Number 3 in the series of ‘Flintlock’ and either the writer changed or somebody got in a big hurry to hit a deadline. One things for sure – The writer does not know swamps!
The over all story is good, but far simpler in telling than the previous two. Not helping is my reading great authors since reading the two. Folks like Walter Lippmann, Mark Greaney and John D. MacDonald.
I am so glad I read John D.’s ‘Condominium’ before reading this book. Odds of someone doing that is extremely low. The odd thing is that ‘Kill or Die’ is basically ‘Condominium’. Just that all of the characters have guns. There is the community living in the swamp, a ruthless developer out to wipe out the cypress swamp and the oncoming hurricane. The story was eerily similar.
The writing of the cypress swamp really bugged me. Obviously the writer has never stepped foot in one. I don’t know much about west of the Mississippi and all of the rocks and dirt in the west. Not my thing. But, here in Florida, I know swamps and like them a lot.
It’s supposedly late Summer in a Southern swamp. All of the characters acted comfortable. Even the most die hard Southerner sweats like crazy in late August. But most especially someone like Flintlock, used to the dry western air, would be having a hell of a time adjusting to the thick humidity.
Also, where are the bugs??? Now, most healthy swamps actually have few bugs. But this is described as home to many people. Thus, the swamp should be filled with all kinds of bugs. Few appear throughout the swamp scenes.
The BIGGEST omission, and a huge strike in my book, are the cypress knees. No one is just going to go trotting out into a swamp they don’t know and not, either, navigate around the knees or trip over them. NOT ONCE are knees mentioned. That’s impossible, for a cypress can not survive without the attached knees jutting out for air.
This is the least clever of the three Flintlocks. Rather a standard story with some excellent enhancing elements like the balloon, the odd mid-eastern valet and the description of Evangeline. The odd mysticism continues in this book, but not with the magical flair of the first two. The characters are very well done and typical of a Johnstone Clan book. The settings are lacking this time around, especially with the noted above. The ending appears to be multiple chapters tacked on, I guess, to increase page count. This is the shortest of the Flintlock series by 100 pages.
Proof to me that this is surely a different writer is that Flintlock is not described as in the other two books. The tattoo is only described on his neck and not running from the side of his face to his chest. Also, Flintlock is not described by his shorter stature or mustache. Also, O’Hara’s character has greatly altered to being more of a side kick than the drifter described in the first two.
This third book continues the trend of having a horrible cover. Still not Flintlock on the cover. Also, the background in know way looks like a Louisiana swamp.
Can’t believe I’ve caught up with a Johnstone Clan title! First series I’ve read all that are available.
Bottom l;ine: i recommend this book. 6 out of ten points.
A huge lot of fun is this volume of Oscar Levant’s memories of his life.
Whether the many stories and one liners are true or not is whether you can believe a person who has been in and out of mental institutions and ensconced in pharmaceuticals can have reliable memories to pick through. Nevertheless, the stories are very good and extremely readable.
The most important thing to know if one wishes to read this book are, at least, 75% of the people mentioned throughout. Otherwise a reader will have no appreciation or understanding of the context, humor and importance of what is included. The time frame is from the 1920s to the 1960s.
The book is also hardly organized at all. Of what I know of Levant, this well reflected his thought process. There is an invaluable index.
A personal note: I’ve been looking for this book for decades. The day I came across it, I started reading – as I drove away from the place I found it! After the death of my father a bit over a month ago, I know the Snuffy Smith phrase, “Time’s a’wastin’!” is to live by.
Bottom line: I highly recommend this book. 10 out of 10 points.
Interesting what a father sets aside. Found a few decades of my artwork in a box of his. Newspaper art, comics strips, advertising pieces, comic books and personal artwork.
Spent weekend moving my father’s things to my house. Great thanks to brother Jeff Smith, his friend Steve and old pal James Goddard for the enormous amount of help! James even found a 40th birthday comic book I had done for him and his twin brother.
Norb is light years away in mindset from family member Kurt Vonnegut, of who I know too much. ‘Top Producer’ is a top producer of detailed, yet understandable, words of how Wall Street works. To tie such a complex subject in with an involved case of murcer is more than admirable.
However, this book is struck by what I find in the bulk of contemporary novels: Massive excess. For me a quarter of this book could be cut loose and work so much better. Vonneguts asides of bicycling and food and over focus of a victim is, at times, ridiculous. Asides should be a paragraph or two. Not pages and pages.
With all of the excess a reader will learn far more than needed of each character. A better writer could have scaled the character development down to far, far fewer words. The settings are very well depicted. Excess here may have helped a bit.
Still this is a very good book with a rather simple mystery that is decked out in Wall street trimmings.
Bottom line: I recommend this book. 7 out of ten points.
Here is another Tibbetts tale with massive holes. Despite an otherwise good story, the holes in the novel cannot be ignored. The worse is the use of a machete on a human with no apparent problem of the resulting blood being everywhere after the action. Apparently this was a clean machete murder. Seems Moyes didn’t learn about what happens when violently hacking a machete. She did learn about how it should have been done.
This problem makes the rest of the book impossible. Seems to me Moyes had an ending in mind, built and outline and then filled in the blanks. This would explain how few seem concerned about the violence of the murder involved and what happens later. Especially the Tibbetts, who are not even on their home turf. Moyes writes Henry Tibbett as nearly a superman who barges around with no fear of death and flies long distances in record time.
Bottom line: I don’t recommend this book. 4 out of ten points.
This is an exceptional book of agriculture, Orange County and Florida history. Henry Swanson has laid out extensive, well-written and thorough history of the all facets of the agriculture business in Orange County. He even get into the public policy process and who has been involved. It’s an amazing work.
I’ve used this book for 30 years for reference. This is the first time, I believe, I’ve read the entire book cover to cover. I’ve always recommended it and now do so even stronger. Unfortunately the book is way out of print and hard to find.
I recommend this book. 10 out of ten points.
Here’s a case where the film is far, far, far better than what Capote wrote. Much of the story is in the film. The film chose to end than Capote’s choice to meander off. Though ‘Holly Golightly’ is well written, the rest of the characters are more sketchy than not. ‘Doc’ is well written but walks in and out again. What a disappointment!
The other stories are much the same of Capote rambling on and on and on with no clear end in sight. Not surprisingly, none really end.
There are many clever asides and observances. Maybe Capote should have written one liners instead.
Bottom line: I don’t recommend the book. 4 of 10 points.
“Fuller” kicks off this entry in his various TV series adaptions with a perfect portrayal of paranoia of someone being sought. After the first few pages you’ll look over your own shoulder to see who’s watching. This all a half century before the digital eyes that watch us all now.
Beyond the excellent job of literally forming Dr. Richard Kimble, “Fuller” continues, what I’ve read in his other books, packing a packed story in 155 pages. Again, I wonder, why can’t this be done today????
The writing is direct and strong, as are the characters. I really like his depiction of a little boy caught in the web.
Before I wrote this I thought I’d track down the episode this book is based. Here is just another example of the book far outshining the filmed version. It’s almost startling at how different the two are. Same story with the same characters. Just with that “Fuller” touch added in.
Bottom line: I recommend this book! 10 out of 10 points.
Wow! Author Fuller (Don Tracy) makes full use of the faux moniker. This is definitely a book Fuller with story than most books 100 times the size. This entry by “Fuller” is very well crafted and well written in story and characters.
One problem with this book is with a bit of a side story that dovetails later in the book. A character that is clearly written as being in the mountains of upstate Pennsylvania, I checked three times, is written as a Foghorn Leghorn backwoods Southern stereotype. I’ve met hundreds from upstate Pennsylvania in the mountains. None spoke with a Southern accent. It would be trivial but for how “Fuller” writes the character in a more than malicious way. The intent is clear. The result is extremely disappointing.
There is something else and that is the described very, very, very wealthy main character Tasso struggling with the abortion issue. She is written as willing to destroy her family, her husband’s business and all else in her wake to meet her goal. BUT when considering doing a procedure that she could VOLUNTEER to do – THAT is discarded instantly. That take makes the rest of the book frivolous.
I do like how the main “Defender” Preston is written with a last line to make all think.
Despite a complicated and very well written book, the setbacks really mine the entirety, so…
Bottom line: i don’t recommend this book. 3 out of ten points.