Showing posts from April, 2011

Pocket-47: Old Memories Die Hard in the Sunshine State (review)

Florida is one of those places that most of us think we know... and, whether or not we’ve ever set foot across the state line is irrelevant. Maybe it’s the rampant commercialism (and ubiquitous black mouse ears) of Orlando, or Key West’s breezy, laid-back cool (set to the tune of every single Jimmy Buffett song ever written), or South Beach’s excesses (seriously, who hasn’t seen "Miami Vice"?), or those raucous Spring Break parties, or even some ‘gators (or Gators, depending on what floats your boat)... but whatever it is, we invariably picture something larger-than-life, outrageous, or just sort of odd when we think about the Sunshine State.
What we don't picture, though, are all the "normal" people, those with unglamorous jobs and boring lives just like the rest of us. (It makes me feel a bit sorry for all my wonderful Florida friends, actually.) But, in the soon-to-be-released Pocket-47,* author Jude Hardin actually does a nice job of combining the two “sides…

A Grift in the Desert: A Jackalope, Some Bafflegab, & the American Dream

A pair of sexy and highly-skilled grifters--fresh from their most-lucrative con job to date--decide to bow out at the top of their game, leaving behind all the glitz, glamour, and thrills in favor of a new pursuit: getting their own little piece of The American Dream (modest home and one-eared rescue dog, included). Meanwhile, their lovable-but-dim buddy--who wouldn’t know a successful scam if it walked up and slapped him upside the head (which is, by the way, totally likely)--gets a wild hare to try his luck in the art world... as an artist. (This, despite the fact that his friends know he can’t draw a straight line with a ruler.) The setting for their respective suburban dreams and grandiose schemes? Unassuming Santa Fe, New Mexico. (Yes, it’s a little, erm, off the beaten path--especially for anyone who isn’t from there--but you try finding a good place to “go straight” when you’ve been scamming your way along the West Coast and through the Southwest for the past several years, and..…

Mysterious Disappearances, a Dog, & an Unlikely Voyeur

I’ve always had what you might call a like/dislike relationship with short stories. In their favor, they perform a useful function: providing some escapist entertainment when reading time is limited. They’re like little morsels in the buffet of storytelling, (hopefully) palatable and (generally) easily-digestible... although rarely approaching the level of delicacies. Of course, the same thing which makes them desirable--their brevity--can also be their downfall. Too many short stories come across as incomplete pieces of what must (or should) have been a larger whole, leaving me unfulfilled in the end... as though I’d sat down at a table famished, prepared for a small feast, but had been served, instead, a 100-calorie bagged snack. After looking through my stacks of books (which are still pretty much everywhere) recently, and spying several skinny little volumes peeking out from between the much larger ones--not to mention all those shorties I keep having to thumb past on my Kindle’s ho…