Apr 252014
 
Friends of Mystery, the Oregon-based crime-fiction fan group, has announced that House Odds (Atlantic Monthly Press), by Seattle, Washington-area author Mike Lawson, is the winner of FOM’s 2014 Spotted Owl Award for Best Novel. House Odds is Lawson’s eighth political thriller featuring Joe DeMarco, a Congressional investigator in Washington, D.C. Interestingly, this is the second year running that Lawson has captured the Spotted Owl; his previous DeMarco yarn, House Blood, took Best Novel honors in 2013.

This year’s other Spotted Owl Award, for Best First Novel, goes to Loyalty (Putnam), the opening entry in Seattle author Ingrid Thoft’s new series featuring Boston private eye Fina Ludlow. (A sequel, Identity, is due for release by Putnam in late June.)

As Omnimystery News explains, “The Spotted Owl Award for Northwest Mysteries is open to authors who have primary residence in the states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, or the Province of British Columbia. The award is chosen by a volunteer committee of Friends of Mystery members.” A list of previous recipients is available here.
Apr 242014
 
“The combination of two different genres—legal and espionage—creates a brand new kind of book. My hope for OVERWATCH is that it’s a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of a novel—two great tastes that taste great together, something you haven’t experienced before.”

- David Guggenheim, author of Overwatch, has created a delicious new benchmark for all novels.
Apr 242014
 
REVIEWED BY MICHAEL SHONK:


CAIN’S HUNDRED. NBC, 1961-1962. Vanadas Production Inc in association with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Television. Cast: Mark Richman as Nicholas “Nick” Cain. Theme by Jerrald Goldsmith (aka Jerry Goldsmith). Creator and executive producer: Paul Monash. Produced by Charles Russell.

CANI'S HUNDRED

   CAIN’S HUNDRED was a weekly hour-long series on NBC. Mark Richman (later to become known as Peter Mark Richman) played Nick Cain, a former criminal lawyer who had represented the mob until he retired and decided to get married. When “The Organization” hit man missed Nick and killed his fiancee, Nick decided to join the law and go after one hundred of the top mobsters, one bad guy an episode. It is enlightening to see how different this premise was handled in the 1960s compared to today’s THE BLACKLIST. It was a simpler black and white world then.

   The series aired during a time when how television was made was changing. TV continued to settle in Hollywood leaving New York (except for the networks and advertising agencies) behind. The time when advertisers produced the shows was nearly gone and more series were supported by the system we still use, what “Broadcasting” called the “magazine” system, where advertisers buy some time on various series instead of all the time on just one.

   As the networks and studios took over the producing of more programs such as CAIN’S HUNDRED, they and not the advertisers were making the decisions over content and personnel. CAIN’S HUNDRED was also among the growing number of dramas to replace the half-hour format with the longer hour format.

CANI'S HUNDRED

   The April 17, 1961 issue of “Broadcasting” had an article that went into great detail about the pre-production history of CAIN’S HUNDRED. According to Robert Weitman, vice president in charge of programming for MGM, CHAIN’S HUNDRED was in pre-production (before filming began) for nearly a year.

   “The idea of retired criminal lawyer who once represented the ‘big crime’ syndicate but now has agreed to help top level government officials stop crime before it happens was developed at MGM-TV and presented to David Levy, NBC-TV’s program vice president, and later to NBC’s president Robert Kintner. They liked it, so we got Paul Monash, who wrote the original two-part UNTOUCHABLES script, to do a first script for us and when he had a rough draft we sent it to NBC and they said go ahead and polish it. When they got the finished script, they said go ahead and shoot it. That was Dec.15. I set March 1 as a deadline and went to work.”

   A director for the pilot was hired, stages were built and casting began. January 19, 1961 the filming of the pilot began. It took eight days to film the pilot. A rough cut was ready for viewing on February 15th. On February 28, MGM executive Weitman left Los Angeles and headed to NBC in New York.

   NBC liked the pilot and scheduled the crime drama series to air in the fall on Tuesday at 10pm. Producer Charles Russell was hired and with Paul Monash began to hire the staff of writers and directors. At this point filming was to begin May 7th. However, production did not begin until June 5th (according to “Broadcasting” June 12, 1961 issue).

   The series usually aired opposite ABC’s ALCOA PRESENTS and CBS’s hit GARRY MOORE SHOW. Ratings were not good, and CAIN’S HUNDRED was rumored to be facing early cancellation but surprised many by surviving through the entire season.

CANI'S HUNDRED

   According to “Broadcasting” (December 18, 1961), thirteen episodes of CAIN’S HUNDRED was the original order, than an additional seven episode were added, and finally another ten, making a total of thirty episodes.

   Beyond being opposite of the hit series THE GARRY MOORE SHOW, the series faced an additional ratings challenge with clearances. According to “Broadcasting” (February 5, 1962) CAIN’S HUNDRED aired in its NBC time slot (Tuesday, 10pm) on 126 stations while 25 stations delayed it and aired it in another time period.

   I have seen two episodes of CAIN’S HUNDRED, “Blues For the Junkman” and “The Plush Jungle.”

   “Blues For A Junkman – Arthur Troy” (February 20.1962). Written by Mel Goldberg. Directed by Robert Gist. GUEST CAST: Dorothy Dandridge, James Coburn, and Ivan Dixon. *** Nick tries to help old friend jazz singer Norma Sherman who is just out of prison for drug use. Norma finds her husband had left her for another woman. Nick and nightclub owner Arthur Troy try to help get her a license to perform in nightclubs, but problems arise. “The Organization” forces drug-hating Arthur to handle a drug shipment gone wrong. Nick is working this week with a Lieutenant in narcotics who wants Nick to use Norma to find the drug shipment.

   This was a quality production for the era. The music numbers by Dandridge highlight the episode but never got in the way of the story. The characters were as complex as their problems and no easy answers were offered except for the flawed predictable ending.

   The other episode I have seen, “The Plush Jungle” is available at the moment on YouTube.

   “The Plush Jungle – Benjamin Riker” (January 2, 1962). Written by Franklin Barton. Directed by Alvin Ganzer. GUEST CAST: Robert Culp, Larry Gates, and John Larch. *** One of the top men in “The Organization,” Benjamin Riker decides to take over a major corporation traded on the stock exchange. First, Riker uses usual organized crime strong-arm methods to intimate the company’s suppliers to drop the targeted company then he took advantage of the stock market and dropping stock prices and finally the growing conflict between the company’s President and his ambitious young son.

   Production values behind and in front of the camera were better than the average TV series of the time, but the series was faced with impossible challenges to overcome. CAIN’S HUNDRED, as all television dramas at the time, was dealing with the outcry over TV violence and THE UNTOUCHABLES.

CANI'S HUNDRED

   While “Blues For A Junkman” had a brief shoot-out, “The Plush Jungle” avoided showing any action or violence, instead using dialogue to imply the threat of violence. This left only the emotional conflict between father and son to supply the story’s drama and tension.

   Despite the handicaps, writer Franklin Barton’s script developed the conflict well and used the hour-long format to the drama’s advantage. Director Alvin Ganzer did a fine job capturing the emotional tension without letting the all dialogue story get too dull. But I have never seen any TV series treat its lead with such lack of respect as Cain was in “The Plush Jungle.” Unlike the episode “Blues For a Junkman,” Cain is pointless to this story. He can’t understand why everyone refuses to accept just his word that Riker is a bad guy. In one odd scene, one of the characters demands Cain show him proof that Riker was as dangerous as Cain claims, but Cain is unable to do so. After the series hero is told off, Cain exits in defeat, forcing the story to find its hero and protagonist in the guest cast.

   In Archives of American Television, Robert Culp discusses his time on CAIN’S HUNDRED and the script he wrote for the other episode (“The Swinger”) he appeared in on the series. (Follow the link.)

CANI'S HUNDRED

   While during the era of the anthology series, it was not uncommon for a strong guest cast to be featured over the weaker regular lead, but Culp understood the dramatic and long-term needs for any series hero to be the primary star, for him to be in most scenes and be the reason the problem is solved.

   Culp’s script for “The Swinger” failed to feature Cain in that way, and despite Culp’s willingness to fix the script, executive producer (“showrunner”) Paul Monash told him not to bother. Culp explained he later learned Monash blamed Richman for the show’s problems. That could explain why the character Cain was virtually emasculated in “The Plush Jungle.”

   CAIN’S HUNDRED ended with thirty episodes completed and was offered in syndication for the fall of 1962.

   The series featured some interesting tie-ins such as the soundtrack album, a paperback, and a comic book series. The soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith (with some music by Morton Stevens) was released and reviewed here.

   The comic book series lasted two issues, was released by Dell Comics and reviewed here. Popular Library released a mass-market paperback tie-in in 1961, written by Evan Lee Heyman (pen name for Joy Ann Blackwood and Evelyne Hayworth). From the cover blurb it appears the book was based on the origin story.

CANI'S HUNDRED

   Peter Mark Richman has continue to have a successful acting career that has lasted over fifty years including supporting roles in LONGSTREET and DYNASTY, numerous guest starring roles in TV, roles in films such as NAKED GUN 2 ½, and voice over work.

   Award winning writer-producer Paul Monash would create JUDD FOR THE DEFENSE, develop PEYTON PLACE, and produce the original film version of CARRIE. The Writers Guild of America gave him its Life Achievement award in 2000.

   The guest cast featured such talent as David Janssen, Leonard Nimoy, Beverly Garland, Jack Klugman, Robert Duvall, Jack Lord, Robert Vaughan, and Charles Bronson.

   Behind the line talent featured writers Daniel Mainwaring, Jim Thompson, David Karp and E. Jack Neuman. Directors included Robert Altman, Sydney Pollack, Irvin Kershner, Buzz Kulik and Boris Segal.

   The series was a respectable attempt at doing a quality crime drama such as THE UNTOUCHABLES, but failed due to too many challenges to overcome, from the anti-violence groups to THE GARRY MOORE SHOW to the relationship between star and showrunner.

 Posted by at 6:12 pm

Daunderlust (Sandstone Press) by Peter Ross

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Apr 242014
 


In these days of cookie-cutter crime fiction and celebrity slop it's a genuine occasion - and a joy - to see a book like Peter Ross' Daunderlust hitting the shelves. It's almost impossible to do justice to the work in any kind of relevant review, apart from to say it's part-memoir, part-travelogue, part-social commentary, and one hundred percent a great read. Originally featured in Scotland on Sunday as feature-length pieces these Daunderlust stories provide a map of the country that concentrates on some of the more unusual aspects of the landscape. Take the following piece on Barlinnie jail - which Sandstone Press have been kind enough to let Pulp Pusher reproduce - and you'll see exactly what I mean. When you've read it, you should go buy a copy, and keep it for your grandchildren to show them that, once upon a time, journalism really was this good.




By Peter Ross

BARLINNIE at dawn on a freezing February morning presents to the world a forbidding aspect, the brutal silhouette of its vast Victorian halls suggestive of a factory from the Industrial Revolution, albeit one in which the raw material and finished product are the same: men.

Bad men, some would say, and no doubt there are people in Scotland’s largest prison – the defilers of children, the tracksuited cleavers of flesh – to whom that old-fashioned word ‘wicked’ could be reasonably applied. But there are many other prisoners who, one might argue, are victims themselves – of poverty, of poor parenting, of drug addiction – and who have ended up here, in part, because of the family and area in which they grew up; most of the 10,000 prisoners who pass through the prison each year come from the most impoverished postcodes in Glasgow.

Though it looms large in the legend of the city, the prison remains a mystery to most citizens. Unless you live in the north-east of Glasgow, you might never in your life see even the brooding exterior, except perhaps for the blunt chimneys and barbed wire glimpsed from the motorway and soon forgotten. To walk freely inside its yards, halls and cells is a rare privilege that feels rather like visiting a national monument. As governor Derek McGill puts it, “This is not just a prison. This is Barlinnie.”

McGill is a silver-haired 57-year-old whose navy pinstripes set him apart from his staff of 350 uniformed officers. He has come through the ranks, however, and is far from aloof. For 18 months he has been in charge, and is as proud of his position as the ‘Guvnor’ mug on his desk suggests. He finds Barlinnie endlessly fascinating. “Right,” he says, “are you ready for a wee walk about?”

Most of the prison population is held in five four-storey halls, the thick sandstone walls darkened and pitted with age. At the front of each block is a tall, arched window; above each main entrance is a painted crown. Inside, the brick walls are painted white, and the first impression is one of space and light; long vanishing points and a blue sky visible through the high glass canopy.

The reception area is as hectic and cramped as the halls are airy. There are seventy-four prisoners leaving the prison for court appearances. Prisoners yet to be processed stare sullenly through the windows of the claustrophobic holding cubicles, known as ‘dog boxes’.

A prisoner walks forward and has a metal-detecting wand swept over his body. Brian – a 37-year-old with pale jail skin, short dark hair and hollow eyes – is a veteran of the search process. He has been in and out for years. This time he has been charged with serious assault. “I’m in for defending my property,” he says with stale defiance. “I was attacked in my house, but because I’ve had three previous convictions, here I am.”

How does Barlinnie now compare with how it used to be? “Too cushy,” he says. “Too easy for the cons. It used to be that you respected the screws.”

Brian is against having television in the cells. Some prison officers consider telly the best thing that ever happened in Barlinnie because it pacifies the prisoners, making them less likely to harm themselves and others. However, TV has also had a huge impact on the literacy of prisoners, which has knock-on effects with regard to rehabilitation and future employment. “I couldn’t read or write when I first came in here,” says Brian. “If I’d had the telly back then, I would never have learned. I’ve managed to get a bit of intelligence about me now; not that you’d think so, with me still coming in and out of here at my age.”

The majority of Barlinnie inmates have been charged with or convicted of thefts, breaches of the peace, drugs offences, sex offences and assaults of varying seriousness, with a little over half serving sentences of between one and four years. The prison also holds, in a small segregation unit, or – colloquially – the Wendy House, a few prisoners unable to mix with the general population, including high-ranking gangsters.
Barlinnie’s intelligence unit helps officers decide which halls are the most appropriate to house particular prisoners; mortal enemies, rival gang members and those owing drug money to affiliates of dealers are kept well away from each other. It is similar to deciding where to seat bickering relatives at a wedding reception, albeit on a much large scale and with much bloodier consequences.

The familial metaphor is apt. Incarceration in Barlinnie is dynastic. The prison has been home from home for three generations of some families. One prison officer says his father worked here for 35 years, locking up the fathers and grandfathers of the prisoners now in his custody. There is a dismal sense of destiny about it all.

Most prisoners are in their twenties. Just boys, really, in prison-issue jeans and red sweatshirts. Their cells, which measure about two metres wide by three and a half long, have bunks and glossy girly posters and are strongly redolent of teenage bedrooms; the small window, high on the back wall, is curtainless, but prisoners improvise with T-shirts and pillowslips, creating bands of red, white and blue or green, white and orange, depending on footballing allegiance.

Many of the prisoners, perhaps most, will have been working up to Barlinnie, having first spent time in Polmont Young Offenders Institute. This is a grim post-industrial echo of the apprenticeship system. The young cons here are apprentices no longer; they are journeymen criminals whose scars mark their fraternity with that particular guild. That’s one of the first things you notice here – the scars. They zig-zag across faces unmarked by age, and carve their way through short hair like contour lines on a map. One lad has a thumb stitched where his nose should be, having lost it to a samurai sword.

New prisoners arrive daily with cuts and bruises, but it is possible to get hurt in Barlinnie itself. In the last three years there have been two serious and 15 minor prisoner-on-staff assaults, plus 53 serious and 56 minor prisoner-on-prisoner assaults. Weapons have been fashioned from sharpened forks and screws; a favourite piece of Barlinnie hardware is a toothbrush with two razor blades pressed into the melted plastic. “You can tell a jail slashing,” says McGill, “because you get a great big thick scar on your face, too wide to stitch properly.”

Barlinnie’s atmosphere is a curious mix of tension, resentful boredom, melancholy and gallus gallows humour. “Haw!” shouts one young prisoner, Paul, trying to attract the attention of a passing officer. Paul is serving 27 months for assaulting a policeman and wishes to discuss a change to the dinner menu. “What’s happenin’ wi’ thae square sausages? Thae links are gonnae kill folk.”

Not all exchanges are so amusing. In D Hall at lunchtime, a prisoner called James, a tall man with longish dark hair, becomes very angry all of a sudden. “You’ve no got a fuckin’ warrant to hold me,” he screams. “I know what happened to my family and girlfriend in here. You’re gonnae get me murdered.” He is bundled into his cell and the door locked. D Hall holds prisoners with mental health issues. Mostly, they are not so ill that they can be sectioned, but not well enough to be safely out in the community, so here they remain. The governor points out one disturbing, shambling figure in particular. “He set himself on fire a couple of weeks ago, and when they went in to get him out he attacked two firemen.”

Stevie Geddes, an officer in E Hall, says the job requires constant vigilance. Many old hands among the staff were young officers at the time of the 1987 riot, and though the Barlinnie regime is now far less confrontational, the memory lingers of how quickly disorder can escalate. “We deal with some of the most violent people in Scotland,” says Geddes. “There was a member of staff assaulted in C Hall yesterday. We’ve had officers with broken jaws and all sorts.”

Violence is commonplace in Barlinnie, only the severity varies. Anything can cause a fight; the illicit trade in merchandise, for example, inflates both the price and perceived worth of items that, outside of prison, would be considered disposable. “A tenner bag of heroin in here is worth £60,” Geddes explains. “The going rate for a mobile phone is £1,000. A Mars Bar to you and I is 40p; in here, it’s high stakes.”

Drug use is rife. Prevalence testing suggests that 82 per cent of those admitted to Barlinnie are on drugs; on release, 10 per cent fail a test for illegal drugs. Narcotics get into the prison in various ways. A small bag of heroin may be passed from mouth to mouth during a visiting time kiss. Less romantically, a drug user attending court and believing that he is going to be sent to Barlinnie will often hide a mobile phone and as much heroin as possible up his back passage, a part of the body known to prisoners as ‘the bank’.

Packages containing drugs also come over the perimeter wall, sometimes fired by crossbow or catapult, during daily exercise; if the prisoner for whom it is intended is lucky, he will be able to lift it before the officer notices. There are also prison officers who will bring drugs and other items into Barlinnie – either because they are well paid to do so, or because they are too frightened to say no. McGill loathes such betrayals – “I don’t like it when they sell us out for the other side” – and has taken measures to toughen up security screening of staff.

A daily ritual at Barlinnie, a sort of profane communion, is the dispensation of the heroin substitute methadone. Prisoners who have a prescription before coming to prison continue to receive it inside at the same dosage. Barlinnie is the biggest single-site dispenser of methadone in western Europe – 400 or so prisoners receive it every morning, adding up to more than 15,000 pints of the green liquid each year. Prisoners are brought to the waiting room of the clinic ten at a time and each in turn goes up to the hatch to receive his dose from the nurse. After swallowing, each prisoner must also drink a cup of water. This is to prevent them from holding the drug at the back of the throat then subsequently hawking it up to sell – a practice known as ‘the methadone spit’.

Talk to any random selection of prisoners in Barlinnie and the chances are that most will have become involved in theft or violence because of their addiction to drugs or alcohol or both. What you hear again and again is that prison, for chronic addicts, is a safe place. They can detox, get fed, stay alive for a while longer.
“Jail saved my life,” says David, 47, serving three years for head-butting a drug dealer. “The only time my ma could sleep at night was when I was in here. She knew I wouldn’t be found with a needle in my arm.”

Big Mick, 42, used to be a security guard, but since his mid-30s, when he split from his wife and children, has been lost in drink. He has had seventeen sentences for shoplifting in the last seven years. This time he is in for four months. He finds it impossible to stay sober outside prison. “I see the pain it is causing my ma and da, but the only time I can stop is in here.” When he is released, he intends to commit further crimes – and get caught – so he is sent to Barlinnie again. He is not the only prisoner who admits to this strategy. Statistics show that around 90 per cent of those prisoners currently inside will return in future. Some hardly get further than the three off-licenses at the bottom of the street.

The last prisoner to commit suicide here was on his 50th stretch and was only 32. “I think he’d just had enough,” says Governor McGill. “They cannot break the cycle of offending. People blame the prison service for that, but we deal with them as best we can. I think we do a great job. Look at what we do with work, with prisoner programmes, getting people off their drugs, getting them to put on weight again. By and large, they turn their life around when they are in here. But what we don’t do is go out the door with them.
“I know people will talk about a 90 per cent failure rate because the prisoners keep coming back, but it’s not my failure rate, or the Scottish Prison Service’s failure rate, it’s society’s failure rate because there’s not enough outside the prison walls.”

Barlinnie is in many ways a microcosm of society, and its members have the same everyday needs – both physical and spiritual. There is a church in the prison grounds, a barber, a dentist and a gym. Services are held every Sunday and 250 haircuts are given each week. The widespread use of methadone, which dries the mouth and encourages tooth decay, is one reason why the dentist, Dr Kieran Fallon, is often described as the busiest man in the prison. The kitchen, meanwhile, serves up 1.5 million meals a year, including porridge, of course, and is staffed in large part by Chinese and Vietnamese migrants caught during police raids on cannabis factories.

The prison laundry, too, is staffed by inmates, specifically the sex offenders. The mainstream prisoners would not tolerate their food being prepared by the ‘beasts’ of the jail, but find it acceptable that they wash and iron their clothes. Also, according to the governor, they are simply very good at the job; there is, apparently, something in the psychology of a sex offender that makes him neat and fastidious. Seeing these pale, plump, watchful, hateful, sad-eyed men folding bedsheets is just one of the many remarkable, troubling things about Barlinnie.

The prison has been open for more than 130 years. Built to hold 1,018 prisoners, it has rarely done so, and is almost always massively overcrowded. There are, at present, around 1,500 prisoners in Barlinnie, most of them sharing cells built for single occupancy. The population is seasonal. Christmas and summer are relatively quiet. From August onwards, the number increases rapidly, and last year reached its highest ever level – 1,786.

When Low Moss prison opens on the outskirts of Bishopbriggs next month, it is likely to offer Barlinnie some brief respite, but McGill does not believe it will be a long-term solution. “Judges know when Barlinnie’s not full, and all of a sudden remand numbers increase,” he says.

The 2008 Scottish Prisons Commission noted that high prison populations are more likely to “drive reoffending than reduce it” and favoured community-based sentences over short jail terms. The result is that Barlinnie now has far fewer prisoners serving less than six months, but the prison actually has more prisoners altogether. It would appear that remanding a prisoner in custody, awaiting trial, is being used to take troublemakers out of communities for up to 140 days, without imposing the politically difficult short sentences. The significant downside is that there are so many – right now, around 550 – men being held in prison for quite long periods without having been tried for any crime.

Overcrowding is a problem because it means a large proportion of the prison population cannot access work placements, education, or many of the rehabilitative programmes that are supposed to help them change into useful members of society while inside. According to the most recent inspection, on average 70.4 per cent of the population is locked up in cells instead of being on purposeful activity. Prisoners can spend up to 23 hours a day locked up with a cell-mate – or ‘co-pilot’ – they loathe. Physical fights in these circumstances, prisoners say, are a daily occurrence.

What, then, is the future of this Victorian jail in the 21st century? The chief inspector of prisons, while noting that the institution is well led and run, and drawing particular attention to the excellent care prisoners – often frightened and despairing – receive during their first night in custody, has called for its redevelopment as soon as possible. McGill himself believes that by 2020 the present buildings will have fallen out of use and a new prison built nearby. Barlinnie’s own long stretch is, it seems, coming to an end.

“It would be sad to see it demolished completely,” says the Governor. “There’s a huge amount of history here. You could imagine them running tours. This could be the Alcatraz of Glasgow. I think even the prisoners would be sorry to see this go. Places like Polmont don’t have any atmosphere. Barlinnie has got a lot of life.”

A lot of life and, despite the odds, a lot of love. By 5pm, there is a long queue for visiting. It’s almost all women: dolled-up wives and girlfriends; sorrowful mums and grannies. One lad catches the eye – maybe six years old, cute in his crewcut and best tracksuit, walking round in slow, bored circles, heel-to-toe, swinging a key for the prison locker, familiar already with the rules of visiting. How many birthdays, you wonder, has his father missed, and how many to come? And here’s the most dreadful question of all: will that wee boy, too, one day end up here or in whatever prison replaces it?

Barlinnie, every groan and dirty stone of it, has a habit of weighing down the mind with such fatalistic thoughts. So, as fascinating as it has been, it is a relief to finally leave the prison and walk out into the cold dusk, a half-moon rising high and pure and free above those grimly iconic chimneys.

First published in Scotland on Sunday February 12, 2012  


Buy “Daunderlust: Dispatches from unreported Scotland” by Peter Ross on Amazon

"This kind of journalism is rare enough at the best of times, and these are far from the best of times. Instead, we are in danger of forgetting about the kind of people Ross writes about – long-distance lorry drivers, greyhound betting kings, Up Helly Aa costumiers, Perthshire strawberry-gatherers, fairground folk in Fife. These days we are supposed to be more interested in celebrity. Yet whereas no-one I know has ever met even one Kardashian, most of us have probably unknowingly shared a bus or a train with some of the people featured here."  Scotsman review


Blind Alley by Iris Johansen

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Apr 242014
 
Eve Duncan is asked to reconstruct the identity of a young Jane Doe, her face left unrecognizable. 
But who ever killed her wasn't just trying to hide her identity.
 

Her job is to put a face on the victims of violent crimes. But as forensic sculptor Eve Duncan works on the skull of a newly discovered victim, she's about to get the shock of her life. The murdered Jane Doe's face has been erased beyond recognition. But whoever killed her wasn't trying to hide her identity. The plan is far more horrifying. For as Eve's skilled hands reveal the murdered girl's face, she recognizes someone she knows all too well. Someone who isn't dead. Yet. To stop this twisted psychopath, Eve must put her own life in the balance. But that's not the worst of it  when her adopted daughter Jane reveals a bizarre connection to the case, Eve can't stop her from joining the hunt for the killer. A hunt that will lead to a terrifying confrontation

Printing History
Written by Iris Johansen (1938-)

Bantam Dell
Random House Inc
 September 2004
ISBN 553-58650

















 Posted by at 5:55 pm
Apr 242014
 
Justin Perry: The Assassin #1, by John D. Revere February, 1983  Pinnacle Books With a first volume nearly as weird as the final one was, the Justin Perry series gets off to an expectedly-unsettling start, detailing the origin story of our unibrowed, curly-haired, sexually demented hero, who as we’ll recall is a top assassin for the CIA who gets off on killing people. This is surely one of
Apr 232014
 
He Is The Last Hope For Ravaged America!



Death Sentance
Three young girls vanish from Cape Cod. Warships disappear without a trace. In a mountaintop monastery, a dying monk predicts the end of the world. And a terrified woman is consumed by a vision of a blazing comet destroying the Earth. But it's more than a vision, it's real, and the beginning of the end. Unless ace fighter pilot Hawk Hunter can find a way to save mankind from 143 miles away in space.  Asian Mercenary Cult battleships storm the seas. Fourth Reich squadrons fill the skies. And off the Florida coast nuclear warheads are in place, as the world's most powerful adversaries unite in one common goal. To stop the impending destruction of the planet. But to succeed, they need Hunter's help. With time running out, the lone warrior has only one recourse. To charge the comet head on in a desperate kamikaze mission to salvage a lost cause called Earth! 

 Wingman #13

Printing History
written by Brian Kelleher
copyright 1997

Kensington Publishing Corp
Pinnacle Books
ISBN 7860 357
January 1997
 Posted by at 7:23 pm

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