Month: September 2020

“Missing Persons” by Michael Brandman

“Missing Persons” by Michael Brandman

LAPD homicide detective Buddy Steel finds himself detoured from his own life when his ailing father, Sheriff Burton Steel, calls him home to Freedom to take over as deputy. Though relations between father and son have always been strained, and Buddy reluctantly agrees to the arrangement.

When he begins investigating the possible disappearance of a famous local televangelist’s wife, he is met with outright antagonism. While the highly-secured husband insists that his wife is simply visiting a relative, the housekeeper who reported her missing fears she may have been murdered. And no one, from family members to ministry security and staff to the prosecutor’s office seems inclined to help Buddy in his investigation. In fact, many go out of their way to stop him.

But the more he pokes and prods, the more he realizes that the Bible-thumping family and their television empire may be an elaborate cover for a less-than-holy enterprise. This is far more than a typical missing person case. But how far up does the corruption reach—and will Buddy pay the ultimate price for refusing to look the other way?

Michael Brandman is a new-to-me author and he captured my attention with this story right away and kept me glued to the page till the end. Set in a small town on the coast of California, I instantly felt at home. Also, if you’ve been around for a while, you know I have a particular interest in stories with a cult connection.

Buddy Steel had me a little flummoxed at first because he is so conflicted about his new role as Sheriff. He did grow on me quickly though. I really enjoyed the interplay between him and his deputies. The author did a great job of incorporating Buddy’s personal conflicts into the story so that you can relate to him as a complete person not just a stereotype.

The story itself was original and had some great twists before the end. I enjoyed the author’s direct writing style which gave the narrative an added punch. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this first in a series book and will definitely pick up more books in this series.

Happy Reading!

Find it on Amazon!

“Nuclear Country” by Catherine McNicol Stock

“Nuclear Country” by Catherine McNicol Stock

In Nuclear Country, Catherine McNicol Stock explores the question of why, between 1968 and 1992, most voters in the Dakotas abandoned their distinctive ideological heritage and came to embrace the conservatism of the New Right. Stock focuses on how this transformation coincided with the coming of the military and national security states to the countryside via the placement of military bases and nuclear missile silos on the Northern Plains. This militarization influenced regional political culture by reinforcing or re-contextualizing long-standing local ideas and practices, particularly when the people of the plains found that they shared culturally conservative values with the military. After adopting the first two planks of the New Right—national defense and conservative social ideas—Dakotans endorsed the third plank of New Right ideology, fiscal conservativism. Ultimately, Stock contends that militarization and nuclearization were the historical developments most essential to the creation of the rural New Right throughout the United States, and that their impact can best be seen in this often-overlooked region’s history.

This book is a real departure from my normal reading but having transplanted myself to North Dakota almost 20 years ago I thought this would be a fascinating read and perhaps offer some insight into the mindset that I have encountered since living here. My expectations were met and surpassed with this book. I could not put it down, which is not typical for me when it comes to non-fiction.

I found the author’s tracking of the history of political thought in this region to be very thorough and well researched. I appreciated that she took the time to explain in depth the politics of the primarily agrarian society that existed at the beginning of the 20th century. She then goes into how various people and events of the 20th century led to the people moving from a “government should help people” way of thinking into the current pro-military, fiscally conservative way of thought.

There are moments in the book when the author seems to be almost anti-American in her presentation but I don’t think that is the case. I found it rather to be informative and gives me personally further input into my own political thought processes. I think there is a lot of food for thought in this book and we are at a point of time in our culture when we really need to be thinking about our choices with as much information as we can get. In addition, I found this book to be easy to read and understand for the average reader. I highly recommend this book.

Happy Reading!

Find it on Amazon!

“Crochet” from DK Publishing

“Crochet” from DK Publishing

This is a fabulous resource for beginners and advanced crocheters alike. All of the basic stitches are here along with a whole host of specialty stitches. There are beautiful photographs and diagrams that show you exactly what to do very clearly. The book is divided into sections that make sense and starts at the very beginning of a crochet project. Patterns accompany each section and reinforce the material presented.

The difficulty increases gradually as the presentation of stitches and techniques continues. There are a wide variety of projects included, from toys to hats to blankets and lots of other fun things to make. This is the best crochet reference book that I have seen and after 30 years of crocheting I was pleased that there are still techniques that I haven’t learned yet. This is an updated version of the book with new patterns included. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in crochet. Note: This guide uses the UK names for stitches.

Happy Reading!

Find it on Amazon!

“The Nothing Man” by Catherine Ryan Howard

“The Nothing Man” by Catherine Ryan Howard

Narrated by Alana Kerr-Collins and John Keating