Friday, July 24, 2009

Sharks, Crabs, Vampires and Craig - A Library Thriller

So I went to the library to check out some books.
"Excuse me," I asked. "Do you have Craig Ferguson's new memoir, American on Purpose?"

Ms. Moanz - former playmate and current head librarian - looked up, her smoldering eyes meeting mine and then moving lazily down my body: shoulders... chest... stomach....

Her examination apparently blocked by the waist-height checkout counter, she leaned out and across, firm breasts thrust into prominence by her form fitting v-neck sweater, to continue. Liking what she saw, her lips pursed into an "O" of sensual satisfaction and a tiny gasp escaped her throat, drawing looks from other patrons and at least one of the other staff.

"Thank heavens I wore the extra large codpiece today," I thought to myself.

Then, without warning, an explosion erupted in the room's audio-visual lab!

I whirled, searching for it's cause, and watched as six men wearing ski masks rushed through the browsing area, automatic weapons in hand. One separated from the others and, arm cocked, prepared to lob a second grenade, this one into the nearly filled-to-capacity children's story hour area.

"Not on my watch, friend!" I muttered.

Ducking behind 'Fiction: Ha-Ho', I unholstered the government-issue Walther P99 from my left shoulder and drew a bead over the man's forehead.

Calmly, I squeezed the trigger.
I told a coworker I was writing about my recent trip to the library - they thought it might be a dull subject and suggested I spice it up with a bit of sex and violence.

So. I spiced.

What ACTUALLY happened, is while I was looking over my Amazon Shopping List, woe-is-me-ing about not having any extra cash to throw its way, I REMEMBERED about the library. Libraries are so cool. And so free. I don't know why that never seems to stay in my brain for very long.

I decided to see if any of my shopping list was available in the library system. I found five books. A minute later they were all on hold and a day after that 4 of the 5 were ready to be picked up. Which they were, by me.

Now, with multiple books, the question always becomes (for me) which to read first, second and so on. I had my choice of giant killer crabs, giant killer sharks, Swedish vampire love and... Craig Ferguson's novel about a bunch of crazy degenerates.

It's a cinch that pretty much any monster wins out over Craig Ferguson (sorry Craig, but you're only a regular human). The vampire story promises to be good, but I'm not a huge vampire fan, overall. And while I pretty much love ALL giant killer things, sharks have been a fascination for me since I was a wee boy. And crabs... eh. They pinch. You avoid them on the beach. And so on.

Sharks took first place.

Meg: Hell's Aquarium

Now, this is not "just" a killer shark novel. No, this is the fourth installment in a killer shark novel SERIES. (Come to poppa! And yes, I've already read the other three.) None of the series is what you'd call "fine literature", but are all written by a talented guy who *obviously* loves giant killer things as much as I do.

I mean, how d'you go wrong with an 80 foot prehistoric momma shark, five 20-50 foot prehistoric baby sharks, all crammed into a Sea World type aquarium that's open to the public? Just how many things might potentially go awry in this situation?

So many things. So many. A thoroughly enjoyable book. Very gratifying.


While crabs aren't as exciting as sharks, the ones herein WERE both giants and killers. That counts for something, so their book came next. It was a quick read. And it sucked. Started out well enough (though the writing was REALLY ham-fisted), with several isolated boat and beach goers getting sliced and diced by prehistoric crabs. Scream. Run. Stumble. Crunch.

But then the crab rampage inexplicably got eclipsed by the arrival of a bunch of creature-from-the-black-lagoon-ish things (carrying tridents, no less), who proceeded to run about stabbing and eating folks and blahdehdah blahdehdah blah. Tridents? I appreciated that the book's authors were (again, obviously) fellow lovers of giant killer things, but... I pretty much forced myself through the last hundred pages.

(I couldn't just STOP reading since you never know when things might start to improve.)

Let the Right One In

Badly in need of having my monster faith restored, this was my third read. This novel was... amazing.


Bully-beleaguered boy meets up with creepily endearing vampire girl. Set in 1980s Stockholm, it tells of budding romance between lonely kid Oskar and just-as-lonely vampire Eli. First, they start a nerdy little friendship which then turns into a nerdy little romance. A chaste one, since they're only 13 and 12, respectively.

And don't let the word 'romance' throw you, there's plenty of vampire death and dismemberment in here too. (Plenty.) But its the writing in this thing that is so brilliant. The author magically breathes life into his characters, and by mid-story they feel like old friends (or enemies) that you know you're gonna miss (or breathe a sigh of relief) when they're gone. I'm guessing this guy could write about a kitchen broom in a corner and make it work.


Between the Bridge and the River

So now, with nothing left to tempt me away, I'm in the middle of Ferguson's novel. Which is good. Monster free, but good. Sharp witted, sarcastic commentary. Interesting if somewhat creepy characters. It basically follows a couple of childhood pals through all the muckety-muck of their lives while they attempt to "find" themselves.

I'm more looking forward to the fifth book I put on hold - Ferguson's new memoir - American on Purpose. Yes, that really WAS one of the books I went to the library for. (And if THAT part of the story up top is true.... What else might be...?)

I gotta go clean my gun.