WEAPONS reflect efficient evolution more than anything else in society, don’t you think? Survival of the fittest, in a way but not quite what Darwin was thinking.”
So says one character to another in the paperback of Jeffrey Deaver‘s thriller titled Edge.
This semi-intellectual philosophical kind of remark is in a dashing bomb-ticking story of suspense. It’s about people in government protection and their secret agent minders. And, it’s about the “lifters” who try to kill the “principals” before they can testify. Or who torture and blackmail the government’s witnesses.
Author Deaver is already famous for The Bone Collector and his detective hero Lincoln Rhyme’s other tales of daring do. The Times of London called him “the best psychological thriller writer around.” Being away from New York for a few weeks has given me the chance to re-evaluate the many practitioners of this art. And I’m just like everyone else, looking at the racks of such books, wondering if I read them before. But I am re-appreciating the mystery/detective/suspense novelists. Most of them are as smart as all get-out. Some, like Deaver, Kathy Reichs, and Lee Child have just blown me away with their plotting, their secrets, their smarts and their imaginations.
Speaking of Mr. Child, for instance. I have fallen in love with his ongoing epic character Jack Reacher, about to be turned into a movie titled “61 Hours” where he’ll be played by Tom Cruise. (Reacher should be played by a young Clint Eastwood and already fans are screaming that the under six foot Tom can’t cut Jack Reacher’s mustard. There is even an online petition being circulated. The internet has gone wild with this bit of casting.)
For instance, in Killing Floor writer Child gives us an illuminating lesson in U.S. paper money. Well, I won’t interfere with your suspense. I just highly recommend the thriller writers who sometimes beat the classicists.
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“EAT RIGHT, exercise regularly, die anyway,” said Anonymous.
THE ONLY real news to come out of last week’s Republican debate among presidential aspirants was that Mitt Romney looks like a picture postcard ideal of what we have been led to believe most presidents should look like. Oh, there was the cat-fighting between Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann, and Bachmann’s redefining the word “submission.” (As in her stating a woman should be “submissive” to her husband.) It really means respect, says Congresswoman Bachmann. Let’s put the people at Webster’s Dictionary on alert, shall we?
But something major did happen in Iowa, at the state fair. Something monumental. Fried butter. Yes, indeed. For $4 those who dared were handed a half-stick of butter dipped in batter, then fried. The batter is a “secret honey-cinnamon combination.” This artery-clogger on a stick comes from the same people who brought us deep-fried Snickers, Oreos and Twinkies.
Now, don’t blame Iowa. Would it surprise you to know that fried butter comes from the great state of Texas? This delicacy debuted at the Texas State Fair two years ago. But Texas has evolved. Now it’s all about fried beer (that will have to be explained to me) and fried Frito pie.
Perhaps if Rick Perry is rolled in butter, battered, wedged into a Frito pie that is drenched in beer, he will become a more palatable candidate to me? One can only pray.
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COMING THE end of this month is a book titled Nine Lives of a Marriage—A Curious Journey. It has been written by 90-year-old Eva Friedlander.
Eva survived the Holocaust in Hungary, and after the war studied art in Rome. She married a scientist who had escaped the Nazis countless times. Eventually they moved to America; she became a successful art consultant and antique dealer. Happy ending? The American Dream? Not quite. You see, Eva also had to deal with her husband’s 45-year affair with another woman.
This book combines the historical horrors of Nazi domination, its effects upon Eva for decades to come, along with a parallel tale of an infinitely more intimate—perhaps even more painful—persecution. That of a lifetime spent in a marriage with three people, right from the beginning, to paraphrase the late Princess Di.
Written with the assistance of Mickey Goodman, Nine Lives of a Marriage hits shelves on the 29th. I smell a movie option by October. This one has it all.
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LET’S CONTINUE with more book news, although admit it, you are all still thinking about the fried butter!
The late Dennis Hopper’s life will be chronicled in Peter Winkler’s Dennis Hopper: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel. Turner Classic Movies chose it as their top pick in the TCM Monthly Book Corner. Hopper was married five times, was friends with everybody from Elvis to Natalie Wood to John Wayne. He began his career with the epic big-studio project “Giant” in 1956. By 1969 he and Peter Fonda had changed movies—and the culture—forever with the low-budget “Easy Rider.”
After a lot of high times, Hopper settled down to become one the industry’s most dependable and respected character actors. Where once his name spelled rebellion and trouble, it came to define old-fashioned reliability.
Winkler’s book arrives any minute from Barricade. And Hopper’s final, funny performance still remains to be seen in Linda Yellen’s “The Last Film Festival.”