Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Books · Howling Good Reads for Halloween
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Howling Good Reads for Halloween

Nancy Sundstrom - October 30th, 2003
It’s Halloween week and movie-goers have been flocking to the likes of the remake of the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Kill Bill,” but readers, especially fans of the horror genre, have plenty of new options, as well.
For starters, there are hot-off-the-presses release from two of the best in the biz. Advance buzz has been strong for Peter Straub and Anne Rice’s latest ventures, his being “Lost Boy, Lost Girl,” and Rice’s a continuation of her infamous vampires series. Look for reviews of both in upcoming editions of Express.
Some other works of not include Ramsey Campbell’s “The Darkest Part of the Woods,” about an ancient English forest that provides a setting for murder, madness and mayhem, and “Season of the Witch,” the latest from Topinabee, MI-based writer and media personality Christopher Knight. A collection of short stories that pays more than a nod to Stephen King, Knight’s book is his strongest effort yet and he employs a number of clever storytelling twists that connect the tales to each other. Readers will also have fun with the Northern Michigan backdrops and bits of trivia that he stirs in for regional flavor.
But two very chilling, unforgettable and well-crafted books came out this past summer that are highly recommended if you don’t mind staying up late because you can’t stop turning the pages. William Brodrick’s “The 6th lamentation” and Stan Pottinger’s “The Last Nazi” have much in common, including the fact that they both deal with the scariest of all creatures to ever walk the earth - the Nazis. Truth be told, they’re would be more appropriately classified as thrillers rather than horror novels, but they’re nail-biters all the same and loaded with suspense that sometimes borders on terror.

The 6th Lamentation by William Brodrick
This debut novel begins with an uncommon act - that of a man seeking sanctuary at a monastery:
“My bottom!”
The Prior, Father Andrew, was fond of diluting harsher well-known expressions for monastic use, but the sentiment remained largely the same. He was an unconverted Glaswegian tamed by excessive education, but shades of the street fighter were apt to break out when grappling with the more unusual community problems.
“It was abolished ages ago. He can’t be serious.”
“Well, he is,” said Anselm.
“When did he come out with that one?”
“This morning, when Wilf asked him to leave.”
The Prior scowled. “I suppose he declined to oblige?”
“Yes. And he told Wilf there’s nowhere he can go.”

The man wanting sanctuary is Eduard Schwermann, a family man who has lived quietly for the past 50 years but is suspected of being a Nazi war criminal who destroyed a French underground movement who smuggled Jewish children to safety. As a result, men, women and children were sent off to death camps, but there’s a twist to the story as it unfolds - Schwermann claims that he actually risked his own life to save a young Jewish boy. Father Anselm, a barrister turned monk becomes involved with Schwermann’s trial and the more he learns, the more reason he has to believe that the church he has devoted himself to is an accomplice in the destruction of the Round Table. Plot twists abound nothing is what it seems, especially the past, which one character notes is “not a safe place while it touches on the living.”

The Last Nazi by Stan Pottinger
When I first began this taut thriller, I feared I was reading a rip-off of Ira Levin’s “The Boys From Brazil,” but it didn’t take long to discover that the book was completely original and equally unpredictable. The action kicks in from the opening paragraphs when we meet Melissa Gale, an attorney for the U.S. Justice Department who is hot on the trail of Adalwolf, a Nazi rumored to be the foster son of Dr. Josef Mengele, the “Angel of Death” from the Third Reich:
“The FBI agents climbed the grimy wooden stairwell smoothly, five sylphs in rubber-soled boots, black Ninja suits, Kevlar vests and helmets with visors lowered...Melissa Gale followed them up the steps at a short distance, her sneakers, turtleneck, and bulletproof vest suddenly feeling inadequate. But it didn’t matter. She wanted this guy so much it made her mouth dry. “Come on, Adalwolf,” she said in a soft whisper, “be inside that room.”...It was rare for a prosecutor to join the FBI on an arrest-in addition to the danger, it could make her a witness-but there were unusual circumstances in this case...Looking straight ahead, she saw the flickering blue light of a TV set coming through the crack at the bottom of the door. He was in there. Seventy-five-year old Adalwolf-Josef Mengele’s teenage lab assistant at Auschwitz, the last Nazi on her list-was watching television in a rooming house in Atlantic City’s run-down Inlet section.”

Gale and Adalwolf have had many close encounters in the past, but he has remained elusive. Now, he has decided to make Gale key in his unrealized plot to carry out Hitler’s final solution of extermination of the Jewish race. His plan is nearly flawless, but also has an unexpected moral dilemma attached to it, and Pottinger’s story races along with economy, almost to a fault because it’s so well told that you regret having it end. It’s provocative on a number of fronts - medical, political, criminal and social, to name a few - and the resolution is quite satisfying. I’d expect to see this land on the big screen soon, but do yourself a favor and read the book first.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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