FRIEND OF THE DEVIL by Brubaker & Phillips – Now Available for Pre-Order!

Two days ago I shared the cover above for Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ next Reckless graphic novel: Friend of the Devil.  It wasn’t available for pre-order, but I said I’d keep you posted.

It’s now available for pre-order and below is the synopsis…

The next book in the red-hot Reckless series is here!

Bestselling crime noir masters Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are back with another new original graphic novel featuring troublemaker-for-hire Ethan Reckless.

It’s 1985 and things in Ethan’s life are going pretty well… until a missing woman shows up in the background of an old B-movie, and Ethan is drawn into Hollywood’s secret occult underbelly as he hunts for her among the wreckage of the wild days of the ’70s.

“No one does crime fic like Brubaker and Phillips, and their collaboration has never felt more new. Explosive. Vital. And yes… reckless.” – Damon Lindelof (LOST, HBO’s WATCHMEN)

Another hit graphic novel from the award-winning creators of PULP, MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN JUNKIES, CRIMINAL, and KILL OR BE KILLED — a must-have for all Brubaker and Phillips fans!

And look for the next standalone book in the Reckless series in October!

As you can imagine. I’m in.

Sly Scouting Locations for His Next Movie?

There is speculation at JoBlo.com that…

Sly (Stallone) himself may be about to make another action movie with frequent purveyors of gunplay and heist flicks Randall Emmet and George Furla. According to a new Instagram pic posted by Emmet himself, the producer and his partner are currently scouting locations for an unnamed movie. Joining them is none other than Sylvester Stallone.

ANY movie added to Sly’s schedule is ALWAYS welcome.  Fingers crossed it is for Hunter based on the James Byron Huggins’ novel of the same name written for Sly!

JOE LANSDALE’S HAP AND LEONARD: An Overview by Scott Montgomery


THE EVOLUTION OF JOE LANSDALE’S HAP AND LEONARD by Scott Montgomery at CrimeReads is well worth a read.  If you’re already a fan, you might get a little more insight into the stories and if you’re not a fan, you should be.  Well done, Mr. Montgomery.

Our header art today is a detail from the cover of the Subterranean Press trade edition for Dead Aim and was created by Glen Orbik.

Of Mice and Minestrone: Hap and Leonard: The Early Years by Joe R. Lansdale / Z-View

Of Mice and Minestrone: Hap and Leonard: The Early Years by Joe R. Lansdale

Trade Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Tachyon Publications

First sentence…

I must have been six or seven at the time, and it was an event that went on for years, this gathering of relatives.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Of Mice and Minestrone: Hap and Leonard: The Early Years contains five short stories about Hap and Leonard during their, you guessed it, early years.  As an added bonus, there’s a section titled Good Eats: The Recipes of Hap and Leonard by Kasey Lansdale (Joe’s daughter).  Let’s take a quick look at each…

The Kitchen is, as Lansdale says in the intro to the book, more of a vignette than short story.   Reading it you get a sense of where Hap got his moral foundation and why family is important to him.  If you’re lucky it will also bring back memories of another time when things moved slower and family get-togethers were special events.

Of Mice and Minestrone is divided into two parts.  In part one, Hap (a 16 year old high school student) has a run-in with a thugish man at a gas station.  Hap apologizes for his part, but the bully wants a fight.  When the thug’s wife tries to calm her husband by saying, “He’s just a kid.  He didn’t mean nothing -” it’s obvious she has overstepped.  The gas station owner comes out and the man and his wife leave.

Later, when Hap unexpectedly sees the woman in town he can tell that she’s been beaten up.  Hap wants to help her, but she’s afraid and Hap is just a kid.  Together they devise a plan to save her.  Part II Of Mice and Minestrone deals with the fallout from their plan and as you can guess things don’t end up all sunshine and roses.

The Watering Shed was a dive bar located a ways from town.  It was a rough place where you could get a drink even if you were under-age, if you had the cash.  Hap and Leonard had some coin and a hankering for a beer.  Had Leonard not been black, there wouldn’t have been a problem.  But he was and there was and it led to two murders.

In The Sparring Partner Hap and Leonard are offered some easy money to assist a promoter in getting his new fighter ready for his next match. Unfortunately the promoter isn’t on the level and his fighter is in waaay over his head.  Hap and Leonard could take their sparring partner money and walk away but we know that won’t happen.

The Sabine was High takes place when Leonard arrives home from Viet Nam and Hap has recently gotten out of prison (for refusing to be drafted). They go on an overnight fishing trip and share stories about the hell each of them has been through.

Good Eats: The Recipes of Hap and Leonard is exactly what you’d imagine, recipes for preparing food from the stories.

Of Mice and Minestrone: Hap and Leonard: The Early Years provides a look at events that shaped Hap and Leonard into the men they would become. You don’t have to be a H&L fan to enjoy the book, but if you are you’ll enjoy it all the more.  My favorite story gave the book it’s title.  Lansdale sets up a classic situation and then throws in twists along the way (doesn’t he always) that will leave you smiling at his storytelling ability and sad at the situations the characters are in.  There’s not a weak story in the book and even though I’m not much of a cook, I think I’ll give a recipe or two a shot.

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“Death on the Nile” – The Trailer is Here!

Although I’ve never read an Agatha Christie novel, I enjoyed Murder on the Orient Express starring Kenneth Branagh.  After seeing the trailer below for his return as Hercule Poirot (along with an all-star cast) in Death on the Nile, I’m looking forward to the sequel even more.

Maybe I should check out one of Christie’s novels. Hmmm.

Murder was just the beginning. Watch the new trailer for Death on the Nile, in theaters this October 23.

Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot’s Egyptian vacation aboard a glamorous river steamer turns into a terrifying search for a murderer when a picture-perfect couple’s idyllic honeymoon is tragically cut short. Set against an epic landscape of sweeping desert vistas and the majestic Giza pyramids, this tale of unbridled passion and incapacitating jealousy features a cosmopolitan group of impeccably dressed travelers, and enough wicked twists and turns to leave audiences guessing until the final, shocking denouement.

Death on the Nile reunites the filmmaking team behind 2017’s global hit Murder on the Orient Express, and stars five-time Academy Award® nominee Kenneth Branagh as the iconic detective Hercule Poirot. He is joined by an all-star cast of suspects, including: Tom Bateman, four-time Oscar® nominee Annette Bening, Russell Brand, Ali Fazal, Dawn French, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Rose Leslie, Emma Mackey, Sophie Okonedo, Jennifer Saunders and Letitia Wright.

Death on the Nile is written by Michael Green, adapted from Christie’s novel, and is produced by Ridley Scott, Mark Gordon, Simon Kinberg, Kenneth Branagh, Judy Hofflund and Kevin J. Walsh, with Matthew Jenkins, James Prichard and Matthew Prichard serving as executive producers.

“Young Wallander” – The Trailer is Here!

Check out the trailer below for the new Netflix series Young Wallander. Wallander first appeared in novels created by Swedish author, Henning Mankell.  Kenneth Branagh played Wallander in a series that ran from 2008 to 2016.  Young Wallander is a prequel and here is the synopsis and then the trailer.  Looks pretty good!

Uncover the case that made the man.

Kurt Wallander (Adam Pålsson) fresh out of police academy witnesses a brutal crime and is pulled into solving it under the wing of superintendent Hemberg (Richard Dillane).

Criminal Deluxe Edition, Volume 3 by Brubaker & Phillips is Coming!

Fans of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips will be glad to hear that on October 27, 2020, the Criminal Deluxe Edition, Volume 3 Hardcover will be released!  I can’t wait.  Here’s what it will contain…

This oversized deluxe hardback collects several short stories and novellas from the most award-winning team in the history of comics in a fantastically-designed book full of extras — illustrations, selected articles, interviews, behind the scenes looks, painted covers… and much much more! Collects the SAVAGE SWORD OF CRIMINAL and DEADLY HANDS OF CRIMINAL magazines, the novellas MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN JUNKIES and BAD WEEKEND, and issues 1 and 4 of the newest run of the CRIMINAL monthly series, two full length short stories about the LAWLESS family.

A true collector’s edition must-have for any fan of the best in crime comics.

The Criminal Deluxe Edition, Volume 3 is available for pre-order now.  

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips Get “Reckless”

This is the cover to Reckless, the first of three new graphic novels coming from Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips through Image Comics.  Each of the graphic novels will be a complete separate standalone crime story.  Here’s how Brubaker describes Reckless

Meet Ethan Reckless: Your trouble is his business, for a price.

A former student radical, with the scars to prove it, Ethan is one part repo man, one part private eye, and one part wrecking ball. But when a fugitive from his Weather Underground days reaches out for help, Ethan will have to face the only thing he really fears… his own past.

It’s sex, drugs, and murder in early ‘80s Los Angeles, as Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips launch their first graphic novel series with an electrifying new take on the paperback pulp hero.

Brubaker goes on to say that Reckless will be 144 pages, premiere in December with the second book scheduled for April 2021. Again, each of these books will be a completely standalone graphic novel.  Man, this hits a bunch of my crime fiction sweet spots.

If you subscribe to Brubaker’s free newsletter you are able to see three pages from Reckless and they look wicked.  If you don’t subscribe, you’ll definitely want to check out The Hollywood Reporter’s coverage: Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips to Launch Graphic Novel Series ‘Reckless‘.

Later Stephen King’s New Crime Thriller is Coming!

Stephen King is coming back with another Hardcase crime story.  Later will drop on March 2, 2021.  Here’s the synopsis…

#1 bestselling author Stephen King returns with a brand-new novel about the secrets we keep buried and the cost of unearthing them.

SOMETIMES GROWING UP
MEANS FACING YOUR DEMONS

The son of a struggling single mother, Jamie Conklin just wants an ordinary childhood. But Jamie is no ordinary child. Born with an unnatural ability his mom urges him to keep secret, Jamie can see what no one else can see and learn what no one else can learn. But the cost of using this ability is higher than Jamie can imagine – as he discovers when an NYPD detective draws him into the pursuit of a killer who has threatened to strike from beyond the grave.

LATER is Stephen King at his finest, a terrifying and touching story of innocence lost and the trials that test our sense of right and wrong. With echoes of King’s classic novel It, LATER is a powerful, haunting, unforgettable exploration of what it takes to stand up to evil in all the faces it wears.

Pre-orders are available now!

More Better Deals by Joe R. Lansdale / Z-View

More Better Deals by Joe R. Lansdale

Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Mulholland Books

First sentence…

I folded the check and put it in my shirt pocket and tried not to grin.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Ed Edwards is a used car salesman and a big believer in buyer beware.  Ed’s not above rolling back an odometer, telling little lies or flirting with a customer if it means a sale.  Ed’s doing okay, but is okay ever enough?  Ed dreams of bigger things than being top salesman in a two man used car lot.

When Ed’s boss sends him to repossess a Cadillac, he meets Nancy.  At first Ed just wants the caddy, but Nancy is beautiful and flirty.  When Nancy invites Ed in for a drink, he doesn’t hesitate.  Sure, she’s married, but that’s on her, right?  Unhappily married as it turns out.  Even better.  One thing leads to another and before too long Ed and Nancy’s hot affair turns to thoughts of murder.

See if Nancy’s big, dumb brute of a husband wasn’t in the picture, she and Ed could make some real money with the drive-in and pet cemetery businesses that her husband owns.  You can guess the rest… except you can’t because Joe Lansdale is writing this tale!

Joe crafts More Better Deals with the dark humor and memorable characters that we’ve come to expect from this master storyteller.  I blazed through loving every page and unexpected twist.  If you’re a fan of noir and stories like The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity then More Better Deals is for you.  (And don’t say I didn’t warn you about a scene so creepy it will stay with you for days!)

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Dia de los Muertos by Riley Rossmo and Friends / Z-View

Dia de los Muertos is a paperback that collects the three issue mini-series published by Image Comics.

  • Scripts: Ed Brisson, Alexander Grecian, Joe Keatinge, Alex Link, Christopher E. Long, Dirk Manning, Jeff Mariotte, Kurtis J. Wiebe, Joshua Williamson
  • Artist: Riley Rossmo
  • Colorists: Riley Rossmo, Nick Johnson, Megan Wilson, Jean-Paul Csuka
  • Letters by: Kelly Tindall
  • Cover Artist: Riley Rossmo

*** Beware – spoilers may be found below ***

Inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead, artist extraordinaire Riley Rossmo (Debris, Green Wake, Cowboy Ninja Viking) joins forces with nine different writers to tell tall tales from beyond the grave!

Riley Rossmo teams with 9 different writers to present 9 stories set against the backdrop of Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations.  There is a supernatural undercurrent running through each tale.

It is interesting how Rossmo changes his art style to compliment each story being told.  I enjoyed each of the tales, but I’d the standout for me was Mine by Joshua Williamson and Rossmo.  It has a great set-up and leads the reader to a surprise ending.  If you’re a fan of Rod Serling’s The Night Gallery, then you should like this collection.


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Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry / Z-View

Rot & Ruin by Scott Frank

Hardcover: 458 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

First sentence…

Benny Imura couldn’t hold a job, so he took to killing.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Rot & Ruin is the first in a five book series geared to teens and young adults.  Set nearly a decade and a half after the zombie apocalypse, humanity is still struggling.  Most of the surviving humans live in small fortified strongholds fenced away from the “rot and ruin” of the zombie wastelands.

Benny Imura was just 18 months old the night the zombies rose.  Both of Benny’s parents were killed. Benny would have been as well if his teenage half-brother, Tom hadn’t saved him. For that Benny has never forgiven Tom.  Benny believes Tom is a coward for running away and not trying to save his parents.

Benny spends his days talking with friends (especially Nix, a girl that has a crush on him) and dreaming about life beyond the fences that protect them.  He looks up to the bounty hunters that venture into the rot and ruin to find food, supplies and lost souls.  Benny thinks that maybe one day he’ll become a bounty hunter.

When it is discovered that a group of bounty hunters have killed two of the townspeople and kidnapped Nix, Tom and Benny head out into the rot and ruin hoping to save her.

Maberry scores again!  I look forward to reading the other books in the series.  (PS – If I was a younger reader I know I would have scored Rot & Ruin even higher.)

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Shaker by Scott Frank / Z-View

Shaker by Scott Frank

Hardcover: 335 pages
Publisher: Knopf

First sentence…

A swarm of nearly seven hundred small earthquakes – most in the 2.0 to 3.0 range – rattled the Mojave Desert between June and September.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Following a major earthquake, Ray Cooper is sent to LA to kill a man.  Cooper has the experience and a reputation for getting the job done efficiently without blowback.  Despite the chaos the quake caused, the hit goes well.  As Cooper walks back to his car he stumbles on to a mugging. Given the option, Cooper would prefer to keep walking, but the muggers see him and things quickly escalate. An old man is killed and Cooper is shot twice as the gangbangers run away.

It doesn’t take long for the police to show up at the hospital where Cooper is recovering.  A video surfaced showing Cooper standing up to the hoods as they kill the old man. Cooper is seen as a hero!  The press is running with this angle and the video has gone viral (which is the last thing a hit man would want).  The cops and the press have questions.  Cooper knows that it won’t be long before the police are able to figure out his alibi for being in the area doesn’t hold water.  Once that happens it’s an easy connection to the man he executed a few blocks away.  Despite his weakened condition Cooper has to go on the run.

Running won’t be easy.  The gangbangers that Cooper disrespected (for the world to see thanks to the viral video), want revenge.  The cops want Cooper for questioning.  And Cooper knows that someone far scarier than him has been sent to LA to “fix” the situation.

Scott Frank has created a crime novel with twists you won’t see coming by developing a believable cast of characters.  Many authors hint at backstory, but Frank has the ability to move the story forward while at the same time showing us past events that have shaped the characters.  I look forward to more novels from Scott Frank.

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“Killadelphia Volume 1: Sins of the Father” / Z-View

Killadelphia Volume 1: Sins of the Father is a paperback that collects issues 1 – 6 of an on-going series published by Image Comics. .

Writer: Rodney Barnes
Artist: Jason Shawn Alexander
Colorist: Luis NCT
Letters by: Marshall Dillon
Cover Artist: Jason Shawn Alexander & Luis NCT 

*** Beware – spoilers may be found below ***

Featuring the show-stopping talents of Spawn series artist JASON SHAWN ALEXANDER, and the writer behind such hit shows as Wu-Tang: An American Saga, Marvel’s Runaways, and Starz’s American Gods–RODNEY BARNES.

When a small town beat cop comes home to bury his murdered father-the revered Philadelphia detective James Sangster Sr.-he begins to unravel a mystery that leads him down a path of horrors and shakes his beliefs to their core.

The city that was once the symbol of liberty and freedom has fallen prey to corruption, poverty, unemployment, brutality…
…and vampires.

But the mystery goes even further when Jimmy’s investigation leads him to uncover the source of the outbreak is long-thought dead President of the United States John Adams–a man secretly biding his time as he builds an undead army to start a new and bloodier American revolution.

There’s a reason they coin a phrase, “you can’t go home.” Welcome to Killadelphia.

Collects KILLADELPHIA #1-6

Killadelphia is a book you should be reading if you like intelligently written and beautifully drawn horror comics.

Rodney Barnes’ idea of a modern day vampire uprising in Philadelphia led by a centuries old founding father is so audacious that we’re lucky Barnes took his story past the idea stage.   Killadelphia is a very cool, very creepy tale that paints a big picture universe introduced to us through believable characters who find themselves in an unbelievable situation.

Modern day vampires?  Yeah, right.  Read Killadelphia and you’re response will become: Modern day vampires?  Yeah!  Right!

Jason Shawn Alexander provides realistic art for Killadelphia which supports the story;  you believe what you’re seeing.  The characters look like real people (some of whom are vampires).  Alexander has drawn scenes that will creep you out and perhaps inspire nightmares… which is exactly what great horror fiction should do.  I hope that Barnes and Alexander stay together as long as Killadelphia tales are told.

Luis NCT’s colors provide nuance and emphasis that enhance each scene and his contribution to the success of Killadelphia shouldn’t be overlooked.

I thought that Killadelphia would be a good comic.  I underestimated it.  Killadelphia is an exceptional comic and one all horror fans should try.


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