Monday, September 30, 2019

Ghost Stories, the first one ....

Just to get you ready for October’s spooky days, here’s a little story to lull you to sleep and give you dreams all night long ...

Axe Murder Hollow

Susan and Ned were driving through a wooded empty section of highway.  Lightning flashed, thunder roared, the sky went dark in the torrential downpour.  “We’d better stop,” said Susan. Ned nodded his head in agreement.  He stepped on the brake, and suddenly the car started to slide on the slick pavement.  They plunged off the road and slid to a halt at the bottom of an incline.  Pale and shaking, Ned quickly turned to check if Susan was all right.  When she nodded, Ned relaxed and looked through the rain soaked windows.

“I’m going to see how bad it is,” he told Susan, and when out into the storm.  She saw his blurry figure in the headlight, walking around the front of the car. A moment later, he jumped in beside her, soaking wet.

“The car’s not badly damaged, but we’re wheel-deep in mud,” he said. “I’m going to have to go for help.”  Susan swallowed nervously.  There would be no quick rescue here.  He told her to turn off the headlights and lock the doors until he returned.  Axe Murder Hollow.  Although Ned hadn’t said the name aloud, they both knew what he had been thinking when he told her to lock the car.  This was the place where a man had once taken an axe and hacked his wife to death in a jealous rage over an alleged affair.  Supposedly, the axe-wielding spirit of the husband continued to haunt this section of the road.

Outside the car, Susan heard a shriek, a loud thump, and a strange gurgling noise.  But she couldn’t see anything in the darkness.  Frightened, she shrank down into her seat. She sat in silence for a while, and then she noticed another sound.  Bump.  Bump.  Bump.  It was a soft sound, like something being blown by the wind.

Suddenly, the car was illuminated by a bright light.  An official sounding voice told her to get out of the car.  Ned must have found a police officer.  Susan unlocked the door and stepped out of the car.  As her eyes adjusted to the bright light, she saw it.  Hanging by his feet from the tree next to the car was the dead body of Ned.  His bloody throat had been cut so deeply that he was nearly decapitated.  The wind swung his corpse back and forth so that it thumped against the tree.  Bump.  Bump.  Bump.

Susan screamed and ran toward the voice and the light.  As she drew close, she realized the light was not coming from a flashlight.  Standing there was the glowing figure of a man with a smile on his face and a large, solid, and definitely real axe in his hands.  She backed away from the glowing figure until she bumped into the car.

“Playing around when my back was turned,” the ghost whispered, stroking the sharp blade of the axe with his fingers. “You’ve been very naughty.”

The last thing she saw was the glint of the axe blade in the eerie, incandescent light.

Spooky Pennsylvania by S.E. Schlosser

30 Sep 2019

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Hot – still, and it seems, for a long time to come

We are still in the grip of summer.  I am tired of summer now.  Of course, it has cooled off some – from 98 to 91 but the evenings are still very warm so it doesn’t feel any less hot.  Plus it’s really humid.  We’ve gotten almost daily rain showers – sometimes just a few minutes of drizzle, sometimes as much as a half inch.  All that does is make it feel hotter.  Ugh.

Although it’s hard to work up any desire to do anything outside, earlier this week I mowed.  I believe I’ve mentioned my feelings about mowing.  However it was mow now or get out the sickle later!  The rain we’ve had, has just encouraged the grass/weeds to grow to make up for the dry months of July and August.  Also, the mosquitoes have awakened and are terrible.  Life in your hands outside, terrible.  Mowing, at least, helps with mosquito control a little.

My friend Bobby has been telling me for a while that he’s been picking up pecans - no, not green ones, he says.  I remarked that perhaps, maybe, possibly he exaggerated the number.  So, he sent me this picture.

 Yep, that’s a 5-gal bucket, full.

Well, sez I, I also have been picking up pecans and sent a picture in return . . . .

Uhhhh, a pint bucket . . .

They are starting to fall for real though and hopefully I’ll have enough to share.

Earlier in the week, the 25th, was National Daughters Day.  My oldest daughter posted a beautiful picture of her and her two daughters on Facebook.  I thought to do the same, abet a little late.  However, I found I don’t seem to have a recent picture of my daughters and I.  I found this one

and, this one

and this one

My daughters have both grown into beautiful, amazing women.  I love and miss them both very much, every single day.

The Demon Duo went in this week to be turned into fat, lazy lumps (you know, neutered).  I dropped them off at 730 and picked them up by 230.  When we got home, Daryl was completely awake.  He bounced out of his carrier and off every piece of furniture in the house.  Zack sat quietly for another hour and then he also turned into a wild kitty.  I don’t know what the vet used on them, but both had pupils dilated so big, their eyes looked all black.  And, they were over, on top of, behind, into, attacking EVERYTHING!  At one point, Daryl got his head stuck in a Kleenex box (after he pulled out 70% of the tissues) and he couldn’t get it off.  He banged all over the kitchen and dining room before I could catch him.  Took about 24 hours before whatever they were given to finally wear off and they turned into their normal selves.  Not fat or lazy yet but I do know there’s a light at the tunnels end.

I saw on the weather earlier that it is already snowing in Montana.  One of my granddaughters goes to Univ of Montana.  I’m going to text her and ask her to send some cool down this way.  Otherwise –

everyone think 

29 Sep 2019

Monday, September 23, 2019

Autumn is here (hahahahaha!)

“The autumnal equinox—also called the September or fall equinox—is the astronomical start of the fall season in the Northern Hemisphere.” 

“The term equinox comes from the Latin words aequus, meaning equal and nox, meaning night.”  Today – equal hours of light and dark? – probably not, at least not here. 

“Another definition of fall is “nights of below-freezing temperatures combined with days of temperatures below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.” 

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!  Wheeze, snicker, giggle!

It’s going to be nearly 90° today.  When I went out to do some yard work this morning at 8AM, it was already really hot and humid.  After an hour or so, I came in dripping wet. 

Fall in southeast Texas looks like this –

 Nary a colorful leaf in sight.

Of course, we never have really colorful leaves – well, the Tallow Trees do turn a pretty color but everything else just turns brown and drops off. 

Of course the good thing is, I still have lots of flowers blooming.

The Firespike has been blooming for a while.  It is a tropical native and does well in here.  A freeze or frost is likely to kill all above ground but, it should come back in the spring.  An extended freeze would probably kill the entire plant above and below.

The Coral Vine is still in full bloom and covered with bees.  Of course, this plant is 9/10th‘s weed.  It might freeze during a cold winter but, never fear, it will come back.  It grows anywhere, in any soil.   It was here when I bought the house and always gets lots of “oooh’s and aaah’s” but it’s very invasive and very difficult to get rid of.

The Pink Turks Cap is still blooming (actually, I bought this plant because of the name, Pam’s Pink).  Turks Cap is considered a TX Superstar.  It grows well, is drought tolerant, attracts hummingbirds and butterflies, blooms well, likes sun or shade and is root hardy here. 

I hope someone out there is going to experience fall today because it surely isn’t us.

On another totally unrelated topic –

This morning I walked into the bathroom to this

I read recently the big cats (lions, tigers and such) also like to play with rolls of toilet paper.  It did not make me feel better.  And, the only reason I haven’t popped his fuzzy little head off, is this –

23 Sep 2019

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Looking Back

This has been a curious week here in Big W.  Normally, nothing exciting or interesting happens.  However, this week there have been all sorts of things going on – some impacting others, some just me.

My Oxblood Lilies bloomed!  My sister shared a bunch of bulbs with me.  They are a fall blooming plant and go dormant in summer. The blooms look similar to amaryllis, but the two plants are not related.  They’re very adaptable and very eye catching.

The First State Bank was robbed.  That’s kind of a big deal.  I live in Wharton for gods sake - a very small town.  One man was caught.  The other managed to get as far as Lufkin and, during a high-speed chase, lost control of the car he was driving and died. 

My Roselle Hibiscus bloomed!  I planted seeds earlier this year and a couple made it to bloom size.  Very cool.  Although the flower is somewhat insignificant, it has a stout fleshy calyx at the base, which turns bright red as the fruit matures (takes about 6 months to mature).  This is used in hibiscus tea, jams, and syrups. 

Tuesday night, there was a huge fire downtown.

Completely burned up an attorney’s office and did some minor damage to the bank building on one side and the newspaper office on the other.

I hope he had any client information backed up off-site because there is nothing salvageable left.  So far, I haven’t heard of any cause of the fire but it seems suspicious at best.  According to WFD, it burned hot and fast.

My friend, Bobby, came over with his drone.  This is my neighborhood and my house.

We finally got some rain.  Yay!  About 3 inches total.  Not near as much as Houston but enough to help the plants (good), grass (bad) and cause more branches to fall (double, no triple, no quadruple bad).  I walked out to find this delightful mess on my shed in the back yard.

That’s three large branches.  Two are still attached to the tree itself.  And, I’m just not sure how this is going to get cleared up.  But I’m not going to deal with it until things dry out some.

The rain also woke up all the mosquitoes – ugh!  Going outside is taking your life in your hands!  Now, I'm going to have to mow because these little vampires love the tall grass.  Double ugh!

Finally, I saw this on a blog I read and couldn’t resist copying it.

22 Sep 2019

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Adventures in Houston

A bit ago, my friend Bobby asked me if I wanted to go to the HCSS show and sale.  Sure.  And, so we planned a trip into the big city.

The Houston Cactus and Succulent Society, formed in 1963, is "a group of enthusiastic lovers of cacti and succulents.  The Society’s purpose is to promote interest, study, propagation, and conservation of cacti and other succulent plants."  The group meets at the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center on West Gray and, if interested, you can check their website ( for meeting dates and times.

Okay, first thing I’m going to tell you – if you live west of Houston AND plan to go to the city on Hwy 59 (currently the highway from hell), go on a Sunday, mid-morning.  There was absolutely no traffic.  None.  The roadways were so quiet, it was almost a bit worrisome. 

Next, the HCSS is serious about the show.  These people have some strict, detailed rules participants must follow if they expect to receive a good mark on their entry by the judges.  I saw some beautiful specimens, perfect (at least to my eyes) in their pots, and none received 100%.  Plants were penalized for uneven growth, too plush, too much or little sun, under potted, over potted, off center, top dressing problems (too much, not enough, wrong kind), dirty label, pot chipped (and I’m not talking about a hunk missing – a chip the size of a pin head was penalized) and a bunch more. 

Here are just a few of the plants that caught my attention –

Pretty, well shown plants.

After leaving the show, we stopped for lunch at Mala Sichuan Bistro on Westheimer.  The restaurant itself is a little odd – the building is narrow and deep, so all eating was up stairs with a tiny bar downstairs.  There’s a really cool mural painted along the wall at the entry that is two stories tall.

The food is really good.  Of course, most dishes have one or more little pepper pictures (indicating how hot it is).  The pepper wimp that I am, I looked for something with no pepper pictures and settled on Tea Smoked Duck (good choice since I like tea and duck). 

And, after that, we headed west to big W.

17 Sep 2019

Monday, September 16, 2019

Storytelling - The Soldier and the Devil

So, before I step back to the 1600’s, I thought I share a story with you.  It’s a good way to start a Monday morning. 

The Soldier and the Devil.

  THE Devil encountered a soldier outside the town, and said to him, “Good friend, please help me to get through the town. I can’t go alone, though I should be very glad to do so, for the two-eyed dogs would surround me in every street. They attack me as soon as I enter the town.” 
“I’d be glad to help you,” said the soldier, “but one can’t do any business without money.”
“What do you want then?” said the Devil. 
“Not a great deal,” returned the soldier, “for you’ve plenty of money. If you’ll fill my gauntlet, I shall be quite satisfied.” 
“I’ve as much as that in my pocket,” said the Devil, and filled the glove to the brim with gold coins.
The soldier reflected, and said, “I really don’t know where to put you. Wait just creep into my knapsack; you’ll be safer there than anywhere.” 
“That’ll do! But your knapsack has three straps. Don’t buckle the third, or it might be bad for me.” The devil, you see, was afraid the buckled straps would form the pattern of the cross
“All right! Squeeze in.”  So the Devil crept into the knapsack.  But the soldier was one of those people who don’t keep their word as they ought. As soon as the devil was in the knapsack, he buckled all three straps tight, saying, “A soldier mustn’t go through the town with loose straps. Do you think that the corporal would excuse me on your account if he saw me so untidy?”
   The soldier had a friend on the other side of the town who was a smith. He marched straight off to him with the Devil in his knapsack, and said, “Old friend, please beat my knapsack soft on your anvil. The corporal always scolds me because he says that my knapsack is as hard and angular as a dry shoe.”
    “Pitch it on the anvil,” said the smith.  And he hammered away at the knapsack till the wool flew from the hide.  “Won’t that do?” asked he after a while.  
“No,” said the soldier, “harder still.”   And again the blows hailed on the knapsack.
“That’s enough,” said the soldier at last. “I’ll come to you again, if it’s necessary.”
   Then he took the knapsack on his shoulder, and went back to the town, where he pitched the Devil out of the knapsack in the middle of the street.  The dogs began to gather around.
   The Devil was crushed as flat as a mushroom. He could hardly stand on his legs. It had never gone so ill with him before; but the soldier had money enough and to spare, and there was some left over for his heirs.
   When the soldier died and arrived in the other world, he went to hell and knocked at the door.  The Devil peeped through the door to see who it was, and yelled out, “No, no, you scamp, you’re not wanted here; you may go wherever you like, but you won’t get in here.”
   So the soldier went to the Old Gods, and told them how it had fared with him.
They replied, “Stay here now; there’s plenty of room for soldiers.” 

Since that time the Devil has admitted no more soldiers into hell.

Scandinavian Ghost Stories and Other tales of the Supernatural
Edited by Joanne Asala

16 Sep 2019

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Ancestors, moons, 13

I have spent the past several days in the 17th century – working on my genealogy again.  Honestly – it’s like an addiction.  I think – I’ll just work for an hour or two because I also need to do this, that, and the other thing.  The next thing I know, it’s 6 hours later.  My neck and back hurt.  My eyes are about to drop out of my head.  And, none of the this, that, and other thing got done.  The next day, I’m already thinking about long past ancestors and dive right in.  Today – I didn’t even open the binder I’m working on for fear this day would slip past me too.  I did, however, learn some interesting stuff, for instance

Ninth great grandfather, William Moseley (1606-1665) though born in Lancastershire, England, worked in Delft, Holland for Merchant Adventurer, a company of English merchants who engaged in trade with the Netherlands.  He was very successful and able to take his family, bonded servants, jewelry and family paintings to Virginia in 1649.  Then, in Virginia, he was a Justice of Lower Norfolk.  Not interesting?  Well, I also found this – his will …

The last will and testament of William Moseley the elder, written with his own hand this 29th day of June, 1655.
Imprimis. I give and beueath my Soule to God that gave it, and my body to the earth to be decently buried at the discretion of my wife and children. Item. I give and bequeath to my Cosen William Cockcroft, a Cowe Calfe of a year olde. And to my grand child Corker a cowe calfe of a yeere olde. Item. I give unto my wife Susan Moseley my gray mare and furniture, and I doe likewise give her one negro woman called Mary with her Childe Besse, to be at her disposing during her life. Alsoe I doe give to my said wife Susan all the sheepe with the Increase thereof, together with all her wearing apparell and her Lifetime upon the plantation where she now lives. Item. I give to my sonne William Moseley, Eight hundred acres of land Lyeing and being as expressed in Bartho. Hodgkin's Pattent, and also I doe give to my said sonne William one younge Mare foale of months olde to him and his heirs for ever.  Item. I give and bequeath to my sonne Arthur Moseley, all that tract of land which I bought of Goerge Kempe, and moreover and above that all that land which was surveyed by Mr. Empero'r when I was in England, to him and his heirs forever. And for the residue of my Estate my debts being all first paid out, to be equally divided between my wife Susan, William and Arthur Moseley.  Signed by mee.  William Moseley, Senior, with a seale.

Still no?  Well, how about a picture –
William Moseley

Susannah Burnet Moseley

Alright, perhaps it’s just interesting to me.  ANYWAY …..

Yesterday was the dreaded Friday the 13th.  mwahahahahahahaha.  Yeah, ok, just a few useless facts -

There is actually a name for fear of this date – triskaidekaphobia.  Try saying three times! 

On Friday, October 13, 1307, officers of King Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of the Knights Templar, a powerful religious and military order formed in the 12th century for the defense of the Holy Land.

Before Christianity cast its gloomy superstitions on Friday the 13th, this was a pagan festival day, devoted to guiltless indulgence in pleasure and love-making.  Both the number 13 and Friday are sacred to the Goddess. 

Now, there are some people that just don’t like the number 13.  Because (maybe) …
The ancient Code of Hammurabi (one of the earliest and most complete written legal codes – about 1750 BC), reportedly omitted a 13th law from its list of legal rules.  Perhaps the reason some people refuse to sign legal documents on Friday the 13th. 

According to ancient Viking legend:  “Twelve gods were invited to a banquet at Valhalla. Loki, the Evil One, the god of mischief, had been left off the guest list but crashed the party anyway, bringing the total number of attendees to 13. True to character, Loki incited Hod, the blind god of winter, to attack Balder the Good, who was a favorite of the gods. Hod took a spear of mistletoe offered by Loki and obediently hurled it at Balder, killing him instantly. All Valhalla grieved. And although one might take the moral of this story to be "Beware of uninvited guests bearing mistletoe," the Norse themselves apparently concluded that 13 people at a dinner party is just plain bad luck.”  Giving birth to the superstition that when there are 13 at a dinner table, the first to get up from the table will die within a year. 

What else??? Oh – last night was the full moon

Now, here’s a quirky thing – Friday the 13th only happens between one and three times a year and it’s pretty unusual for the full Moon to line up with it exactly.  The last time there was a full Moon on Friday the 13th was in January 2006 and the next won’t occur until August 2049.

Last night’s moon was the Harvest or Corn Moon.  Time to bring in those crops.

When I went outside last night to see the moon, I noticed that the Night Blooming Jasmine was open and fragrant.  Actually, it isn't a true jasmine.  It's a tropical evergreen in the nightshade family.  It grows best in well-draining, sandy soil, preferably somewhere with a lot of space for its roots to spread out.  It does well in full sun (though, mine is planted in bright shade).  It is sensitive to cold and will freeze if not protected.  Here, mine will freeze to the ground but, so far, it comes back in the spring.  You can grow it in a container but will need to protect it during predicted freezes.

OK – I have to go to the grocery store next or the Demon Duo will set up a clamor claiming starvation diet tonight.

14 Sep 2019

Monday, September 9, 2019

Whyyyyyyy …….

I am not going to have any pecans this year.


Because of this …

And this

 And two others  – all fallen in the past six weeks.  All loaded with green pecans. 

Then, yesterday morning as I was sitting on the sofa waiting for a friend, there was a HUGE PHRUMPHBOOM and the whole house shook.  Both kitties flew down the hallway to hide someplace.  Scared the bejesus out of me and in the few instances between frightened and rational, I thought – WHAT? Sonic boom? Explosion? Then, I looked out the window to see branches hanging off the roof.  Went outside to see this

You know, I really don’t like pecan trees any more.  I’m not even sure I like pecans. 

My friend helped me get it off the roof and over by the street.  I’d planned to get out early this morning and cut it up, but it started drizzling rain.  I checked the weather for Wharton – 80% chance of rain!  Wahoo!  Doing the ole happy dance here!

Nope – an hours worth of drizzle was all we got.  Didn’t even measure in my rain gauge.  Well poop!  Of course, by the time it stopped, the humidity set in and it was miserable outside so I’m putting cutting up the branch off until tomorrow or the next day or ....

Do you ever do something (for what must have seemed like a good reason) and then, later, have absolutely no idea why?  I do (more often than I’d like to admit).  Last year I bought six balls of lace weight alpaca/silk thread.  No idea what my original plan was.  Anyway, recently I dug it out and decided to crochet something.  Looked at patterns, tried out a few (rejected) and finally settled on a lacy shawl.

The pattern itself is very simple but it calls for a fairly large hook for this (and I hate to call it yarn) stuff.  And, it’s slippery – the thread yarn stuff.  I have to hold the hook and thread so tightly, my fingers ache after a time.  And, I’ve noticed when I tighten up my fingers, I also tighten up my mouth, shoulders, legs, and toes!  If isometric exercise is a real thing, then my muscles are all working against one another and it should count for a couple of extra hours of daily exercise!

I figure I’ll get finished with this long about next June or August.

The Demon Duo have been very active lately.  Some days they pound up and down the hall, making flying leaps onto each other, me and other misc things.  Some days they spend a good portion of the day in the garage playing.  I went out last week to find them playing in the garage with . . . . something.  One would throw it up in the air and both would dive for it.  Looked like string or something similar.  Wasn’t.

It’s a baby eastern rat snake.  I tossed it outside into the flowerbed.  My guess is that it squirmed under the man-door into the garage and the Demon Duo captured it. 

When I first saw it, I thought perhaps it was a baby copperhead.  Did a little research – so, Did You Know?  There are limited ways to tell venomous snakes from non.  For instance, 1 “Nonvenomous snakes usually have a round pupil in the eye while venomous snakes have an elliptical pupil.”  Not always besides this isn't a very good way to find out, since you’d have to get up close and personal.  2 “Nonvenomous snakes usually (In the U.S.) have only one color.”  Nope not even close to correct – see that little fellow up there? and what about a king snake?  3 “Nonvenomous snakes have a spoon-shaped round head and venomous snakes will have a flat triangular head.”  Again, not always check out a coral snake.  I really liked this one –

Yeah – no, I don’t think I’m going to be flipping a snake over to see its anal plate.

Of course the best thing is to just leave a snake alone – it’ll go on its way.  But it's smart to be familiar with the markings of venomous snakes in your area.  And, carry a big stick!

One more thing to share.  I recently read (well, it was an audio book, so listened to) a new book Hell's Aquarium (MEG #4) by Steve Alten

OK small stop by the Whyyyyy? category.  You notice this is book #4.  I read this one because my digital library and the physical library do not carry books 1-3.  The digital library has numbers 4, 5, and 6 but not 1-3, 7, or 8.  The local library just has #4.  No matter when the books were acquired, the libraries started with #4.  ??????????

 “The Philippine Sea Plate: The most unexplored realm on the planet. Hidden beneath its primordial crust lies the remains of the Panthalassa, an ocean that dates back 220 million years. Vast and isolated, the Panthalassa is inhabited by nightmarish sea creatures long believed extinct.  Tanaka Institute, Monterey, CA: Four years have passed since Angel, the 76-foot, 100,000 pound Megalodon, birthed a litter of pups far too numerous and aggressive to keep in one pen. Fortunately, a Dubai royal prince who is building the largest aquarium in the world seeks to purchase two of the "runts"―if Jonas Taylor's twenty-one year-old son, David, will be their handler. Jonas reluctantly agrees, and David is off to Dubai for the summer of his life, not realizing that he is being set up to lead an expedition that will hunt down and capture the most dangerous creatures ever to inhabit the Earth!”

Just a few comments.  When I started this book, I didn’t know if it was a standalone story or a continuing saga.  It is a continuing story but it does give enough background information that I felt comfortable with the storyline.  It’s rather Michael Crichton-ish in that I learned more about the prehistoric oceans and the creatures that inhabited it than I thought I’d ever need to know.  And, I suffered some serious claustrophobia during the parts that included tiny two person submarines in 36,000 feet of water.  Still, it’s a pretty good book and I enjoyed it well enough. 

9 Sep 2019

Monday, September 2, 2019

/ˈlābər/: work, hard physical work, task, job, chore, undertaking, mission, commission

I spoke with my oldest granddaughter yesterday.  During our conversation I asked her if she had Monday off and plans for the day.  Nope, she had to work.  OH!  That can’t be right!  LABOR Day.  A day for laborers to not work.  But, of course, there are many people that work on Labor Day – law enforcement personnel, firefighters, hospital personnel, lots of retailers and a slew of others. 

So, here’s a Did You Know?

Labor Day was created on June 28, 1894, when President Grover Cleveland signed a law making the first Monday in September of each year a national holiday.  Unlike most U.S. holidays, it is a celebration without rituals (well, except for shopping and barbecuing). For most people it simply marks the last weekend of summer and the official start of the school year.  However, in the late 1800s the founders wished for something very different.  They were looking for two things actually - a means of unifying workers and a reduction in work time (from 70 to 80 hour work weeks to 60 hours).  They were also interested in creating an event that brought different types of workers together to meet each other and recognize their common interests. 

Pretty cool. 

My Labor Day activities have included making bread, fish stew, and baked fish (mackerel caught fresh by my daughter).  Next, I’m going to sit down and pull out my newest book and read!

And, speaking of books.  I’ve read a few like –

Crescent Dawn, Dirk Pitt Series, by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler

Ok, if you don’t know, Dirk Pitt is a larger than life hero and the main protagonist in a series of adventure novels by Clive Cussler.  He first came on the scene in 1976 as a US Air Force Lt Col on loan to NUMA.  This book was written in 2010 and I figure Dirk must be 60-ish by now, however book-time works and in this book, he’s 40-ish. 

NUMA director Dirk Pitt and his team are about to find out what an AD 327 Roman galley, a 1916 British warship, and present-day explosions at important mosques have in common.  As Roman artifacts discovered in Turkey and Israel start to connect to the rise of a fundamentalist movement determined to restore the glory of the old Ottoman Empire, Pitt works to connect the dots.  In Washington DC, London, and the Near East, dangerous men causing desperate acts block their path, and at the end of it, the most astonishing thing of all is the rumored existence of a mysterious "Manifest," lost long ago, which if discovered again . . . just might change the history of the world as we know it.

It’s entertaining and has enough action to hold your attention without giving you nightmares.  Though it tends to be a bit predictable with handsome, well dressed, intelligent, charming Dirk ..... well, I don't want to give any hints.  

Among the Wicked, A Kate Burkholder Novel by Linda Castillo 

Kate Burkholder is the Chief of Police in the small rural town of Painters Mill, Ohio.  It is home to Kate in many ways including her having been born there to Amish parents and until the age of sixteen, a member of the Amish community.  However at age 16, she was terrorized and came away from that brutality with the realization that she no longer belonged.  After many years of separation and police training, she returns to act in the lead position of this town police force.

In this book, Kate is contacted by NY State Agents to assist the sheriff's department of a rural, upstate New York community with a situation that involves a reclusive Amish settlement and the death of a young girl.  The “Englisher” sheriff is unable to penetrate the wall of silence the Amish have erected and the sheriff asks Kate to travel to New York, pose as an Amish woman, and infiltrate the community.  Kate goes deep under cover. In the coming days, she unearths a world built on secrets, shocking crimes, and ultimately herself alone... trapped in a fight for her life.

So, again, this is entertaining and moves pretty quickly.  I actually like this series and have read several of the books already.  However, my biggest irritation about the protagonist, Kate Burkholder, is that she never learns from previous cases.  She goes into things with wide-eyed trust. 

Happy Labor Day to all!

2 Sep 2019