Murder, prostitutes, gangsters, cops, and humor…

This week at the Gilpin County Library

by Larry Grieco, Librarian

The authors who have attempted to keep the late Robert B. Parker’s series characters alive and kicking have succeeded in varying degrees. The guy continuing the “Jesse Stone” novels, Michael Brandman, has perhaps done the best job. The latest is called Robert B. Parker’s Damned If You Do, and has Paradise, Massachusetts, Chief of Police engaging in some very Spenserish activities. To solve the murder of a young prostitute in a seedy beachfront motel, Jesse pays a visit to gangster Gino Fish (with an ominous Vinnie Morris lurking in the background.) At first Gino declines to offer any help, but later gives Jesse the name of a “madam” in Boston. That leads to Jesse being caught in the middle of two feuding pimps, just the kind of spot you’d expect Parker’s legendary detective, Spenser, to find himself in. It is enough to make one wonder what it would have been like if Brandman had also taken over the “Spenser” detective series. In short, the “Jesse Stone” novels are in good hands.

Lee Child is back with his eighteenth “Jack Reacher” novel, Never Go Back. Reacher is a former military cop whose extraordinary talents always managed to get the job done. Now he is semi-retired and living in South Dakota. He gets a call from the new commanding officer of his old unit, a Major Susan Turner, and travels to Virginia to meet with her. When he arrives, nothing turns out to be as expected, but he is used to that. His past suddenly catches up with him and he finds himself on the run from it, and from his present as well. Major Turner has disappeared, and Reacher has to clear his name, all while keeping one step ahead of the Army, the FBI, and the D.C. Metro police, not to mention four unidentified thugs who seem to have his number. This is classic Lee Child and near impossible to put down.

Finally this week let’s take a look at the new autobiography from comic icon Billy Crystal. In Still Foolin’ ’Em, Crystal gives us a joy ride through his career from the perspective of reaching his sixty-fifth birthday. The book is funny and touching, particularly the anecdotes about his close friendship with Mickey Mantle, his boyhood idol. The subtitle says it all: “Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys?” Comedian Steve Martin: “A book with a thousand laughs entwined with unknown stories about some of the most popular movies of the past decades. Tender moments about, too, as the reader winds his way through Billy’s long, varied career.”

We continue with our new film series this Saturday, Sept. 21, with Harold and Maude (1971). With the idiosyncratic American fable Harold and Maude, countercultural director Hal Ashby fashioned what would become one of cinema’s most beloved comedies, with one of the most memorable movie soundtracks, by Cat Stevens. Film critic Walter Chaw will be on hand, as always, to introduce the film and discuss it after viewing. The program gets underway at 1:00 p.m., and is open to the public. Popcorn, cookies, water, and ideas are all free, compliments of the Friends of the Library.

Please mark your calendars for the 2nd annual Gilpin Art Studio tour on Sept 21 & 22. You are invited to attend the artists’ reception on Friday Sept 20 from 6 to 8 at the Gilpin County public library. Meet the artists on the tour, enjoy refreshments, see a preview of work from the artists on the tour and pick up your tour map.

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