Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Travel by swipe!!!

Ah retirement.  In checking my Amazon account I find I have  ordered 66 books for my Kindle so far  this year and have read 63 of them. Alas - other than the Jefferson Bible, most of my reading is what even I consider lightweight but what the  hell - retirement is like permanent  vacation so I read beach reads as it were. The last six have all  been Australian in origin by a guy named Peter Corris about his character Cliff Hardy - a PEA (Private Enquiry Agent) aka an Aussie private detective. Hardy is a bit of a bad ass - reminds me a bit of an all time fave of mine named Travis McGee.  They are a couple of generations apart so there is that generational difference - Hardy being more modern. A bit more. Both travel to the beat of their own drummer but I swear they both used session players and could have shared Hal Blaine, Bobby Graham or Clem Cattini.  I heartily recommend Hardy's adventures - as well as McGee's but McGee was authored in very different times and some may find his attitudes a bit archaic and most definitely politically incorrect although he was evolving right up to the death of his creator,  John D MacDonald.

More literary fun can be had with the Agent Pendergast series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln  Child.  Pendergast is one of the most unique characters in contemporary mystery fiction and has been for years.  There are 15  titles, the first being Relic published in 1995. The most recent - Crimson Shore is from 2015. With so many twists, turns and changes over the course of the series this one should be read in order. There is simply too much back story that is critical to the later tales. I caught up and read the last 3 this year.

Being a male baby boomer it will come as no surprise I love cowboys and westerns. These days that mantle is proudly and excellently carried by Craig Johnson with his Longmire series. I've read 5 of those this year, am current with the book series and also a big fan of the television series now available on Netflix. Season 5 is about to wrap production and should hit the streaming airwaves in September.  My only complaint about the TV  series is that Lou Diamond Phillips - who is otherwise excellent as  Walt's best friend Henry Standing Bear is not 6'4 - LOL. Otherwise Aussie Robert Taylor and Katee Sackhoff of Battlestar Galactica fame completely capture  the spirit of Johnson's characters and stories. Check out the books and the series.

Were I to be forced to pick a favorite character/author it would have to be Dana Stabenow and her Kate Shugak series set in Alaska. Stabenow is as fine a chronicler of the human condition as you are likely to find ever. Her characters are richly developed, as are her stories - typically set in a fictional park in Alaska. I am  current with the series and anxiously awaiting  the next entry. It's also about time for the next Harry Dresden tale - everyone's favorite wizard detective in Chicago - from Jim Butcher. I mention him here because Dana Stabenow suggested the series in an email years ago.

So that is my reading experience so far this year. Since I  cannot afford to hit the road for real, I travel through books. As such I have spent considerable time so far this year in the US Southwest and its Navajo and Apache nations, Alaska, Sidney Australia, New York, New England and New Orleans. And summer has only just begun. Next stop  London for the turn of the twentieth  century. Almost time to board the wayback machine.


  1. Synchronicity! was just about to write to you to ask the name of the author for the salvage consultant books when you have come up with this post and the name Travis McGee. I have decided to go back to fiction and I wanted to start with the author you had mentioned some years ago and one book that I read about McGee. Thank you.

    1. Reading about McGee and the Busted Flush is always entertaining -