Category: Authors

30 & Dark Days

30 Days of Night was one of the best vampire stories in any medium in recent years. The fact that it was done in a comic made it all the more impressive.

I mean, how many people pay attention to comic books? [Thankfully the number seems to be on the upswing.]

Steve Niles then followed up 30 Days of Night with the sequel Dark Days. Surprisingly [well, not so surprisingly if you follow Niles‘ writing], it didn’t seem like a forced sequel. And it was good, really good.

If you missed out on it, or if like me, you like a trade edition for the bookshelf, then click HERE.

As We Head into Halloween How About These Books, Graphic Novels and Movies

Man, I love Halloween!

As we get closer to the big night, I find myself drawn to scary books and movies. For some reason even more so this year. Maybe it’s because there are so many good ones available.

I just finished reading Steve Niles‘ Dial M for MonsterDial M is a book of short stories featuring his monster hunter, Cal McDonald. You’ve heard me praise Niles‘ work before and this book is no exception. I love everything about the world Niles has created for Cal [and I’m especially glad I can safely visit without fear of vampires, werewolves, fiends or other creatures coming after me!]. I’d suggest that you start with Guns, Drugs and Monsters [the first novel in the series] and then follow it up with Savage Membrane [the second].

If you’d like to get a taste of Niles‘ work before commiting to a novel, then by all means check out 30 Days of Night. This award winning comic series [with art by the extremely talented Ben Templesmith] is being developed into a feature film produced by none other than Sam Raimi! Why wait for the film? The graphic novel is available now and well worth every penny!

Changing gears just a bit… on Tuesday, one of my two favorite movies so far this year, becomes available! That’s right 28 Days Later is available Tuesday! Man, I can’t wait!

If you’ve read this far, then you’re probably a real horror fan. You probably already know that a Dawn of the Dead remake starring Ving Rhames is coming out next March. But did you know that the trailer is available now? At first I didn’t think that a re-make of Dawn of the Dead was a good idea since the original trilogy [Night of the Living DeadDawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead] by George Romero are considered cult classics. But I did like the remake of Night of the Living Dead ]… and Ving Rhames is starring… so why not?

Plus, it’ll give me one more thing to love about Halloween!

Dangerfield & Ridley

  • Rodney Dangerfield looks to fully recover from brain surgery. Dangerfield is one of my favorite comedians, so I’m especially happy to hear that he’ll be providing more laughs in the near future!
  • John Ridley has signed on to direct the thriller “Let Me Take You Down” from his screenplay. The project is an “eerie tale of murder, obsession, intrigue and Hollywood folklore” when a young woman who is murdered has similarities with the 1947 Black Dahlia case. John Ridley is one of my favorite writers. This could be a winner!

“X2” – George Wyle – Jennifer Garner – Stephen King and James Brown!

  • “X2: X-Men United” opened with a projected $85.85 million debut . This would make it the fourth highest opening ever and almost a sure thing to spawn an “X-Men 3.”
    With the popularity of some of the individual characters, such as Wolverine and Nightcrawler, it might be interesting to see them spring off into their own films separate from the other “X-Men.”
    What do you think about that idea?

  • George Wyle, who wrote the theme song to “Gilligan’s Island” has died at the age of 87. I was going to say that even if that was the only song that he ever wrote that attained any level of popularity, he had accomplished more than most. The I discovered that he also wrote the Christmas classic “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and more than 400 other songs. Although most people probably don’t know his name, I’ll be they can sing the theme to “Gilligan’s Island”! Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Wyle’s family and friends.

  • “Alias” star Jennifer Garner will replace Gwyneth Paltrow in “Happy Endings,” which is set to shoot this summer in Los Angeles. Lisa Kudrow will co-star in the comedy.It’s really amazing how popular Jennifer Garner has gotten. Seems she’s everywhere these days. Not that I’m complaining! ; )

  • Two new Stephen King stories have been discovered. “The 43rd Dream” and “Code Name: Mousetrap,” are believed to be among the earliest published works of best seller Stephen King. Believe it or not, they appeared in his high school newspaper… copies have been selling on e-Bay for several hundred dollars.

  • James Brown celebrated his 70th birthday Saturday! Ya gotta love it. “The Godfather of Soul” is still touring, has recently lost weight and… uh, he feels good! Ugh!

Back Story (A Spenser Novel) by Robert B. Parker

Every year I go up to Indiana to visit family and friends. Once a year is all I see many of these people, but because they’re old friends, it’s always a welcome visit. We quickly catch up with where we left off and share tales of things that have happened since we last were together. It’s always fun and I end up looking forward to the next visit as the current one ends.

That’s exactly how it is each time I read a new Spencer novel by Robert B. Parker. Back Story is the latest entry in the Spencer series. [It’s the 30th book, so if you’ve never read any of them, you’re in for a lot of fun!] The Spencer books come out once a year and like my visits to Indiana are always fun.

Spencer is a wise-cracking PI who has guts, intelligence and a strict moral code. His best friend, Hawk, hovers on the edge of the criminal element and although gutsy and intelligent has no qualms with doing what needs to be done. Although Hawk and Spencer are different they are also the same. Their interactions are half the fun.

Back Story finds Spencer investigating a 28 year old murder. Soon he discovers that the FBI, and mobsters want him to drop the case. Things heat up when he doesn’t. Throw in a stone cold killer named Harvey and you have yourself a story!

If you haven’t read any of the Spencer books, you should. You might find that you like them. And then you, too, can look forward to his annual visit!

Following Dan Simmons to Different Genres

Dan Simmons writes in a lot of different genres. That could be the sign of an artist looking for his voice. In Simmons’ case, it’s a talent who refuses to be constrained.

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. The man can do no wrong. He’s also gone the dark streets of the tough guy genre with two very well received Joe Kurtz novels.

I’ve just finished reading Darwin’s Blade which is described as a suspense thriller. Ok, an intelligent suspense thriller. Or better yet, an intelligent action-packed suspense thriller. I loved every page, but who wouldn’t when you have Russian Hit Men, car chases, glider vs helicopter gun fights, death by elephant dung, and more! Actually all of these things are in the book, but it also contains two of the best written leads, a realistic backstory and romance that doesn’t seemed forced or out of place.

Dan Simmons writes in a lot of different genres. So far I’ve loved every book that I’ve read of his. Looks like I’ll be expanding my reading to a lot of different genres

Steve Niles is Quite a Writer

Steve Niles is quite a writer.

I guess he should be though since he’s been making a living at it for about fifteen years. What? You haven’t heard of him? Sure you have! I wrote a ZONE piece on Steve way back on January 4th, after I read his novel, Guns, Drugs and Monsters.

I was so impressed with Guns, Drugs and Monsters that I immediately bought Savage Membrane, the first Cal McDonald novel. It was just as good! There are more Cal McDonald novels in the works, as well as a series from Dark Horse Comics.

Steve is also the author of 30 Days of Night, a vampire graphic novel that Ben Templesmith illustrated. It has just gone into it’s third printing, and was optioned [for a cool million bucks] by Sam Raimi‘s production company! Plus Steve get’s to write the screenplay!

You might think that all of this has gone to Steve‘s head. You’d be wrong. I got to meet Steve at MegaCon and he was very kind, gracious, and appreciative of his fans. Read this interview with Steve, check out his website [tell him I sent ya!] and then order his books. You’ll be glad you did because…

Steve Niles is quite a writer.

John Ridley’s Drift

JOHN RIDLEY is best known for his “noir” novels. He wrote Stray Dogs which was turned into the cult classic movie “U-Turn” which starred SEAN PENN, JENNIFER LOPEZ [before she hit it big], and BILLY BOB THORTON. His other books have for the most part been in the same vein…

The Drift is unlike anything that RIDLEY has written before. Well, that’s not exactly true. You see, RIDLEY‘s other book s have all been very good and The Drift is no exception. In fact The Drift may be RIDLEY‘s best book yet.

The Drift is the story of a man[Charles Hanson] who seems to have it all… a good job, a loving wife and a child on the way. Charles sees it differently. He sees his life becoming more and more repetitive. He feels confined… until he decides to leave it all behind for a life on the rails. That’s right, he decides to become a modern day hobo. He meets many strange characters [most who wish to do him harm] and has many adventures in his effort to save a young girl from the life he has chosen for himself. The problem is, he has to find her before she is murdered. To say more would be to say too much.

Guns and Monsters

STEVE NILES writes a mean hard-boiled novel. He also writes a wicked horror novel. What makes NILES unique is that he does this in the same book! Guns, Drugs and Monsters is actually the second in a [hopefully long-running] series featuring Cal MacDonald. Cal is a human with the gift / curse that he knows that monsters walk among us. He knows this because he hunts them. Well, a guy has to make a living somehow, doesn’t he?

NILES skillfully combines the best elements of CHANDLER and HAMMETT along with a dose of KING, plus a good bit of humor as well. I read through Guns, Drugs and Monsters in nearly one sitting [it’s that much fun]. It also features spot illustrations by ASHLEY WOOD that are the icing on the cake. I’ve already ordered Savage Membrane [the book that started the series]. If it’s just half as good as Guns then I’ll still have a winner.

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+

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!