1. I finished two books this week ...
- Michael Connelly's The Crossing (2015), his most recent novel featuring detective (well, former LAPD detective) Harry Bosch (subject of a TV series on Amazon, Bosch, starring Titus Welliver in the title role) and his half-brother, Mick Haller, an unconventional LA defense attorney, subject of some other Connelly novels and one film--The Lincoln Lawyer (2012) with Matthew McConaughey as Haller. (Whew! That's a lot for one sentence!) Haller convinces Bosch to help him clear his latest client, a man accused of a vicious murder. Bosch is not crazy about doing it--his old cop-colleagues hate few things more than ex-cops who work for defense attorneys--but he agrees to help only until he believes the guy is guilty, at which time, Bosch will walk. Well, of course, he does not walk, and the story is both intricate and clever. I had a lot of fun reading it, have no problem recommending it! (Oh, and there's a bit of playfulness in the novel: Haller talks about how he gets a hard time from some because Matthew McConaughey played him in a film!)
- The second book (I Will Find You, 2016) is an investigative memoir by my final editor at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Joanna Connors, who was also (probably) the final books editor at that paper, which not too long ago began importing all of its book reviews from the wire services. Anyway, Joanna has written a powerful and wrenching story of her rape in 1984--of its devastating aftermath on her (and her family), of her decision, years later, to pursue the story in detail, to find people who knew the rapist (who died in prison), including family members, whom Joanna tracked down with a relentlessness worthy of, well, of a Michael Connelly detective. Once I started it, I stopped only once (Sleep commanded; I obeyed), finishing it in two sittings/reclinings. It is very difficult to read in places (she spares few, if any, details), and I admired how she played/wrote not for sympathy but for understanding. I was amazed at her courage: I don't believe I could have done a tiny portion of what she did to investigate her horrible story.
She'll be doing a presentation at the Hudson Library on Wed. evening; I will be there.
2. Last night, Joyce and I drove to Kent to see Eye in the Sky, the recent film (2015) that highlights the moral complexities of drone warfare (link to trailer). Starring Helen Mirren, Alan Rickman (in his final role), and the busy Aaron Paul, the film focuses on a decision to fire or not to fire a missile at a building where some terrorists are gathered (in Kenya). There is no doubt the Bad Guys are there (a bug provides a live TV feed to prove it)--or that they are bad (we see two of them donning explosive vests)--but the problem is "collateral damage"--a phrase personified by a charming little girl who is selling bread nearby and who, in her spare time, loves to play with a hula hoop. If the missile strikes, it is almost certain she will be injured--or killed. The characters all wrestle with this decision in many ways, from many perspectives, but I ain't tellin' what happens. Joyce and I were both very impressed with the film (moral complexity? what's that?) and with its performers.
3. Speaking of the Bosch TV series (see #1 above), we have watched all but the final episode of the second season (Amazon streaming). Maybe we'll get to the final one tonight? Welliver is not exactly the Bosch I've imagined as I've read all the novels about him, but ... he's good.
4. Finally, Joyce and I are big fans of the films by the Coen Bros., so we've decided to watch them all, in order. Friday night was Blood Simple (1984), a film I thought we'd seen, but I guess not. Remembered virtually nothing as we were watching its, well, grimness. So much of the Coens is in evidence: empty landscapes, people who aren't as clever as they think they are, stark violence, clever cameras, surprises galore. (Link to trailer.) Next--Raising Arizona.