Mysterious Book Report No. 61

The great conflagration and inferno known as the Waldo Canyon Fire has been put out.  It consumed nearly 18,000 acres of the Pike National Forest, 346 homes and 2 lives.  It took thousands and thousand of man hours, a fleet of air tankers and helicopters, more than 1,000 federal wildfire fighters and God only knows how many professional firefighters from metropolitan Colorado Springs and nearby cities . . . brave men and women all . . . who went toe-to-toe with the firestorm, battling and beating it back, inch by inch, foot by foot or house by house and tree by tree until it was no more.  They are all heros.  They all went about their duties with a professionalism, dedication and determination that must be seen to be fully appreciated.  Not since nine-eleven have I had such a lump in my throat when I contemplate our first responders and the job they do to protect us all.  These few words of praise and a heartfelt thank-you are all I can offer in return.  It doesn’t seem like nearly enough.

To keep myself occupied, when I didn’t have my nose pressed to the TV screen watching the minute-by-minute news of the Waldo Canyon fire and waited for the evacuation notification that never came, I got busy reading some pulp fiction on my Kindle.  Pulp fiction, for those of you who’re unacquainted with it, is by definition, “fiction dealing with the lurid or the sensational, often printed on cheap, pulpwood paper,” according to my Random House unabridged.  I might add, and they’re a helluva lot of fun to read once in a while . . .

Especially when written by the hand and mind of a master, and False Negative, (Hard Case Crime, 256 pages, $9.95, ISBN 978-0-85768-580-3) by Joseph Koenig fits the bill in every way.  It’s 1953, and a smart-alec crime reporter named Adam Jordan has a brand-new Hudson Hornet and a wiseass attitude.  Working for an Atlantic City New Jersey newspaper, Adam has a cushy life focused on Jazz music, finding a woman to climb into bed with and, oh yeah, reporting the local crime blotter.

Life changes abruptly when he decides to fake an assignment, copying some text from the papers “morgue” of old stories, and misses one of the most sensational stories of the year, when the windbag politician whose speech was the assignment, drops dead in the midst of it.  Not only did he miss the story, but Adam filed a false one that was published.  The newspaper editors and publisher are livid; Jordan has committed the unpardonable sin.  He’s fired on the spot and becomes a pariah, unable to land a job with any reputable paper.  In desperation, he turns to writing for True Crimes Magazine, a pulp, for a nickel per word.  When a number of women begin turning up dead under similar circumstances, Jordan turns sleuth to try and solve a series of murders with racial, political, and social issues . . . thereby putting his own life in jeopardy.  This one has more twists and turns in it than a whole boxful of antique corkscrews.  Great fun for summer reading.

If pulp fiction isn’t for you, try your local library.  They have any and everything there for your reading pleasure.  If you’re unsure about what you’d like to read, talk to a librarian.  They’re there to help you find just what you’re looking for.

My website:

johndwainemckenna.com

has, no fooling, hundreds of book selections for you to choose from, and they’re all read by the book club ladies or myself.  (The Best Books of the Year list).  It’s where you can leave a comment, suggest a book to review, make a suggestion about the MBR column, how and where I should put it was popular a while ago, or you can just say hello.  The Neversink Chronicles are still at Cannie D’s Corner, the Time & the Valleys museum and Roscoe’s Little Store.  It’s available at Rhyolite Press, Amazon or your favorite bookstore as well as on Kindle and Apple iPad.

Rhyolite Press has two more titles coming out this summer.  The Whim-Wham Man, a coming-of-age and murder mystery by John Dwaine McKenna and The Drift, an environmental thriller, by Bert Entwistle.  They should be available now at all the above locations, or you can still order them the traditional way by sending $15.00 plus $5.00 postage to P.O. Box 2406, Colorado Springs, CO  80901.  For credit card orders call 719-203-5265.  And hey listen . . . we don’t outsource to India or anywhere else.  This is a genuine one hundred percent American company, but just like you we’ve gotta eat supper and sleep some too.  So if we can’t answer the phone 24/7, please leave your name and phone number.  We’ll call back and take your order.  We will. I promise. Honest.

‘Til next week, enjoy a good book.

                                                            –JDM