Rogue Lawyer – John Grisham

Rogue Lawyer (Rogue Lawyer, #1)
by John Grisham (Goodreads Author)
Edmond Gagnon‘s review Apr 11, 2021 

John Grishams’s done it again…gone and proved he can create a totally new character, base the next series on him, and write a great story. The prolific author introduces us to Sebastian Rudd, a street litigator who is even more gritty than the Lincoln Lawyer.
The Rogue Lawyer is done a bit different than Grisham’s other courtroom dramas, in that it contains five parts, with different clients and their individual stories, giving readers perspectives from both the innocent and guilty.
Like Mickey Haller, Rudd uses his vehicle for an office, but for different reasons. He represents the lowest of the low, whom no one else will take on as clients, thus making him very unpopular. I don’t give five star ratings very often, but this book was a very good read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Equalizer With Queen Latifah

I’ve been biting my tongue since watching the latest reboot of The Equalizer, starring Queen Latifah. I can’t say I remember much about the original 1980 television series, starring Edward Woodward as Robert McCall, a retired CIA agent who spends his time helping desperate people in desperate situations.

The series was rebooted with movies in 2014 and 2018, starring Denzel Washington as McCall. The storyline was the same, and I thought Denzel was perfect for the role, one similar to the character he played in Man on Fire. When I heard of the new TV series coming out I was kind of hoping he would be continuing his role.

To say I was shocked and skeptical when I saw that Queen Latifah was given the role of Robyn McCall is an understatement. Queen Latifah. Really? McCall is now retired, but billed as the best agent the CIA ever had. The woman has to be near 300 pounds, with a caboose that barely makes it though doors. Watching her waddle pains me, trying to believe the fight scenes where camera tricks and edits make her look faster than Bruce Lee.

McCall also has a teenage daughter in this latest version, something else that totally contradicts what the CIA would look for in it’s operatives. But as we’ve always been led to believe, you’re never really out of the company. Perhaps this is why our new Equalizer still has access to professional computer hackers and an assortment of fancy weapons.

I have to admit I’m still watching the show, mostly because I like the storylines, but I wince every time I see Latifah faking an action scene. They don’t even try to make her look thinner or more like an action hero – she has a wardrobe that is very unflattering for a large female spy. I’m sorry but watching her in this role is like seeing Mr. Rogers as the next James Bond.

The Late Show – Michael Connelly

The Late Show (Renée Ballard, #1; Harry Bosch Universe, #29)
by Michael Connelly (Goodreads Author)
Edmond Gagnon‘s review Mar 24, 2021  


I really like Michael Connelly and the unique characters he’s created over the years to carry the stories in his crime novels. I wasn’t sure about his latest, Renee Ballard, at first, but grew to understand and eventually like the new crimefighter more as the plot unfolded.


LAPD Detective Ballard is no Harry Bosch, but she is a good cop with her own style, perhaps more representative of the newer breed of crime investigator. In ‘The Late Show’ Ballard is not only challenged by the serious cases that come her way, but she has to stand up for herself and fight to regain her good reputation that was sullied by a former boss.


The story is a bit slow at first, but the intrigue and action build at a good pace. The twist thrown in near the end completely took me by surprise.
I think Renee Ballard is a good addition to Connelly’s cast of characters.

The Cook’s Shop Redux

Where in Windsor can you find a restaurant with excellent food and service that’s been around for 40 years? The answer is the new old Cook’s Shop Restaurant. Spencer Dawson, took the reigns when the former owner retired from the business he started in 1980. The cozy dining room and Italian menu remain mostly the same, with a few minor changes to both. The old meat display case is gone but the natural stone walls and romantic setting remains the same.

The new owner introduced himself to Cathryn and I, taking the time to explain how he strived to keep fan-favorites on the menu, and brought in a few new recipes handed down by his grandmother. Her homemade bread was the first thing to knock our socks off – a sliced loaf that was crispy golden on the outside and a cornbread texture on the inside, served with a soft herb butter. The wine list covers all bases and quite reasonably priced.

We talked about Dawson’s idol, Lino, the previous owner, who just happened to grace us with his presence moments later. We were lucky enough to chat with both men and capture a few photos of the two most passionate restaurant owners I’ve ever met. Our Caesar salads were delivered on their departure from our table, the original recipe that Dawson said he had to retain in order to prevent a riot.

I forgot about the Escargot – large and tender snails served on a bed of mushrooms sautéed in garlic butter and served in phyllo pastry. We had time for another slice of bread before the salad. Our waiter, Moe, was Johnny-on-the-spot and never far from our table. I ordered the Spaghetti Carbonara, with double smoked bacon, and asked to have it on the creamy side. Yep, more sauce to soak up with the bread. It was one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever had.

Cathryn ordered the Rack of Lamb, four thick portions stacked over a pea and mushroom risotto. Sitting on my hands was all I could do to resist snatching some while she was away from the table. It was juicy, tender, and cooked to perfection. Sadly, we couldn’t finish the last two pieces of bread. Our meals were quite generous in size.

Although we were both stuffed, I needed a pieced of cheesecake. They had two and I went for the salted caramel. Not too rich, it had the perfect combination of sweet and saltiness. We both loved every part of our meal and enjoyed the experience of meeting both the old and new regime. Giving the Cook’s Shop a 10 out of 10 was a no-brainer.

Watch for Dawson’s future plans, while he renovates the whole building, possibly adding another restaurant and living quarters above that.

The Wrong Road – Jack Bennett Sr.

I just finished reading, The Wrong Road – A Crime Story, the second book by fellow local author Jack Bennett Sr. More a short story or novella, Bennett weaves a tale of a young and impressionable man from Windsor, Jimmy Burns, who wants to become a somebody by hanging with the wrong crowd.

Burns figures the best way to impress the local stripper he’s taken a shine to, is by showering her with money that he doesn’t have. The solution to his dismal situation is to resort to crime in order to improve his cash flow. Burns soon learns that he’s being taken for a ride and decides to strike out on his own, continuing a cross-country crime spree.

The story finds Burns digging a deeper hole for himself, before he meets the woman who might actually help turn his life around.

The Wrong road is an interesting story and an easy read. I give it 3.5 stars out of 5. It is available locally through the author or at Story Tellers Book Store in Windsor.

Streaming – The New Normal

I think it’s safe for me to say that 95% of those who read this are now streaming movies and/or television shows via their mobile device or Smart TV. And that’s only because the remaining 5% are either computer illiterates or simply don’t watch the squawk box. And it’s so convenient and easy for us to do nowadays, right? Just sign up for Netflix or one of the other streaming companies that are popping up like dandelions on a Spring lawn.

Or maybe you opt for Prime if you have an Amazon account; it’s only another 5 bucks a month. And there’s Crave for those of you who subscribe to Bell. That’s only 5 bucks too but if you want to watch anything good you need to drop another fiver (each) to get HBO, Showtime, Starz or the Super Channel. Apple TV is another conglomerate that is free, until you find you have to pay for Netflix or Crave or anything else under their umbrella.

Then there’s Gem, CBS All Access, CTV, Tubi, Global, Ted, A & E, Sundance or Sundance Plus if you want to watch anything decent. And I forgot You Tube, which is still free if you can figure out how to navigate the gazillions of videos that everyone with an iPhone has posted. I’ve recently seen Paramount Plus advertised, apparently one of the new ways the company can release movies without having to sell them to Netflix or Prime.

So, what does all this streaming really cost? My wife and I have taken to listing dollar amounts and effective dates on our calendar to keep track. Many say it’s cheaper than going to the movies. Really? Take your $100 to $150 basic cable or satellite bill, then add another $10 a month for one of the big shots like Netflix. But then add another $5 a month so you can binge on one of your favorite TV shows. Then a couple more fives here and there for whatever others you’ve forgotten to cancel, and remember that you’re paying this each and every month!

I know some who are paying $200 a month to watch television. That’s quite a few trips to the movie theater. I don’t know about you but I’m finding it more frustrating every day when I see a new show or movie that’s about to be released, but I have to subscribe to another provider to watch it. If this is the new normal I don’t like it.

Suspect – Michael Robotham

Suspect (Joseph O’Loughlin, #1)
by Michael Robotham (Goodreads Author)
Edmond Gagnon‘s review Feb 17, 2021  
I had never heard of author Michael Robotham, perhaps it’s because he’s from Sydney Australia.
Regardless, I found his book, Suspect, a very good read. The protagonist is a Psychiatrist, but not a character like Alex Delaware in John Kellerman’s novels, who assists police in their investigations.

Joseph O’Loughlin may be trying to get into his patients heads, but it seems more like he needs to examine himself. By trying to get to the truth he only incriminates himself and goes from helping the police to being their number one suspect.

I found the backstory a bit heavy at times but the plot was well written and fast paced enough to keep my attention. I would definitely read this author again.

The Snowman – Jo Nesbo

The Snowman (Harry Hole, #7)
by Jo Nesbø 
Edmond Gagnon‘s reviewFeb 07, 2021 


The Snowman is the first ‘Harry Hole’ Jo Nesbo novel that I’ve read. Although a Norwegian author, he can weave a crime fiction tale with the best of them.
I had some difficulty getting into this book, and keeping things straight as the story progressed, because of all the Norwegian names of places and characters. For me, it was hard to concentrate when I couldn’t pronounce or remember most of the proper nouns that were used.
Having said that, the plot was intricately pieced together, with enough twists and turns to keep any crime reader fully engrossed.
Nesbo’s police protagonist and sadistic antagonist were equally likable, especially once the latter was eventually discovered.

Trafficking Chen – Teaser

Here’s a tease for what Norm Strom is up to next:

Human Trafficking is an affliction that has infected countries across the world for centuries, and continues to do so today. There are countless numbers of victims.

Trafficking Chen is the heartfelt story of one victim, a young Chinese girl who is taken from her family home to settle an outstanding gambling debt acquired by her father. She is forced into labor and becomes a servant to the rich.

As Chen comes of age, she has to serve in other ways, using her own body to satisfy her master’s sexual appetite. Later, she is prostituted and moved around the country, eventually being shipped overseas to Canada, where she is put to work as an exotic dancer.

Street Crimes Detective Norm Strom mostly investigates property-related crime, but he receives a tip from a confidential informant who says illegal Asian women are dancing at a local strip club. Trying to ignore personal issues, Strom joins a task force to investigate possible human trafficking in his city.

Les Miserables

Having seen the live stage version at least twice, and the previous movie musical with Russel Crowe and Hugh Jackman, I have to say that I enjoyed the latest BBC production of Les Miserables the best. The new version, which we were able to stream on CBC Gem, is not a musical. And it’s cast is not made up of A-listers, but you should recognize names like Dominic West (the Wire), David Oyelowo (Selma), and Olivia Colman (The Crown).

I found a new appreciation for this latest installment of the timeless classic because I got a better understanding of the story. Perhaps the music and lack of backstory in the stage versions left me with more questions than answers as to the overall plot. For the unaware, Les Miserables takes place in France after Napoleon and the French Revolution.

It’s a sad rags to riches to rags tale that is shown in eight parts, currently available for streaming or downloading. Cathryn and I loved the story and both give it a 9 out of 10.