<i>Onslaught</i>: New Excerpt Onslaught: New Excerpt David Poyer The 16th book in the Dan Lenson series. <i>Trigger Yappy</i>: New Excerpt Trigger Yappy: New Excerpt Diana Orgain The 2nd book in the Roundup Crew series. Review: <i>The Knife Slipped</i> by Erle Stanley Gardner Review: The Knife Slipped by Erle Stanley Gardner David Cranmer Read David Cranmer's review! Review: <i>In Sunlight or In Shadow</i>, Edited by Lawrence Block Review: In Sunlight or In Shadow, Edited by Lawrence Block Thomas Pluck Read Thomas Pluck's review!
From The Blog
December 2, 2016
A Divided Spy Writing Contest
Crime HQ
December 2, 2016
5 Current Crime Comics You Should Be Reading
Dave Richards
December 1, 2016
The 1830 True Murder Behind Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart"
Kristen Houghton
November 30, 2016
Page to Screen: Comics I’d Love to See on My TV—Saga
Angie Barry
November 30, 2016
Introducing Peter James TV!
Peter James
Showing posts by: Angie Barry click to see Angie Barry's profile
Nov 30 2016 4:15pm

Page to Screen: Comics I’d Love to See on My TV—Saga

The Series: Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.
The Heroes: Alana and Marko—once enemy combatants in an intergalactic war, now married and on the run from both of their governments—and a ragtag bunch of allies.
The Ideal Format: A live-action fantasy epic with extensive animatronics, CGI, and sweet alien makeup.

Star-crossed lovers aren't a new thing.

The trope has been a staple of fiction since long before Shakespeare penned Romeo and Juliet (to the frustration of high school students as-yet-unborn).

Star-crossed lovers in space is pretty new, though. In the case of Saga, the lovers are—at times—even literally star crossed.

When we first meet Alana—a lady with fairy wings growing out of her back—and Marko—a handsome guy with curved ram's horns—the couple are on the run with significant bounties on their heads. Seems they've broken one of the cardinal rules of their galaxy: rather than blindly hate or kill each other, they've fallen in love.

[All ya need is love, doot da doo do doo...]

Nov 18 2016 3:00pm

Passionate About Pulp: Revisiting The Phantom (1996)

THE SUBGENRE: Comic adaptation/supernatural adventure.
THE HERO: Kit Walker, aka jungle hero The Phantom.
THE VILLAIN: Megalomaniac businessman Xander Drax.
THE SETTING: 1939 NYC and the jungles of the fictional country “Bengalla.”

Twenty generations ago, a young cabin boy witnessed the slaughter of his ship's entire crew—including his father—by merciless pirates known as the Singh Brotherhood. 

Taken in by a native tribe, the boy vowed vengeance and assumed the crime-fighting mantle of The Phantom, a title and mission that are passed down from father to son until “piracy, greed, cruelty, and injustice” are finally defeated. 

Due to this unbroken chain of similarly-uniformed heroes, folks begin to believe the Phantom is immortal and call him “The Ghost Who Walks.” In actuality, the Phantom has no magical powers; he's just an awesome fighter, great with guns, and has an awesome ring and a pet wolf called Devil.

That's still pretty sweet in terms of superhero accoutrements. I want a pet wolf called Devil. 

[Who doesn't?]

Oct 31 2016 3:30pm

The Adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe: The Good, the Bad, and the Appalling

Poor Edgar. 

While he enjoyed a modicum of critical success in his lifetime, he died at the age of forty, penniless and under mysterious, still unsolved circumstances. He was orphaned at an early age, clashed frequently with his foster father, lost his young wife to tuberculosis, and his reputation was almost completely destroyed by his archrival, who somehow managed to become Poe's literary executor and launched a smear campaign that lingers to this day.

Talk about a tragic, depressing life. No wonder the guy was obsessed with death, loss, and madness. 

In the 150+ years since his death, it's a shame that many adaptations of his stories have been so schlocky. Why is it so hard to do an atmospheric, genuinely thrilling Poe adapt? The man's widely considered the foremost American voice in Romanticism and the inventor of detective fiction for crying out loud.

I think we need to make Guillermo del Toro put down the twelve other projects he's always carrying around and do a big budget Fall of the House of Usher or something. He's the only guy I'd trust at this point.

If you're a fan of Poe, there are plenty of films—and a handful of TV shows—to choose from. Here's just a handful of the most notable:

[See what Poe adapts made the cut...]

Oct 28 2016 3:30pm

Page to Screen: Comics I’d Love to See on My TV—The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl

The Series: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North (of Dinosaur Comics fame!) and Erica Henderson.
The Heroes: The titular heroine, aka Doreen Green, and several friends with similarly rhyming names and animal-based powers (like Chipmunk Hunk and Koi Boi).
The Ideal Format: A live-action half-hour comedy series—think Marvel's answer to Brooklyn Nine-Nine

She may not be as intimidating as Thor. She's not a snarky billionaire like Iron Man. She's not as noble or as inspiring as Captain America.

So? None of that changes the fact that Squirrel Girl is a legit hero in her own right, despite her goofy name and silly powers. 

What, exactly, are SG's powers?

[Learn more about The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl!]

Oct 28 2016 1:00pm

Bruce Campbell: King of B-Movies

You may know him as “that guy with the chainsaw for a hand,” or “the aging Elvis who fights a mummy in a retirement home,” or “the hammy actor with a killer chin.”

Or maybe you don't know him at all.

Bruce Campbell may not be a household name—well, he is in my house, but then, B-movies are a way of life in the Barry family. So, mostly he's not a household name. 

Which is a shame. Because he should be. 

[Hail to the king, baby...]

Oct 27 2016 4:15pm

The Horror Hostess with the Mostest: Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

Before Joel, Mike, and the Bots mocked B-movies for Mystery Science Theater...

Before Cinematic Titanic and Rifftrax...

There was the bodacious, curvaceous, outrageous Elvira.

The alter ego of Cassandra Peterson, Elvira sprang onto the scene in the early 80s, hosting late night horror flicks for a Los Angeles-based television network. It wasn't long before she busted—hold on to your butts; that won't be my last terrible pun, I promise—onto the national scene, her signature cleavage-baring dress and snarky, innuendo-laced commentary catching on with the public in a big, bosomy way.

[Read more about Elvira!]

Oct 26 2016 10:00am

Review: Dracula vs. Hitler by Patrick Sheane Duncan

Dracula vs. Hitler by Patrick Sheane Duncan is a thrilling action adventure featuring one of the world's greatest fictional monsters facing off against an historical monster in 1941 Romania. 

In the spring of 1941, Hitler's war machine is moving steadily across Europe, crushing any resistance it encounters beneath its fascist boots. Countries fall like dominos beneath the awesome might and horrific violence of the Nazi party. 

Then, the Germans reach Romania, the adopted homeland of one Dr. Abraham Van Helsing...

It has, of course, been decades since the doctor's infamous battle against the greatest evil the world had ever known—the greatest evil prior to Hitler's ascent, that is. Now an old man, Van Helsing recognizes the warning signs and knows that Hitler and his cruel, barbaric forces must be stopped. Sadly, they will not be stopped by the small (if hardy) guerrilla rebels he and his wild daughter Lucy lead.

[Read Angie Barry's review of Dracula vs. Hitler...]

Oct 24 2016 12:00pm

Beauty & the B-Movie: Loving a Hated Genre

What is a B-movie?

Some—dismissive and so-called “highbrow” critics—say B-movies are irredeemable dreck. A waste of celluloid, money, and precious time. Films that scraped the bottom of the barrel and shouldn't have bothered.

A part of me pities these detractors. Such attitudes strike me as very narrow, dour, and joyless. Such folks probably deny themselves all sorts of cheap, simple pleasures and can't be much fun at parties.

As an ardent horror and adventure fan—and a lover of zombie flicks in particular—I'm often put into a position where I have to defend B-movies.

Think you know zombie films? Take our quiz and find out! Angie got 9/10—see if you can best the best!

[With a lawnmower? Or possibly a chainsaw hand!?]

Oct 21 2016 2:30pm

7 Books to Read If You Love The Walking Dead

It's no surprise that The Walking Dead remains one of the most popular series on TV.

After all, it combines the best qualities of zombie fiction into a single package: an unsettling and plausible post-apocalyptic setting; badass survivors to love and root for; intimidating villains; and some of the goriest action, scariest moments, and most disgusting monsters ever seen on cable. 

When you only get an episode a week, however, and have to suffer through weeks/months of hiatuses in between seasons, there's plenty of time to crave more zompocalypse goodness. 

Make sure to check back each Monday for CrimeHQ's unique coverage of Season 7 of The Walking Dead!

To that end, here's an Angie Approved (TM) List of Must Read Novels that will help scratch that undead, End of Times itch...

[See what you'll be reading next!]

Oct 14 2016 12:00pm

7 Books to Read If You Loved The Others

As the days get shorter and an autumn chill finally rolls in, nothing quite hits the spot like some ghostly, gothic fiction. October is a time for witches, spooks, and all things macabre.

If you're like me, you line up a full 31 days worth of horror films, stock the bedside table with spooky novels, and wish you had a dramatic robe to wear as you stalk the somber halls of a cobwebby mansion ringing with tortured echoes...

Ahem. As I was saying: it's not hard to find a good movie this time of year, what with every station devoting the entire month to a line-up of horror. A bit harder to find is a really solid chiller, the sort of book that'll keep you up long past the witching hour.

So allow me to recommend just a handful of my favorites, a few books right up there with The Others in terms of atmosphere and unsettling themes...

[See what you'll be reading this month!]

Sep 30 2016 2:30pm

Page to Screen: Comics I’d Love to See on My TV—Pretty Deadly

The Series: Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Ríos.
The Heroes: A rag-tag group of sinners and mystical beings.
The Ideal Format: Live-action blended with CGI wizardry, prosthetics, or even animatronics and puppetry.

Once in a blue moon, something comes along that truly revolutionizes a genre. A story appears that challenges expectations and melds established tropes into something brand new and breathtaking.

I'm not being hyperbolic when I say Pretty Deadly is just such a story. It’s one of the greatest comics of the last ten years. Equal parts Western, mythic fairy tale, and supernatural adventure, it's something you just have to see to believe—and it would make one hell of a television series.

[Get the Network on the phone, stat!]

Sep 23 2016 2:00pm

Passionate About Pulp: Revisiting Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

THE SUBGENRE: Cartoon noir.
THE HERO(ES): Private eye Eddie Valiant and the eponymous Toon.
THE VILLAIN: The mad Judge Doom.
THE LOVE INTEREST(S): Loyal “Girl Friday” Dolores and femme fatale Jessica.
THE SETTING: An alternate 1940's Hollywood.

1947, Hollywood. It's a familiar setting to any fan of noir.

This Hollywood, however, is different in one very significant way: there's a strange neighborhood on its fringe called Toontown. It's a Technicolor dream world with inhabitants that are downright animated...

Private eye Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) has a chip on his shoulder the size of Gibraltar when it comes to Toons: those brightly-colored, two-dimensional characters that routinely smash through walls, break plates over their heads, and burst into frequent song and dance numbers—anything to make people laugh. 

[Don't hit me! I'll hit me! Cause I'm craaaazzzyyyy...]

Sep 21 2016 12:00pm

Page to Screen—Rebecca: du Maurier vs. Hitchcock

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again...”

It's a haunting opening to a gothic romance often mentioned in the same breath as Jane Eyre; natural, given both stories follow young, inexperienced women falling in love with remote, brooding, dangerous men. 

But while Jane had an inner core of adamantium to guide her, the heroine of Rebecca is far more vulnerable and adrift. 

Our narrator, barely twenty-one, finds herself in the orbit of the wealthy and mysterious widower, Maxim de Winter—a much older English aristocrat. Following a whirlwind romance in Monte Carlo, the two marry. 

This second Mrs. de Winter is deeply in love with her distant husband and assumes her situation will only improve—she no longer has to work as a companion for a tiresome old woman now that she's the mistress of Manderley, Maxim's sprawling English estate. They will go back to England and settle into a comfortable life together.

[But wait, there's more!]

Sep 8 2016 12:30pm

Review: The Shattered Tree by Charles Todd

The Shattered Tree by Charles Todd is the 8th Bess Crawford Mystery that sees the Great War nearing an end, but not without plenty of murder, mystery, and mayhem in its final throes.   

He crawled as far as the shattered tree and lay there, faint from the effort. But he knew he had to keep moving. When he stopped, when the sweat dried on his skin, he'd begin to shiver again, wracking his body until his teeth chattered. There wasn't enough left of his uniform to keep him warm, and his captors, God help them, had taken his boots. Good English leather. He'd stolen them himself from a corpse.

He grimaced, afraid to look at his torn feet. He'd lost too much blood from his other wounds. The one in his leg had mercifully stopped bleeding, and the cut in his hairline had clotted over, but the damage had been done. He was light-headed from lack of food, finding it hard to concentrate. A crow couldn't find enough to eat in this countryside after four years of war. He'd be dead soon if he didn't reach his own lines.

To his left the firing was heavy. Rifles and machine guns. An assault under way. But in which direction? He could see the flashes, but they told him nothing. Which way...?

In the final days of the Great War—October 1918, to be precise—Bess Crawford, a nursing Sister on the front lines, helps save the life of an unusual man. His feet are horribly lacerated from walking miles without boots and his French uniform is in tatters, but when he shouts out in pain, it isn't French he's speaking: it's German. Fluent German, in fact.

[Read Angie Barry's review of The Shattered Tree...]

Sep 2 2016 2:00pm

Review: Curioddity by Paul Jenkins

Curioddity by Paul Jenkins is a quirky, fast-paced debut novel that is as peculiar as it is fun to read (Available August 30, 2016).

Wil felt so desperately, desperately tired. ...He had been metaphorically shot at, spat on, shut in, and spat out since the moment he'd left for work, and the thought of enduring any more of this particular Monday was more than any man had any obligation to bear. He'd been hired by a man dressed like a cartoon to find a box full of a substance that seemed as likely to exist as a good Canadian table wine; he had visited a museum full of space junk on a street that didn't exist, been yelled at in body language, and, worst of all, he'd ordered a large cup of coffee by describing it as “oversized.” 

...At this point in his day, Wil formally and officially surrendered.

Wil Morgan is a private eye.

Wait—I know what you're thinking. You're probably picturing a fedora, a weathered trench goat, a gun holster under the arm, and a smoky, chiaroscuro office where empty whisky bottles litter the desk. 

Wil, however, is pretty much the complete inverse of the stereotypical gumshoe. He's never touched a gun. Femme fatales aren't coming to him half-clothed and in tears. No one is exchanging bullets or quips with him down dark, dangerous alleys. 

[Read Angie Barry's review of Curioddity...]

Aug 26 2016 1:30pm

Page to Screen: Comics I’d Love to See on My TV—Mouse Guard

The Series: Mouse Guard by David Petersen.
The Heroes: Warrior mice who patrol to keep their fellow rodents safe from predators.
The Ideal Format: An animated series—hand-drawn, not CGI, to better emulate Petersen's original designs.

The natural world has always been a brutal place. “Red in tooth and claw,” as the poets say. Plenty of capable, healthy, smart humans die while enjoying the outdoors every year.

Imagine how much harder it is to survive when you're only a couple inches tall and have very little in the way of either teeth or claws. When just about everything around you would like nothing more than to swallow you whole. 

Life is never easy on the lowest link of the food chain, and it's hard to imagine a creature more helpless than a mouse. 

[Read more about Mouse Guard...]

Aug 25 2016 12:30pm

Waking the Dead and Baking Pies with Pushing Daisies

In the lovely little town of Coeur de Coeur...

The word “necromancer” brings to mind a very specific image: black robes, black nails, black teeth, maybe some ravens and unlucky black cats, dribbly candles (black, of course), and ebon shadows (continuing in the black-ish theme).

Heavy on the grim, dark, and evil, basically.

There was a very unusual restaurant run by a very unusual baker...

So when Ned the Piemaker appears onscreen in “Pie-lette”—the only thing black about him being his fitted t-shirt—that preconception is pretty much dashed to bits.

Because gangly, awkward, handsome Ned (played by the ever-charming and tree-tall Lee Pace, before his was a more recognizable face), with his floofy hair and puppy eyes, his earnest sincerity and his aw-shucks smile, is a necromancer. Albeit, one who'd much rather just bake pies and who raises the dead through a natural fluke rather than in dark magic ceremonies, but a necromancer nonetheless.

[He's actually quite the Necromantic...]

Aug 22 2016 3:00pm

Review: Waking Up Dead by Nigel Williams

Waking Up Dead by Nigel Williams is both a screamingly funny cozy mystery and startlingly strange ghost story asking the question: What would you do if you could bear witness to your own demise? (Available August 23, 2016)

On the morning of Jessica Pearmain's ninety-ninth birthday, her eldest son—George, a retired bank manager aged sixty-five—wakes to some terrible news.

It appears that, at some point in the night, an intruder broke into his Putney home, where several generations of the Pearmain clan have gathered to celebrate their matriarch's momentous milestone, and murdered the birthday girl.

George's wife, Esmerelda, discovers her on the kitchen floor surrounded by blood and broken glass. The house promptly descends into outraged chaos. A chaos that only becomes more confused and strident when Esmerelda rushes upstairs to tell George...

[Read Angie Barry's review of Waking Up Dead...]

Aug 15 2016 1:30pm

Passionate About Pulp: Revisiting The Mummy (1999)

THE SUBGENRE: Supernatural adventure.
THE HEROES (WHO HAPPEN TO BE LOVE INTERESTS): Egyptologist Evelyn Carnahan and French Foreign Legion soldier-turned-convict Rick O'Connell.
THE VILLAIN: Imhotep, high priest and murderous mummy.
THE SETTING: 1920's Egypt.

All her life, Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz) has dreamed of exploring ancient tombs and proving her worth as a serious Egyptologist. But, in the 1920's, a lady has to really fight for recognition, especially when those pesky Bembridge Scholars keep rejecting her applications because she “doesn't have enough experience in the field.”

[The classic “I can't get a job because I don't have experience, but I can't get experience because no one will give me a job”...]

Aug 12 2016 10:00pm

Outcast 1.10 Season Finale: “This Little Light” Episode Review

A freshly-possessed Megan’s (Wrenn Schmidt) musings over her new body—and dead husband—are interrupted by daughter Holly and niece Amber (Madeleine McGraw), who promptly drop their chocolate ice cream and flee screaming.

When Kyle (Patrick Fugit) and Anderson (Philip Glenister) arrive, they find a house of horrors. There's a huge hole smashed in the glass of the back door. Mark’s (David Denman) body is cooling on the bathroom floor. Bloodied handprints mark the walls, the stuffed animals, the closet door... 

That is gonna be one monstrous cleaning bill.

[I couldn't live in that house anymore...]