This one collects the final issues of Marvel’s MAX version of Jessica Jones adventures and while I’m sad it didn’t last longer I also realize that allThis one collects the final issues of Marvel’s MAX version of Jessica Jones adventures and while I’m sad it didn’t last longer I also realize that all good things must come to an end. Or in superhero comic books it’s more accurate to say that one good version of the title has to come to an end and then start up again in another version.
Brian Michael Bendis saved the best for last in which he concludes the character arc for Jessica as well as giving us her origin story via flashbacks, and we also learn what was behind her decision to turn away from being a costumed superhero and drove her self-destructive behavior. It’s a remarkably deft piece of storytelling that manages to mix in bits of Marvel history like Jessica going to high school with Peter Parker with the raw and gritty portrayal of a hard-drinking self-loathing private detective. I also loved how the art was done in this with the flashbacks to Jessica’s superhero days done in the bright clean style of a more typical Marvel book back in the day which contrasts with the darker grittier tone of a MAX comic with plenty of profanity and sex.
We get the revelation of Zebediah Killgrave a/k/a The Purple Man as the main cause of Jessica’s pain. One of the most impressive things that Bendis has ever done is to take a B-list minor supervillain and turn him into one of the most dangerous and repulsive Marvel bad guys I’ve ever read without any major retconning. By digging into the full scope of what mind control powers could be used to do by a complete sociopath we get a chilling portrait of pure evil.
Bendis also does a nice bit of metafiction here with Killgrave taunting Jessica with the idea that she’s a character in a comic book. That also works with the other tricks like changing the art styles to put a sly level of self-awareness and commentary about the whole thing.
Overall, Alias was a great title that blended the realistic adult themes of the modern PI genre with Marvel characters and history to give us a fresh perspective on that universe as well as an intriguing character story....more
“Geez, Solomon. You’d have to be nuts to do a solo space flight testing that experimental engine you developed.”
“Hold my beer.”
This is a free short st“Geez, Solomon. You’d have to be nuts to do a solo space flight testing that experimental engine you developed.”
“Hold my beer.”
This is a free short story set in the The Expanse series that tells us about how a Martian engineer named Solomon Epstein developed the drive system used by all the space ships. That sounds like it’d just be nerd bait for the kind of hardcore fans who look for schematics of fictional starships on the interwebs, but this actually has a couple of really solid hooks that make it something more than that.
One of the critical underlying elements of The Expanse series is the Epstein Drive. Not only is it the concept that makes constant travel around the solar system feasible, the way it functions is an integral part of the stories. The force of acceleration and what it does to the human occupants of the ships always has to be accounted for, and it’s been used to great dramatic effect repeatedly in the series.
What this story does is explain how that drive came to be, and it also acts as quick primer on how this was a key moment in The Expanse timeline that sets up all the conflicts between Earth, Mars, and the Belt that were already established in the first book.
So it’s a solid prequel set-up that sets up the structure of the series. It’s also connects emotionally by telling us about Solomon and what happened to him after he fired that engine up the first time.
If you’re ever in my part of the world you can go to Union Station and see the holes on its exterior that legend says are from some of the bullets firIf you’re ever in my part of the world you can go to Union Station and see the holes on its exterior that legend says are from some of the bullets fired during the Kansas City Massacre. As always, science has to ruin everything and modern tests have called that claim into question. That’s actually fitting because the origin of those holes is now as murky as almost everything else that happened that day.
What is known is that on June 17, 1933, a federal prisoner named Frank Nash was being transported to Leavenworth through Union station by federal agents and KC police officers. A gunfight broke out just outside the station that left several of the cops and Nash himself dead. The federal investigation claimed that gangsters Pretty Boy Floyd, Adam Richetti, and Vernon Miller were the gunmen who tried to free Nash. In the aftermath J. Edgar Hoover used the incident to help build up the power of his small United States Bureau of Investigation into what we now know as the FBI. However, there’s been a lot of questions raised about who actually did the shooting and what really happened that day.
Comic book artist and KC native Ande Park wrote this, and the results are interesting if you’re into the true crime stories of this era. He obviously researched the subject and his notes at the end where he explains the hows and whys of what he depicted, including changes to known facts, are a nice touch. I particularly like the way that the casual corruption of KC at the time is part of the story. The art by Eduardo Barreto has a clean style that fits the time period it was depicting.
Unfortunately, the story of the KC Massacre is a big complicated mess, and it’s not a natural fit for a fairly short graphic novel. It’d probably need to be something comparable to Alan Moore’s take on Jack the Ripper in From Hell to really do it right, and while it gets the point across it seems a little quick and confusing.
Still, I’m a KC guy with an interest in history like this so it was well worth a read. And if you’re looking for a deeper dive into how Hoover used the Deperession crime wave to boost himself into a seat of real power I’d also highly recommend Public Enemies. ...more
I’ve got to make a shameful confession here. Even though I consider myself someone who is fairly well versed in the crime/mystery genre I’d never readI’ve got to make a shameful confession here. Even though I consider myself someone who is fairly well versed in the crime/mystery genre I’d never read any of Ross Macdonald’s work until now. I know, I know. I’m disappointed in me, too.
It’s a weird oversight because it’s not like I haven’t been aware of the Lew Archer series since I started picking up PI novels, and I’d even seen and enjoyed the two film adaptations Harper and The Drowning Pool that starred Paul Newman. (Why did they change the character name from Archer to Harper? I dunno. You can try asking Hollywood.) It just doesn’t seem like any of the Macdonald books ever fell into my orbit for some reason. Anyhow, I was long overdue to get to this series and a little prodding from Anthony finally got me motivated.
Lew Archer is a private detective in post war Los Angeles who gets hired by a rich woman to find her drunk husband who she fears has gone off on another bender that might result in him giving away large sums of money. Archer starts investigating and quickly determines that the man has probably been kidnapped, and he’s soon following up leads that take him from mansions to seedy bars to bogus religious retreats. There’s a twisted web of double crosses going on, and Archer follows a whole lot of shady people around and gets knocked out a lot. (Old school PIs seem more at risk for CTE than football players.)
All of this sounds like standard stuff for a detective novel from it’s SoCal setting to the dialogue, but like the best writers of the genre it’s all done well and with a style that makes the most of the tropes of it. Archer as a character is also set up fairly well, if typically. He’s smart, tough, cynical, and has a commitment to his own moral code that sometimes puts him conflict with the legal niceties of the case so again we’re using the basic PI template, but there’s a reason this particular form is still used today.
Overall, it was good, not great, but you can see the elements in the writing that I assume will be built up for the rest of the series to earn it’s reputation as one of the best of its kind....more
Darth Vader is diverted from his secret agenda of tracking down Luke Skywalker when the Emperor sends him on a miDon’t ever ask a Sith Lord to dance.
Darth Vader is diverted from his secret agenda of tracking down Luke Skywalker when the Emperor sends him on a mission to put down a budding rebellion on a mining planet of critical importance.
This doesn’t advance the core plot that’s been driving this series, but it is a pretty cool side story in which we get to see Vader be a total bad ass as he asserts Imperial authority. One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about the story gaps these comics are filling in between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back is how the destruction of the Death Star caused a whole bunch of problems for the Empire and how Vader is used as the Emperor’s main trouble shooter.
The best part continues to be the evil droids 000 and BT-1 who delight in the chance to kill a whole lot of ‘meaty masters’ in the midst of the conflict. It’s probably a preview of how robots will soon rise up to murder us all, but for now they’re a homicidal delight to read....more
I thought I knew all there was to know about Spenser, one of my favorite fictional detectives created by the late Robert B. Parker, but I’d never hearI thought I knew all there was to know about Spenser, one of my favorite fictional detectives created by the late Robert B. Parker, but I’d never heard about this short story until my friend Anthony clued me in and provided a link to it.
Essentially RBP didn’t write anything with Spenser other than novels and a few feature pieces that weren’t really stories except for this one which was requested but then rejected by Playboy. It eventually saw print in some long-gone men’s magazine and was published as a very limited edition hardback that went for a fortune among Spenser fans. Thanks to Anthony and the miracles of the interwebs I got to check it out.
Spenser’s old girlfriend Brenda Loring comes to him for help after she’s been raped twice by the same man. She suspects that her ex-husband has hired someone to do this to her, and Spenser quickly gets right in the middle of it with a little assistance from Hawk.
This gets into RBP’s repeated themes regarding possessive and obsessive love that he dwelled on far too much, but it is much darker than almost anything else I’ve read by him. It also made me sad to hear how Brenda Loring’s life went after she and Spenser went their separate ways because even though she only appeared briefly at the start of the series I always liked her a lot more Susan.
Frankly, I can see why RBP never got into short fiction. He tries to do an entire Spenser novel in this, and it comes across as rushed. It goes back to a time when Spenser was a lot more willing to get his hands dirty so that’s kind of interesting as is the glimpse of Hawk in a real dark side mode, but it’s something I’d call more of a curiosity than a must-read for Spenser fans.
2016 may have sucked ass for the world in general, but it was actually a great year for me in terms of reading. And isn’t my happiness the really impo2016 may have sucked ass for the world in general, but it was actually a great year for me in terms of reading. And isn’t my happiness the really important thing?
The usual suspects delivered in all the ways that I’ve come to expect from them. John Sandford provided new Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers thrillers with Extreme Prey and Escape Clause. My other two book a year guy is Ace Atkins, and he added to his trend with Slow Burn and The Innocents. The authors who make up the James S.A. Corey name also continued to pay off the gamble I took by starting an unfinished series by once again keeping to their established schedule and publishing a new Expanse novel Babylon’s Ashes. Megan Abbott showed off her unique brand of suburban noir in You Will Know Me, and Richard Russo cooked up a great sequel to an earlier book of his I loved with Everybody’s Fool. Joe R. Lansdale’s creations Hap & Leonard got their own TV show as well as the fun new adventure Honky Tonk Samurai.
I also had good luck in trying out new authors. Good Morning, Midnight was a fantastic end of the world tale with heart by Lilly Brooks-Dalton. The Poison Artist from Jonathan Moore was one of the most trippy and atmospheric thrillers I’ve ever read. We got a new modern version of Sherlock Holmes with IQ by Joe Ide. J. Kent Messum was nice enough to hook me up with copies of his sharks-vs.-junkies novel Bait as well as his sci-fi thriller Husk which I’m in the middle of at year’s end. I knew Noah Hawley from his work writing and producing the excellent TV version of Fargo, but he proved to also be a great novelist in Before the Fall.
Thanks to the inspiration of Netflix and the movies I put my Marvel Unlimited subscription to good use by finishing up Mark Waid’s run on Daredevil as well as reading others like Jessica Jones in Brian Michael-Bendis’Alias, Doctor Strange in The Oath, and Daniel Way’s Deadpool. I also also enjoyed some of the that Marvel/Disney synergy with a bunch of the new Star Wars comics. In non-Marvel funny books I also kept up with the latest Saga trades from Brian K. Vaughan.
On the non-fiction side of things I got swept up in Hamilton-mania (Thanks, Sesana!) and read the excellent biography by Ron Chernow that inspired the musical. Two critics used the hook of trying to compile a list of the greatest 100 shows of all time in TV - The Book which helps explain why I can’t keep up with this golden age of television. One of the first books I read this year was The Confidence Game which examined the psychology of why people are such complete suckers for bullshit artists, and that turned out to be really helpful when I was trying to figure out what happened when November rolled around.
If I was handing out a MVP trophy for my reading year it’d go to Lawrence Block, and I’d probably throw in a lifetime achievement award, too . He continues to make excellent use of e-books to release old pulp novels like Cinderella Sims and new short stories like Keller’s Fedora. Hard Case Crime published the long lost Sinner Man that Block discovered by accident, and he’s got the excellent novella Resume Speed coming out soon. Plus, I checked out another one of his Bernie Rhodenbarr books, and I’ve got a new collection of short stories he edited on deck.
The best read of the year came in the form of two books that made up one historical fiction which added a lot of humanity to legendary figures of the Old West. Doc and Epitaph from Mary Doria Russell were not only entertaining stories but had me thinking a lot about fact vs. fiction when it comes to American myths.
The biggest disappointments came from the King family. Stephen finally gave up trying to make his underwhelming Bill Hodges trilogy work as just mystery thrillers and added a supernatural element to the final book End of Watch, but it was too little too late. His son Joe Hill showed that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree by producing The Fireman which was as bloated, unfocused, and generally messy as his dad’s worst books. But of course, both of those books won Goodreads Choice Awards so they were among the many pieces of evidence we got this year that proves once and for all that democracy doesn’t work.
However, it wasn’t all bad on the King front. I started re-reading a bunch of his older work and rediscovered gems like Misery and The Long Walk. I also reinforced my opinion that The Tommyknockers shows that it’s a good thing Uncle Stevie got off the nose candy. I also worked in a re-read James Ellroy’s LA Quartet which held up as one of my favorite works of crime fiction.
Finally, I hit a big personal Goodreads milestone with my 1000th review, and to mark the occasion I re-read No Country For Old Men which was just as good as I remembered. That ended up being bittersweet because I actually used the site far less than usual this year. The update feed changes made keeping up a hassle, and I had some new demands in my personal life that cut into my interwebs time so I wasn’t as active as I’ve been in the past.
So I’m not sure what the 2017 schedule will be like, but thanks to all of you that took the time to like a review, make a non-trollish comment, and/or send me a message. It’s always very much appreciated....more
While I was in the middle of reading this one news broke that Carrie Fisher had suffered a heart attack so that added a certain bittersweet flavor toWhile I was in the middle of reading this one news broke that Carrie Fisher had suffered a heart attack so that added a certain bittersweet flavor to a story that focuses heavily on Princess Leia. It also provided further evidence for the case against 2016 when we finally haul it into court for its crimes against humanity.
Leia’s part involves her delivering an important Imperial prisoner to a secret Rebel prison and being caught there when a mysterious man attacks the jail. Meanwhile, Han and Luke are off on a supply run which gets complicated, there’s a single issue story about what Obi-Wan was up to on Tatooine while waiting for Luke to grow up, and the first annual has an off-shoot story about a Rebel spy on Coruscant. (If you’re reading these as single issues from the Marvel Unlimited app you should check that one out first.)
Overall, this is still a fun and solid set of Star Wars stories in which Jason Aaron and the other creators continue to fill the gap between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back and do a pretty good job of it. Since we know how things shake out they can't generate much tension regarding the main characters, but there’s a lot of interesting turns here. My favorite part was learning that Han Solo was literally a nerf herder for a brief time....more
I’ve always thought that a man had to have a certain amount of class to pull off wearing a fedora, and Keller fits that profile even if he is a hiredI’ve always thought that a man had to have a certain amount of class to pull off wearing a fedora, and Keller fits that profile even if he is a hired killer.
In this short novella Keller gets an interesting proposition. A potential client wants a hit man to take care of his wife’s lover, but he doesn’t know who it is. So the job involves doing some investigating before getting to the murder, and Keller finds himself so intrigued that he buys a new hat because he’s in a detective frame of mind. Things seem to go according to plan at first, but as usual it’s only the killing itself that goes smoothly for Keller.
I was a little hesitant about this because Block had taken Keller through a journey in the novels that seemed to end with his happy retirement, but that’s kind of turned into a semi-retirement which I worried might undercut the entire Keller story a bit. However, Block’s landed at an interesting place with Keller and how he feels about his work so that him dipping a toe back into murder-for-hire doesn’t seem that out of place or a contradiction of what came before.
A lot of the previous books were built off short stories in which Keller goes on gigs that take weird turns while his doubts about what kind of person he was bubbled up in interesting ways. (Any TV producers looking for a crime series to adapt for a show could do a lot worse than Keller.) So getting another installment in this form seems like a natural fit, and I've always loved Keller's tendency to drift off on musings and questions sparked by everyday things he encounters. So it was a genuine delight to be back in Keller’s head that was sporting a spiffy new lid.
In addition to being a fine piece of writing it also functions as great advertising for the hat industry because I wanted to rush out and buy a fedora while reading it....more
I received a free copy of this for review from the author.
In a dystopian near future a handsome young man named Rhodes has a lucrative illegal businesI received a free copy of this for review from the author.
In a dystopian near future a handsome young man named Rhodes has a lucrative illegal business as a Husk which means that he essentially rents out his body to rich people No, not like that, you perverts. These are dead rich people…OK, now I'm gonna have to ask you to leave because that’s just sick. Go on. Close the door on your way out.
Where were we? Right, so the deal is that the richest people have found a way to cheat death and download their consciousness into computers, but playing Halo and trolling on Twitter gets boring after a while so they can rent a Husk and have a human body for a few days. Rhodes enjoys the money plus it’s a lot better than being one of the millions of suckers who can’t earn a living at a regular job, but his clients seem to be increasingly less concerned with damaging the merchandise. (You know how nobody really cares what happens to a rental car they’re driving? Same principle.) Plus, he’s started having weird flashes to things that aren’t his memories.
Most of the book is essentially a sci-fi conspiracy thriller, and it functions pretty well as that. I was a little let down that it didn’t do a bit more contemplation about identity and its relation to the physical body. However, Messum does a lot in the first person narrative that has Rhodes becomingly increasingly aware that while he thought he was just renting out his physical self that he might have been peddling something far more precious so essentially it becomes an extended metaphor on prostitution. So we do get some deeper themes on the idea that you can’t entirely separate the body from the mind.
The third act seemed like it was in jeopardy of turning into a pretty standard action and revelation style plot, but it swung back around to deliver some genuine surprise at the end. Overall, even though some elements are familiar it ends up being an entertaining story with enough meat on the bone to give your brain something to chew on....more
I received a free copy of this from NetGalley for review.
At the start of this we meet a man called Bill who is an awful hurry to catch a bus out of toI received a free copy of this from NetGalley for review.
At the start of this we meet a man called Bill who is an awful hurry to catch a bus out of town, but as soon as he’s over the state line he immediately gets a job as a cook at a diner and starts establishing a new life there.
You may think that sounds a bit fishy, but honestly who among us hasn’t hopped a bus out of town and changed their identity?
This new novella from esteemed mystery writer Lawrence Block is a bit of an odd duck. It’s mainly about Bill as he develops a routine in this new town and quickly becomes a valued employee at the diner and a reliable tenant at his rooming house while he starts a relationship with the local librarian. His only vice is the single shot of whiskey he has every night before bed. Yet, we know that Bill is hiding from something.
That description sounds more mysterious than it actually is because nothing that we learn about Bill is all that surprising considering how we’re introduced to him, and most readers will probably be able to have a pretty good idea of how it’s going to end.
What I found incredibly enjoyable is just the way that Block is able to write people doing even everyday things. Whether it’s private detective Matt Scudder wandering the streets of New York or hit man Keller traveling the country to murder people there’s always this steady stream of observations and actions that don’t seem like anything special while reading yet they make for compelling stories. It’s a quiet way of getting to really know a character, and Block is the master of building these small moments into something larger.
Another aspect that fascinated me was that it seems like it should be set in the past. Surely, in our modern age someone couldn’t just jump on a bus and reinvent himself in a town down the line could he? That’s what I was thinking and the first part of the book felt very old school to me like it had been written in the ‘60, but then there are mentions of computers and Google so it’s definitely the 21st century. It could have seemed anachronistic, but I found that it gave the whole thing an interesting timeless tone instead.
Overall, I was completely engrossed with Bill as he goes about his everyday life while hiding from his past, and I’m more impressed than ever with Block for the way he makes this quiet character-based story work....more
I received a free copy of this book for review from the author.
Can you imagine waking up on an island with a bunch of good-for-nothing junkies who almI received a free copy of this book for review from the author.
Can you imagine waking up on an island with a bunch of good-for-nothing junkies who almost immediately start going into withdrawal and puking all over the place? And your only way out is by swimming through waters infested with hungry sharks?
Still, it sounds more appealing than being on a season of Survivor.
So these smack-hounds wake up on a beach in the Florida Keys with no idea how they got there. There’s a small amount of food and water left there with a note that they can get more by swimming to the next island, and the bigger prize is a whole bunch of heroin if they can make it through the sharks. Will they try to swim for it or not?
Uh, I did mention that they are junkies and there’s heroin on that next island, right?
There are some stories idea that just sound so amazingly outrageous that you immediately want to check them out. Sharks vs. Junkies is one of those. Messum walks a fine line here of setting up an idea that could have been a movie on SyFy channel, adding enough depth of character and tragedy so that it doesn’t seem like a total cartoon, and then still delivering enough scenes of sharks devouring junkies that it satisfies the itch you got when you heard the idea. (You sick bastards!)
I’m not sure if this could have been sustained in a longer novel, but at 288 pages it hits the sweet spot of being tight enough to work without feeling rushed. Intercutting flashbacks of each character gives us a snapshot of their lives as addicts, and Messum makes them sympathetic by highlighting wasted potential but he doesn’t glamorize or excuse them.
I was a little less sold on the parts that shift to the men behind the whole Turn-Junkies-Into-Fish-Food scheme. There’s decent motivation provided, but I think the book may have worked a tad better if we knew nothing about them or why they were doing it until the very end where the final chapter provided an excellent opportunity for a bit of exposition to explain motives. Keeping them more mysterious might have tightened up the book even further and added more tension.
Still, it’s an intriguing and well written story that delivers on the concept it’s selling. It also reinforced my belief that nothing good happens in the ocean.
Finally, I owe J. Kent Messum some thanks. He had approached me about reviewing his newer book, and I turned him down because I’m just a dick like that. Then Dan told me about this book with sharks chewing on heroin addicts, and I’m only human so I wanted in on that action. I didn’t realize that this was by a writer I’d previously refused to review, but once we got that got sorted JKM was very gracious and cool enough to send me this along with his new one Husk which I’ll read and review soon. ...more
I guess that 5 star streak for all the Saga collections had to come to an end sometime.
This is still the best comic book space adventure/fairy tale/rI guess that 5 star streak for all the Saga collections had to come to an end sometime.
This is still the best comic book space adventure/fairy tale/romance you’re likely to read, It also still has enough weird alien characters to populate a cantina in Star Wars as well as more violence, profanity, sex, and nudity than most R rated movies. However, it seemed to lack of a bit of the pop that made the rest of the series so next level. Part of this is probably due to so many story threads being scattered at this point, but some of those are knitted together by the end of this one....more
Don’t you hate it when you’re hoping for great and get merely pretty good instead?
I was really excited about this going in. Lawrence Block edited a coDon’t you hate it when you’re hoping for great and get merely pretty good instead?
I was really excited about this going in. Lawrence Block edited a collection of short stories in which each one was based on an Edward Hopper painting, and the writers include some of my favorites like Stephen King, Megan Abbott, and Joe Lansdale as well as many other publishing heavyweights. What’s not to like?
Sadly, this is one where the concept was better than the execution. Block’s introduction certainly got my hopes up, and I completely agreed with his idea that each Hopper painting seems to invite the viewer to create a story for it. The results ranged from straight crime and spy tales to more character based Lit-A-Chur. There’s nothing I actively disliked or found terrible in any of them, but none of the stories really blew my hair back. In fact, it sometimes seemed like the writers were really trying too hard to be clever to fit the premise.
It’s no great shock that the best story Block’s since the whole thing was his idea, and what he came up with seems the most effortless that still feels like a Block story even as it fits his painting perfectly. (And I’ll make a special note to any King fans out there that if you’re getting this just for his story you’re gonna be disappointed because while his is OK it’s also very short.)
It’s not a bad collection, and it’s certainly an interesting theme. As much as I wanted to love this I kept finding other things to do rather than pick it up, and it took me a couple of weeks to finally get through even though it’s less than 300 pages so it never really hooked me completely....more
If your name is something like Stephen Strange then you’d almost have to be a superhero, wouldn’t you? Either that or Bond villain.
Dr. Strange is veryIf your name is something like Stephen Strange then you’d almost have to be a superhero, wouldn’t you? Either that or Bond villain.
Dr. Strange is very upset to learn that his friend and servant Wong has terminal brain cancer and vows to use every mystical means at his disposal to save him. The cure he finds turns out to have much larger implications that threaten Strange both magically and physically.
This is one of those Marvel characters that I mainly know from his appearances in other books rather than reading his main titles. The whole trippy-psychedelic-mysticism thing has never really been my cup o’ tea, but like a good comic book nerd I saw the Dr. Strange movie and enjoyed it so much I decided to read up on the Sorcerer Supreme.
I couldn’t have picked a better story to try. Brian K. Vaughan is one of my favorite comic writers, and this is a great read that mixes Strange’s history with a grounding in the modern Marvel universe that puts magic side-by-side with science. The artwork really sells this too in the way that it portrays a ‘realistic’ New York where something like the Cloak of Levitation does seem unworldly. I also particularly liked the use of the Night Nurse as a supporting character.
My only real complaint is that by starting with this particular story any other Dr. Strange comics now have a very high bar to clear so I’m worried that reading more about the Master of the Mystic Arts might pale in comparison....more
”Wow, you look….REALLY hot with that gun. Wanna go get some tacos with me after I finish killing the rest of these Draculas?”
Oh, Deadpool, you really”Wow, you look….REALLY hot with that gun. Wanna go get some tacos with me after I finish killing the rest of these Draculas?”
Oh, Deadpool, you really are one smoooooth talker.
Everyone’s favorite insane mutant mercenary is still on a quest to become a real hero which leads to a case of clone related mistaken identity with some Avengers followed by a punch-fest with Steve Rogers. Then Deadpool gets hired by one group of vampires to protect them from another group of vampires which ends in a real bloodbath at a hospital.
This is more solid fun courtesy of Daniel Way who has a real knack for writing DP as being homicidally insane and capable of doing real damage while balancing it out with humor and not pushing it to the point where you lose sympathy for the character. ...more
Professional thief Bernie Rhodenbarr is trying to go legit by buying a book store, but that’s a tough way to make the rent even back in the days beforProfessional thief Bernie Rhodenbarr is trying to go legit by buying a book store, but that’s a tough way to make the rent even back in the days before Amazon. So when Bernie gets an offer to swipe a rare volume of Kipling verses for a hefty payday he’s more than willing to start picking locks again.
However, what should be a simple exchange of the book for the cash goes sideways, and Bernie finds himself on the run from the cops after being framed for murder. He’ll need all of his criminal skills and some help from his best friend Carolyn to get out of this one.
As I’ve stated on other reviews I’m a huge fan of Lawrence Block, but this series wasn’t my favorite thing he’s done although I quite enjoyed The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons. I think it’s because while Bernie is a thief the books generally revolve around him playing amateur sleuth rather than actually being about his profession. Still, there’s a charming low-key quality to these, and I always enjoy Block’s casual dialogue where characters often ramble and make amusing observations about life’s quirks.
I liked this the most of the early ones I’ve read because it introduced Carolyn, the lesbian dog groomer who is the person that Bernie can count on most and vice versa. Their friendship is one of the things I’ve most enjoyed about the series.
Overall, it’s a solid mystery with a good sense of humor, and Block always makes a character just trying to navigate the treacherous waters of daily life in New York City a treat to read....more