Category: Books

“Masters of the Air” – The Trailer is Here!

I said it before and I’ll say it again, “Deal me in!”

From the executive producers of Band of Brothers and The Pacific comes Masters of the Air. The 9-part series event premieres January 26

Based on Donald L. Miller’s book of the same name, and scripted by John Orloff, “Masters of the Air” follows the men of the 100th Bomb Group (the “Bloody Hundredth”) as they conduct perilous bombing raids over Nazi Germany and grapple with the frigid conditions, lack of oxygen, and sheer terror of combat conducted at 25,000 feet in the air. Portraying the psychological and emotional price paid by these young men as they helped destroy the horror of Hitler’s Third Reich, is at the heart of “Masters of the Air.” Some were shot down and captured; some were wounded or killed. And some were lucky enough to make it home. Regardless of individual fate, a toll was exacted on them all.

The series features a stellar cast led by Academy Award nominee Austin Butler, Callum Turner, Anthony Boyle and Nate Mann, who are joined by Raff Law, Academy Award nominee Barry Keoghan, Josiah Cross, Branden Cook and Ncuti Gatwa.

Hailing from Apple Studios, “Masters of the Air” is executive produced by Steven Spielberg through Amblin Television, and Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman for Playtone. Amblin Television’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey co-executive produce alongside Playtone’s Steven Shareshian. In addition to writing, Orloff co-executive produces. Graham Yost also serves as co-executive producer. Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Dee Rees and Tim Van Patten serve as directors.

BUT ENOUGH ABOUT ME by Burt Reynolds and Jon Winokur / Z-View

BUT ENOUGH ABOUT ME by Burt Reynolds and Jon Winokur

First sentence…

Growing up in Palm Beach, County, Florida, I went by the name Buddy.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Burt Reynolds always seemed like a star you could sit and talk with.  Perhaps that’s why he was always such a great guest on talk shows.  His sense of humor always came through, often at his own expense.  I’m pleased to report that BUT ENOUGH ABOUT ME has the same feel.

Burt Reynolds’ goal with the book was to pay homage to the people who shaped him for better or worse. And he does just that.  Burt isn’t ashamed to get sentimental or afraid to name names. We learn who he considers the good folks, as well a few who wouldn’t make his Christmas card list.  He talks about success as well as mistakes he made both professionally and personally.  Burt Reynolds had a career few could dream of and he’s written a memoir worthy of it.


“Fast Charlie” (2023) – “He’s a Pig” Clip – starring Pierce Brosnan & James Caan!

Here’s another clip from Fast Charlie is based on Victor Gishler’s novel GUN MONKEYS. This one features Pierce Brosnan and James Caan. Fast Charlie is shaping up to be on par with the book.  If so, we’re in for a treat.

Deal me in.

ComingSoon is debuting an exclusive Fast Charlie clip from the Pierce Brosnan-led upcoming action thriller. The film is set to debut in select theaters and through video-on-demand platforms on Friday, December 8.

“Charlie Swift, aka ‘Fast Charlie,’ is a fixer with a problem: the target he’s whacked is missing his head,” read the synopsis. “And he must prove it’s the intended target to the man who paid for the hit — New Orleans’ most prominent and most ruthless mobster, Beggar Mercado. Charlie enlists Marcie Kramer, the victim’s ex-wife and a woman with the backbone and skillset Charlie needs. Dragging Marcie back into a past she was determined to escape sends the two of them on a wild and unpredictable odyssey that’s unexpectedly amusing, action propelled, and ultimately heartfelt. Along the way, Charlie and Marcie fight to protect the legacy of Charlie’s best friend and mentor, Stan Mullen, while bringing down Beggar and his entire operation.”

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Morena Baccarin, James Caan
Directed by: Phillip Noyce
Release Date: 12/8/23

“Fast Charlie” starring Pierce Brosnan, Morena Baccarin, & James Caan- Official Clip – “How Does That Sound?”

Fast Charlie is based on Victor Gishler’s novel GUN MONKEYS.  I read the books years ago.  If the movie is as good, we’re in for a treat.  The trailer looks like it might be.

Deal me in.

Charlie Swift is a fixer with a problem: the target he’s whacked is missing his head and the only way Charlie will be paid is if the body can be identified. Enter Marcie Kramer, the victim’s ex-wife and a woman with all the skills Charlie needs.

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Morena Baccarin, James Caan
Directed by: Phillip Noyce
Release Date: 12/8/23



First sentence…

The cashier at the 7-11 on Water Street leaves to take a leak.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Kraj is an expatriate Croat.  He makes his living as a bouncer and occasional enforcer for his boss Tricky Ricky Gutierrez.  It’s a job Kraj was built for.  Tricky Ricky sees potential in Kraj.  That makes Mikael, nervous.  Mikael manages the strip club that serves as the front for Tricky Ricky’s various “businesses”.   Kraj continues to prove his worth and gain more trust from Ricky.  With the trust comes more responsibility.  Kraj is making the right moves.  Now that Kraj’s new girlfriend has been promoted to manager at the McDonald’s things are looking up.  Of course the higher up, the farther the fall.

Rusty Barnes presents 14 Kraj The Enforcer short stories.  Each story is a complete tale.  Read together they form a bigger yarn.  Kraj isn’t your typical anti-hero.  While he has some of the characteristics you’d expect, his supporting characters ground him in a reality you’d get visiting most small Appalachian towns. Plus his origin is unique and makes him standout in his new adopted country.  I enjoyed KRAJ THE ENFORCER: STORIES.  I hope we see more.



ALFRED HITCHCOCK STORYBOARDS by Tony Lee Moral will appeal to Hitchcock fans and movie lovers.

A one-of-a-kind historical document and celebration of the artwork behind several of the Master of Suspense’s greatest films.

This stunning coffee table book focuses on the storyboards for nine of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic movies – Vertigo, The Birds, Psycho, North by Northwest, The 39 Steps, Torn Curtain, Marnie, Shadow of a Doubt and Spellbound. It includes never before-published images and incisive text putting the material in context and examining the role the pieces played in some of the most unforgettable scenes in cinema. Hitchcock author and aficionado Tony Lee Moral takes you through the last 100 years of cinema, with the Master of Suspense as your guide.


CHASING THE BOOGEYMAN (A Novel) by Richard Chizmar

CHASING THE BOOGEYMAN (A Novel) by Richard Chizmar

First sentence…

When I first started clipping newspaper articles and jotting down notes about the tragic events that transpired in my hometown of Edgewood, Maryland, during the summer and autumn of 1988, I had no thoughts of one day turning those scattered observations into a full-length book.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Richard Chizmar just graduated college.  He’s making plans to marry his girlfriend.  He dreams of being a writer.  The only negative is that Richard will have to live with his parents for some months until he’s married.  Still, going back to the house he grew up in will provide time to strengthen family bonds and rekindle old friendships.  At least that’s how Richard thought things would be.

That all changes when mutilated bodies of dead girls begin showing up.  When Richard arrives home, there’s a curfew in effect.  Everyone in his small town is jumpy.  The F.B.I. has assisted local police, but there have been no solid leads.  Because of the way the murderer butchers and eludes detection, rumors are flying that the killer isn’t human.  When Richard learns that he knew one of the victims, his writer’s curiosity causes him to dig into the case.  The killer begins taunting the police, the FBI and Richard.  That’s when Richard realizes he has put himself and his family in danger.


Richard Chizmar has written a novel that reads like a true crime story.  In addition to placing himself in the story, Chizmar provides maps, newspaper photos, and more in regard to the case. You may find yourself double checking to make sure it is fiction.

Often true crime tales read like procedurals. Not this baby.  It reads like one of the best true crime stories you could ask for. But remember, it’s fiction.


THE SINS OF THE SALTON SEA by Ed Brisson, C.P. Smith and Tim Bradstreet

THE SINS OF THE SALTON SEA by Ed Brisson (writer), C.P. Smith (artist) and Tim Bradstreet (cover artist) sounds like a winner.  Here’s the synopsis…

“One last job” for washed-up demolitions expert Wyatt could mean the last days for all mankind in THE SINS OF THE SALTON SEA, an apocalyptic crime thriller from AWA!

It’s supposed to be an easy score: An armored car traveling desert back roads with $50 million in dirty cash. But things go sideways, people end up dead, and there’s no money in the truck. What’s all this have to do with a cult called The Sons of the Salton Sea? And is mankind REALLY doomed to eternal damnation if the Sons don’t fulfill their deadly mission? It might just be the end of the world as we know it in this explosive crime thriller from Ed Brisson (Predator, Murder Book) and C.P. Smith (THE RESISTANCE: UPRISING, ARCHANGEL 8)!

Wyatt, a professional thief living off the grid, is recruited by his brother for one last job. Their target: an armored car traveling down a desolate stretch of California highway. But when it turns out that their target is carrying not gold bars but human cargo, Wyatt is plunged into a conflict between warring factions of a doomsday cult. The cult claims that it is their solemn duty to save the world by means of human sacrifice. Will Wyatt protect the boy who has come into his charge? Or will he be swayed by the cult’s increasingly convincing claims that the end of the world is fast approaching?

THE SINS OF THE SALTON SEA drops February 20, 2024.

“Island of Lost Souls” (1932) starring Charles Laughton, Bela Lugosi, Richard Arlen & Kathleen Burke / Z-View

Island of Lost Souls (1932)

Director: Erle C. Kenton

Screenplay by: Waldemar Young, Philip Wylie based on THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU by H. G. Wells

Starring: Charles Laughton, Bela Lugosi, Richard Arlen, Leila Hyams, Kathleen Burke, Arthur Hohl, Stanley Fields, Paul Hurst.

Tagline: THE PANTHER WOMAN lured men on – only to destroy them body and soul!

The Story:

After a dispute with a supply ship’s drunken Captain, Edward Parker (Arlen), is left stranded on the remote jungle island of Dr. Moreau (Laughton). Moreau welcomes Parker to his home.  Parker thanks him for the hospitality and says he will leave on the next supply ship.  Parker is warned that many wild creatures live on the island.  He is then introduced to Lota (Burke) and Montgomery (Hohl), Moreau’s assistant.

Later as Lota and Edward are talking they hear terrible screams coming from Dr. Moreau’s lab.  Lota tells Edward the lab is called “the house of pain”.  Edward bursts in to find Moreau and Montgomery operating without anesthesia on some sort of human-animal hybrid.

Edward decides to take a small boat and leave.  As he walks from the safety of the house, Edward sees dozens of half-human beasts coming towards him.  Dr. Moreau shows up with his whip and drives them back into the jungle.  Moreau explains that the creatures are results of his failed experiments to turn animals into humans.

Edward is trapped on the island with the crazy Dr. Moreau and his assistant Montgomery.  As the jungle creatures get more daring, Edward knows that time for survival is running out.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

Paramount decided the role of Lota the Panther Woman would go to an unknown actress.  Kathleen Burke, a fashion model and radio actress who had never appeared in a feature film, won the role beating out 60,000 hopefuls.  The opening credits read Lota…. the Panther Woman, but the final credits list Kathleen Burke by name.  It’s interesting to note that Lota does not appear in H.G. Wells’ novel.

Island of Lost Souls (1932) was made before the Hays Code, which prohibited profanity, suggestive nudity, graphic or realistic violence, sexual persuasions and rape, went into effect.  Subsequently, the movie was censored in many countries and re-releases.

H.G. Wells reportedly felt that the film focused on horror at the expense of the “novel’s philosophical themes”.

“A Haunting in Venice” (2023) directed by Kenneth Branagh, starring Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Yeoh &Tina Fey /Z-View

A Haunting in Venice (2023)

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Screenplay by: Michael Green based on Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie

Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Dornan, Tina Fey, Riccardo Scamarcio.

Tagline:  Death is just the beginning.

The Story:

The year is 1947.  The world famous detective Hercule Poirot (Branagh) is retired and living in Venice.  Because of Poirot’s fame, people from all over the world attempt to hire him.  Poirot turns down every offer.

When Poirot’s old friend, mystery author Ariadne Oliver (Fey) visits, she tells Poirot about psychic Joyce Reynolds (Yeoh).  Poirot scoffs.  All psychics are frauds.  Ariadne agrees, but says that she couldn’t figure out how Joyce Reynolds pulls off her readings.  Ariadne says that if the smartest person she knows (herself) can’t figure it out, perhaps the second smartest (Poirot) can.

Ariande invites Poirot to attend a Halloween séance.  It will be held in a building that was once an orphanage.  It is now said to be haunted by orphans who were locked in and left to die during a plague.  Joyce Reynolds will lead the séance.  Poirot agrees to come along.  Ariande figures Poirot will either expose Reynolds as a fraud or not.  Either way she will have a story.

Everyone invited arrives for the séance. Reynolds while channeling a spirit says that one of the people in attendance is a murderer!  In short order, Joyce Reynolds is found impaled on a statue.  Periot locks everyone in. One of them is the killer.

Hercule Poirot is out of retirement.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers

Kenneth Branagh filmed on location in Venice.  He also didn’t tell the actors in advance about things like doors slamming, lights suddenly going out, etc.  He wanted to get their actual responses to startling events.

This was Tina Fey’s first appearance in a feature film or television production that wasn’t a comedy.  She was excellent as Ariadne Oliver.

This is Kenneth Branagh’s third outing as Hercule Poiroit.  He starred and directed Murder on the Orient Express (2017), Death on the Nile (2022) as well as A Haunting in Venice (2023).  I hope he does more.

“Fast Charlie” starring Pierce Brosnan – The Trailer is Here!

Fast Charlie is based on Victor Gishler’s novel GUN MONKEYS.  I read the books years ago.  If the movie is as good, we’re in for a treat.  The trailer looks like it might be.

Deal me in.

Charlie Swift is a fixer with a problem: the target he’s whacked is missing his head and the only way Charlie will be paid is if the body can be identified. Enter Marcie Kramer, the victim’s ex-wife and a woman with all the skills Charlie needs.

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Morena Baccarin, James Caan
Directed by: Phillip Noyce
Release Date: 12/8/23

BLOOD STANDARD (An Isiah Coleridge Novel) by Laird Barron / Z-View

BLOOD STANDARD (An Isiah Coleridge Novel) by Laird Barron

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Hardcover: ‎336 pages

First sentence…

As a boy, I admired Humphrey Bogart in a big way.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Isiah Coleridge had been a hit man and enforcer for the mob.  Working out of Alaska (yeah, the mob wets their beak there too), Coleridge was the gold standard.  He was a big, tough half-Maori, half-Caucasian, able to handle himself.  And he had more brains than you’d expect.

If Coleridge had given it any thought, he wouldn’t have punched Vitale Night, a mob captain, in the throat. Normally that would be a death sentence. Even if the jabroni deserved it.  Which Night did. But Coleridge got lucky when his boss went to bat for him.  Coleridge was exiled from the mob and Alaska.  He was told to lay low because Vitale Night still wanted revenge.

Living in upstate New York, Isaiah Coleridge begins to adjust to a quiet life.  Keeping a low profile isn’t so bad.  Coleridge begins to make new friends.  All is going well until a teenage girl disappears and Coleridge agrees to look into it.  As the big man digs deeper, he begins to make waves and attract the kinds of attention that can be dangerous.

BLOOD STANDARD is stylish, brutal, witty, and fun.

Laird Barron is as adept at storytelling as Isaiah Coleridge is at handling a violent situation.  Both Barron and Coleridge have jumped to the top of my must-read list.


“Shōgun” – The Trailer is Here!

Deal me in!

FX’s Shōgun – OFFICIAL TRAILER | An epic saga of war, passion, and power set in Feudal Japan. Coming February 2024 on Hulu and FX.

Based on James Clavell’s novel, FX’s Shōgun is set in Japan in the year 1600 at the dawn of a century-defining civil war. Lord Yoshii Toranaga is fighting for his life as his enemies on the Council of Regents unite against him, when a mysterious European ship is found marooned in a nearby fishing village.

“Frankenstein” (1931) directed by James Whale, starring Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, Boris Karloff & Dwight Frye / Z-View

Frankenstein (1931)

Director:  James Whale

Screenplay by:  Garrett Fort, Francis Edward Faragoh based on FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley

Starring: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, Boris Karloff, Edward Van Sloan, Dwight Frye and Marilyn Harris.

Tagline: The Man Who Made A Monster!

The Story: 

Dr. Henry Frankenstein (Clive) dreams of creating a living being from body parts stolen from cadavers.  Frankenstein’s hunchbacked assistant, Fritz (Frye) steals the corpses of  recently hung criminals.  When Frankenstein achieves success, his creation becomes uncontrollable.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

Although based on Mary Shelley’s famous novel, the movie uses her story as a springboard.  The “monster” looks different than Shelley described thanks to make-up artist Jack P. Pierce.  Universal copyrighted the look through 2026.  In the novel the “monster” is intelligent and able to carry on conversations.  It was quite a shock for me as a kid reading the novel after seeing the movie.

Although Boris Karloff isn’t listed in the opening credits, and is covered by heavy makeup throughout the film, Frankenstein made him a star!