Wisdom of MY Words

Random Musings & Book Reviews

Archive for the 'Music' Category

05 August


Sitting at a high top table in the NW corner of the bar were two girls about my age. Both blonde with straight, short noses, high cheekbones, skin so pale it could be translucent, and thin, bird-like lips. I was slamming Diet Cokes, tense, jittery, just wanting to blow off steam, alone, at a bar, on the dance floor. I’m not dressed for the club. Adrienne is not with me. It’s an impromptu stop on the way home from the Broadway Avenue Y after swimming precisely 82 laps, which, in that particular pool, was a mile.

It was 1985 and Ami strutted her stuff across the street from that Y. I’d given her a ride and some cash. I’d stopped at Gabby’s because I desperately wanted a drink but hated alcohol. Standing at the bar wearing blood red Swatch capri leggings, Joan & David black skimmers — just black leather flats with a sole that allowed me to skim on the wood dance floor, feeling weightless, an oversized Ralph Lauren white button down with a blank tank top underneath, big gold hoop earrings, and a giant loose curl bob that stuck out five inches on either side of my head.

In private to my friends and boyfriend, I called it my Jewfro. When I turned around there were now four blonde girls at the high top. These Minnesota girls were worse than Nicolet girls. Their blondness intimidated me. All four were staring at me. They’d occasionally lean towards another blonde head, hand a wall between

03 August

Mad River by John Sandford

MAD RIVER is a canny, small-town Minnesota contemporary remake of the Bonnie & Clyde plus Charles Starkweather rampages. Virgil Flowers, always referred to as “that fuckin’ Flowers,” because he’s so good with women, is called up to a small town outside of his hometown, in nowheres-ville Minnesota, Marshall.


His father is a Lutheran preacher there, and Virgil is a BCA investigator, underneath Lucas Davenport of the Prey Series fame. Flowers doesn’t understand Catholics (he thinks they’re weird, but after writing Bad Blood and basing that on a German religion, which there are only two of, really, Catholic and Lutheran, well, you see where this slippery slope is going don’t you?) Flowers says, “Anyhooo…” in every book, it’s nough to make a reader go mad.

Initially it starts out as a home robbery, where a girl (we later find out she is a young women estranged from her husband,) Agatha O’Leary, is killed. We as the reader know most of what is going on, and this book is slightly different from other Flowers books because we know who the killers right up front.

Jimmy Sharp, Becky Walsh and Tom McCall — enters the home of the O‚ÄôLeary family. A second murder quickly follows Agatha’s, involving a black man who had a car that Jimmy wanted. There really aren’t blacks in the middle of nowheres-ville Minnesota, I live here, I know the stats, so a random black guy is weird.

Flowers is tasked with playing catch-up, and as the body count continues to grow the urgency of capturing them grows. At the same time, Flowers experiences some difficulty with local law enforcement, specifically a cop named Dunn who is a vigilante. But as is the case of all Sandford’s books, it’s just fine to lie, cheat, steal and be a vigilante if you are a cop. If you’re not, well then, in Davenport’s words: Fuck You.

Dunn wants to kill McCall when he wants to get brought in by Flowers. McCall is safely put in jail. McCall has raped Walsh when they were in a home looking for drugs because Sharp was wounded. There is a gruesome scene where Walsh cleans the pus out of Sharp’s wound, and it’s one of the grossest moments I’ve read recently. Ultimately, Walsh knows Sharp is dying and Dunn sets up an ambush outside of the town they are meeting in and they are slaughtered with well over 100 bullets pummeled through their bodies. Thank G-d Sharp was unconscious!

There is no innocent until proven guilty in the vigilante justice system. Flowers would like it be there, but it really isn’t and there isn’t much he can do.

My biggest pet peeve is that people swear all the time in Sandford’s books, but he makes Flowers and several women IN EACH AND EVERY BOOK say the word “Pooh,” in response to something they don’t like! Who in the hell talks like that is what I’d like to know?!

Flowers remains an amusing and compelling character, and this time we got to meet his parents, which was nice but all together to short of an exchange. Another romance occurs with a woman he’s wanted to sleep with since high school, so we again are subjected to flowers thinking he’s Mr. Hot with his cowboy boots; but in this book not much time is given over to bands (except in his drive up from Mankato to the crime scene) and his band tee-shirts aren’t discussed in this book. That was disappointing. A bit like the TV show SUPERNATURAL, where they use music as the great unifier and then, poof!, the music is gone.

MAD RIVER was not one of Sandford’s best. It really did start to bore me. So, read a different Sandford book before this one.