Feb 24, 2020
Escape Thru High Adventures
Where have I been lately? There was, of course, a family gathering in Cape Girardeau, Missouri last Monday for Blondie’s Mom’s – Nancy Stiegemeyer – funeral. All went very well all things considered. As noted in my earlier column, Blondie’s family – my in-laws for 35 years – are what used to be called “normal”. Societal evolution is, alas, in the process of flipping “normal” into anything BUT.
Sixteen human beings – only two genders – no (visible) tattoos or piercings – no police records – no abortions – no “been thru rehabs”. Like I say… what used to be called “normal”.
The four siblings… three in-laws… five cousins (one of whom – Kid – is married and another one “getting” in July)… and three awesome little 2nd cousins (I’m never sure about what is a “2nd / 3rd cousin”?) … does NOT include even one “Crazy Cuzzin Eddie”. No one who would get even one vote in a “Crazy Cuzzin Eddie” contest. I’m the closest to being “that guy”.
All went very well – considering the purpose of the gathering. OK, there WAS the issue of “flying Southwest” which always involves a horror story of some magnitude. On the return flight, I was in the dreaded “C” group i.e. guaranteed “middle seat” misery. On the outbound flight the middle seat in our row was occupied by the stunt double for that large gap-toothed “Imaginary Governor of Georgia” whack-job. That was a treat!
Re: TSA Pre-Check… GET IT! The best $80 you will spend over five years!
Blondie, Kid, Pastor Danny and World’s Most Incredible Grandchildren drove the 5-hours from Madison WI thru what Blondie described as a Post-Apocalyptic Wasteland otherwise known as Western Illinois. Any chance Blondie might ever be employed by the Illinois Dept of Travel & Tourism has been eliminated.
The 3-day experience did allow me to accumulate new incredible insights on The Cycle of Life. To share at a later date…
Beyond that trip to “Cape”… I have been totally immersed in Literary High Adventures. My avocational addiction to listening to audiobooks is legendary… with over 1200 “have listened to’s” to my credit over the past almost ten years. Doing the math, that is over two/week for a decade.
Those of you avocationally addicted to running, golf, fishing or living vicariously thru the wins & losses of a favorite sports team can translate that to however one measures discretionary pursuits in determining one’s degree of fanaticism..
With America now actively engaged in a for-real Socio-Cultural WAR – there is nothing “Civil” about it; and it is waaay beyond “Political” now – and with moi an on-line SpecOps warrior in said WAR… I need “safe places” to go to escape the 24/7 muck and mire of that toxic battlefield.
I have found that “safe place” to be listening to what I refer to as High Adventure stories.
I’m not sure if there is an official literary niche for my High Adventure stories. “Archeological Action-Adventure” is sometime used… or “Indiana Jones / Lara Croft-type stories with a generous dash of James Bond mixed in”.
They always involve… (1) a search for a mythical / legendary site or artifact … (2) clearly defined heroes and heroines … and (3) Super Villains with unlimited resources intent on World Domination..
I read all types of fiction EXCEPT Sci-Fi / Horror. Would you believe I have never read a Stephen King novel? Nothing to do with King’s radical politics… I just don’t care for Horror stories. I get enough of that with Facebook and Twitter.
The closest I get to that genre is the Joe Ledger series by Jonathan Maberry.
I read a lot of crime / legal procedural stories. I have read plenty of “SpecOps guy stopping terrorists” which is usually referred to as Vince Flynn / “Mitch Rapp” stories, but not lately. … and historical fiction if it involves a historical period I am curious about. An 8-book series about Robin Hood – “The Outlaw Chronicles” by Angus Donald – was TERRIFIC.
I am currently on a High Adventure binge because it is totally apart from today’s headline news. I read to ESCAPE that crap.
Just finished bingeing on a 12-book series by Andy McDermott featuring “Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase”. Nina is a world-renown archeologist and Eddie is a former SAS operative who is Nina’s bodyguard / fiancee / and eventually her husband.
There is a firm Rule in any High Adventure series that there HAS TO BE a “Finding Atlantis” story. Nina and Eddie “find Atlantis” … and “The Tomb of Hercules” … and “The Garden of Eden” … and “El Dorado” … and “Excalibur” … and “Valhalla” … you get the idea.
Each incredible “Search For” involves a very very diabolical Super Villain also searching for “it” because “it” has special powers that whoever has “it” can achieve World Domination. So far – in all twelve books – Nina and Eddie have managed to just barely Save Humanity but … ya never know. Well, actually, you DO know that they will, but only after a series of quite harrowing chases, escapes and rescues and perils Oh My!
I have read enough of these by various popular authors to know “the formula” and am able to predict each segment. Which does not detract at all from my enjoyment of each one.
In addition to Andy McDermott… I recommend Matthew Reilly … James Rollins … David Golemon … Jeremy Robinson …Steve Berry … Rob Jones … and, of course, The King of High Adventure – Clive Cussler.
Clive Cussler has five different series – Dirk Pitt / Kurt Austin / The Fargos / Issac Bell / Juan Cabrillo. My personal favorites are Dirk Pitt (Clive’s original Hero) and Juan Cabrillo. But I read’em all.
There are a number of others I am always discovering and enjoying. Of those listed above, David Golemon might be one you haven’t heard of. His Event Group headed by Major Jack Collins from a subterranean HQ deep below the Nevada desert is really really good. Check it out.
I recommend researching the chronology of a “series”… start with Book One… but authors usually include “back stories” so each book can be a stand-alone.
And Matthew Reilly... I LOVE CallSign Scarecrow series as well as his main Hero – Capt. Jack West and his intrepid team.
Adventure Heroes ALWAYS have an “intrepid team” of able-bodied buddies each with a special skill.
Back in the 80s / 90s – when I flew A LOT (Yuck!) it seems everybody carried either a Tom Clancy or a Clive Cussler book. These days the airlines probably consider those as one of your two allowable “carry-ons”.
As an audible “reader” I carry 100s of MP3 “books” on my IPhone… with my ever-present bluetooth headphones and always a back-up pair of wired headphones.
Google any/all of the authors I listed here. They all have websites with all their titles and various formats – hardcover / paperback / kindle / audible etc.
BTW.. I am NOT a proponent of “air pods” … not worth the $$$ and too easy to lose. I can suggest my favorite types / brands of headphones if you are interested. I “only own” 14 pair!
Yes, I am almost pentecostal in my zeal for audiobooks thru Audible.com … but, regardless, I hope these suggestions help you to ENJOY ESCAPING into a Rollicking – Rip-Roaring “Read”.