February 2021 Books …

Man, this year is flying! We’re already into March, with the two dankest, darkest months behind us. Here’s what I read in February.

The Drifter by Nick Petrie is the first in his series of Peter Ash novels, about a troubled veteran helping people. This time he visits the wife of one of his comrades, who committed suicide after returning home … or did he? Petrie’s books have been compared to Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, but I find Peter Ash much more down-to-earth and accessible than Reacher, who seems superhuman at times. The Drifter is a bit of a slow burn, but it pays off in the end and I’m looking forward to reading more in this series (books 2 and 3 are already in the mail!).

Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise by Scott Eyman is an exhaustive biography of the famous star that peels back that patina of class and humor to reveal a very troubled human being. Grant’s upbringing scarred him for life and Eyman (who has written a stack of great Hollywood books) pens an honest and thoughtful portrait of the beloved star.

Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops by Shawn Bythell was a bit of a disappointment, to be honest. I loved Bythell’s two diary-format previous books about daily life in Scotland’s largest used bookstore. This slight—and pricey—volume has its moments categorizing the people Bythell has to deal with every day, but it doesn’t compare to his funny, cynical takes on bookselling on an ongoing basis.

Wolverine by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller is a rare collaboration between the two, and probably the best Logan story ever. A small 4-issue mini-series from the 1980s, it’s the basis for the movie, The Wolverine. Miller’s art is great (before he entered his overly graphic Sin City phase) and Claremont has never been better with this character. A great standalone graphic novel.

The Peanuts Book by Simon Beecroft is a great visual history of the beloved comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. It’s chock-full of amazing art and photos from the 70-year history of the strip, which ended the day after Schulz died in 2000.

Steve Ditko in the 1960s by J Ballmann is a compilation of early fanzine articles and art by the co-creator of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. It’s a fascinating look at both the artist and fandom in that era when everything was new and exciting.

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