Thursday, July 21, 2016

Bibliovile: Law and Hors d'Oeuvres

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An Appetite for Murder, Lucy Burdette
              An Appetite for Murder is perfectly analogous with its main McGuffin, a key lime pie. It’s fluffy, too sweet, and if you try to lift it off of the plate it’s presented on, everything sort of falls apart. Yeah, sure, it tastes good and goes down easily (kinda like your mom), but you wouldn’t want to eat it for dinner every day.

              We open in Key West, Florida, as author Lucy Burdette demands you acknowledge fifty times a chapter. To be fair, Ms. Burdette must have more than a passing acquaintance with the town, as landmarks are referenced and an actual geographical pattern begins to emerge with a consistent community feel. Unfortunately, that motif is if Jimmy Buffett and San Francisco had a baby; tacky flamingos and high cost of living everywhere.
              Hayley Snow is our protagonist and narrator, because all light and breezy mysteries have to be first person. She lives in a borrowed houseboat room with a college friend due to one hell of a month. She moved to Key West during a whirlwind romance from New Jersey, found the boyfriend cheating on her, and got kicked out. She uses this time to have overly-efficient phone conversations with several people, including a best-friend psychologist. What is this, The Room? Oh hai, murder mystery!
You will never convince me this isn't what the book character looked like, too
              Yeah, so the woman her boyfriend was sleeping with turns up dead weeks after the whole fight goes down, Haley’s the main suspect, it’s a whole thing. Not only was she the other woman, the corpse was also shaping up to be her prospective new boss at a lifestyle magazine where Haley wants to be a food critic. That’s also a whole thing.
              Honestly, at this level of inspection, the plot functions well. We’re introduced to a shapely little who-dun-it, with appropriately paced clues, false leads, and danger to the people around Haley. It’s like a Raymond Chowder novel. Get it? Popular mystery author, eh what do you know about funny.
              Haley’s a food critic, right, so the whole murder thing sometimes takes a back seat to her going to restaurants and eating things and then typing on her phone. She doesn’t bring a pad and paper because she wants an honest meal, which I can appreciate. But dawg. Your phone? Typing anything longer than “yep” or “damn I’m out of Pokeballs again” is impossible.
              If your favorite part of the Game of Thrones books was the weird descriptions of the suppers they ate, you probably still shouldn’t read this book. It even ended in recipes!
              I can’t give the whole plot away, cause it’s a mystery and all. It’s pretty well done, all in all, and unlike a steak, that’s a good thing. So, I thought I should give in to that Key West kitsch and review this book based on taste.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Bibliovile: Low Believability

We started a podcast, it can be found here. Why not listen to it while you're out catching Pokemon or other topical reference?

The Presidents and UFOs: A Secret History from FDR to Obama, by Larry Holcombe

              Why are some things “dad”-er than others? I don’t think that’s even close to being a real word, but as soon as I said it, I bet something popped up into your head. I bet it was my jokes. My jokes are the daddest of jokes. What’s the scale of dad ratings? The thing is, I don’t think there’s a spectrum of dadditude (that’s the amount of dadness, not a particularly dad-leaning attitude). I think there is just a set of Venn Diagram dad archetypes. We’re not quite sure where we, as men, will fit until we start furiously grasping at hobbies to get away from our kids.

              You’ve got your sports dad, with his jersey tucked in. You’ve got your toys/tech dad which used to be HAM radios and train sets but now seems to be firmly on drones. You’ve even got your health dad, who comes home excited with a new anti-nipple rub solution for this upcoming triathalon. Handiwork Dad, Cool Dad, NASCAR Dad; they’re all sorts of fun little statues to teenage embarrassment.
              But my favorite (from afar, at least), and one of the most rare is Conspiracy Dad. This dad has escaped to his library and study so that he doesn’t have to watch Jennix do her “hip-hop” dance recital. He sees connections where there are none, a grand plan that only he knows how to foil. It seems very relieving to believe everything in life is, while malicious, at least done on purpose. It’s not, obviously, we’re just hurtling through a painful sea of chaos while everyone Does The Best They Can. But Conspiracy Dad doesn’t think so. Conspiracy Dad thinks we’re being kept in the dark.
              Conspiracy Dad isn’t going to stand up for it anymore.
              Sue, this edition, got me “The Presidents and UFOs: A Secret History from FDR to Obama,” by Larry “Conspiracy Dad” Holcombe. It was, questionably, filed in the non-fiction section. It promises to expose the “astounding secret history of U.S. Presidential involvement and control of the UFO phenomenon,” and certainly does its best.