Rob's Blog

Archive for January, 2017

ROBbing a Few Minutes! – Christmas in February & the healthy side of Little Debbies!

by on Jan.16, 2017, under What's New?

In a jam and oranges, apples, bananas and Little Debbies. The Shadow knows! Hahahahha… So does Fu Manchu and the Hardy Boys!

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Book: ‘The Sinister Sign Post’ by Franklin W. Dixon – January 16th, 2017

by on Jan.16, 2017, under Books

The Sinister Sign Post (Hardy Boys, #15)The Sinister Sign Post by Franklin W. Dixon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this book up to read after i read a copy of The Shadow series i had found a few days before to compare the two, as both were written around the same time. There is, indeed, a similarity of style and mood of the two books. Though The Mox edition of The Shadow is surely darker while The hardy Boys is much lighter. Both do have the courtesy of the characters and the anger of the bad guys with little use of violence. Very interesting to compare the two.

This 15th outing of The Hardy Boys is the first, to my memory, that i have ever read. It’s a nice little mystery with plenty of action. The writing is very, very good as is the plotting. It’s a tricky book to write as the characters are out in the country and the setting is very important. As are the locations of things like the sign post. Dixon does an excellent job of moving the characters around from place to place with a feeling of movement and the ease and difficulty, thereof.

This book is better handled and written for an adult than most “adult” books today, which seem to me to be written for young people adding bad language and sex. I might just try more of these Hardy Boys books.

The clinker is the near non-existence of serious violence. The stakes are extremely high for the bad guys involving what they are doing. Yet, they don’t seem to mind witnesses and merely tie up those who can finger them. More likely the bad guys would make the witnesses disappear. This is the element written for younger folks. Funny hoe today the direct opposite occurs as parents willingly push very violent video games to the same age group this book is for. Seems we were much smarter in the 1930s.

Bottom line: i recommend this book. 8 out of ten points.

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Book: ‘The Widow’s Strike’ by Brad Taylor

by on Jan.15, 2017, under Books

The Widow's Strike (Pike Logan, #4)The Widow’s Strike by Brad Taylor
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is the fourth Taylor book I’ve read and the hardest to get through. I had a great deal of trouble getting hooked into the story and found myself realizing lots of parts that should have been edited out.

In the past six months I’ve only read two other books of similar subject and length, both by John Gilstrap. Otherwise, besides non-fiction, i’ve eaten through a few dozen well crafted, tightly written 150 page mysteries, thrillers, etc. This book could’ve been one of those. I believe this book could’ve been three of them. This Taylor novel is over laden with more than needed about about a dozen characters. All the while leaving settings written sparsely.

The bigger trouble i was having was a lot of repetition I had read in Taylor and other’s books. Gilstrap constructed a similar story. Though his was preposterous, it was a better book. The opening to Gilstrap’s version of a virus on the loose is far more frightening than Taylor’s version. Of the many of these international intrigue books i’ve read, this is the first i’ve read that seemed to be repetitive in theme and parts.

The Florida part: On page 402 the story moves to Florida. Taylor brushes past the area of Brevard County he’s placed his characters. A further example of only providing simple settings through out the book. His lack of knowledge of the area is shown as he refers to the area as having “third-tier vacation rentals and cheap surf shops”. Ron Jon’s, the only store mentioned in the book, has few cheap anything. His writing of Port Canaveral seems he looked at a map than actually there. There’s a lot to play with around the Port and he could’ve really added something more, and different to the book.

Bottom line: I don’t recommend the book. 5 out of ten points.

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Cartooning class I taught today… – January 12th, 2017

by on Jan.12, 2017, under Cartooning

Taught a cartooning creativity class earlier today. I meant to get a photo of the drawing, hidden back there, i created from the answers i got from this small group, but lack of sleep got the best of me…in many ways today. šŸ™‚

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Robbing a Few Minutes! – #3, Volume 1 ā€“ January 6th, 2017

by on Jan.09, 2017, under Florida Outdoors!

Rob visits the site of the annual re-enactment of the ambush of Francis Dade December 29th, 1835 and still has problems with the moon!

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Book:’Dividend on Death’ by Brett Halliday – January 2nd, 2017

by on Jan.02, 2017, under Books

Dividend on Death (Mike Shayne #1)Dividend on Death by Brett Halliday
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was pretty sure I’d read this before, but after reading it, I’m not so sure. I have multiple copies of this book from over decades and can’t find a marking that i had read it. The best thing about Goodreads is keeping a reader straight about their book activities.

This is the first of the Shayne series and, after having read a good 40 or more of them, this was the writer’s launch without a lot of the settings and characters that would later populate the series. This is also a rocky story. Far less sleek than later Shayne books written by Dresser. After Dresser the series really goes down hill. This is far better than any of those.

Shayne, as a character, is far less developed as in future books. A few of his characteristics were still to come. That makes him a bit harder to understand. The rest of the characters are well written. With Painter and Gentry nearly identical to their characters in future books. This book makes it real obvious why Dresser later added a newspaper reporter pal for Shayne.

The settings are also far more sparse. In other Shayne books, knowing Florida as well as i do, i could actually follow where Shayne was going on either side of the bridge.

Bottom line: I recommend this book! 8 out of 10 points.

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ROBbing a Few Minutes! – January 2nd, 2017

by on Jan.02, 2017, under What's New?

Welcoming in the 2017, remembering cartoonists Jack Davis & Duck Edwing and something about a horn.

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