Reading Books and being whisked off to a distant or parallel world is a feeling that defies a pithy description. Each book I have been fortunate enough to encounter over 12 months has struck me in irrevocable ways. There may be some entries that weren’t released in 2021, but that is irrelevant. Here is a list of notable books for plague year #2..
Hypocrazy: Surviving in a World of Cultural Double Standards-Charlie Robinson
Author Charlie Robinson (host of Macroagressions podcast, Author of “The Octopus of Global Control) takes the reader through a world of double-speak, twisted logic, stunted thinking that serves as leadership while the world burns. Robinson is the flickering flame in a darkening world.
God, School, 9/11 and JFK: The Lies that are Killing us and the Truth That Sets us Free-Bruce De Torres
The title may just say it all…Yet Author Bruce De Torres provides chapter, verse and well sourced information that will convert even the staunchest of conspiracy skeptics to think differently about the drummed in mainstream narrative. History has never been so compelling
All Quiet at Mena-Mara Leveritt
A plane crash brings State and Federal authorities to scrutinize activities at Intermountain Regional Airport in Mena, Arkansas. The cops and Federal Agents (Russell Welch, Bill Duncan) are on the trail of Adler Berriman “Barry” Seal and his protected drug trade. Leveritt(author of “Devils Knot”, “The Boys on the Tracks”) contributes incontrovertible research to the mysterious goings on in Mena, AR during the Iran-Contra days. Fascinating only begins to hint at this monumental work.
Unanswered Questions: What the September Eleventh Families Asked and the 9/11 Commission Ignored-Ray McGinnis Jr. and John B Cobb Jr.
Every now and then a title might just give up everything. However, the questions posed by the author are valuable, prescient for every year questions about the 9/11 attacks linger. Holding Local, State, and Federal Officials to account for lapses and criminal action matter 20 years and beyond with respect to September 11, 2001 (and the Global War on Terror that followed)
Blood Gun Money: How America Arms Gangs and Cartels-Ioan Grillo
The circuitous route of the gun trade is chronicled by Journalist Grillo in this tour-de force True Crime thriller. From the blood soaked streets of Mexico where the Cartels vie for turf to the corruption tainted city of Baltimore, the pervasiveness of the illegal gun trade leaves an indelible
The Cult of We: WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Start-Up Delusion-Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell
Take a company with stratospheric valuations(Unicorn), couple it with an Egomaniac head(Adam Neumann and his Wife Rebecca) helming a company with a slavish devotion of employees..and a recipe for disaster played out over a 10 year period of boom and bust.
By the Light of Burning Dreams: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the Second American Revolution-David Talbot and Margaret Talbot
The tempestuous period of the 60’s-70s is chronicled in a riveting read by David Talbot(“The Devils Chessboard”) and Margaret Talbot(“The Entertainer”) following activist groups such as the Black Panthers, Weather Underground, American Indian Movement
The Outlier: The Unfinished Presidency of Jimmy Carter-Kai Bird
The Presidency of the 39th President has assumed to have been a failure, yet passage of time has allowed a re-evaluation to re-assess the impact of Jimmy Carter’s term in office. The main from Plains, Georgia may have been denied a 2nd term, yet his impact in and out of power make him inspirational.
At the Breaking Point of History: How Decades of U.S. Duplicity Enabled the Pandemic-Janet Phelan
Were the events leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic by chance? Or did the previous sinister machinations of the United States Government in violation of Biowarfare agreements foreshadow future pandemics?
Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood- Danny Trejo and Donal Logue
Veteran Character Actor Danny Trejo has blazed a trail from extra to lead roles in Hollywood over a distinguished four decades. His path to Hollywood renown was hard fought but almost didn’t happen as Drugs and Crime imprisoned Trejo. However, Trejo’s strength and resolve kept him clean and sober, his tough exterior and intelligence brought him to the Silver Screen.
The Valediction: Three Nights of Desmond-Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould
The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 was viewed as a surprise to the United States, particularly the Carter Administration. However, the passage of time along with unredacted documents and candid admissions show this to be fallacy. The Cold War ran hot with this satellite battle, but the news broadcast to the viewing public was slanted. Paul Fitzgerald went to Afghanistan and saw with his own eyes how all was not what it seemed. Afghanistan was the strategic piece on the grand chessboard, and the Government of the United States was acting through covert means to turn Afghanistan into a “Vietnam-esque” quagmire for the Soviets.
The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth-Sam Quinones
The tidal wave of destruction unleashed by the Opioid epidemic has been vast, the human toll not limited to isolated towns in the Midwest or Southwest. The cartels have adapted with their trafficked poison. Big pharma pushed their product with little regard to the addiction possibilities. The futility of the drug war has never been more stark as it is played out in Sam Quinones’ journalistic gem.
Competing with Idiots: Herman and Joe Mankiewicz, a Dual Portrait-Nick Davis
Two distinct, legendary careers were born and raised under one roof. Twelve years separated them in age, a dislike for a stern father along with a yearning to win his approval united them. A jealousy of each other’s talents divided them. Their collected works made for Hollywood’s Golden Age from “Citizen Kane” to “All About Eve”.
A comprehensive and empathetic portrayal of the First Lady/Humanitarian/Woman of the World who emerged from a tragedy scarred upbringing to come into her own while being married to the consummate politician, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Eleanor grew up early in life, as she learned to be a care giver from an early age.
Rewrite Man-Alison Macor
A biography of Screenwriter(and Script Doctor) Warren Skaaren. Born in Minnesota, he relocated to Texas early in life. An early involvement in the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” success(and imbroglio) lit a fire in Skaaren, who would get screen-writing credit for Beetlejuice, Batman, while being involved with countless others. An untimely death due to Cancer cut short a very promising career at 44 years of age.
True Indie:Life and Death in Indie Filmmaking-Don Coscarelli
Director/Writer Coscarelli (Phantasm Series, The BeastMaster, Bubba Ho-Tep) pens a frankly honest and humorous depiction of his career from its humble beginnings to eventual success. An autobiography that never feels anything but genuine. Coscarelli’s book was pure joy as a fan of cinema and the Horror genre.
The Snow Killings: Inside the Oakland County Child Killer Investigation-Marney Rich Keenan
“Justice delayed is justice denied”, so says a perennial legal maxim. For the families of the four victims (Mark Stebbins, Jill Robinson, Kristine Mihelich, Timothy King), the current delay is 45+ years. A predator preyed on the innocent and left grief stricken families in the wake. Incompetence seemed to explain away why the killer(s) were never apprehended, but as time elapsed, more sinister aspects of corruption, abuse of power, conspiracy have emerged.
Tokyo Redux-David Peace
The finale to the breathtaking “Tokyo Trilogy”(Tokyo Year Zero, Occupied City) begins in July 1949. The President of Japanese National Railways has disappeared. Sadanori Shimoyama was officiating over a large layoff of workers, a man about to make many enemies. His mangled body is found, a possible suicide…accident….or gruesome murder. Over the next four decades, three men cross paths with the Shimoyama case, each to their lasting regret.
Terror at 30,000 feet. A pilot called in on his day off to fill in for a co-worker. The pilot receives a message from home, his family has been taken hostage. The pilot’s mission: To crash the plane at a strategic target, or else his family dies. An unspeakable request. Author TJ Newman’s initial literary foray is an unforgettable smash.
Widespread Panic-James Ellroy
Freddy Otash is no more….He has ceased to be. Yet, his destination is unknown. His mortal existence was as much fodder for the tabloids as the ones he whored his services for. Atonement is now on the agenda, his sins must be accounted for in full(or damnation awaits). Author James Ellroy (This Storm, American Tabloid) resurrects a stalwart sleazebag for a stand-alone novel and succeeds in rendering his protagonist likable(possibly salvageable).
The Archivist-Rex Pickett
Emily Snow’s job is herculean, she is working on the collection of admired author Raymond West. Emily picked up and left her previous home and moved out to California for her new position. Her life was in disarray, she needed stability. However, as Emily digs into her assignment, she learns that her subject is complex, and her predecessor might have found more than she was looking for. Pickett(author of Sideways trilogy) has carved a niche for himself with his fantastic first Mystery Novel.
Truly Like Lightning-David Duchovny
Can belief be a prison? When one has been raised in a sheltered existence, devout in routine, what happens when a new world is offered? Bronson Powers’ family and his belief in the Mormon church are paramount to him, and he would spare nothing to save them. A provocative and powerful Novel from Duchovny(Miss Subways, Bucky F*in Dent)
Jamie Conklin possesses an unusual power. He can commune with the recently deceased. He first displayed this ability at 4 years old. His Mother disregarded it(possibly out of fear), while Jamie was startled. As Jamie matures, his ability hasn’t waned. And now, others with bad intent are inclined to utilize Jamie’s power for their own ends.
Blood Grove-Walter Mosley
Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins runs his own Detective Agency. He desires a case lacking inevitable drama and violence. A new client appears and tells Rawlins that he believes he killed someone at Blood Grove. The client is a veteran, as is Rawlins. Despite Rawlin’s initial misgivings, he takes the case and the ensuing consequences. There is no quit in Rawlins, nor in his prolific creator.
Razorblade Tears-S.A. Cosby
While we are here on earth, when the time permits, remember to tell loved ones how we feel. Make regret a non-starter. Ike is a reformed ex-convict who receives a call from the cops. Ike’s world is ripped from under him as the cops inform him of his son Isaiah’s death. Grief and regret have numbed Ike. However, Ike is approached by his Buddy Lee (Father of Isaiah’s husband). Both of the boys were killed, and the circumstances are fishy. The mismatched pair undertake an investigation to locate their son’s killers, avenging angels leaving no stone unturned. SA Cosby(Blacktop Wasteland)
The House of Ashes-Stuart Neville
Sara Keane is moving into a new house with a grim past. Her husband, Damien, is intolerant of her worries/questions. He is controlling and abusive. Sara’s fears are heightened when she meets Mary, a former occupant of Sara’s new home. As Sara digs into the past, she worries about her health, both physical and mental. Neville’s(The Ghosts of Belfast, Collusion) brilliance continues to shine with each new release.
A Slow Fire Burning-Paula Hawkins
Laura can’t quiet the noise building inside her head. Her grip on sanity is tenuous. An encounter with a young man turned violent. His body has been found, Laura doesn’t remember the man being dead when she parted company. A witness who found the victim is holding back evidence. The circumstances surrounding the male’s demise resemble a one night stand gone haywire, but are far more complicated in this white knuckle page turner.
The Good Turn-Dervla McTiernan
Peter Fisher just wanted to enjoy his day off. Yet when his commanding officer calls and asks him to investigate a possible kidnapping, Fisher obliges. Soon, the hunt is on for the abducted girl and her kidnapper. Fisher finds the suspect and puts him down. However, nothing is cut and dry. Fisher is being scapegoated as his commanding officer/mentor Cormac Reilly. “The Good Turn” is the latest outstanding Mystery penned by McTiernan(The Ruin, The Scholar).
The Turnout-Megan Abbott
Marie and Dara live and breathe dancing. Their Mother taught them from an early age. Their Father pulled the girls out of school due to the school’s perceived lack of morality. Their protected lives were also highly dysfunctional and only got more so as Charlie moved in. Now as adults, Dara and Charlie run the family dance studio and Marie teaches. An interloper moves into their orbit and upends their lives.
The Nameless Ones-John Connolly
Angel and Louis are a wrecking crew. They are assassins but mainly work with Charlie Parker. Despite their ignoble beginnings, their friendship with Parker has led to their crimes representing a greater good. The pair have been haunted by dreams foretelling imminent danger. A mission of revenge has ended in a multiple murder, including an ally of Louis. Louis intends to avenge his fallen friend, no matter if he has to scour Europe to do so. John Connolly continues to wow with his blend of Mystery/Horror.