Rob's Blog

Tag: Books

May 8th, 2014: What I am #Drawing: Preview of what happened this past week!

by on May.08, 2014, under Cartooning, What's New?


This week has been full of upheaval. It all started last Friday. I’ll post the story tomorrow.


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May 4th, 2014 – Book: ‘Blood Oath’ by William Johnstone.

by on May.05, 2014, under Books

Blood OathBlood Oath by William W. Johnstone

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is very grotesque book in that the descriptions of what the “bad guy” does is extremely graphic. Especially when realizing this book was written in 1982. I have to wonder why this wasn’t edited more to cut out what is clearly x-rated material. It’s not just one description. The crimes are repeated and the graphic description gets more and more horrid. This book is not for the squeamish. It is definitely not for children.

I need to judge this book’s story and how the above mixes with the plot. With that in mind I find the book to be good. As can be the case of Johnstone novels, the main characters are well drawn or drawn as needed to make the story more interesting or exciting.

This is a book early in Johnstone’s production that has me wondering, based on how it was written, if Johnstone was using ghost writers that early. ‘Blood Oath’ does not read at all like other books of that time with the Johnstone name on it. Similar crimes done in the books at this time, that I’ve read, have none of the extreme detail illustrated in ‘Blood Oath’. I believe he did use a ghost writer.

Something else different about this Johsntone book is that the ending is very well paced and satisfying. The ending is often wrapped very quickly in the Johnstone books I’ve read.

Botom line: I recommend it with the warning that this book is very graphic and not for children.

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April 29th, 2014 – Book: ‘Pursuit of the Mountain Man’ by William Johnstone.

by on Apr.29, 2014, under Books

Pursuit of the Mountain Man (Mountain Man, #9)Pursuit of the Mountain Man by William W. Johnstone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Smoke Jensen series has been uneven as I’ve gone through the series in order. his one is one of he best. It helps a lot if the Smoke Jensen character is already known of, it seems to me. The crowd hot on Jensen’s trail makes far more sense with prior knowledge of the series.

Though, the bad guys are pretty standard bad guys, there are a set of other characters that are great additions. A set of surveyors and other government employees pop up as Jensen makes his way cross country trying to avoid the lynch mob.

As usual, the characters are well written and the story is paced very well. The story is basically a chase story, but well done. No big surprises, which would have been a nice addition.

Bottom line: I recommend this book.

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April 29th, 2014 – Cover art for upcoming Swampy’s Florida Free Comic Book Day comic.

by on Apr.29, 2014, under Cartooning, Swampy's Florida


Here’s the cover art for the upcoming Swampy’s Florida comic book for Free Comic Book Day on May 3rd. This mini-comic is a short story of Swampy and better establishes that he has been around for a loooooong time. This story takes place in 1898 in Tampa. You’ll have to read the story to learn more.

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April 19th, 2014 – Book: ‘The Secret Soldier’ by Alex Berenson.

by on Apr.19, 2014, under Books

The Secret Soldier  (John Wells, #5)The Secret Soldier by Alex Berenson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’m against the tide of the majority of reviews praising this volume of John Wells fictitious life. Maybe it’s timing that affected my experience reading the book. I also wonder if it’s that I accidently bypassed the volume before this, The Midnight House, that has gotten poor reviews. Whatever the case, I found this book far over written. It’s great when an author has a lot of background for a novel, but that author doesn’t have to put it all in one volume. To me, the book dragged horribly with the excess. This is a complaint I have with the majority of contemporary writers I’ve read. I just hadn’t experienced so much coming from Berenson. A good dose of studying Agatha Christie might help. But, I have a feeling the publisher needs to build a $9.99 book and wants the overdone writing.

I happen to be reading a Frank Slaughter novel at the same time which has plenty of excess. But it’s so beautifully written and so cogent to the storyline, that it works so very well. Being a better writer would’ve greatly helped Berenson’s extra loads in this. Slaughter is so good that I’m very slowly taking in each line and paragraph. At this rate, I could take a year reading Slaughter’s book and find it time well invested. I found myself wanting to read through The ‘Secret Soldier’ faster just to get it out of the way. It was pretty obvious how the book was going to end and, sad to write, there were no twists to make the reading journey interesting or fun.
There is a very good story intertwined in so much else. I wish the book was better assembled to make it enjoyable. There are also some other specifics in the story that bother me, like use of a cell phone, navigating a boat in a certain area, an oddly handled partner for Wells. Seems if a writer is going to over write, maybe fix some other sloppy writing first.

One other thing. There is an odd similarity to the basis of this book that is similar to an episode of ‘The Rockford Files’ where even a couple character names are the same. As an editorial cartoonist, I certainly know how duplication exists when creating a story. It just happens. Just found the similarity interesting and thought I’d mention it.

Bottom line: I don’t recommend this book.

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March 9th, 2014 – Book: ‘One Rough Man’ by Brad taylor.

by on Mar.09, 2014, under Books

One Rough Man (Pike Logan, #1)One Rough Man by Brad Taylor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this book to be excellent. Especially for the genre. I’ve been reading enough of these super human military types to find a similar thread of just about everything.

What makes this book better than the rest is that not only does all not go as planned, but it goes way off. The ending of the book would be mighty difficult to completely predict. The gear change is also more subtle than staged as a surprise twist. You can read along expecting one direction and find the book has taken another.

Even the hero is foulable and makes many a mistake. As do other characters. It’s a change of pace to read of a hero trying to figure out how to get out of an error.

I would have given five stars, but the writing of the story could have been better. It’s more a technical criticism. There are a number of areas in the book that are uneven. I think I see where editors did some slicing and dicing and the author tried to clean it up.

Bottom line: I recommend this book.

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March 9th, 2014 – Swampy’s Florida: Silver Springs preview!

by on Mar.09, 2014, under Cartooning, Swampy's Florida


Here’ s a bit of art that will be in the upcoming ‘Swampy’s Florida: Silver Springs’ I’m working on! Putting the book together now and hope for it to be avaialble in about three weeks.

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February 27th, 2014 – Sketch Daily – Jem lives on!

by on Feb.27, 2014, under Cartooning


Today’s Sketch Dailies involves the pop punk rock cartoon character Jem. I considered where Jem would be today and see her in a bar in Hoboken singing, as she can, the great American songbook….but still in her punk garb. Kinda as the fate of the singer in Copacabana.


Below are a few images of Jem in her prime:


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February 25th, 2014 – Book: The Life and Legacy of Mary McLeod Bethune’ by Nancy Ann Long.

by on Feb.26, 2014, under Books, Florida History!

The Life and Legacy of Mary McLeod BethuneThe Life and Legacy of Mary McLeod Bethune by Nancy Ann Zrinyi Long

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a relatively short biography of Mary McLeod Bethune and very good. I debated giving it a 5 star rating. But, at the end are a set of individual memories of Bethune by various family and friends, which adds a so much to better define the biography.

The book is very thorough and well covers her life, along with the building of Bethune-Cookman College. It is also well written.

I’m trying to think of something to write bad about the book and it’s a bit tough. Maybe more about her personal life, but it appears her life was one of an endless engine for the college.

Bottom line: i recommend the book.

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February 20th, 2014 – Pirate Gators Sketch!

by on Feb.20, 2014, under Cartooning


Signed a couple of Swampy’s Florida books for my friends at the Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce. This alligator pirate sketch is for the book we did for the annual Billy Bowlegs Festival. Last year we worked together to produce two Swampy books about the Chamber’s annual Billy Bowlegs Festival and for the last reunion in Fort Walton Beach of the Doolittle Raiders.

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February 17th, 2014 – Book: ‘The Red House Mystery’ by A.A. Milne

by on Feb.17, 2014, under Books

The Red House MysteryThe Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I an see why a.A. Milne didn’t see another mystery published. This one is a mighty stretch of reality that is poorly written and seems to have been written as the writer was thin king it all out.

The story opens well and i settled in with what I suspected a mystery in an English setting. Instead, I find myself, after the evil is done, slogging through, what seems, endless patter about what-might-have-happened, what-could-have-have-happened, who-did-it, who-didn’t, etc. All of this barely moving the story along at all for decades of pages.

Worse, the characters are never defined except for the beginning. Making this all worse involves two main characters who pretend to be Holmes and Watson. Seems Milne knew he had troubles defining characters, so he uses others to do it for him.

The solution is intellectually dishonest. Today would be impossible, but pretty hard to believe that such a mistake could have been made even in the 1920s.

Bottom line: I do not recommend this book.

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