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From The Blog
March 30, 2015
Bushwhackers, Desperadoes, and a Damsel in Distress: "Lone Star Fury" by James Reasoner
Edward A. Grainger
March 30, 2015
Arsenic in Your Wine Glass? Naturally!
Crime HQ
March 27, 2015
Like Jurassic Park, with Foreskins
Crime HQ
March 25, 2015
Woman Assaults Neighbor with Poop
Teddy Pierson
March 23, 2015
Lost Classics of Noir: The Big Heat by William P. McGivern
Brian Greene
Sat
Mar 21 2015 12:00pm

A George Smiley Offensive: The Honourable Schoolboy

The Honourable Schoolboy by John Le CarreIn John Le Carré's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the previous George Smiley adventure, the intelligence officer was surreptitiously tapped to track down a mole—a bellicose cancer—burrowed within The Circus. Smiley pinpointed and exposed the double agent as Bill Haydon. Haydon had been recruited by a Russian operative, known only as Karla, when he was a student at Oxford, and in his succeeding 30-year tenure within the British espionage service, he had climbed to the upper ranks, nearly crippling The Circus with his duplicity. Smiley, subsequently appointed to the role of interim caretaker, has the formidable task of restoring an organization that’s been torn to tatters.

“There were those who seriously believed—inside the Circus, as well as out—that they had heard the last beat of the secret English heart.”

After the unmasking of the traitor, a majority of the agency’s information networks have run cold and the organization is in danger of being shut down. The building in which Smiley and his team work has been ripped to shreds by the 'ferrets' in search of wiretaps and other spy devices, serving as a sobering reminder of their state of affairs. And with the systematic clearing of dubious Circus personal, the agency has become a skeletal apparatus in fear of itself. Even Smiley feels the impact: “The circles around him grew smaller as they grew nearer, and precious few in the early days reached the centre,” Le Carré writes.

[The future looks grim...]

Fri
Mar 20 2015 12:00pm

Left Coast Crime 2015: Crimelandia

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the annual Left Coast Crime mystery writers’ convention took place in Portland, Oregon, returning to the Rose City for the first time since 2002. The four-day conference, which drew roughly 650 people with an additional 30 day passes sold, was held March 12th through March 15th at the Doubletree Hotel, and gave crime writers and crime fiction fans a chance to mingle and talk about all things mystery. This year’s convention was co-chaired by Oregon authors L.J. Sellers, whose series features Eugene, Ore. detective Wade Jackson, and Bill Cameron, author of the Portland-based series with cop Skin Kadash. Long-time proponents of the genre and convention veterans—they co-chaired the 2014 gathering in Monterey—Lucinda Surber and Stan Ulrich, who run the popular website Stop, You’re Killing Me, acted as volunteer coordinator/sponsorship coordinator/publisher liaison and treasurer/registrar/advertising coordinator, respectively.

In addition to the on-site selection of panels and interviews, attendees had the opportunity to sign up for a field trip to the FBI’s regional crime forensics lab. Other outings included a Portland distillery tour and a trip to the city’s famous Shanghai Tunnels. Back in the hotel, the panels kicked off on Thursday, with an opening reception in the evening honoring all the nominees. The guest authors—Guest of Honor Chelsea Cain, Guest of Honor Timothy Hallinan, and Special Guest Phillip Margolin—participated in panels and interviews throughout the weekend. On Friday, the organization celebrated its 25th birthday with a party in the evening, which also honored local Fan Guest of Honor, the Portland-based group Friends of Mystery.

[To the panels!]

Fri
Mar 20 2015 10:00am

You Pick the Story for The M.O.!

We're tickled crimson to announce the shortlisters from our “Long Gone” submitted stories! Read these four sneak peeks, then vote at the bottom for the one you'd most like to read to The End. (Of course, for your protection, all of these mugs have been added to The M.O.'s Rogues' Gallery for 2015.)

 

  • “Fix Me” by S.W. Lauden
  • “The Genuine Article” by K.M. Rockwood
  • “Iced” by Nancy Brewka-Clark
  • “Thrilled No More” by Chuck Brownman

 

[Onto the Gone!]

Thu
Mar 19 2015 3:45pm

The Americans 3.08: “Divestment”

In an early scene in last night’s The Americans, Oleg’s father calls Arkady (Lev Gorn) to ask why his son has not been sent home as he requested. When Arkady answers that Oleg (Costa Ronin) would like to finish his work in America before returning, the Minister of Railways is not happy. But instead of directly pulling rank on Arkady, he appeals to him on an emotional level, explaining to Arkady that he has two sons far away from home, Oleg in the U.S., and another fighting in Afghanistan. Asking for one his sons to be close to him is merely “a very human request.”

This intimate, more personal sentiment prevails throughout the entire episode, giving it an even more contemplative mood than usual. The title, “Divestment,” sardonically refers to the fate of Eugene Venter (Neil Sandilands), the South African intelligence officer kidnapped at the end of last episode. However, it applies more obliquely to the way in which other characters back off (divest) from their professional and emotional rigidity, allowing empathy to help guide their actions. Elizabeth (Keri Russell)in particular seems to soften the most, as she bookends the episode by making another “very human request” of Gabriel.

[We're not used to a soft Elizabeth...]

Thu
Mar 19 2015 12:00pm

Throwing Antonio Salieri to the Wolves: Mozart’s Alleged Murder

Every fan of Wolfgang Mozart has heard the story—how in the fall of 1791, the 35-year old composer, depressed, and overworked, confessed to his wife Constanze that he believed that he was slowly being poisoned. By mid-November, illness overtook the composer, marked by swollen hands and feet and with violent vomiting. Despite the efforts of a team of physicians, Mozart died in the early morning of December 5.

Within weeks, rumors began to circulate around the city of Vienna that Mozart had indeed been poisoned. Suspicion fell on the clique of Italians who composed for the court opera, particularly on Antonio Salieri, the music director of the opera. The musical connoisseurs of Vienna and Salieri himself laughed off the rumors. In the years that followed, as no evidence of Salieri's guilt appeared, and there was no investigation by the authorities, the rumors died down.

[But it wouldn't be the last of them...]

Thu
Mar 19 2015 8:45am

Robert Durst was Reading about Himself before Arrest

Robert Durst, the subject of the HBO documentary The Jinx, directed by Andrew Jarecki, was arrested over the weekend in New Orleans for the murder of longtime friend Susan Berman. According to NBC News, a subsequent search of Durst's Houston home revealed among other things, a copy of Without a Trace: Inside the Robert Durst Case by Marion Collins, a book published back in 2002 after Durst killed, dismembered, and dumped a body in the Galveston Bay in Texas. Was Durst brushing up on the evidence against him? Or, did he love being in the spotlight {as evidenced by The Jinx) and did he revel in reading about himself? Perhaps we'll find out soon.

SEE ALSO: Learn more about The Jinx!

Here's a bit from Chapter 1 of Without a Trace:

Back East, Bobby's upper-crust friends and family could scarcely believe their eyes as they unrolled their morning papers and were met by the picture of the scruffy-looking real-estate heir and read the horrific charges against him. How, they asked, as they poured their first cups of coffee in their luxurious Fifth Avenue apartments and their million-dollar suburban mansions, had it come to this? Bobby Durst was one of them, born into wealth, and his already huge family fortune had more than doubled in the last twenty years. He'd had a first-class education and had been blessed by a good brain, above average looks and a lively intelligence. Hadn't he married that pretty young wife, and whatever happened to her, anyway? How could he possibly have killed an old man and then hacked off his head and his limbs? His mugshot was decorating the New York papers, and worse, he'd gone on the lam. Now his face was on the FBI's wanted list and displayed in post offices. How did he sink to this?

Wed
Mar 18 2015 4:00pm

Beast in View: Margaret Millar at 100

In the vast criminal menagerie that Margaret Millar created over the course of her long career, there is a special place for the “woman in distress” plot. She wrote many different kinds of stories — and her novels were as likely to feature male protagonists as female — but one of the things that she did best was to put a young woman in a pressure cooker of a situation…and then keep cranking up the pressure.

Perhaps the best example of this is her 1955 novel Beast In View. It tells the story of Helen Clarvoe, a well-off “spinster” (at the ripe old age of 30), who is being stalked by an insane woman named Evelyn Merrick. Clarvoe asks her family lawyer, Paul Blackshear, to get rid of the troubled Ms. Merrick. Things do not go as planned.

Beast In View was, in some respects, Millar’s most successful novel. It got rave reviews, sold well, and won Millar the Edgar Award for Best Novel. As the years have gone on, it has remained perhaps Millar’s best known work. It was adapted for The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in the 60s and Alfred Hitchcock Presents in the 80s. Writing about the book in 1984 for the New York Times, Anthony Boucher said, it was “written with such complete realization of every character that the most bitter antagonist of mystery fiction may be forced to acknowledge it as a work of art.”

[Warning: Spoilers Inside...]

Wed
Mar 18 2015 11:00am

Justified 6.09: “Burned”

Sam Elliott as Avery Markham, Mary Steenburgen as Katherine Hale

“Burned,” this week’s episode of Justified had less of the emotional violence of last week, but a lot more explosions and bodies as Boyd’s (Walton Goggins) heist went horribly wrong, and Raylan’s (Timothy Olyphant) conviction that working with Avery Markham (Sam Elliott) to take down Boyd also seemed increasingly suspect. Also, RIP Uncle Zachariah (Jeff Fahey). Or maybe not! But best of all, we got a meeting between Art (Nick Searcy), Raylan and Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) in his skivvies. As much as Art disliked that view, I salute Jere Burns for his willingness to let it all hang out there as an actor!

We open with Rachel (Erica Tazel) and Art interrogating Raylan on his hunch about Ava’s (Joelle Carter) turning. Raylan can’t explain it precisely, but I think they should defer to his better understanding of Crowders and people in Harlan. AUSA Vasquez (Rick Gomez) is disgusted at the loss of a valuable asset, coupled with Raylan making sure that Boyd got $100,000 of Avery Markham’s money last week and sarcastically asks where they’ll find another CI. (He also gives us a little rundown on RICOH statutes — the CI actually has to witness Boyd committing crimes, which was why Ava was so perfect.) Art Mullen, always awesome, has an idea about another potential CI.

[Any guesses?]

Wed
Mar 18 2015 8:45am

Thief Spray-Paints Face to Avoid Police

One man’s strange attempt to hide from police failed when he tried to spray paint his face in an effort to blend into “the background” after stealing a car.

The suspect, Jose Espinoza, tried to escape from police not once, but twice after stealing a car in Madera, California, reports The Huffington Post. During his second getaway, Espinoza tried to throw the police off by spray-painting his face black.

It did not go as planned and he was arrested for theft, receiving stolen property, and unlawful driving of a vehicle. His bail was set at $35,000.

Tue
Mar 17 2015 4:30pm

Cozy Bookshelf Shopping List: April, 2015

We want to help you discover (or remember to order) your next cozy with this brand-new, delightfully convenient shopping list of upcoming soft-boiled mysteries! Our first installment lists the titles, by week and series, coming out in April (we also sneaked in March 31st...shh!). Let us know in the comments how you like it and what you can't wait to read next!

Criminal Element's April 2015 Cozy Bookshelf Shopping List!

[Let's get to the goodies!]

Tue
Mar 17 2015 1:30pm
Excerpt

Echoes: New Excerpt

Laura K. Curtis

Echoes by Laura K. Curtis, a romantic suspense in the Harp Security seriesEchoes by Laura K. Curtis is the first romantic suspense in the Harp Security series, in which a travel writer's Caribbean trip to investigate her past collides with the disappearance of a resort owner who looks enough like her to be a sister (available March 17, 2015).

A single photo of herself as an infant on a beach, taken before the date on her birth certificate, throws everything Calliope Pearson knows about herself into question. Hoping to find answers, she takes advantage of her job as a travel writer to make a reservation at the Caribbean island resort in the picture.

Resort security chief Mac Brody distrusts Callie on sight. After all, she looks exactly like his deceitful missing wife, Nikki, who owns half the resort. But when Nikki’s found dead, Mac's facing murder charges, and he’s sure that Callie must hold the key to proving his innocence.

The deeper Callie and Mac dive into the mystery of her past, the more bodies surface. And they’ll have to learn to trust each other, or become victims of a dark danger neither could've imagined….

 

Prologue
St. Martin, French West Indies

Nicole Lewis Brody made a beautiful corpse. But then, being long on looks and short on life came with her genes. Her killer chuckled at his own wit even as he forced down the faint acid flavor of panic rising to the back of his throat. He hadn’t planned to kill her just yet. The minute she’d started making noises about trying to find her biological father the end had been inevitable, but he’d hoped to be able to finish her off in a manner that would keep the police out of it, as he had with her mother.

Nikki liked drugs and parties, and he didn’t want to pollute her system more than she’d managed on her own, so an overdose was out of the question. He’d made mistakes early on, corrupted the bodies of his first attempts, and lost any chance of benefit. And he couldn’t kill her from a distance; he’d learned that from earlier attempts as well. He’d had a few ideas about how to proceed, so he’d laid a solid foundation, thank Father in heaven, but he hadn’t settled on a perfect method yet.

And then she’d found a picture of that damned writer, Calliope Pearson, and the situation had become urgent. Panic threatened once more, and he pushed it away. Once complete, he’d never again have to endure that horrible pressure, as if some alien being were eating through his chest while compressing his head. His doctor could stop warning him about acid reflux, too, because he’d be too strong to worry. Even now, in his imperfect state and under threat of discovery, he had come up with a new plan. He could keep this one on ice until he could take what he needed. He’d been in her basement plenty of times, and admired her chest freezer, but he couldn’t very well leave her in her own home. Too many variables, too much potential for disaster. Plus, tonight he was free to move her, and that might not be the case again for some time.

He duct-taped her ankles together and wrapped them in a cashmere stole from her closet. He was going to have to drag her down the hall, and he didn’t want to leave scuff marks on the polished wooden floors. There could be no signs of struggle should the gendarmes choose to visit.

[Continue reading Echoes by Laura K. Curtis...]

Tue
Mar 17 2015 12:00pm

Now Win This!: Caught Red Handed Sweepstakes

Here's the smell of the blood: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand, but these eight great books might keep you distracted!

Click here to enter for a chance to win!

This is NOT a Comments Sweepstakes. You must click the link above to enter.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry. Promotion begins March 17, 2015, at 12:00 pm ET, and ends March 31, 2015, 11:59 am ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Click here for details and official rules.

[What, will these hands ne'er be clean?]

Mon
Mar 16 2015 2:30pm

The Stand Alones: Georges Simenon’s The Widower

I don’t know if we can say with certainty that Georges Simenon was the most successful writer of the 20th Century, but he would certainly be a top contender for the title. It wasn’t just that he wrote books that sold well around the world, it was that he churned out a new book seemingly every week. A ballpark estimate of his output is somewhere in the neighborhood of five hundred books, and that’s in addition to reams of articles and short stories. His most famous creation was Chief Inspector Jules Maigret, who headlined 75 different novels, 28 short stories, and dozens of movies and television shows. IMBD puts the total number of Simenon adaptations at 137. Anyway you cut it, those are some impressive numbers.

But they are, in the end, just numbers. The real success for a writer, of course, is found in the work itself, and Simenon’s literary reputation was just about on par with his output. The Maigret novels remain masterful models a certain kind of psychologically loaded pop mystery. Simenon could concoct a puzzle as well as anyone, but it’s not really the puzzle that you care about. A Maigret mystery is as likely to be a whydunit as a whodunit. Oftentimes, you’ll see Maigret compared to other famous sleuths—Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot—but he’s a quiet companion to that kind of company. He’s neither an arrogant robot like Holmes nor a preening dandy like Poirot. He is, instead, a sturdy professional. Moreover, outside of his detecting skills, his most marked characteristic is, of all things, compassion. The success of the character owes a lot to the fact that he is, in the end, simply a good man.

[And there was so much more than Maigret...]

Mon
Mar 16 2015 12:00pm
Excerpt

The Presidents and UFOs: New Excerpt

Larry Holcombe

The Presidents and UFOs: A Secret History from FDR to Obama by Larry Holcombe is an extensive look into the history of UFOs in the United States and the secrets hidden by the country's presidents (available March 17, 2015).

The UFO enigma has been part of our culture since the 1940s and building to a worldwide explosion of acceptance today. Now, as governments around the world open their files and records on internal UFO investigations, the US remains steadfast in its denial of interest in the UFO issue. As more of the world's population accepts the possibility of an extraterrestrial presence, the demand is building for disclosure from the United States.

Using newly declassified and Freedom of Information Act documents, eyewitness accounts, interviews, and leaked documents being authenticated,  the secret history of UFOs and the corresponding presidential administrations are detailed. Starting in 1941 with the Roosevelt administration, the book examines the startling discoveries facing a president preoccupied by WWII, the explosion of UFO sightings during the Truman years, first contact during the Eisenhower administration, and the possibility of a UFO connection to the Kennedy assassination. In 1975, the Nixon administration came very close to admitting that UFOs exist by funding a documentary by Robert Emenegger. Almost 40 years later, this book will examine Emenegger's findings.

For the first time, the involvement of all of the modern presidents up to and including President Obama, and the rise and then fall of their influence on UFO issues, are told in one story that is an integral part of the fascinating UFO tapestry.

[Start reading The Presidents and UFOs...]

Sun
Mar 15 2015 12:00pm
Excerpt

The Friendship of Criminals: New Excerpt

Robert Glinski

The Friendship of Criminals by Robert Glinski is a mob-feuled thriller focused on Anton, an aging Polish crime boss in Philadelphia who refuses to let the Italians take his territory (available March 17, 2015).

Polish crime boss Anton Bielakowski has been a fixture in Port Richmond for many years. No one has ever defied him — not successcully anyhow. How, as he prepares to figure out what to do with his remaining legacy, the new head of the Italian mob is threatening to overpower him. The FBI is also close to tearing his life apart; they lurk aound every corner. Anton's son is also causing his share of problems.

Anton had just hoped to live out the rest of his life in peace — a retirement, if you will, from the world of crime. But with the restless and ambitious criminal factions of Philadelphia unsure who to trust and experiencing a general feeling of unease, the criminal underworld is bracing itself for war. Anton is too old for all of this. Either he's going to jail or he's going to die, but he's not going anywhere without first putting up a fight to remind everyone just what type of boss he is.

1.

Corral a hundred little kids and announce Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy do not exist. Not dead, not gone. Just not real.

[Continue reading The Friendship of Criminals by Robert Glinski...]

Sat
Mar 14 2015 12:00pm
Excerpt

The Dragon of Handale: New Excerpt

Cassandra Clark

The Dragon of Handale by Cassandra Clark is the 5th historical mystery starring Hildegard set in 14th Century England as she returns home pondering the idea of resuming her job as a nun (available March 17, 2015).

Hildegard, no longer a member of the Cistercian order of nuns, has returned to the priory after more than a year from her pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Still unsure whether she will rejoin the Order, the Prioress suggests that a visit to Handale Priory might help provide some clarity. Used as a house of correction for sinning nuns, it lies in the north of the county in the middle of a vast wood and is run by the ambiguous Abbess Basilda and her close group of hard-faced acolytes.

While walking about the grounds, Hildegard discovers the corpse of a young man in the morgue. His body bears deep gashes from neck to groin. His wounds appear to be the ravages of claws, but larger than any animal Hildegard knows of. Is it possible that the young man was killed by a dragon, as Hildegard's been told? Of course, Hildegard does not believe in dragons, and despite being warned against it, she goes for a walk in the woods. There she discovers a secret tower, locked and barred, with armed men on guard.

What is so valuable that it needs such protection? Has it anything to do with the mystery of the young man's death? And why have assassins been pursuing the King's courier across the savage moor land only to murder him at a lonely wayside tavern? Hildegard risks all dangers to seek out the truth.

Chapter One

The blade plunged gently between the man’s buttocks, then pushed its full length in one slow movement to the hilt. The action was perfectly controlled. The stiletto was withdrawn and the assassin wiped the blade on his surcoat. His accomplice, pressing the man’s face into the bedclothes, felt the shudder run through him.

[Continue reading The Dragon of Handale by Cassandra Clark...]

Fri
Mar 13 2015 2:00pm

The Mongolian Conspiracy by Rafael Bernal

It’s 1968, the height of the Cold War, and we are in Mexico City. Filiberto Garcia is a sixty year old Mexican policeman. Over the course of his life he has killed people: men, women, a priest. As a young man, he fought in the Mexican Revolution, serving under Pancho Villa, his killing backed by a just cause. But what he once did to help his country transform itself into something better, he now does strictly as a job. By 1968, the Mexican politicians have long since betrayed the Revolution. Real men like Villa and Zapata no longer call the shots. Cold, duplicitous figures who occupy offices in their suits now pull the strings. They of course kill also, but they never do the dirty work themselves.   They need others to do it for them, and that’s where Garcia, the central character in The Mongolian Conspiracy, comes in. When the novel opens, he is working as a pistolero – effectively, a police hitman – and any ideals he once had seemed to have died inside him.

Rafael Bernal’s 1969 novel appeared at a critical moment in Mexican history. In October 1968, military and police under the command of the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) had massacred perhaps as many as 400 peacefully protesting students in the country’s capital. The PRI had grown out of the socialist-leaning revolution that ended some forty odd years earlier, and it had dominated Mexican politics since that time. The brutal repression of the leftist students just before Mexico was to host the Summer Olympic games made absolutely clear the extent to which Mexico’s political class had become authoritarian, in betrayal of the revolution’s ideals. The event remains a seminal one in Mexican history, and you have to assume that a bunch of the men who fired on the university students were men precisely like Filiberto Garcia – hired guns, men doing a murderous job to collect their pay, political subtleties be damned. That Rafael Bernal, on the heels of this national trauma, would make his protagonist this kind of gunslinger took guts. As author Francisco Goldman notes in the book's introduction, this was not a character likely to appeal to most Mexican readers. And in fact, the book did not do all that well when it was first published. In Mexico, after falling out of print, it became very difficult to find. But a reissue appeared, and with the passing of time, its reputation has grown. It was translated into English in 2013. The Mongolian Conspiracy is part noir, part detective story, part pulp fantasia, part Cold War thriller satire. As well, it’s a novel about a city, or a certain strata of a particular huge metropolis; in Goldman's words, The Mongolian Conspiracy is “The best fucking novel ever written about Mexico City.”

[Sounds clear enough to me...]

Fri
Mar 13 2015 11:15am
Excerpt

Swan Dive: Exclusive Excerpt

Kendel Lynn

Swan Dive by Kendel Lynn is the 3rd cozy in the Elliott Libson series, and this time a poisoned cupcake leaves one Sugar Plum Fairy dead, and a slew of plausible suspects peaking from behind the curtain (available March 17, 2015).

This exclusive excerpt is reprinted by permission from Henery Press. All rights reserved.

It's Opening Night at the Ballantyne Foundation's production of The Nutcracker, but it's curtains for the Sugar Plum Fairy. When her body is found backstage, fatally poisoned by a cupcake she baked herself, rumors turn to suicide. But Elli Lisbon, director of the Ballantyne and coordinator of the ballet, smells something rotten amidst the sugar and spice.

As Elli applies her PI-in-training skills on the troupe of suspects, she discovers an eccentric herbalist, a temperamental chef, a stalking choreographer, and a bevy of backstage secrets. Between her off-the-record investigation, duty as director, and highly-charged love life, she finds herself caught in a dance to stay one pirouette ahead of a half-baked killer.

Chapter One

(Day #1: Thursday Evening)

I was sitting front row center of the Sea Pine Island Community Theatre waiting for Act II of The Nutcracker when I received a short text: Emergency. Sugar Plum Fairy dead. Dressing rooms. Now. It was from the artistic director. A drama queen if ever there was one. This was the fifth “emergency” in the last two hours. The fourth text included the words “catastrophe” and “maimed.” One of the nutcracker soldier’s tassels had popped off.

[Continue reading Swan Dive by Kendel Lynn...]

Fri
Mar 13 2015 8:45am

“There are Other Ways to See”: Trailer for Daredevil

Up next in the ever-expanding Marvel cinematic universe is Daredevil, which becomes available on Netflix on April 11, 2015. In typical Netflix fashion, the complete season will be available from the get-go, and all Marvel asks in return is that you forget about the 2003 atrocity starring Ben Affleck — He's DC's problem now.

Marvel's new, long-form version will star Charlie Cox (Boardwalk Empire, The Theory of Everything) as Matt Murdock/Daredevil — a blind lawyer whose other senses are superhumanly enhanced, thus allowing him to fight crime in an attempt to clean up New York City. Daredevil marks Marvel's move into showcasing the grittier street-level heroes that don't fight with magical shields, hammers, and suits. The show's mature rating should mean that Daredevil will be much darker than its super siblings.

Thu
Mar 12 2015 4:00pm

The Americans 3.07: “Walter Taffet”

It took three seasons, but the full range of Alison Wright's acting abilities were on display in

For most of Season 3, The Americans has attempted to tie the various plotlines of each episode together with a unifying theme. Whether it’s been adolescence, or religion, or suitcases, the creators have clearly put thought into not only the surface story, but also what each week is about. While I suppose last night’s episode, “Walter Taffet,” could loosely be described as being about helplessness, it mostly took a break from this formula and let the characters interact without the need to make any larger statement. Directed thoughtfully by Noah Emmerich (Stan) “Walter Taffet” was an episode of quiet moments, punctuated by one big revelation and one big action sequence.

The revelation is one we’ve been waiting on for almost two seasons. The pen that never barked was finally discovered in Agent Gaad’s (Richard Thomas) office by Aderholt (whose constant question-asking and apple-polishing have begun to annoy Stan). The immediate fallout from this reveal was to finally give Alison Wright her first opportunity to show her acting range (unless you consider incessantly nagging Clark and kind of nagging Clark to be a wide range). Her performance as Martha throughout is riveting. After recovering from her initial shock, she desperately tries to destroy the recording mechanism in a suspenseful, claustrophobic bathroom scene. She then must endure an electronic sweep of the bullpen before returning home, suspicious of Clark. Clearly shaken, she obfuscates to Clark about what really happened at the office, then demands he take her to his apartment. Philip (Matthew Rhys) can sense something is off with Martha, but attributes it to her frustration at wanting a foster child.

[What will Martha do next?]