The Art of the Cover Letter

I graduated college way back in 1990, in the midst of an economic recession. Jobs were scarce, especially for new graduates who had no real work experience. I spent quite a bit of time looking for work, to no avail. In those days, the job hunt involved getting a copy of the Sunday Washington Post, with its thick classifieds section, combing through the listings, circling the interesting jobs and then making calls and mailing paper resumes with cover letters.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Tags:  book-reviews non-fiction
Everything in this book is common sense, but it’s the kind of common sense people need to be reminded of all the time. Want to get along with people? Consider things from their perspective and treat them well. Simple enough, right? In principal, yes. In practice, no, because there are too many things in our reactive emotional nature working against it. This is a persistent problem in human nature, with whole religions devoted to solving the problem of people not being able to treat each other well.

Kill Romeo is Now Available

Tags:  crime detective fiction mystery
Kill Romeo is now available on Amazon.com. “What begins as a puzzling murder,” writes Diane Donovan of the Midwest Book Review, “turns into something unexpectedly even more complex on many levels… The story provides a riveting blend of personal and investigative conundrums that keep Freddy and his readers on their toes.” The book has picked up good advance reviews on NetGalley : “This was a really enjoyable read that was fast paced, well written and had a cast of well developed characters that I liked.

Suburban Dicks by Fabian Nicieza

Tags:  book-reviews mystery
Fabian Nicieza’s Suburban Dicks opens with the murder of a gas station attendant in West Windsor, New Jersey. As a pair of inept young cops are trying to secure the crime scene, a minivan pulls into the station. The pregnant driver’s toddler has to pee, and she does… all over the evidence. The driver of the minivan, Andrea Stern, a once-promising criminal profiler whose career was cut short by motherhood, picks up more details in her brief survey of the scene than the cops can gather in weeks.

The Maltese Falcon

Tags:  book-reviews mystery
Hammett’s books are dense with action and full of twists. Snooze for a second and you’ll have to go back and re-read the whole chapter. While many have commented about Hammett’s hardboiled style and seedy underworld characters, what really struck me in this one was how the author keeps the reader grasping throughout. You never know what’s going to happen next, nor do you know the significance of events as they’re happening.

Kill Romeo

Tags:  crime detective mysteries fiction
The second book in the Freddy Ferguson series, Kill Romeo, goes on sale July 2, 2022. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon . Advance review copies are available on NetGalley . This is a sequel to Gate 76 , which was named a 2018 best book of the year by both Kirkus Reviews and BestThrillers.com. Summary Not since he saw a woman hurry off of a jetliner shortly before it exploded in mid-air (Gate 76) has detective and former boxer Freddy Ferguson faced such a deadly puzzle as when he comes across the body of a well-dressed young woman, nameless and unidentifiable, deep in the woods of rural Virginia.

Cropper's Cabin by Jim Thompson

Tags:  reviews crime
Jim Thompson sure can be bleak. Cropper’s Cabin takes place in the author’s home state of Oklahoma, in the 1940s or early fifties. Tommy Carver is the son of a mean-spirited, resentful sharecropper who is barely getting by. Tom is a bright student in his final year of high school. He’s a favorite of his teachers and of the school principal. His girlfriend, Donna Ontime, is the beautiful daughter of the county’s richest man, a Creek Indian who owns the thousands of acres surrounding Tom’s father’s ten-acre plot.

Bad Boy by Jim Thompson

Tags:  book-reviews memoir
Bad Boy was Jim Thompson’s first take at autobiography. Although he was only forty-seven when he wrote it, he had already lived a pretty full life. This volume covers his escapades through age twenty-three. Thompson spent his early youth in Oklahoma, where his father was a county sheriff and one of the most popular men in town. When his father ran for state office on platform that included a commitment to racial equality, he was run out of town.

Devil in a Blue Dress

Tags:  crime detective mysteries
Devil in a Blue Dress is the first installment in Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins series. The story opens in Joppy Shag’s near-empty bar above a butcher shop in Watts, Los Angeles. The time is 1948. Easy Rawlins, just fired from his manufacturing job at Champion Aircraft, is having an afternoon drink, wondering how he’s going to cover his next mortgage payment, when a white man walks in and makes him an offer.

The Late Monsieur Gallet

Tags:  crime detective mysteries
This is the first I’ve read of Simenon’s Maigret series. I can’t believe the author was only twenty-eight when he wrote this. His writing has a surety and solidness that many never achieve. The few who do find it take many years to get there. This case involves what appears to be the simple murder of a traveling salesman in a Loire Valley hotel during the hot summer of 1930. Maigret approaches the investigation with the dread of one assigned a sordid, depressing, and tedious task.
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