“Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” by David Grann (Doubleday, 2017)


David Grann fans have been waiting for his next book – much as I have – impatiently for some time. After the both fascinating and adventurous Lost City of Z (with the movie coming close to release), and the entertaining and thrilling collection of articles, The Devil and Sherlock Holmes, Grann turns to a new subject, the Osage murders and the birth of the FBI in Killers of the Flower Moon, a story that is both sobering and compelling. Few may be completely familiar with this unique story, but by the end of the book, will be unable to forget.

As a New York Times staff writer, David Grann is used to diving very deep into a story, and not coming up for air until he’s gleaned every detail and piece of evidence he can from it. In the 1920s, the people of the Osage Indian Nation of Oklahoma were among some of the richest on the planet because vast amounts of oil was found on their land. For the oil tycoons to get at that oil, the Osage had to be paid and paid well. And then, strangely, hauntingly, members of the Osage began to disappear one by one; bodies turned up, dead, mutilated, horribly murdered. And for those that chose to investigate, they often met an unexpected end; the local law enforcement were not required to do anything about it, choosing to turn a blind eye.

The fresh and new Federal Bureau of Investigation, run by a young director, J. Edgar Hoover, wanted to put a stop to this, to end these horrific killings, and make the bureau look like the shining beacon of law enforcement and protection that Hoover wanted it to be for the American people. Hoover tapped the shoulder of a former Texas Ranger, one Tom White, to try to get to the bottom of the mystery. What follows is the riveting story of how this was done, how the perpetrators were found, how the murderers were eventually, finally brought to justice, and how those of the Osage nation were able to find some peace in all this death.

Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon is one of those books that goes beyond a story, to something greater and more important. The reader is left wondering why we don’t all know this story, why it isn’t taught in history classes, why more hasn’t been done for those who have already suffered so much. One hopes Grann will receive some weighty awards for this moving book, as it will serve to get many others across the world to read it and learn of this incredible and tragic story.

Originally written on July 23, 2017 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Killers of the Flower Moon from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

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Ostium Mini Episode: EMU #6 – The End of the Beginning

In the final EMU mini episode of the season, Dave finally makes it to the States. The question remains whether he can find this secret town called Ostium, and if and when he does, will he find Jake and Monica inside?

Written and performed by Alex C. Telander.

Warning, this episode contains explicit language.

Ostium now has a merchandise store, check it out.

If you want more Ostium, why not become a patron on our Patreon page, where for just $2 a month you’ll get access to an exclusive brand new mini episode every two weeks (and this includes all through the offseason); and during the regular season of the show you’ll get access to new episodes a full week before everyone else. Alternatively, you could also make a one-time donation and help support Ostium on our website, www.ostiumpodcast.com.

And if you wouldn’t mind leaving Ostium a review on whatever app or program you use to listen to podcasts and that way people can see what you’re saying to convince them to listen to Ostium.

Thanks for listening and see you in two weeks.

“The Prey of Gods” by Nicky Drayden (Harper Voyager, 2017)


Book covers have a way of catching your eye, whether it’s on an Amazon Kindle recommends page, or your browsing in one of the last physical bastions of the dying printed word (AKA a bookstore). Nicky Drayden’s debut novel, Prey of Gods, is one of those covers that can pull you from across the room, as you hone in to inspect further, wondering what’s going on here. Like a work of art, the more you see of it, the more details are revealed and add to its overall complexity: whether it’s the future looking buildings under a silver sky, the giant robot holding a small science fiction-looking umbrella, or the little African girl with a look on her face that can be interpreted in a plethora of ways. Is she vengeful? Malicious? Demonically possessed? Or just pleased? What the cover does do is force you to turn it and read its wonderful words within, as you are drawn into a story unlike any other, and you won’t be able to stop until you finish its last page.

Our story takes place (for the most part) in South Africa where it is the near future and there is hope for many at various social and class levels. Just as today almost everyone has a cellphone, in this world almost everyone has a personal robot who is more than a servant, computer and personal companion; these robots becoming family to their masters. Genetic engineering is pushing ahead the frontiers of reality and science, but at the same time in a small village there are those of ancient times who posses a power within them that hasn’t been unleashed in some time. Gods, goddesses, and godlings are coming back, whether humanity wants them to or not.

Big changes are coming. A new hallucinogenic drug is taking hold of the populace that seems to grant strange powers and abilities to those under the influence, seeming to make them superheroes. Then there is an AI uprising beginning, as these personal bots link together, forming their own sentience, and questioning the role and power of their supposed masters. Meanwhile, one of those ancient gods has a nefarious plan to bring herself back to an omniscient power.

The fate of the world falls on a young Zulu girl who possesses her own powers but doesn’t fully understand them yet. Will she ultimately know what to do and save humanity?

The Prey of Gods is bursting with complex, varied and fascinating characters that make the story all the more engaging. Readers will be hooked to every page not knowing where the story will go next, and loving the journey as they are taken to other worlds, many different minds – be they human, god or artificial – and to the very edge of it all. With an ending that satisfies, The Prey of Gods is a stunning debut from Drayden that fans of the fantasy genre won’t soon forget.

Originally written on July 23, 2017 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of The Prey of Gods from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

 

Ostium Mini Episode: EMU #5 – Transatlanticism

In this latest installment from EMU, Dave recounts his harrowing journey across the Atlantic, with the goal of reaching the hallowed grounds of the hidden town known as Ostium.

Written and performed by Alex C. Telander.

Warning, this episode contains explicit language.

Ostium now has a merchandise store, check it out.

If you want more Ostium, why not become a patron on our Patreon page, where for just $2 a month you’ll get access to an exclusive brand new mini episode every two weeks (and this includes all through the offseason); and during the regular season of the show you’ll get access to new episodes a full week before everyone else. Alternatively, you could also make a one-time donation and help support Ostium on our website, www.ostiumpodcast.com.

And if you wouldn’t mind leaving Ostium a review on whatever app or program you use to listen to podcasts and that way people can see what you’re saying to convince them to listen to Ostium.

Thanks for listening and see you in two weeks.

 

OSTIUM MINI EPISODE: “MUSINGS ON THE MAP TABLE”

While Monica is still enjoying some shuteye, Jake plants himself in front of the map table and has some very deep contemplations about it.

Written by Alex C. Telander.
Performed by Chris Fletcher.

If you want more Ostium, why not become a patron on our Patreon page, where for just $2 a month you’ll get access to an exclusive brand new mini episode every two weeks (and this includes all through the offseason); and during the regular season of the show you’ll get access to new episodes a full week before everyone else. Alternatively, you could also make a one-time donation and help support Ostium on our website, ostiumpodcast.com.

And if you wouldn’t mind leaving Ostium a review on whatever app or program you use to listen to podcasts and that way people can see what you’re saying to convince them to listen to Ostium.

Thanks for listening and see you in two weeks.

“Men Without Women” by Haruki Murakami (Knopf, 2017)


One good thing fans of Haruki Murakami must really like is the worldwide bestselling author never really slows down or takes a break, but just keeps on writing and writing and writing. The other good thing is the two men who have translated all of his work – Philip Gabriel and Ted Goossen – also like translating his work and continue to do so, and Knopf continues to publish his work. So generally readers can expect a new book of some sort every two to three years.

Murakami’s latest volume, Men Without Women, is a collection of seven short stories that all have a similar sense and feel – a vibe if you will. They all deal – as do most of Murakami’s works – with relationships between men and women and how varied and unique they can be.

“Drive My Car” is a story about a man who due to a case of glaucoma and a DUI must be driven around by a female chauffeur who is enigmatic in her own way, as he relates stories about his life as an actor and his wife’s extramarital affairs. In “Yesterday,” Kitaru wants his friend Tanimura to go on a date with Kitru’s girlfriend to learn more about this woman. “An Independent Organ” is a story about a man who has never fallen in love, but seeks out married and committed women for relationships, until he finally does fall in love. The “Scheherazade” of the next story is a woman sleeping with a man who never leaves his room, and each time after having sex relates an unusual tale. “Kino” is a man who after being cheated on, leaves his wife and opens up a bar and meets some interesting people, and a cat. “Samsa in Love” is a twist on Kaftka’s The Metamorphosis where the cockroach wakes up as a man. In the final tale, “Men Without Women,” an unnamed narrator relates stories of a woman he cared deeply for.

Each story in this collections rings true for classic Murakami. Fans will be happy; new readers will enjoy this first foray into the author’s works. Men Without Men is both engaging and delightful.

Originally written on July 23, 2017 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Men Without Women from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

Ostium Mini Episode: “Nighttime Blues”

Jake has some introspective thoughts after his showdown with Brandon in Episode 7: Visitors, as he drives back to Ostium.

Written by Alex C. Telander.
Performed by Chris Fletcher.

Background music featured in this episode was by Shadows of the Snow, courtesy of the Free Music Archive.

If you want more Ostium, why not become a patron on our Patreon page, where for just $2 a month you’ll get access to an exclusive brand new mini episode every two weeks (and this includes all through the offseason); and during the regular season of the show you’ll get access to new episodes a full week before everyone else. Alternatively, you could also make a one-time donation and help support Ostium on our website.

And if you wouldn’t mind leaving Ostium a review on whatever app or program you use to listen to podcasts and that way people can see what you’re saying to convince them to listen to Ostium.

Thanks for listening and see you in two weeks.