A Real Hardcase

Have you heard of Dan Simmons?

Simmons‘ first published story, “The River Styx Runs Upstream,” won the Rod Serling Memorial Award. His first novel, Song of Kali, won the World Fantasy Award. His first horror novel, Carrion Comfort, won the Bram Stoker Award. His first science fiction novel, Hyperion, won the Hugo Award.

Even with all the awards, I was only vaguely familiar with his work. I don’t read fantasy, and very little science fiction or horror. I do love a hardboiled thriller though! You know, the kind written by Vachss, or Izzi, Hunter, or Stark… or Simmons. That’s right! With one book, Simmons has jumped to the top of the list!

Joe Kurtz was a PI… before he was an ex-con. See he killed a man, a couple of men actually. They’d murdered his girl and unborn child. While it’s pretty reasonable to me that he threw one of ’em off a six story building, the jury didn’t see it that way.

Now, out of prison after eleven-and-a-half years…

…you’d think things would be looking up for Kurtz. You’d be wrong. Too many people want him dead…

Hardcase is the best novel that I’ve read this year [tied with Jack Kelly‘s Line of Sight]. For more about Hardcase, click here.

Ever heard of Dan Simmons?

My prediction is that you will. But remember that you FIRST heard about him here!

Hardcase rates an A+

The Mechanic

Charles Bronson had a long career staring and co-staring in a bunch of great movies. “The Dirty Dozen.” “The Magnificent Seven.” “Death Wish.” “Hard Times.” One of my personal favorites is “The Mechanic.”

Never heard of it? Well, it’s coming out on dvd on October 8th and you owe it to yourself to at least check it out.

Bronson is a hit man… perhaps the best in the business. If he takes a job, the target is as good as dead. Jan Michael Vincent is the son of a mafioso who becomes Bronson‘s protoge… not knowing that Bronson has recently murdered his father…

The Mechanic” was directed by Michael Winner [who also directed Bronson in “Death Wish“] with a flair for action without compromising the story. [The opening scene shows Bronson setting up a hit and goes on for several minutes without a word of dialogue!] And although I won’t give it away, be prepared for a great “surprise” ending!

I’m looking forward to adding “The Mechanic” to my dvd collection. Watch it once, and odds are you will too!

The Mechanic” rates an A

Hostage as Cool as Elvis

I was lucky enough to discover Robert Crais with his second novel, Stalking the Angel [ his first was The Monkey’s Raincoat which introduced detectives Elvis Cole and Joe Pike.] The series was modern, well written and reminded me of an updated version of Robert B. Parker‘s Spenser and Hawk [well actually, an updated Spenser and Sylvester Stallone‘s Cobra].

Crais is one of the few authors whose work I buy in hardcover as soon as it’s published. With my time being what it is, I just got around to reading Hostage, Crais‘ latest [which is now out in paperback]. Although not an Elvis Cole novel, it is without a doubt my favorite work by Crais [who as I’ve said is always very good].

The cool thing about this novel is that the suspense starts on page one and continues to build and build and build. The book has received outstanding reviews from critics and fans alike. Bruce Willis has optioned the book for a movie [which would be an excellent vehicle for him]!

So what are you waiting for? Click here to order the paperback… and watch for Elvis and Joe Pike to return soon in Crais The Last Detective!

Bad Ending for Blake

Police went to the home of actor Robert Blake on April 18, 2002 and CNN reported that they were there to arrest him in the death of his wife, who was gunned down outside a Los Angeles restaurant a year ago. Blake is shown in this 1985 publicity photograph from the television program “Hell Town.”

We had just finished watching “Survivor” and I was heading in to check my e-mail when I got a call. “Turn on CNN. They’re getting ready to arrest Robert Blake for the murder of his wife.”

I can’t say that I’m shocked or surprised. Although I wouldn’t be willing to say that he’s guilty, it doesn’t look good. I read quite a bit about the murder (how could you avoid it at the time?) and none of his explanations ever seemed to really make sense.

I’ve always liked Robert Blake‘s acting. “Baretta” was an enjoyable series and he’s been in several very good movies. It’s too bad that this doesn’t look to have a happy ending.

The Men Who Killed Kennedy

Where were you when it happened? If someone asks that question now, we instinctively think of 9-11. There was a time, for many of us, when that question meant one thing… “Where were you when President Kennedy was killed?”

I was barely five years old and yet the memory of that day is burned in my mind. I remember everyone being glued to their television sets for the latest news. The nation seemed to breathe a sigh of releif when the lone gunman was captured… but did he act alone?

I’ve always been intrigued by the various conspiracy theories. In high school I read the Warren Commission report and followed the latest findings. There have been hundreds of books written on the subject, several movies, and many documentaries. “The Men Who Killed Kennedy” is one of the best summaries of the different theories that abound. Chock full of interviews, photos, film and speculation, even if you don’t buy into any of it, you’ll still be impressed by the sincerity of those that do.

Mackey and The Shield: Bad is Good

Michael Chiklis plays Detective Vic Mackey in FX’s acclaimed new show, The Shield. If you haven’t seen The Shield, odds are you’ve heard of it since the pilot was the highest-rated original series premiere in basic cable television history.
I’ve watched The Shield since its premiere and it immediately went to my must see list. Chiklis is, without a doubt, the main draw. He’s an exceptional actor playing a complex role as the leader of a “strike force” of cops dealing with the worst in society. Mackey is as bad as the criminals he takes down… yet he has a code of ethics to “take care of his own” and he does. I’ve never had such mixed emotions about a character before. I want him to get caught and yet I don’t. The rest of the cast and the storylines are excellent as well.
With all of that said, I can’t recommend the show to everyone. It pushes the limits in every way possible (language, violence, sexual situations). But if you like gritty hard-boiled cop shows, then this show is the one for you!

 

UC Goes Way Undercover

I read today that it is unlikely that UC: Undercover will be brought back next season and that’s really too bad. If you never happened to catch the show, then you really missed a good and potentially great series. UC: Undercover was created by Shane Salerno. Oded Fehr, Jon Seda, Vera Farmiga, Bruklin Harris, and Jarrad Paul made up the cast. Guest stars such as William Forsythe, Ving Rhames and Steven Bauer were regularly featured! If the series isn’t renewed, I hope that we’ll get an occasional tv movie.

“UC: Undercover” Unlikely for Renewal

I read today that it is unlikely that UC: Undercover will be brought back next season and that’s really too bad. If you never happened to catch the show, then you really missed a good and potentially great series.

UC: Undercover was created by Shane Salerno. Oded Fehr, Jon Seda, Vera Farmiga, Bruklin Harris, and Jarrad Paul made up the cast. Guest stars such as William Forsythe, Ving Rhames and Steven Bauer were regularly featured!

If the series isn’t renewed, I hope that we’ll get an occasional tv movie.

Training Day Lives Up to Hype

I finally got an opportunity to see “Training Day” — what a powerful movie. No doubt, if you’re a movie fan, you’ve heard the hype. This is one movie that lives up to it.

Denzel Washington turns in a truly Oscar-worthy performance (his best yet, in my humble opinion). Ethan Hawke is excellent as well. While this movie isn’t for everyone, it is for my money one of the best movies that I’ve seen in months.

If you’ve seen it, I’d love to hear your thoughts… if you haven’t, consider it on your next trip to the video store. As for me, this baby is gonna end up in my personal collection!

“Training Day” rates an A+

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“Training Day” is a Winner!

I finally got an opportunity to see “Training Day” — what a powerful movie. No doubt, if you’re a movie fan, you’ve heard the hype. This is one movie that lives up to it.

Denzel Washington turns in a truly Oscar-worthy performance (his best yet, in my humble opinion). Ethan Hawke is excellent as well. While this movie isn’t for everyone, it is for my money one of the best movies that I’ve seen in months.

If you’ve seen it, I’d love to hear your thoughts… if you haven’t, consider it on your next trip to the video store. As for me, this baby is gonna end up in my personal collection!

“Killer Inside Me” Coming But Who to Play Lou Ford?

Earlier this week Variety reported that Dominic Sena (“Gone in 60 Seconds”) will direct the 1952 pulp fiction classic “The Killer Inside Me” by Jim Thompson. While I didn’t care much for “Gone in 60 Seconds” because of the story, I am fairly excited about the prospects for “The Killer Inside Me.”

First of all, it’s an excellent book, considered by many to be Jim Thompson‘s best. Stanley Kubrick called it “the most chilling and believeable first-person story of a criminally warped mind that I have ever encountered.” I agree.

But who to play the main character, Lou Ford, a sheriff’s deputy with a psychopathic side? My vote would be for someone totally unexpected… someone like Sylvester Stallone! Fans have been wanting to see him play a bad guy… well, this could be the role. Whoever is chosen should be playing totally against character… someone that everyone would NEVER suspect is a psychopathic murderer… if not Sly then maybe Harrison Ford? At any rate… check out the book!

John Carpenter’s “Assault on Precinct 13”

I’ve been going through some old files lately and came across the picture above. It’s from a movie, directed by John Carpenter, called “Assault on Precinct 13.” Although a real low-bugeted film, it is one of Carpenter‘s best. The story concerns a small group of cops, office workers and convicts fighting for their lives in an abandoned police station under siege by a street gang.

The picture above is of Darwin Johnston who played a real hard case named Napoleon Wilson. I was surprised that Johnston didn’t do more of these types of roles. Tony Burton from the “Rocky” movies co-starred. The movie is worth a look if you enjoy action/adventure.

Line of Sight

“One of the rules… you don’t mess with married women. It’s tempting, sure. Forbidden fruit. He got, I want. But you’re only buying trouble and there’s enough trouble to be had for nothing.”

Ray Dolan finds out just how much trouble can be had, when his infatuation with a married woman turns to murder. Line of Sight by Jack Kelly is one of the best books that I’ve read in a long time. If you’re a fan of crime writers such as Andrew Vachss, James M. Cain, Jim Thompson, Frank Miller and Walter Mosely or if you love film noir… movies like “Double Indemnity,” “Body Heat,” and “Out of the Past” then you’re going to love this book. You can read more about it by clicking [Here] or on the picture to the left. (And ya gotta love the novel’s cover!)

Line of Sight rates an “A+”
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