“Real Men Do Yoga” by John Capouya, “Plum Lovin’!” by Janet Evanovich, “Hell’s Bay” by James W. Hall

It’s March. Our New Year’s resolutions lie, littered around our recliner like Corona’s on Cinco de Mayo.

And as real guys, we are ashamed. Of course, no one will ever know this because, WE ARE MEN! And no one should ever know what we are thinking. And even fewer people should have any idea at all what we are feeling.

“Real Men Do Yoga” by John Capouya

But Grit-Lit knows what REAL MEN do.

“Real Men Do Yoga” by John Capouya (Health Communications, Inc. $12.95, 195 pages, www.hcibooks.com).

And every real man with eyes wants to look like the guy on the cover of this book. Heck, Superman wishes he was as muscular, cut and flexible as the dude on the front cover. That guy would be Eddie George, NFL running back and Heisman trophy winner. To quote George, “Yoga’s helped me to avoid injuries and made me stronger, particularly in the upper body. It gives me a competitive edge.”

Not good enough for you Oh Great Manly Man?

Kevin Garnett, NBA Superstar: “I practice my breathing and focusing before every game.” More. “Yoga helps me calm down and helps me center my energy so I’m balanced instead of going out there and just spreading my energy all over the court. I’m zeroed in on the game and have my mind set on what I need to do.”

But wait, there’s more!

“Real Men” features more than twenty pro athletes, all of whom are enthusiastic yoga practitioners: Shannon Sharpe, Dan Marino, Barry Zito, hockey goalie Sean Burke and plus pro golfers and tennis players.

“Real Men Do Yoga” is one of the few yoga books specifically directed at men. There’s little if any “OOOHHMMING”. It’s a non-new-agey book that will convince you that there is a lot more to yoga than just a bunch of folks all tied up in pretzel poses.

Yoga can make you a better athlete and a healthier person: conquer back pain, build muscle, and increase flexibility. It can even improve your sexual performance. And I’ve been told it has fewer side effects than Viagra.

Whether real men do yoga because of all the great benefits or because yoga classes are full of really flexible, friendly women is something between you and your yogi.

You know what else REAL MEN DO? Real men who made resolutions to lose weight and get fit? First they sign up for Yoga. Then they swear off McDuck’s calorie bombs and learn to GASP – here comes the dirty 4 letter word – COOK! For themselves!

“Fast & Fit” by Ellen Haas

“Fast & Fit” by Ellen Haas (Hatherleigh, $16.95, 240 pages, www.hatherleighpress.com)

Here’s what the cover says: “150 Recipes by famous chefs like: Alice Waters, Charlie Trotter and Eric Ripert. Each ready in 30 minutes or less. And most with less than 5 ingredients.”

Sounded too good to be true. Heck it takes almost an hour to drive to your favorite pizza place, order a pie, quaff a couple beers, rabbit down a salad and slam a pizza. Plus it costs about 30 bucks plus gas at 500 or so dollars a gallon.

If you can fix good, tasty, healthy food in less than a ½ an hour that leaves almost enough time for a yoga class.

Recipes focus on fresh, in-season ingredients. Many can be made in less than 15 minutes. All reflect the government’s 2005 Dietary Guidelines and the new Food Pyramid.

In a dedicated effort to assure my reader’s that this is a quality publication I forwent my usual Saturday night repast and cooked from the book: “Garlicky Kale” (what’s a kale anyway – I heard it tastes like chicken), “Grilled Chipotle Pork Tenderloin” and a very addicting snack: “Happy Trail Mix.”

In under an hour I made all the above, plus breakfast Muesli. All were delicious. All had 5 ingredients or less. My only disappointment was that quite a few of the recipes weren’t by famous chefs and several had more than 5 ingredients.

But the proof is in the tasting. If your New Year’s resolutions are out rusting next to your barbells, splurge on “Fit & Fast.” Your mouth, your wallet and your waist will all feel better.

Besides yoga and healthy cooking, what else do real men do? Why they buy frivolous books for their wives and then read them themselves.

Plum Lovin' (A Between-the-Numbers Novel)

“Plum Lovin’!” by Janet Evanovich (St. Martin’s Paperbacks, $6.99, 275 pages, www.evanovich.com)

Heroine, Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter. She has a para-normal bounty hunter type friend, Diesel, and a steady boy friend who’s a cop. Plus a dysfunctional family that is funnier than this column. And believe me it hurts me to say that!

Here’s an example:

“Men are like shoes. Some fit better than others. And sometimes you go out shopping and there’s nothing you like. And then as luck would have it, the next week you find two that are perfect, but you don’t have the money to buy both. I was currently in just such a position… not with shoes, but with men. And this morning it got worse.”

And a little more:

“My name is Stephanie Plum. I’m average height and average weight and have an average vocabulary for someone living in Jersey. I have shoulder-length brown hair that is curly or wavy, depending on the humidity. My eyes are blue. My heritage is Hungarian and Italian. My family is dysfunctional in a normal sort of way. There are a bunch of things I’d like to do with my life, but right now I’m happy to put one foot in front of the other and button my jeans without having a roll of fat hang over the waistband.”

You get the idea. “Plum” is classic chick-lit. Perfect for a woman but men like it, too.

And finally, real men love to read about tuff guys.

Hell's Bay

“Hell’s Bay” by James W. Hall (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $24.95, 3068 pages, www.minotaurbooks.com)

Hall’s lead character, Thorn, is one of the better of the lone guy, tuff guy series characters Thorn lives the simple life. A virtual monastic bachelor, Thorn avoids people like you would if you knew they were trying to sell you a lifetime supply of Tupperware. He spends most of his time tying and selling fly fishing flies.

Then about 15 pages into every book Thorn decides, against his better judgment, to have an actual conversation with a living breathing human being. These conversations often start out well with the promise of love, sex, romance or at least catching a REALLY BIG FISH.

But never fear within moments things go astray and Thorn ends up battling for all that is right and good.

A real men’s book for real yoga doin’, FIT food cookin’, chick-lit readin’ MEN.

“Black Widow” by Randy Wayne White, “The Dawn Patrol” by Don Winslow, “Nothing To Lose” by Lee Child

Way back at the beginning of time only men had bachelor parties.

At their worst the parties lasted through the wee morning hours and involved indiscriminate amounts of alcohol and other forms of “adult” and “male” entertainment.  Many a man woke up with a hurtin’ head and a bad case of embarrassment.

Then the 21st century came along and the parties grew from one night stands to multi-day, multi-thousand dollar “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” events involving even larger amounts of “fun.” Now some men wake up days, weeks even months after their “Lost Vegas Weekend” to find out that their embarrassing moments have followed them well beyond the wee hours of the morning.

Rumor has it that due to the combined benefits of emancipation, women’s liberation, and our amazing progress towards equal-work-for-equal-pay, women now have their own multi-day, how-many-ways-can-I-play bachelorette parties. Parties that can come back to haunt them for days, weeks and even months in the future.

“Black Widow” by Randy Wayne White

“Black Widow” by Randy Wayne White (G P Putnam’s Sons. $24.95, 337 pages, www.docford.com).

A young woman, Shay, and her bridesmaids held a wild, wild bachelorette party on St. Arc in the Windward Islands. A sleazy blackmailer secretly videotaped the event and was threatening to ruin the lives of everyone involved.

Shay asks her godfather, Doc Ford, for help. A marine biologist by training, Doc is a quiet, peaceful, and deadly violent man who, in addition to marine biology, works as a covert agent for the United States government.

And that’s when things get interesting. Once Doc gets involved you know the bad guys will end up being forced to take just the right medicine.

As always, Doc Ford is a great read.  A perfect book for an airline flight either on your way to or returning from your own lost weekend.

“The Dawn Patrol” by Don Winslow (Alfred A. Knopf, $23.95, 307 pages, www.aaknopf.com)

“The Dawn Patrol” by Don Winslow

Boone Daniels is an extremely talented, extremely reluctant private investigator.  He works just enough to keep himself in fish tacos.  His motto is “anything tastes better in a tortilla.”  And no matter what the situation, his first priority is surfing. Everyone knows to look for Boone in the water whenever the waves are “epic macking crunchy.”

But financial realities often force Boone into the violent world of criminal investigations.  Along with the Dawn Patrol (his early morning surf bum friends): Hang Twelve, Dave the Love God, Johnny Bansai, High Tide and Sunny Day, Boone helps a gorgeous, bossy lawyer investigated an insurance scam, which turns out to be a wildly entertaining ride.

Author Winslow has written lots of popular books.  In general, he doesn’t write continuing series character books.

Let’s hope he breaks that tradition and that we see more of Boone Daniels soon.

“Nothing To Lose” by Lee Child

“Nothing To Lose” by Lee Child (Delacorte Press, $27.00, 407 pages, www.leechild.com)

Grit-lit’s favorite tough guy is back!  And as usual, he has nothing to lose.

Reacher is stuck in that place so familiar to many of us; he’s stuck between hope and despair. Unlike many of us aging boomers, Reacher’s problem is not all in his head.  Its physical, he’s stuck in the middle of nowhere between two small towns: Hope and Despair.

“Lose” is typical Reacher. Reacher can’t get a ride, so he walks.  He wants a simple cup of coffee.  He gets accosted by violent locals, arrested for vagrancy and ordered by the local cops to move on.  Something clearly stinks and Reacher decides to find out what.

Reacher’s the ultimate hard man.  No job, no address, no baggage.  And “Nothing To Lose” is the ultimate hard guy book.

8 Steps to a PAIN-FREE BACK!” by Esther Gokhale, The Calorie King: Calorie Fat & Carbohydrate Counter

Today’s column is about PRIORITIES and LEADERSHIP. That you and I don’t need to wait for the pigs at the trough, those “Diet Club Failures” in Washington to help us.  How we can take charge of our own lives and pull ourselves out of the tsunami of doom and gloom that is dominating our airwaves.

What you (quite rightly) ask do PRIORITIES and LEADERHIP have to do with books!? Trust me. Please.

Every time I hear a presidential candidate speak I want to scream, “Don’t you guys get it? It’s not about who has the craziest pastor. It’s not about who is too old. It’s not about whose husband was president a long time ago. It’s about PRIORITIES & LEADERSHIP. Continue reading

“Resolution” by Robert B. Parker, 101 Road Tales by Clement Salvadori

In the 1800 a man’s life was filled with adrenaline adventures. Daniel Boone killed a bear–with his knife.  Men traveled west shooting buffalos, fighting injuns, discovering gold, conquering the unknown.

Nowadays unless you’re an astronaut, stress is what gets your adrenaline pumping: that flashing red light in your rearview mirror, flop sweat during an IRS audit, or my personal favorite the “pink slip”.

If the stress of daily life has gotten you down, “Resolution” by Robert Parker will make you feel better.  At least nobody is shooting at you.

“Resolution” is a good old-fashioned western.  Complete with bargirls, showdowns and conniving bad guys.  It’s the story of how Everett Hitch and Virgil Cole bring harmony to the Old West town of Resolution.

Here is an example: “I cocked both barrels.  The sound of them cocking was very loud in the room.  Virgil Cole always used to say, You gotta kill someone, do it quick.  Don’t look like you got pushed into it.  Look like you couldn’t wait to do it. It was as if I could hear his voice as I looked at the men in front of me: Sometimes you got to kill one person early, to save killing four or five later.”

“Resolution” by Robert B. Parker

“Resolution” by Robert B. Parker (J.  P.  Putnam’s Sons, $25. 95, 292 pages, www.robertbparker.net)

But it’s still possible to have great adventures.

Clement Salvadori has traveled all over the world on a motorcycle. Country after country he’s met and enjoyed encounters with locals.

I tend to believe that adventure travelers are either: big budget movie stars traveling with a slew of mechanics, cameramen and credit cards or “MacGyver Types” who can repair a destroyed $20,000 BMW motorcycle with duct tape and a Swiss Army knife.

Salvadori proves I am wrong.  He’s not mechanically gifted.  He’s not rich.  When things go all cockeyed he has to rely on his optimistic outlook and help from the people who happen along. Continue reading

“Last Call” by James Grippando, “Shrink Yourself by Roger Gould, “The 47th Samurai” by Stephen Hunter, “Midnight Rambler” by James Swain

Four books today. Three of the world’s great tough guys and one that will be tough for even the toughest tough guys to handle.

“Last Call” by James Grippando

“Last Call” by James Grippando (Harper Collins, $24.95, 326 pages, www.jamesgrippando.com).

Six of Grippando’s more than 14 books feature semi-tough guy Miami attorney Jack Swyteck and his jazz loving really tough friend Theo Knight.

Dude, this is a Grit-Lit FAV (oops sorry – slipped into my old writer guy trying to be cool dude vocabulary) and Grit-Lit is not alone; Grippando’s books have been translated into more than 20 languages. Only one of which I can read. DARN. If I could read another language, I could read ‘em twice.

The series is set in Miami and deals with gangs, poverty and race. Not very much sex. Too Bad!

Also of course, no pictures. Continue reading

“Now & Then” by Robert Parker, “Blonde Faith” by Walter Mosley, “Ruby Tuesday” by Mike Harrison

For your intrepid Grit-Lit columnist, the best column of the year is the one where they pay me to be in Mexico, on the beach, drinking a beer, on vacation and someone else writes the column. What’s that boss? Oh yeah, that’s right. The “substitute” writer took one look at the column and said “writing like that would be career suicide!” Guess he was some kind of “Comedian” huh?!

Other than the holy grail of getting paid to drink beer on the beach while someone else does my work, my favorite columns are the tough guy columns. (And just to keep you folks from running directly to your email and filling my inbox with PC outrage – which by the way I WON’T EVEN READ – in the tough guy world, heroes can be men or women. Check out Marlene in the Butch Karp novels or almost any of the women in a Burke novel if you don’t believe me.) Books where the hero alone or with friends takes on evil and — despite hot lead and hotter women — crushes ‘em while protecting the good guys. Of course, mostly everyone except the mandatory dead body or two lives happily ever after.

This month is a tough guy column. YEAH! YIPPPEE! WOWWEE ZOWWEE!

Reader’s looking for namby pamby stories about mystery solving tea drinkers and their “Crime Solving Tonto Cats” please move quickly to the next column and no one will get hurt.

This one column makes all the incredible stress of a writing life worthwhile. From hangnails to hangovers — it all by itself — cures all writing ills. By the time it’s finished I’ll feel better than Santa Claus on December 26th. Tired. Exhausted. But the “good kind of exhaustion” that comes from bringing incredible pleasure to millions. And having a stash of about 2000 dozen homemade chocolate chip cookies – gifts from children around the world — hidden in the stable freezer where Mrs. Claus will never find them. And thank the gods, reindeer are allergic to chocolate! Ample reward for a job well done.

'Now and Then' by

“Now & Then” by Robert Parker (G P Putnam’s Sons, $25.95, 296 pages, www.penguin.com).

Spenser’s been on TV. They’ve made some pretty good and some down right lousy TV movies about the antics of Spenser, Susan and Hawk. With more than 34 best selling Spenser novels, Parker has proven that he’s the king of dialogue driven detective novels.

An example.

“That’s tempting,” I said.

“The Coke?” Epstein said. “Bureau is really pissy about having the SAC drunk during business hours.”

I ordered a scotch and soda. Epstein turned his glass slowly on the bar in from of him.

“Sure,” Epstein said, “Rub my nose in it.”

And a little later… Continue reading

Jon Land, Lee Child, Andrew Grant Wonderful Heroes — Tough Guys and a Tough Gal

Looks like I won’t be going to work for at least the next 2 months. Just discovered that one of Grit-Lit’s all time favorite authors, Jon “The Legend” Land, has written 28 novels. TWENTY-EIGHT! And I’ve only read 9 of ‘em.

That’s 19 books I’ve gotta read RIGHT NOW! And no, you can’t have my copies when I’m done. They are going to their place of honor on my bookshelf next to the other superlative tough guy novels by John D. MacDonald, Randy Wayne White, Robert Parker, James W. Hall, Andrew Vachss, Stephen Hunter, Ian Fleming, David Morrell …
Sleep was all ready pretty much back burnered anyway.

What with the NBA play-offs–40 Games In 40 Nights–which of our country’s enemies came up with that? Forty days of nonstop basketball could bring the American economy to its knees faster than a whole new round of sub-prime loans.
But wait, there’s more good news–more up-all-night books including an outstanding new Jack Reacher by Lee Child and a great new tough guy novel by Andrew Grant. Plus the 19 new-to-me-books by Jon Land.

Strong enough to Die

“Strong Enough To Die” by Jon Land. (Forge $24.95, 352 pages. Hard cover.) www.tor-forge.com

Land’s books are so good, his last book “The Seven Sins: The Tyrant Ascending” is on its way to being a blockbuster. Movie guys from “Terminator” snapped up the rights.
Now don’t get all mad when you discover that technically “Strong Enough” is not a tough guy book. That’s only because on special occasions, Land’s hero can look mighty good in a dress. His new star, Caitlin Strong, is the first female Texas Ranger. So, she’s tough. Plenty tough. Continue reading

“Walking Dead” by Greg Rucka and “Terminal Freeze” by Lincoln Child

First a word about coming attractions. Then on to the books.

Next month, July 8 -11, Thrillerfest 2009 will be held in New York City. Wow! All the best thriller writers in the world in one place. Thrillerfest is a combination writing university, industry convention and fan fest. Some of the biggest names in the business will be presenting.
Grit-Lit Lifetime Master Award Winners Jon Land – 29 books including “Strong Enough To Die” reviewed last month, Lee Child—author of the Jack Reacher series, David Morrell – “Rambo”, “The League Of Night and Fog”, “Brotherhood of the Rose” and dozens of others famous authors will be sharing their secrets on how to write, get published and get paid big bucks for writing the next big thing.
Attendees will include hundreds of new and experienced authors hoping to make the connections and learn the skills they need to get published and see their books make the Costco/Amazon/New York Times best seller lists. Each hoping to cash a fat check, sell movie rights and get invited to the Playboy Mansion movie launch party.
Thrillerfest is also a huge a fan fest. Devoted readers can meet their favorite writers, and learn what it takes to create a top notch thriller. Get signed copies. Even buy their favorite author coffee or an adult beverage.
Grit-Lit will be in attendance, representing you and getting the scoop on the latest and greatest new thrillers. Dedicated readers, there is still time to book tickets. Check it out at http://www.thrillerwriters.org/thrillerfest/

And now a couple of really good thrillers you can get at the bookstore, today.

Walkin dead by Greg Rucka

“Walking Dead” by Greg Rucka. (Bantam Books $25, 305 pages. Hard cover.) www.gregrucka.com
There are five novels in Rucka’s Atticus Kodiak series. Having read them all I can tell you with 100% certainty that “Walking Dead” is the absolute best one. All are good. “Walking Dead” is beyond excellent. Atticus, a former bodyguard-turned-international-fugitive is on a one-man crusade. Most normal people think that being willing to die for our cause is “the ultimate commitment.” Atticus knows the truth – there are things that are so important that being willing to die isn’t enough. You have to be willing to do things that are much worse than merely dying. Continue reading

“Dead Men’s Dust” by Matt Hilton and “Pirate Latitudes” by Michael Chrichton

Industry scuttlebutt – more reliable than one of those unaffiliated blogger dudes but not as reliable as this fine family publication – rage on and on about a new author prolific beyond the imagination of normal scribes.
The back story.

First time author pen’s a great book.  By the time he’s found an agent, he’s finished his second book, by the time the agent is ready to send out book #1, writer had finished book #3; by the time a publisher bought #1, writer had finished book #4; and by the time book #1 came out in the US and UK, the writer had finished book #5.
And the good news for Grit-Lit readers — they plan to release two Matt Hilton hard covers a year for the next 2 years … at least!

“Dead Men’s Dust” by Matt Hilton

“Dead Men’s Dust” by Matt Hilton. (William Morrow $24.99, 336 pages. Hard cover.) www.MattHiltonBooks.com
Joe Hunter is the perfect Grit-Lit tough guy. If you haven’t been able to satisfy your jones for Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, Robert Crais Joe Pike or are still re-reading Travis McGee hoping John D will rise from his grave and write another unmatched novel, dig out your credit or library card and order “Dead Men’s Dust.”
Hunter is a former Special Forces agent with exceptional killing skills. Skills that lead some to call him a vigilante. But, if you’re a single mom whose children have been threatened, Hunter’s the guy you need.
Hunter is one of the most exciting new tough guys to come along in years. And he’s up against a devious, smarmy, rotten, scary tough guy, Tubal Cain. Just the name makes you want to cock and lock your Glock, doesn’t it?
Hunter spent years in the Special Forces hunting bad guys. His objective — kill murderous thugs, save innocent strangers. Now, trusty SIG Sauer strapped to his side, he sets out on another mission. Only this time, it’s personal.

Pirate Latitudes

“Pirate Latitudes” by Michael Chrichton. (Harper Collins $27.99, 312 pages. Hard cover.) www.michaelchrichton.com
Switching speeds we move from a brand new author to the last book by one of the best selling, most popular Grit-Lit authors of all time. Chrichton is the only writer – EVER – to have the number one book, movie and TV show all at the same time. “Pirate Latitudes” was discovered as a complete manuscript shortly after his death in 2008. DreamWorks and Steven Spielberg have all ready bought the movie rights.
But we all know that with the possible exception of James Bond, Harry Potter and any movie featuring lots of scantily clad women, no movie is never as good as the book. Right? RIGHT!
It is 1665 and King Charles II’s Jamaican Colony is a weak English outpost surrounded by a vastly stronger Spanish empire. English privateers (pirates to you and me) have free reign to raid Spanish ships and settlements as long as the governor and the crown receive their cut of the booty. But political shenanigans and devious competitors conspire to make even being a simple pirate a bloody savage experience.
Here’s an example of why Chrichton is one of the best of all time.
“… Sir William had explained the workings of the Colony to the new governor. Sir James had listened and had thought he understood, but one never really understood life in the New World until confronted with the actual rude experience.
Now, riding in his coach through the stinking streets of Port Royal, nodding from his window as the commoners bowed, Sir James marveled at how much he had come to accept as wholly natural and ordinary. He accepted the heat and the flies and the malevolent odors; he accepted the thieving and the corrupt commerce; he accepted the drunken and gross manners of the privateers. He had made a thousand minor adjustments, including the ability to sleep through the raucous shouting and gunshots, which continued uninterrupted through every night in the port.”
Chrichton at his best.
Hey, Mr. Depp. Wanta play another pirate, Matey?

Some Tough Guys and A Real Life Stud

Today’s theme is, “Desperation is the mother of contempt.” I know there is a tired, old, worn out quote—“necessity is the mother of invention.” But my versions better, especially when it comes to describing the tough guy heroes who bring bad guys to justice.

And no one demonstrates that better than Joe R. Lansdale.

Vannilla Ride

“Vanilla Ride” by Joe R. Lansdale.  (Knopf $24.95, 243-pages. Hard cover.) www.joerlansdale.com
Lansdale has long been a Grit-Lit favorite. A deserving writer who has not yet reached the Lee Child, David Morrell, James Lee Burke stratosphere.

Might be because his quirky, violent characters swear like politicians behind closed doors.
Could also be because one of them is gay. Hap, the big straight white tough guy and Leonard, the big gay black tough guy won’t have a Disneyland ride named after them any time soon. But, Lansdale’s writing is the slam-you-in-the-stomach-then-rip-out-your-spleen stuff that Quentin Tarantino wishes he could write.
Some examples:
“I hadn’t been shot at in a while, and no one had hit me in the head for a whole month or two, and I was starting to feel special.”
Or
“Brett (Hap’s girlfriend) sat up and fluffed her pillow behind her back and pushed her long bloodred hair to the side, shoved her chest forward in a way that made me feel mighty lucky, and said ‘I haven’t had that much fun since I pistol-whipped a redheaded midget.’”
And one more. One of the very few “Vanilla Ride” paragraphs that that can be printed in its entirety in this fine family publication.
“I bit the guy I was fighting so hard I took part of his nose away. He let out a bellow and I leaped forward and poked a finger in one of his eyes. As he staggered back, I kicked and caught the inside of his kneecap and it made a pleasant sound like a drover cracking a whip. He fell with one hand on his face, the other clutching at his knee. I picked up my gun and walked over to him and shot him in the head.”

The Night Monster

“The Night Monster” by James Swain. (Ballantine Books $26, 320-pages. Hard cover.) www.jimswain.com
In the third Jack Carpenter, Swain puts Carpenter in the usual dire straits. A former Broward County detective turned child abduction specialist Carpenter does whatever is necessary to bring missing children home.
Carpenter lives the ex-cop/private detective life. Broke. Estranged from his wife. Other than the barkeeper at the bar he lives above, his life centers around his daughter, Jessie, and his closest friend, Buster—a mean ol’ Australian Shepherd. To clarify, Buster’s a dog, not a big blond guy sunburned guy with a hooked stick and an accent.
Swain has a knack for creating heroic characters that you care about. And Carpenter is one of Swain’s best.

The Miracle Seven

“The Miracle Seven” by John E. Peterson & Wendie Pett. (Bronze Bow Publishing. $14.99, 320-pages. Soft cover.) ww.bronzebowpublishing.com
Ever wonder how Grit-Lit tough guys—and gals—build those great big muscles? Sure Spenser and Hawk belong to a boxing gym. And Lee Child’s Reacher occasionally digs a swimming pool—with a shovel!
But just like you and me, they don’t have the time to hit the gym every day. These dudes are busy being shot, knifed, beat and abused. Then there’s all the time taken up by drinking and getting the girl. Pretty soon a twenty-four day is more worn out than a lie detector tied to a philandering politician.
The secret? Steroids? Nope. Viagra. NO! Not the Grit-Lit men!
Their secret is “The Miracle Seven.” Seven exercises you can do any time and any place. In the car on a stake out. Or a motel room while you’re waiting for the bombshell to slip into something more comfortable. Seven slow motion isometric movements, plus another 20+ versions to stave off boredom. The basic program takes about 20 minutes a day. Add some cardio, stretch a little and you’ll be ready to take on Rocky on his best day.