Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Few of My Latest Crushes ...

This podcast is self-described as:
... as originally broadcast by Westwood One almost 20 years ago. Please note that this podcast is not a rehash of the Lost Lennon Tapes LPs (which excerpted the music only), but consists instead of the original shows (from vinyl and/or tape sources) in their entireties, with narration, interviews, sponsor spots, etc. The sound quality is good, not fantastic, but the content is still as interesting as when it originally aired in the late 80's.
John Lennon was an avid audio collector and had amassed hundreds of hours of audio tapes of different events from his life by the time he died. When going through them, Yoko felt they should be shared and called upon DJ DJ Elliot Mintz, a trusted friend who had interviewed John many times, to help broadcast them. I hadn't ever heard of these, although evidently they are a well known source for bootleg tapes with Mintz's voice edited out. That is a shame because some of his interviews with John are really fascinating.

Indigo Slam by Robert Crais
Last Detective, The by Robert Crais
Monkey's Raincoat, The by Robert Crais
Voodoo River by Robert Crais

As people may remember from my ravings over Les Roberts' books, I am a big fan of the hard boiled detective. My latest discovery is Robert Crais' Hollywood-based Elvis Cole. First of all, you've gotta love the name. Secondly, the Hollywood base makes for an interesting background. It is not glamorous. Quite the contrary, we see the sleazy underside to the slick facade that the movie industry would like to present to the world. However, Cole's cases are not entirely based in show business and he often has to travel in pursuit of the truth.

Sometimes a hard boiled detective (who almost always has a heart of gold) has a sidekick, sometimes not. The side-kick generally is harder, tougher, and less merciful than the detective. This is not always the case, as with Travis McGee's sidekick (John D. MacDonald, author), the kind and gentle Meyer who needs McGee to protect him when they come up against villains.

Sidekicks also often act as comic relief since they often know the detective better than he knows himself. My favorite sidekick is without question is Hawk, Spencer's sidekick (Robert Parker, author). Cole's sidekick, Joe Pike, is a thoroughly violent fellow, who has toned down any personality to the point where a twitch of the mouth is like a belly-laugh. That's a little too reticent for him to be an interesting character to me. However, he also is an efficient sounding board.
I said, "She hired me to do one thing, and now I'm doing another. She hired me with every expectation that I would protect her interests, but now I'm taking this in a direction in which her interests are secondary."

We ran past a high school and shopping centers, Pike and me on our side of the street and the black runner on his, our strides matching. Pike said nothing for several minutes, and I found comfort in the loud silence. The sounds of our breathing. Our shoes striking the pavement. A metronome rhythm. Pike said, "You didn't fail her. You gave her an opportunity for love."

I glanced over at him.

"You can't put something into her heart that isn't there, Elvis. Love is not so plentiful that any of us can afford to reject it when it's offered. That's her failing. Not yours."

"It's not easy for her, Joe. For a lot of very good reasons."

"Maybe." ...

The light changed. Pike and I pushed on, and the miles crept behind us and the night grew late. We came to a park of soccer fields and softball diamonds, and we turned north, running along the western edge of the fields, and then west again, heading back to the river and the hotel. We had been running for almost an hour. We would run an hour still. Pike said, "Are you still thinking about her?"


"Then think about this. You've taken her as far as is right. Wherever she's going, she has to get the rest of the way on her own. That's not only the way it is. That's the way it should be."

"Sure Joe. Thanks."

He grunted. Philosophy-R-Us. "Now stop thinking about her and start thinking about Rossier. If you don't get your head out your ass, Rossier will kill you."

"You always know how to end the moment on an upbeat note, don't you?"

"That's why I get the big bucks."
Voodoo River by Robert Crais
Moment of Truth by Lisa Scottoline
Killer Smile by Lisa Scottoline

I am not generally a fan of John Grisham style stories where the lawyer solves the mystery, although I must admit that Runaway Jury, based on one of his novels, is a favorite movie. However, these two books by former trial lawyer Scottoline won my heart with their portrayal of lawyer Mary DiNunzio. She's a Philly girl, born and raised, with Italian Catholic parents living in a row house. These are a softer style than someone like Grisham or Scott Turow but the mysteries are good and the character development pleasing. Scottoline writes about other characters from the same all female law firm Rosato and Associates and I'm curious to see if I like the other characters as well as Mary DiNunzio. Fun, lawyerly fluff and perfect summer reading.

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