Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Monkey Kings And Pawn Stars

I've been on a reading tear recently, mostly because in typical Wendy fashion, I've overextended myself on review obligations.  Which means if I want to read something I haven't "required" myself to read, I need to get on it, and quickly.  Two recent I Want To Read That So I Need To Find The Time Books aren't romances, and I thought it would be fun to talk about them together.

Tess Gerritsen is one of two authors I buy in hard cover, on release day.  Typically, for me, suspense series tend to ebb and flow.  I love some books, like others, and there are usually a couple I'm not so wild about.  Gerritsen is no exception, although I will say her last several have been very, very good reads for me.  The Silent Girl, the 9th book in the series, finds homicide detective, Jane Rizzoli, and medical examiner, Dr. Maura Isles investigating a brutal slaying in Boston's Chinatown.  When primate hairs are found on the victim, Jane finds herself plunged into the Chinese fable/legend of the Monkey King.

This was a good, solid entry to the series.  Jane is still Jane, Maura is still reeling from the aftermath of the last book, and the mystery is compelling, not to mention every loose thread is wrapped up.  Two things I really appreciate about Gerritsen's series is that she allows her characters to "grow" without morphing them into pod people, and that you can tell she got her start writing category romance (for Harlequin Intrigue).  I never feel like I'm slogging through a bunch of unimportant "filler" in a Gerritsen book.  Every word has it's place, every moment is there for a reason.  No drudging through verbal diarrhea to get to the goods.  More please.

Final Grade = B

My Man and I are addicted to Pawn Stars, a reality show on the History Channel here in the States.  We stumbled across it totally by accident, and got hooked after one show.  The show centers around a family-owned pawn shop in Las Vegas.  Since they aren't corporate, the Harrisons can deal in the off-beat and slightly odd-ball - like a 15th century samurai sword, a lottery ticket signed by George Washington, and original battle plans from the invasion of Iwo Jima.  After years of hard work, the business was a success, then TV happened.  License To Pawn: Deals, Steals and My Life at the Gold & Silver is mostly told from Rick Harrison's point of view - although the other personalities on the show, The Old Man, Big Hoss, and Chumlee, do get their own chapters.

My Man read this while I was at RWA, in about 2 sittings.  Let it be noted that as much as I love the guy - My Man ain't much of a reader.  He can read.  He has read.  But it's not his leisure activity of choice.  He called the book "fluffy."  I'm not sure I totally agree - but it is a super quick read.  I'm not sure it's going to appeal to anyone who hasn't seen (and enjoyed) the TV show, but if you're a fan?  It was interesting, if only to get some of the back-story.  And whoa doggie, it's quite a back-story.  These guys have led some....uh interesting lives.  Honestly, it's amazing Big Hoss isn't dead.  Chumlee isn't as dippy on the printed page as he is on the show, and Rick and The Old Man love the hustle.  I'm not sure I'd run out and plunk down hard cover prices for this book - but as a library read?  As a book that My Man actually read, and happily?  Good stuff.  Do you have a reluctant reader in your life who loves the show?  Yeah, this one is a no-brainer, slam-dunk.

Grade = B


JamiSings said...

Chumlee might not be dippy, but I've seen him in person and he looks (and smells) like he hasn't had a bath since his 23rd birthday.

Does Rick - or the Old Man - tell the story how he got his pawn lisence involving the sheriff and his son?

Dev said...

Love Pawn Stars!! I enjoy everyone on the show and it always makes me laugh. I may have to see if your library has this :-)

Wendy said...

Jami: Somehow this doesn't surprise me re: Chumlee's odor O_o

They do talk a little bit about how they got their pawn license and Vegas politics. Not as much as they probably could have though. Wowzers.

Dev: Your library might. I think it might have landed on the bestseller lists. Uh, maybe? Not entirely sure.

AlohaJan said...

Wendy, we love Pawn Stars! Your library does own the title, so holds are in order!

marydee said...

I love the show. Monday there was a story that went over three shows ending on Pawn Stars involving a present for the Old Man. I will be looking for the book at library, next time I go. Thanks for the heads up.

Wendy said...

Jan: And last I checked, there wasn't much of a holds list. My colleague responsible for this Dewey area ordered several copies :) It's a super quick read too. I finished it in under 24 hours.

MaryDee: We watched all three! We normally don't watch American Restoration, but when we realized they crossed over all three, we tuned in :)

PK the Bookeemonster said...

I married a non-reader, don't know how it happened. He used to read the Clancy books (when really written by him) so he was a one book a year guy. Now if I hand him a graphic novel he'll read it. He did read the bio of Major Winters of Band of Brothers fame. Maybe I'll get him this one; we like Pawn Stars. Thanks for the review of it.

nath said...

Okay, after RWA, I'm really interested in Ms Gerritsen's Rizzoli & Isles series. I've watched the first season and all. It's just that we all the books I've just received... where am I going to find time to read 9 books?!? LOL. Have to admit though, I'm more interested in the characters than the mystery. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it, Wendy :)

Jami Davenport said...

I love that show. My ex-husband and I started and owned two quite successful pawnshops for several years. He stills owns and operates one of them. I did all the books in my spare time (along with my day job and my writing).

I've never though of it until now,but I should write a book with a pawnbroker hero. What a hoot. You meet a lot of colorful characters in a pawn shop.

Theresa Romain said...

Wendy, my NF reading seems to jibe with yours. Anything in the modern-day Ripley's Believe It Or Not vein is interesting to me! Just got a sort of picker chronicle, "Killer Stuff and Tons of Money" by Maureen Stanton, and I'm ripping through it. Nice to take a break from romance every once in a while and read about genuine real-life weirdness.

Wendy said...

PK: It's a nice "behind the scenes" look at the show. Your reluctant reader might like it :)

Nath: I think you got The Apprentice at RWA? That's the second book. You CAN start with that, although the villain does make an appearance prior in The Surgeon (technically Book 1 - although Rizzoli is secondary character and Isles isn't in it at all? Can't recall now).

Jami: They discuss some of the colorful characters in the book. Also, some of the wackier things that they've witnessed while working the night window. Yikes!

Theresa: I used to read a lot of history - but it just takes me longer to read. These days the NF I gravitate towards are the quicker reads like this one - or those written in a narrative style.