“Hell’s Bay” by James W. Hall

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.

“Nothing To Lose” by Lee Child

“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.

“Black Widow” by Randy Wayne White

“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.

“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.

“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.”

“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

“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,

“Gone Tomorrow” by Lee Child

gone tomorow

“Gone Tomorrow” Lee Child. (Delacorte Press $27, 421 pages. Hard cover.) www.LeeChild.com.
“Gone Tomorrow” is Reacher at his finest. For those of you who don’t know, Reacher is the classic lone wolf.

He travels light. Sleeps where he can. And when he needs a weapon he usually just steals it from a crook.
In “Gone” Reacher sees a New York subway suicide. And he knows that something is not right. BAM! He’s in the middle of a mess that both the feds and Al-Queda want to keep secret.

Reacher winds up being hunted by both sides. Which, typical Reacher, is exactly what he wants.