“The Ax” by Donald E. Westlake

Westlake, Donald E. The Ax (1997)   Mysterious Press, 273 pages, $23.00 hardcover   ISBN 0 89296 587 8 Most of the serial killers we meet in modern fiction are tortured souls, abused as children or tormented by multiple personalities. But what if an otherwise ordinary man made a perfectly logical decision to become a …

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“New York Dead” by Stuart Woods

Woods, Stuart. New York Dead (1991)   HarperPaperbacks, 325 pages, $5.99 paperback   ISBN 0-06-109080-8 Having read two other Stone Barrington novels (Dirt and Dead in the Water) previously, I decided to go back and be properly introduced to this character whom Stuart Woods can’t seem to let go. In New York Dead Stone Barrington …

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“Smoke” by Donald E. Westlake

Westlake, Donald E. Smoke (1995)   Mysterious Press, 454 pages, $21.95  hardcover   ISBN 0-89296-543-7 Freddie Noon is a twice-convicted thief in New York City.  So when he’s caught by Dr. David Loomis and Dr. Peter Heimhocker stealing electronic equipment from their research facility, he decides that becoming their experimental subject is better than the …

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“Run Before the Wind” by Stuart Woods

Woods, Stuart. Run Before the Wind (1983)   rpt. 1988; Avon, 310 pages, $6.50 paperback   ISBN 0 380 70507 9 In Run Before the Wind Stuart Woods picks up the Lee family from his first novel, Chiefs. Will Lee, the spoiled, restless son of politician Billy Lee and his wife Patricia who is just …

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“Baby, Would I Lie?” by Donald E. Westlake

Westlake, Donald E. Baby, Would I Lie? (1994)   Mysterious Press 291 pages $19.95  hardcover   ISBN  0-89296-532-0 Singer Ray Jones has his own theater on traffic-jam strip in Branson, Missouri, new center of country-and-western music.  And Branson traffic is about to become even more congested than usual as reporters from everywhere pour in to …

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book review

Review: “Undaunted Courage” by Stephen Ambrose

Ambrose, Stephen E. Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West Simon & Schuster, 1996Hardcover, 496 pagesISBN 0-684-81107-3 Recommended In Undaunted Courage Ambrose has managed to do the nearly impossible: create a book that is accessible to both the academic community and the general public. For the scholarly reader, all the …

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“Point of Origin” by Patricia Cornwell

Cornwell, Patricia. Point of Origin (1998)   G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 356 pages, $25.95 hardcover    ISBN 0 399 14394 7 I’m getting really sick of Kay Scarpetta. At least in Patricia Cornwell’s earlier novels Scarpetta waited until the plot began to develop before beginning her self-centered, self-righteous lamentations. But in Point of Origin Scarpetta starts …

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book review

Review: “The Color of Water” by James McBride

McBride, James. The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother Riverhead Books, 1996Hardcover, 228 pagesISBN 1-57322-022-1 Recommended As a young boy James McBride recognized that his mother was different: “Gradually . . . I began to notice something about my mother, that she looked nothing like the other kids’ mothers. In fact, …

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“Chiefs” by Stuart Woods

Woods, Stuart. Chiefs (1981)    Avon Books, 427 pages, $5.99 paperback   ISBN 0 380 70347 5 Recommended One benefit to discovering a prolific author with one of his later works is that you then have the pleasure of going back and reading all his earlier books as well.  I first discovered Stuart Woods in …

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book review

Review: “Angela’s Ashes” by Frank McCourt

McCourt, Frank. Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir Scribner, 1996Paperback, 364 pagesISBN 0-684-87435-0 Highly Recommended Frank McCourt’s memoir about his childhood well deserves all the accolades that have been heaped upon it. When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly …

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