By addictive Emmet
I am helpless. I must give myself up to a higher power. I cannot…stop buying more books.
I blame Amazon, of course. I blame Robert B. Parker as well. I blame Elmore Leonard. I blame Daniel Woodrell.
Parker started it all. His Spencer novels set on the familiar streets and alleys of Boston were a delight. I could not wait for the next one to be printed. I don’t know exactly what it means, but when Spencer started cooking something for him and Susan, his perfect-shrink squeeze, I always got hungry and had to eat, even if it was 2 a.m. The best thing about Parker was that he was hilarious. Not that those Spencer novel were comedies (too many people died) but he always had a smart-ass attitude towards life, even when he was looking down the short barrel of a .38. Certainly he really did have that crummy office in downtown Boston. His impossibly tough sidekick, Hawk, was as big a hero as our boy Spencer, sometimes tougher. We should all have such friends.
I bought each one, as they were published.
When I discovered Leonard, I was astounded at the depth of his plots and character development. Even if our hero was a safecracker or bank robber, we identified immediately with him. The shocking thing was that the hero was as likely to die as anyone else. Leonard picked up his astounding dialogue, not in prison as one might suspect, but in working as a police reporter in Detroit. Only much later after I saw my favorite movie “Hombre,” did I discover that it grew from a Leonard short story.
I bought each one.
Woodrell writes impossibly bleak tales of the Ozarks and one is more shocking that the next. “Winter’s Bone” actually made it to the silver screen a few years ago. One of his novels explained that slicing open the victims’ stomach and loading it with rocks would assure that the body would stay hidden in the nearest lake, never to be seen again. Helpful tip for your next murder.
Then along came Amazon. I was so smitten with this book service that I got a credit card to save on shipping. Save on shipping. I bought the noir novels five or ten at a time, all on credit, of course. I would be ashamed to tell you how much that account grew. The evidence of my addiction remains spread out on my living room floor, an addict insulation. Some people put hay bales around the outside of their foundation. Cobb Manor packs the inside of the foundation with murder novels.
That was nothing. That was the good old days.
Do you have a Kindle?
Once you master this device (even I could do it) you can connect to Amazon, scan the latest murder novel and buy what you would like, instantly. Do not ask me how this works, but you download your preference and it appears like 2014 magic on the Kindle sitting in your hands. Voodoo.
This is not fair.
True, many of these Kindle books are a mere 99 cents. But many are not. Last week I “downloaded” “The Path Between the Seas”, a story of the Panama Canal by fave David McCullough. Had to have it. Then of course I saw that a book by another fave, Dennis Lehane called “The Drop,” was available. Download. It’s no wonder that bookstore are closing across the country. I was fascinated by the Broadway show “Phantom of the Opera” but never completely understood it even though I saw it twice, then rented the DVD. Naturally, I downloaded the original novel by Gaston Leroux.
Amazon told me that author Paul Levine was pretty funny for a Florida murder writer. Downloaded three more at bargain prices. Help! Amazon sends those helpful e-mails at least once a week.
I just did an accounting on my Kindle to get ready for my session with a shrink. (blush) I have 34 novels sitting, waiting to be read on my Kindle. I think I have the complete works of Mickey Spillane. Some are half-read. Some are untouched. Every few weeks, I promise myself not to buy any more books, 99 cents or not, until all of those 34 books have been read…and safely erased. What about that latest Stephen Hunter sniper novel?
Can you help me?