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Tom Chaney: Atticking, Attaching, Attocking

Of Writers And Their Books: Atticking, Attaching, Attocking. Tales from Nelson DeMille suggested for summer reading. This column first appeared 11 May 2008.
The next earlier Tom Chaney column: Here be Dragons

By Tom Chaney

Atticking, Attaching, Attocking

Spring is fast gearing up toward summer. 'Fore long we'll be looking for summer-time things to do to avoid doing the summer-time things other folks think we must do.

Especially, this year as the price of a gallon of gasoline bobs up towards the cost of a gallon of whiskey.

Find a good shady spot. Get a comfortable chair so as not to be bothered by ticks. Throw away your watch so as not to be bothered by ticks. Get a tall, cool drink. If this were not a so-called dry county, I would suggest a touch of Oh! Be Joyful! But keep that for indoors with the shades drawn. Pick up a good book -- preferably a long, heavy hardback. The latter is for exercise.

Lean back and read. It is exhausting work, so do not resist the napping arms of Morpheus when he drifts by.

This is an especially good summer-time time-passer when the grass needs mowing. Just keep an extra glass handy for the lawn police when they stop by with their "yard" stick.

If you need a suggestion for a book, come by The Bookstore. We'll fix you up. Used books are better for outdoor reading -- not so much reduction in value from damage by dive-bombing birds.

I have just found a writer I can recommend. During the past month I have been introduced to Nelson DeMille and have read four of his books. In fact, I have been reading them when I should have been reading books to write about, and I don't usually write about the DeMille's of the literary world, but I think you might like to take him out to the yard with your iced tea.

He started with By the Rivers of Babylon in 1978 and has written more than a dozen by now. Settings range from Israel in the first; to Russia for a couple of times as in The Charm School; to the Midwest, not to be confused with the middle east, of Spencerville; and the Long Island of The Gold Coast and Plum Island.

His most recent is Wild Fire published last November [2006].

DeMille has a number of things going for him as a writer of adventure/mysteries.

His plots are mostly believable. I just finished Plum Island, however, and I have to say that weaving a search for Captain Kidd's treasure in the midst of a murder mystery stretches things just a bit.

His characters -- sometimes even a main character is left alive to appear in a later book -- have some depth and pizzazz.

DeMille is pretty good with language.

Often I am offended by the language of mystery writers. I resent any writer who has a character "exit the vehicle" when he means "get out of the car." Why must they "exit" the expressway when a simple "leave" will do? I am a member of the Keep Nouns From Becoming Verbs Society. No cowboy in a western would ever "exit" his horse.

DeMille seems not to be overly fond of "cop-speak," although I did catch an instance when a policeman referred to a non-policeman as "civilian" as though the cop were not just a cop but a member of the military.

But I meander, which is exactly what I intended to do.

The point of this particular peregrination is to suggest a writer who might keep you pleasantly occupied on a long summer's day until it is too dark to mow the lawn or trim the hedge.

If you don't like my suggestion, drop by your neighborhood bookstore. One of us -- either here in Horse Cave or Timbuktu -- can help you find just the right tome.

Tom Chaney can be found telling stories, planning his next meal, and occasionally selling books at
Box 73 / 111 Water Street
Horse Cave, Kentucky 42749
Email: Tom Chaney

This story was posted on 2013-05-12 05:04:13
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