My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Thursday, December 26

Christmas Day & Light of the World

Christmas Day with clear skies and rising temperatures. A very nice day in the Valley, and the promise that soon, after too much to eat and too many house guests, we’ll have the holiday behind us. There just seems to be too much festive pressure this time of year, with carols assailing us at every turn, with too many concerns about buying friends and relatives gifts they truly want or need, with too many conversations competing for center state, with endless strings of Christmas specials on the tube. I sound more and more Ebenezerish in my dotage, but I must confess I’ll be happy when January one is here. I want my quiet, regulated life back. And then 2014 will be hurtling by, marked Super Bowl, March Madness, the Masters, and so on until I’ll be peering ahead to Thanksgiving and Black Friday and then you-know-what. And so it goes.

No one writes about evil the way James Lee Burke does—evil men and evil deeds. I’m just beginning his latest Dave Robicheaux saga, Light of the World, in which a trio of men seem to form a dark triptych of evil. It’s set in Montana, where Dave and his daughter Alafair and his good friend Clete Purcell and his daughter Gretchen are visiting a retired English professor. And soon we meet three men who out-devil the Devil: Bill Pepper, a sheriff’s deputy with a mean streak several miles wide; Asa Surrette, a serial killer that Alafair tried to interview for a book she was writing; and Wyatt Dixon, who may or may not have tried to kill Alafair with an arrow that just missed her head. Another good Burke read with the typical nod to Faulkner and his Southern Gothic voice even though the setting is now Montana. Here’s a part of his opening commentary: “Police officers keep secrets, not unlike soldiers who return home from foreign battlefields with a syndrome that survivors of the Great War called the thousand-yard stare. I believe that the account of the apple taken from the forbidden trees is a metaphorical warning about looking too deeply into the darker potential of the human soul. The photographs of the inmates at Bergen-Belsen or Andersonville Prison or the bodies in the ditch at My Lai disturb us in a singular fashion because those instances of egregious human cruelty were committed for the most part by baptized Christians. At some point we close the book containing photographs of this kind and put it away and convince ourselves that the events were an aberration, the consequence of leaving soldiers too long in the field or letting a handful of misanthropes take control of a bureaucracy. It is not in our interest to extrapolate a larger meaning. ¶ Hitler, Nero, Ted Bundy, the Bitch of Buchenwald? Their deeds are not ours. ¶ But if these individuals are not like us, if they do not descend from the same gene pool and have the same DNA, then who were they and what turned them into monsters?”

I can't wait to see how Dave and Clete deal with these three badasses.
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