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Accidental Death in Biarritz

Accidental Death in Biarritz

By Jim Parisi

Peter Ellis is an American investigative reporter living in Paris. He’s in his late 30’s or early 40’s and has garnered an excellent reputation for his literary work, writing under then pseudonym Jean LeBlanc, mainly to protect himself from the victims of his pen. That’s how good he is at not only writing, but investigating as well, turning up dirt on high-profile names who would prefer said dirt to remain under a rock. Read More…


Bone Horses Come to Life

Bone HorsesBy Jim Parisi

Halfway through reading Lesley Poling Kempes’ second novel, “Bone Horses”, I realized that there was something drawing me into the storyline besides the wonderful storyline. Yes, I have a place in my heart for the New Mexico region where the novel takes place and Lesley’s writing makes the geography a character in the novel. But that’s not it. I grew up in a small town full of small-town characters similar to Agua Dulce, the fictional town that this novel is centered around. But that’s not it, either.

I finally realized that it is Lesley’s incredible character development that makes her story so tangible and comfortable for the reader to fall into. Every person in this novel has depth: not just the half-dozen main characters, not just the Good Guys and The Bad Guy. Although I must say the authoress did a wonderful job with the Bad Guy.

Jaime Peligro Books and Music
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Costa Rica WOW!

Costa Rica Wow book coverBy Jim Parisi

When Wila the Tapir decides to follow her lifelong dream to become a professional surfer and go to Puerto Viejo to participate in the World Surfing Championship, of course, she invites her two best friends to come with her on the adventure. Her two closest friends are a coati by the name of Otto and a trogon with brilliant plumage by the name of Waldo. And so we have the introduction to “Costa Rica Wow!”, the newest book for young readers by the Costa Rica publishers Pachanga Kids, the sixth in their series.

Jaime Peligro Books and Music
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Nature Unbound in Costa Rica

 Costa Rica Nature UnboundBy Jim Parisi

 The good people at Ojala Publishing have your invitation waiting for you, in the form of their new book, “Fronteras Naturales”, or “Nature Unbound”, a collaborative project by photographers Luciano Capelli, Juan Jose & Sergio Pucci, with underwater images provided by Diego Mejias and Jose Manzilla. The open invitation comes from the book’s writer, Yazmin Ross, as a request for the reader to “empathize with the world and protect its fragile equilibrium”, as she puts it. The subject matter is the National Parks of Costa Rica, beginning with an introduction and brief history of the country’s parks and reserves, from their founding fifty years ago, to the current effort to keep these “ecosystems as unchanged as possible so that future generations may appreciate them without having to having to resort to photographs”. Yazmin has a way with words. And the project is a team contribution. Juan Jose Pucci, for example, is a Costa Rican physician who travels to different national parks on the weekends, photographing landscapes and wildlife that interest him. It is truly his passion. His brother Sergio is the author of two books: “Guanacaste” and “Costa Rica Pura Vida” as well as freelancing throughout the country.

Jaime Peligro Books and Music
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Blood of Brothers, Life and War in Nicaragua

Blood BrothersBy Jim Parisi

Nicaraguans are an enduring people. Their history is one of a proud, diverse people who have witnessed a lot of calamity and disaster in their country… and Stephen Kinzer has witnessed a lot of their recent history, first-hand. Kinzer started his career as an independent reporter in Central America in 1976 and continued until 1989. Initially, he found himself roaming from country to country, going wherever there was a hotspot or new scoop. However, he always found himself drawn to Nicaragua, finally returning and developing an earnest interest in its people. This passion led him to accepting a job with the Boston Globe, and on those merits, later with the New York Times, who awarded him a full-time position reporting exclusively in Nicaragua, with an office in Managua – the first of its kind for The Times. 

Jaime Peligro Books and Music
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Once a Bad Girl, Always a Bad Girl

Bad girlBy Jim Parisi

Mario Vargas Llosa is known for weaving stories like threads into an ultimate, seamless tapestry that far exceeds its individual components. He is also an enigma in that he gained acclaim as a writer while in his birthplace of Peru, became involved in politics there, grew disenchanted and then renounced his Peruvian citizenship. He moved to Spain. But he continues to write about Peru.

I’ve just finished reading his novel, “Bad Girl”, a novel where Llosa unequivocally answers the age-old question, “Which is the weaker sex?” Meet Ricardo Somocurcio, a 1950s Peruvian teenager living in Lima. He falls pathetically in love with “Lily”, who’s just arrived from Chile, with her exotic manner and colloquialisms. She allows Ricardo to hold her hand and no more, calling him “the good boy”. When her Chilean history is exposed as false, she vanishes.

Jaime Peligro Books and Music
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South of Normal

South of NormalBy Jim Parisi

Norm Schriever used to live in Tamarindo. A couple of times, actually. I met him when he was here for a year, writing a traveler’s memoir, titled “Push-ups in the Prayer Room”, a collection of stories Norm had woven together about his travels around the world a decade earlier. It was also about a young man looking for a humanistic mission in life. I liked it, even gave it a favorable review in The Howler. The book has been put Norm on the map as a credible writer. It also had something of a cathartic effect on him, allowed him to leave something behind as a legacy, positive proof of his existence.

Jaime Peligro Books and Music
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Pura Vida, Detroit Style

Pura VidaBy Jim Parisi

Cops grow a tough shell. They have to, I am told, or they’ll never make it. The violence, injustice and dark underside of the human condition that they witness on a regular basis hardens them. Everyone is a suspect. They eat hoagie sandwiches while cracking jokes together at gruesome murder scenes. Take, for example, Detroit homicide detective Jacob Miller: he’s been on the job for thirteen years, seen it all, hell, even his dad was a cop, even if they aren’t speaking to each other any more.

Jaime Peligro Books and Music
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A Turtle and a Toad Enter the Pachanga Family

By Jim Parisi

portada-tortugaIn Tortuguero at the break of dawn, a baby turtle cracks through the shell of its egg and begins its perilous trek through prospective predators and other dangers in order to unite with the raging sea that beckons. 

At the dawn of time, according to Bribri legend, there was an only mountain, at the top of which countless toads held up an immense spherical stone that emitted strange noises. The toads, who were all the same color, had been told by their creator that their mission was to protect the stone and keep it from breaking apart. 

These are the openings of the two new bilingual books for young readers from the Costa Rican publishing company Pachanga Kids, their fifth and sixth in the series. 

Jaime Peligro Books and Music
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A New Kind of Wealth in Costa Rica

Happier than a BillionaireBy Jim Parisi 

I have to admit it: before I began reading “Happier than a Billionaire (Quitting my Job, Moving to Costa Rica & Living the Zero Hour Work Week)”, I immediately lumped it into a catch-all category inhabited by dozens of other books I had seen with a similar premise. Boy, was I wrong. To begin with, I have since met the author, Nadine Hays Pisani and her husband Rob. They are definitely not a pie-eyed New Age couple, afloat in their own naïveté (not that there is anything wrong with that), nor are they a Bonnie & Clyde couple fleeing some lurid past. In fact, they are a level-headed professional couple who got fed up with the rat race and opted for a more rewarding lifestyle. 

Jaime Peligro Books and Music
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Measuring a Musician’s Success

gamboa book & cdBy Jim Parisi

To become a commercial success, a musician needs to have talent. But in the formula for success, a little luck and timing have to be factored into the equation. Still, there have been many very talented troubadours who have been in the right place at the right time and did not catch the train to fame. Usually, it’s because they overslept or “spaced out” and forgot all about it. And herein lays the key to fame and fortune: good management. Of all the musicians I have met, the successful ones have a dependable manager, usually a spouse or family member, taking them by the hand to catch the plane to Boston for a gig or to the dining table because it is time for lunch. Musicians live in a different dimension than the rest of us and that is one of the reasons we love them: they have a unique perspective and are able to articulate it, through poignant lyrics, blazing guitar riffs and amazing drum flurries that touch our souls.

Jaime Peligro Books and Music

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A Functional Field Guide

Wildlife of Costa RicaBy Jim Parisi

Be suspicious when someone tells you that size doesn’t matter. On the contrary, when it comes to field guides, for example, the size of the book is a determining factor toward how well it will serve the customer. For example there are several beautiful coffee table books whose subject matter is the wildlife of Costa Rica. But I wouldn’t want to treat that book like a field guide, put it in my backpack and go into the jungle in search of its subject matter. Likewise, there are pocket guides that provide concise snapshots of the most common species of wildlife in Costa Rica, concise being the operative word. Pocket guides are handy but are limited and compact in their information as well.

Jaime Peligro Books and Music

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Rainforests of Costa Rica and Beyond

RainforestsBy Jim Parisi

Did you know that frogs don’t drink water? It’s true: instead of lapping it up with their tongues in the conventional sense like a dog or a cat, frogs absorb water through their skin. I learned this bit of interesting information, and a lot more, when I recently read Adrian Forsyth’s new book, “Rainforests – Costa Rica and Beyond”. Forsyth, and award winning author and biologist, is definitely at home in the rainforest, drawing on more than forty years of experience as reference to present this publication. And it is some impressive experience that Adrian brings to the table: Vice President of the Blue Moon Fund, Director of Biodiversity Science for the Andean/Amazon Foundation, a PhD from Harvard in tropical ecology, Vice President of Conservation International, a research associate at the Smithsonian Institute, and the list goes on from there. Forsyth is also the author of at least five books ensconced in ecology, including the eye-catching title, “The Natural History of Sex”.

Jaime Peligro Books and Music

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Osa On My Mind

By Jim Parisi

OsaIt had never crossed my mind that one of the reasons that the Osa Peninsula has remained such pristine terrain is because its isolation has helped it to remain an entity. This geographical logic comes up early in the text of the stunning new book “Osa – Where the Rainforest Meets the Sea”, a successful collage of photographic art and insightful journalistic essays that portray this unique region in southwest Costa Rica like no publication that has preceded it. In fact, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and Harvard Professor Emeritus Edward O. Wilson proclaimed the work, “the best way to experience (Osa) short of going there.” High accolades, indeed.

Jaime Peligro Books and Music

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The History of Costa Rica

By Jim Parisi

History of Costa RicaRecently, the University of Costa Rica published its third edition of “The History of Costa Rica”, the first of its kind to be translated and printed in the English language. Written by Ivan Molina and Steven Palmer, two of the leading and most recognized Costa Rican historians, the book is concise yet thorough and current, spanning this country’s rich history from the arrival of human beings, at around 12,000 B.C., to the beginning of the Twenty-First Century, including the bulk of Arias’ term as president of the country.

This is the fifth book to be written in collaboration by these two authors. Palmer has a Ph.D. in Latin American History from Colombia University in New York and Molina received his Masters degree in History at the University of Costa Rica, where both men have taught. Their books have won many prestigious awards, including the Aquileo Echeverria National Prize in History, the Cleto Gonzalez Viquez Prize in History and the Ancora Prize from La Nacion, Costa Rica’s premier newspaper. The book comes armed with eight different maps, more than eighty photographs, paintings and drawings, a comprehensive bibliography and an index that offers its readers a handy, thorough reference and complete chronicle of key events in Costa Rica’s history.

Jaime Peligro Books and Music

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