The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie

The Murder on the Links (Hercule Poirot, #2)The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie

I thoroughly enjoyed this book about “Papa Poirot.” Agatha Christie’s prose style is simple and easy to read while her plot is fascinatingly complicated. No wonder she’s remained popular for just about a hundred years (her first novel was published in 1920). This tale starts with a murder on a golf course (links as it’s called in the title). Poirot and his friend Hastings, the narrator, quickly line up a row of suspects, all of whom have secrets to be revealed. While the mystery at the heart of the novel is compelling, I might’ve enjoyed two of the subplots a little more. The first was Poirot’s rivalry with a fellow investigator, Giraurd, who spends his time comically scouring the ground looking for clues. The second was Hastings romance with a girl he terms “Cinderella.” Based on Hastings romantic sections, I’d wager that Christie could’ve been just as famous a romance writer as a mystery writer if she’d chosen to do so. I started this book because I wanted to read an Agatha Christie novel, and I am very happy I did. While I have no plans to read more mystery novels anytime soon, I will probably pick up another Poirot tale in the future.

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2019 Giants: Exactly as Advertised

Barkley running.

From 2011 to 2015, I wrote a blog for just about every Giants game on Bigbluebullfrog.com. After several losing seasons it started to feel pointless as every game looked about the same. This year is interesting though, and I thought I’d try to restart the NY Giants blog here.

Over the offseason, I thought the Giants improved their offense by trading Beckham, whose distractions had outweighed his contributions for two seasons, and by picking up additional offensive pieces such as guard Kevin Zeitler and wide receiver Golden Tate. Unfortunately, the Giants did little to address their defense. So, going into this season, I thought the G-men would have a good offense and a bad a defense. It’s only been one game, but so far, my assumption looks dead on.

The Giants should win more games than last year, but they continue to struggle against division rivals, so the gates to the playoffs will remain closed to them. I do worry that the Shurmur Giants rarely seem to surprise me. His G-Men usually perform exactly as expected, and I miss the days of the Coughlin Giants.

His teams would often pull off stunning upsets, which made the losses easier to swallow. I think the biggest mistake Big Blue made since their last Super Bowl was firing Coughlin before Reese. Coughlin gave the Giants their attitude and their underdog mentality. Since he left the Giants, I haven’t seen any true character to the team, except blustering diva wide receivers and rookie coaches who couldn’t control their locker rooms.

Unfortunately, nothing can be done to fix the mistakes of the past. I do like the things Gettleman has done with the team, and I think we are heading in the right direction, but another losing season will probably result in defense coordinator James Bettcher being shown the door along with Eli Manning. Unlike many fans, I don’t think Eli has ever been a major reason why the Giants have lost so many games since the last Super Bowl. Jerry Reese badly mismanaged the team, and I think the organization is still trying to undo the damage he did. Sadly, the Giants won’t be able to fix things fast enough to send Eli off into the sunset like he deserves. It will be a depressing end for a franchise icon.

Man of War: A Two Hawks Adventure by Heidi Ruby Miller

Man of War: A Two Hawks AdventureMan of War: A Two Hawks Adventure by Heidi Ruby Miller

Fans of pulp should love this story. While I’d never read a Two Hawks adventure before this novella, I was able to step right into this world and easily grasp what made the character and Farmer’s universe interesting. This is a testament to Heidi Ruby Miller’s prose. She details a wild aquatic world for Two Hawks to explore alongside his partner in crime, Dakota. Miller manages to make both her protagonists feel equally interesting, and Dakota never becomes a cliché damsel to be rescued. If you like pulp, Two Hawks, Philip Jose Farmer, or fun, I can’t recommend the book enough.

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The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

The Ballad of Black TomThe Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

LaValle created a novella that takes The Horror at Red Hook and improves on all it’s worst elements while staying true to the themes and tropes of the Cthulhu Mythos as made famous by H.P. Lovecraft. The central character of the novel, his struggles in a racially divided New York, and his fury, propel the reader through this tight read. The novella also does a fabulous job of explaining why elements of The Horror at Red Hook don’t sync up completely with The Ballad of Black Tom. I can’t recommend this story enough if you’re fan of the Cthulhu Mythos.

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Great Tales of Horror by H.P. Lovecraft

Great Tales of HorrorGreat Tales of Horror by H.P. Lovecraft

This collection has all the best of Lovecraft’s horror tales, and each story is introduced with a blurb by famed Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi. This is a great collection to own for any fans of the weird yarns of H.P.L. My personal favorites are The Shadow Over Innsmouth, The Colour Out of Space, and The Whisperer in Darkness.

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