Monday, October 23, 2017
The Boogey Man x 3, by Tom Rogneby
This blog post reviews TWO books, but the Amazon reviews are only for one each.
Don't forget that leaving a 'helpful' comment on the Amazon review is reported (by Amazon) as having a slight impact on the book's ranking, and hence sales.
I obtained the books through the Kindle Unlimited program.
"The Boogeyman" Amazon review is found here.
And the Amazon review for "Working Vacation" may be found here.
This ain't DaddyBear and the Minivandians, but they are at the very least distant cousins. Members of DaddyBear's crew, if dropped into a story in the BoogeyMan world, would recognize the core values of loyalty, importance of family ties, and the hard work needed to get ahead. And the weird. Maybe a different kind of weird.
Book One, The Boogeyman, could almost pass for a Bogart movie. There are tiny bits of supernatural in the story, but nothing that is essential to the plot. Martyn Shelby, the protagonist, is the proverbial tough guy investigator with a heart of gold, fists of oak, and a face that would remind you not to spend any more nights face down in the gutter. That's all normal stuff, right, for the tough guy private eye? Could be Cagney, Falk, but definitely not Hercule Poirot or Nero Wolfe.
There is ONE skewed angle, maybe two: Absolutely skewed is Aunt Sarah, a sort of family guardian/baby-sitter, who poses as a mark to draw in a junkie so she can drain him. When Martin happens on the scene taking place outside his lawyer's office, he shoos the pusher home, and catches up with Aunt Sarah over coffee. It's a nice, domestic scene.
But the 'maybe two skewed angles' pops up here. Marty got a phone call in the middle of the night to rescue four teens who vanished from a drive-in movie. His lawyer tells him there may be federal involvement. But: it happens too fast for normal investigative work. As in, there has to be surveillance, of SOMETHING going on, and that all fits in well with the story..
It's a flat-foot, gum-shoe kind of story, except that he married his lady and loves her, instead of incessantly flirting with the dames. I hope we get LOTS more. Please?
Book Two contains two short stories. The first ,"The Devil Drinks Sweet Tea," is back story, the second, "Working Vacation," is a contemporary incident.
"The Devil Drinks Sweet Tea." I love back-story. I think I'd rather read backstory without the main event than the main event itself. Except for the Silmarillion. Tried that a few times, just couldn't tolerate it.
Here, we see Martin as a young lad of 16 who is spending the summer with his grandparents, while his mother and father enjoy the touristy flesh-pots of Florida. And, as is the case with any number of Southern grandmothers, Grandma is working Grandpa and Martin to death in the yard, while she cleans the house. You can't understand the degree of frugality and self-sufficiency people like this strove for, unless you contemplate that they grew up in the South in the terrible years following the Great Depression. You throw NOTHING away; you buy NOTHING that you can make or do without. You eat the food you raise, and you do not doubt; you make do. And there is little time for foolishness such as radio; instead, you sit out on the porch in the evenings, and carry on long conversations while the ladies shuck peas, and the men smoke. And almost without fail, thc center of community action and involvement is the local church: Sunday School, Sunday morning service, all day singing and dinner on the grounds, evening prayers; then throughout the week, there are other opportunities.
And that's why, when the Devil tries to break through Grandma's flower bed, he encounters a mighty warrior who stops him in his tracks. (My grandmother was very similar.)
At some point, I feel certain we will discover how the devil recognizes young Martin, and calls him by the name "Boogeyman."
The second story, "Working Vacation," is set in the present day, just a few years after the events of "The Boogeyman." I'm going to shout this next part:
WE ALL NEED MORE STORIES LIKE THIS!
We need them because they include paranormal events that are merely things that happen, so you don't know until you get to the end whether they have anything to do with the mystery at all. I think this is a wonderful use of magic / supernatural events. There is no point in resorting to burning floop roots at midnight, when the same thing can be accomplished by just asking the waitress at the all-night diner.
In this case, Marty gets dragged away from his delicious breakfast of shrimp and grits, because a Very Important Person is missing, and many people will be disturbed unless he is found soon. (Note: you might be able to recognize the Very Important Person from the description, but I didn't. It doesn't matter.) The plot INCLUDES some paranormal elements, but it's really a straight-up detective story.
It reads fast, and it reads fun!
Peace be on your household.