27 April 2007


A new feature here at TPP is "5-10-15." Since birthday XXXI I have kept a log of all the books I've read. Regularly I hope to enervate readers with a peek into the past. What was M.C. reading? Are you bored yet? OK, if you're still with me, we'll take a look at 15 y.a., or 1992. I had just been introduced to the British military historian John Keegan--his Face of Battle changed my thinking. Keegan is not the most accessible writer, but he his engaging and thought-provoking. After Keegan, you won't be able to watch battle scenes in films like Braveheart without laughing. Ten y.a., 1997, was my introduction to Carroll John Daly. Like Robert Bellem, Daly was one of the pioneers of hard-boiled fiction. I have to thank an "Old Blue," ex-roomate Marcus, for turning me on to this stuff. When you read Satan Hall stories, you understand where Dashiell Hammett comes from. I challenge anyone to read the first paragraph of The Maltese Falcon--where we meet Sam Spade--and the first paragraph of Satan Sees Red--where we meet Satan Hall--and not think "plagiarism." In 2002, I reluctantly accepted a loan of Laura Hillenbrand's Sea Biscuit, a surprising and wonderful read which impressed me greatly. A healthy dose of John Shirley is always good for the soul, his collection, New Noir, has been a huge influence on me. Check out Mr. Shirley HERE.

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