Miles of Fun, Miles of Files

Paul Panepinto is bored at work. How could he not be? He’s a painter trapped by lapsed policies, cold chocolate in a Federal Funding mug, and long stints of muzak while on hold with Mortgage Depot. Also there are his smarmy daydreams of ‘better times’ with Suzanne Biedertyme to get him through the monotony. Panepinto … Continue reading Miles of Fun, Miles of Files

Swimming with Sharks

My first shark dive, over a decade ago, our group encountered half a dozen reef sharks in the Red Sea. The big monsters circled the coral an hour offshore. The sight stole my breath, my aqualung pumping furiously---not the best reaction at minus 30 ft. The white tip is a predator, though not likely to charge across open water for … Continue reading Swimming with Sharks

Poisonwood

A nightmare tree grows in the hammock jungle along Route One of Fat Deer Key. Poisonwood. Its touch will boil the skin; its toxin, when burned, will sear the lungs; its berries, if ingested, will sour the gut. At mile 56 the Poisonwood grows alongside its antidote, the Gumbo Limbo. Folk medicine has it the remedy should be … Continue reading Poisonwood

Crook v Crook v Crooked Cop

Hardboiled noir fans: Bob Truluck delivers a lot more than promised in The Big Nothing. That’s no backhanded compliment. The promise includes a vicious series of showdowns, a coterie of sadists and pervs, and a few well-intentioned rubes caught up in a game bigger than the pile they’re after. The cast of criminals and dirty … Continue reading Crook v Crook v Crooked Cop

An ounce of hope, a Fifth of futility

Review: God in Neon by Sam Slaughter Sam Slaughter’s collection of stories features protagonists paddling up a great river of booze. Their strokes are futile, the current strong: with beer, tequila, whiskey, Old Crow, Jack, PBR. They struggle under the blurry burden of constant intoxication, their boozing not an act so much as a reality, … Continue reading An ounce of hope, a Fifth of futility

A Confederacy of (Political) Dunces

I enjoy politics. And I enjoy books. So I've put the two together and re-cast the 2016 presidential contenders as their literary counterparts. Today, the Republicans. Jeb Before the weekend I had  Bush playing Ignatius J. Reilly. His shuffling campaign had all the promise of a college-educated person pushing a hot dog cart around the Big Easy. … Continue reading A Confederacy of (Political) Dunces

Review: When You Cross That Line

The short line-up of characters in Sam Slaughter’s collection lead lives you’d rather not lead yourself, and therein lies the charm. The unnamed narrator of When You Cross That Line is moving to Florida when he has a run-in with an alligator salesman. The episode turns from odd to ugly, leaving the narrator in search of a swamp, … Continue reading Review: When You Cross That Line