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Category: Authors

“The Soft, Sweet Lips of Hell” by O’Neil, Adams & Steve Englehart

Posted in Art, Authors, Comics, and Horror

Diversions of the Groovy Kind has posted The Soft, Sweet Lips of Hell by (writer) Denny O’Neil and (artists) Neal Adams & Steve Englehart which appeared in Vampirella #10 (December 1970)!  Englehart went on to fame as a comic book writer.  I had no idea he began his career as an artist.

Thanks to Diversions for giving us another look!

Michael Mann’s “Heat” Prequel Drops Next Year!

Posted in Authors, Books, Crime, and Movies

Michael Mann’s Heat will finally get the prequel we’ve been hearing about for years.  It will come out next year… as a novel.

That’s right, a novel.

Mann will co-write along with Reed Farrel Coleman (an award-winning author).  All of the main characters from Heat including Detective Vincent Hanna (Pacino), Neil McCauley (De Niro), Chris Shihirlis (Kilmer), and Nate (Voight) will appear in the prequel.  The novel will be released through Michael Mann Books from publisher Harper/Collins.

Source: /Film.

50 Years of Richard Stark’s Parker

Posted in Authors, Books, Comics, Crime, and Trivia

If you’re a fan of Richard Stark’s Parker you’re going to love the 50 Years of Parker site.  Here’s a taste…

Parker’s Rules

  1. Don’t ever show a gun to a man you don’t want to kill.
  2. Don’t talk to the law.
  3. Always split the money fair.
  4. Each man for himself.
  5. Don’t kill somebody unless you have to. It puts the law on you like nothing else.
  6. Never leave a guy alive who’d like to see you dead.
  7. Don’t let yourself be framed in a lit doorway.
  8. Don’t meet in a town where you’re going to make a hit.
  9. Don’t stay in the hotel where you’re going to make a hit.
  10. Don’t take a job on consignment.
  11. Don’t work with anyone you can’t trust or don’t respect.
  12. When there’s no place to hide, stay where you are.
  13. Any job that requires more than five guys to be pulled can’t be pulled.
  14. For a big enough score, any rule can be broken.

The Top 10 Stephen King Movies of All Time

Posted in Authors, Books, Horror, and Movies

Alex Maidy and JoBlo.com present their choices for the Top 10 Stephen King Movies of All Time.  Using just their choices here are my top three…

#1 – THE MIST

Frank Darabont films represent three of the films on this list but it is THE MIST that deserves the number one spot. A perfect representation of King’s sense of horror combined with a master filmmaker’s eye for framing and storytelling. Couple a stellar ensemble cast led by Thomas Jane with one of the most gut-wrenching endings in movie history, THE MIST shows what can be accomplished when a Stephen King novel is given the best treatment possible.

#5 – STAND BY ME

Based on King’s novella “The Body”, STAND BY ME is a movie that represents an entire generation. Helmed by Rob Reiner, this is a movie about growing up that proved Stephen King was more than just a writer of horror stories. This film encapsulates the adventure young kids have gone on for generations but mixes it with very real and candid conversations about life and becoming adults. Reiner would go on to adapt another King novel but this one shows he should definitely make another.

 

#6 – CARRIE

The first Stephen King novel published was also the first turned into a film. Despite a lackluster sequel and remake, Brian De Palma’s original CARRIE remains a classic. Owing more to Hitchcock than any true horror inspiration, CARRIE is an examination of what it means to be a teenage girl growing up with the threats of abuse, bullying, and psychological trauma. CARRIE remains to this day a great movie and one hell of a scary one at that.

 

If it was my list I would have included The Dead Zone but it sure would be hard to decide which of these three to remove.

Child 44 (The Child 44 Trilogy) by Tom Rob Smith

Posted in Authors, Books, Crime, and Z-View

Child 44 (The Child 44 Trilogy) by Tom Rob Smith

First sentence…

Since Maria had decided to die her cat would have to fend for itself.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

1953.  Soviet Russia. Leo Demidov, a young decorated war hero, now an idealistic security officer, is beginning to see the hypocrisy of the Soviet government.  Because all are equal there will be no crime.  Murder, especially is a symptom of Western corruption.  Soviet murderers like all criminals must be mentally ill.

When Leo looks into the case of a boy supposedly killed when struck by a train, he discovers the boy may have been murdered by a serial killer of children.  Told to back off, Leo refuses and finds himself at odds with not only his fellow officers but higher ranking Soviet officials.  Soon enough Leo and his wife are under investigation and from there the book really takes off.

To say more would deprive the reader of a great ride.  Child 44 has more twists and turns than any book in recent memory.  Tom Rob Smith has created a page turner that shocks, surprises and thrills.  I loved every page of it and look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.

 

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Better Dead: A Nathan Heller Thriller by Max Allan Collins

Posted in Authors, Books, Crime, History, and Z-View

Better Dead: A Nathan Heller Thriller by Max Allan Collins

Publisher: Mysterious Press

First sentence…

I was there when the Commies took over.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

 

 

Better Dead is actually two interconnected novellas.

In the first Nathan Heller is hired to find evidence to exonerate Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, a married couple sentenced to die for providing Russia with secret information on how to build nuclear bombs.  Senator Joe McCarthy, who is leading the hunt for American Commies, wants Heller to serve as a double agent and provide him with whatever information Heller learns about the Rosenbergs.  Before long Heller is on the wrong side of government agents and gangsters and a possible death sentence of his own.

In the second story, Heller learns about government-funded mind control experiments on unknowing subjects from a scientist who has a change of heart.  When the scientist turns up missing, Heller knows that he’s next up unless he can figure a way out.

I’m a huge fan of Max Allan Collins’ Nate Heller series.  Heller is a fictional detective who finds himself in the middle of real crimes.  Heller ages as the series progresses and fiction is mixed with extensive research and historical fact.  It’s fun watching Heller interact with famous (and infamous) folks right out of our history books.  Equally enjoyable is Collins’ take on the crimes and what may have really happened (if it is not as we’ve been taught).

In Better Dead Heller interacts with Joe McCarthy, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Roy Cohen, Bettie Page, Bobby Kennedy and others.  I also like that Heller in these outings is a bit more hardboiled.  Perhaps it’s the decade.

Better Dead is another great addition to the Nate Heller legacy.  I’m hoping for more!

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When Ali Was to Fight Wilt Chamberlain

Posted in Authors, Celebs, and Sports

Michael Kronenberg is a man of many interests.  Michael is into film noir, art, boxing (although not MMA) and more.

Recently Mike posted the Tweet above.  I wasn’t aware that Ali was at one time going to fight Wilt Chamberlain.  I have to agree with Ali’s prediction had he fought Chamberlain.  “Timber” indeed!

Of Mice and Men (1939)

Posted in Authors, Books, Movies, and Z-View

Of Mice and Men (1939)

Director: Lewis Milestone

Screenplay: Eugene Solow based on the novel by John Steinbeck

Stars: Lon Chaney Jr., Burgess Meredith, Betty Field, Charles Bickford, Roman Bohnen, Bob Steele and Noah Beery Jr.

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s turn Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men into a movie!”

Tagline: A mighty novel! A sensational stage success! Now! The year’s most important picture!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

George (Chaney, Jr.) and Lennie (Meredith) are old buddies who travel from farm to ranch looking for work just barely getting by during the depression. George is a strong giant of a man with the brain of a child.  Lennie constantly looks after George whose strength and lack of mental aptitude is always getting him them in trouble.   Although they dream of one day owning their own little place, it will probably never happen.

George and Lennie get work on a ranch owned by a mean old man and his son, Curley (Steele).  Curley takes an instant dislike to George.  Curley distrusts all the men on the ranch because of his attractive wife (Field), but he especially hates large men.  Lennie warns George to stay away from both Curley and his wife.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that they will stay away from him.

 

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The Rules of Wolfe by James Carlos Blake

Posted in Authors, Books, Crime, and Z-View

The Rules of Wolfe by James Carlos Blake

Publisher: Mysterious Press

First sentence…

Eddie Gato pleaded with us to take him on that run last winter but we said no.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

 

Eddie Gato Wolfe is an ambitious young man who wishes to make a fast rise in the vast Wolfe family criminal organization.  When things aren’t moving as fast as he’d like, Eddie heads down to Mexico and takes a security job for the La Navaja drug cartel.

Assigned to a remote but luxurious desert villa, days and nights are boring.  The only time things liven up is when the cartel bosses fly in with young women to party.  Although contact or conversations with the help is not allowed one of the women seems interested in Eddie… and he in her.  Eddie learns her name is Miranda.

On Miranda’s next visit he sneaks a visit to her and they hit it off.  All is going well until the man who brought her finds them together.  He and Eddie fight and the man ends up dead.  The dead man is the brother of  La Navaja’s leader.  Eddie knows that unless he and Miranda can escape across the desert and back into the United States, a brutal merciless death awaits them both.

Eddie and Miranda head into the desert with the knowledge that the entire La Navaja cartel will be looking for them.  They’re only hope is a lot of luck and maybe some help from the Wolfe’s… the family that he deserted.

James Carlos Blake has another winner!

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The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

Posted in Authors, Books, Crime, Movies, and Z-View

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

Director: Tay Garnett

Screenplay: Harry Ruskin Niven and Busch  from the novel by James M. Cain

Stars: Lana Turner, John Garfield, Cecil Kellaway, Hume Cronyn, Leon Ames, Audrey Totter and Alan Reed.


The Pitch: “Hey, let’s turn James Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice into a movie!”

Tagline: Their Love was a Flame that Destroyed!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Frank Chambers [Garfield], a drifter stops at a diner and is offered a job by the middle-aged owner, Nick Smith.  As Frank begins to turn down the work, he spots Cora [Turner], a very attractive waitress and changes his mind.

Soon enough Frank learns that Cora is Frank’s wife.  Frank would be ready to move on except that Cora seems interested in him.  Although both Frank and Cora attempt to fight the attraction, it’s strong and will not be denied.  It doesn’t take long until Frank and Cora are planning Nick’s demise.  And we all know how those things work out, don’t we?

Garfield and Turner definitely had chemistry.  I love how each of them fights the attraction.  The Postman Always Rings Twice has a couple of great twists.  The cast and direction are top notch.

A classic.

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Robert B. Parker’s Kickback (A Spenser Novel) by Ace Atkins

Posted in Authors, Books, and Z-View

Robert B. Parker’s Kickback (A Spenser Novel) by Ace Atkins

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Putnam

First sentence…

Maybe he shouldn’t have gone out and celebrated.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Spenser faces one of his greatest challenges when he goes against a corrupt judge with organized crime ties.  Spenser takes on the case of a 17 year old kid, denied a lawyer and sentenced to a year in a youth prison that is run by a corporation with ties to, you guessed it, the judge.

Spenser won’t back down in his quest to right this wrong and finds himself up against cops with think they’re backing a zero-tolerance judge, and thugs who know the true score.

Not just another excellent Spenser tale by Ace Atkins but one of the best Spenser novels.

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