Thursday, June 30, 2016

Paper by Mark Kurlansky

  • THE BOOK
    • Paper: Paging Through History by Mark Kurlansky
    • Published May 10, 2016
    • Other works by author include Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World, Salt: A World History, 1968: The Year That Rocked the World, Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man and several more, almost all in the "micro-history" genre.

  • THE PREMISE
    • It's the history of paper in conjunction with the history of writing and printing.

  • MY THOUGHTS
    • I enjoy the micro-history genre and have read two other books by this author (Cod and Salt), both of which I enjoyed. I mean, who wouldn't enjoy an entire book about COD!
    • I learned a lot about paper-making. Allow me to share some new-found knowledge:
      • Most paper made in Europe was made with cloth (rags) which would explain the various "rag-picker" characters in old books. Wood paper didn't happen until the mid-19th Century as there just weren't enough rags to meet demand for the TONS of paper manufactured.
    • The Mayan civilization had writing and thousands of books, known as codexes (codices). All but 3 or 4, preserved accidentally, were destroyed by the Spanish as heretical. Stupid asses.
    • I would love to see a modern paper-making machine in action. They are huge, as in football field size, and I seriously doubt there are any that allow tours. I can only imagine the demand for paper-making factory tours is relatively nil. 
      • But this is what You Tube is for: several videos available to see the factory paper-making process. Craving satisfied!
    • This book is for those who enjoy micro-histories or wish to read a basic history of paper, writing and printing.

Monday, June 27, 2016

But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman

  • THE BOOK
    • But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past by Chuck Klosterman
    • Published June 7, 2016
    • Other works by the author: Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, The Visible Man and several more, none of which I have read.

  • THE PREMISE
    • From the blurb: "We live in a culture of casual certitude...every generation unconsciously assumes that what has already been defined and accepted is pretty close to how reality will be viewed in perpetuity. And then, of course, time passes...What once seemed reasonable eventually becomes absurd, replaced by modern perspectives that feel even more irrefutable and secure --- until, of course, they don't."
    • His first example discusses gravity, which Isaac Newton "discovered" about 400 years ago. But what if some new discovery comes along and shows that gravity is a side effect of it? People 400 years from now will laugh at our obvious ignorance.
    • Basically this is a book of thought experiments. 
      • In 100, 250 or 500 years from now, who will come down to be remembered as the main example of rock and roll music? The Beatles? Bob Dylan? Elvis Presley? Chuck Berry? Someone completely obscure to us today?
      • Who will be remembered as the canonical writers of the early 21st Century? 
      • Will football still exist as a sport in 25 years?

  • MY THOUGHTS
    • I have thought about this question in other areas of life. Such as: Who will be remembered as THE actor (male or female) of today? Who is that person in the 20th Century? 
      • In 1916 the most popular film performer was Charlie Chaplin. He is still remembered today. Who else from that era? Mary Pickford? Douglas Fairbanks? Mabel Normand? Fatty Arbuckle (remembered only for scandal attached to his name if remembered at all)? Maybe Buster Keaton is remembered because you can't have a discussion about Chaplin without giving Keaton at least a mention.
        • The older generations today, say older than 50, know those names. Maybe. The younger people have no experience of any of those people. In fact, some of them were already long dead by the time I was born in the 1960s.
      • So who will be remembered from the movies in 100 years? I think today even the biggest stars of the past are mostly forgotten except by TCM enthusiasts: 
        • Katharine Hepburn and Gene Kelly died 20 years ago. Fred Astaire died almost 30 years ago. We lost Audrey Hepburn in 1993. Humphrey Bogart died of cancer in 1957. Joan Crawford went in 1977, Bette Davis in 1989. James Stewart left us in 1997, Cary Grant in 1986. Almost all of their best work happened before the 1960s (The Hepburns, who weren't related, would be the exceptions as they had several great performances in the 1960s too). 
        • So these people died before my son was born in the early 1990s or he was a toddler at best. He knows who none of these people were. He has no idea who Lucille Ball was! And she was probably one of the most famous women in the 1950s through the 1980s. Kids these days play video games; they don't watch reruns of "I Love Lucy" anymore.
        • Here's a selection of actor deaths from 1962 and 1963, around the time I was a toddler: 
          • Clara Blandick, Rex Bell, Louise Beavers, Charles Laughton, Marilyn Monroe, Dick Powell, Al St John, Jason Robards Sr, Monty Woolley, Anita King, Richard Barthelmess, Adolphe Menjou, and Zasu Pitts.
            • I recognize almost all of these people since I am a fan of old films but I bet most people would have difficulty identifying more than one or two besides Marilyn Monroe. But then again, maybe I'm wrong.
      • "Fun" fact I found on Wikipedia: These people all died on November 22, 1963: John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Aldous Huxley, and C.S. Lewis. 
    • Enough pontificating. Bottom line: worth a read if you care about these things. Pass if it has never crossed your mind to care about what the future will think about the present!

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Tripod Tetralogy by John Christopher

  • THE BOOKS
    • The White Mountains
    • The City of Gold and Lead
    • The Pool of Fire
    • When the Tripods Came
      • All by John Christopher, a pen name of Sam Youd, an English author who died in 2012 at the age of 89
    • Published 1967 (White and City), 1968 (Pool) and 1988 (Tripods)
    • Other works by the author (he has several pen names): The Death of Grass, The Guardians, The Sword of the Spirits trilogy and many more.

  • THE PREMISE
    • The first three books take place in the future after some cataclysm about 100 years before. 
    • Metallic, alien creatures --- known as "Tripods" --- have hemispherical bodies and legs about 30 feet tall. They roam the planet and have three large cities in Germany, Japan and Panama. 
    • Humans are "capped" at age 14: the head is shaved and covered with a mesh device that ultimately attaches to the scalp (hair grows through it). This makes them more docile and keeps them from questioning anything the Tripods do.
    • Will is a 13-year-old in England and definitely questions the Tripods. Through various circumstances he learns of free men in the "White Mountains" (the Alps, where the Tripods don't go) and journeys there, making friends along the way. The first three books tell his story and of the struggle to defeat the Tripods.
    • The world Will lives in is somewhat medieval. Towns and villages are small and people stay close to home. Thanks to the caps people have no desire to travel or adventuring. There is no electricity nor television, radio, cars, etc...
    • The fourth book is a prequel and explains how the alien Tripods took over the planet: television brainwashing!

  • MY THOUGHTS
    • In 7th and 8th grades we had to do a LOT of book reports. Our teachers had piles of books for us to pick from (probably collected through Scholastic Books) and they included many great options:
      • Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Pigman, The Slave Dancer, The Outsiders, Go Ask Alice, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, Rite of Passage, A Wrinkle in Time, The Wizard of Earthsea, The Blue Man, Freckled & Fourteen, anything by Judy Blume, and so many, many more.
      • Yes, I went to junior high school in the 1970s as should be obvious from this list!
    • For one book report I picked up the Tripod books and LOVED them. Good story, excellent world-building, science fiction-y. It hit all my buttons.
    • I have read these books several times over the years and I still adore them. I was happy to find the prequel in 1988. 
    • My only big criticism is that there are no female characters to speak of, just a brief interlude where Will stays in a castle and a mother and her daughter figure briefly in the story. The people fighting the Tripods from the White Mountains are ALL males. (Does it go without saying that all the males are white too?)
      • John Christopher was a science fiction writer who published several short stories around the same time as Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, James Blish, Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury and the rest. All of these men were born between 1905 and 1925. Including women as protagonists in the stories just didn't happen in those days.
      • In the prequel from 1988, while the main character is still a teenage boy, several supporting characters are female so that's something. The times they were a-changing by the 1980s!
      • But some girls really love science fiction. I was one of them. I was also really good at science and math but since I was a girl who was also good at English and history, no one ever tried to steer me towards STEM careers.
        • I'm talking about teachers; my parents would have let me study any subject I wanted. 
        • Some of those books in the list above --- A Wrinkle in Time and Rite of Passage --- were sci-fi books with female protagonists. I adored those stories too.
      • When I was growing up it was very rare to see a character in a sci-fi story who "looked like me". I know people tend to loathe the "political correctness" of diversifying book, television and movie casts but I think it would have been really neat (to use a 70s-ism) to read more science fiction books with teen girl protagonists.
        • That's why it's important for everyone to have representation, not because it's politically correct, but because there are a lot of different kinds of people and we all like to see archetypes of ourselves on page and screen.
          • In the 1960s Uhura was awesome on "Star Trek" but she still had to wear a mini-skirt.
          • Leia was kickass in "Star Wars" in the 1970s but she was also a princess who needed to get rescued.
            • Let's hope Rey in the most recent "Star Wars" doesn't turn out to be a princess too but I won't hold my breath.
          • One exception was Penny Robinson, a character on TV's "Lost in Space", played by Angela Cartwright. She had brown hair just like me! I didn't watch this show until the 1970s when it was in syndication so even though Penny/Angela is really 10 years older than me, by the time I watched the show she was my age!
            • I was a big fan of both Cartwright sisters. Veronica played Jemima on "Daniel Boone". I think I might have picked up my love of the name Veronica from the actress.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

  • THE BOOK
    • Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
    • Published 2003
    • Other works by the author include 11 more mysteries featuring the character Maisie Dobbs

  • THE PREMISE
    • Maisie Dobbs is the only child in a poor family in London. When her mother dies Maisie starts work as a maid in a wealthy home. Through a chain of circumstances Maisie ultimately opens her own private investigation office. 
    • The agency opens in 1929 and Maisie takes on a case almost immediately. The story also flashes back to Maisie's beginnings and to World War I, all of which have a bearing on her current day case.

  • MY THOUGHTS
    • I have been meaning to try this series for a while because my best friend, aka Lady Chardonnay, loves it. The 12th book looks intriguing but I am not one who can just pick up a series with the most recent book. I have to start with book one.
    • The mystery itself is not necessarily the draw for this volume as it needs to introduce Maisie and present much of her backstory.
    • I watched all seasons of the TV show "Downton Abbey" which took place from 1912 through 1926. Maisie Dobbs takes place in the same country around the same era, approximately 1908 to 1929. I mention this because there are things I learned from Downton that made certain things much clearer: the servant hierarchy, the clothing, the changes wrought by the war and so forth.
    • I sometimes like to read the reviews on Good Reads, especially the bad ones (in both senses of the word). People either love this book or hate it. 
      • They seem to dislike that the mystery is not mysterious enough or something. One said, "I'll go back and re-read Agatha Christie!" Well, you do you.
        • I read these kinds of books because I like the era they occur in or I like the characters.
          • The Barker & Llewelyn series by Will Thomas takes place in London in the 1880s.
          • The Bryant & May series by Christopher Fowler takes place in London anywhere from 1940 until the early 2000s.
          • The Maisie Dobbs series takes place in London in the first three decades of the 20th Century (so far).
            • I think I have spotted the common denominator!
        • The mysteries are secondary for me but I can see how they would be a priority for many people. 
    • Another common Good Reads criticism is that Maisie is a "Mary Sue". This means that she is too good to be true. Here's a succinct general definition: perfectly ordinary yet somehow special. (Wesley Crusher on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" is a famous example of a "Gary Stu".)
      • Yes, most definitely. I did some quick research on what comprises "Mary Sues" and Maisie exhibits several traits that make her one.
      • On the other hand, so what? If you don't like that style of character then this book series won't be for you.
    • To sum up: I liked the book very much and already have the 2nd and 3rd books from the library!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Exile by Diana Gabaldon

  • THE BOOK
    • The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldon (story) and Hoang Nguyen (illustrator)
    • Published September 21, 2010
    • Other works by the author: the Outlander novels, the Lord John series, and several comic books, novellas and short stories

  • THE PREMISE
    • The author's first novel Outlander was published in 1991 and is the basis for the current TV series on the STARZ network. The first book is covered in the first season of the show.
    • This story takes place at the same time as the first novel but mainly through the point of view of Murtaugh, the godfather of one of the main characters.
    • The plot: In Outlander WWII nurse Claire Randall time travels back to 1743 Scotland. She is rescued from a nefarious British captain by Murtaugh who sees more to the story than is shown in the novel (which is from Claire's point-of-view only).

  • MY THOUGHTS
    • I don't think the story is considered "canon", that is, if it's something "true" that we are supposed to assume took place during the novel or if it's just a fun little story set around the world of the novel.
      • That said, for readers of the Outlander books, if you never read this story you won't miss anything plot-wise. The author has written several works in this world that add to the story but aren't necessary for the casual reader --- or as casual a reader as one can be with 8 (so far) huge novels that can double as doorstops!
      • I'm not sure how it would fare for readers who've never read at least the first novel. Probably confusing but perhaps likely to convince them to try the first novel? 
    • It was a quick read --- duh, more artwork than words --- and it's always good to have more time with Murtaugh, a favorite character of many readers including me.
    • It's weird though, because the artwork is based close to how Diana Gabaldon visualizes her characters while I have always had versions of my own in my mind's eye as I read. Now I am slowly moving towards visualizing the characters as embodied by the actors in the TV series!
    • I am not a fan of the "female comic book/graphic novel characters MUST have boobs the size of volleyballs" but that continues here. Sigh. Small- or average-breasted women can be heroines or villains too!
    • Recommended for fans of the novels but not necessary to understand the books. A must for completists.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Fellside by M.R. Carey

  • THE BOOK
    • Fellside by M.R. Carey
    • Published April 5, 2016
    • Other works include: many comic books in the 1990s and 2000s, The Girl with All the Gifts

  • THE PREMISE
    • A woman named Jess wakes up in a hospital, her face disfigured by a fire and under arrest for setting it and thus killing a neighbor boy in her apartment building.
    • She is convicted of the crime, which she does not remember because she was high on heroin at the time, and sent to a Yorkshire, England, prison called Fellside.
    • At the prison she realizes that there is a "ghost" that is trying to contact her.
    • There are two mysteries: Did she set the fire? and What does the ghost want?
    • It's also a prison drama with all the character types and events you might expect: the prisoner who runs a drug operation with a corrupt guard, her tough enforcers, solitary confinement and so forth.

  • MY THOUGHTS
    • I have also read the author's book The Girl with All the Gifts, a story about a deadly virus that kills most of humanity and many zombie-like humans running around. (A movie with Glenn Close has been filmed called "She Who Brings Gifts".) The author is quite inventive in that story.
    • In this one it takes a standard trope --- innocent (?) woman in tough prison environment --- and adds a ghost story.
    • The ghost part is not explained; it just IS. And that's okay since that's not the point of the story.
    • So who would like this book? "Women in prison" stories have been popular for decades so obviously many people would enjoy this one too. Add in the supernatural element and you have another group of readers. Outside that Venn diagram? Probably not.
    • But I enjoyed it and will keep an eye out for future books by the author.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Room with a View by E.M. Forster

  • THE BOOK
    • A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
    • Published in 1908
    • Other works by the author include A Passage to India, Howard's End, and Maurice

  • THE PREMISE
    • A young woman named Lucy Honeychurch is traveling in Florence, Italy while chaperoned by her older cousin Charlotte Bartlett. Lucy meets some unconventional fellow travelers, especially a young man named George.
    • The second half of the novels takes place in Lucy's home in Surrey, England. She is now engaged to another young man named Cecil.
    • Times are changing for women and some of the long-held Victorian restrictions are easing.
    • The title alludes to the beginning of the book when the ladies get a room WITHOUT a view in their Florence hotel. If you are writing an English paper then it might also refer to Lucy herself.

  • MY THOUGHTS
    • I watched the film version of this last month, a movie that came out in 1985.
      • Lucy is played by Helena Bonham Carter, Charlotte by Maggie Smith and Cecil by Daniel Day-Lewis. The cast also includes Simon Callow, Denholm Elliott, Julian Sands and Judi Dench.
      • It was a Merchant-Ivory production and very faithful to the book in its essentials.
    • The movie was so good that I wanted to read the book. I thought it might be a little stuffy and boring compared to the film but Lucy is a lively protagonist in both.
    • I think this is a rare case where the book and movie are equal in quality.
    • I still need to watch "Howards End", another Merchant-Ivory film based on an E.M. Forster novel. 
      • I always get this movie mixed up in my mind with "The Remains of the Day", a movie I have seen that stars Emma Thompson, Anthony Hopkins and Christopher Reeve.
        • It's actually based on the book by Kazuo Ishiguro who also wrote Never Let Me Go, another book with a good film adaptation.
        • "Howards End" stars Emma Thompson, Anthony Hopkins, Helena Bonham Carter. No wonder I get confused!
      • So I may read the novel Howards End too.
    • Both book and movie are recommended.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

  • THE BOOK
    • The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett
    • Published May 3, 2016
    • Other books by the author: none as this is her first novel.

  • THE PREMISE
    • In 1958 two students at Cambridge (Eva and Jim) meet when she rides her bike through campus.
      • In one version she gets a flat tire and they connect and eventually marry.
      • In a second version she just misses hitting a dog and Jim asks if she's okay and then they go their separate ways.
      • In the final version she falls off her bike, they date for a few months and then break up.
    • The book alternates among the three stories as they play out from 1958 through 2014.
    • There are professional successes and failures, children, lovers, marriages and family relationships threaded through each version. Sometimes you will see the same event (say, a 30th birthday party) in each version.

  • MY THOUGHTS
    • It is confusing to follow each story.
      • There are shared characters in each version but the children born to Jim and Eva are different in each. That means there are many minor characters to keep track of and then even more when those kids grow up and have children of their own.
      • Each chapter lets you know which version is which.
      • About halfway through I kind of gave up and just read without stopping to check and remind myself which version I was following ("Wait, is this the one where they broke up?"). Ultimately it doesn't matter that you keep track.
        • Apparently some people go through the book and read each version separately.
    • OMG, the em dash usage! Here is a particularly egregious example:
      • "Stephen, it occurs to Jim now, is the only person who really knows every part of him --- even with Eva, he must edit himself, expunge those facts that might cause her pain (the erotic content of Helena's angry letters; the fact that Jakob had taken Jim aside, the first time they met, and warned him --- politely, discreetly, but a warning all the same --- never to do to Eva and her children what Jim had done to his other partner and child)."
        • Em dashes: three! A semi-colon! Parentheses! An em dash pair INSIDE the parentheses!
        • Here is the sentence directly before the above example:
          • "Jim thinks of all the nights he has sat with Stephen --- too many to count --- speaking of his love for Eva; his indecision; his feelings about his mother, his father."
            • More em dashing! More semi-colons!
        • Here are the two sentences directly after the egregious example:
          • Stephen knows all of this --- knows everything --- and he is still here. Still standing next to him."
            • Another em dash and a sentence fragment!
      • The usage is CONSTANT. Let me open to random pages and count: 7 on page 185, 4 on page 282, 8 on page 248, 7 on page 75, etc...
        • I am no book editor but I think someone should have told the author to figure out a different way to write certain passages. Some sentences are so long that I completely forgot the beginning of the sentence by the time I got to the period.
        • This took me out of the story so completely during the second half of the book which is a shame because I really liked the story, er...stories. I got misty-eyed by the end of the book and I think I might have cried had I not been too busy counting em dashes! 
        • Maybe I'm wrong about em dash usage but sentences with em dashes, semi-colons AND parentheses MUST be TOO MUCH.
    • Recommended for those who like love stories, lots of em dashes, books like One Day and The Time Traveler's Wife or parallel universe stories --- the movies "Sliding Doors" and "It's a Wonderful Life" and Star Trek's Mirror Universe to name a few examples.

Monday, June 6, 2016

SPQR by Mary Beard

  • THE BOOK
    • SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard
    • Published November 9, 2015
    • Other works by author: The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found, The Parthenon, The Roman Triumph and several more.

  • THE PREMISE
    • SPQR is a Roman acronym for Senatus PopulusQue Romanus meaning the Senate and People of Rome.
      • Latin is interesting when comparing it to English. "Que" means "and" but it appears after both of the words you want to link: "Senatus Populusque" means "the senate and the populace" even though the literal translation is more "senate populace and". 
    • Anyhoo, this is a history of ancient Rome (duh) from its founding until the 200s CE.
    • The author breaks down the foundation story of Romulus and Remus and Aeneas, whom many later Romans claimed descent from in their family histories.
      • Her point is that, while Romulus and Remus are surely fictional, their fight and the ultimate murder of Remus by his brother (or his army) founded Rome with a violence which continued throughout its history.
      • It is said that Rome was named for Romulus but in reality, Romulus was named for Rome and the backstory made to match the circumstances.
      • Julius Caesar claimed descent from Venus who was the mother of Aeneas, Trojan prince. Uh-huh.
    • A lot of the conclusions are of the style "we just can't know" what really happened. This is true (if disappointing) as the Roman leaders were constantly rewriting their histories. Unless and until some actual written or archeological evidence comes to light  we really have no way of knowing what or why certain things happened. Historians can only speculate. The author does a good job of avoid pointless speculation as fact.
    • More archeological evidence is uncovered every day so someday more might be known about various things as time passes.
    • The author also does a good job of including what's known about the lives of women and the ordinary people, who left very little written evidence behind.

  • MY THOUGHTS
    • I love Roman history so this was a good one because it included the most recent research. The writing was good and not dry as some of these kinds of books can tend to be but it's the names that get you confused as some are so similar.
      • Here are the names of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty:
        • Gaius Julius Caesar
        • Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus OR Imperātor Caesar Divi Filius Augustus
        • Tiberius Caesar Divi Augusti Filius Augustus
        • Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus
        • Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus
        • Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus
      • That's why we know them as Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero.
    • Recommended for those interested in Roman history. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Trashed by Derf Backderf

  • THE BOOK
    • Trashed by Derf Backderf
      • Not a typo: the copyright belongs to "John Backderf" so I guess "Derf Backderf" is his pen name. It sounds cooler.
    • Published November 3, 2015
    • Other works by author: My Friend Dahmer and "The City", a social/political comic strip

  • THE PREMISE
    • Based on his own life as a temporary garbageman around 1980 Backderf created a graphic novel updated to current times.
    • Between the office politics of the city's public works department and the social lives of the main characters there are interesting facts about garbage: how the trucks work, what happens at dumps, how much methane escapes from dumps and many other things you never wanted to know about garbage but should.

  • MY THOUGHTS
    • A quick read --- it's basically a long comic book --- and entertaining. The facts are disheartening for sure. It is STUNNING how much garbage we create as humans. And there are no signs that this will end as we continue to use disposable items. 
      • What's better: disposable diapers or cloth diapers? Both have resource issues. One doesn't degrade for hundreds or thousands of years (too soon to tell as they have only existed since the mid-20th Century), the other uses a lot of water for reuse. Babies will always poop.
    • I have the author's other book on hold at the library. Apparently he actually knew Jeffrey Dahmer at some point. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

  • THE BOOK
    • The Passenger by Lisa Lutz
    • Published March 1, 2016
    • Other books by the author: the six books of the Spellman series of mysteries (I read the first book).

  • THE PREMISE
    • A woman finds her husband dead at the bottom of the stairs (not a spoiler as this starts the book) and even though she has nothing to do with his death she goes on the run, changing her identity as she goes.
    • She's running from something that happened 10 years ago in her hometown.
    • Bits of the story are doled out over the course of the novel, including e-mails between her and a person named Ryan, as she continues to run, run, run. Until she decides to return to her hometown and quit running.

  • MY THOUGHTS
    • The mystery was not clearly telegraphed until the end so that part was satisfying enough. One "twist" was super obvious though.
    • If you needed to flee and create a new life how do you do it in these times when you need I.D. and a Social Security number to get a job? A driver's license? 
    • Some things were somewhat implausible. To create identities she steals wallets and dead women's names and squats in empty homes but then all of a sudden her petty crime turns to major crime. There's assault, murder, and arson.
    • A quick read and the story does propel you forward but it's ultimately unsatisfying.