[Amazon Link]

This is the tenth book in Randy Wayne White's Doc Ford series. The events of previous books have gotten Doc into kind of a funk: he's drinking too much, not exercising much, and becoming an unreliable friend. But an old friend shows up out of the past: her husband has gone missing under strange circumstances, and he's been involved with a cult with a charismatic leader. But it turns out the charismatic leader is a fraud and has a psychopathic underling. So we're off to the races.

As usual, Doc Ford channels a good bit of Travis McGee, and sometimes it seems a little forced. Doc's friend Tomlinson is also along for the ride, and they pick up Frank, a private eye from New Jersey early on. The interplay between them is pretty good; unfortunately Frank won't be around in later books.

The ending is thrilling and satisfying, and I'm looking forward to reading the next one.

Last Modified 2012-10-12 6:16 AM EST


[Amazon Link] [4.0
stars] [IMDb Link] An animated movie that, among other things, validates the Who Theory: when you Meet the New Boss, you shouldn't be unduly surprised that he's the Same as the Old Boss.

The autobiographical movie Persepolis follows the early life of Marjane Satrapi, an Iranian girl who's outspoken and precocious. As the movie starts, the Shah's in power, and Marjane is a grade schooler. She's initially loyal to the Shah, based on the propaganda she's heard at school. But her family (seemingly made up of mostly Communists) soon "educates" her about the imperialist origins of the regime, and she learns about the imprisonment of dissidents, etc. But then the Iranian Revolution occurs and—guess what—things get much, much worse.

Despite her Commie family, Marjane doesn't seem too political herself; her main inspiration seems to come from Grandma, who bequeaths her a fiercely individualistic streak. And, despite the film's grim environment, the movie isn't strident; there's a considerable amount of humor, and Marjane shows a lot of self-deprecating wit.

She loves Western music; in one scene she goes out in search of a rumored Iron Maiden tape, and runs the gauntlent of street hustlers selling bootlegs. One Fundamentalist thug sneers that Michael Jackson represented the decadence of Western culture. I had to admit he might have had a point there. Fortunately, we got better.

The animation is mostly black and white, and the style based on Marjane's graphic novels. It's interesting.

Last Modified 2012-10-12 6:17 AM EST