Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Cut - cops, drugs and drama

The Cut: A Wolfe Novel
Peter Churchill
Publisher:  Rhubarb Triangle (ebook)  March, 2014
Sometimes even in the world of fiction, the good guys aren't the James Bond style mannequin that the bad guys never succeed in foiling.  Wolfe is a Detective Sergeant in the Eastern Area Drug Squad, and he's been in law enforcement for a long time, used to the complexities and uncertainties of finding and trapping drug dealers, but he's never seen anything like the challenges he's about to face.

There's something afoot, as they used to say in Sherlock's day.  Cocaine in huge quantities is being shipped into the country by a new, thoroughly competent and incredibly creative, drug king-pin named Simpson, one who enjoys danger and actively loves violence.

Wolfe's been divorced and has pretty much decided that work is the only life he's going to get to have.  His hard shell seems impenetrable until, during a drug bust, he meets Tina, the junkie girlfriend of Billie, a runner for Simpson.  As Wolfe and Tina are dropped into a maze-like game of cat and mouse in search of the brilliant but deadly Simpson, a kind of bond begins to develop, but is it real or is Tina playing him?  Nothing in the dark world of drug dealing is ever really what it seems to be.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Recess is my Best Subject

Recess is my Best Subject
Peggy Mastel
Fergus Publishing, Sioux Falls, SD (2013)

  • ISBN-10: 0989770109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0989770101

Of late, there's been a lot of discussion about how to deal with education.  Factions argue about whether "throwing more money at the problem" will fix our slumping ratings as we try to compete with other countries for the best educated citizens. Politics is involved all over the place.  I invite every single person who cares about this issue to read Peggy Mastel's book "Recess is my Best Subject" because here is where the rubber meets the road ... in the land of the substitute teacher.

Which schools do best?  What are the problems that keep kids from learning?  How many of the problems kids have are related to the educational philosophy of a given school's principal or superintendent?  How do teachers get the children in their classes to behave?  What effect does class size have on a child's ability to learn?  What happens when special needs children are segregated from the other classes?  Is it better than when they're not? How do teachers reach the children of the poor who are needy in so many ways?