Category Archives: 2018 Reads

Detective Novels Meet the Master of Horror

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

I had no idea that this was a detective story when I picked it up from the library a few weeks back. I have enjoyed every single Stephen King story that I have ever read. He just has a way with words and storytelling. However, this one seemed to be a bit different right off the bat.

I almost stopped reading it. I wasn’t interested in reading a story about a serial killer who never got caught and then decides to taunt a retired detective. It’s a tried and tired trope. When I told my wife about my reservations, she said, “It’s Stephen King though, he probably will put a twist on it.”

She was right. This time, it is the detective who strings along the bad guy. The detective was at a really low point in his life at that start of the story. He didn’t have much to live for now that he wasn’t wearing his badge. The thought of finally solving this case and catching the Mercedes Killer rejuvenated him.

The Mercedes Killer is a man totally without conscience. He is the type of guy that is bland, forgettable, but always outwardly pleasant. He hides in plain sight and is easy to hate and fear.

One of the interesting things about the fictional world of this novel is that Stephen King books exist within it. The main character makes reference to a few of the author’s previous works including Christine and It.

Stephen King did a great job in what he calls “his first hard-boiled detective novel.” This is normally a genre I stay away from. But I just discovered that King has written two more books and this is now part of the Bill Hodges trilogy, I might just have to dip back into the detective novel genre.

My List of 2018 Reads – coming soon

 

Adventures in Record Collecting

Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting by Eilon Paz

There is something beautiful about a record collection. This book captures that perfectly with amazing photographs. Every picture has a quotation that gives us an inside glimpse into the collection itself and the mind of the DJ, music lover, radio host, or musician. It’s vinyl porn with a purpose.

William “The Gaslamp Killer” Bensussen says, “Even after the apocalypse you could still get vegetable oil and run two tables and speakers. That’s what I hope to be doing at the end of the world – spinning all this wonderful music, dancing, and being in love.” 

I have no idea how that would work. I am sure there are ways to power a turntable with conventional activity. You could manually spin a record and it would still produce sound, so this is a very romantic idea.

Rich Medina suggests getting plastic sleeves to protect your collection. He admits that they are expensive but “totally worth it for preserving the cosmetic and sonic integrity of your stash.” He has damaged records and learned this lesson the hard way. He believes in protecting your records in as many ways as possible and closes with this thought, “the record you disrespect in storage will soon embarrass you in front of a dance floor.”

There is plenty of discussion in the book about classic samples including this one. Do you recognize this from rap songs?

I love everything about this book. I read it from cover to cover even though it begs for you to open it up randomly and discover something new. There are great interviews with Questlove, Giles Peterson, Four Tet, Joe Busard, and more.

Let’s close off with this thought, “Records are time capsules. They’re emotional, spiritual, energetically bound pieces of vinyl. They were cut with force and energy, not by a programmer.”

My List of 2018 Reads – a continually updated account of everything I read this year (coming soon)