Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Exile On Front Street: My Life As A Hells Angel and Beyond by George Christie Review

Paperback Version
Well here we go, another book review. I didn’t finish yesterday, and while I was asked why, I stuck to my guns and didn’t want to finish this until today. I just finished reading “Blood on The Moon” a couple of days beforehand, and was reviewing other things for my Scary Film Site here, and of course editing for John G’s Dirty Movie Reviews Here. Today, however, let’s talk about the latest book that I read, and it’s “Exile On Front Street: My Life As A Hells Angel and Beyond” by George Christie.

Sons of Anarchy For Real

For fans of the television show, “Sons of Anarchy”, a lot of what George Christie talks about in his book is familiar. He describes his journey from watching war abroad to the leadership of the Hells Angels that he came head to head with, before quitting. If you know the story of Jax, from the show, then you may find that there’s a lot to explore in this book, because it parallels a lot at the time. However, this is all real, and Christie admits he has not held back at all. In the introduction Christie says that he doesn’t hold anything back, despite revealing secrets, he is a straight shooter. Everything he talks about are real experiences, and he doesn’t try to hide behind honor or anything, he owns up to his mistakes and he really lets you have it, from his perspective as a former member, and leader.

Beyond Biker Culture

Christie does a good job of handling the material of his life, without trying to throw in a lot of simile or metaphor. I liked that. This reads like a journal at times. He has a way of explaining the biker culture from top to bottom, and describes famous events that involved the Hells Angels and other clubs. He talks about them frankly, and from insider perspectives that you do not always get. I’ve read about other people that were in the gangs, specifically those that were in ATF or FBI trying to get in on the clubs. This is not that kind of story, as there’s violence and mayhem here that is often regretted by the writer. I appreciated his no-nonsense approach to the writing, making this a fast and easy book to read, and not put down.

The Biker Life Has Evolved

The biker life has definitely evolved. Christie leaves the club after many years of leadership and recruiting. Rising from the bottom to the top is no easy feat, and he does it through hard work, and a good example. However, he is not without faults, much like the “Sons of Anarchy” stories you may be familiar with. You can easily put the actors into the stories that Christie talks about, but you have to remind yourself, this is real, and it is what happened. It’s a great set piece to add to your knowledge of motorcycle clubs. It’s a tale that is somewhat of a cautionary tale of what the biker life was, is, and may become in the future.

Unfortunately, there are individuals that do not like this book. I recently read a Huffington Post article in which someone skewers him, and his book. I can’t really comment on knowing anyone within the world of publishing like this, but it seems like an all-out attack, which is what Christie said would happen in his book. This is Christie’s truth, mind you, so if someone else out there has an opinion on it, it may be different. But let’s be honest for a moment. We all see things differently, and there will be people that discredit our stories, and process as well, so don’t read too much about what the naysayers say. This is a quality read.

Star Rating For “Exile On Front Street: My Life As A Hells Angel and Beyond” by George Christie

I read this book faster than I did my previous reads. My next read is going to take me at least 11 to 12 days to complete, so in light of that, I’m going to say that this book deserves a 4 out of 5. I loved it for the most part, but felt that since it was written in an autobiographical manner, with little to no creative editing or additions, it’s not going to be a fun read for those that are not explicitly interested in the Hells Angels. I thought it was great though. I definitely recommend it if you’re a fan of motorcycle clubs, pop culture, and post war veterans, etc.

You can purchase “Exile On Front Street: My Life As A Hells Angel and Beyond” by George Christie by clicking here.

Did you read “Exile On Front Street: My Life As A Hells Angel and Beyond” by George Christie? Drop me a comment below and let me know.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Blood On The Moon by James Ellroy Review

James Ellroy - Blood On The Moon Paperback
I’ve already read another book by James Ellroy, here. I wanted to read something different this time around, especially since my last few reads were a bit heavy. So I picked this book at random, and I was wrong about the light reading. James Ellroy paints a very real, and hardcore book about a detective on the Los Angeles Police Force, and he doesn’t hold back. Ellroy hits you in the gut from the first chapter, and then keeps pounding away until you get clarity in the end. “Blood On The Moon” is listed as a suspense novel, but it’s a detective, noir, and cop drama that has elements of revenge, horror, and much more.

The Ballad of Lloyd Hopkins

This is a story of Lloyd Hopkins. He is bullied as a teenager, but finds himself rising to the ranks in his adult career. He joins the National Guard, and ends up killing someone, a killer of African Americans, and someone in the armory. Fast forward to where Lloyd is a sergeant in the Los Angeles Police Department, and he starts to lose his mind, tracking down criminals, as he uses brute force. When he finds a brutal murder victim, he starts looking for clues and realizes that there’s a serial killer on the loose, and he has been killing since the 1960s. He then uses every dirty trick in the book, and even loses his shield at one point trying to pinpoint the killer, and get redemption from his past. Losing his family, his love, and trying to find a way to stop the killing of girls, he has to go through many hurdles, as is expected in a gritty noir, cop novel.

Ellroy Doesn’t Pull Back Punches

If you’re a fan of Ellroy, then you already know about his work. If you’re not, then this is a nice introduction to the gritty story telling that he puts together. He doesn’t hold back at all, he lets you have it in the gut from the first reading, and then starts to get deeper and deeper in terms of depravity, and crime. The bodies start piling up, and our hero has to deal with the isolation and entrapment that comes with an obsession of finding the killer. This book is shorter than “The Force” by Don Winslow, but some of the same themes are presented. It’s a cop story, it’s a crime fiction novel that sets the stage for another two books in the series. Ellroy is swift with his writing, giving you a lot of information in shorts bursts, and then leads to a killer climax, and eventually lets you down gently.

Another Copy Novel At First Glance

I’ll admit it, this is another cop novel at first glance. I thought I would get bored with it, but nope. "Blood On The Moon” kept me going through pages of crime drama, characters that were interesting, and some of the coolest explanations of Los Angeles I’ve ever read. I’m originally from Los Angeles, so hearing about streets, stores, and more that were in the area are dead on accurate. I loved that. This book is breezy, hardcore at times, but well put together, and easy to follow through on, if you like crime, cop novels. If not, then this can get too brutal and somewhat boring at times. This wasn't as good as his debut, but it was good enough to get me through it. It's not for everyone, though.

Star Rating For "Blood On The Moon”

I give Blood On The Moon” a 3 out of 5.

You can purchase Blood On The Moon” by James Ellroy by clicking here.

Did you read Blood On The Moon”? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Dumb: The Story of Big Brother Magazine Review

I grew up in Los Angeles for most of my life. The west side of Los Angeles to be exact. I got into skateboarding after graduating from the seventh grade at a Seventh Day Adventist school. I took a test to see if I was ready for the eighth grade, and it was found out that I was dumb. I had to repeat the seventh grade. I started skateboarding that summer. My stepfather purchased a deck from a swapmeet that was made of hard wood and plastic wheels. The wheels broke, and I asked if I could upgrade to a full scale deck. I was given a deck in 1996. I don’t remember the month, but I started to ride a Maple Skateboard with Bones wheels size 54mm, and independent trucks. It was my first major skateboard deck, and I followed that up by purchasing my first ever skateboarding magazine. That magazine was Big Brother and it was wrapped in plastic. It was the Andy Roy issue, and it got me in trouble at school, but it was my ticket to learning about skateboarding lifestyle, and the stupidity of having no rules, anarchy, and skateboarding. I loved it.

Dumb: The Story of Big Brother Magazine is the story of how a bunch of idiots began a skateboarding magazine that was absolutely under no real rules. The guys from this magazine would create anarchy, gonzo writing and photography, only to form Jackass the Television Show after the fact. What you get from Jackass, you get in magazine form with the release of these magazines, and I loved every second of it.

I am no longer skateboarding, but the ethos that were presented to me in the magazines still has me alive and well, and I raise a fist in a lot of things that I do. The documentary features all the main players, and you know them from the show and movie that came afterwards. The treatment of the magazine and story is great, with interviews from everyone that was around at the time, the people that worked for the magazine, and even Larry Flynt, whom was in this documentary talking about the ups and downs of the skateboarding magazine.

The big thing that I remember from this story, was not so much what I remember, but the changes that occurred when Larry Flynt bough the magazine and started publishing it. The corporate setting of publishing really threw a wrench in my idea of Flynt, and I regret not working there when I had the chance. I had the chance to work there twice, and I just didn’t get to work there. It’s a regret for me to this day.

This documentary is amazing. It’s a look at the culture of skateboarding from the lens of having no rules, and yet, getting pushed into rules, not making money, and what would become of the Jackass idea, from the magazine point to something new. I loved it. I think you should watch it. It’s on HULU right now, so get it, I loved it and I love skateboarding culture from my youth, and this paints me in so many ways. Go see it.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Mo Daviau “Every Anxious Wave” Review

Every Anxious Wave 5 out of 5 
“Every Anxious Wave” by Mo Daviau is the latest book I’ve managed to finish off. I didn’t want to finish it, I wanted it to continue to go, but with every good thing, there’s an ending point and you have to just let it go. Well, Mo Daviau was able to grab my heart and throw into a worm hole of fiction that I will never forget. It’s perhaps one of my favorite books I’ve read thus far, this year. I’ve read a lot of books, as you can find out by looking through this blog, but nothing has gripped me quite the way this book has, and that’s a great thing, since this book challenged me in certain ways that I didn’t know it would.

To The Past and To The Future

Karl Bender has a wormhole in his apartment. He’s using it to go back in time to see shows, and let others jump in to see concerts from classic bands and in different times. He’s a slacker in some ways, but owns a dive bar, and was once a member of a popular independent rock band in the 90s. When his friend wants to use the time traveling device to do something good, he doesn’t want to let him, so he sends him back to 980 instead of 1980. This disrupts everything, as he can’t figure out how to bring him back, and now has to get a helping hand. That helping hand opens up doors to love, loss, and much more as he meets a smart woman, Lena Geduldig. Thanks to her awesome shirt, he gets her on board, but not without first taking her on a trip to see a show.

Fixing Things Is Tough

You already know what happens if you try to fix the past. You may have seen movies like “Back To The Future” and “The Butterfly Effect”, now mix that with “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and throw in “High Fidelity” for good measure, and you start to see what Mo Daviau has been able to create with this book I couldn’t put down. It’s a love letter to the 90s in some ways, it’s a union of musical integrity and science fiction that doesn’t let you leave the room without thinking about what you would do. Would you do the same as Karl? Would you fall for Lena? Would you change her past? Would you change yours? How would you navigate the future, the present, and what angst driven parts of your past are going to cause your future to change? Fixing things is not only tough, it may be impossible sometimes.

Don’t Reinvent The Wheel

“Every Anxious Wave” by Mo Daviau caught me off guard. It’s a fabulous read, it’s fun, it’s heart felt, and it’s serious. It pushes the boundaries of comedy, science, and music at times. I loved the way Karl and Lena speak to each other. I loved the transitional stages of their lives, and I wanted to be Karl at times, and wanted to find Lena, only to realize that the characters are like people I know, and they are like me, and that’s scary. Mo finds a way to paint pictures of people I remember from my days in the punk rock scene, and pulls my heart to want to jump in time and see the past, the women lost, the bands seen, and the future of what will come of my own world. This is a book I love, and many people will love. It starts so simple, and then widens into a beautiful story of love, loss, time travel, and music. You owe it to yourself to check it out.

Overall “Every Anxious Wave” by Mo Daviau gets a 5 out of 5 from me.

You can pick up “Every Anxious Wave” by Mo Daviau by clicking here.

Did you read “Every Anxious Wave” by Mo Daviau? What did you think? Drop me a line and let me know what your thoughts are on this instant classic.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk Review

"Survivor" by Chuck Palahniuk - 4 out of 5 Stars
It took me just 1 week to read “Survivor” by Chuck Palahniuk. The author’s previous works “Snuff” and “Choke” had me interested and when I read them, I liked them. I am not sure what drove me to read this book that was published in 1999, but it happened. The book is roughly 300 pages long, and I was able to get through it rather quickly. The literary device that was used here was backwards. Think “Memento” but in a book. You get the ending first, and work your way towards the first line of chapter 1, and it’s fascinating. Chapter 47 starts and winds down to chapter 1. You can read this book backwards, if you’d like, but it doesn’t have the same powerful story. I like the format, and that’s just the starting line of this book.

Tender Branson and Survivor’s Guilt

A while back I read the book “Raven”, it was about the Jonestown massacre. I then watched a documentary about the survivors, and there is a such thing as survivor’s guilt. That is an interesting point of view for me, since I grew up in churches and heard a lot of stories of survival, and turning to god, and of course cults. I know too much about cults. That’s why this story really resonated with me, as there were a lot of elements of biblical synapses, and crossfire. The main character Tender Branson is the last surviving member of the Creedish Cult, which killed themselves. He gets thrown into the mainstream media and becomes a religious icon. His job is to teach etiquette to others, meanwhile he has an anonymous crisis hotline (fake), and comes into contact with a clairvoyant sister of one of the people that has called. Oh, and he’s hijacked an airplane and it’s going to go down, as he’s going to die. In some ways I got the “Fight Club” feeling from the first person narration, but at others, it was altogether different. A confessional in a falling airplane? That’s what this book is, and isn’t in some ways.

Black Humor and Religion Clashes

What “Survivor” by Chuck Palahniuk has done here is clever. He has written a book that has been turned backwards, but with all of the power of the best novelists at his helm. He has found a way to meet black humor with religion, and make it absolutely poignant. This is on par with “American Psycho” at times, and it’s very well written. I couldn’t put it down, I had to finish it, as it continually kept getting more and more intriguing. Remember, it’s backwards, but yet the reveals are all formally introduced in such a manner that you can’t really get the same potency if you were to read it in any other format. There’s something special about this, and I loved it.

Star Rating For “Survivor” by Chuck Palahniuk

I’m going to give this book a 4 out of 5 star rating. The only thing I didn’t like was the minutia that was talked about at times. There’s a lot of elements mentioned about cleaning and working for someone anonymously. I get what he’s doing, he’s juxtaposing religious ceremony with etiquette and the process of belief and sacrament. It’s clever, but if you’re not a religious person or know anything about religion or ceremony, you may find it boring. In fact, that kind of even bored me, until I finished the book and realized he was doing a very specific thing with the writing. Clever, and yet 1 star less for it. Maybe upon another read it will get a 5 star, but until then 4 stars for “Survivor” by Chuck Palahniuk.

You can purchase “Survivor” by Chuck Palahniuk from by clicking here.

Did you read “Survivor” by Chuck Palahniuk? If so, drop me a comment and let me know what you think.

I’m off to read “La Lacuna” and “Orange is The New Black”, and of course will review them upon completion. Support your local library, comment, share, like, and explore reading. I’ll be back when I get more time to discuss books and random money-making failures.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Force by Don Winslow Review

The Force by Don Winslow Paperback (click Here)
I saw an advertisement for “The Force” by Don Winslow and immediately picked it up from my local library. This book was touted as being like The Godfather, with cops. I immediately jumped into this novel, and was impressed with how gritty it was, and how fast the body of the work went. Winslow really pushes you into the world of corrupt cops, and government legislation. You are interested to a cast of characters that are fighting to take drugs off the street, by any means necessary.

A Cop Drama Unlike Any Other

I’ve only read a few books this year about law enforcement. This is the first fictional book that I’ve read. The book introduces you to Denny Malone, a man who wants to be a good cop, but in the gritty streets of New York City, the lines get blurred fast. He takes a little here and there, and eventually takes on a lot more, and eventually him and his crew are dirty cops that are trying to keep out of the lens of federal eyes. Over time, things get harder and harder to deal with and the feds have Denny dead to rights. Will he turn, or will he serve time in prison? Will he give up his friends? What will he do with his back against the wall?

The Shield Comes To Life

“The Force” by Don Winslow was written after a lot of research was done. Winslow spent time investigating the NYPD and has written one hell of a story that is fiction, based on real events, but mostly fictionalized with a deep soul. If you have seen the television “The Shield”, then you know how this book unwinds the difficulty of managing life, being a cop, and avoiding being dirty. The story is fast moving. You’re introduced to Malone and his crew, and then a new member joins and everything starts to become a bit more difficult. While the crew thinks that the new guy is too clean, Malone goes to bat for him, and things star to really get out of hand as the drug war in New York starts to explode, with traps being set throughout the novel.

Too Real At Times

At the end of the day, “The Force” by Don Winslow is a hard hitting novel. It’s an epic of cop dramas, and is very much like you would see in gritty cop dramas on HBO or Showtime. I saw this as a movie in my head with Mark Wahlberg starring. If you’ve seen the movie, “We Own The Night”, then you kind of see the kind of story that you have here. It’s a solid book, with a lot of hard moments to read through, and action that is no doubt ready to be a movie. It’s a solid book with a lot of heart, and some gritty moments. I loved it. It’s a great book, and definitely gets my highest recommendation. I loved the way the story moved, and how the ending really paid off in my view, with lots of great lines.

“Denny Malone wanted to be a good cop….”

Star Rating For “The Force” by Don Winslow

I’m giving “The Force” by Don Winslow 5 stars. This is a great book, and comes highly recommended if you like crime thrillers. This is a cop saga that punches you in the gut and shows off the complexities of human life, love, and police life. It’s a great book, and it’s easy to read. I love it.

You can buy “The Force” by Don Winslow by clicking here.

Did you read “The Force” by Don Winslow? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Currently Reading: The Force by Don Winslow

The Force by Don Winslow
I read the tag line that “The Force” by Don Winslow was like the Sopranos in a book, with cops. So far, it feels a lot like the show The Shield, but it is a gritty book that has been getting me quite excited lately. It’s the book I chose to read after “The Bell Jar” because it was newer, and it had been getting good publicity. Thus far, it’s gritty, it feels like it’s going to get an HBO show or a movie adaptation, because there are a lot of elements that are hardcore, and pull no punches.

So far, I’ve read Part I and it’s been good. You’re introduced to Denny Malone, part of a unit that fights gangs in New York City. However, he’s been dirty, and he wants out, but how can he say no to the world of corruption when he’s knee deep. Oh, and things are unraveling in his personal life, as his team starts to cause issues, when violence shakes the city, and a new kingpin seems to be pushing out the good cops and leaving only bad ones. Oh, and Malone seems to be stuck, alongside his separated wife, his new lover, and lots more. It’s “cinematic” in presentation thus far, and I’ll review it sooner than later.

You can pick up “The Force” by Don Winslow, by clicking here.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...