A Long Hot Summer from Now On...
Except that I think the heat's really getting to me this year. I tell ya, Poodledale's like a "friggin' oven," as my dad would say, like a desert or something. And forget this "dry heat" crap. For some reason, even though we haven't had enough rain to fill a damn bird bath this year, it's humid. So not only are we now suffering temperatures usually reserved for cooking poultry, but the heat lingers on, even after the sun sets, the air clinging to you like tight, damp clothes.
Maybe the heat's what made me do it. But I made a shocking discovery last week -- I'm going bald!!!
Yes, I was shocked, I tell you, SHOCKED!!!!
So, dopey from the heat (which may also explain why I enjoyed the latest installment of the DIE HARD franchise -- easily the best one since the very first one) and perhaps even inspired a little by Bruno's battered chromium domium, I took my trusty old Trac II in hand, and whacked it all off.
I'm still not sure why. Boredom? Vanity? Anger at those damn follicles going AWOL? The vast fortune I'll no longer have to blow on cheap shampoo and combs?
Beats me, but except for a few nicks and an embarrasingly pale pate (I look like a Q-Tip), the operation was, uh, successful.
Decidely mixed. I look a little tougher if I scowl, I think, (GREAT! Now small children cry in my presence and customers ask if someone else could serve them) but mostly I still look like a doofus.
On the crime fic front, I just finished reading Ken Bruen's THE MAGDALEN MARTYRS from a year or so ago-- don't know why it took me so long to get to it -- partly perhaps in honour of D.L's recent return from Ireland. This makes the second great P.I. novel I've read this year that's set in the Emerald Isle (the first was Declan Hughes' powerful and disturbing THE COLOUR OF BLOOD, which I've already raved on about elsewhere).
Not that Bruen's novel is any less powerful or disturbing. The Celtic Tiger may be roaring, but there seem to be an awful lot of pissed off Micks out there who wouldn't mind skinning that cat. The hero of THE MAGDALEN MARTYRS is, of course, perennial fuck-up Jack Taylor, the all night drug prowling wolf ex-guard half-ass Galway private eye who never met a lost cause (or a pithy quote, be it Shakespeare or Springsteen) he didn't embrace. Dependably undependable, he's roped into two cases this time out: investigate a possibly evil (but sexy) stepmother who may have bumped off dear old dad, and to track down an "angel of mercy" who once worked at the notorious Magdalen laundries (the laundries were essentially sweat shops run by the Catholic Church where pregnant single women and other ill-behaved -- ie: "uppity" -- women were sentenced to what amounts to slavery and torture for their sins).
The anger is palpable and visceral; like Hughes' book, it rises off the pages in waves like steam heat. And yet there are also tender, poignant moments as well that will shred your heart. Nobody writes like Bruen, and few even dare try. Which is, perhaps, just as well. In the hands of lesser writers, the subject matter would be simply a grisly hook, a cheap thrill to get the punters into the cheap seats.
Not Bruen, though. He's a man on a mission, and I suspect it's more than just delivering a good read, although of course he does that -- in spades. There are souls in torment here, stacked up like kindling, and Bruen holds the match.
Burn, baby, burn.