Tough Heroes From Land, Childs, Liss And Dietrich

First, a word about the economy which is *&^%$s. But it seems to be getting better. I think… I hope … Maybe…

Readers write me asking, “Given the cost of books, which ones should I buy?” Another person said “With books so expensive, I’m thinking about giving up reading.”


Unless you are a page-a-second-speed-reader, books are the best entertainment value out there. A $9 paperback cost about $2.50 an hour. Even less if you share it with friends. And a shared hard back cost less per person than a movie with popcorn and soda.

Grit-Lit is here to help you get maximum value for your hard earned buck. As always, the books in this column represent the best of the best thriller-lone-tough-guy/gal or tough-person-with-team genre. You’ll never read a review about the stinkers I’ve read. Why put down bad books when there are lots of great books out there?

Today, Grit-Lit announces our first text message inspired award. The IURSUPTPFT (If U R Saving Ur Pennies Then Plan For This) award. This is where we briefly cover outstanding books that are coming out pretty darn soon.

61 Hours

Here are the IURSUPPFT books for this month.

In bookstores this May, “61 Hours” by Lee Child. (Delacorte, $28, 383 pages. Hard cover.)

Jack Reacher is back, better … much better than ever.

And even more good news, Child’s has committed to two brand new Reacher novels this year.


Rejoice Reacher fans. Rejoice.

Coming June 22nd, “Strong Justice” by Jon Land. (Macmillan Books, $24.99, 352 pages. Hard cover.)

Strong Justice

The latest in Land’s saga about super-tough, fifth generation female Texas Ranger, Caitlin Strong.

On a 1-10 scale, Grit-Lit rates “Strong Justice” an 11.

The Barbary Pirates

The Barbary Pirates

Now, some stuff you can buy today.

“The Barbary Pirates: An Ethan Gage Adventure” by William Dietrich. (Harper Collins, $25.99, 328 pages. Hard cover.)

The hero of this wonderful historical thriller, Ethan Gage, is a well meaning scoundrel, a rake (which in this case, is not a gardening tool), a gambler and an adventurer.

A well meaning swashbuckler, coerced into working for Napoleon. Napoleon wants Gage to find a lost super weapon,ancient the Mirror of Archimedes.

From the salons and brothels of Paris to the canals of Venice, on to the caves of Santorini and ultimately ending with piracy on the high seas, “Pirates” never disappoints.

The devils company

Another excellent historical thriller just released in trade paperback is, “The Devil’s Company” by David Liss. (Ballantine Books, $15, 392 pages. Soft cover.)

Strongly recommended when it came out in hard cover, the paperback is a great deal. This book intrigues from the very first page.

“In my youth I suffered from too close a proximity to gaming tables of all descriptions, and I watched in horror as Lady Fortune delivered money, sometimes not precisely my own, into another’s hands.”

Who wouldn’t want to know more about Benjamin Weaver, ruffian and scoundrel for hire? It’s 1722. Weaver becomes enmeshed in a blackmail and corruption scheme.

Hooked by the first sentence, I was totally lost to the world after the first unexpected plot twist.

“Die Fat or Get Tough.

And now author Steven Siebold, the ultimate tough guy, brings us, “Die Fat or Get Tough.” (London House, $24.97, 231 pages. Soft cover.)

The Grit-Lit promise is to bring you all kinds of gritty tough messages from gritty tough guys. Siebold is tougher than a Marine Drill Sergeant who has OD’d on the double SS combo – Steroids and Speed.

Some Chapter Quotes.

“Fat people are delusional about being fat … Fit people operate from objective reality.”  “Fat people believe obesity won’t kill you… Fit people believe obesity won’t kill tomorrow.” And the one that hurts the most, “Fat people make choices that keep them fat … Fit people make choices that keep them fit.”

Sub-titled “101 Differences in Thinking Between Fat People and Fit People” Siebold’s message is discipline, discipline, discipline…” His message, however unwelcome makes sense, darn it. “Get Tough” is a tough message from a tough guy.

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Strong Justice

The Latest From Simmons & Gore

Great Books! Great Books! Everywhere I look–reading table, night table, office, I’m surrounded by GREAT BOOKS! Which makes this month’s column, especially exciting to write.

First, a book I’m surprised I liked.

“You’re Nobody Till Somebody Kills You” by Robert J. Randisi.

( Minotaur Books $25.99, 278 pages. Hard cover.)

Robert J Randisi

Ever in the mood for a book that could be described as “an easy read” or a “delightful bit of fluff?” And no I don’t meana classic issue of Mad Magazine or those new comic books. You know the ones they call “Graphic Novels” and that cost just slightly more than the available limit on your post-holiday credit card?

What I mean is a book that is like watching the “old” Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Relaxing. Funny. Don’t have to think too much.

When that mood strikes, I grab the Continue reading

Wonderful Reads From Boyd, Hunter & Dietrich

This is the entire Grit-Lit column as it appears in newspapers throughout the United States in February 2010

Yesterday I was in Vegas. Where I discovered you can buy a great hardback for less than the price of a couple of drinks. Listen, I’m talking about a drink. Not some metro-sexual-handmade-fruit-squished-with-an-exotic-hardwood-mortar-and-crystal-pestal-chocolate-flavored-dessert-in-a-glass-martini. I’m talking about a plain old man’s drink– bourbon and soda “big and dark, thank you.” Two cost $26. Plus tip. I should have spent that dough on any one of these books. It would have been money better spent.

Noah Boyd's The Brick Layer

“The Brick Layer” by Noah Boyd. (William Morrow, $24.99, 390 pages. Hard cover.)

Boyd’s an ex-FBI agent with more than 20 years experience. He knows bad guys and good ones, too.

“Brick Layer” is his first novel. Hero Steve Vail, an ex-FBI agent fired for insubordination, is working as a bricklayer when he is lured back to work a deadly, unsolvable case.

Good story. Fast paced. Here’s an example.

“Ronson swung and caught him full on the jaw, but it Continue reading

Great Books By Neil Russell, Patrick Lee & Jonathan Kellerman

The complete, original Grit-Lit column as it appeared in March of 2010.

First Time Novelist, Neil Russell

I love to read. So this is the perfect job for me. Flexible hours. Books, books and more books. The best of which I bring to you.

It is darn rare when an author can make me laugh out loud. Even rarer is the author whose prose is so insightful that it leaves me admiring their writing style, smarts and knowledge of the world. Neil Russell does both.

It is a little hard to find a quote as a few of Russell’s characters swear like rappers getting a speeding ticket, but here are a couple of examples.

Clive Cussler, bestselling author of the Dirk Pitt series, says: “Neil Russell has to be one of the finest, skilled, and accomplished writers in the country…”

“City OF War” by Neil Russell. (Harper, $7.99, 477 pages. Soft cover.)

The first two sentences: “A naked woman running full tilt through ankle-deep water in a freeway carpool lane isn’t something you see every day. But if you happen to stumble across it, your eyes could do a lot worse than Continue reading

Excellent Thrillers By Jon Land, Lee Child & Andrew Grant

John Land

Strong Enough to Die

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. Continue reading