Next: Chris Offutt, The Killing Hills

The old man walked the hill with a long stick, pushing aside mayapple and horseweed, seeking ginseng.

The Killing Hills, p. 1

TBB Quote of the Day

After the hit man gets mugged in a dark alley in Denver (Denver! He kills the muggers of course. Thankfully, there are just two), existential despair:

He caught sight of himself in the other mirror, sitting naked on the bed. A small, whitish animal with a few tufts of hair. And hurt, too. As he watched, the injured face in the mirror contracted a little, seemed to clench and compress itself into a mask of despair. A sigh like a strangled squeak escaped from its throat. He said aloud to the face, “You sorry little bastard.”

The Butcher’s Boy, p. 39

Self does not know how Thomas Perry does it, but she feels empathy for this hit man — his alone-ness, his (of all things) vulnerability. The fact that he doesn’t have a name makes him more sympathetic, not less.

Stay tuned.

Elizabeth Waring in The Butcher’s Boy

When self was reading Michael Connelly’s great introduction to this novel, she was very excited to read that the plot actually has two main characters: the professional hit man, and a woman, Elizabeth Waring, the DOJ analyst who’s on his trail.

She is so happy that Elizabeth is introduced almost right away. It’s a very mundane scene: as a relatively new addition to the department, she has to hone her chops by reading over piles of reports to sniff out the details that seem “extra” suspicious. She consults with a colleague, who looks over her “possibles” and then picks out one — a very ordinary case — and says, why don’t you look into this one?

There is no reason on God’s earth why that agent should pick out that one case, but it’s pretty exciting when he tells Elizabeth, “Just a hunch.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

M. Night Shyamalan, End of July 2021

Self read one review before watching Old. The review said the film had a silly ending. That didn’t worry self. She knows M. Night Shyamalan movies. At their worst, they’re supernatural hokum. But if he sells it, there is a feeling after watching an M. Night Shyamalan movie that is never there at the end of a Christopher Nolan movie, in self’s humble opinion. And she’s seen almost every Christopher Nolan movie (except Dunkirk)

The young actors and actresses are very, very good. Well, the old ones — especially Rufus Sewell — are good as well. It was nice to see Ken Leung in a movie, and in a kind of crucial role.

This isn’t really a horror movie, but by the end, self was vested.

Okay, there was one development that was borderline ridiculous, and it involves a pregnancy. She wants to talk about it more, but she doesn’t want to drop any spoilers.

This is such a strange movie-watching year. When she tried to think of another recent movie that called forth the same pure joy (despite silliness), the only movie she could think of was Mortal Kombat. Truly, Mortal Kombat made self so nostalgic that when she finally heard the immortal lines “Finish him!” and “Get over here!” she wanted to stand up and cheer!

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Question of the Day

How do the pensioners in The Thursday Murder Club know about the Dark Web when self only heard about it a month ago?

She’s on p. 181.

Also, it turns out, the DCI likes Oasis. OASIS.

Normally, she would just barrel through to the end (especially as it’s getting pretty exciting), but today has had all sorts of appointments, and she’s meeting someone for dinner — DINNER! — at the Beach Chalet. Her cousin from Manila, who’s only here for a few days.

Stay cool (it’s hard, that sun’s like a laser), dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Things Self Liked: A Quiet Place, Part II

John Krasinski, such a sly one: makes a sequel that still puts him on-screen despite his character dying in the first. But it makes complete emotional sense.

This is a very stylish horror movie. Mebbe not Alien level, but still. It’s very stylish.

Another thing that shows Krasinski’s slyness: he introduces us to ugly Cillian Murphy. Think about that for a minute. UGLY CILLIAN MURPHY.

The actress who plays his deaf daughter is absolutely amazing, and there is of course Emily Blunt.

Emily Blunt. Emily Blunt. Emily Blunt.

Even when she’s running, she looks like a ballet dancer.

Also, the filthiest feet (But why does Cillian Murphy’s character wear boots when EVERYONE ELSE IS BAREFOOT)

Also, clever use of an oxygen tank.

Self loudly gasped at least once.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Hello, My Ride

Behind the dumpster is something wrapped in a dirty tarp, with stones holding the edges down. I kick the stones away on one side and toss back the tarp. And get my first look at the Hellion Hog in — how long? Well over a year.

Ballistic Kiss, p. 28

The Hellion Hog doesn’t have a key because no one can ride it but me. I get a grip on the handlebars and kick the bike to life.

— p. 29

TTWP: Every Time There’s a Vick Section

This book. This book! It has so many alternating viewpoints. Self is right now in the Vick point of view, and it’s not her favorite because it never changes. Vick is always Vick. She’s deceitful. She’s a spy.

There is one matter that interests her greatly about the Vick sections, however: self keeps wondering if this is the section where Vick’s sidekick Tallow kicks the bucket. The boy is entirely too innocent, but endearingly follows Vick’s every command. Knowing Joe Abercrombie, though, Tallow’s going to end up being a better assassin than Vick, lol.

So here she is this evening, wondering for the nth time: Is this where Tallow, at last, meets his end? She had to interrupt her reading of the chapter to write this post, and at the place where she left off, Tallow was still alive.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Quote of the Day: Isern-i-Phail

What is with these names?

MILD SPOILER MILD SPOILER MILD SPOILER

Isern-i-Phail is a healer. And the person who will judge the duel between the Young Lion (Leo dan Brock) and the Great Wolf (Stour Nightfall).

YAY, a DUEL! The armies of the North and the armies of Angland (representing the Union) have fought to a draw. A draw to be decided by man-to-man combat between the two sides’ greatest fighters: the Young Lion and the Great Wolf.

Since the Young Lion is VERY pretty (and his shield man seems to be in love with him, thus leading to the only fan fiction ship in this universe), and the Great Wolf is loathsomely ugly apart from being hairy, self reckons the Young Lion will lose. Because that is the way of Grimdark. Why bother to write someone as pretty if he doesn’t die?

Anyhoo, Isern-i-Phil is in the middle of her presentation when Scale Ironhand, King of the Northmen, uncle of the Great Wolf, says: “Get to it, woman.”

“That I will, you hill of lard.” Isern thrust her spear into the ground with a thud and snapped her fingers . . . “Lend me your shield, handsome.” He glanced over his shoulder like he thought she might be talking to someone else, then tossed it to her. She snatched it from the air, set it down on its rim. “Straps or paint?”

“Paint,” said Leo.

Isern set the shield spinning, and men started shouting and whooping and calling . . .

— p. 329, A Little Hatred: Book One of the Age of Madness

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Battle of Red Hill, cont. (Spoiler-Free)

Fell asleep before midnight, resumed reading A Little Hatred on first waking. The Battle of Red Hill is many pages, probably the longest section of the novel. Which means, when self resumes reading this morning, it is still undecided.

Point of view: Leo van Brock

He caught sight of his standard. The white field, the golden lion. Hanging sodden at the near end of the bridge. And there was Stour Nightfall’s. The slavering wolf on grey. Drooping in the rain at the far end. A lion fought a wolf in a circle of blood, and the lion won.

— p. 297, A Little Hatred: Book One of the Age of Madness, by Joe Abercrombie

A digression: Self was curious about ALH ships, so she went looking for fan fiction. She found only 3 (Pitiful: Everlark has 6000+), and all of them are between The Young Lion and . . . Jurand, his shield man (?)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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