It’s summer. I want motorcycles, girls in bikinis, a big ol’ drink and heroes.
“Boone A Biography” by Robert Morgan (Algonquin Books Of Chapel Hill, $29.95 95, 538 pages, www.algonquin.com)
My admiration for Daniel Boone knows no bounds. And apparently my infatuation with Boone has little-to-no basis in reality.
He didn’t wear a coonskin cap – too heavy when wet – he preferred beaver felt. He didn’t just run around in the forest, hunting buffalo and discovering Kentucky. One of our great warriors, Boone fought in the French and Indian American War, the American Revolution and numerous Indian skirmishes. An excellent leader, he served in the Virginia Legislature. In addition he was a settler, landowner, businessman, surveyor and the first great American naturalist.
Yet, he wasn’t always a straightforward, I will never tell a lie kind of guy. He’d occasionally throw a shootin’ match so the other contestants could save face.
If you are interested in Boone’s life in detail – maybe too much detail — Boone is for you. Morgan’s research is impressive (75 pages of footnotes and index) but in a less than entertaining, textbook like way.
“Fuzzy Navel” by J. A. Konrath (Hyperion, $23.95, 271 pages, www.jakonrath.com)
Jack Daniels, the heroic, lead character in “Fuzzy Navel” is everything anyone could ever want in a tough guy character. Honest, loyal, caring, dependable, sexy and violent when necessary. Absolutely perfect. But Jack’s only a nickname. The real name is Jacqueline.
That’s right. A Mickey Spillane, Lee Child’s style tough-guy novel where the dame isn’t a DD (damsel in distress) but a modern police detective.
Well written and funny.
Pinned down by a sniper Jack’s former partner, Herb is using a CD as a mirror.
“The crack of the shot makes me flinch, and the CD disintegrates in Herb’s hand…”
“Looks like our sniper isn’t a music fan,” I say. …
“I can’t blame him,” Herb says. “I don’t like John Denver either.”
Konrath’s crazy sense of humor makes “Fuzzy” laugh out loud funny.
“Leather Maiden” by Joe R Lansdale (Alfred A Knopf. $23.95, 287 pages, www.aaknopf.com).
The PR blurb with the book says, “Lansdale country is no place for the squeamish.”
Lansdale writes about the poor, emotionally traumatized, violent and stoically heroic better than almost anyone. His characters can be off the charts weird, yet lovable in a strange S&M way.
The hero of “Maiden” Cason Statler is pretty typical for today’s heroes: drinking problem, woman problem, Iraq war PTSS problems … But his off-again, on-again sidekick “Booger” steals a lot of scenes.
“HE (Booger) might even be doing a cage match. He does that XIU##$, you know?”
“No, I didn’t know.”
“Did do it, I mean. He got disqualified last time. Booger thought they really meant no rules. He poked a guy in the eyes and twisted the guys (privates) and bit off part of the fellow’s check. I think he got banned for life…”
In really good fiction you can learn more about life than you can from even the most detailed historical biography. Boone is exhaustively researched, but the author cannot delve into what really made Boone tick. His thoughts, his dreams, his observations on life.
Lansdale has no such issue. Here’s a “Boogerism” that you can chew on for awhile. It might change the way you think.
“That’s the difference in me and you,” Booger said, and he got up and went to the refrigerator and pulled a beer out, still talking. “I listen to what I’m really thinking, not what I should be thinking. Want a beer?”
What should you really be thinking?