Tater’s October 2021 in Books

It was a good reading month for me. I was finally able to focus and read more than I have lately. Having multiple baseball games to watch helped. Reading between innings and during pitching changes bumped up my reading time.

  1. Razorblade Tears by SA Cosby

Ike and Bobby Lee have little in common. They are both ex-cons. One white, one black. They are connected via the marriage of their sons, Isiah and Derek. When Isiah and Derek are murdered, Ike and Bobby Lee join forces to get revenge while also dealing with their rejection of their sons because of who they were.

Razorblade Tears is not for the faint of heart. It is violent. The main characters are men who were ashamed of having gay sons. They only realize their mistake in rejecting them after they are murdered. We still see instances of homophobia from Ike, but we also see a desire to change to make up for how he treated his son, I figured out the mysterious figure behind the murders before the author revealed it, but it didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the story. I think it would make. very good movie.

2. Based on a True Story by Norm MacDonald

A fake memoir from one of the best standup comics. You can tell it is old based on the forward from Louis CK.

I wanted to like this one more than I did. It had funny bits, but as a whole, it didn’t work. I wish it had been a true memoir.

3. The Burning by Jonathon and Jesse Kellerman

The latest in the Clay Edison series. Clay is called to a murder scene amidst a citywide blackout related to the wildfires. He finds a connection to his ex-con brother at the scene and spends the book trying to find his now missing brother to hopefully prove his innocence,

I would prefer a new Alex Delaware, but I have enjoyed the Clay Edison series. I thought this one fell short. Clay is a deputy coroner and breaks several laws in trying to cover for his possibly guilty brother. He lies to his wife. I’m probably mixing him up with the always upstanding Dr. Delaware, but I felt it hurts the character moving forward. I was also disappointed with the story going back to a previous case instead of going in a new direction. It was a disappointing outing for the Kellermans.

4. How Lucky by Will Leitch

Daniel has SMA, a rare neuromuscular disorder. The disease has progressed to the point where he can no longer speak or move without a wheelchair. He works from home in Athens, Georgia responding to Twitter complaints about a regional airline. He spends time with his best friend Travis, goes to football games, and enjoys the life he has built for himself. As he sits on his porch each morning, he notices one young woman who passes by frequently. One day, he witnesses her getting into a car right before she is reported missing and he is sure he has witnessed her kidnapping.

I wavered on my rating for this book. I thought it was very well done. Daniel was a great character. The story was good. Now that I’m finished and looking back I can say it was a very good book. While I was reading it, though, it seemed like a chore. It’s another one of those cases where I think my state of mind had more to do with the issues than the book. There are chapters where he steps away from the story to talk about SMA and how it has affected Daniel’s life through the years. It is well done but took me out of the story and I think story and plot are what I need right now. It’s not the book. It’s me. I would recommend it and ended up going back to Goodreads to give it four stars.

5. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

A friend told me I should read The Thursday Murder Club a whole back. When I got it and saw it was about elderly people solving crimes I was not sure it was the book for me. I ended up loving it and was happy to see this on the 7-day loan shelf at my library.

In this second installment, the Thursday Murder Club is back in action after Elizabeth receives a letter from someone from her past life. He’s made a mistake and needs her help. The story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and possible murder. This time around, the club works with MI5 to track down the diamonds and solve the murders that occur after the letter is received. The Thursday Murder Club is still as fun as the last time around. The MI5 agents are a welcome addition to the story. I didn’t figure out who did it until they told me. That is always a plus in a mystery. This is a very good series everyone should read.

6 14 Ways to Die by Vincent Ralph

Ten years ago Jess’s mother was murdered. She was the first victim of a serial killer now called The Magpie Man. he has now killed 13 people. Now a teenager, Jess agrees to star in an online reality show where cameras will follow her 24 hours a day. She wants to use the series to lure the Magpie Man to her so she can catch him.

First the weird – the main character has the same name as my daughter. Her two best friends have the same names as my daughter’s two best friends from high school. Interesting coincidence. The book was a good, teen mystery book. I liked the main character even though she tended to think no one else’s problems were important because they were not as serious as your mom being murdered. It had nice, short chapters so I always felt I could read just one or two more. I was satisfied with the ending and the reveal of the murderer. I would recommend it to teens and adults.

7. The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Avery Grambs has lived with her sister(and sometimes in her car) since her mom died. She is very smart and has a plan to win a scholarship and go to college. Her life changes when a billionaire she has never heard of dies and leaves almost his entire estate to her. The only catch – she has to live for a year in the family estate with the family he disinherited before she gets the money.

I wasn’t sure where this book was heading. I read it after seeing a positive review online. It turns out it is the first in what will be a series. This one deals with Avery and the four grandsons of the billionaire learning to live together while also solving puzzles left behind by the grandfather that they hope will lead to answers to why he left his money to Avery. I enjoyed it. Avery and the grandsons are well-drawn characters. The mystery surrounding the will is interesting. The reveal at the end that leads to the next book was interesting. Probably most appealing to older teens.

8. The Night the Lights Went Out: A Memoir of Life After Brain Damage by Drew Magary

Drew is one of my favorite writers. I remember in 2018 when this happened wondering why he had gone silent. No articles. No tweets. Nothing. I knew something was up and then it was revealed that he was in the hospital in serious condition. Soon after hosting the Deadspin Awards, Drew fell and hit his head hard enough to fracture his skull and cause a catastrophic brain hemmorrhage. He was in a coma for two weeks. The book chronicles his life after the injury.

I thought this was a very good book. It wasn’t as funny as you would normally expect from Drew, but it isn’t a topic that makes funny easy. It was interesting to get the perspective of the people who were with Drew at the time of the fall and in the hospital when he was in a coma. I was fascinated by the side effects of his injuries: loss of hearing in one ear, loss of smell, and loss of taste. There is quite a bit of medical detail, but that is to be expected in a memoir about a medical condition. I’m happy Drew is alive and back to writing.


8 thoughts on “Tater’s October 2021 in Books

      1. I’m finishing a 400-page nonfiction book by Lisa See about her family’s journey from China to California. “On Gold Mountain.” I’m almost done and looking for something new to read.

        Liked by 1 person

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