Clint Eastwood and his wife Dina Eastwood, who have been married for 17 years, are separated according to her. Apparently the two had a major row about Dina’s reality television program Mrs Eastwood and Company. So it appears that Clint is “Unforgiven” by Dina and the two are living apart.
This CSI Darby McCormick’s third outing, the first two being The Missing and Secret Friend. I am thrilled to make her acquaintance as I think she is a marvellous protagonist and one of the best female role models I’ve met in fiction today.
Darby McCormick is tough, gritty, uncomplaining, extremely smart and very good at what she does. In her world it is a case of “like father, like daughter” as she followed her father’s footsteps to be an upholder of the law.
At the beginning of the book, she is the last woman left in SWAT training and her male colleagues have dwindled to just a handful. While she is finishing her last practical exam, a woman and her son are being tortured and killed. When Darby leaves the training ground, she gets the call to attend the crime scene.
Once at the crime scene, it turns out that the boy isn’t dead, it appears that someone shot their way into the house to save him. Now Darby has a wild card to wonder about as she tries to track down the killers.
This story will dredge up old skeletons for the Boston Police Department as well as the FBI and Darby’s favourite lab partner Cooper ‘Coop’ Jackson. Bad men thought long dead will come back to life and threaten everything that Darby cares about. It will bring her face to face with her father’s and Coop’s past and it won’t be pretty.
Besides loving this book from the very first sentence, I fell in love with the protagonists. Especially McCormick the Irish Colleen cop who is almost the Dirty Harriet of her world. When you meet this incredible cop, you’ll wish all police were this capable.
Mooney writes a mean story. It is crisp, succinct, fast paced and hard to put down. While I didn’t read this in a single sitting, I came damned close. As I read it on the ibook reader, I didn’t have the problem of not turning the pages quick enough, but it was close. This mystery/cop/thriller has introduced me to a new hero and a new writer; one which will be taking a spot in my new stable of ebook writers.
This was a real corker of a read and it earns a full 5 out of 5 stars for me, for having a fantastically twisting plot, high octane action and a backstory that will make you shudder at the way a man can “rule” a township.
The old man sat in a row of empty chairs in the waiting area of the bus station. He was the only live occupant in an area filled with dust bunnies, cobwebs, and deserted candy wrappers. Every time the entrance door opened with a sigh, pushed by the swirling ubiquitous wind, the bunnies and wrappers would shuffle away from the door and then slide back when the wind died. The cobwebs moved, in a kind of sympathetic sway to and fro; shakily as if they were so fragile that to move too much would make them lose their anchor and sail away.
The wind did not appear to bother the old man. He sat looking at his hands. Hands that despite being wrinkled and liver spotted were huge. They were cracked with blunt sausage fingers, the nails were cut to the quick but still showing a touch of year’s worn grime under the nails themselves that no amount of scraping or brushing was going to remove. Sometimes he would make a fist. Both hands curled up like a bare-knuckle boxer. He would turn them this way and that, still scrutinizing them as though he had never seen them before.
The wind pushed the door open again and Sam behind the ticket counter looked up for what must have been the hundredth time. He seemed incapable of not looking. He would raise his eyes and cock his head quizzically and if he’d been a dog, one ear would have cocked forward. As his eyes drifted back down to the crossword puzzle in front of him, they detoured to the big old man who seemed so fascinated by his own hands.
Footsteps came up behind Sam and he spoke without looking. “Hey Leanne.”
“Hey Sam.” Leanne headed to the only other chair behind the ticket counter. “Slow day, huh?”
Sam nodded slowly, still concentrating on his crossword, which was almost finished. “Oh yeah; if it wasn’t for Mohammed Ali’s cousin over there, this place would be dead.”
“Who?” Leanne glanced over at the old man in the waiting area.
“The old man sitting over there with those big old boxer’s hands.” Sam nodded in the direction of the bus station’s only occupant in the waiting area.
“Has he come up to the counter,” Leanne asked.
“Nope,” Sam said, still more interested in finishing his crossword than talking about the old man. “I don’t even know when he came in. I just looked up and he was there. Made me jump, I don’t mind telling you.” Sam put down his pencil, “The next bus ain’t due for another two hours and he’s been here at least that long already.”
“Well, you know Sam, you could have tried asking him what he wanted.” Leanne’s tone was dry. “He might have grandkids coming in to visit or a son or daughter coming home.” She shook her head in disgust, “But I suppose that would have taken you away from your precious crossword.”
Reaching in his back pocket, Sam pulled out a handkerchief and blew his nose, loudly, and then spent a couple of seconds sniffing and wiping the end of his nose. “Well, if it was that damned important to him he would have said something wouldn’t he? Besides, he ain’t hurting anything and he’s been real quiet. He hasn’t moved from that chair. Just keeps looking at his hands like he’s never seen ’em before.”
Without folding it, Sam shoved the handkerchief back in his pocket. Glancing back down to his crossword, he scowled. “Hey Leanne, what’s a three-letter word for old sailor?”
Leanne and Sam both jumped as the old man said it again, “Tar.” They looked at each other, struggling not to laugh nervously; Leanne checking the crotch of her jeans because she could have sworn she’d wet herself just now. Sam nodded and said, “Thanks Old Timer.”
The old man grunted and went back to inspecting his hands.
Leanne leaned close to Sam and whispered, “Jesus, Joseph and Mary, he just scared the shit out of me!” Sam leaned back and putting his hands behind his head to crack his knuckles, nodded. “Me too.”
“Didn’t he sound kind of familiar? You know, like someone you know, or is that just me.”
“He just sounded old and gravelly. Like he has rocks in his throat or chest; in a few more years he’ll start sounding all wheezy and whispery. I mean look at him, he must be 90 if he’s a day.”
The wind blew again this time it was a real howler. Wailing and gusting aggressively the wind smacked the entrance door open. Sand, litter and the odd scorpion were blown into the waiting room. The dust bunnies and empty candy wrappers swirled up and away from the old man’s row and for a second looked like a miniature dust devil. The cobwebs strained against their anchored ends and held on. Clenching his fists, the old man did not move one bit. Even his clothes seemed to be unaware of the wind and dust that was swirling around.
“Leanne!” Sam pointed to the still open door. “Go close that damned thing before it breaks and put the latch on. There are two of us here now we can close up and watch for the bus. I don’t want to be stepping on scorpions and tarantulas in here!”
Leanne bolted from her seat and with her eyes squinted against the grit in the air she slammed the door shut and turned the bolt. “Is that good enough for you, your highness?”
Sam didn’t even bother looking up. “Great. Wonderful. Put yourself up for a commendation. I’ve got a whole drawer full of gold stars. Why don’t you pin one on your ass.” Leanne, shot him the finger and Sam chuckled. “Yes dear, I know I’m number one. Thank you for remembering.”
“George C Scott.” Leanne jumped and whirled around. The old man was looking at her with eyes that looked kind and tired. “That’s who folks tell me I sound like.” Leanne smiled. “That’s it! That’s who you sound like. My boy was watching some cartoon where he did the voice. You sound just like him.” He redirected his eyes to his hands and seemed to forget she was there. Leanne watched him for a moment thinking he might say something else, but he remained mute.
Spinning around she headed back toward the counter. Just as she reached the counter, Sam looked up and past her.
The old man rose slowly from his chair. As he got to his feet he reached behind him with both hands as though he were going to massage his back. His hands reappeared with two of the biggest guns Sam had ever seen. They made Dirty Harry‘s .44 Magnum look like a pea shooter.
Sam’s eyes widened, “Leanne, Look…” Sam’s face erupted in a geyser of blood and bone and flesh, his body toppled backward on the chair and only stopped when it met the floor. His pencil was still gripped in his right hand and it marked the floor a bit as he twitched once or twice.
Leanne felt someone punch her in the back, hard, as though she’d been hit by a baseball bat; she automatically looked down and saw a section of her spine blow out of her stomach. It was the last thing she saw as she lost consciousness and fell to join Sam’s lifeless body on the floor. The big old man walked slowly up to the two dead bus station employees.
He stood looking at them and put the guns back in his waistband behind his back. He leaned over Sam and cleared his throat. Sounding just like George C. Scott he said, “Shooter’s hands sonny, not boxers, shooters.” He turned on his heel and strode out the entrance leaving the door to swing in the wind.
Michael E. Smith copyright 2013-01-08
When I first read about this ‘reality’ television program that would be featuring Clint Eastwood‘s ‘last’ wife and family and that he would be dropping in on the occasional episode, I thought it was somebody’s idea of a bad joke. Surely Clint wasn’t happy about this idea and surely he wouldn’t lower himself so much that he would actually appear.
It turned out that I was wrong on all counts. First of all, it isn’t a bad joke, although I can’t really say that with any real certainty as I haven’t seen the program yet. But it premièred in May this year and it turns out that Clint will be appearing on the odd episode, well three according to IMDb and their episode listings of the program.
I sat here thinking about why the Eastwood’s would even consider such a venture. Do they need money that badly? I would have thought that a man with Clint’s stature in the Hollywood hierarchy would have more than enough money to see him through his retirement, if and when he decides to take it. I know he’s still working, he was over here in England last year fine tuning his latest directorial effort.
Was Dina thinking of leaving Clint and wanted to get a nest egg set up? Or is the program primarily to help her ‘sell’ her newly discovered South African vocal group. What better way to drum up much needed publicity for your new musical protégées than to have a weekly program that they can be trotted out regularly for inspection on.
Of course the other thing I immediately wondered about was how his other children felt about the reality show. Clint has a pretty big brood. He may have only been married twice, but he’s fathered seven children with five different women. Shy and retiring he ain’t. I just wonder if his other kids might not get jealous at this ‘special’ attention paid to the ‘newest’ additions to his family.
Checking with IMDb, and before you ask no I don’t own stock or get remuneration for mentioning the site, Kyle seems fairly busy. So he probably doesn’t need the extra attention, but as I said before, neither does dad Clint. Daughter Alison seems to be a bit busier that Kyle so she probably doesn’t need the extra coverage either. I will admit that I didn’t check any of the other Eastwood offspring. I’m curious all right but I’m not nosey.
Of course both Kyle and Alison have worked with dad in films. Kyle does music for the Eastwood productions among other things and Alison has worked fairly steadily without having to resort to working for dad. So maybe they aren’t too bothered about the reality program. Of course if the whole Eastwood clan get along well and the reality show runs more that just a season or two, they might still consider appearing in the odd episode.
Unfortunately, considering the competition in the reality realm, I don’t think the Eastwood and Company show stands much of a chance. In a world where Keeping up with the Kardashians, The Real Housewives of New Jersey, America’s Next Top Model and all the other ‘must see’ reality programs already provide enough ersatz drama to fill the Rose Bowl stadium, I don’t know if Mrs Eastwood has much of a chance.
Call me cynical, but I get the idea that this brain child is all of Mrs Eastwood’s creation. I can imagine Dina collaring Clint at the breakfast table.
“You know how you got Kyle and Alison started in the business?”
“Well, since you’re not acting any more and you’re not directing that many pictures…”
“Well, just how are you going to give our kids a start in the business? I was just thinking that a good way to get the kids noticed, and me, would be to do one of those ‘reality’ shows. You’d be helping the children and be helping me get my new band noticed. Be a darling and talk to some of your network friends, will you?”
The above conversation works a lot better if you can imagine Clint answering in a sort of tired Dirty Harry voice.
I might be wrong of course, but it does kind of stand to reason. After all, how are they going to get a start in the business if not through this program. Besides, looking at the ‘last’ Mrs Eastwood, how could Clint say anything but “Yes Dina.”