M. Denise Costello http://www.mdenisecostello.com --lover of books, art, movies, and music Mon, 14 Aug 2017 17:44:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 https://i0.wp.com/www.mdenisecostello.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/cropped-coneflowers-1.jpg?fit=32%2C32 M. Denise Costello http://www.mdenisecostello.com 32 32 72975744 Dangerous Ends by Alex Segura http://www.mdenisecostello.com/2017/08/08/dangerous-ends-by-alex-segura/ http://www.mdenisecostello.com/2017/08/08/dangerous-ends-by-alex-segura/#comments Tue, 08 Aug 2017 10:01:21 +0000 http://www.mdenisecostello.com/?p=6612 Dangerous Ends by Alex Segura

Published: April 11, 2017

Polis Books

Hardcover Pages: 320

From the Publisher:

Pete Fernandez has settled into an easy, if somewhat boring life as a P.I.. He takes pictures of cheating husbands. He tracks criminals who’ve skipped bail and he attends weekly AA meetings The days of chasing murderous killers are behind him. Or are they?

When his partner Kathy Bentley approaches him with a potential new client, Pete balks. Not because he doesn’t need the money, but because the case involves Gaspar Varela, a former Miami police officer serving a life sentence for the murder of his wife – one of the most infamous crimes in Miami history. The client? None other than Varela’s daughter, Maya, who’s doggedly supported her father’s claims of innocence.

As Pete and Kathy wade into a case that no one wants, they also find themselves in the crosshairs of Los Enfermos, a bloodthirsty gang of pro-Castro killers and drug dealers looking to wipe Pete off the Miami map. As if trying to exonerate Varela wasn’t enough, they find themselves entangled in something even older and more surprising–a bloody, political hit ordered by Fidel Castro himself, that left a still-healing scar on Pete–and his dead father’s–past.

Fast-paced, hardboiled and surprising, Dangerous Ends pushes Pete Fernandez into a battle with a deadlier, more complex threat, as he tries to shake off the demons haunting Miami’s own, sordid past.

My Thoughts on Dangerous Ends:

I have not done a book review in a while, so I agreed to review Dangerous Ends after only glancing at the storyline. Once I began reading, I was immediately hooked in by the flashback to events happening in Cuba in the late 1950s. After this vignette, the storyline switched to Miami and south Florida. I was struck by the parallels to many of the subjects I appreciate: Cuba, south Florida, a murder mystery, private detectives, a fast pace, and a story full of twists. This book was a great choice for me to read and review. I enjoyed the character of Pete Fernandez and his friends that help him solve some cases. This character reminded me a bit of Leonardo Padura’s Cuban policeman, Mario Conde, but Pete is an American and a P.I. They have a few issues in common: alcohol and relationship issues as well as being familiar with their home turfs and solving heinous crimes.

I liked Pete’s speaking of a few of the albums and music he hears such as Neil Young’s Comes A Time. Segura also mentions some Cuban singers/musicians for me to research.  I also enjoy when an author throws in authentic restaurants or places of interest that locals are prone to frequent to give readers tips on the local scene and cuisine. Geography is such an important aspect of writing a good story.

Dangerous Ends is the third in the Pete Fernandez series by Segura. My only frustration is that the earlier novel or novels were not fully encapsulated quickly and I dislike reading references to old cases or stories I know nothing about and are never fully explained. This technique does not make me want to read the earlier books–what does this is me wanting to know more about the characters.

Overall, I enjoyed Segura’s writing style. I do want to know more about Pete Fernandez and his friends. An example of a nice sentence by the author is: The weather was gray, but still hot, the clouds clinging to the rain, as if waiting for the right moment to let loose–like a kid with one water balloon left. Another sentence that I noted was: The faint sound of the Eagles filtered through the overhead speakers, the bland, finger-picky ballad spreading over the evening like lukewarm gravy that needed a bit more salt.

Blogging about books is sometimes serendipitous and for me Dangerous Ends was one such book. I see a nice future in the mystery genre for Alex Segura.

For my honest review, I received a free digital version of Dangerous Ends. Thanks to Alex Segura for crafting a good read and to TLC Book Tours for asking me to take part in this blog tour. For the other participants on this blog tour click HERE.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Alex Segura’s Website

Alex Segura on Twitter

Alex Segura on Facebook

About Alex Segura:

Alex Segura is a novelist and comic book writer. He is the author of the Miami crime novels featuring Pete Fernandez, Silent City and Down the Darkest Street, and Dangerous Ends, via Polis Books.

Segura has also written a number of comic books, including the best-selling and critically acclaimed Archie Meets Kiss storyline, the “Occupy Riverdale” story, Archie Meets Ramones, and the upcoming The Archies one-shot.

Segura, a Miami native, lives in New York with his wife and son.

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¡Feliz Compleaños, Ernesto! http://www.mdenisecostello.com/2017/07/21/feliz-compleanos-ernesto/ http://www.mdenisecostello.com/2017/07/21/feliz-compleanos-ernesto/#comments Fri, 21 Jul 2017 13:23:28 +0000 http://www.mdenisecostello.com/?p=6590 Enjoy a few of my favorite photos of writer Ernest Miller Hemingway (EMH) to celebrate his birthday. EMH was born on July 21, 1899. His work is still in a resurgent phase and remains relevant. I am taking a non-credit course to study The Sun Also Rises and to celebrate the Fiesta de San Fermin (San Fermines). If you want to read some good writing quickly, just pick up any anthology of EMH’s short stories. EMH was truly a gifted person and I am glad to have learned so much about him and continue to read about his life and works. I thank EMH once again for bringing so many people from around the world together often and for introducing me to some wonderful scholars and other aficionados. 

Also, I was recently surprised by a wonderful person with the following gift (a belated birthday gift for me):

What a wonderful gift to receive unexpectedly! This friend knows I have a thing for EMH and loves to go to estate sales and collect things. Thank you so much, KF! 

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Exploring The Wallace Collection http://www.mdenisecostello.com/2017/06/18/exploring-the-wallace-collection/ http://www.mdenisecostello.com/2017/06/18/exploring-the-wallace-collection/#comments Mon, 19 Jun 2017 02:11:53 +0000 http://www.mdenisecostello.com/?p=6543 The Wallace Collection is at Hertford House in Manchester Square at the end of Duke Street. The square is just a few blocks from the Bond Street tube station. Kristine and I had to cross Wigmore Street on our way to The Wallace Collection. Wigmore Street was the scene of the theft of Kristine’s phone via motorcycle in her previous visit–which actually ended up being a good thing, as far as phones are concerned. Anyhow, remember The Duchess of Duke Street? Hertford House took up almost one side of the square. Kristine had heard about Hertford House and read that it was an old house filled with important antiques and paintings. Well, we were surprised and how huge the place was and the quality of the collection. Really, it was a bloody museum filled with Rembrandts and Canalettos and huge rooms of armor–even a huge, to-scale horse with armor was in the house. So enjoy the follow pictures I snapped:

Some of the paintings and art I liked the best is shown below. The Turkish tile work behind the angel statue was amazing. Each room was decorated with a different color theme and some of the rooms had fabric on the walls. The painting directly below on the right is called The Laughing Cavalier by Franz Hals (1624). I barely got this picture as others were taken extensive pictures of him for a very long time. We felt like we were in the Louvre or somewhere in some of the huge galleries. There was even a room of Rubens . . .

Going clockwise below is a painting of the Earl of Dudley, Queen Victoria at a young age, and a Velàzquez of a woman:

Some of the rooms had gold moulding, below left on the bottom is a painting by Marie-Antoinette’s personal portraitist (this picture is not Marie-Antoinette). And what’s not to like about a guitarist?

The middle right picture was part of a beautiful side table and the paintings are also from the Canaletto room:

Some of the armor in the collection:

To the side of the stairs in the main foyer is a picture of Gurwood and the Duke of Wellington (affectionately known to Kristine as “Artie.”

A personal favorite picture of the sun playing with the grating on the east side of the building . . .

A painting similar to the one in the V and A Museum I highlighted in an earlier post is shown below. After a little research, I found out that both paintings are by Pieter Neefs the Elder and were done about 8 years apart (1640 and 1648). Both are titled Interior of Antwerp Cathedral. 

Many decorative pieces were in the galleries (rooms in the mansion): 





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Exploring the Victoria and Albert Museum http://www.mdenisecostello.com/2017/06/15/exploring-the-victoria-and-albert-museum/ http://www.mdenisecostello.com/2017/06/15/exploring-the-victoria-and-albert-museum/#comments Thu, 15 Jun 2017 09:06:10 +0000 http://www.mdenisecostello.com/?p=6527 Beautiful entrance to the V and A:

Highly idealized sculptures of Victoria and Albert:

The first picture is of an intricate iron grate, the second a floating work of smashed instruments, and the third is a miniature of a room from a beautiful estate.

Definitely a favorite of ours since we snapped away for a while on Bashaw. Just look at those sculpted curls that reminded me of Canova’s curls on the statue of Napoleon at Apsley House. 

A variation on The Three Graces:

One of my favorite paintings at the Victoria and Albert Museum (Interior of Antwerp Cathedral, Pieter Neefs the Elder: about 1640, oil on oak panel):

Pink Floyd’s sound board when they recorded Dark Side of the Moon:

And finally, my main reason for visiting the museum: Tipoo’s Tiger

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Exploring Waterloo http://www.mdenisecostello.com/2017/06/13/exploring-waterloo/ http://www.mdenisecostello.com/2017/06/13/exploring-waterloo/#comments Tue, 13 Jun 2017 14:41:28 +0000 http://www.mdenisecostello.com/?p=6497 Thanks to my friends Ian Fletcher and Kristine Hughes Patrone, I had my own private tour of Waterloo from an author and battlefield expert as well as a Duke of Wellington expert. What an awesome 2 days!

“La Belle Alliance” is the farmhouse and buildings where Wellington met Blucher (the Prussian general), who was late arriving at Waterloo and helped save the day, hence the term . . . The building is now feet from the highway and the old plaque in still above the door.

Scenes of the battle field and the only memorial to Wellington and his men in the area: 

From the top of the Lion’s Mound–looking up, looking down.
Overlooking the Panorama and restaurant and around the mound:

We did a night walk around the Lion and it was great fun. The moon was beautiful (not pictured as those shots are terrible on a mobile phone). A few glimpses of the Lion:

We went to Wellington’s Headquarters in the village of Waterloo. The wax Wellington at this location looks amazingly like actor Hugh Fraser, whom I spotlighted in the AtoZChallenge this year:

On to Hougoumont Farm (the site of the death of Riflemen Harris and Hagman in Sharpe, sob):

More of the important gate that was held and of the chapel on the farm:Perhaps my favorite picture I took on the trip to Waterloo:

Our intrepid guide, battlefield expert Ian Fletcher–he is also the world’s best Tottenham Hotspurs fan! Also I included a shot inside the Panorama, another wax Wellington, and the entrance to the underground visitors center. The center was extraordinary and we watched a 4-D film on the battle. Superbe!

A shot of the city of Genappe where Napoleon’s headquarters were located. I am not that into L’ Empereur so not too many pics of his sites.

–Above is also a shot in the channel tunnel on the car train. 

Below are some more fun shots . . . Adieu to Waterloo. I hope to return someday. The Belgian countryside is stunning.

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Exploring Chelsea and Belgravia http://www.mdenisecostello.com/2017/06/12/exploring-chelsea-and-belgravia/ http://www.mdenisecostello.com/2017/06/12/exploring-chelsea-and-belgravia/#comments Mon, 12 Jun 2017 09:48:17 +0000 http://www.mdenisecostello.com/?p=6484 Continuing our London 2017 adventures–

Kristine and I rented a flat on the edge of Chelsea/Fulham:

–The flat was located above a shop on King’s Road and it was very nice–2 bedroom, 2 1/2 baths, kitchen, dining and living area. Airbnb did not disappoint. We were a few blocks away from the Fulham/Broadway tube stop and near the Chelsea Football Stadium.

–Above are some shots from around Chelsea and Belgravia. Roses were in full bloom and were beautiful. So many well-designed and historic buildings are everywhere (a nice change from young, bland American cities).

–Some shots from the nearby Chelsea Harbor. I really did not know there was a harbor area near the river, but we saw a lot of nice boats. Since it was a bank holiday, not many people were around when we were there.

As we neared Sloane Square, Kristine remembered the nearby Duke of Wellington pub in Belgravia. Such a cute pub in a quiet area. From the website:

Dating back to the 19th century, the ‘Duke of Boots’, as we are known, was originally built as a reading room for local residents, who went there to read the morning newspapers, but the locals reputedly said that they’d rather have liquid refreshment than reading matter, and they won the day!

I thought I would end this post with pics of our tattoos in preparation for our side trip to Waterloo:

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