Wednesday, July 22, 2015

DEATH IN BRITTANY by Jean-Luc Bannalec

             Since a vacation in Brittany isn’t on my calendar for this summer what pleasure to meet Commissaire Georges Dupin who describes the country so beautifully that I can feel the sea air and smell the steak frites.  Granted, Dupin is a rather cantankerous but likable fellow who prefers to spend his morning enjoying a croissant and coffee rather than being disturbed by such mundane matters as murder.

Nonetheless, a killing has occurred in the small village of Pont-Aven, a delightful community by the sea where everyone knows one another.  And, surprisingly the deceased is a ninety-one-year-old hotel owner, Pierre Louis Pennec, who has spent his life seeing to the Central Hotel.  This is a double shock for the locals since not only was Pennec a supposedly beloved figure but it’s the height of the tourist season and murder is definitely not good for business.  Pont-Aven is known for having hosted Gauguin and his followers hence the village is awash in shops selling paintings to the visiting tourists.

As it turns out Pennec whose family had a remarkable collection of art by painters who visited Pont-Aven was terminally ill.  Again the question - why murder?  His son, Loic, and his half-brother, Andre, would certainly like to know as would the local art society.  However, there is no rushing Dupin who is both determined and cautious in getting to the bottom of the mystery, which gives us the opportunity to enjoy his questioning of Pennec’s no longer young female employees.

Death In Brittany was first published in Germany where it enjoyed great success and time on the bestseller list.  We’re betting it will receive a similar warm welcome here.

Enjoy.

- Gail Cooke

Thursday, July 16, 2015

ON THE BEACH



"SARAH GOLDBERG WENT FROM ST. BARTS TO ST. CROIX

 WHERE SHE FELL IN LOVE WITH A HANDSOME BEACH BOY,

 SHE WROTE, 'DADDY DEAR,

 I'M STAYING HERE

 TO SETTLE DOWN AND MARRY MY GOY.'"

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

THE SANTANGELOS by Jackie Collins Audio Edition







Haven’t had your Jackie Collins fix in a while?  Here ‘tis filled with her incomparable characters rife with passion, power, sex, and the Collins brand of glamour.  Here’s a beach listen that’ll take your from a backyard pool to the South of France, Milan and Las Vegas.  And what a listen it is as read by Collins herself in that inimitable breathy voice and an impressive cast consisting of Ari Fliakos, Holter Graham, January Lavoy, and Sydney Tamiia Poitier.

Best I get my confession out of the way - I’ve never been a Jackie Collins fan but do give a listen and read now and then.  Why?  It’s hard to argue with an author who has had 500 million of her books sold in 40 countries.   That out of the way this is the conclusion to the Santangelo tale.

Tough and beautiful Lucky Santangelo has to remember the family motto - “Never cross a Santangelo” when she faces a no holds barred enemy determined to have vengeance and a drugged out Colombian club owner.  Her daughter, Max, is setting the European modeling world on fire (remember, folks, this is a Collins story) and her handsome son, Bobby, is being pegged for murder.  Of course, he’s innocent but something like this might happen when you let yourself go to a beautiful woman’s hotel suite.

Yes, I said beautiful - as usual Collins has a corner on characters that are the sexiest and most eye-popping gorgeous.  They may be troubled, sleazy or drunk, but they’re great looking!

            Now, since my confession is at the top of the page I’ll give this tale 5 stars because for her jillions of fans it’s written in true Collins style - perhaps even pizazzier than before.  And, with a full cast it’s terrific listening!

Enjoy!

- Gail Cooke

Sunday, July 12, 2015

CRETE



"THERE IS A PRETTY GIRL LIVING IN CRETE

 WHOSE ONLY FLAW IS HER EXTREMELY LARGE FEET,

 SEEMS EVERYWHERE SHE GOES

 SOMEONE STEPS ON HER TOES,

 AND DANCING WITH HER IS A CHALLENGE FEW MEET."

Friday, July 10, 2015

ONLINE




"Have you ever noticed on Twitter
How much is a non sequitur?
So folks who go there
Just stop and stare
Then take the pick of the litter." - GC

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

DIMMITT, TEXAS



"THERE WAS A BEARDED FELLOW IN DIMMITT

  WHOSE WIFE CALLED HIS BEARD THE LIMIT,

  IT SCRATCHES WHEN HE KISSES

  PROTESTED HIS MISSUS,

  SO WHILE HE SLEPT SHE TRIMMED IT." - GC

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

THE ENGLISH SPY by Daniel Silva






Outside of being the most totally engrossing, entertaining book I’ve read in many a calendar turn what more can I say about Daniel Silva who has been called a master of the modern espionage novel,  and an author who delivers “consistent excellence and cool brilliance”?  For this reader he also has the ability to transport us throughout the world, describing each locale as knowingly as if it were his own backyard.  And the characters he creates do more than leap from the page - they own it whether they come to us via a glance, a clenched fist or a whiff of Turkish tobacco.

Not to worry if you have not read the previous novels starring Gabriel Allon, an empathetic, fascinating protagonist, a gifted art restorer and formidable operative, Silva subtly inserts his background into the story and before you’re aware of it you know Allon quite well.  Of course, if The English Spy is your first Allon adventure you’ll want to rush out and read the earlier ones.

With this tale Silva grabbed me early on.   A not to be forgotten member of the British Royal Family celebrated for her beauty and charitable works who was spurned by her former husband is introduced while boarding a luxury yacht soon to leave Saint Barthelemy for a Caribbean cruise.  The world is shocked when a bomb explodes aboard ship and a Princess dies.

British intelligence knows there is but one person who can track down her killer and that man is Gabriel Allon.  His quary is Eamon Quinn, a former Real IRA master bomb maker who is now a mercenary selling his services to the highest bidder. However, we soon discover that the assassination of the Princess was what is known as “collateral damage,” her death merely a ruse to bring Allon and his partner, Christopher Keller, out into the open.  Quinn has been hired by the Russians to kill Allon, and thus the thrilling adventure begins.

You won’t want to miss The English Spy - it has no peer.  I’d lend you my book, but I may just want to read it again.

- Gail Cooke