Friday, February 01, 2013

bad enough to be good?

Title: A Brewing Storm/ A Raging Storm/ A Bloody Storm
Author: "Richard Castle"

Remember, the rule is: everything you read gets posted, no matter how embarrassing it is.

I was a fan of Castle when it first started.  This season, they're losing my interest fast.  It was a lot more fun when every single case didn't have some handy lesson for the two main characters about their newfound relationship.  I don't care.  Really, I don't.  I want to see clever murders, and more clever detectives catching the SOBs what done the deeds.  I do not want to see long, meaningful glances between Castle and Beckett whenever a suspect or witness says "you can't date someone you work with!  That's a disaster waiting to happen!  Who would be that STUPID??"  Sad thing is, I even like the scenes related to Castle's writing.  More than the relationship garbage.  Maybe they could give Ryan and Esposito their own show.  I'd probably watch that, until someone ruined it.

Anyway.  Books.  Yes.

These are three shorter "books" (about 85 pages each, available only as ebooks) which make up one longer story.  I finished reading the third one today, and I still can't decide whether the series is brilliant or terrible.

I'll argue both cases.

They read like a hilarious spoof parody (I know it's redundant, but it's piled on thick, and I want to make that clear) of James Bond movies and Robert Ludlum books.  I laughed at ridiculous scenes, lines, images, and the general idea of every section.  By the third book, they've spun a senator's stepson's kidnapping up to a mystery about $60 billion (with a B) in Russian gold bullion (they also say "60 billion in bullion" a lot, and I just think that's funny) buried somewhere in Uzbekistan.  I think.  The characters are laughable caricatures of Ludlum's tough guys who are always total experts at guns and surveillance and crap, and the quippy lothario wanna-bes we can safely blame the James Bond franchise for infesting all action movies.  It's hilarious.  I can't possibly take any of it seriously.

Holy shit, people.  Spell check is already in your word processing software.  It's usually automatic.  Red means the word is spelled wrong; green is questionable grammar.  And maybe, if you're going to try ham-fisted marketing like publishing real books from your TV show's fake writer, you should maybe have just one person proofread it before you release anything.  That's all I ask.   I'll do it, no problem.  I could use a job, and a good laugh.  While reading these, I took a break one morning to do a crossword puzzle that poked fun at how people say things like "ex cetera" and "supposably," but that sort of thing ACTUALLY WAS IN THIS BOOK.  Incorrect words happen all the time, stuff is spelled wrong, and at one point, the wrong character was cited in dialog (it was "Showers said," when Storm had been the one talking).  Worse yet, the character named I-shit-you-not April Showers was once referred to as Flowers.  It wasn't someone making fun of her--it wasn't even in dialog.

"It's not the size of the gun that matters," Flowers said flatly, "but the man using it." She smiled appreciatively at Storm.

They hadn't even had sex yet, and they've got her saying crap like that.  I think she was so embarrassed for herself that she used a pseudonym for that line of dialog and hoped nobody would notice.

I checked these out from the library because I was waiting for the first book in the main Real Books by the Fake Author Richard Castle Series to be returned, but now I'm afraid to bother.  What if they're all this bad?

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posted by reyn at 12:21 PM


to live and investigate in LA

Title: The Harry Bosch Novels
Author: Michael Connelly
bookmark: nookmark

I got an ebook from the library that had the first three Harry Bosch novels in one package.  I had already read the last one, but that was years ago, so I read Black Echo, Black Ice, and The Concrete Blonde (again) in about a week, maybe more.

I'm only writing one post, because I am lazy, and I'm the only one who even looks at this anymore.

Harry was a tunnel rat in Vietnam; this plays heavily in the first book, when a fellow tunnel rat's body is found (in a tunnel, no less) near the Mulholland Dam.  In finding out whodunit and why, Harry also cracks open a year-old bank robbery case, draws the attention of IAD (who have been on his case since the Dollmaker shooting a couple years before the series starts), and gets freaky with a hottie FBI agent with her own skeletonized closet.

In Black Ice, Harry's service in Nam is mentioned, but it's not as big a deal--though he does still end up in a tunnel.  His boss, Harvey "Ninety-Eight" Pounds, wants a case closed before the end of the year so the books balance better, so when a flaky detective takes a leave of absence because the stress is breaking him down, his caseload ends up on Bosch's desk with an order to find an easy case, and close it.  Now.  By the end of the book, Bosch has solved four or five murders and destroyed a drug-smuggling operation, but most of those murders happen during the course of his first investigation, so it's not clear whether they count for the Lieutenant's quota.  Oh, and he ends a relationship with the ME and starts one with a freshly-widowed cop's wife.  Because that scene was TOTALLY plausible.

All I remembered about The Concrete Blonde (before re-reading it) was something about ankles, and a porn cop.  That's a cop who investigates and helps regulate porn, not the one who shows up in short-shorts at your bachelorette party and says "there's been a noise complaint ladies, and I'm gonna need you to stuff money in my pants."  Anyway, there's a civil suit related to the Dollmaker shooting that Bosch keeps mentioning in his internal monologue, and he has to deal with that while there's a new investigation because a body has turned up that matches the Dollmaker's MO, and a note which also matches, but at least he's still with Dead Cop's Wife (she may not know the SPOILER ALERT that her dead husband was a dirty cop who tried to take over the drug-smuggling operation in Black Ice by faking his death, killing the real kingpin, and taking over his life, which was spoiled when Bosch figured it out and killed him in a kill-or-be-killed confrontation, but SPOILER ALERT OVER at least she and Bosch have settled into a comfortable domestic situation, and Bosch tells her he loves her awwwwww).

Again, I don't know if it's an error in the originals, or something that happens when they're sloppy about making ebooks, but I saw a lot of errors.  The one that bothered me most was when Sylvia handed Bosch the same cup of coffee twice in one scene during Black Ice.  And I don't know if there are really as many corrupt cops in LA as these books imply, but if I were in Public Relations for the LAPD, I might write Connelly a nice letter asking him to maybe cut the force a little slack and let a bad guy the bad guy every once in a while.

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posted by reyn at 11:54 AM