Fire in the Hole

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Consumer note: this collection of Elmore Leonard yarns was previously published under the title When the Women Come Out To Dance. So if you own When the Women Come Out To Dance, you might not want to plunk down cash for this too. (Or maybe you do, I don't know your book-buying motives.)

Anyway, I bought it because I embarked on this project to read all Leonard's works that contained Raylan Givens, due to my fanboyhood for the Justified TV series. That involved me reading the other eight stories in this slim volume, too. But that's OK.

The Fire in the Hole story sort of follows the premiere episode of Justified. Raylan has been assigned to the US Marshals in Kentucky, his old stomping ground. In the meantime, his old acquaintance, Boyd Crowder, has formed a white supremacist/Nazi group that likes to blow things up and rob banks. This sets Raylan and Boyd on a collision course, complicated by the further fact that Ava, over whom Raylan mooned in high school, has recently shot Boyd's brother (and her husband), Bowman, dead.

Big change between the TV show and the book, not a spoiler at this late date: Boyd dies.

The other stories in the book are good, but none to make me rush out to get the non-Raylan titles in the Leonardian canon. Capsule summaries: (1) an arson investigator interrogates a comely lass who might have burned her place down, using a California wildfire as cover; (2) an ex-ballplayer tries to parley his mostly-nonexistent fame into a celebrity gig at a casino; (3) a couple folks in a retirement community banter (really!); (4) shady deals are made between an ex-stripper unhappily maried to an abusive tycoon and her new Central American maid; (5) Leonard regular Karen Sisco (also a US Marshal) finds herself involved with Carl, who just might be a bank robber; (6) an African-American veteran of the Spanish-American War and the Rough Riders has some conflict with racist small-town inhabitants, as one of his comrades returns to a hero's welcome; (7) a cattle thief gets unexpectedly involved with the tattooed/disfigured wife of the baron he plans to rob; and (8) an ex-rodeo star, ex-movie stuntman returns to his hometown to find that his ranch has been taken over by petty (but violent) criminals.

Last Modified 2024-01-24 6:36 AM EDT

URLs du Jour


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  • I subscribe to Jeff Jacoby's newsletter, the contents of which he doesn't put up on the web for some reason. I liked his take:

    A flood of gloating, dissembling, backtracking, and desperate straw-clutching has been triggered by the filing of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on whether there was collusion between Donald Trump and the Russians to interfere with the 2016 election. I don’t feel any need to add to that flood, most of which in any case does not improve on the clarity of Attorney General William Barr’s summary of Mueller’s bottom line: “The Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.”

    I have only two brief reactions to the weekend’s developments.

    One has to do with President Trump, who repeatedly and falsely accused Mueller of presiding over a corrupt and partisan “witch hunt.” If he had any shred of grace or class, he would now eat a great slice of humble pie, publicly thank the special counsel for having conducted himself with integrity and fairness, and apologize for having so vehemently misled his followers.

    The other has to do with the many individuals in the liberal media constellation who for two years have obsessively insinuated a “Russiagate” storyline of treason, collusion, and even foreign blackmail of Trump and his associates. If they had any shred of grace or class, they too would now eat a great slice of humble pie, publicly concede that they abandoned all pretense of objectivity in their coverage of the Trump-Russia story, and apologize for having so vehemently misled their followers.

    I’m not holding my breath for a demonstration of decency on either side.

    Nor am I. If you're interested, you can sign up for Jeff's newsletter here.

  • Andrew Klavan writes on the latest upshot at the Daily Wire: Dems Demand Investigation Into Why Trump Didn’t Stop The Last Investigation.

    Democrats and the media — but I repeat myself — are demanding a Special Counsel be appointed to investigate why Donald Trump did not stop the last Special Counsel from investigating Donald Trump.

    Congressman Jerry Nadler, in a statement issued from under a rock, said, “Connect the dots, people. Robert Mueller found there was no Russian collusion and yet Trump did not obstruct his investigation. That means Trump just stood by and allowed the government to waste two years and 30-million dollars looking into something that he knew all along never happened. This is a completely irresponsible waste of taxpayer dollars and we need to get to the bottom of why Trump allowed it to happen.”

    Oh, yeah: I should mention that it's explicitly marked as "Satire". But, is it, really?

  • Non-satirical James Freeman writes in the WSJ's "Best of the Web" feature (possibly paywalled): Mueller and the Obama Accounting.

    The Mueller report confirms that the Obama administration, without evidence, turned the surveillance powers of the federal government against the presidential campaign of the party out of power. This historic abuse of executive authority was either approved by President Barack Obama or it was not. It’s time for Mr. Obama, who oddly receives few mentions in stories about his government’s spying on associates of the 2016 Trump campaign, to say what he knew and did not know about the targeting of his party’s opponents.

    If he was briefed, for example, on plans by the Justice Department to seek wiretaps on Trump campaign associates, it’s hard to believe Mr. Obama would not have been highly interested in the matter. Going all the way back to his campaign for a U.S. Senate seat in Illinois, Mr. Obama had aggressively advocated for preventing federal abuse of surveillance powers.

    As with the IRS's targeting of Tea Party groups, nearly all the press corps will continue to be remarkably uncurious about that.

  • At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey notes a sorta-mea culpa from John Brennan: Hey, I may have been wrong about Russia collusion after all.

    Just remember that this man ran intelligence efforts for the US. For two years, former CIA director John Brennan appeared on media outlets, most prominently MSNBC, and insinuating that he had inside knowledge about Donald Trump’s collusion with the Russians. Now that Robert Mueller has exonerated Trump on collusion, Brennan now says that, er … he must have gotten out a little over his skis:

    I recently read a book (Network Propaganda) which (among other flaws) clutched its pearls about Trump's nonstop and (nearly always) overblown attacks on "career law enforcement officials and the intelligence community". Brennan is just one example showing that Trump had a point. Yes, a wildly exaggerated point, but nevertheless…

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    OK, let's switch gears a bit. Rachel Lu writes at Law & Liberty Myths About Marijuana: Intoxicating But Untrue. She's looking at Alex Berenson’s new book (available via link at your right) Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence.

    The central thesis of his book is simple: Exposing the brain to Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive component of marijuana, greatly increases a person’s susceptibility to mental illness. This is particularly true for adolescents and young adults, but even older adults may pay a serious price for tinkering with their endocannabinoid system.

    Increasing mental illness means increasing violence, because delusional and paranoid people commit far more than their share of violent crimes. The situation has worsened in recent years, not only because legalization increases recreational pot use, but also because legal markets develop dramatically more potent strains than were previously available.

    Longtime readers know that I'm full-bore libertarian on drug prohibition. Still, there's a bit of obviousness that needs to be repeated to the oblivious: ingesting psychoactive substances may well alter your personality for the worse. And maybe much worse.

  • Robert Tracinski dares to explain it: Why I Don't "Believe" in "Science".

    Some people may use “I believe in science” as vague shorthand for confidence in the ability of the scientific method to achieve valid results, or maybe for the view that the universe is governed by natural laws which are discoverable through observation and reasoning.

    But the way most people use it today—especially in a political context—is pretty much the opposite. They use it as a way of declaring belief in a proposition which is outside their knowledge and which they do not understand.

    And this bit I liked so much I had to tweet it:

    In my experience, “I believe in science” is just a shorthand way of admitting, “I have a degree in the humanities.”

    That will leave a mark on some psyches. Anyone want to buy me the Amazon Product du Jour?

Last Modified 2024-06-03 6:56 AM EDT