Review: <i>A Puzzle to Be Named Later</i> by Parnell Hall Review: A Puzzle to Be Named Later by Parnell Hall Dirk Robertson Read Dirk Robertson's review! Review: <i>The Nowhere Man</i> by Gregg Hurwitz Review: The Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz Katherine Tomlinson Read Katherine Tomlinson's review! Review: <i>Promises in Death</i> by J.D. Robb Review: Promises in Death by J.D. Robb Amber Keller Read Amber Keller's review! <i>Eleventh Grave in Moonlight</i>: New Excerpt Eleventh Grave in Moonlight: New Excerpt Darynda Jones The 11th installment in the paranormal Charley Davidson series.
From The Blog
January 14, 2017
Discount: The Advocate's Daughter by Anthony Franze
Crime HQ
January 13, 2017
5 Gateway Marvel Comics for Crime Fiction Fans
Dave Richards
January 10, 2017
Into the Woods and Off the Grid: Three Profiles
Erica Ferencik
January 9, 2017
Historical Novels: Fact vs. Fiction
Nicola Cornick
January 5, 2017
Writing About Serious Issues
Terry Shames
Showing posts tagged: David Cranmer click to see more stuff tagged with David Cranmer
Thu
Jan 12 2017 12:00pm

Review: An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock by Terry Shames

An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock by Terry Shames is the 6th book in the Samuel Craddock Mystery series.

For first time readers of Terry Shames’s Samuel Craddock series, of which I’m one, An Unsettling Crime For Samuel Craddock seems an optimal time to jump on board. Described as a prequel, we join Craddock in the 1980s as the newly appointed Chief of Police of tiny Jarrett Creek, Texas: population 3,000. He’s tested by fire—literally and figuratively—in his first year with the murders of five young people on the outskirts of town.

As soon as I opened the door the smell hits me. The smell of burning creosote is strongest, but there’s another smell underneath that turns my stomach. Burned flesh. Somebody didn’t make it out alive.

Besides the house being torched, some of the deceased had also been shot to death prior. On the scene is John Sutherland, a racist state patrolman who belittles Craddock’s youth and inexperience and attempts to assert his authority at every turn. Craddock stands his ground, pointing out that it happened in the city limits and is part of his dominion, though, he later admits, it has nothing to do with his office. He reaches out to Albert Lamond, the self-appointed leader of the black community who is understandably leery of working with law enforcement. Also on the scene are the far more welcoming Texas Rangers, who offer their assistance in any way possible—a mini life raft, of sorts, for a man who is in way over his head and bemoaning the fact a little too late that this job will be a mite more involved than locking up the occasional drunk.

Read an excerpt from An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock!

[Read David Cranmer's review of An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock...]

Wed
Jan 11 2017 1:00pm

Review: Creation in Death by J.D. Robb

To celebrate the upcoming release of J.D. Robb's 44th Eve Dallas mystery, Echoes in Death, we're taking a look back at every single book in the In Death series. Today, David Cranmer reviews #25, Creation in Death.

It’s March of 2060, and Lieutenant Eve Dallas has a rare couple of days off. She’s enjoying a movie with Roarke and has no other plans except to “nail her husband like an air jack” after the video ends. But before they can consummate the evening on such a candid note, Eve gets a call from her commander directing her to a homicide. Roarke asks to tag along—as he often does—promising to stay out of the way, and what they find is revolting:

It might have been a sheet of ice or snow. From a distance, it might appear to be. And from a distance, the body arranged on it might appear to be artful—a model for some edgy shoot.

But she knew what it was, even from a distance, and the line of cold up her spine took on teeth.

Her eyes met Morris’s. But they said nothing.

It wasn’t ice, or snow. She wasn’t a model or a piece of art.

The victim is identified as 28-year-old Sarifina York, and in a rather too convenient plot twist, Roarke is acquainted with the young woman, having hired her to manage a club.

But her killer is no stranger, per se, either. He’s is well known to Eve from several unsolved murders dating nine years back and has been dubbed “The Groom” because of his signature calling card: a ring that he places on the deceased’s finger. Sprinkled throughout the novel, we are privy to The Groom’s disturbed mind. He considers what he’s doing an art form, and he carves into the skin of his captives how long they survived, right down to the second. The prologue for Creation in Death sums up the clinical, psychotic killer that Lieutenant Eve Dallas is up against with this go around.

Death was, in and of itself, the all.

He considered himself a late bloomer, and often bemoaned the years before he’d found his raison d’être. All that time lost, all those opportunities missed. But still, he had bloomed, and was forever grateful that he had finally looked inside himself and seen what he was. What he was meant for.

He was a maestro in the art of death. The keeper of time. The bringer of destiny.

Antagonists of this nature—the kind of serial killers that deem themselves erudite with fine taste—always reminds me of the big dog on the front porch, Hannibal Lecter. In particular, The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris is the standard by which I govern their ilk. Though “The Groom” is not as original as “Hannibal the Cannibal,” he’s nevertheless a worthy adversary as he begins circling closer and closer to Eve, intent on making her his last victim … and his ultimate creation.

As in all the In Death books, focus is squarely on hardboiled Eve Dallas, who has gone from being a loner in the earlier part of the series to being surrounded by a loyal group of supporters, like the ever-ready Peabody and billionaire husband Roarke, who I’ve always pictured as Lee Horsley from the Matt Houston series. A super rich dude who never lost the connection to the common man and has the grit that a tough-as-nails cop like Eve can respect. Whether she likes to admit it or not, he grounds her and makes her a more sympathetic person.

An excellent futuristic crime procedural, but don’t take my word for it. Stephen King said, “If you haven’t read Robb, this is a great place to start.” And from the late Robert B. Parker, “Creation in Death is a complete pleasure. WONDERFUL!”

 

To learn more or order a copy, visit:

Buy at iTunes

Buy at Barnes and NobleBuy at Amazon

 

 


David Cranmer is the publisher and editor of BEAT to a PULP. Latest books from this indie powerhouse include the alternate history novella Leviathan and sci-fi adventure Pale Mars. David lives in New York with his wife and daughter.

Tue
Jan 10 2017 1:00pm

Review: Innocent in Death by J.D. Robb

To celebrate the upcoming release of J.D. Robb's 44th Eve Dallas mystery, Echoes in Death, we're taking a look back at every single book in the In Death series. Today, David Cranmer reviews #24, Innocent in Death.

A young, seemingly healthy history teacher, Craig Foster, dies at work while eating lunch alone in his classroom. Craig was recently married to a woman named Lissette and, according to his co-workers and the student body, was a beloved educator. Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her assistant Peabody are called to investigate.

Spider legs of broken vessels ran through the whites of his eyes. There were traces of foam as well as vomit clinging to his lips. “Tried to crawl after it hit him,” she murmured. “Tried to crawl for the door. Get the formal ID, Peabody, verify TOD.”

Rising, Eve moved carefully around the puddles of what Craig's body had voided, and picked up the insulated cup she saw, which had his name engraved in silver over black. Sniffed.

“You think somebody poisoned this guy?” Peabody asked.

[Read David Cranmer's review of Innocent in Death...]

Tue
Jan 10 2017 12:00pm

The Dark Tower: Wizard and Glass, Part I

Last week, we finished up The Waste Lands with a pain of a cliffhanger. Thankfully, we only had to wait 6 days instead of 6 years to find out what happens! This week, our ka-tet tries to outriddle Blaine the Mono as they speed through the waste lands towards Topeka, Kansas

Thank you for joining me on a journey of Stephen King’s Wizard and Glass (1997), the 4th book in The Dark Tower series. When we left Roland, Jake, Susannah, Eddie, and Oy the billy-bumbler, they were trapped on the psychotic locomotive, Blaine the Mono, crossing through the feared waste lands. Our ka-tet had narrowly escaped the destruction of Lud that Blaine had decimated with gas—but for what? To become prisoners aboard a train bulleting into a desolate hell populated by fierce beasts, with a guide that’s clearly mad. Yeah, it looks like we are bound to have a helluva lot of fun as we continue our journey to the Dark Tower.

 *Remember: While this is a reread, please avoid spoilers in the comments. The point is to get there together!

We're back to wacky Stephen King chapters, so the plan is to read a section a week (about 100 pages) and meet here at our usual time (Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET) to discuss major themes, motifs, and reactions. Make sure to bookmark the HQ page for the schedule and links to all of the chapter discussions as they go live! This week, we finally get an answer about what happened with Blaine the Mono, as our ka-tet tries to outriddle a psychotic speeding train. Join us in the comments for a discussion of Part I of Wizard and Glass: Riddles!


CrimeHQ's The Dark Tower Reread


[Riddle me this...]

Tue
Jan 3 2017 12:00pm

The Dark Tower: The Waste Lands, Part VI

Last week, we snaked our way through the underbelly of the city of Lud. This week, we meet Blaine the Mono and find out why Blaine is such a pain

Thank you for joining me on a journey of Stephen King’s The Waste Lands (1991), the 3rd book in The Dark Tower series. We just finished our journey across the beach in The Drawing of the Three, drawing Eddie and Susannah Dean into Roland's world and ending the pitiful life of Jack Mort. Eddie is off heroin, and Susannah's previously split mind has merged into one—but Roland Deschain is troubled. It seems by killing Jack Mort and allowing Jake Chambers to live, he has created a paradox ... and it's tearing his mind apart. What's next for this new ka-tet? Will Roland be able to rectify this butterfly effect? Join us as we make our way into The Waste Lands!

 *Remember: While this is a reread, please avoid spoilers in the comments. The point is to get there together!

This book's chapters set up nicely, so the plan is to read a chapter a week (about 100 pages) and meet here at our usual time (Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET) to discuss major themes, motifs, and reactions. Make sure to bookmark the HQ page for the schedule and links to all of the chapter discussions as they go live! This week, we meet Blaine the Mono and find out why Blaine is such a pain as he speeds our gunslingers out of the horrifying city of Lud. Join us in the comments for a discussion of Part VI of The Waste Lands: BOOK TWO LUD: A HEAP OF BROKEN IMAGES, Chapter VI: “Riddle and Waste Lands”!


CrimeHQ's The Dark Tower Reread


[Riddle me this...]

Mon
Jan 2 2017 12:00pm

Review: The Hollow Men by Rob McCarthy

The Hollow Men by Rob McCarthy follows police surgeon Harry Kent, who's determined to help those the world would rather brush aside, in a smart and electrifying new crime series that evokes the often-hidden medical world of the London Metropolitan Police.

Dr. Harry Kent has been performing low-risk functions such as psychological assessments for the London Metropolitan Police that have kept him far from harm’s way—up until now. Called in because the police are shorthanded, he finds himself being given a Kevlar vest and asked to walk past a perimeter of snipers to negotiate with Solomon Idris, who has taken eight people hostage at a fast food restaurant. He's understandably nervous as he makes a mental comparison with his combat past.

[Read David Cranmer's review of The Hollow Men...]

Wed
Dec 28 2016 1:00pm

Review: Purity in Death by J.D. Robb

To celebrate the upcoming release of J.D. Robb's 44th Eve Dallas mystery, Echoes in Death, we're taking a look back at every single book in the In Death series. Today, David Cranmer reviews #15, Purity in Death.

Lieutenant Eve Dallas of Cop Central is preparing to attend an evening soirée with her husband, Roarke, who’s rich enough “to buy a couple of continents.” But she is relieved of the snooty affair when she’s notified that one of her men, off-duty Officer Troy Trueheart, has shot and killed a man named Louis K. Cogburn. Screaming about the spikes in his head, Cogburn took a baseball bat to his neighbor Ralph Wooster, beat him to death, and then went swinging after Wooster’s girlfriend, Suzanne. By the time Eve and her assistant Peabody arrive at the apartment building, they discover:

Two men lay sprawled in the corridor, one of them facedown in a pool of congealing blood. 

The other was faceup, staring with some surprise at the ceiling. Through an open doorway beside the bodies she could hear the sounds of weeping and groaning. 

The door across was also open. She noted several fresh holes and dents in the hallway walls, splinters of wallboard, splatters of blood. And what had once been a baseball bat was now a broken club, covered with blood and brain matter.

[Read David Cranmer's review of Purity in Death...]

Tue
Dec 20 2016 12:00pm

The Dark Tower: The Waste Lands, Part V

Last week, we learned a bit more about Mid-World and the future for our ka-tet. This week, ramp the action back up as we travel into the city of Lud and meet the Pubes and the Grays

Thank you for joining me on a journey of Stephen King’s The Waste Lands (1991), the 3rd book in The Dark Tower series. We just finished our journey across the beach in The Drawing of the Three, drawing Eddie and Susannah Dean into Roland's world and ending the pitiful life of Jack Mort. Eddie is off heroin, and Susannah's previously split mind has merged into one—but Roland Deschain is troubled. It seems by killing Jack Mort and allowing Jake Chambers to live, he has created a paradox ... and it's tearing his mind apart. What's next for this new ka-tet? Will Roland be able to rectify this butterfly effect? Join us as we make our way into The Waste Lands!

 *Remember: While this is a reread, please avoid spoilers in the comments. The point is to get there together!

This book's chapters set up nicely, so the plan is to read a chapter a week (about 100 pages) and meet here at our usual time (Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET) to discuss major themes, motifs, and reactions. Make sure to bookmark the HQ page for the schedule and links to all of the chapter discussions as they go live! This week, we get an action-packed chase as we snake our way through the city of Lud. Join us in the comments for a discussion of Part V of The Waste Lands: BOOK TWO LUD: A HEAP OF BROKEN IMAGES, Chapter V: “Bridge and City”!


CrimeHQ's The Dark Tower Reread


[Riddle me this...]

Tue
Dec 13 2016 12:00pm

The Dark Tower: The Waste Lands, Part IV

Last week, Jake Chambers returned to Roland's world in an incredibly tense scene featuring a monster haunted house. This week, we slow down a bit to learn more of Mid-World and the future for this newly formed ka-tet

Thank you for joining me on a journey of Stephen King’s The Waste Lands (1991), the 3rd book in The Dark Tower series. We just finished our journey across the beach in The Drawing of the Three, drawing Eddie and Susannah Dean into Roland's world and ending the pitiful life of Jack Mort. Eddie is off heroin, and Susannah's previously split mind has merged into one—but Roland Deschain is troubled. It seems by killing Jack Mort and allowing Jake Chambers to live, he has created a paradox ... and it's tearing his mind apart. What's next for this new ka-tet? Will Roland be able to rectify this butterfly effect? Join us as we make our way into The Waste Lands!

 *Remember: While this is a reread, please avoid spoilers in the comments. The point is to get there together!

This book's chapters set up nicely, so the plan is to read a chapter a week (about 100 pages) and meet here at our usual time (Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET) to discuss major themes, motifs, and reactions. Make sure to bookmark the HQ page for the schedule and links to all of the chapter discussions as they go live! This week, we meet an incredibly adorable billy-bumbler named Oy and learn more of Mid-World and our newly formed ka-tet. Join us in the comments for a discussion of Part IV of The Waste Lands: BOOK TWO LUD: A HEAP OF BROKEN IMAGES, Chapter IV: “Town and Ka-Tet”!


CrimeHQ's The Dark Tower Reread


[Oy!]

Tue
Dec 6 2016 2:00pm

Review: Plaid and Plagiarism by Molly MacRae

Plaid and Plagiarism by Molly MacRae is the 1st book in the Highland Bookshop Mystery series, where a murder in a garden turns the four new owners of Yon Bonnie Books into amateur detectives.

In Inversgail, Scotland, Janet Marsh and Christine Robertson own a bookshop called Yon Bonnie Books along with Janet’s thirty-eight-year-old daughter, Tallie, and Tallie’s former college roommate, Summer Jacobs. Janet is divorced—after her husband “the rat” cheated on her—and Christine is a widower. Janet is slower to act, while Christine is a bit more impetuous, though both women have a curious nature that balances their friendship nicely.

Their inquisitiveness comes in handy when both become suspicious as to why estate agent Jess Bailee, who is handling the renting of Janet’s house, has been dodging her. Janet is anxious to move back into her old digs where she spent many happy years with her husband and children. Janet and Christine stop by the house to find it vandalized, with Jess cowering inside, overwhelmed to the point of tears in cleaning it up.

[Read David Cranmer's review of Plaid and Plagiarism...]

Tue
Dec 6 2016 12:00pm

The Dark Tower: The Waste Lands, Part III

Last week, Jake struggled mightily with the duality of his existence and the “doubling” of his mind. This week, Jake Chambers returns to Roland's world in an incredibly tense scene featuring a monster haunted house

Thank you for joining me on a journey of Stephen King’s The Waste Lands (1991), the 3rd book in The Dark Tower series. We just finished our journey across the beach in The Drawing of the Three, drawing Eddie and Susannah Dean into Roland's world and ending the pitiful life of Jack Mort. Eddie is off heroin, and Susannah's previously split mind has merged into one—but Roland Deschain is troubled. It seems by killing Jack Mort and allowing Jake Chambers to live, he has created a paradox ... and it's tearing his mind apart. What's next for this new ka-tet? Will Roland be able to rectify this butterfly effect? Join us as we make our way into The Waste Lands!

 *Remember: While this is a reread, please avoid spoilers in the comments. The point is to get there together!

This book's chapters set up nicely, so the plan is to read a chapter a week (about 100 pages) and meet here at our usual time (Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET) to discuss major themes, motifs, and reactions. Make sure to bookmark the HQ page for the schedule and links to all of the chapter discussions as they go live! This week, Jake Chambers returns to Roland's world in an incredibly tense drawing through a living monster of a haunted house! Whew! I'm still on the edge of my seat. Join us in the comments for a lively discussion of Part III of The Waste Lands: BOOK ONE JAKE: FEAR IN A HANDFUL OF DUST, Chapter III: “Door and Demon”!


CrimeHQ's The Dark Tower Reread


[What a chapter!]

Mon
Dec 5 2016 5:00pm

Westworld Season Finale, 1.10: “The Bicameral Mind” Episode Review

The Westworld creators have certainly kept their cards close to their vests, keeping us guessing for most of the season while adding plenty of teaser tidbits along the way that, when all put in place, cause you look back and say, “Oh yeah, that makes sense.” It was all right in front of us the entire time, just like Dolores’s (Evan Rachel Wood) answer in her own search (Did you find what you were looking for?).

The use of flashbacks serves as a critical tool for the show, and the entire season is basically three-quarters backstory with one-quarter “present” thrown in. But it’s not until the man in black (Ed Harris) reveals himself as William that this aspect becomes clear, and we realize that everything we watched of William (Jimmi Simpson), Logan (Ben Barnes), and Dolores was all in the past … some thirty-five years ago (according to Ford’s account). I was wondering, in the moment, how the man in black knew so well the story of William as he was retelling it to Dolores.

[From white hat to black...]

Fri
Dec 2 2016 3:00pm

Review: The Knife Slipped by Erle Stanley Gardner

The Knife Slipped by Erle Stanley Gardner was meant to be the 2nd book in the Cool & Lam Mystery series but was shelved and subsequently lost for 75 years until Hard Case Crime got their hands on it (Available December 6, 2016).

Outside the mystery and detective community, the name Erle Stanley Gardner (1889-1966) is receding into the past. Many that I asked—in my most unscientific of polls—had no idea who he was. On the flip side, however, almost 100% surveyed knew, or at least had heard of, the name Perry Mason—one of Gardner’s most famous creations. Absolutely none outside the genre’s bubble had ever heard of the Cool and Lam series that Gardner wrote under the pseudonym A.A. Fair. 

Now, here’s my confession: I’ve read plenty of Perry Mason but not one Cool and Lam book—until the latest Hard Case Crime landed in my hands. I knew the series was, at one point, hip enough for Frank Sinatra to play the part of Donald Lam on radio’s U.S. Steel Hour of Mystery, but that bit of knowledge was the closest I’d gotten to the duo.

[Read David Cranmer's review of The Knife Slipped...]

Tue
Nov 29 2016 12:00pm

The Dark Tower: The Waste Lands, Part II

Last week, we began The Waste Lands with a towering 70-foot cyborg bear! This week, Jake Chambers returns, struggling with the duality of having died and longing to return to Roland's world

Thank you for joining me on a journey of Stephen King’s The Waste Lands (1991), the 3rd book in The Dark Tower series. We just finished our journey across the beach in The Drawing of the Three, drawing Eddie and Susannah Dean into Roland's world and ending the pitiful life of Jack Mort. Eddie is off heroin, and Susannah's previously split mind has merged into one—but Roland Deschain is troubled. It seems by killing Jack Mort and allowing Jake Chambers to live, he has created a paradox ... and it's tearing his mind apart. What's next for this new ka-tet? Will Roland be able to rectify this butterfly effect? Join us as we make our way into The Waste Lands!

 *Remember: While this is a reread, please avoid spoilers in the comments. The point is to get there together!

This book's chapters set up nicely, so the plan is to read a chapter a week (about 100 pages) and meet here at our usual time (Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET) to discuss major themes, motifs, and reactions. Make sure to bookmark the HQ page for the schedule and links to all of the chapter discussions as they go live! This week, Jake Chambers returns! Will he make it back to Roland and the group? Join us in the comments for a lively discussion of Part II of The Waste Lands: BOOK ONE JAKE: FEAR IN A HANDFUL OF DUST, Chapter II: “Key and Rose”!


CrimeHQ's The Dark Tower Reread


[There are other worlds than this!]

Mon
Nov 28 2016 5:00pm

Westworld 1.09: “The Well-Tempered Clavier” Episode Review

Lines are starting to intersect with lots of gut-wrenching carnage as we race to the show’s finish, and three big reveals came out of this week’s episode.

Maeve (Thandie Newton) is once again in the behavior unit for a disturbance, but this time she’s being seen by Bernard (Jeffrey Wright). She recognizes something within him and reaches out for his help, saying they are stronger and smarter than the humans. “We don’t have to live this way.” Though he’s spinning from her commentary, he releases her back into the park. Looks like she may have access to an even bigger insider from the behavior unit.

But first, she wants to find and enlist Hector (Rodrigo Santoro) in getting out of the park. So, back in the game she goes. When she confronts Hector with what his immediate future holds—the ending he’s been given—she offers an alternative. She wants him to break into hell with her and rob the gods blind.

[I wonder if her safe will turn up empty as well...]

Wed
Nov 23 2016 1:00pm

A Jack London Adventure: The Cruise of The Snark Part II

Read Part I first!

Departing Hawaii on October 7, 1907, after what can only be considered a disaster first leg of the journey, The Snark headed toward the Marquesas Islands, located two thousand miles southeast. A course challenging enough due to contrary trade winds made even more difficult with a broken engine. When the crew of The Snark failed to report in on schedule, The New York Times front page read:

SAN FRANCISCO, Cal., Jan. 9. — Friends of Jack London, the author, are beginning to feel alarmed over his failure to arrive at the Marquesas Islands, which he was expected to reach early in December. London left Hilo, Hawaii, Oct. 7 last in his little boat, the Snark, for Marquesas, and is about a month overdue.

But, as planned—and defying odds—they had arrived sixty long days later at the bay of Taiohae, fulfilling a lifelong dream of London’s, who, as a child, had been fascinated with the book Typee (1846) by Herman Melville. Yet, what he found was far less romantic than the picturesque beauty of Melville’s account; the people withered by ailments such as consumption and leprosy, the grounds depleted, and landmarks overgrown. London pointed a sharp finger at the culprits. 

[Read more of Jack London's adventures!]

Tue
Nov 22 2016 2:00pm

A Jack London Adventure: The Cruise of The Snark Part I

The idea for high adventure came to Jack London (1876-1916) and his wife, Charmian, almost as a lark while swimming in their pool in Glen Ellen, California—but it wasn’t a hard sell. He had been batting the idea around in his head for the better part of a decade, and, as an adrenaline junkie by today’s standards, coupled with his love for the sea, the notion proved too irresistible for London. So, the pair found they had talked themselves into a quest, a journey by a ketch around the world, and serious preparations began almost immediately. 

Christened as The Snark (after Lewis Carroll’s poem “The Hunting of the Snark”), the 45-foot-long boat was custom built to be state-of-the-art, enabling London to work on his various writing projects while at sea. It would be powered by wind on the open waters, while a motor would propel them through exotic ports of call. They enlisted a full-time cook to prepare their meals from a well-stocked pantry. Then, to complete the crew—as well as to seek a bit of publicity in the process—London put out the word that he was taking applications for the voyage.

[Sign me up...]

Tue
Nov 22 2016 12:00pm

The Dark Tower: The Waste Lands, Part I

Last week, we finished up The Drawing of the Three in dramatic fashion! This week, our ka-tet leaves the beach and continues their journey into Out World with the beginning of Book III of The Dark Tower series: The Waste Lands

Thank you for joining me on a journey of Stephen King’s The Waste Lands (1991), the 3rd book in The Dark Tower series. We just finished our journey across the beach in The Drawing of the Three, drawing Eddie and Susannah Dean into Roland's world and ending the pitiful life of Jack Mort. Eddie is off heroin, and Susannah's previously split mind has merged into one—but Roland Deschain is troubled. It seems by killing Jack Mort and allowing Jake Chambers to live, he has created a paradox ... and it's tearing his mind apart. What's next for this new ka-tet? Will Roland be able to rectify this butterfly effect? Join us as we make our way into The Waste Lands!

 *Remember: While this is a reread, please avoid spoilers in the comments. The point is to get there together!

This book's chapters set up nicely, so the plan is to read a chapter a week (about 100 pages) and meet here at our usual time (Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET) to discuss major themes, motifs, and reactions. Make sure to bookmark the HQ page for the schedule and links to all of the chapter discussions as they go live! This week, we begin our journey into Out World with the start of The Waste Lands. Join us in the comments for a lively discussion of Part I of The Waste Lands: BOOK ONE JAKE: FEAR IN A HANDFUL OF DUST, Chapter I: “Bear and Bone”!


CrimeHQ's The Dark Tower Reread


[Who's ready to leave this damn beach?]

Mon
Nov 21 2016 5:00pm

Westworld 1.08: “Trace Decay” Episode Review

Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) discovering he’s not flesh and bone last week may not have been a shocker for me, but it was a twist that opened some new avenues for the ongoing conversation of sentience and the dividing line between robot and human. After Ford (Anthony Hopkins) thanks Bernard for taking care of the Theresa (Sidse Babett Knudsen) problem, Bernard enquires about the difference between the two of them if a robot can also experience the pain of real-life situations. Ford says there is no threshold—humans are not far from robots, as they are just as content to be in their loops, waiting for instructions.

Before having the painful memory of murdering someone he cared for erased, Bernard asks if Ford has ever directed him to kill before. Flash to Elsie (Shannon Woodward) just as she’s being grabbed from behind, and yes, there’s Bernard. But Ford lies to him, denying any previous death commands, adding that it's best not to dwell on troubling thoughts lest he loses it like some hosts have in the past.

Maeve (Thandie Newton) continues to be a strong point in the show. She figures out she will need an “army” of allies to get out of the park, so she once again enlists Lutz (Leonardo Nam) and Sylvester (Ptolemy Slocum) to help by taking her up to the behavior unit for more modifications. Sylvester tells Lutz in private that they can get out of their predicament if Lutz wipes her memory clean.

[That might be easier said than done at this point...]

Fri
Nov 18 2016 1:00pm

Review: Sinner Man by Lawrence Block

Sinner Man by Lawrence Block is the legend's first ever crime novel—lost for over 50 years but now available from Hard Case Crime!

Whenever I get a new Lawrence Block novel from Hard Case Crime, I pour a Sam Adams and set two plus hours aside because I’m aware from experience that the read will be a careening roller coaster ride to the climax. His latest pulp fiction blast, Sinner Man—as you can imagine—was no exception and has some interesting backstory: it’s Mr. Block’s first ever crime novel, and it was “lost” for almost half a century until the author asked his loyal fan base if anyone happened to have a copy. Lucky for us, the answer was yes. Thanks to Facebook (the social networking site does serve a useful function after all), we now get to rediscover Lawrence Block the younger, already possessing his bag of gritty tough prose.

No response. I noted the trickle of blood from her temple, the angle of her head where it met the surround of the fieldstone fireplace.

I stood there, waiting for someone to run the film backward, waiting for her to rise up from the carpet, waiting for my hand to draw back from her face, to delete the blow that had sent her stumbling and falling and cracking her head on the stone with a sound that still echoed through the room. 

Waiting for the past five minutes to erase themselves.

[Read David Cranmer's review of Sinner Man...]