Saturday, 05 November 2016 14:51

connollymichael scully photo courtesy Michael Connelly
How do you thank someone who has brought joy to your life?

Michael Connelly found a special way to thank one of his heroes—he dedicated his latest novel The Wrong Side of Goodbye to Vin Scully, who, for 67 seasons, until his recent retirement, was the voice of the Dodgers.

The legendary sportscaster began his years with the Dodgers in 1950, back when the team was the Brooklyn Dodgers, and ended his time this year in Los Angeles.

That made Scully the longest-tenured of any broadcaster with a single team in professional sports history.

This record-breaking run is amazing and his legions of fans will miss his voice.

And that includes Connelly.

The dedication in The Wrong Side of Goodbye says it all:
“To Vin Scully
With many thanks”

And, without giving away any plot point, Connelly also features Scully in a couple of scenes in The Wrong Side of Goodbye.

Harry Bosch, Connelly’s iconic hero, remembers listening to Scully when he was on surveillance for a major case:

connellymichael wrongside
“We could hear the broadcast coming out of all the open windows of the houses,” Bosch says in The Wrong Side of Goodbye. “I wanted to bail on the surveillance and go over for the last inning. You know, badge our way into the stadium and watch. But we stayed put and listened to Vinny.”

Bosch’s memory is tinged with victory—he caught the criminal—and sadness as he contemplates Scully’s retirement.

“He’s the voice of this city. It won’t be the same without him,” Bosch adds.

Devout readers feel the same way about Bosch—the genre wouldn’t be the same without him.

Fortunately, Connelly leaves the door open for new Bosch tales. Goodbye may be in the title, but The Wrong Side of Goodbye is in no way Bosch’s swan song.

This is isn’t the first time that Connelly has paid homage to Scully.

In a 2009 interview with Parade magazine, Connelly said, “Scully is the voice of my favorite team in all of professional sports—the Dodgers. He’s also one of my heroes. Players and managers come and go. Even some fans. But Scully is always here. He has called nearly 10,000 Dodger games and in the process transcended the game. At 81, he’s as much an icon in Los Angeles as the Hollywood sign.”

Scully was 88 when he retired just a few months ago, and, I think, he is one of those people who always will be associated with Los Angeles.

Connelly’s dedication is the ultimate “thank you” from a fan.

Photo: Vin Scully and Michael Connelly. Photo courtesy Michael Connelly

Michael Connelly and Vin Scully
Oline H. Cogdill
Saturday, 29 October 2016 13:38

whiterandywayne seduced
Florida’s ecology plays a major part in each of Randy Wayne White’s novels, whether he is writing about Marion “Doc” Ford, marine biologist who doubles as a government agent, or Hannah Smith, the Gulf Coast fishing guide and private detective.

White’s latest novel Seduced is his fourth about Hannah and true to form he includes a major plot point about Florida’s ecology and history and how the two meld.

White also looks at a problem that Floridia environmentalists are grappling with—the rise in the python population in the Everglades.

While pythons might not seem to be a problem to those who don’t live in Florida, residents of the Sunshine State know the python invasion is not a joke.

This snake population, which is not native to Florida, has decimated wildlife in certain area of the Everglades where they have been found.

These predators have been found to measure 5 to 8 feet, with the record being an 18-foot, 8-inch monster. Alligators and deer have been found in their systems.

This background is interesting, but White doesn’t just spew out facts in Seduced. He includes several heart-stopping scenes in which people and pythons meet..

These scenes add to the suspense of Seduced and show just how authentic White’s research is in his novels.

And further mixing fact with fiction, White based these scenes on a personal experience in which he and two friends were chased by a python. He details his own adventures in the foreward to Seduced.

Let’s hope in the future, all of the author’s python encounters are on the page, not in real life.

Pythons and Randy Wayne White
Oline H. Cogdill
Saturday, 22 October 2016 16:47

childlee nightschool
Jack Reacher’s avid fans are aptly called Reacher Creatures.

But really, doesn’t that describe most fans of the novels by Lee Child?

Expect a lot of Reacher Creatures—but then there are a lot of Reacher Creatures in every city—at the big launch of Night School, the 21st novel about the nomadic ex-military cop by author Lee Child.

And expect a party, but also a boost to those serving in the military.

Night School With Lee Child will be 7:30 to 11 p.m. on November 11 at The Carolina Theatre in Durham, North Carolina.

We don’t publicize book launches because there are so many and we don’t want to neglect any authors. But this one is kind of special because of the military tie-in.

The North Carolina event will celebrate the release of Night School with entertainment, coffee and craft beer tastings, late-night food, and Reacher-themed trivia.

The event kicks off with a conversation with Lee Child about the novels, the film, and his creative process.

Night School is a prequel, a technique that Child has used twice before.

The novel is set in 1996—in a pre-9/11 world when Reacher is 35 years old and still in the Army. He’s recently received a medal for a mission in the Balkans when he is sent “to school.” In this case, the school is a secret mission. A sleeper cell in Germany believes an American traitor has information to sell to Islamic terrorists for $100 million.

Since Jack Reacher is returning to the 1990s, so will some of those who attend this event.

An after-party is scheduled at nearby Bull McCabe’s (427 W. Main St.). The press release says this after-party is “inspired by Lee Child’s favorite things and Reacher’s singular lifestyle,” which sounds interesting.

Child will be on hand and there will be interactive activities and giveaways.

But the evening is about more than just Reacher’s latest adventures.

In honor of Veterans Day, Random House has partnered with the USO of North Carolina. For every ticket sold, Random House will donate a Lee Child book to a service member overseas.

Details and prices, which include a copy of Night School, are at Lee Child’s website.

Party With Lee Child, for Veterans
Oline H. Cogdill