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Original Essays | August 18, 2014

Ian Leslie: IMG Empathic Curiosity

Today, we wonder anxiously if digital media is changing our brains. But if there's any time in history when our mental operations changed... Continue »
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Artist has commented on (2) products.

Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen
Bad Monkey

Artist, June 5, 2014

I'd forgotten just how funny Carl Hiaasen can be until I sat down with "Bad Monkey." I found myself laughing out loud. Andrew Yancy is the anti-hero, recently suspended from the Sheriff's Department in the Florida Keys, and given the replacement job of "roach-inspector." The plot of Yancy's investigations is like a joy ride and includes a frozen human arm, a monkey with a vitamin deficiency, sympathetic arson, sub-plots of typical Floridian venality and corruption, and love with Medical Examiner Rosa Campesino, all set against the tropical splendor of the Keys and the Bahamas. Hiaasen's pet peeve, the rampant development of Florida's wilds into MacMansions, is there as are murders of the questionable villains, a deranged and deadly voodoo queen, and one episode with a hand held vacuum which once described cannot be forgotten. It really is the very definition of light, enjoyable summer reading.
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The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo
The Redbreast

Artist, April 22, 2012

Jo Nesbø is known for his crime novels about my new favorite Detective Harry Hole, of the Oslo Crime Squad. "Red Breast" isn't even his first novel, but it is the first Nesbø novel I've read. I loved Steig Larsson, and so, at the suggestion of my sister and following the Scandinavian theme, I started on the Harry Hole series. I'm currently reading "The Leopard" which is every bit as riveting. (It doesn't really matter if you go out of the sequence since one book doesn't rely on a knowledge of the previous one.) I don't know how Nesbø stayed off my radar so long since he's sold close to two million copies of his novels in Norway, but there you are. There are even walking tours of the fictitious detective's haunts around Oslo.

What makes Harry Hole so attractive? He's cut from a classic American (1930's) mold; a loner, with lots of flaws, including use of illegal substances, trouble with maintaining a relationship with women, insubordination, and the tendency toward depression one expects of tragic heroes. Like Stieg Larsson's hero Mikael Blomkvist he is fully committed to ending the activities of extremely bad men, but unlike Blomkvist, he struggles with his own personal demons as well as with the expectations of his career and subtle threads of corruption that are part of a continuing theme in the two books I've read. Nesbø is a brilliant plotter and everything comes together in the end of each of these books in a highly satisfying way.
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(4 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)

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