What I’ve Been Reading: Gotti’s Rules by George Anastasia

I used to read a lot of true crime non-fiction, including a multitude of books about the American Mafia. These days, I mostly get my fill of true crime with documentaries on Netflix. However, I do still enjoy a good true crime read every now and then. I would say Gotti’s Rules by George Anastasia is one of the better ones I’ve read in years. Gotti’s Rules tells the story of John Alite, a hit man, enforcer, all-around criminal, and close associate of the Gotti family from the 80s until the early 2000s. Alite was already entrenched in the criminal…

What I’ve Been Reading: Just Like Me: When the Pros Played on the Sandlot

Just Like Me: When the Pros Played on the Sandlot gathers the reflections of several retired professional baseball players about their youth and coming-of-age in the sport of baseball. Written by Sunbury Press author Kelly G. Park, this collection might provoke some nostalgia from baseball fans and former sandlot players, but it’s also a very real, humble look at the path that it takes to become a professional athlete. I always enjoy a film, article, or book that humanizes the pros. Those who make it to the highest levels of sport often have mythical status surrounding their money, lifestyle, and…

What I’ve Been Reading: Tough Girl in the Jam by Larry Loebell

Larry Loebell is a Sunbury author who I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with at some book events where we talked writing and life. He’s an accomplished writer in a variety of areas including drama, television writing, and short fiction. He was also a professor and taught such subjects as film history, dramaturgy, screen writing, theater history, and play writing. He also led creative writing workshops. Tough Girl in the Jam is his first novel. He also happens to have one of the coolest bio bullet points of any writer I’ve met personally –he won an Emmy writing on…

What I’ve Been Reading: Magic Diary by Pat LaMarche

My reading and blog writing has been limited for some time. I’ve been doing some traveling for a couple friend’s bachelor parties – one in Vegas and one in Dallas, both requiring several days of recovery afterwards. I’ve also devoted a majority of my spare time at night to writing my next novel, which I’m just about halfway through. That being said, I met a few authors from Sunbury at a book event in Doylestown and want to read their books and write reviews for them. Pat Lamarche was one of those people, so I started with her book Magic…

What I’ve Been Reading: Breck’s Quandary by Mark Mitten

Breck’s Quandary is another novel by a fellow author from the Milford House imprint of Sunbury Press. His name is Mark Mitten and he has written three novels including: Sipping Whiskey in a Shallow Grave, Hard to Quit, and Breck’s Quandary. All are available at the Sunbury Press online store and Amazon. Mitten specializes in western-style stories written in the vein of Cormac McCarthy. Breck’s Quandary introduces the reader to Sheriff Breckenridge “Breck” Dyer, the main lawman in a remote Colorado ski town named Quandary. Breck is aided by only one other deputy, a manifestation of an underfunded department. His…

What I’ve Been Reading: On the Run by Scott Stevens

On the Run is an action/suspense thriller from the Milford House imprint of Sunbury Press – the publisher of my novel. Scott Stevens is a talented author and former sportswriter that Sunbury added to their stable in early 2019. This novel is one of three books he has written, the other two being Twister Town and On Ice. On the Run is available through Sunbury and Amazon. The other two are available on Amazon, although they will be re-released by Sunbury in the future. On the Run is an interesting take on the suspense genre. It takes the motif –made…

What I’ve Been Reading: The Accountant’s Apprentice by Dennis Clausen

The Accountant’s Apprentice begins as a fairly straightforward plot with a priest, Justin Moore, in existential crisis after witnessing a murder that he thinks he could have prevented if he’d had a little more courage. The result of this distress is that he leaves his parish to take a break from the priesthood –and possibly abandon it altogether. He moves to a San Diego apartment, living a very basic and solitary lifestyle. Right around the time Moore moves into his new apartment, a neighbor is murdered and the police don’t seem to have solid leads as to who committed the…

What I’ve Been Reading: All the Aliens in the Neighborhood by Donald Dewey

All the Aliens in the Neighborhood is a collection of short stories from formidable author Donald Dewey. This grouping of stories reminded me a bit of Joyce’s Dubliners, only these are set in Brooklyn instead of the Irish capital. Donald Dewey is an experienced author with the writing chops to handle heavy topics with patience and levelheadedness.  I thought The Opals Man impressively displays how a mentally ill person’s behavior can start out as simply a little strange and eventually transition into completely irrational activity as they justify it and let it become their “normal”. The main character, Malek, develops…

What I’ve Been Reading: John Barleycorn by Jack London

John Barleycorn is not only atypical of Jack London’s work, it’s different than most books about drinking or drug abuse. Assumed by most to be an autobiography, John Barleycorn also functions as an in-depth reflection on the lifestyle of a heavy drinker. London got drunk as early as five and seven years old, and that is where his drinking story begins.  London tells of his exploits throughout his teenage years and early adult life, including being an oyster pirate, deep-sea sealer, miner, student, and writer. London packed an incredible amount of action into a short life, and John Barleycorn tells…

What I’ve Been Reading: Beastie Boys Book by Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz

My only real complaint about this book is that it’s incredibly unwieldy. You’re risking serious bodily harm if you read it while lying down. If you drift off into a nap for even a second, it’s unlikely your arms will support this behemoth. But if you know the Beastie Boys, or read this book to learn more about them, they have never been in the business of practicality. Their music-making process is largely based on thumbing their nose at organization and convention. They obviously approached this project with the same attitude. And, of course, they produced a book with their…