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Acting Class: Take a Seat by Milton Katselas
All in Fun by Jerry Oltion
The Cat Who Went Up the Creek by Lilian Jackson Braun
The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans
Dance of Shadows by Fred Chappell
Diary of a Dead Man by Walter Krumm
Earth Odyssey by Mark Hertsgaard
eNursery Rhymes by Mother Mouse
Ella: A Baby Elephant's Story by Kathleen Duey
Emily Waits for Her Family by Carol Zelaya
The Exchange by Inga C. Ellzey
Festival of Deaths by Jane Haddam
For the Love of St. Nick by Garasamo Maccagnone
Forgive My Trespassing by Cynthia Blomquist Gustavson
A Garden from a Hundred Packets of Seed by James Fenton
The Illusion by Tony Kushner and Pierre Corneille
Jimmy Buffet: The Man from Margaritaville Revealed by Steve Eng
The Little Lame Prince and His Travelling Cloak by Dinah Muloc Craik
Mojo Hand by Greg Kihn
The Monopoly Man by Barry B. Longyear
Nana Volume 2 by Ai Yazawa
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
The Perfect Infestation by Carol Emshwiller
Rising Waters by Patricia Ferrara
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Sea by John Banville
Seafarer's Blood by Albert E. Cowdrey
Shadow on the Stones by Moyra Caldecott
Signatures of Grace edited by Thomas Grady and Paula Huston
Silence is Golden by Penny Warner
"Slowly, Slowly, Slowly" Said the Sloth by Eric Carle
The Tall Stones by Moyra Caldecott
The Temple of the Sun by Moyra Caldecott
Tsunami by Gordon Gumpertz
Written on the Knee by Dr. Theodore Electris and Helen Electrie Lindsay (translator)

Don Quixote:
Q and Sancho Panza Strike Back
Harold and Kumar
The La Mancha Story
Disarmed and Dangerous

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Mojo Hand: 01/25/09

I read Mojo Hand by Greg Kihn based on my enjoyment of Shade of Pale. It had a cool sounding premise: Beau Young, now playing the blues with Oakland Slim discovers a voodoo plot to kill off the remaining blues masters. As it turns out, the novel is the sequel to Big Rock Beat (which I haven't read).

One thing the book excels at is its blues geekery. Greg Kihn's rock background pays off. He knows music and he clearly loves the blues. I'm a fan of the blues but obviously not as much as Kihn. I had to stop a few times to Google details mentioned in the book for historical context.

Like Shade of Pale, the book assumes that magic work. In this case, voodoo. The mojo hand of the title is shriveled remains of a hand that has a life of its own. One of the things it can do is help the bearer absorb all the musical skills of the person it has killed. The vacuuming up of all this blues talent is the reason behind the murders.

The most entertaining piece of the novel, and one I wish Kihn had developed more that of Robert Johnson, living out his life in San Lorenzo. Robert Johnson is the Delta blues guitarist who supposedly sold his soul to the devil to further his musical skills. Johnson died August 16, 1938 but Kihn has a voodoo story that gives him an out from that death. It was really fun to see events play out as Johnson is convinced to do a come back album and tour in 1977!

Greg Kihn provides enough information for Mojo Hand to stand alone as a horror / comedy novel. All the characters, their back stories and other relevant plot information is provided in a timely manner. Beau Young touring with Oakland Slim and proving himself as a blues musician, the murders and their aftermath and the man with the mojo hand feel like three separate novels until near the end of the book. I wanted to see the threads come together quicker. My misgivings with the book have nothing to do with its status as a sequel. What's missing here is the edgy humor and tight pacing that Shade of Pale has.


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