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Issue Date: September 2008

Reviews | Books

All the way homeAll the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House by David Giffels
(William Morrow, $25.95)

In his memoir,Akron-Beacon Journal columnist David Giffels navigates his own rocky and often rusty memory of his inexhaustible efforts to begin a family, renovate a house and somehow try and become the man he wants to be.

In their quest for the ideal home, he and his wife, Gina, face a stubborn widow, two miscarriages and other odd and almost unbelievable events that shape their relationship and family.

Giffels writes in startled memories, as if he’s sneaking up on what’s actually happening in his life, only to back off and recount the circumstances of each event, step by step. The formerBeavis and Butt-Head writer’s storytelling makesAll the Way Home what it is — rather than simple recollection, he gives us the moments of his life as if they’re happening all over again.

by Lisa Black
(William Morrow, $24.95)

Armed robbers or bad Cleveland weather — which is worse?Takeover, by forensic scientist turned author Lisa Black, would have us believe it’s the latter.

The suspense novel follows forensic scientist Theresa MacLean, who learns that her fiancé is a hostage inside the Federal Reserve Bank and pits the Cleveland police against a dangerous hostage situationanddangerous Ohio humidity that leaves everybody sweaty.

With underdeveloped characters and plot twists that come a little too easily,Takeoveris certainly no John Grisham thriller. The Cleveland name drops, however, are enough to keep local readers engaged. Black, a former employee at the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s Office, mentions everything fromThe Goodtime IIto the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum — rendering the novel a page-turner for slightly different reasons than intended.
Emily Ouzts

Reign in bloodReign in Blood by D.X. Ferris
(Continuum, $10.95)

Wait long enough, and even a 29-minute thrash-metal album warrants careful dissection. Continuum’s 33 1/3 series is compelling because each book provides the stage for examination of a single album, be itLed Zeppelin IV or, in this case, a collection of 10 whiplash-inducing songs by Slayer.

Cleveland music writer D.X. Ferris does the honors, pinpointing his first brush with the album and its effect on him before diving deep into the band’s history and examining the outside forces that shaped Slayer’s sound. Buoyed by heavy-duty research, the result is a detail-dense yet easy-to-conquer read that clocks in at 153 pages.

The book rings true because Ferris is such a fan ofReign in Blood. Like every 33 1/3 release, the only problem is the reader needs to be as well, especially by the time the book begins its disassembly of each album track. It isn’t meant for the casual fan. But if this cassette once lived in your tape deck or was the soundtrack of your high school weight room, this book is for you.
Jim Vickers

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