Book Review for The Margaret Ellen, A Karen Cobia Mystery by RC Burdick
I've discovered a new favorite author, and his name is RC Burdick.
The Margaret Ellen is an ocean-drenched mystery, filled with vibrant characters, palpable sea breezes, and spine-tingling suspense. It's a story that lingers in the reader's mind for days, conjuring up images of blustery sky and sea, saltwater-dampened hair, and personalities that spring to life from the rapidly turned pages. Like a great film, it's over far too soon.
Karen "Seaweed" Cobia is in a dilemma. Treading water in unsatisfactory relationships, Seaweed knows something has to change. As the charming, boyish charter boat captain sets out to right the wrongs in her life, she finds herself smack dab in the middle of a juicy murder investigation.
Seaweed and soon-to-be-ex boyfriend, Angus Loman, discover a body bobbing in the surf off Hangman's Key, an island on the west coast of Florida. Eva Park, local well-known philanthropist, is found face down in the surf with her hands and feet bound and a bullet in her forehead. Because Seaweed was raised by her sea-loving father, owner of Cobia's Bait, Tackle, and Charter Service, her resultant marine expertise aids in the murder investigation. The crusty local detective, Myers, begrudgingly accepts her assistance. Nicknamed "Grim Lips," Myers continues to seek out Karen's help as his regard for her skill intensifies.
As the mystery unfolds, a peculiar woman approaches Seaweed for help, embroiling her more deeply in the intrigue. Seaweed tries to balance the life she craves on the ocean with the promise to help the young woman, but instead is catapulted toward a dangerous liaison with the devious culprit who wants her dead.
Mr. Burdick's first mystery is a masterpiece - the sense of place is alive and tantalizing; the scenes are vibrant and tangible. I still taste the salt from the onion rings; feel the condensation on the café tabletop; and sense the rolling of The Margaret Ellen as it moves through the swells. Burdick's knowledge of boats, waterways, fishing, and life on the Florida coast is dazzling, and lends credibility to the work.
The Margaret Ellen is reminiscent of John D MacDonald's Travis Magee series. As much as I love Travis Magee, I must say that I felt closer to Burdick's characters and more securely at the helm of The Margaret Ellen than I did with Magee's houseboat, The Busted Flush. Is that a travesty?
The natural dialogue is brilliantly set to the rustling of sea oats and whistling Austrian pines. The interplay between Seaweed and her father is priceless, emotive, and genuine. Evocative of real life, it brings to mind my own precious relationships with my three daughters. When I finished The Margaret Ellen, I was left with the paradox of deep satisfaction coupled with a strong yearning for more. I cared about these characters, and want to know what happens next. Mr. Burdick has hinted at a sequel and will undoubtedly have a long line of readers anxiously awaiting its release!
Aaron Paul Lazar resides in Upstate New York with his wife, three daughters, two grandsons, mother-in- law, two dogs, and three cats. After writing in the early morning hours, he works as an electrophotographic engineer at NexPress Solutions Inc., part of Kodak's Graphic Communications Group, in Rochester, New York. Additional passions include vegetable, fruit, and flower gardening; preparing large family feasts; photographing his family, gardens, and the breathtakingly beautiful Genesee Valley; cross-country skiing across the rolling hills; playing a distinctly amateur level of piano, and spending "time" with the French Impressionists whenever possible.
Although he adored raising his three delightful daughters, Mr. Lazar finds grandfathering his "two little buddies" to be one of the finest experiences of his life. Double Forte', the first in the series, was published in January 2005. Upstaged, number two, is in production. With eight books under his belt, Mr. Lazar is currently working on the ninth, which features Gus LeGarde and his family. www.legardemysteries.com">http://www.legardemysteries.com
David Lagercrantz, who continued Stieg Larsson's Milllennium series after the latter's death in 2004, has stated that he will write just one more book in the series, to be released in 2019. This would bring the series to six books - three by Larsson and three by Lagercrantz.
In an op ed for the New York Times, Matt A.V. Chaban, policy director for the Center for an Urban Future, discusses how libraries in New York City, and potentially, in cities across the country, could find much needed funds to modernize and stay relevant for the long term through partnerships with housing and office developments:
"In 2014, the city selected the Fifth Avenue Committee to undertake the novel task of redeveloping the Sunset Park branch. There, an eight-story building will rise, with the first two floors dedicated to a library 75 percent larger than the one there now. The floors above will have 49 apartments, all of which will be rented to low- and middle-income families in perpetuity.
Imagine if the city did the same at the branch in Corona, Queens, where cramped quarters force study groups to huddle on the floor; or Red Hook, Brooklyn, where families from the nearby housing projects are eager for more job training; or Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, where rising sea levels and storms like Sandy threaten its very operations."
Two TV series based on books scooped the top honors at last night's Emmy Awards:
The Handmaid's Tale won five awards including best drama series, best actress for Elisabeth Moss and best supporting actress for Ann Dowd.
Big Little Lies took five prizes in the limited series categories, including wins for Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern.
James Hohmann, national political correspondent for The Washington Post and author of The Daily 202, leads Monday's issue with a look at the many books Hillary Clinton turned to after her election loss:
"What Happened was quickly strip-mined for political nuggets after its publication last Tuesday. As I went through it over the weekend, though, what struck me most was how the wounded Democrat coped after her crushing defeat last November.
In short, Clinton has read voraciously and eclectically for escape, for solace and for answers.
The collection of works that she cites across 494 pages showcases a top-flight intellect and would make for a compelling graduate school seminar..."
The widow and the biographer of the beloved British children's writer Roald Dahl told the BBC in an interview this week that Charlie Bucket, the young boy whose life is changed by a golden ticket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was originally supposed to be black.
Mrs. Dahl made the remark during a conversation with Donald Sturrock, her husband's biographer, on BBC Radio 4's "Today" program. "It was his agent who thought it was a bad idea when the book was first published to have a black hero," Mr. Sturrock said. "She said people would ask why."
After a nine month dispute, Manhattan's Federal District Court has ruled that Matthew Lombardo's theatrical parody, Who's Holiday! a dark and decidedly adult sequel of sorts to Dr Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas does not violate the copyright of the original story.
Politico reports on how America's high school English teachers are adapting curriculum to the current political climate:
After watching the tumult of the 2016 presidential election play out inside their classrooms last year, and after a summer of hate-filled violence, many are retooling the reading lists and assignments they typically give their students. They worry that the classic high school canon doesn't sufficiently cover today's most pressing themesquestions about alienation and empathy and powerand that the usual writing prompts aren't enough to get students thinking deeper than an average cable news segment...
Stephen King's record-breaking horror film "It" may already be a hit with audiences, but one group is not celebrating the success of the latest adaptation of Stephen King's novel: clowns.
For a community already struggling to combat perceptions of clowns as scary rather than fun, the emergence of Pennywise, the movie's child-killing clown villain, played by Swedish actor Bill Skarsgard is truly the stuff of nightmares. Even before the film's release the World Clown Association was warning that the film could cause its members to lose work, even going as far as publishing a press kit to prepare clowns for the damaging effects It might have on their reputations.
The many sides of one of the UK's most beloved fantasy authors are reflected in an exhibition called Terry Pratchett: HisWorld, which opened this weekend at Salisbury Museum, not far from Terry Pratchett's Wiltshire (UK) "manorette" where he died in March 2015.
The memorabilia is as eclectic as the author's writing, from his first typewriter a manual Imperial 58 bought secondhand for £14 to his trademark leather jacket and Louisiana fedora.
The $1.2 trillion FY2018 budget bill (H.R. 3354), which passed by a 211-198 margin, includes full funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), including all programs administered under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), as well as the Department of Education's Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program.
The vote comes after the House Appropriations Committee in July approved a Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) funding bill which proposed roughly $231 million for the IMLS, including $183.6 million for LSTA, programs, and $27 million for IALessentially level with 2017 funding. In addition, the bill passed yesterday also increased funding for the National Library of Medicine by $6 million.
In addition to voting to preserve federal library funding, the House bill also would save the National Endowments for the Arts, and Humanities, which are funded as part of the FY2018 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill.
The House vote caps an intense lobbying effort, and comes after President Trump in May doubled down on his call to eliminate the IMLS and virtually all federal funding for libraries, as well as a host of other vital programs and agencies.....