Welcome to Part 2 of our Asphalt Warrior Srs. feature. Manic Readers is fortunate to have a print copy available to give away to one lucky commenter today.
Here’s a taste of what you have to look forward to with Murph.
When Gilligan’s Island first appeared on TV, I was a kid living in Wichita, Kansas, where I was born. I thought Bob Denver was the lead singer of The Wellingtons, the group that recorded the song. I guess this was what my Maw was talking about when she talked about the superiority of radio over television, and how radio forces the listener to use his imagination. There seemed to be something Bob Denverish about the lead singer’s voice. I later discovered to my dismay that he was not a part of the group. But since Bob Denver had once played the role of Maynard G. Krebbs on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, I imagined him looking like a beatnik and playing an acoustic guitar and singing the song while Sherwood Schwartz sat at the controls in the recording booth. That tells you everything you need to know about my imagination, and my Maw.
I flipped the burger once and accidentally flattened it on the frying pan with the spatula, but I kept thinking about that fiver in my Finnegans. I finally set the spatula down and went back into the living room and pulled the book off the shelf. I opened it and took the bill out and reread the sentence. Then I set the book back on the shelf and reached for my copy of The Stranger by Albert Camus. I placed the fiver inside, and put it back on the shelf.
I decided I wanted to hold onto the bill for awhile. I didn’t want to spend it until I came to grips with both the message and the audience. Had Trowbridge written it to himself, or to me? The possibility of ever learning the truth was nil, which was why I felt it belonged in my Camus. One thing I had learned in college was that if you ever had a question about truth, reality, or the meaning of existence, read a novel by Albert Camus. Pretty soon you’ll be so baffled you’ll forget the question.
(For those of you who never served in the army and subsequently faked your way through seven years of college, “Camus” rhymes with “Shamu” [the killer whale]).
But merely opening The Stranger had helped me. Five minutes later I was seated in front of my TV with a beer and a burger, waiting for the tantalizing vision of Mary Ann to come sashaying down the beach in her tight denim short-shorts. I don’t know who invented the word “sashay,” but Mary Ann brought it to life and gave it meaning. She always makes me forget Albert Camus.
THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB is the third and latest in Gary Reilly’s posthumously published Asphalt Warrior series. Brendan Murphy aka Murph is back driving his taxi in Denver. Once again he gets involved with a fare,Mr. Trowbridge. Of course there are consequences. What are those consequences? To answer that you’re gonna have to read THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB.
I had never heard of Gary Reilly or The Asphalt Warrior. I’ve only gone by Denver on the interstate several years ago on the way to Las Vegas. I was a blank slate about this whole shebang. The blurb sounded interesting and even though THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB is the third in the series I decided to give it a go. I’m really glad I did. The only problem is that now I have to get the first two and read them; like my TBR mountain isn’t out of control enough already.
Murph, our Denver cab driving protagonist, is a hoot. A quiet hoot but a hoot none the less. Murph has his routines and modest obtainable goals. He meets a wide range of society via his cab and is an astute observer and judge of human nature. Murph, against his better judgment, usually winds up involved in some way with a fare. In THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB there are two mysteries, both involving Mr. Trowbridge. The solutions were unique. My interest was certainly piqued by the $5 bill quotes and the “why the devil?” behind them. Despite the involvement of two detectives, Duncan and Argyle, I never felt stressed or worried about Murph the way I may have with a typical mystery. The lack of that tension doesn’t detract from the story or the mysteries at all; in fact it’s totally in keeping with the way THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB read for me. Imagine being cozy in your snuggly clothes-sweats, flannel jammies or whatever-curled up in your comfy chair with a bowl or plate of your favorite comfort food. For this slice of time all is right with you and your lil’ corner of the world. That is how Murph makes me feel when I read. He’s funny in a quiet easy way, never crude, and made me think without being in my face about it. Ponder is actually more appropriate than think and yes, there is a difference. Murph chats and I listen (read), laugh, and ponder.
THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB was a funny, entertaining, deceptively simple and oddly soothing read, so much more and better than I expected.
Seriously, what’s not to love? Murph has his routine what about y’all? Creatures of habit? Favorite shows you have to watch daily, a comfort read? Do tell and you’re in the running for the print copy of THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB. Sorry, due to shipping costs it’s U.S. only. Giveaway ends at 12 am est on June 14. 2013 with the winner announced shortly thereafter. Good luck!