Book Reviews

George and Linda review books and other publications, many of which are referenced in the blogs.

Bad Moon Rising by Stephen Pickering

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I’ve always been impressed by folks who retired from careers that had nothing to do with writing, who then begin writing in their retirement years. It’s probably easier to write nonfiction, at least it is for me, but those who can write compelling novels are definitely few and far between.

I’ve been working on a novel for many years and have only gotten up to 8,000 words. Just 60,000 to go! I think it’s particularly challenging to write good dialogue, something that I value as a reader of novels.

Stephen Pickering has somehow mastered the craft of writing fiction, and he’s particularly good with dialogue. His novel, Bad Moon Rising, published by North Country Press in Unity, is, well, masterful. I raced through it in a single day while vacationing in Lubec. It’s that compelling.

Summer of the Dead by Julia Keller

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When my wife Linda noticed the novel I was reading, at the Lubec, Maine ocean-side cottage we were renting for an August vacation, she laughed. Summer of the Dead didn’t sound like the kind of light summer reading you’d tackle here.

But I’ve been a longtime fan of crime novels, focused on favorite old authors like Ed McBain and John MacDonald, with a collection of their books on my shelves, and some newer writers, including Michael Connelly and two Mainers, Paul Doiron and Gerry Boyle. But I’m always open to new authors, so when I saw Michael Connelly’s quote on the cover of Julia Keller’s Summer of the Dead, I decided to give it a try. Connelly wrote this about Keller’s central character: “Bell Elkins is one of the most fully realized characters in fiction today.”

Dave O’Connor’s book will stimulate your own great hunting and fishing memories

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Checking out the newly published books recently at Islandport Press in Yarmouth, I was excited to see a book by Dave O’Connor. I’ve been enjoying Dave’s columns in the Northwoods Sporting Journal for more than 20 years. He’s an entertaining writer, for sure.

Islandport published my book, A Life Lived Outdoors, last year and I’ve been encouraging them to consider more hunting/fishing/outdoor adventure books, so it was great to see Dave’s new book on their shelves. Huntin’ and Fishin’ with the Ole Man is full of stories about Dave’s many adventures with his father, Edward “Steamer” O’Connor, and trust me, they had some funny, amazing, exciting hunting and fishing experiences.

My Naked Safari is not what you think!

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Peter Popieniuck is a lucky sportsman. Not just in the fish and wildlife he has harvested, but in the adventures he’s enjoyed from Maine to Africa. His autobiography is timely, given the recent unfortunate incidents with big game hunters who killed African lions. For the record, Peter killed no lions.

Peter’s book, My Naked Safari – from Maine to Africa – Adventures of an Amateur Sportsman, published by North Country Press, is a very good read.

Peter’s story is of special interest to Mainers because many of his adventures were with Maine guides, and his favorite place on earth seems to be his camp on Lower Richardson Pond, just west of Rangeley. His hunting trip to Africa is certainly an amazing story, but I most enjoyed his trips to places I’ve been myself, most especially the Leaf River in northern Quebec.

Boy escapes poverty by living life outdoors in Maine

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                The cover photo will grab you. It features a young woman in a dress, wearing a red felt hat, holding a dead fox in one hand and a rifle in the other, with a dead deer hanging two feet from her, just in front of the clothes line. Bud Simpson’s mother didn’t bag the fox or deer, and the hat and rifle were not hers, but obviously, she was game for anything her family came up with.

Answers to Questions Nobody was Askin, by Tim Sample

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Tim Sample’s new book could probably be categorized as a biography, because there are many stories about Tim’s interesting life. But the book is much more than that. And yes, of course, there are some hilarious stories. Tim did not become our state’s most popular and well-known comedian by chance. He’s a very funny guy.

And while I enjoyed all the funny stories, and the special Maine humor, I was particularly captivated by some of the more serious stories.

Distant Cousin by Delia Drake

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Marti Brann is a Mainer with a great imagination. She even imagined a new name, Delia Drake, to use as author of her mystery, Distant Cousin.  But this novel is all Marti. In the brief bio of Marti in the back of the book, we learn that she has a “vivid imagination that has entertained her family for years.” And now that imagination will entertain you too.

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