The complete, original Grit-Lit column as it appeared in March of 2010.
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…”
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 Kimberly York.”
Gets your attention doesn’t it?
And if you’ve got a friend or family member who’s an engineer, you’ll see the immediate truth in: “Like every engineer I’ve ever met, Bert doesn’t do anything that he’s not involved in up to his elbows. And that he doesn’t think he’s a genius at.”
“City of War” is well researched, full of facts, insights and with a wonderful lead character, Rail Black. Black is charming, good looking and exceptionally rich. Add his military skills and dual citizen ship – British and USA – and you’ve got a compelling character and a babe magnet.
On our rating system, “City” earned our MBSOFNCIYSOSNYGMW award. For you newbies that’s the “Must Be Started On Friday Night Cause If You Start On Sunday Night You Are Gonna Miss Work” award.
“The Breach” by Patrick Lee. (Harper, $7.99, 372 pages. Soft cover.)www.patrickleefiction.com
Early buzz has “Breach’s hero, Travis Chase, lined up to be the next big action hero. Kinda like Jack Reacher.
Hiking in the mountains of Alaska, Chase finds an undiscovered plane crash. The 747 is abandoned, except for the body of the USA’s first lady. There’s torture, wilderness survival, the obligatory beautiful woman and moments of daring do.
It’s a great story, but I don’t think Reacher’s author, Lee Child, needs to worry about a reduction in his royalty checks. There’s a lot of competition out there and it is gonna take another book or two for Chase to make it into the Grit-Lit all time best list. That said, you could spend 8 bucks a lot of worse ways.
“Deception” by Jonathan Kellerman.
I’m always amazed that an author can turn a subject that would be deadly dull on the surf
ace – a psychiatrist mystery, what could possibly happen there other than the Doc says, “Please lay down on the nice couch and try not to fall asleep.” I know, stereo-typical and untrue, but hey, I’m a stereo-typical kinda guy.
But more than 40million novels in print is proof that there is more than enough twisted drama in a Kellerman novel to ring a whole lot of people’s chimes.
The story starts out when a DVD makes its way to LAPD Detective Milo Sturgis’ hands. A bruised, battered woman appears on screen and discloses the horror she’s been subject to at an ultra-exclusive Los Angeles school. Her last words accuse three fellow teachers of sexual harassment and abuse.
Based on that description, “Deception” could turn out to be a real YAWN! Like one of those deadly Tea Cozy Mysteries. You know the ones where an old person (hey no angry letters, I’m old enough to qualify) or worse the old person’s cat (ok now you’ve got a reason for letters) figures out the mystery. But not “Deception”. This is a tale of dark, twisted perversity, duplicity and violence among the young and wealthy. A vicious, perilous journey that Kellerman fans will love.