I know what you’re thinking when you see that picture. Boondawg Saints, right? Nope. Just me and Jack. Roamin’ the streets at night. Keepin’ your ‘hood safe so’s you can sit indoors, peaceful and sound, eatin’ Skittles, drinkin’ diet Dr. Pepper, and watchin’ Gilmore Girls videos. (That’s what Jack and I do when we’re not fighting crime; we’re assuming you have similar top-drawer values.)
No thanks are necessary. It’s just our JOB: Lookin’ out for you people!
List of Psychofermentation Products in Today’s Blog:
One – an anniversary
Two – progress of novel two
Three – upcoming summer activities
Four – review of a Rendell book
Five – movie/book recommendation
Six – puzzle
One year ago (April, 2016) my first novel, The Extra Key, debuted. (The world will never be the same.) Responses, reviews, public readings, and sales have ranged from good to super-wonderful. (A HUGE “Thank you!” to readers and reviewers. I’d buy each of you an orange-and-turquoise Ford LTD, if I could afford it.) Currently, Kirkus Reviews is rating the novel’s literary worth; any week now, I’ll hear the results. I’m hoping for at least an above-average review from them.
Progress of Novel Two
All three editorial reviews of the new manuscript have been received; all three were highly favorable. I am well into the rewrite AND the design of the cover (super cool!). I anticipate a late May release. (Early June? Could be… my second grandbaby is due in May, so…)
Upcoming Summer Activities
In addition to being baked to a crisp by the cruel Texas sun, I’ll be marketing the new book (unusual readings and signings are planned – don’t miss them), starting Novel Three (I’ve already started, actually, with regard to outline and notes and… experimentation!), finishing another Kevin and Jack picture book, baking cakes (a new hobby I’ve picked up – part of my research for the third novel; I’m making Cake Four this Friday), and… messing around with grandkids.
Review of Ruth Rendell’s The Crocodile Bird
Eve and Liza: Lost Souls?
The late Ruth Rendell’s literary-quality psychological thriller, The Crocodile Bird, is a treat for discerning and disciplined readers who love well-written suspense.
About two decades ago, I was at a local Fort Worth library looking for a book-fix when I saw a copy of Rendell’s Road Rage in the mystery/thriller section. Inspecting the first few pages I could tell the author wrote well, so I checked it out and read the entire book. I was not disappointed. Road Rage possessed what I would come to know as signature characteristics of Rendellian books: skilled writing style, deep character exploration, and complex plots.
My next Rendell was The Crocodile Bird. After reading it, I was hooked. Ruth became my favorite writer for the next twenty years. As far as I can tell, I’ve read all of her published fiction, at least twenty novels and several short stories. For many years, the first thing I checked when arriving at the library was the “New Books” section for the latest Rendell (or Barbara Vine, the pseudonym she used for several of her books). When I scored, it was a fantastic day in the stacks! (Sadly, all that has ended with Rendell’s recent death and her last book, Dark Corners.) Despite reading so much from this author, and thus becoming a Rendell expert, The Crocodile Bird remains my favorite of her works; I’ve read it three times, and often recommend it to high-minded literary acquaintances.
The Crocodile Bird is the story of Eve and her daughter Liza, living isolated in a remote area of England – Eve, by choice; Liza, by parentally imposed requirement. Rendell’s delicately written prose explores the psychology that motivates seclusion at all costs… and the wonder that accompanies escape from such seclusion. In some ways, the themes of this novel reminded me of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village, a story that is also about vain attempts to protect oneself and loved ones from the evils of society by social insulation.
Here are samples of Rendell’s prose from The Crocodile Bird:
“‘The difficulty is,’ Mother said, ‘that Mr. Tobias is a restless man and wants to see the world, while I intend to remain here for the whole of my life and never go away.’ She said that last bit quite fiercely, looking into Liza’s eyes. ‘Because there is nowhere in the world like this place. This place is the nearest thing to heaven there is. If you have found heaven, why should you want to see anywhere else?’”
. . .
“It might be that she would never see it again, any of it. She would never return, so she stopped and looked back like the woman in the picture at Shrove had done, the tall sad woman in white draperies who Eve told her was Lot’s wife and her forsaken home the Cities of the Plain. But instead of those desolate and wicked places, she saw between the trees that rose out of the misty water meadows, the alders and the balsams and the lombardy poplars, the gracious outlines of Shrove House.”
One thing I’ve learned in my fifty-six years (maybe you, too): Never say never.
Link to the review at Goodreads:
The 1966 science fiction movie, Seconds, is hands down (in my opinion) Rock Hudson’s best movie. (You’ve never seen him in a role like this.) It’s a classic sleeper film directed by John Frankenheimer. I’ve watched it several times; it’s worth the rewatch. After the first time, I tracked down the obscure novel (same name) it was based on by David Ely, and I loved it, too. (How obscure? Very hard to find this fascinating book in a library. Sad.)
Link to the movie:
Link to the book:
Six – Puzzle
Q1 (scrambled letters and words): gintest het how refe saber torwe?
A1 (in code): 15-iv-16-11 iii-8-5-iii-11-17
Q2: His newest novel?
A2 (in code, please): [A2 will be revealed in “About Kevin” after a week-ish.]
Have a joyous, protected, and godly life. Good fortune to you and yours from those crazily faulted superheroes, Kevin and Jack!