1. What are you currently reading?
I Am Not Ashamed by Barbara Payton. Gee, why not? Barbara Payton sure should be ashamed. She was a promising actress (early in her career, she shared the screen with James Cagney and Gary Cooper) who threw it all away. With both hands. When she began this book, she was a 35-year-old prostitute, sharing her home with cockroaches. In the afterward, we learn she died in her parents' home at age 39.
Yes, she had a big problem with booze, but obviously her problems ran deeper than wine. That's what makes this a fascinating read. She's one of those people who excuses her own selfish or cruel behavior by saying, "At least I'm honest." She hurts a lot of people along the way, but no one more than herself, which makes this memoir an unintentional testament to The Golden Rule.
This book is not likeable, but it's compulsively readable. She's willful, angry and self-destructive. Like Scarlett O'Hara or All My Children's Erica Kane, except this is real life with real world consequences.
2. What did you recently finish reading?Blood Feud by Mike Lupica. I thought that the saga of Boston PI Sunny Randall ended when her creator, Robert B. Parker, died. In 2018, Parker's estate hired Mike Lupica to write a new installment, and it's good to have Sunny back.
A former cop, and the daughter of a cop, Sunny believes in law and order. Her ex-husband Richie is son to Desmond Burke, head of a Boston Irish mob family. While Richie has always distanced himself from the family business, this caused some strife in their relationship. (Think Montagues and Capulets.) Sunny and Richie divorce, but they just can't stay away from one another. When Richie is shot in a parking lot, Sunny is determined to get to the bottom of this.
I liked this book well enough. It moves quickly and had a plot twist that I didn't see coming. All the clues were there, I just didn't connect the dots. Good for you, Lupica! And I enjoyed seeing so many characters from the Spenser books (Susan, Belson, Tony Marcus with Ty Bop and Junior).
But the on again/off again thing with Richie annoyed me. She understands and admires him. Their physical relationship is tops. So why exactly can't they be happy? It got whiny and tiresome after awhile.