No Way to Treat a Lady by William Goldman

Noted novelist and screenwriter, William Goldman, died today at the age of 87. Goldman’s first original screenplay was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1967) which he followed with some of his best known scripts including The Princess Bride (1973) and Marathon Man (1974), which were novels first. One of my favorite Goldman novels is No Way to Treat a Lady (1964) so I’ve chosen that work to share with you. If this novel doesn’t appeal to you, look into this very diverse author’s body of work. There is something out there perfectly suited for your tastes.

 

Publication Date: 1964

Originally published under the name Harry Longbaugh and written over a two week period, No Way to Treat a Lady imagines that there were two Boston Stranglers who were aware and deeply jealous of each other and follows the investigation to track them down.

 

 

 

From the title you’d think that the story is a snappy tale whose movie version would feature a wise cracking Katherine Hepburn or Rosalind Russell who are helpless without their brusque and often self-serving male counterparts but what No Way to Treat a Lady gives the reader is actually a hard boiled and violent mystery that is surprisingly funny.

While I grew up in quite a restrictive religious home, the one thing my mother never (for me – rarely for my brother) censored was literature. We would walk the four or five miles to the local branch of the library and I would immerse myself in the shelves often choosing a stack of biographies. It was on one of these trips I found the literature of William Goldman. Pulp fiction at its finest. While likely 13 or 14 at the time of the reading, I remember picking up No Way to Treat a Lady.

There are authors who very clearly write for the screen which can hinder translation to an effective novel. Lee Goldberg (known for a host of 80’s and 90’s television staples and for the Tony Shaloub vehicle, Monk) is one of those authors who writes for the screen brilliantly but leaves character development, story and motivations thin on the page. Better on the screen than on the page. In some respects, Goldman’s dialogue can be a bit poncy but never does his storytelling take a backseat on the page. In fact Goldman was very unhappy with No Way to Treat a Lady‘s translation to the screen as it removed the subplot of the second strangler and focused solely on the main character with mommy issues. The mystery shifts perspectives from the stranger, to the cop to the written word and more in laying out a background for a character who was violence with one aim. While some of the characters run quite thin, Goldman’s portrait of his main characters is faultless in its intricacy. By the end of the piece we know who did what and why they did it and, as with the best baddies, can feel for the character if not understand why he killed so many women.

Now, as with male authors who write male driven fiction of the 60’s, the female characters are written quite thinly and, mostly, fit into a stereotype box. There’s the virgin and the whore. The woman who knew her risks and those who are so cruel that you wonder if perhaps they didn’t quite invite their fate. One must remember when reading No Way to Treat a Lady that this author also wrote The Princess Bride ( as a sidenote; I’m not really a fan of most of the story but a lot of folks seem to like it. One of my 50-year-old husband’s high school bros is so into the movie he always watches when its on and tries to get me to give it another shot. Not going to happen. Just not my thing).

While No Way to Treat a Lady may not be empowering, it is simply good fiction. Currently out of print, there are used copies to be found but also give your local library a shot. If you all you know of William Goldman is The Princess Bride and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (which I love. Fun fact: Goldman’s pseudonym for No Way to Treat a Lady is the real name of the Sundance Kid), give No Way to Treat a Lady a shot and be sure to let me know what you thought.

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About William Goldman
For more information about William Goldman, you can connect with his profile on Goodreads .

 

 

Brett Enters the Square Circle by David D’Aguanno (author) and Henry Travis Carter (narrator)

Publication Date: April 12, 2018

Stacey Ashton has disappeared. While Melanie Foster thinks she may have run off with Melanie’s husband, it soon becomes clear that there’s a good chance that she was murdered. But by who? Can suave, handsome, best butt in the nation, man for the ages Brett Cornell solve the case?

Brett Enters the Golden Circle is the fifth book in the Brett Cornell series.

The author gave me a copy of this audiobook in exchange for my review.

 

The best way to start this review is with an observation. This is Book 5 so we know Brett Cornell. He is a quintessential 80s man with his curly golden locks and porn star stache. My own father liked to top the look with a woven straw cowboy hat. Very of the day.  At the start of Brett Enters the Golden Circle we’re treated to a sexual flashback that includes private “sessions” with one of his teachers. My first reaction, of course, is to vomit a bit in my mouth at the idea but Brett is of the same generation of my aforementioned father who I remember laughing with relatives of his generation about that drivers ed teacher who would give private lessons and be out a little long or about how the boys on the football team got to drive the gym teacher’s sports car after a private session with him. The attitude today is still that boys who sleep with older women have won the lottery. So what’s my point with this? The ability to gloss over Brett is partly because deep down we know he’s a good soul but also he was a man before the #metoo movement when men assumed that women really wanted a good ass slapping but really weren’t free enough to say. He considered the abuse, and lets be clear that’s what it was…as well as his other encounters with older women….as part of a sexual evolution. That he is so much a man of his time will, to be honest, put readers off. Some of us who remember the 80s and remember the Bretts we knew (Dear Lord, help us all) chainsmoking, wise-cracking, full of pomp and themselves will take it for what it is, a nuance of an already pretty flawed character.

As we embark on Brett’s fifth outing, he still thinks of himself as the golden egg the goose laid. As has been the habit of the course of the series, D’Aguanno invites us to see a little more of what makes Brett tick which, frankly, is this character’s saving grace. Brett, as usual, is the one telling the story and readers know to take most of what he says with a giant block of salt. Brett Enters the Square Circle is less a mystery and more a story of Brett. He and Ginger are on a break (which he pretends to enjoy as it opens up his sexual horizons). He runs across bastards more unscrupulous than himself, women who are sometimes willing and sometimes not to put up with his classic Brettisms. He, as the title implies, winds up in a square circle. This is where narrator Travis Henry Carter really comes into his own. From the start this narrator has been a stroke of brilliance for the series. His voice embodies the bald face bravado that has become Brett’s brand.

While Brett may be Melanie Foster’s “dream come true,” his story isn’t something you would want to play during the daily school commute. D’Aguanno’s language is bold and brash but refreshing in its inhibition. Travis Henry Carter enhances what has become a pretty fluid voice gifted to Brett by his author. His quick patter and easy sounding shifts between Brett and his wise-cracking adversaries (both male and female) allow the reader to become fully engaged. Brett Enters the Square Circle is fast paced and entertaining. Come for the mystery, which is wrapped up pretty neatly, but stay to get to know Brett better. A truly good listen.

 

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Title Brett Enters the Square Circle
Author David D’Aguanno
Narration  Travis Henry Carter
Length 8 hours and 32 minutes
Released April 12, 2018

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About David D’Aguanno
For more information about David D’Aguanno visit his website. You can connect with him on GoodreadsFacebook and Twitter @DaveDAguanno.

 

 

Wedding Bells for Brett by David D’Aguanno

Publication Date: March 15, 2018

 

Wedding Bells for Brett by David D'AguannoIn Wedding Bells for Brett by David D’Aguanno, Brett Cornell, a heartthrob for the 1980s, once again finds himself in hot water. A young woman that Brett married as a proxy of sorts is found dead in a hotel room under suspicious circumstances. Can Brett solve the case and dodge the sentence for which he seems destined. Wedding Bells for Brett is the fourth book in the Brett Cornell series. Continue reading Wedding Bells for Brett by David D’Aguanno

The Earth Bleeds Red by Jackson Baer, narrated by Dan Carroll

Publication Date: January 29, 2018

 

In The Earth Bleeds Red by Jackson Baer, Scott Miller’s daughter, Ashley, is kidnapped and presumed dead. Her boyfriend is the only witness and is, to the police, the obvious suspect until three other missing girls are found dead bearing the mark of a serial killer known to the FBI. With the clock ticking on Ashley’s life, will she be found in time?

 

 

 

 

Continue reading The Earth Bleeds Red by Jackson Baer, narrated by Dan Carroll

Brett Aerobicizes (Brett Cornell Mysteries) by David D’Aguanno

Publication Date: February 6, 2012 (Audible version was released on December 12, 2017)

 

Brett Aerobicizes (Brett Cornell Mysteries) by David D'AguannoIn Brett Aerobicizes (Brett Cornell Mysteries) by David D’Aguanno, private investigator Brett Cornell is back and once again on the hot seat. A man with whom he had a very public punch-up is found dead and the bullet that killed him came from Brett’s gun. Can he find out who is setting him up before he’s locked up for good? Brett Aerobicizes is the second book in the Brett Cornell series.

Continue reading Brett Aerobicizes (Brett Cornell Mysteries) by David D’Aguanno

Poolside with Brett by David D’Aguanno

Release Date: October 30, 2017

 

Poolside with Brett by David D'AguannoIn Poolside with Brett by David D’Aguanno, it’s the 1980s in New Jersey, the age of excess. Big hair, hard drugs and lots of sex and one man who is acing the era is Private Investigator, Brett Cornell. He’s winning big and has attracted the attention of an exotic beauty who wants to feature him in one of her adult films and a wealthy woman has hired him to find her husband. Seems like life is going well until Brett finds the missing husband in the trunk of his car. Is someone trying to set him up? Brett must solve the case to get back to his charmed life. Poolside with Brett is the first book in the Brett Cornell series.    Continue reading Poolside with Brett by David D’Aguanno

Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys: An Annie Graceland Mystery by Pamela DuMond

Publication Date: November 8, 2010 | Audio Release Date: November 12, 2013

 

Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys: An Annie Graceland Mystery by Pamela DuMondIn Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys: An Annie Graceland Mystery by Pamela DuMond, Annie’s move to Los Angeles from Wisconsin with her up-and-coming actor husband seems perfectly timed. Her life is falling into place as her business succeeds. If only she didn’t feel the emotions of others. Who needs to know about someone’s foot fetish or struggles with weight loss and insecurity? Annie’s perfect life shatters when she discovers that her husband has been cheating and when the paramour dies, Annie is the prime suspect. To add to the problem of her telepathy, Annie now has a super annoying ghost hanging out with her. Can Annie solve the murder and save her sanity?

Continue reading Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys: An Annie Graceland Mystery by Pamela DuMond

Relative Sanity by Martin Reaves

Publication Date: July 12, 2011 | Audio Release Date: September 29, 2015

 

Relative Sanity by Martin ReavesAfter years of physical abuse, Babylon escapes her father’s home and sets out to find the people she’s heard on the radio. In Relative Sanity by Martin Reaves, Purdy Fallon is a child trapped in a man’s body waiting for his mama to come home when Babylon knocks at his door. Detective Nick Grimmer is investigating a case but his heart is at home with his wife from whom he’s becoming increasingly distant.

 

 

 

Continue reading Relative Sanity by Martin Reaves

Divine Justice (Camel Club Series) by David Baldacci

Publication Date: September 1, 2009 | Audio Release Date: November 4, 2008

 

David Baldacci Divine Justice

Oliver Stone (code name of John Carr) is the most wanted man in America. To evade authorities, he flees to a small coal-mining town in West Virginia with a big drug problem and a supermax prison. This is an audio book review of “Divine Justice”, the fourth book in Camel Club series.

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Divine Justice (Camel Club Series) by David Baldacci

Part-Time Princess: Ladies-in-Waiting Book 1 by Pamela DuMond

Release Date: September 18, 2014

 

Part-Time Princess: Ladies-in-Waiting Book 1 by Pamela DuMond

In Part-Time Princess: Ladies-in-Waiting Book 1 by Pamela DuMond, Lady Elizabeth Billingsley hires an unemployed cocktail waitress, Lucy Trabbicio to impersonate her. Lucy is hired for ten days while Elizabeth finishes business in the United States. Lucy’s task is to entertain a prince likely to propose. When another man with a history with Elizabeth catches Lucy’s eye and is bent on inserting himself into her life, her task will only become harder. Will Lucy be successful or will she be found out before Elizabeth can return?

 

Continue reading Part-Time Princess: Ladies-in-Waiting Book 1 by Pamela DuMond