Is anything as satisfying as a well-crafted thriller? Does anything get you as trembly as discovering a new thriller writer who’s been working for a while, and has a long string of titles for you to work through?
No? Well, I figured as much.
I’m not even a huge fan of mysteries/crime fiction, but the writers I like, I like — John D. MacDonald, Ross McDonald, Martin Cruz Smith, the faboo Ms. Laura Lippman of course of course. There are others. Elmore Leonard, who gives the librarians fits because they don’t know where to shelve him. Ms. Lippman’s first stand-alone — Every Secret Thing — is double-shelved, too, at least in Grosse Pointe, in mystery and fiction, and that’s a good sign.
All this by way of saying after years of seeing this phrase popping up here and there — “the taut, well-crafted thrillers of Patricia Highsmith” — I finally got around to taking one off a shelf. The edition of “The Talented Mr. Ripley” I picked up is post-1999 movie, with Matt Damon’s face on the cover, but I don’t care. It’s just that good.
And the best part? Reaching the final page, and seeing there are at least six! more! Ripley books!
I know what I’ll be doing this summer.
OK, so we all know the country is being overrun by the religious right, but just in case you need one more piece of evidence at what, precisely, their mindset is all about, consider this story, from yesterday’s WashPost, on the cottage industry Christian conservatives are making of “re-editing” Hollywood movies to take the dirty parts out. Most of the story is pretty predictable: blah blah blah parent’s right to control their child’s viewing blah blah blah artistic integrity blah blah blah and so on, but I was most amused by the little details — you know, what exactly is being excised from which movies, in the spirit of preserving innocence.
Some you can predict: Kate Winslet’s nude scene in “Titanic,” some of the gorier gore in “Saving Private Ryan” (but not in “The Passion of the Christ,” hmm), and so on, but how about the scene in “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie” in which Patrick the starfish sings and dances in fishnet stockings and high heels?
“We don’t hate homosexuals,” says Sandra Teraci. “We just don’t think that lifestyle should be glorified. It’s becoming rampant in more types of films.”
As Alan points out: “I think starfish are asexual, anyway.” Patrick was just getting in touch with his female DNA. (Technically, they can reproduce both sexually and asexually.)
By the way, when people like Sandra Teraci say “We don’t hate homosexuals”? Why don’t we all take a moment to laugh in her face, figuratively speaking.
Richard Cohen tells the truth about Bill Frist. Lots of people have already, but, you know: Noted.
Jack Shafer explains why journalists love Romenesko, and why lots of non-journalists do, too.
We have black squirrels here in Detroit. (I call them Grosse Pointe sables.) I know, I know — lots of places have black squirrels, but this is my first experience with them, so humor me. I didn’t realized they have such a large fan base, but I haven’t seen anything yet that discusses how aggressive they are. Technically the black coat is supposed to be the only difference between them and the more common gray and red varieties, but just based on casual observation, I’d say the Detroit black squirrel is a breed apart. If I don’t keep the garage door closed, they come in and eat through the trash bags, something I’ve never seen another variety do. Other stories are more alarming, although I’ll say the day one gnaws through my window screens and steals my bread is the day I buy a shotgun.
Enjoy the day. With a high of 80-freakin’-degrees predicted for this one, I plan to.