“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.

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