Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Escape from DC

We rented a house in a small town on the shore of the Cheasapeake Bay for Labor Day weekend. I packed a box of books so I would have a good supply of reading material for our vacation but when we got here, we found a bookcase full of good books. I knew the house had a small offering of books and DVDs but was pleasantly surprised by what we found - a really good selection of Scandinavian crime fiction.  (Hakan Nesser, Maj Sjowall&Per Wahloo, Stieg Larsson, Jo Nesbo, Henning Mankell, Arnaldur Indridason, Kjell Erickson, Johan Theorin, Karin Fossum, and Lars Kepler.)  If I had been under house arrest and had to stay longer I would've enjoyed reading what was on hand.  Plus, they had two by William Boyd, a Tana French, a Richard Price, and a few other good choices.

I never got around to reading anything from the house library.  Instead, I wound up immersed in entertainment about escaping from prisons.  I started out reading Richard Stark's Breakout.  Our first night we watched Chicken Run (a really great escape movie) on DVD.  After Breakout, I moved on to Donald Westlake's Help I Am Being Held Prisoner.  I also polished off Richard Stark's Nobody Runs Forever and Lawrence Block's Hit Man.

Breakout was published in 2002 and Help I Am Being Held Prisoner was published in 1974 but Westlake used the same name for the prison in each book (Stoneveldt and Stonevelt).  Not a big deal, I realize, but it was strange to encounter the names in back to back books.  I found two cartoons from the Spectator in Breakout.

(Something is going haywire here and I can't format anything the right way.)

It was hard to find a copy of Help I Am Being Held Prisoner.  I wound up buying an ex-library copy without a dust jacket for 17 cents from Atlanta via Canada. (Property of the U.S. Army, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, Branch 1 Library)  Very ugly, but I enjoyed reading it.  

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