Sunday, December 13, 2015


The Guise of Another
by Alan Eskins
ISBN: 9781633880764
A 2015 release from
Seventh Street Books

Dark, intense, at times, unbearably tense. Carries all the hallmarks of a first class thrilller. The novel is,in addition, a first class police procedural. Alexander Rupert is a talented, honored Minneapolis cop. He worked for a very long time doin dangerous work undercover as part of a major task force aimed at bringing down the Minnesota drug trade. Now he faces an appearance before a Grand Jury examining illegal activities of the drug task force.
But the novel begins with a traffic accident that kills one James Putnam who turns out not to be James Putnam. Identity theft? Yes, but with nasty twists that set up readers and characters as well for many well-placed surprises all couched in seamless, powerful prose.
All the characters receive appropriate development and all fit their roles to a T. The language of the third person narration as well as the dialogue is almost perfect. For fans of procedurals and of crime thrillers here is a novel truly not to be missed. And while the conclusion is really inevitable, the ride from beginning to end is not to be dismissed.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Heart of The Hunter                       
By Deon Meyer
Little, Brown, July, 2004,
385 pages, $23.95
ISBN 0316935492

A spare, stark and brutal portrayal of deceit, treason, and underhanded maneuvering in the modern intelligence services of South Africa.

This is a powerful, subtle, inside look at the realities of political strife in the modern Union of south Africa.  A former soldier in the Struggle, a black assassin recruited by the KGB, leaves that life when the Soviet Union collapses, works as a benign enforcer for a South African drug baron and ultimately finds a kind of peace for himself as an ordinary worker in a Johannesburg cycle shop.  Once the evils of apartheid were overthrown and Nelson Mandela’s  ANC became the ruling party, all of the secrets and the secret police were brought into the sun and the daylight and disposed of.  Right?

Unfortunately, not everybody fared well in the new South Africa.  Many soldiers who made significant contributions were simply cast aside and Thobela Mpayipheli, a legend in the Struggle, was one such soldier.  When the story opens, he has found a good woman and her young son and they have begun to forge a life for themselves.  And then out of Thobela’s past, comes the daughter an old friend.  The friend has been kidnapped and will be murdered unless Thobela delivers, far to the north, a computer disk encoded with secret data.

To accomplish his task, a reluctant Thobela must first “borrow” a powerful German motorcycle and make his way to a city across the northern border, through Botswana and into Zambia.  Soon, arrayed against him, are the forces of three military and intelligence services, a scattering of foreign agents, and his own efforts to fulfill his obligation to his old friend yet not slip back into the dark morass of undercover brutality.

This is a thriller of massive proportions.  The cast of interesting and conflicted characters are always easy to identify.  Within the structure of a conventional suspense novel, Deon Myer has inserted a twisty mystery that enhances and encourages the enjoyment readers will find here.  In translation the suspense and entwined convolutions of desperate intelligence agents, battling their own political circumstances and their moral constructs, are enhanced by unfamiliar rhythms of the language.  The “imperfect” translation adds to the texture of this fine novel, a subtle book, timely in its examination of the decay that misguided belief in justification of a moral certitude at any cost can bring.  Discerning readers will recognize interesting parallels to western nations in this cautionary tale.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

More hijinks, high society, high living and murder. Sean Sean, the short PI in Minneapolis is tasked wih finding who is trying to sabotage a family effort to locate a MIA from WWII in the Pacific Ocean. Will he have to fly off to Yap Island?  Not likely. Maybe a side trip to des Moines.  Watch Sean go toe to toe with some seriously bad dudes.

Sunday, August 02, 2015


I've started a private effort to replace and re-energize my earlier adventure/sailing novels. They've been available right along as e-books but this move should widen their availability. They'll have new covers, new design some editing and small revisions. The first one out of the box is OLD SILVER.  The next is the most recent sailing adventure, RED SKY.  RED SKY has never been in print. If these two do all right, the rest will appear in due course, interspersed with the novels backed by my current publisher, the hard-working folks at North Star Press of Saint Cloud. I hope you'll enjoy reading them.

Friday, May 08, 2015

David Stout Denigrates a fine author

In spite of David Stout’s recent assertion in the New York Times in his otherwise fine eulogy to author Ruth Rendell, her body of work did not transcend the genre. Her work was truly of the genre, literature, fine and thoughtful writing, as was that of her contemporary, P.D. James. As is the crime writing of many others, from Arthur Conan Doyle to Harlan Coben. From Shakespeare to Michael Connelly, from Georges Simenon to Stieg Larsson. Obscurity and thoughtlessness are not valid criteria for “good literature,” just as cohesion, movement and character should not deny good writing from the lists of good literature.

Sunday, April 26, 2015


From MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis, the Bakken Trio of three artists present three classical versions, combined into a single chamber series. The concert on Sunday, April 26, consisted of pieces by three composers all of whom lived and produced around the end of the seventeenth century. All three, Mozart, Boccherini, and Franz Schubert, lived and worked mostly for European nobility and died in poverty. There was no medical coverage and no social security.
Today’s well-attended concert was an excellent selection of Mozart’s Violin Sonata in C Major, Luigi Boccherini’s Quintet for Guitar No. 4 in D Major, and the piano  Trio in B Flat Major by Franz Schubert.
Musicians on the program included Jeff Lambert, guitar, Judy Lin, piano, Stephanie Arado, violin, Helen, Chang, violin, Sabina Thatcher, viola, Pitnarry Shin, cello, with Mina Fisher as host for the program.
The audience was enthusiastic, the musicians accomplished, and the hall was well filled.