The Calorie King: Calorie Fat & Carbohydrate Counter

And the first step to solving all these problems can be found in one little book.

“The Calorie King: Calorie Fat & Carbohydrate Counter!”  (Calorie King, $7.99, 302 pages, www.calorieking.com)

Our priorities remain unchanged: get in shape, reduce medical costs, cut gas consumption, keep the family together. The plan: take the family to dinner. But don’t drive. Ride your bike or walk and then use the “King” to order a healthier meal. Instead of the $1 double cheeseburger (King says 440 calories and 23 grams of fat) have the Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken Snack Wrap at 260 calories and 9 fat grams). It might cost more, but you’ve save a bundle on gas.

Be sure to bankroll some of the money you saved on gas because pretty soon you are going to need smaller clothes. And since waist size is directly related to your health, a smaller waist will ultimately lead to lower medical bills.

The “King” lists thousands of foods, including 200 fast-food chains and restaurants. So you can always find something healthy to eat.

“The Dawn Patrol” by Don Winslow

“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.

“Resolution” by Robert B. Parker

“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.

A quote: “The way I want to go from New York to Los Angeles will cost me more and take me longer than the red-eye express but that’s my choice … I’ll eat grits and drink a quart of coffee in Omar, West Virginia. Find a place to camp … maybe throw line in the water. Hunker down in a cheap motel …while the rain thunders down like the 40 days and nights all over again.”

“I get cold; I get wet; I’ll be hungry; I’ll be tired. And you can bet I’ll be happy. But one trip ends, and before long another begins. Occasionally I’ll wonder why I’m doing this. Then I’ll wake up in a tent with a view of all that makes this country beautiful, and then I’ll know why.”

101 Road Tales (The Faces of Motorcycling) by Clement Salvadori

101 Road Tales (The Faces of Motorcycling) by Clement Salvadori

“101 Road Tales” by Clement Salvadori (Whitehorse Press, $24.95, 383 pages, www.whitehorsepress.com)

These next guys stole my book. For years I’ve wanted to ride a motorcycle across the country, eating at all the strange, quirky restaurants that dot America.

Alston Brown and his camera crew road from Louisiana to Minnesota stopping and eating and at as many hole-in-the-wall restaurants as humanly possible. Complete with maps, photos and recipes, “Feasting” is a great look at what food was like before McDonald’s.

And you can’t tell me that this wasn’t a death defying adventure. They ate “Koolickles” (huge kosher dills marinated in cherry Kool-Aid), chitlins and mounds of homemade pork cracklins (your cardiologist knows cracklins as deep fried pork skin).

Even Daniel Boone would say “I’d rather kill a bear with only my knife than risk my life eating like you’all jes’ did.”

“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

“No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach” by Anthony Bourdain

Why are travel books so immensely boring? How can a writer in good consciousness take one of the most exciting things that a human being can do and turn it into an expensive substitute for Ambien?

My suspicion is that all travel authors start out writing text books and then get promoted. Who else could turn in 3000 words on the “big historical buildings that form the town’s central plaza?” Look I did it in 9 words and all ready you’re thinking about turning the page. HOLY GRAVY BATMAN THERE HAS TO BE SOMETHING BETTER!

And there is. I found it in South Africa. But don’t worry; you can get it here, too.

First here’s the all important legal disclaimer:

If you are one of those people who wants to read all the gory details about old churches and old buildings. Or who must know how the locals lived before the Ice Age. Or who can’t exist without a guided bus tour (complete with all you can eat “local” buffet lunch and two daily shopping stops) more power to you. There are thousands of travel books you’ll love.

For the rest of us, there’s Anthony Bourdain.

Sure he’s a famous chef with a popular TV show. But he also an adventurer who writes great travel books.

Around the World on an Empty Stomach

His newest book, “No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach” is available locally in hard back for $34.95 MSRP.

Glorious full color pictures of locals cooking, eating, drinking and having fun. The obligatory shots of Tony and his crew having fun, enjoying life and contemplating the immense variety of experiences our world has to offer.

No MBA University writing here. Just short, emotive prose that tells you about a place without making you grab for a Red Bull.

And he tells it like he feels it is.

“Sweden: a nice place where nothing bad happens. And nothing especially good, either.”

“Being a cook is like being in the mafia: once in, never out. Which as it turns out, is a beautiful thing.”

Continue reading

“The Fraternity of the Stone” by David Morell

“The Fraternity of the Stone,” ($15. 480 pages. Soft cover.) The brothers from “Rose” join forces to learn why old men are mysteriously disappearing. At first, the disappearances seem to have no connection to each other, but it’s soon evident that the sins of the fathers are being visited upon the sons.

The third book in this trilogy, “The League Of Night and Fog,” will be re-released next spring.

Other Morrell books Grit-Lit recommends included: “Desperate Measures,” “The Fifth Profession,” “Assumed Identity,” and “Extreme Denial.”

Do yourself a favor. Spend your summer with David Morrell. With 29 outstanding books, you can’t go wrong.

“Strong Enough To Die” 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.
“You ever shot anybody before today?” he asked her.
“Yup.”
“Kill anybody?”
“Yup. Not that I’m proud of it.”
“You proud of what you did today?”
“Nope.”
“Figured.” Dylan sighed, leaning back with arms crossed. “Why?”
“’Cause I was too late to save your mom.”

“Strong Enough” is a wonderful complex story that touches on several real life issues: torture recovery centers, border control, high tech computer weapons … In “Strong Enough To Die” Land has create a complex and wildly enjoyable thriller.


“The Brotherhood of the Rose” by David Morrell

The Brotherhood of the Rose: A Novel (Mortalis) (Paperback)

If anyone could be called the KING OF MODERN THRILLERS, it would be David Morrell. Morrell’s claim to fame is often summed up in the words “He Wrote Rambo.” This is an incredible disservice to a man who has written many of the absolute best thrillers of all time.

“The Brotherhood of the Rose,” (Random House, $15. 448 pages. Soft cover). Morrell’s first big international thriller.

Two boys in an orphanage are befriended by an elderly man, who unknown to them belongs to the CIA.

He makes the boys love him as a substitute father, and then trains them to be his personal intelligence operatives.

The story is filled with all kinds of authentic CIA history and trade craft.

“The Shimmer” by David Morrell

The shimmers

In his just released novel, “The Shimmer,” (Vanguard Press $25.95 326 pages. Hard cover.) www.davidmorrell.net, the lead character is a private pilot. In order to get things right, Morrell earned his license and says, “Becoming a pilot is a highlight of my life.”
The central theme in “Shimmer” is that a vital life skill is learning to see what is really there. Not what you believe is there. And not what you see at first glance. But what is really there after careful, thorough inspection.
In “Shimmer” Morrell introduces us to a unique natural phenomena that has defied scientific explanation for more than 100 hears. In west Texas, outside the small town of Marfa, magical lights occasionally appear. They bob, weave, float, waver, blink, glow, appear and vanish. Some people can see them all the time. Some people can see them some of the time and some people never see them. Some people are transported by the lights and others think they are no big deal.

Morrell uses these lights and there varied affects on viewers to tell a totally engrossing tale involving a vanished wife, a massacre and a deadly government secret dating back to the First World War. More cannot be said without giving away the tremendous story and exciting ending.
Two of Morrell’s best books are being re-released by Random House. Both are exceptionally worthwhile,