November 17, 2018 - November 23, 2018
Lee Child has delivered
While Jack Reacher is exploring the
United States, he stumbles on a rural area in New Hampshire and spots a
sign with a name that’s familiar to him — the town where his father was
Reacher decides to take a detour
from his plan to investigate his dad’s life. His plan goes awry when he
visits the city clerk’s office and the local library. He also talks to
folks who have lived in the tiny town their entire lives. According to
the evidence, no one with the last name of Reacher ever lived there.
While Reacher searches for answers
in “Past Tense,” two young people from Canada run into a bit of bad luck
when their car breaks down. Since the area is isolated and they are
lacking in funds, they are in a bind. Patty and her boyfriend, Shorty,
are happy when a local offers to help them with their car and puts them
in a newly renovated motel. It soon becomes terrifying when they realize
their knight in shining armor is lying and has taken them prisoner.
The two stories eventually collide
in a surprising way, and the last third of the novel is tense and
exciting. Patty and Shorty’s story invokes elements of “Psycho” mixed
with some Stephen King. The novel starts more slowly than typical Lee
Child narratives, but once “Past Tense” gets past the opening, Child
kicks the story into high gear. (AP)
November 10, 2018 - November 16, 2018
Stephen King raises
the bar with ‘Elevation’
After more than four decades of
banging out best- sellers, Stephen King still has the power to surprise
his beloved “constant readers.”
Consider “Elevation,” which the
book jacket calls a novel, but which clocks in under 150 pages and takes
about 90 minutes to read.
Guess how you feel when it’s over?
Happy! Maybe even ... hopeful?
Those aren’t emotions typically
ascribed to King books, which often feature gallons of blood (Hello,
Carrie!), killer cars or things that go much more than bump in the
The biggest evil in “Elevation” is
closed-mindedness, as a few townsfolk in Castle Rock, Maine, don’t look
too kindly on the same-sex couple that has opened a vegetarian Mexican
joint on the main drag.
Enter Scott Carey, the hero of
King’s slim story. We learn by page three that Scott is “losing weight,”
as he tells his retired friend, Doctor Bob. According to the scale, the
pounds are sliding off at an alarming rate, but anyone looking at Scott
sees the same overweight man they always have. Most mysteriously, he
can’t even make the needle on the scale move higher. As King writes,
“whatever he wore or carried that was supposed to weigh him down ...
Scott isn’t the type to head to a
hospital for a battery of tests. He feels better as the pounds come off,
his energy rises and he commits to making a difference in his community.
The plot turns on one act of kindness that changes the fate of a few
characters and makes it possible for Scott to orchestrate what he begins
to call “Zero Day.”
“Elevation” follows “Gwendy’s
Button Box” in the King canon, another short story set in Castle Rock
that he co-wrote last year with Richard Chizmar. Both stories are now
part of a King-verse that contains “Castle Rock,” the series on Hulu
that brings together many of King’s most famous characters for a variety
It all adds up to plenty more plot
fodder for a storyteller still at the top of his game. “Elevation” is a
magical tale that entertains and manages to say a little something about
the state of our culture in 2018. (AP)
November 3, 2018 - November 9, 2018
‘Hardship Posting V5’ goes forth
Stu Lloyd has done it again. Dragged
his mentor Colonel Ken Oathe, he of the walrus mustache and lascivious ways,
back to the keyboard and has compiled another ball-buster “Hardship
Posting”, the 5th in the series according to author Lloyd.
The fact that Lloyd’s abacus lost its 4th
ball may explain why this newly released book is the 5th series
with no 4th. With the alacrity Lloyd managed to produce this
book (15 years and counting), expect the 4th “chat na don bai
bai” (poorly translated from bar room Thai) as “in the next life,
sometime in the afternoon”, referring to the date of repayment of loans by
the LBFM (read the book for further elucidation.)
The book is a hefty tome, approaching
450 pages, so will keep you reading for quite a while, though Lloyd does
want you to skip through it to whet your appetite for any forthcoming
“Hardship Posting 4”. Being the speed writer that he is, all readers over
85 should give it away as by that time they will be lifeless, having
returned home in the hold of the QAINTASS aluminium tube and headed for a
grassy patch outside Mooney Ponds.
The format of the book is to give
Colonel Ken his say on any appropriate (and non appropriate) subject and
follow that up with anecdotes from previous readers. It is the short and
pissy items (Oops pithy) that keep the Colonel going and also bestows upon
V5 the appellation of a “bog book”, a pick up and read while putting out and
read. Symbiotic really.
Another extra feature in “Hardship
Posting V5” are a dozen cartoons penned by the Pattaya Mail’s resident funny
man Mike Baird, hiding behind the acronym MJB. Mike has a keen eye for the
vagaries of the expat life, which for many is Viagaries of expat life.
Principal amongst these is a warm beer on the forecourt of the closest 7-11
(take your pick - there’s one on every street corner). The visual is a great
addition to the printed word.
Lloyd has sectioned his book into
18‘stories’, or rather chapters, with the intro on each being from the
mustachioed Colonel himself. Subjects covered (or uncovered) include Airline
and Flying, Bribery and Corruption (though there’s none of that here),
Language and Miscommunication (described as Lust in Translation), Embassy
and Diplomatic (Enema of the state) plus another 14 whose calculator has
enough batteries to figure it out.
Lloyd mentions that despite the
misogyny that might be construed from some of his contributors, he has
received items from a Thai katoey, a Filipina brothel worker, an Indonesian
bar girl and some guy called Bridget, at that time serving time in the
Bangkok Hilton prison.
I enjoyed reading this book which
happily gives a loud raspberry to all the PC nonsense and its concomitant
offspring such as #metoo. Colonel Ken suggests #youtwo as being more
appropriate (or #youthree on a good night).
“Hardship Posting 5” will be available
through the usual literary outlets and if you like a laugh, then go get it.