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Good reads

Pete gives us a steer to this book recommendation from DTG:

If you haven’t read James Tarr’s, “Dog Soldiers,” you would do yourself a solid in doing so. Very entertaining and instructive, especially for anyone who doesn’t have a really good idea what ‘Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain’ (MOUT) is about.

Anyway, get this and read it. You’ll be glad you did.

As it happens, I read Dog Soldiers myself not long ago as one of my Kindle Unlimited lending-library choices, and he’s right, it’s a good ‘un. In fact, after devouring DS, I then proceeded to work my way through Tarr’s entire ouvre, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Which brings me to a recommendation of my own: DJ Molles’ Lee Harden series, a five-parter set in Molles’ The Remaining Universe, which I’ll be wading into once I find out how things wind up for good ol’ Lee Harden. I’ve read a crap-ton of what they call PAW (Post Apocalypse World) fiction, and Molles is a real standout in a genre that can be somewhat of a mixed bag as far as the writing itself goes. There’s some really well-written stuff therein, and then again there’s some pretty unreadable dreck to be found also. Molles’ characters are more complex, human, and relatable than a lot of what you run across in lesser PAW fiction, where one-dimensional, ho-hum cliches and/or comic-book superhero-level juvenilia are all too common. Molles’ story arcs are clever, his dialogue fluid and credible, the combat sequences gripping, with the right balance of weapons-system geekery, tactical/strategic/political analysis, character-relationship development, and dramatic tension maintained throughout.

One aspect of PAW fiction that both baffles and exasperates me is the preponderance of sloppy editing. Even books that I otherwise loved, by skilled and well-known authors and respectable publishers, have nonetheless been marred by spelling, grammar, and/or punctuation issues to one degree or another. Of course, poor editing is one of those things that, to repurpose a Biblical phrase, ye will have with ye always, and is by no means exclusively or even predominantly a PAW thang. No matter where you run across it, though, if it’s bad enough it can suck your head right out of the story, which is but a very short hop to just dumping the book altogether for something more competently crafted. It really makes you scratch your head in mystification at how the hell some of these editors ever managed to con their way into the job, and why they bother soldiering on in the field when clearly they could be in politics, where the opportunities for much more remunerative forms of graft are so plentiful.

Alas, the scourge of bad editing rears its ugly head in both Dog Soldiers and the Harden books alike, albeit to a much lesser extent in DS if I remember right. It’s bearable in both, thankfully, amounting to nothing worse than a minor distraction, although there was a certain adjustment period with the first Harden book that I had to make it past before I could really sink my teeth into the thing and enjoy myself. This is all strictly a matter of opinion, so naturally your mileage may vary. However it all works out for ya, I heartily endorse DTG’s recommendation, with great big bells on.

15 thoughts on “Good reads

  1. piss poor editing is a pet peeve of mine


    hell, I even proof my texts!!

    your/you’re or worse, you/your


    lazy assholes who can’t write can damn sure pay someone literate to proof their masterpiece.


    ’nuff said



  2. Hell, I’ll even proof if they’ll send me a manuscript first.

    Typo’s leap off the page at me, hit me right in the eye, they do.

    And Firearms Related Technical screwups.


    Lee Child shall never see another worn, corroded brass shekel of mine

    A Beretta 92 that goes “click” because the owner left a loaded magazine in her kitchen drawer too long and the spring weakened.


    So drop the magazine, and the damn thing still fires because with no magazine disconnect it doesn’t care, the one in the chamber goes “BANG” and REACHER IS DEAD!!

    Scared the little ladies in the laundromat in York, PA when I screamed in frustration and flung the book across the room, yes it did.

    Oh, how about a Colt Anaconda .44 Magnum that is so finely machined that a single round left in the cylinder will always settle to the 6 o’clock position when playing Russian Roulette?


    I’ve vented.

    It’s because it’s beautiful out and here I sit at work while my trusty Triumph languishes in the parking lot.


      1. 2014 Tiger 800Xc
        Black with Black Kappa panniers on quick release Givi racks
        Black and silver Triumph top box
        GIVI S250 Tool Box
        MRA X-creen Touring Windshield
        Bark Busters Storm handguards
        Full Bore M41 Dual Sport tires

        Not your Grandad’s Bonneville, but I’m a Grandad and it’s mine, all mine

        Last one was a 1999 Tiger 885i
        Still in the garage, 118635 miles on original motor, only valve tweaking

        1. Ditto to Ironbear’s “Ooh, Nice!”
          I’m in the market for an early Bonneville. My preference is a ’65, just because that was the first one I ever rode, age 12. She had about 500 miles on her when I took it around the block…

          I’ve missed on two at a price I was willing to pay. They don’t last long if priced reasonably.

          1. I like old school, but I’m on the road living in my motor coach, so I need reliable.
            I commute 3 1/2 hours home on weekends so again, comfortable, reliable, and at my age I prefer sitting like I’m on a dirt bike.
            She’s a fine back road twister and goes anywhere I want.
            Thanks for the complements guys.

    1. One of my closest friends almost died last summer when he dumped his nearly-new Bonny at speed. The damage to the Trumpet was mainly cosmetic, worst of which was the crumpled tank. But he’s fixed all that now, and it’s back to being the gorgeous Limey ride it should be.

      Y’all know I am and will always remain a hunnert and one percent Harley through and through–as they say, cut me and I bleed either Ford blue or H-D black & orange–but I don’t at all mind a Trump, Beezer, or Snortin’ Norton either. In fact, I came within a whisker of buying an old Daytona back in the 90s, but after the shortest of test rides I concluded I was never gonna be able to get with shifting goofyfoot. That’s a trick this old dog just can’t learn, apparently.

      1. “at speed”

        My problem, in a nutshell. I like going fast, always have. I will need to be extra careful to remember I’m no spring chicken if I ever get back on a bike.

        Ever hit a wall of rain in the dark at roughly 130? Like hitting a brick wall. How I ever survived my youth is a mystery. I don’t deserve it.

        1. Another old friend of mine had a saying I always agreed with: “I don’t care about doing 120, all I want to be able to do is go from 30 to 80 REALLY FAST.”

            1. Stop?
              There’s a story about a 5000 pound Oldsmobile 98 coming down the mountains with zero brakes, having boiled the brake fluid (brake fade).

  3. I read Dog Soldiers not long ago and I consider it one of the “must reads” along with the Enemies Trilogy, Unintended Consequences, and Victoria.

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