Is Hank’s storyline a commentary on crime fiction detectives?

Last night while watching Breaking Bad I was pondering the idea of Hank’s evolution as a commentary on crime fiction detectives.

We’ve seen him as a blunt instrument pounding his way to the answers (almost like a hardboiled kind of detective); we’ve seen him bed bound and more cerebral (think Ironsides or Lincoln Rhyme) after he had his his perceived masculinity stripped away; we’ve seen him in a Wire-esque mode trying to build the case piece by piece beause “all the pieces matter” (an old Wire saw); Up until last night he hadn’t left the house but was solving the case and having others bring him the info he needed (think armchair detectives like Nero Wolfe).



Where is ****? What happened to****?

What writers are you wondering what happened to, or has it been too long since their last book?

Here’s four to start:

-Angela Choi – wrote two brilliant dark novels but nothing in 2 years.

-Theo Gangi – Bang Bang came out 6 years ago. A sequel, Kiss Kiss, was talked about but never came out (Theo, Snubnose would be interested, just saying)

-Salvador Plascencia – Loved, loved, loved The People of Paper…in 2005. What’s next Sal?

-Allan Guthrie – I love Blasted Heath as much as everyone else does but his last novel was 2009! Too long Al, too long.

Who else should be added?

Last words of executed TX inmates

Here’s the recorded last statements from TX inmates that were executed. They range from 12/7/82 to 6/26/13. It’s a fascinating read.

We see a confident defiance:

“Well Warden, if you are going to murder someone, go ahead and do it. Pull the trigger.”


“Never trust a court-appointed attorney.”


“We caused a lot of heartache, grief, pain and suffering, and I am sorry. I know it won’t bring her back. I would like to sing, I would like to sing for that person’s dead. The old is gone. I am not the same person that I used to be, that person is dead. It’s up to you if you would find it in your heart to forgive.”

A lot of confidence on where their ultimate destination will be:

“No sir. Warden, Since I don’t have nothing to say, you can go ahead and send me to my Heavenly Father.”

Something that sounds like it could be from a movie:

“I want the world to know that I’m innocent and that I’ve found peace. Let’s ride.”

Even shout-outs to sports teams:

“Go Cowboys.”

Book report: The Shining Girls and The Maid’s Version

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes – Always engaging though it does take a little while for the central idea to settle. Once it does this time travel tale strives to tweak the nose of the serial killer genre and knock your socks off in a blast of energetic story telling. It succeeds on both counts. Recommended.

The Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell – Something increasingly rare in first person POV fiction, a distinct voice, captures you from the opening. A brilliant tale of a town in despair after a deadly dance hall fire will consume you. Perhaps comparable in theme to last years Growing Up Dead in Texas by Stephen Graham Jones. There’s a paragraph later in the book about a night train passing through or nearby the town and Woodrell writes it so that the words and sentences capture the rhythms of the train. It may have been 7 years since the last Woodrell novel and with this one lesser writers have been put on notice. Highly Recommended.

Started another anticipated book by a writer I love and the opening left me cold. Put it down for now.

Started reading Red Moon by Benjamin Percy and The Year of the Story by John Mantooth and am liking them both so far.

Are Boomers musically shitty?

These first three paragraphs ring true to me. That folks of a certain age stopped growing musically. Of course this isn’t universally true but, for me, is anecdotally true. :

“You don’t have to listen to any Classic Rock radio station for very long before you realize that every single one of them is drawing from the same 200 song playlist every single day, and has been for the last 30 years. That’s because the Baby Boomer generation is all shitty people.

Part of their shittiness is that after they turned 25 they just stopped listening. They were perfectly content with their AC/DC and their Aerosmith and when rap music really broke big around 1990 it scared most baby boomers shitless to the point that they never again listened to any new music on purpose. Seriously. Go ask your parents to name a ‘new’ rock band and they’re probably going to say Green Day or Foo Fighters or some other band that’s more than 20 years old.

We’re determined not to let that happen to us. Even though we’ve spent the first part of adult life building an iTunes library that could easily carry us through the rest of adulthood without many new additions, we’re still seeking out new bands to see and new records to buy.”

A problem with historical fiction

[Y]ou get horrors like the moment in Gladiator (which is in general a very good, very Roman-feeling movie) where Commodus berates Marcus Aurelius for not having loved him as a boy. What nonsense. No Roman man would have asked for this from his father, nor would a Roman father have apologized for it. A Roman man might have been justly condemned for not teaching his son the manly virtues, but love…? Irrelevant. One has to understand that people really did think differently in the past.