Category: Books

Odd But True

  • Let’s start off with a strange trailer today… “Bubba Ho-Tep” is a horror-comedy starring Bruce Campbell as an old Elvis impersonator who has to fight off evil… well, take a look. If you like it, you’ll say, “Thank you… thank you very much.”
  • Michael Crichton’s best seller, Timeline, is coming to the big screen! The trailer rocks! See it and then check out the book before the movie premieres!
  • I’ve been talking about how cool “Underworld” looks — any movie with vampires and werewolves has gotta be at least somewhat cool — anyway, there’s a new trailer online now. This one just keeps looking better and better!
  • BIRMINGHAM, Mich. – Ozzy Osbourne’s tour manager, in town for the Ozzfest heavy metal music festival, was found dead in his hotel room, the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office said today. You just know this is going to mess Ozzy up.
  • ROCKY M0UNT, Va. (Reuters) – Prosecutors accused three teen-age boys of promoting fist fights between boys who were in their care at a summer camp and charging other campers admission to watch the boxing matches. Only in America!
  • LONDON (Reuters) – An elderly British man who lived in a run-down house, bought second-hand clothes and watched television at his neighbor’s to save on electricity left a million pounds to a dog charity and nothing to his daughters, newspapers reported on Friday. Well, dogs are man’s best friends!
  • BERLIN (Reuters) – A giant catfish that ate a dog and terrorized a German lake for years has washed up dead, but the legend of “Kuno the Killer” lives on. Well, dogs are not catfish’s best friends!
  • SAN FRANCISCORick Beal wanted to grab some cash on the way to the airport — so he hired a limo and allegedly robbed a bank on the way. “Just leave the motor running… I’ll be right back!”

Movies, Robbers & More

  • “The Hulk” earned a little better than $62 million to force “Finding Nemo” into second spot. I’ll still bet on the fish in the long run.
  • “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” opens next Friday. I waited to rent the original, but plan to see this one on the big screen!
  • I just finished reading Robbers by Chris Cook. This is his first novel and I’d say that he’s going to become a “name” to anyone who enjoys a good crime story!
  • One of the scariest movies that I ever saw as a kid, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” got a little write up today. They’re out there!
  • Mike Tyson got involved in what is being described as a “street brawl.” Even though it appears that Tyson didn’t start it, he could get a year in the slammer if convicted. When is“Iron Mike” gonna learn…
  • Lennox Lewis kept the title but may have lost his desire to continue. If history tells us anything, he’ll fight again though.
  • Archaeologists in western China discovered five earthenware jars of 2,000-year-old rice wine in an ancient tomb. “Ah, do you have anything in a 0003 vintage?”
  • Anybody else been keeping up with the news about U.S. bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman who was arrested by Mexican authorities while attempting to bring Andrew Luster, the fugitive heir of the Max Factor fortune and convicted rapist back to the USA? This has been my favorite news item this week… it’s like something out of a movie — which I bet it will be.

Ridley, MTV Awards & More

  • John Ridley’s Those Who Walk in Darkness is a departure. Usually Ridley’s stories are noir tales of a man on a path to possible ruin. Not this one. The lead is female, the tale can best be described as a sci-fi/thriller… but it does have one thing in common with Ridley’s other novels… it’s excellent! I’ll bet there’s more to come with this character / storyline.
  • “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” won the Best Picture award at the 2003 MTV Movie Awards ceremony held yesterday. We’re not even half way through the year and already MTV is handing out awards? I like the idea of a more “hip” awards show but can’t we wait until the year is almost over?
  • I haven’t checked out the tv guide yet, but I have a feeling I’ll watch “44 Minutes” on FX tonight. That whole situation has intrigued me since the day it happened. I’m surprised we haven’t seen more robberies like it.
  • It’s been a year for Jennifer Garner who picked up the Female Breakthrough Performance Award at the MTV Awards.
  • Doesn’t Pink remind you of one of those girls in high school that weren’t really your type but you found yourself watching when she was around?

Crais is Great & More

* A couple of days ago I wrote to say that LA Requiem by Robert Crais is one of the best books I’ve read this year. It is, but believe or not, his follow-up The Last Detective, is even better! I read it almost non-stop this weekend. It’s that good! If you’ve never read any of Crais’ work, now is the time to give him a shot!

* Can you believe that “Bruce Almighty”
earned $86.4 million at the box office this weekend AND it knocked “The Matrix Reloaded,” from the top spot.

* Busta Rhymes has been
charged with misdemeanor assault and battery charges on a fan. Busta was busted.

Ridley, Morrell & More

John Ridley’s Those Who Walk in Darkness has been described as a sci fi mystery, thriller in the noir tradition. Regular ZONE readers know I’m a big fan of Ridley’s work. This may be his best yet. I’ve ordered it and will let you know.
I’ve also ordered David Morrell’s latest, The Protector. Morrell [First Blood] has created a novel about super-bodyguard hunting down a rogue client who controls a new and powerful weapon. You just know this book is gonna rock!
  • Stone Temple Pilots lead singer Scott Weiland was released on $10,000 bail after police arrested him for investigation of drug possession. Maybe that should be “Stoned Temple Pilots?”
  • After intensive research, British scientists have concluded that politicians lie. In a study described in Britain’s Observer newspaper, Glen Newey, a political scientist at Britain’s University of Strathclyde, concluded that lying is an important part of politics in the modern democracy. In a related study it was discovered that a lot of money is being wasted with frivolous studies.
  • Workers at a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant discovered the cremated ashes of a man who died last December — in the drive-through takeout lane. My only question… extra crispy or original?
  • A man suspected of robbing a bank was arrested after he told the son of the bank manager he had to get out of town quickly and asked him for directions to the bus station, police said. Another criminal mastermind brought down.

“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.

Leviathan

“It is the greatest beast to walk the Earth, a beast without equal. A beast without fear. It has not ruled the world of men for six thousand years.

Until now.”

Trapped on an island, a handful of people must find a way to kill the beast before it kills them… and to make matters worse, an atomic bomb is set to explode there in a just a few hours! James Byron Huggins has written another winner.

The Art of Sin City

FRANK MILLER is a genius. Although he’s worked in both movies and comics, it is in the latter that he has really made his mark. In the early ’80s, MILLER re-invented Daredevil taking him from a thrid rate hero to one of the most popular comics hitting the stands. After Daredevil came Ronin, and then Dark Knight Returns, the series that woke up mainstream America to the fact that comics were still around. MILLER went on to create Batman: Year One, Sin City and the groundbreaking 300.

But it is MILLER’s SIN CITY series that remains my favorite. All of the stories are set in the same corrupt big city and quite often feature overlapping characters. Every tale is well worth the price of admission and now MILLER even has released a book dedicated to The Art of Sin City. My copy hasn’t made it to the bookshelf yet, as I keep looking through and admiring the genius that is FRANK MILLER.

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+