The Angel, the SOB and the drunken cocktail waitress

father The story of a man who’s declared Father of the Year and then ends up on trial for the murder of his wife is all sorts of ironic until one pauses to consider that it was Father and not Husband of the Year. Undoubtedly that twist of irony is what drew Glenn Puit to the story of all around rotten human being Bill Rundle. Once again true crime fans are presented with evidence that being an SOB doesn’t automatically make one’s story interesting.

Rundle specializes in small scale crime, lies and romantic destruction until working his way up to the murders of his mother and wife. Along the way he has a son, Richie, that he genuinely seems to have loved. Then in a twist straight out of South Park, Richie is run over by a drunken cocktail waitress as he pushes his friend out of harm’s way. Vegas being Vegas, they name a school after the child.

This is a curiously pedestrian book. Puit is strongest when he’s detailing Rundle’s background. The chapters dealing with the investigation are, I kid you not, taken from a Dateline NBC episode which left me wondering why I was reading this when I could just catch a rerun on Discovery ID. The last 50 pages are pure filler. Most of the time Puit is dispassionate to the point of bland, except when he’s writing about Richie Rundle (“an angel”, “a gift from God”, “a miracle”) and then I wanted to turn a fire hose on him.

All in all, middle grade true crime. Recommended only for those very interest in the case or the commuting patterns of cocktail waitresses.

Recent Acquisitions

Rising road Rising Road by Sharon Davies (Amazon Vine)

An account of a notorious 1921 murder trial of a minister accused of murdering a priest for marrying his daughter to a Catholic.

Twenty-five pages in it’s already obvious that Davies is a natural storyteller.

Body of Death This Body of Death by Elizabeth George (Kindle)

Lynley and Havers are back. Solving a vile child murder. I guess I should be happy it’s not a firebombing of a school bus full of saintly nuns, each with an adorable kitten-clutching tot on their lap. But if that whack job Daidre Trahair is back I swear this is my last of this series.

twfinalcover-21 Twisted Faith: A Minister's Obsession and the Murder That Destroyed a Church by Gregg Olsen (Kindle)

New true crime from Gregg Olsen = me wondering if I’m really to old to call out sick and stay in bed all day reading. A new book by Olsen should automatically result in a national holiday but someone in charge fails to see this obvious wisdom.

Splendour Splendour and Squalor by Marcus Scriven (KIndle)

The subtitle says this is the story of the “Disgrace and disintegration of three aristocratic dynasties.” Well, that’s one way to put it. “Peers Gone Wild” would be the shorter version. Insanely entertaining. 

The dead may travel fast but this book does not

deadtravelfast I selected The Dead Travel Fast on the strength author Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia Gray mystery series. While Silent in the Grave is not perfect, it a decent first-in-a-series that showed real promise. I assumed that this book would be another mystery. The Dead, however, is not a mystery. It is a quasi Gothic Romance, more Victoria Holt than Ann Radcliffe, with strange goings on at a remote castle. It is also a romance. That last part leaves me under qualified as a reviewer for this book.
Set in 1858 Scotland and Transylvania, this is the story of an independent woman, Theodora, who visits an old friend (at that remote castle I mentioned earlier) and the friend’s very odd indeed relatives. Handsome brooding Count Andrei Dragulescu is on scene to make cryptic remarks, gesture haughtily, wash the heroine’s hands and, well, brood. He’s part of the set piece and either the reader is willing to play along or not. I kept thinking that he was a bit of a jerk but some may find him fascinating. Theodora sure does. Even when the locals start to suspect Andrei is a vampire she isn’t all that put off. Is Andrei half-man, half-bat? Is his whole family batty? How does Theodora manage to climb “The Devil’s Stairs” and a narrow turret staircase during the heyday of the hoopskirt?
If you can hang on for all 300 pages you’ll find the answers to most of the above. Portions of this book annoyed me – the random Romanian words, for one – and the repeated references to basil put me in the mood for a caprese salad. For those who like historical romances this is probably decent fare.For mystery fans it will be a disappointment. (Vampire fans will likely be disappointed too.)

This Template Oppresses Me

That's right, I'm blaming the template for my lack of recent posts. I switched templates roughly 10 times in the past five days and I'm back to another Blogger freebie and still it's a blah. I think this is the one I started with two years ago. Maybe it just needs a better font.