Thursday, May 25, 2006

Hardscrabble Road (Gregor Demarkian Series)
Jane Haddam

Book Cover

Oh man. I don't know why these books pull me in - something about the complicated Armenian-American soap opera that makes up Gregor Demarkian's life and times.

Another enjoyable entrant, this time taking on the world of hard-right talk radio with an ersatz Rush Limbaugh character - too hard to explain the complicated web of mystery and murder, but it was quite enjoyable. HOWEVER......

WHAT is going on between Bennis and Gregor!?! She never appears in the entire book and at the end.... well , Gregor's final action in the book hardly makes it seem likely they are getting back together any time soon..... *sigh*.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Book Cover

Washington's God: Religion, Liberty, and the Father of Our Country
Michael Novak, Jana Novak

This turned out to me much less a contrast with American Gospel, as a reinforcement of it. For, though its thesis and aim was to demonstrate that Washington was a believing Christian, at the bottom line the conclusion was that he lived his faithful artfully, so as to be a leader for all citizens, whatever their faith.

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" could summarize the book - though I'm not sure exactly what that will mean to each reader. There is surely absence of Washington as a Christian in any "evangelical" sense - but there isn't clear evidence that he was a fullblown deist or unitarian.

The Novaks spend a lot of time detailing religious issues of the time, and all the secondary evidence that Washington was a solid Anglican Christian. They tread carefully, and generally don't overstate the case. Perhaps weakest is their citing of contemporaries of Washington and his time and use that to say "Washington would have known this," or "Washington may have believed as did so-and-so."

Worth reading - along with all my other current revolutionary era books, fiction and non - but probably won't appeal as broadly as 1776 or American Gospel. (I'd read them all, but 1776 first, American Gospel next, and then this one.)
The Past Tense: (Diagnosis Murder #5): The Past Tense, Vol. 5

Lee Goldberg

Book Cover

I like these books - a LOT. Nothing deep, but fun, fast-paced thriller/mysteries that are effortlessly set in the Diagnosis Murder milieu. Goldberg knows what he's doing - and he does a great job at it. With his background on the series, he hits every note correctly to recreate the characters. Plus, he has the liberty to "connect the dots" - fix or explain continuity errors. And he can play with things like a flashback which has a 1960's era Dr. Sloan pondering celebrities, particular TV actor who play doctors, thinking HE could have a situation comedy... which of course Dick Van Dyke really DID have.

My only complaint, is having to wait to get my hands on the next installment....