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About Susan Brassfield Cogan
Susan Cogan is a full time writer and occasionally amuses herself as a graphic designer. She writes things that she enjoys and she enjoys quite a lot. She has been at various times a nurse's aid, a belly dancer, an actress, a journalist, and a radio shock jock. Her career is long, varied, colorful, often exaggerated and occasionally untrue. Cogan is the author of many novels: Black Jade Dragon, Dragon Sword, Tangled Garden, The Last Gift, Heart of the Tengeri, Murder on the Waterfront and The Man Who Needed Killing. Her nonfiction works include: Hands of the Buddha, The Buddha's Three Jewels, and The Pocket Darwin. She written numerous short stories, some of them contest winners.
It’s such a delicious phrase. Angie Tanaka never thought she’d want to go there herself.
Usually people spend their entire lives avoiding a trip to Hell. Not Angie. Long-ju is down there and it was all her fault. He is the Silver Dragon, magnificent, legendary, a work of art. He had sacrificed himself for her and she is only … Angie. She needed to put that right. She had to get him out of there. Nobody was going to help her with that, certainly not the other dragons.
All of that led to one question: How do you spring a dragon out of Hell?
And this is how it all starts:
I needed to steal something.
I don't mean I really wanted something in particular. I mean I wanted to steal something.
So to scratch that itch I was climbing up the side of the Twelve Treasure Museum to a hidden floor not open to the public. It was supposed to be haunted. That was perfect. Perfect for me anyway.
I'm Angie Tanaka, the one woman crime wave. That's what it says on my business cards. I stumbled across this museum one day when I was bored and feeling too much like an upright citizen....
I pulled myself up onto the roof—the first level of the house, anyway. It was an old-fashioned Chinese pagoda built like a wedding cake. The outside was covered with the Asian version of gingerbread. The carvings and embellishments had a dragon theme, but a lot of things are decorated with dragons on Shaolong, the Land of Nine Dragons. Real ones. I'm being honest here. I bullshit a lot—I was kidding about the business cards—but not about this.
When this book was published in 1851, reading for pleasure was still a fairly new idea. There were no televisions, no movies, no mp3 players, no internet and no cell phones. If you wanted to hear music you picked up a fiddle or a guitar and played it for yourself or you talked someone into doing it for you. In 1851 books were very expensive. If you bought a book to read for pleasure there’d better be a lot in it for your Yankee dollar. Melville knew his audience and he knew he needed to add a lot of stuff to his plain sea tale to make it interesting to his readers This book was written for the average reader of the mid-19th century.
Here we are now in the early 21st century and Melville is competing with anime, Disney, Spielberg and millions of blogs. If he were publishing this book today he would have written the book for us 21st century people and wouldn’t have included a 3000 word essay on “The Whiteness of The Whale” plopped down into the middle of a great and gripping story about monumental evil and passionate revenge.
So here is Moby Dick for the 21st Century. All the long boring parts demanded by our ancestors have been deleted while preserving the story that still entertains after more than 150 years.
You may read the book in its entirety—including the boring parts—here:
Then another disaster strikes—the assassination of elderly Queen Victoria and two of her sons. For a while the world collapses into mad chaos. Parliament is dissolved and Queen Victoria’s grandson, Prince Albert becomes the heir apparent. The Regency Committee rules with an iron fist, but they bring peace and order back into the nation.
Then, quietly at first, a third disaster. The monsters come.
Miriam Walker hunts them.
Max has good instincts. Gregory is a contract killer with a popular specialty. He kills people with kindness. If Aunt Hattie needs to go gently into that good night, so you can collect the insurance money, Gregory is there to provide a quiet and painless exit. Upon request he can even make it look like death by accident or natural causes.
Max complicates Gregory’s life when the Button Man is hired to kill Hart Freeman and Chou Seoul (do those sound like made up names to you?). They are a couple of con men who fleece people by offering them promises of eternal life. Gregory teaches them just how inevitable death can be.
This book is intended for people who like cozies but also enjoy something just a shade darker.
I quickly discovered that most translations are completely unreadable, some more than others. A few of the more modern ones attempt to clarify the language—I don’t think I’m the first person to notice the readability problem. However, I may be the first person that noticed the problem who was a writer and not a translator.