader (two heavy metal magazines that were around in the 80's) but if he did, those slapdash magazine articles are probably where he developed his style, and it hasn't grown up since.

It's not that the author doesn't have anything to say, its just that he has nothing to say that is of any interest, even to a die hard Van Halen (Roth-era, but still...) fan. I found myself struggling to just slog through this piece of junk.

If you really care about rehashing how the tracks were laid for a Van halen album, you couldn't go wrong here. If you want to read about the band in a boring and attention-losing style, step right up. But if you want to be entertained, I suggest you try a different book.

I'll be nice and not give it 1 star, how about 1½ for the effort?


Mr. Monk and the Anticipatory Addict

New reviews coming in the future include one, which is the newest entry in the novels based on the TV series, "Monk", to be titled "Mr. Monk is Miserable". It is available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes and Noble (and possibly others, but those being my main sources are the only ones I've checked. I made a decision to buy this one myself, as opposed to nagging my local library to buy it, as I have in the past. (You didn't really think I was buying all these books did you....?) I'm even going to repay the favor, by donating my copy after I finish it. Which is not a bad idea, for those of you who have a bulging home collection, by the way. Libraries appreciate donations. There, that's my shameless do-gooder deed for the month.