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Book: ‘Osceola, Seminole Chief – An Unremembered Saga Osceola, Seminole Chief – An Unremembered Saga’ by O.Z. Tyler Jr. – December 29th, 2016

by on Dec.29, 2016, under Books

Osceola, Seminole Chief - An Unremembered SagaOsceola, Seminole Chief – An Unremembered Saga by O.Z. Tyler Jr.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The effort here was to put the Seminole wars and the story of Osceola in Florida to verse. It’s an admirable effort, but, to me, simply ridiculous. Verse is best for emotion not history. Especially a history like the Seminole Wars.

It’s very obvious that the writer struggled to keep the various Seminole names within the count of each line. Then it’s the tangled stores of the wars that is generally evaded to try and keep some simplicity to keep the adjectives pouring in. All in all this just doesn’t work.

A better part of the story to have tackled would have been the Dade massacre only. Unfortunately, the Dade battle is poorly handled in this over long poem, too.

I also wonder about the subtitle, “An Unremembered Saga”. Even when this book came out in 1976, the Seminole indian tribe and wars is the most written about in books than any other part of Florida history.

I admit to laughing at times while reading this.

Bottom line: I don’t recommend this. 3 out of 10 points.

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Book: ‘Osceola – The Story of an American Indian Osceola – The Story of an American Indian’ by Robert Proctor Johnson – December 29th, 2016

by on Dec.29, 2016, under Books

Osceola - The Story of an American IndianOsceola – The Story of an American Indian by Robert Proctor Johnson
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

The tragedy of this book, which, I guess, is geared toward older children, is that there is not one note that this is a book of fiction. Or is there mention that the author is writing from Osceola’s perspective. A reader not knowing this, or much else, will believe that “the evil white man” did all wrong and Osceola was an angel. I’d go so far to write this is a book of fantasy.

Johnson’s attempt here is to do, what i call, the Gore Vidal-ization of the story of Osceola. He works up the sketchy story of Osceola and builds to filling in blanks between known events during the life of Osceola. Trouble is he works off of a few errors he’s written and then compounds the errors. Errors include: Communication in English between Seminoles and Americans, Osceola as chief, assumptions not documented involving Micanopy, blacks were also slaves for the Seminoles, etc. I have to wonder just how much research was done to write this book and not to present a political viewpoint.

A huge problem I have is the perspective of the book and the author not pointing out his intent. This was written in the early ’70s when emotion ran high of a view that American indians faced nothing but abuse. Seems Johnson took that emotion to write this book. That would be fine, but some context should be presented. Especially, in that this is presented as a book for younger and less educated people.

The writing is fine involving dialogue, misplaced as it might be. Otherwise Johnson seems to struggle with the narrative involving the stroytelling, maybe due to his sketchy knowledge of the history.

Bottom line: i strongly don’t recommend this book. 2 out of ten points.

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Book: ‘Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and the Florida Crackers’ by Sandra Sammons – December 28th, 2016

by on Dec.28, 2016, under Books

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and the Florida CrackersMarjorie Kinnan Rawlings and the Florida Crackers by Sandra Wallus Sammons
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a wonderful telling of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ life in a simplistic, but very thorough, way.

The writing is very good and clearly geared toward young people. The book includes a glossary in the back and a focus of various words throughout the pages.

I liked the thoroughness of such a short biography. Nice to see the inclusion of Max Perkins and Zora Neale Hurston. Photographs add even more. Huge points given for including dates AND a chronological history.

Considering the age group this is aimed to, though anyone would learn alot from it….

Bottom line: i recommend the book. 10 of 10 points.

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Book: ‘Presidents in Florida’ by James C. Clark – December 28th, 2016

by on Dec.28, 2016, under Books

Presidents in Florida: How the Presidents Have Shaped Florida and How Florida Has Influenced the PresidentsPresidents in Florida: How the Presidents Have Shaped Florida and How Florida Has Influenced the Presidents by James C. Clark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a well written book mostly covering presidents and their contributions in Florida. It’s a mosylt an over view with tons left out. For what it is, it is well worth reading and then looking further for more information.

I was bugged that, unless i missed it, nothing was mentioned about the Rod and Gun Club in Everglades City, a popular presidential hangout. Also the cursory run at the ’68 and ’72 Republican and Democrat National Conventions, which, in my opinion, are the biggest impact a presidential election has had on Florida. Besides those two, there’s much that should have been included but, i guess, page count prevented inclusion.

Bottom line: i recommend this book. 7 out of ten points.

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Book: ‘The Golden Serpent’ by Nick Carter – December 28th, 2016

by on Dec.28, 2016, under Books

The Golden Serpent (Killmaster, #20)The Golden Serpent by Nick Carter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There’s a great story here. Too bad it’s so lightly written and and embroiled in so much sexual action.

The writing is fine in telling this story in 150 pages. But there was so much that goes unexplained. The whole Golden Serpent angle is something worthy of treatment by an author to write an epic, than this quick treatment. The characters are good, also. The writer does a great job defining the few characters involved but does little with them, I guess, due to page number restrictions.

I realize sex is such a staple of this version of the Nick Carter stories, but it’s been a few years since i read one, i’d forgotten how much it detracts from the book. I happened to pick up two of these last week and thought I’d wrap up the last ten books of the year with these. Curious about the other one anyway. It was published in UK and curious how it’s layout might change the reading of the book.

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

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Book: ‘The First Fast Draw’ by Louis L’Amour – December 27th, 2016

by on Dec.27, 2016, under Books

The First Fast DrawThe First Fast Draw by Louis L’Amour
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fine tale by L’Amour with the usual unusual layout of a story that most westerns can’t pull off. Also, as usual a lot is covered in a few pages another author would take 50 to write.

This setting is north Texas and the scenery is excellently written as usual. L’Amour covers everywhere from swamp to mansion to town in description that will put the reader there. The characters are also great as always, though there is often too much similarity between various characters from other books. I have to wonder why L’Amour didn’t just do a series of one character instead what is nearly a series of one character with different names.

The ending for some will be somewhat unsatisfying, but that is not unusual of a L’Amour book.

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

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Book: ‘Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen’ by Vicki Delany – December 27th, 2016

by on Dec.27, 2016, under Books

Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen (A Year-Round Christmas Mystery #1)Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen by Vicki Delany
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a very well written book that is full of Christmas everything. Even a character is dressed as Santa through most of the book. though the character is a father of the main character and not Santa. There’s a flimsy mystery involved, but this is a book to read at Christmastime, not in July.

The title is a wee deceiving and i find it interesting that ‘God’ is not part of the title, but not surprising these days. The mayhem is small stuff and threatens the a small town in New York. The hows and why fores of the actions are a bit much and toned down by more Christmas this and that. The conclusion is unsatisfying considering all of the ruminating who did it.

However, the characters are very engaging and the Christmas theme is done far better than other authors, such as Debbie Macomber. The settings are also very well down.

A technicality i have to call involving Delany’s knowledge of government jurisdictional lines. Early on a detective appears, though what jurisdictional office this character works for is never defined. There’s also writing of some kind of transfer done by the detective. Delany writes as not knowing transfers are more complicated and very specific. A city is prominent in the book, but little is referred to involving the county authorities as jurisdictional lines are crossed involving another city and the conclusion of the book. For some reason “State” police are called when the jurisdiction should have been city or county authorities. Technical stuff that is much more involved and something I’ve hardly found in any other book i’ve read.

Bottom line: I recommend the book. 6 of 10 points.

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Book: ‘The Spy Who Came for Christmas’ by David Morrell – December 26th, 2016

by on Dec.26, 2016, under Books

The Spy Who Came for ChristmasThe Spy Who Came for Christmas by David Morrell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a pretty simple spy story with a faswcinating trelling of the story of Jesus as a spy story included. The book is worth reading just for this great effort by author Morrell.

This book would be too simple if not for the flashback story of how all got to be where they are. Those dimensions make the book further worthwhile. Seems to me Morrell works a bit too hard to bridge his spy story with the story of Jesus, but that isn’t enough to pan the book.

The characters are well written, especially the family involved. I was a bit confused with the setting, what little is involved in the book, and believe a knowledge of Santa Fe, New Mexico, would help better imagining the story.

Bottom line: I recommend the book. 7 out of ten points.

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Book: ‘Have Gat – Will Travel’ by Richard S. Prather – December 17th, 2016

by on Dec.17, 2016, under Books

Have Gat - Will TravelHave Gat – Will Travel by Richard S. Prather
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great collection of six short stories featuring Shell Scott. A few of the stories are weaker than the rest but all worthwhile.

Clearly a few of these were written previous to the standard setup of Scott and his cadillac, his pall in Homicide, etc. I guess these were set for other detectives Prather rewrote with Scott in place.

Something I liked about these stories is setting the sexual stuff aside. Some is written in, but with such short stories there is little room for what is typically in a longer Scott story.

Characters are well written and typical of a Scott story. The settings are more sparsely written i guess due to the shorter format.

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 7 of 10 points.

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Book: ‘Poor Butterfly’ by Stuart M. Kaminsky – December

by on Dec.13, 2016, under Books

Poor Butterfly (Toby Peters, #15)Poor Butterfly by Stuart M. Kaminsky
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was so tickled to find another Toby Peters novel that I started reading it in the check out lane. I became even more tickled that someone I’d read alot about this past year was a star in the book – Leopold Stokowski.

As Kaminsky’s Toby Peters fans know, the best part of his series is the inclusion of celebrities mixed into the stories. Sometimes the fit is rough. This time it’s just right. Kaminsky knows Stokowski very well and he makes use of his many quirks and eccentricities well throughout the story.

The plot is pretty typical for a mystery. Kaminsky dresses it up as best as possible, but it’s still standard. He piles on a bunch about a religious cult that is interesting. The characters are very good, especially Peters and Stokowski. Kaminsky cleverly added details of Stokowski that many would find hard to believe, but are true.

Bottom line: i recommend this book. 6 out of 10 points.

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Book: ‘Tanner’s Tiger’ by Lawrence Block – December 9th, 2016

by on Dec.09, 2016, under Books

Tanner's Tiger (Evan Tanner, #5)Tanner’s Tiger by Lawrence Block
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is a very well written book and very interesting, too. Mostly due to the narrative around the story. The story itself doesn’t make a lot of sense.

The believably factor that a “spy” takes a phone call and dashes off with no indication of support financially or otherwise into what could be a dangerous situation makes this book hard to accept. Block does little to support the notion that Tanner is a spy to begin with. Even throughout the book there is little that gives background as to the spy premise. There’s also the whole issue of Tanner having a little girl who he’s torn about keeping. How’d he get her without some formal process? There’s a weird angle of Tanner supposedly on a mission to fight people that he consistently claims support for. I never got the feeling the bad guys were as bad as the one Tanner sympathies with.

Clearly Block has socialist to communist viewpoints toward government, which might explain why the story is so flimsy as to just what on earth Tanner is working toward or for.

Outside of the core story are wonderfully written asides and other pieces that I found only made the book worthwhile.

Characters are standard to weak. Settings, important throughout the story are also weakly written.

Bottom line: I don’t recommend this book. 4 out of 10 points.

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