A Coffin For Dimitrios

Detective story for highbrow readers, quick read & enjoyable… Charles Latimer is an academic turned detective novelist, vacationing in Turkey when he stumbles upon the supposedly-closed case of Dimitrios (fig-packer turned pimp turned assassin turned heroin smuggler turned bank director). Latimer becomes curious about doing real detective work, thus embarks across Europe to follow the traces of Dimitrios, encountering Mr. Peters in his train compartment (then later in his hotel room, rummaging), and various other helpful individuals. The corpse Latimer witnessed in the morgue was not Dimitrios, but Visser (one of the Parisian drug gang of 7), with an identity card qualifying him as Dimitrios. Mr. Peters enlists Latimer’s help in blackmailing Dimitrios for 1M francs, which goes awry and P & D end up shooting each other. Latimer leaves the cash behind and dashes off to the safety of writing detective novels.
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Reco’d by Momma R

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Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Found this a bit bland; the mother succumbs to morphine haze while her sons and husband get progressively drunker. Jamie, the oldest brother, admits to wishing ill of his brother, Edmund, who has consumption and is about to enter a sanatorium for 6 months. Tyrone, the tightwad father, always yammering about the value of a dollar. Mary, the mother, reminiscing about childhood days in the convent, dreaming of becoming a nun, then meeting Tyrone and falling in love, briefly. They all end up outside themselves, drunk on booze or morphine, not embracing the moment.
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By way of Mark Eitzel’s LitQuake reading

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Cowboys Are My Weakness

Quick girlie read; slightly heaving chest & perfumed hankie, slightly good writing. The narrator (always a woman), reveals her taste for bad boys, cowboys, and at the end, an affair with a woman never consummated. It all seems superficial, looking back over the pages. Cheating men & empty promises & strong women who choose to be treated as such.
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Mentioned by Sarah, not necessarily recommended.

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Diary

Bizarre tale, well written. My head is spinning, the dizzying tales of Misty & Peter who meet in art school, she not turned off by his pinning fake jewelry through his skin, a different hole every day to maximize the sensation. Waytansea Island is where Peter lures Misty, pregnant (after messing with all her birth control) and having to care for his mother Grace after his dad Harrow died (or did he?). Peter goes crazy one summer, walling up kitchens, linen closets, entire hotel rooms after scrawling graffiti on the walls. Misty & Angel uncover each message; Angel turns out to be Peter’s ex-lover, a man. Her daughter, Tabbi, fakes her death. Her mother-in-law confines her to bed, leg in cast, and sets her painting. Every 100 years a man from the island marries an artist, brings her to the island, where she paints and saves the island from outsiders. This was a quick read, but so much happens that to try and make sense of it post-finishing, my head swims. I’ll probably check out other Chuck P books now.
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Andrea Siegel recommenation

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The Boys of My Youth

Yes, yes, yes. Another amazing book of short stories… I am gobbling these down like red hots, burning my tongue on the tales and reveling in the great writing. The sad tale of Bonanza, where Jo succumbs to the sadness of her grandmother’s stale life, realizing that they have empty, unenjoyable days with obligatory living. Cousins laden down with descriptions of country life with her cousin, from early age through marriage. The story of narrowly escaping a mass-murder by going home early, and dealing with the aftermath of having a shooting rampage take out your colleagues and friends. Driving out of Florida through Alabama, escaping the raving lunatic trying to push her off the road into an empty road to kill her, shaking with fear, anxiety, anger. Through these tales hearing snippets of divorce, the husband who cheated, wandered, grew bored. Stories of Elizabeth (“Liz”) and boys of their youth.
The only story I didn’t completely love was Coyotes, where the descriptions of the coyote in the wild fell a bit flat, I kept skipping ahead to read what was going on with Jo Ann & Eric at the campsite.
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Another recommendation by Andrea Seigel

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The Woman Who Cut Off Her Leg at the Maidstone Club and other stories

Shudderingly good book of short stories. Each story is told from the 1st person perspective: the woman who lusts after the lawn boy and swallows him when they kiss (cum shooting from her mouth at the dinner table after he masturbates inside her!); the pudding that sits on the kitchen floor for a month as family tensions ebb and flow; the chef who falls for a girl and whose existence revolves around finding out her name; the woman whose lover falls to pieces: thumb falls off, hair in clumps, legs, until he is a pile of bones arranged on the bed and shouting at her new lover (through her?); the woman who grows teeth all over her body and who receives gold caps from her dentist affair; the man who saves Max the lobster from certain death by dining in the airport; the baby blanket that transports the man into a stupor of well-being and which he can’t escape even after weighting down and tossing into the lake. Each story well-written, engaging, different, all with various personal issues of trust and intimacy.
From the lobster story:
“I leaned against a cement pillar across the corridor and tried to read my paper. But I couldn’t stop looking over at Max. He looked so sad. I was startled by a hand on my arm. A short woman, twenty-five maybe, looked up at me. ‘You’re right about that lobster,’ she said. ‘It’s inhumane. I’m a vegan myself.’
“I nodded, then noticed her looking at my hand to see if I had a ring and clenched my jaw to keep from asking her if she wanted a cup of coffee, or for her phone number. I saw the satisfied smile of my therapist. ‘Getting involved with a woman at the airport. Perfect.’ he’d say, tapping his fingers on the teak coffee table that my twelve years of therapy helped to finance. ‘She’ll fly off and you’ll never see her again.’ The woman could tell by my polite smile, and the silent language that single people speak to one another, that we weren’t going anywhere. She said good luck and walked off with her Le Sportsac. Who knows? Maybe she was the one. Probably not.” (p 127)
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Recommended by Andrea Seigel

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Guest Shot

Beach reading, the kind that works best after a few pina coladas and a game of horseshoes and it’s the last book in your pile to read. Gradually got more and more into it as the plot unfolded. I must register a complaint that the author didn’t reveal the jury’s verdict at the end. Just pick one, guilty or not. To leave it unfinished is… blech. Not the finest story or writing I’ve been exposed to recently, but it was definitely readable. Basic idea is that a Mystery Guest calls a talk show to announce that he’ll begin a killing spree and come on the show to talk about it afterwards. He begins to execute scum & criminals that would leave a guilty verdict in question (because he is cleaning up the world). A hot female NYPD detective, DZ, is on the case, who happens to fall in love with charming small-town Charlie. By the end, she’s preggers & they’re going camping. Yowza.
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Recommended by the Max

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