Tag Archives: Nevada

Desert Kill

desert kill switch

Desert Kill Switch: Nostalgia City Mystery – Book #2 by Mark S. Bacon (Black Opal Books, $14.99, 286 pages)

In Desert Kill Switch, Lyle Deming, an ex-cop from Phoenix, serves as a security guard of sorts for Nostalgia City, a retro theme park that recreates small town life from the early 70s just outside of Reno.  Kate Sorenson is a marketing specialist who is in town on business related to Nostalgia City.

Lyle arrives on the scene of a brutal car accident in the desert, but by the time the police get to the scene the body is gone.  As the story unfolds, Kate is framed for the murder of Al Busick, a car dealer who puts hidden “kill switches” in cars as a means to collect money from customers who do not make their loan payments

Together, the ex-cop  and former female college basketball player go on a mission to solve the mystery, catch the true killer, and exonerate Kate.  It appears as if the motive has to do with a conspiracy to move a major music festival from Nostalgia City to Las Vegas.

The story hits the ground running and moves quickly, and the action and plot are solid from start to finish.  However, the character development is not as strong. For example, scenes with Kate’s current and soon-to-be ex-lover seem like they are included without much of a purpose.  (Desert Kill Switch is the second in the series of Nostalgia City novels, following Death in Nostalgia City.)  Perhaps some of those who read the initial book in the series will have a different opinion.

As Lyle and Kate take the law into their own hands, Lyle calls in favors from his former law enforcement partners, and Kate – who only masquerades as a journalist, morphs from a former athlete to Wonder Woman.

desert kill switch back

Desert Kill Switch is enjoyable but is, at 286 pages, a bit longer than necessary.  Not all of the many twists and turns work, and a brisker version of this thriller might have been just a touch more thrilling.  As it stands, this book is a solid, engaging read for those who enjoy this type of murder mystery.

Recommended.

Dave Moyer

A review copy was provided by the publisher.

Dave Moyer is a public school superintendent in Illinois who has never been to Reno, Nevada.

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Walk On

Prospecs Cool 405 (300)

Walking Shoe Review: PROSPECS Cool Walk 405

Is a walking shoe from South Korea flexible and protective enough to be used on a daily basis?

If you’re like me, you usually do not use a walking shoe for walking – whether on vacation or for exercise or even at work. Why? Because most walking shoes are too stiff, especially in the forefoot, and they’re generally too heavy; the latter makes walking feel more like a chore than a pleasure, especially when one’s feet are already sore and achy.

I’ve often wondered why athletic shoe manufacturers do not make a lightweight and extremely flexible walking shoe. Well, it seems that a Korean company, PROSPECS, may have done just that. PROSPECS has been in business in South Korea since 1981, producing athletic equipment, clothing, football shoes, running shoes, tennis shoes and what they call “sport walking” shoes. The PROSPECStors at the company’s USA headquarters at Incline Village, Nevada, provided a pair of new walking shoes for me to test.

The PROSPECS Cool Walk 405 shoes weigh just 7.7 ounces in a size 7 and come with an 8.5mm heel-to-toe drop. The men’s version comes in a cool color scheme of near-denim blue, accentuated with neon green and white. They’re more than a bit reminiscent of the Nike Air Pegasus+ 28 running shoe (the version prior to the current model), which is a plus based on positive comments about the appearance of the Pegasus. However, the Cool Walk has a much straighter form than the Pegasus running shoe. Like the Pegasus, it runs narrow. I was able to fit my narrow feet into the Cool Walk a half-size bigger than my normal walking shoe size. Some individuals with broader feet may have to try a full size larger.

These shoes are clearly well designed and manufactured. No apparent flaws were visible. In use, it holds its own as an all-terrain shoe. On concrete, I felt as if I were wearing a pair of late 80s-early 90s racing flats from Nike or Asics. This translates into an almost “barefoot” feel, something that was a stated goal for PROSPECS. The comfort level increases when walking on a natural trail, and the walk feels surprisingly comfortable on asphalt. If I had to walk a long distance on asphalt, I’d choose these shoes instead of a pair of running shoes.

The Cool Walk is highly flexible, especially in the forefoot area. This feature is good for those with relatively inflexible feet. While the shoe features a unique Walking Straight Line sole intended to support a straight-ahead walking style, it also offers good side-to-side movement. The latter is essential when one’s walking on uneven surfaces and trails, and there’s enough cushioning (three levels worth, including a rubbery Flubber 360 upper midsole) so that you do not feel the rocks you may step on.

I was initially concerned that the sock liner was overly built up and protective, so after a few miles I substituted a thinner insole. When I subsequently elected to place the supplied sock liner back into the shoe, it was a relief to find that the insole conformed to my feet within a matter of miles; it then seemed to almost disappear.

There’s excellent support in the Cool Walk, as the shoe comes with both external and internal high impact pads. The internal blue rubber pad at the heel, attached to the underside of the sock liner, is like those found on some expensive men’s business-class walking shoes.

What happens if you take a trip and forget to take your running shoes with you? I tested the Cool Walk’s ability to protect the feet for a few miles of low-to-the-ground jogging and it passed just fine.

For a list price of just below one hundred dollars ($99), the Cool Walk is a good value. That’s cheaper than most running shoes these days, and this walking shoe seems to blend comfort with durability. The PROSPECS Cool Walk 405 is a lightweight, flexible, shock-absorbing shoe that should provide its users with hundreds of pleasurable, comfortable walking miles.

Highly recommended.

Joseph Arellano

This article was originally posted on the Blogcritics Sports site:

http://blogcritics.org/sports/article/walking-shoe-review-prospecs-cool-walk/

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I Hear The Laughter

Stand Up Revolution

Is an entire season of TV comedy on one DVD too much or not enough?

DVD Review: Gabriel Iglesias Presents Stand-Up Revolution, Season 2

People pay up to $75 and $80 a seat to see Gabriel Iglesias (AKA Fluffy) perform his comedy in places like Lake Tahoe and Reno. So paying $19.99 for a video disc of his comedy seems, at first glance, like a bargain. However, here Iglesias and his very funny Master of Ceremonies, Martin Moreno, basically serve as the introducers of new comedy talent – some of it average, some of it excellent. There are twelve separate upcoming comedians who come on stage in south Florida, doing a quick – and sometimes not-so-quick – run-through of their nightly act. This disc presents the entire second season of Comedy Central’s show Stand-Up Revolution and some may wish that there was less here rather than more.

With two exceptions, the comedians featured in this compilation are either Hispanic or African or African-American. They might have placed an advisory sticker on the DVD reading, “This is intended for audiences that love ethnic humor. It may not be appropriate for all viewers.” The audiences present during the taping sessions were virtually all Hispanic, and they clearly enjoyed the jabs at their own cultural mores and those of other minority groups.

Trevor Noah, the first of the many comedians, is a mixed race comedian from Africa. He noted that his father was black and his white mother was from Switzerland, as “The Swiss love chocolate.” Noah seems like a nice guy, but not a terribly funny one. Dov Davidoff is the Anglo comedian who appears next and warns the audience to “lower your expectations.” He’s a comedian who tries to pretend that he’s not funny, but he is as he jokes about the economy being so bad that people now watch reality TV to see other people working.

Nick Guerra from south Texas does a pretty average routine about males being dumb and disgusting. It seems like this territory has been well-covered before. Gina Yashere, a black woman from England, is truly funny as when she alerts the audience to the fact that, “Black people are not indigenous to England.” Her set about her return visit to her native Nigeria is pretty much worth the price of admission.

Dillon Garcia is a chubby white-Mexican comedian who tells some good jokes about food and personal relationships. Garcia is followed by Will Sylvince from Haiti. Sylvince will have your sides aching from laughing. His act is almost indescribable – it needs to be seen to be appreciated.

The seventh comedian on stage, Dustin Ybarra, relies on drug and bathroom humor. We’ve heard all this before. Fast forward to Thai Rivera, a gay Mexican-American from Arizona. Yes, that’s right, he’s gay and from the state of Arizona – “I’m not racist. I’m just from Arizona.” Ybarra’s unique digs at his own culture are close to priceless. When told that he doesn’t look Mexican he responds, “Oh, I’m sorry, I left my leaf blower at home.”

Alfred Robles of East Los Angeles is interesting, if not much more, and African-American Tony Baker also revisits some old comic territory. Ian Bagg arrives to save the day with some truly outrageous and funny comedy, before the baton is passed to the final performer, Pablo Francisco. Francisco does nothing memorable.

Big fans of the big comedian Gabriel Iglesias may be disappointed because he only makes brief appearances between the dozen comedians that he and Moreno bring on stage. If you’re a huge fan of Fluffy, you might want to wait for an “all-Iglesias” DVD or save up for one of those costly tickets to see him live and in person.

Recommended, for select audiences.

Joseph Arellano

A review copy of the DVD was provided by a publicist. This article originally appeared on the Blogcritics Video (TV/Film) site: http://blogcritics.org/video/article/dvd-review-gabriel-iglesias-presents-stand/

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