Posts Tagged Texas

book review: The Outcasts

the outcasts

The Outcasts by Kathleen Kent. Publisher: Little, Brown (2013). Historical Fiction. Hardcover. 326 pages. ISBN 9780316206129.

Two stories intertwine on the Gulf Coast during the 19th Century. After she escapes a Texas brothel where she’d been held prisoner, Lucinda Carter travels south to meet her outlaw lover a merciless, violent man who has a plan to make them rich. At the same time Nate Cannon, a Texas policeman and two veteran rangers crisscross the state tracking a man who indiscriminately killed men, women and children who blocked his greedy intents in any manner.

The novel’s cover drew me in. Showing a woman’s back dressed in petticoat and pearls, holding a gun in her nail-polished hands. Just wonderful.

Nate’s a horse whisperer which adds a special quality to this Western. Author Kathleen Kent gives the reader this exemplary police officer– a particularly sensitive man who writes his wife frequent letters updating her on their quest. He cares deeply for horses and treats them well. He’s focused on getting the ruthless guy. As for Lucinda it’s hard not to feel some empathy toward her for her difficult past despite her poor choices. She’s clinging to a relationship with an awful, undeserving man. What does Lucinda see in her lover? He’s charming but a brutal, dishonest trickster. Eventually Lucinda and Nate’s paths cross. Lucinda hopes for a new life and Nate Cannon will stop at nothing to arrest this awful man before he hurts anyone else. Kent describes Texas and the plains quite beautifully. The Outcasts is an intriguing Western that gets quite bloody and horrific at times.

RATING: ***/5

–review by Amy Steele

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Hachette Book Group.

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Mirror Travel: music review

mirror-travel_cover

Austin, Texas trio Mirror Travel is comprised of: Tiffanie Lanmon (drums), Paul Brinkley (bass/vocals) and Lauren Green (guitar/vocals). Power and respect to this band for being 2/3 female. That’s rarely seen these days. The band recorded Mexico at Marfa Recording Studios in Marfa, Texas. Have you heard about Marfa and the Marfa lights in the desert? That’s a bold choice with all the strange phenomena surrounding Marfa. It surely added something to the unusual atmospheric and dreamscape sound of the band. While Mirror Travel opens with the dreamy, escapist instrumental “Sand,” the core of their songs fall into that fuzzy, gritty garage band sound reminiscent of 90s female-fronted bands like Velocity Girl or that dog. They add their own edginess to modernize the songs. Lauren Green’s vocals simultaneously exude heartache and perception. Touches of gray. A thing of beauty. “Parties” churns with raging riffs and Green’s raspy astute observations. Cool tempo provides moodiness to “Uncharted Waters.” This is a band to watch. Check out the new album and catch them on their fall tour.

Mexico
Modern Outsider Records
Release date: October 15, 2013

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purchase at Amazon: Mexico

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TOUR DATES:

10.15.13 – Austin, TX @ Hotel Vegas
10.16.13 – New Orleans, LA @ Circle Bar
10.17.13 – Memphis, TN @ Poplar Lounge
10.18.13 – Chapel Hill, NC @ The Cave
10.19.13 – Washington, D.C. @ St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church for SHE SHREDS FESTIVAL
10.20.13 – Manhattan, NY @ Cake Shop
10.21.13 – Brooklyn, NY @ TBA
10.22.13 – Lowell, MA @ Wilder Zangcraft
10.23.13 – Dover, NH @ Sonny’s
10.24.13 – Providence, RI @ TBA
10.25.13 – Baltimore, MD @ TBA
10.26.13 – Ithaca, NY @ TBA
10.27.13 – Chicago, IL @ Township
10.29.13 – New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa

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Into the Abyss: film review

Into the Abyss is another accomplished, engrossing Werner Herzog documentary. It’s an exploration of the reasons why people kill. Herzog speaks with death row inmate Michael Perry, his accomplice, Jason Burkett, in the crime as well as those most closely affected. He also questions people about the validity, morality and overall effectiveness of the death penalty. As an anti-death penalty film, Into the Abyss brings up some standard arguments from a former Death House officer and others. The strongest, most compelling and moving documentary about the death penalty is At the Death House Door. Texas kills so many inmates annually. Many states might have the death penalty but don’t really practice it. I can’t understand the reasoning behind it. It doesn’t deter someone from a crime and it also doesn’t bring the dead back.

Ten years ago, two drug-addled teenagers killed a woman to take her car. And in the process they killed two other boys their own age. One sits on death row. The other has a life sentence. The ever inquisitive Herzog interviews law officials, career criminals and white trash for the most part. The erudite Cambridge audience I sat in a screening with laughed at much of what these people said, to my dismay—“I can’t read”—“My father’s in prison too.” They talk about guns with such bravado, knowledge and comfort that it’s disturbing. Then again, it’s Texas where I think infants learn to shoot before they learn to read. The provocative Into the Abyss reveals quite a bit and will engage you throughout the film.

Directed by Werner Herzog
IFC Films/ Sundance Selects
107 minutes

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