The Litigators – John Grisham

11600163The Litigators
by

John Grisham (Goodreads Author)
15204490

Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Mar 06, 2020


A bit slow off the start, this book was truly enjoyable. Grisham is a master a weaving a courtroom tale and this story takes you a step further – into the office of Finley and Figg, two ambulance chasers. Formerly being in law enforcement, and spending hundreds of hours in courtrooms, I found myself chuckling and relating to the lawyers in this story. I’ve seen all sorts of good and bad lawyers in action and Grisham’s characterizations are right on.
The Litigators is kind of a riches to rags to riches kind of story for one particular lawyer who leaves a power legal firm with hundreds of solicitors to join a ’boutique law firm.’ Some of the plot is predictable, but the author keeps the story fun and interesting along the way. The ending wasn’t a big surprise and leaves you feeling satisfied with how you got there.

Murder in Montana – Anna Schilke

23767009Murder in Montana
by Anna Schilke (Goodreads Author)

15204490

Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Mar 01, 2020


I didn’t finish reading this book and struggled to give it three stars, but it was a descent story that touched on some serious issues with regard to the abuse of women. Maybe I’m biased because I’m a former police detective, but I thought the investigative and police procedural parts of the book fell flat.
The author came up with a truly unique MO for her serial killer and that peaked my curiosity, but even that wasn’t enough to coax me into finishing the book. I think overall, it lacked the polish that a good editor could have brought into the mix.
I met this author at a book fair and swapped one of my own for hers. She’d told me there was a story to go along with the novel but I never got to hear it. In what I did read, I think that she had some personal experiences in her past that inspired her to put her thoughts to paper.
In all, the book was a good effort but it think it fell short of its mark.

The Baked Potato Guy – Melaque

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Warning: Actual Baked Potatoes are more than double this size.

Who’d a thunk you can make a meal for two out of a baked potato. Or better yet, how can someone make any money selling them at 80 Pesos, loaded with butter, sour cream, onions, and any other toppings or sauces you want, like mushrooms, bacon, or even beef.

Leave it to an entrepreneurial Mexican who threw a small barbecue and a couple tables right on the street, in Downtown Melaque (just past the Oxxo and across from Toba’s Wings) on the road to Villa Obregon. I don’t know if the improvised street stand has a name, and have only seen an orange piece of cardboard listing his prices, taped to the wall.

Cathryn and I have either walked or bicycled by the Potato guy in the past, but tonight we finally tried one. Funny thing was, we were having wings at Toba’s and are not fans of their French Fries. We smelled and eyed the cooking potatoes in wonderment. It can’t hurt to ask, right?

When our server took our order, I asked about the possibility of adding a potato from down the street. He smiled and told me the owner was his amigo, and that I should go right ahead and help myself. So, here’s to starting a new trend…or at least making an attempt to bring these two guys together, under one roof.

We dug in and dissected our giant spud, which had to weigh two pounds or more. Looking closer, while digging into the creamy delight, it appeared as though it had been twice cooked – baked first, then whipped with butter and sour cream and onions. It was an awesome mixture, to which we added sauteed mushrooms. It was easily more than enough for the two of us, in addition to our wings, and could probably feed a small family of four as a side dish.

Who the hell needs boring fries?

61 Hours – Jack Reacher – Lee Child

835799261 Hours (Jack Reacher, #14)
by Lee Child (Goodreads Author)

15204490

Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Feb 24, 2020


The more I read Jack Reacher stories, the more I love the guy. Sure his goofy nomadic style and do-good image are weird and abnormal in today’s world, but I think he’s the kind of guy we’d all like to be at some point in our lives.
I gave this book it’s fourth star because besides Harry Bosch, Reacher’s one-liners make me laugh out loud, no matter when or where I’m reading. Sure, this story was slower than most Reacher adventures, and I’ve complained about the authors heavy use of fluff and filler in the past, but in this case I think it all went hand-in-hand with the story.
The plot was predictable at times, but the ending will literally blow you away…or maybe Reacher…or maybe not. It’s the first book in the series where the author leaves you hanging at the end, wondering whether he lives or dies.
I had to look to the next book in the series for my answer 🙂

Quetzal Excels

splitI think this is the first time I’ve ever blogged and bragged about one particular restaurant twice. My last post about El Quetzal De Laura in Villa Obregon was for their excellent breakfasts, and now Cathryn and I can rant about their dinners.

Diners have a choice of seating inside and out, the restaurant being shaded by trees, foliage, and an awning out front. Chairs are padded and comfortable, and tables are adorned with real tablecloths.

While waiting on our dinners we heard diners around us raving about their crepes and salad. Cathryn ordered the special-coconut shrimp and I asked for the Popeye crepe that included spinach to make me big and strong. It was also filled with large plump shrimp, onions and cream cheese – a creamy, chewy mixture, wrapped in a light and fluffy piece of heaven. My entree included their house salad, a mixture of greens and shredded carrots and alfalfa sprouts, with a light balsamic dressing.

shrimpCathryn’s shrimp were huge but the only gave her six and I was afraid I wouldn’t get a sample. Her plate came with a salad and rice but she opted for veggies, getting a nice assortment and steamed and tender goodies. We both agreed the coconut shrimp was the best we’ve had yet in Barra or Melaque.

I overheard another table raving about the deserts, but I wasn’t fussy about their pie selection. Instead, we indulged in a full-blown banana split, complete with the neapolitan ice cream flavours I remembered from my childhood, and fresh local bananas and strawberries. If I had to complain about anything it would be the lack of hot fudge on the split.

crepeWe each had two drinks with our meal and desert. The bill came to $570 Pesos or a hair under 40 Loonies. A steal, considering Cathryn and I think it’s the best restaurant we’ve tried this year in Melaque. We both rated it 10 out of 10.

The Last Oracle – James Rollins

2277444The Last Oracle (Sigma Force, #5)
by James Rollins (Goodreads Author)

15204490

Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Feb 21, 2020


Hmm…I really have to think about this review and why I wasn’t crazy about this book. Maybe it’s because I read it in spurts, trying to get into and comprehend and many characters and organizations they were from like the FBI, CIA, KGB, ABC, etc.
The story itself was good, with past-paced action, but even that got tiring after awhile-the protagonists saving the world just in the nick of time at the turn of every corner. I can’t recall if I’ve read James Rollins before; his voice and style was easy to read.
Don’t let me discourage you from reading this novel, others have rated it higher. To sum it up, I guess it just didn’t float my boat.

No Cambio (No Change)

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I’m sure just about everyone who reads this has experienced the same dilemma when trying to buy something in small town Mexico, and some other countries south of the border. Stores and restaurants don’t have any change!

It’s not usually a big deal paying for everything in cash, unless you’re at a fancy restaurant and don’t want to take a chance that the ATM is out of money again. Yes, even the banks seem to be low on cash. We’ve had the experience in Sayulita, Melaque and Barra de Navidad.

The thing I don’t get is at places like OXXO or Kiosko (stores like 7-11) who have customers in and out all day long, they never have any change for paper money that would be the equivalent to our ten or twenty dollar bills. If people are giving them change all day long (cuz the can’t get any) then where the hell does it all go?

It’s like a comedy routine, watching a store clerk search her own purse, or running to the store next door to make change. We’ve tried to pay our bar tab and have seen the waiter dig into their tip jars for change. They never carry a float and in many places a metal box serves as a cash register.

You get to the point where you break into a sweat after opening your wallet and you see only $500 peso notes…what the ATM normally dispenses. So, can anyone tell me where all the Cambio is?

Dark Sacred Night – Michael Connelly

38204691._SX318_Dark Sacred Night (Harry Bosch, #21; Renée Ballard, #2; Harry Bosch Universe, #31)
by

Michael Connelly (Goodreads Author), 
15204490

Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Feb 04, 2020


I’m a huge Harry Bosch fan and have also become a Michael Connelly fan. His writing voice is strong, his cop lingo and research into police procedure is spot on. Having been a cop myself, I can easily relate to Connelly’s other police characters as well as the creeps and criminals they pursue.
I didn’t think this novel deserved the fifth star only because the story didn’t seem to put me on the edge of my seat as his others have. I did like how the author switched perspectives, telling us the story from two different sides, both Bosch’s and Renee Ballard’s.
If you’re a Harry Bosch or Michael Connelly fan you’ll enjoy this book. If you’re new to the character or author you’ll still like the book and probably become a fan.

ChavaKiah Massage Cafe

chavaI literally stumbled across this hidden gem while exploring the back streets running parallel to the blurred Melaque/Villa Obregon border. I saw the words Chavakiah and Desayuno scribbled on a chalkboard near Esmerelda’s and ambled over the cobblestone to see what I could see, and maybe eat.

And there it was, an oasis among the non-descript faded pastel bungalows, a few umbrellaed tables and another chalkboard to signal I had the right place. I sat outside the first time but had to take shelter inside today because of the unusual rainstorm (it never rains while we’re here in the winter).

Continue reading “ChavaKiah Massage Cafe”

Toba Wings in Melaque

58724844_1086800061443780_6099295323476197376_oFinally, a restaurant in Melaque with good chicken wings. Not the small pigeon wings or tiny appendages stolen from young birds before they grow feathers, but large-almost jumbo, fat and juicy wings with a few decent sauces to choose from.

Everyone knows I love food, but no everyone knows I’m a chicken wing aficionado, having sample cluckers in restaurants from here to Alaska, and from San Francisco to Capetown, Africa.  Toba Wings might not have the best wings in the world, but they are good enough for this birdman to make a return visit.

Continue reading “Toba Wings in Melaque”