In 1997, three organizations battled for sports entertainment supremacy. You had the juggernaut WWF (World Wrestling Federation), who despite a massivIn 1997, three organizations battled for sports entertainment supremacy. You had the juggernaut WWF (World Wrestling Federation), who despite a massively successful 1980s, had entered a cooling off period as it struggled to find its footing amid a steady stream of superstar exits. You had Ted Turner’s WCW (World Championship Wrestling), a company filled with those same stars who helped the WWF rise to prominence as they left for fat, guaranteed paychecks and a lighter work schedule. Finally, you had Paul Heyman’s revolutionary ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling), a promotion built on not only original talent, but “misfits” from the WWF and WCW who came together to present a violent, reality-based style that thrived amongst an underground community of rabid fans.
Amid all the chaos on screen, backstage antics were just as compelling. There was the very real drama between Bret “The Hitman” Hart and his rival Shawn Michaels as they fought to be considered Vince McMahon’s “number one”, hoping to secure the spot at the top of the food chain. In WCW, there was Hulk Hogan’s dreaded “creative control” card built into his contract allowing him to nullify anything that was asked of him to perform on-screen. This effectively gave Hogan as secure a spot on top as possible leading to inner turmoil and contempt among “the boys”. In ECW, there was Heyman’s struggle to get onto pay-per-view, desperate to show his company was on equal footing with the “big boys”.
Given the wealth of information within, I would say where the book really shines is in detailing Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels’ journey to the 1997 Survivor Series – I would even go so far as to call it the definitive account of the “Montreal Screwjob”. While I’ve heard of the events that occurred that night over and over again, I still found myself riveted to the story, wondering if they really were going to “screw” Bret over, that’s how well paced it was. Learning more about Bret Hart’s contract negotiation with WCW, his refusal to drop the title to Michaels prior to leaving and reading about each person’s part in the double-cross led to me uncovering things I previously did not know.
Through documentaries, books, podcasts, Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer and original interviews with Jim Cornette, Vince Russo, Ken Shamrock, Tom Pritchard and several others, co-authors Justin Henry and James Dixon paint a vivid picture of all that occurred during that volatile year. Not only is it impeccably researched, the writing is also strong and easily digestible. I would find myself consuming large chunks of the book in a single sitting. Like many of my favorite wrestling podcasts that focus on a specific timeline (The New Generation Project Podcast, The Attitude Era Podcast), I didn’t want it to end. I could easily have read another hundred pages. In speaking with co-author Justin Henry, he alluded to me that additional books are being considered for the series, so I can only hope they show up sooner than later....more
Patrick and Angie have led rough careers as private investigators and after the events in Sacred, they’ve decided to pull back a little. When we catchPatrick and Angie have led rough careers as private investigators and after the events in Sacred, they’ve decided to pull back a little. When we catch up with them in Gone Baby Gone, they’ve all but sworn off cases that could lead to violence, death and destruction. Unfortunately for them, when young Amanda McCready goes missing, Amanda’s grieving Aunt and Uncle are persistent in their requests for the detectives’ help.
Patrick and Angie aren’t sure they’ll be able to offer much up in the way of help. The Boston PD have been working around the clock trying to find Amanda and with her face plastered all over the city, every citizen will have their eyes peeled. There’s also the matter of the girl’s mother, Helene. To put it simply, she’s a burnout. She spends all her time glued to the TV, strung-out on drugs and alcohol. In fact, her negligence was the direct cause of Amanda’s disappearance. Patrick and Angie team up with Crimes Against Children (CAC) officials Remy Broussard and Nick Poole. The foursome work together to turn Boston upside down.
If you thought Darkness, Take My Hand was a tough read, Gone Baby Gone will rip your heart out. Patrick and Angie are put through the proverbial thresher, their lives and relationships come under unbelievable strain as they desperately try to recover the missing girl. While the body count isn’t on the level of the first few novels, the tension is tight and unrelenting.
If anything, Lehane can write a hell of a page-turner. Gone Baby Gone is a visceral read that I wouldn’t recommend for those with a weak stomach or who deal well with child abuse in fiction. But I would argue it’s an important read, if only that it questions morality and what it means to “do the right thing”....more
A unspecified world catastrophe forces the evacuation of a northern Canadian astronomical research station but disaffected scientist and perennial lonA unspecified world catastrophe forces the evacuation of a northern Canadian astronomical research station but disaffected scientist and perennial loner Augustine decides to stick around to finish his work. He doesn’t care what happened nor is he particularly bothered by the seriousness of the event – he just wants to be left alone to dither about and end his days comfortable and surrounded by familiarity. Not long after his colleagues hit the bricks, he discovers Iris, a lone child, left behind.
Sully is part of a team of astronauts on their voyage home following a successful research mission deep into space. Somewhere along the way, they lost all communication from Earth. Diagnostics indicate that their equipment is functioning as it should but the mysterious silence leaves them shaken. As they move closer to their destination, they begin to wonder what awaits them upon their arrival.
I received an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for a fair review.
Good Morning, Midnight was an interesting take on a post-apocalyptic novel where instead of explosions and panic, we’re left with an unexplained deafening silence. Coming in at a little over 200 pages, this was a pretty quick read, although I felt it seemed to drag at points. It could be because I’ve been reading a lot of page-turning plot-driven stuff lately.( That’s kind of a burn to this book, was that intentional? – yup) Lily Brooks-Dalton is content to meander about, digging into both Sully and Augustine’s past, which while that isn’t necessarily a bad thing – the writing is very strong – my mind would often wander and I’d lose my place.
In the face of so many end-of-days stories where “the event” is the central plot point, I liked the author’s idea to keep whatever happened largely unknown. In this way she was able to focus more on what drives both Sully and Augustine when faced with the unknown. I found this helped to put me into the shoes of the characters and feel their fear and concern along with them. That being said, I felt a lot of the backstory and info-dumping surrounding Augustine’s sexual history and alleged sociopathic behavior sort of irrelevant when the author returned to it near the final act of the story. I can see what she was doing in trying to explain his unexpected attachment to Iris, but I found my eyes glazing over large chunks of text due to it feeling more like a retread than breaking new ground on the character. It seemed like the author really couldn’t decide how to present him. It left the scenes where I was meant to view him as a sympathetic character fall flat. Did we really need more reasons to think this guy was an asshole?
I liked Sully a bit more than Augustine, but I guess that was the point. They both have similar reasons for pursuing their scientific endeavors, but I felt she came across a little stronger and a little more rational than Augustine. I will say that I didn’t really care all that much for the shoe-horned love story, but I suppose that added a bit of weight to the interactions aboard the space shuttle. I would have been more than happy to read a novel about her alone, which is odd because it was hearing about Augustine’s story that drove me to the book initially....more
Following the events of Darkness, Take My Hand, Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro have shuttered their agenThere’s something ugly about the flawless..
Following the events of Darkness, Take My Hand, Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro have shuttered their agency and have begun to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. A year has passed when they’re approached (and by approached, I mean drugged and tossed in the back of a van) by an ailing man desperate to find his missing daughter. The pair are hesitant to accept but when enticed by a hefty sum of cash, it becomes an offer they cannot refuse.
Sacred takes Kenzie and Gennaro down the coastline to sunny, balmy Florida as they investigate a case with more twists and turns than a tangled slinky. Seriously, this one is all over the place. I’ve seen a few folks mention that Lehane plays on Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep with regards to the plot and I can absolutely see that. Like Marlowe, Patrick and Angie more or less fall into things as time progresses, playing their cards close to the chest and not having to do a whole lot of detective work outside of putting boots on the ground and knocking on doors.
During the first two novels, Kenzie and Gennaro certainly took their lumps and Sacred is no different. The duo are beaten and roughed up badly during the story, to the point where a doctor advises Patrick that he start having kids now as he shouldn’t expect a long life. Can’t say I blame the doctor though. Hard to anticipate your golden years when you’re constantly avoiding bullets and breaking bones on a regular basis.
It’s going to be tough to top Darkness, Take My Hand and although I found Sacred to be not as strong as its predecessor, I still tore through it relatively quickly. Unfortunately, there are only six novels in the whole series, so this series is going to be over a hell of a lot sooner than I’d like....more
Charlie Parker is approached by Jerome Burnel. Burnel was at one time considered a hero, foiling a botched gas station robbery. Tragically, all was foCharlie Parker is approached by Jerome Burnel. Burnel was at one time considered a hero, foiling a botched gas station robbery. Tragically, all was forgotten when a short time later, Jerome was brought up on child pornography charges. Jerome claims he’s innocent and although he’s served his time, some may not feel his punishment was adequate. Burnell hires Parker to clear his name and look into his prison tormentor, Harpur Griffin, also recently released from jail.
The events in the twelfth book of the series, A Wolf in Winter, altered Parker forever. While he spent the majority of the last novel (A Song of Shadows) licking his wounds, he fully emerges as a changed man in A Time of Torment. Now, less a detective and more of a hunter, Parker, accompanied by his long time friends and associates Louis and Angel, seek to track down and destroy those who prey on the weak.
This time around, Parker is going toe-to-toe with a mysterious cult-like society dubbed “The Cut” – a group of maniacs residing in a backwoods county in West Virginia. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Parker novel without a hearty dose of the paranormal! The residents of The Cut serve a spooky, violent master named “The Dead King”, a detail that Burnel’s prison rapist Harpur Griffin lets slip during one of their not-so-romantic encounters.
I absolutely love what Connolly is doing with Parker by turning him into an absolute beast of a character. Charlie is remorseless in his pursuit of those named on a list found in a downed plane several books back – the list of which its purpose remains unknown other than the fact that there are some pretty unsavory characters named on it – folks who Parker would feel safer if they were dead, and vice-versa I’m sure.
Over the course of the last seventeen years, Connolly has managed to pump out nearly one Parker novel a year – which is impressive considering their length, quality and research required into the weird adversaries that Connolly presents to his signature detective. But there are some novels that while they are still enjoyable, fall a little short of what I consider his best work. Don’t get me wrong, A Time of Torment is a very good read, but just not as electrifying as some of his others – most notably his last one, A Song of Shadows....more
The Churn takes us to Earth - Baltimore Maryland to be exact - to give us the backstory on The Rocinante's lovable lug, Amos Burton.
At this point I'veThe Churn takes us to Earth - Baltimore Maryland to be exact - to give us the backstory on The Rocinante's lovable lug, Amos Burton.
At this point I've become such a huge fan of this series that I will consume anything Corey decides to write and release. Luckily for me, The Churn is a great piece of storytelling that unfolds dramatically into a pretty brutal climax. I'm actually happy that it is it's own separate story rather than being folded into one main books as it makes the subject matter hit harder. Besides, those books are plenty long enough as it is.
So, if Corey wants to release any more of these "origin stories", I'm on board....more