The Pepper Cat Restaurant

We finally made it to the Pepper Cat Restaurant in Amherstburg and it was well worth the long trek from Windsor. Formerly the Beacon Ale House, you have to try this new restaurant. It’s advertised as upscale dining but the prices were not ridiculous.

Our visit was in the late afternoon for kind of a late lunch or early dinner so we decided to sample their appetizer menu. We leaned heavy on seafood with the mussels, done in a white wine and garlic sauce – with lots of juice that was great to soak up with their focaccia bread – perfectly crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

We ordered everything at once for a real smorgasbord – escargot that came with perfectly melted and gooey cheese on top. And their crab cakes, a decent size and lightly breaded. A special treat was the grilled octopus, something that is normally difficult to cook, but it was done perfectly – tender inside and char-grilled on the outside.

The spread filled up three of us and was all washed down with local craft beers that they have on tap. We had a gift card that halved our bill but found their appie prices were in line with other restaurants, and the portions were sizeable. The size of the octopus leg had us wondering how big the monster was before we ate it.

We had a friend in from Cambodia who loves seafood, and he was delighted by the food and liquid sampling. The chairs were super comfortable and the service was great. The chef even visited our table at our request. Cathryn and I highly recommend the Pepper Cat and rate it a 10 out of 10.

The 6:20 Man – David Baldacci

The 6:20 Man by 

David Baldacci (Goodreads Author)

Edmond Gagnon‘s review – Sep 19, 2022 

I’ve read Baldacci before but not with the protagonist Travis Devine. I liked the character, he was real and easy to relate to, not a super hero by any means, just a good guy trying to do the right thing.
The story was different; a murder in the financial district, obviously committed to cover up something illegal. But the plot is not that simple.
Baldacci keeps us guessing as to who done it, then adds in a few more murders to confuse us even more. A few twists and turns of events and late surprises keep you flipping pages right until the end.
The pace was quick and the story was interesting. A good read.

Hell From the Heavens – The U.S.S. Laffey

Hell from the Heavens: The Epic Story of the USS Laffey and World War II’s Greatest Kamikaze Attack
by John F. Wukovits

Edmond Gagnon‘s review Sep 08, 2022  

An excellent read for any war buff or even those slightly interested in World War II and naval actions. Very few novels can evoke emotion from me as this book did, while the author describes the triumphs and horrors of war from the perspective of soldiers on the front lines.
Hell from the Heavens gives us a look at the every day life of sailors aboard the USS Laffey, a ship that saw action in all the major amphibious landings in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Not exactly knowing the difference between a destroyer, cruiser or battleship, I learned how powerful yet vulnerable ships like the Laffey were.
I learned just how destructive the Japanese Kamikaze pilots were on the navy and particularly to the Laffey when they were attacked by 22 of them in 80 minutes. Often wondering where I’d rather be in the military, whether in the air, sea, or on land, this story has me reconsidering my choices.
I had the pleasure of meeting the author at a local book show and he told me the book rights have been purchased and a movie is in the works with Mel Gibson and Mark Wahlberg. I can’t wait to see this story on the big screen.

Say Nothing

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland
by Patrick Radden Keefe

Edmond Gagnon‘s review Aug 10, 2022  

I should say something about Say Nothing.
I began this book last winter and have picked it back up a few times after and in between other reads, but after getting half-way through it I’m giving up.
Not that it’s bad by any means, just way too thick and slow for me. Loaded with tons of real-life drama about the Irish Republican Army, the story jumps around between a mother of ten who goes missing from her home, and various leaders and participants in the on-going struggles in Ireland.
Say nothing is a true story of murder and memory in Ireland, according to the book’s cover.
Read it if you dare.

The Elusive Purple Gang

The Elusive Purple Gang: Detroit’s Kosher Nostra
by Gregory A. Fournier (Goodreads Author)

Edmond Gagnon‘s review Aug 06, 2022  

I’ve always heard about the Purple Gang and their criminal activities in Windsor during the rum-running days of the roaring 20’s, but wasn’t aware of their Detroit roots and exactly how bad-ass the group of thugs really was.
I gave the book 4 stars but feel it’s worth only a 3.5. Where it’s loaded with interesting facts and stories about long ago fabled Detroit mobsters, at times I found it too ‘statistical’ and a bit hard to follow with the numerous gang characters and their affiliates.
But for anyone who’s interested in the Detroit-Windsor booze prohibition connection, I recommend giving this book a read. It also delves into the gang’s connection to Al Capone and government corruption at all levels.

Behind The Badge – Her Story

Behind the Badge: Her Story
by Antoinette M James

Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Jul 22, 2022  

I met the author, Antoinette James, at the Detroit Bookfest and purchased a copy of her book, Behind the Badge. After listening to her pitch about her memoir, a true story about her life on the Detroit Police Department, I was sold.
I got fooled on this one. The book is more about the author’s personal life, weighing heavily on events that transpired before her time as a cop.
This woman had a life-long dream of being a Detroit Homicide detective, after watching numerous tv cop shows. Her naivety started at a young age, when she tells us in great detail how she was sexually exploited by her father. By the age of 15 she is pregnant, then hooks up with one wrong guy after another, learning nothing along the way.
The author spent only a few years as a cop and says she left the force because of sexual harassment but openly admits having sex with various men for personal advancement.
Some of my women reader friends might enjoy this book but I don’t recommend it as a must read.

My Audiobooks

My first sale of an audiobook on Google Play

Can you hear me now?

I just sold my first Audiobook on Google Play.

All of my titles are listed and someone purchased a copy of Trafficking Chen.

Don’t worry about the serious commission I raked in, it doesn’t even cover the cost of an air filter for the new furnace and air conditioner we just put in the house.

I’ve had previous requests for audiobooks of my titles so it’s nice to know someone bought one.

Thank you listener 🙂

Elvis – The Movie

I can’t believe someone hasn’t done an Elvis Presley movie before this one. ‘Elvis’ is an in depth look into his life, starting with how he was drawn to music as a child, and later being ‘discovered’ by Colonel Tom Parker. I found it interesting that the rock legend’s story was actually told by the Colonel, a man who defrauded Elvis of much of his fortune.

Why is it that so many great and talented people fall for or trust the wrong person and get taken to the cleaners? Are they too focused on their career’s and assume life the finance will take care of itself. It doesn’t make sense to me, but then I’m no rock and roll star.

The movie seems to have the jitters at first, while it finds it’s footing, but you’ll be tapping your foot or singing along to the awesome music in no time. The flick is almost two and a half hours long but it moved along well. I’d never heard of Austin Butler but I’m sure plenty of folks will now. To me, his awesome performance was only overshadowed by Tom Hanks, who portrayed Elvis’ promoter, the Colonel Tom Parker.

No matter how much you think you know about Elvis Presley’s life and his music, I’m sure you’ll come away with at least a few new facts after seeing this movie. Cathryn and I did. I even learned of other black musicians where the King got some of his inspiration. And I didn’t know that he wrote some of his own songs or that he died at such a young age. Sad.

Cathryn and I saw the movie with her mother and a friend, who spent much of the film singing along with the music. The movie was good and we recommend seeing it. We both give it an 8 out of 10, not worthy of a perfect score from me only because of it was the Colonel’s perspective of the King’s life.

Jurassic World – Dominion

I lost track of how many sequels of Jurassic Park there have been but we’ve managed to see them all and have to admit they are fun to watch. We decided to see this latest instalment in Imax format for extra-sized fun. Add that to the bigger and badder dinosaurs that roamed the earth along with mankind, and this movie was a CGI extravaganza.

Dominion brings back the original cast – some almost dinosaurs themselves, and (spoiler alert) chooses not to have any of them eaten alive during the movie. But don’t fret, plenty of others are snatched up and become dino-food. It is quite amazing how they can blend real people and a gigantic computer-generated animal into the same scene.

And as with other Jurassic movies, there are bad guys and good guys – not the creatures themselves, but people who want to exploit the dinosaurs and our heroes who want to save them. Add in a greedy bio-engineering company and Dominion has all the makings of a scary but lovable family movie.

With nothing else on the big screen these days but superhero movies, Cathryn and I enjoyed the movie. She rated it a 9 out of 10, mostly because nobody really dies. I give it a 6.

Gas of Tank – Todd Ternovan with Matthew St. Amand

Gas of Tank: A Canadian Law Enforcement Odyssey 1979 – 2019
by Matthew St. Amand, Todd Ternovan

Edmond Gagnon‘s Review – Jun 07, 2022  

Best book I’ve read in a long time.
You might call me bias because like the author, I’m a retired police officer and also an author. But with the help of Matthew St. Amand, former O.P.P. Constable Todd Ternovan offers an emotional and insightful view of what policing it really all about. It’s about people.
If you want an honest and accurate picture of what it’s like to work the front lines in law enforcement, this is a must-read. Many of Todd’s stories brought me back to moments in my own policing career – the good and the bad.
Our paths crossed at least once or twice during our respective careers, somewhere in between 1990 to 2009 but I didn’t really know the man. Reading this chronology of his career made me realize we shared a lot of the same work ethic. He’s done an amazing job on his first book and is obviously a great story teller. His use of witty and colorful metaphors had me laughing out loud. His dry and sometimes sarcastic sense of cop humor showed through.
I thought the title was weird at first, but as Ternovan says, it is befitting the surreal, upside-down and unbelievable experiences police officers face every day.