<i>The Devil's Share</i>: New Excerpt The Devil's Share: New Excerpt Wallace Stroby It's always the easy gigs that end up deadly... FM: <i>One Way or Another</i> by Elizabeth Adler FM: One Way or Another by Elizabeth Adler Doreen Sheridan Even while drowning, she was plotting revenge. FM: <i>Death in Brittany</i> by Jean-Luc Bannalec FM: Death in Brittany by Jean-Luc Bannalec Scott Adlerberg It should be coffee, not a murder investigation, that wakes you up! FM: <i>A Batter of Life and Death</i> by Ellie Alexander FM: A Batter of Life and Death by Ellie Alexander Kerry Hammond Some cakes are to die for...
From The Blog
July 1, 2015
Man Steals Van, Gets Lost and Runs Out of Gas
Teddy Pierson
June 30, 2015
Under the Radar: Push (2009)
Angie Barry
June 29, 2015
Careers: Passion for Execution? Willing to Relocate?
Crime HQ
June 26, 2015
Announcing The M.O.'s "Wishful Thinking" Story!
Crime HQ
June 25, 2015
Man Arrested After Running Naked Through Walmart
Teddy Pierson
Showing posts by: Doreen Sheridan click to see Doreen Sheridan's profile
Wed
Jul 1 2015 12:00pm

Fresh Meat: One Way or Another by Elizabeth Adler

One Way or Another by Elizabeth Adler is a thriller that opens aboard a luxury yacht where a woman is thrown into the ocean in a clear case of attempted murder (available July 7, 2015).

In Elizabeth Adler’s latest thriller, a young woman named Angie is bludgeoned aboard a luxury yacht, thrown overboard, and left for dead in the waters of the Aegean. Marco Polo Mahoney, famed portrait painter, is the only witness from his Turkish seaside cottage. Despite his best efforts to rescue her — or at the very least find her body — she eludes him. Soon, he is unable to get the thought of the drowning girl out of his head. This tests his relationship with London-based Martha Patrons, a multi-talented interior decorator with a lovely, irresponsible aspiring actress of a younger sister, Lucy. Martha is as practical as she is beautiful, and though she is supportive of her lover, she has other issues to deal with, such as the foreign billionaire who has recently started showing a little too much interest in seventeen year-old Lucy. Unfortunately for Martha, Lucy’s fate is set to be intertwined with Angie’s, sucking them all unwitting into a vortex of terror and death.

Hurtling rapidly from one plot twist to the next, One Way Or Another blends the glitz of an international thriller with high Gothic touches. Remarkably, this novel reminded me of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, though there is nary a supernatural element in sight in this globe-trotting tale of murder and vengeance. The villains are monstrous and mysterious, diabolical figures at odds with heroes who stand for normalcy and propriety (despite intermittent moments of weakness.) A sort of Victorian morality permeates the proceedings, with the strong, loving ties between Marco, Martha, and Lucy being the highlight of the book’s interpersonal relationships.

[Don't forget about Angie...]

Wed
Jun 10 2015 4:00pm

Fresh Meat: The Convictions of John Delahunt by Andrew Hughes

The Convictions of John Delahunt by Andrew Hughes is a historical thriller set in 1840s Dublin about a man who slowly begins to betray everything and everyone close to him (available June 15, 2015).

What a fascinating book. It starts out fairly slowly, in your standard “I’m a criminal looking back at my sordid history” fashion, but then unfolds into a mesmerizing, utterly convincing, utterly sympathetic tale of life in Victorian Dublin that serves as a hideous reminder of how desperate day-to-day existence used to be for the average citizen even not so long ago.

Our narrator, John Delahunt, is a somewhat indifferent student at Trinity College Dublin. His life changes when he and a friend, Arthur Stokes, go drinking with several rebellious young undergraduates, whose rowdiness soon attracts the attention of a passing policeman. A fracas ensues, the policeman is permanently deafened… and Delahunt comes to the attention of the Castle, the clandestine governmental security organization that maintains a network of spies and informants throughout the city.

[That's not a list you want to be on...]

Thu
May 28 2015 11:15am

Fresh Meat: The Darkness Rolling by Wim and Meredith Blevins

The Darkness Rolling by Win and Meredith Blevins follows Seaman Yazzie Goldman, returning to Monument Valley after WWII to bodyguard a star in a John Ford western (available June 2, 2015).

World War II has just ended, and Seaman Yazzie Goldman is raring to leave San Diego, where he was enlisted in the Coast Guard for the familiar delights of home in Monument Valley. But I should let the Blevins describe his feelings in these exquisitely written opening paragraphs:

I was itchy. Tingling. My skin felt like foaming surf breaking on sand, and my brain was buzz-busy, just like the soldiers who had decided to stay in San Diego after the war. Possibilities. Worlds of them. I felt them, too.

Women who’d traded their love for gasoline and stockings walked the singing sidewalks. High heels clicked, and the sun raised their red lipstick to a promise. Happy to have their young men back home. High times.

Yazzie is a truly delightful narrator, and it’s a pleasure to follow him from San Diego to a home that he isn’t sure he wants to make permanent any more. Sure, Monument Valley is gorgeous. Sure, it’s where his beloved mother and grandfather live. Sure, it sings to his part-Navajo, part-Jewish heart and soul. But he’s seen a little of the world and now he wants to see more, and he’s no longer sure where he truly belongs.

[It is a big world after all...]

Sun
May 24 2015 12:00pm

Fresh Meat: One Murder More by Kris Calvin

One Murder More by Kris Calvin is the debut mystery in the Maren Kane series about a good-hearted lobbyist from Sacremento caught up in a murder investigation (available June 1, 2015).

When you hear the word “lobbyist”, the image that often first comes to mind is of some slick wheeler-dealer in the halls of power, brokering political deals for the highest bidder. You’d hardly think of a — granted, unwitting — crime-solver who happens to also save lives, but that’s exactly who Kris Calvin presents to us as the protagonist of her debut mystery novel, One Murder More.

Maren Kane is pretty much the antithesis of the kind of cynical influence-peddler we’re familiar with from pop culture: principled and determined to do what she believes to be the right thing; she doesn’t let party lines deter her from getting the job done. Granted, One Murder More doesn’t pretend that all lobbyists are like Maren. We certainly run into several whose actions are as distasteful to Maren as they are to the reader, as well as into examples of other political movers and shakers who decorate the halls of power. In fact, one strength of this novel is the insider look into the workings of state government, particularly in Sacramento. The attention to both detail and history really brings the setting alive, as here, where she’s walking with her brother, Noel:

Maren donned her coat and the siblings crossed L Street, passing through the rose garden behind the large, white-domed building that housed California legislators and their staff since the 1860s. Built in the same Roman style as the congressional building in Washington, DC, though on a smaller scale, the designers of California’s capitol building opted to literally guild the lily, setting a gold cupola atop the white dome and capping that with a large copper ball, nearly three feet in diameter, plated in gold coins. Maren once reflected that while Hollywood might be California’s uncontested modern seat of glamour, Sacramento had set the stage by dressing up its legislative quarters years earlier.

[Murder is just down the hall...]

Sat
May 16 2015 12:00pm

Fresh Meat: Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham

Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham is a Young Adult mystery featuring a 15-year-old girl hot on the trail of a murder (available May 19, 2015).

When I first came across Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham, what really leapt out at me from the description was the comparison to Veronica Mars. I’m not a Veronica Mars superfan by any means (by which I mean that I haven’t the personality to get as obsessive as true Marshmallows, though I really, really enjoyed what I have watched of the series), but that was enough to sell me on this YA novel featuring a sassy, savvy teenage private eye as she accepts a seemingly easy, if emotionally fraught case. A young girl is convinced that her older brother had something to do with the recent suicide of his close friend. Initially sceptical, our titular heroine soon finds herself confronted with hostile peers, mysterious symbols, and suspicious tails who follow her as she travels through the California town of Las Almas, leading to action-packed scenes such as this one, where she tries to shake them on the subway:

By the time the train screeched to a stop, I'd put three cars' worth of space between the pale women and me. The train doors opened. I hopped on. Three cars down, so did they. I hugged the pole just inside the door, fighting the crush of bodies as it tried to push me further inside, ignoring the nasty looks I got for my trouble. The platform cleared. I crouched low and waited for the recorded voice to tell us to stand clear of the closing doors. The voice came. The doors’ hydraulics kicked in. I dove for the platform.

[It's gonna be a close call...]

Wed
May 6 2015 3:30pm

Fresh Meat: Benefit of the Doubt by Neal Griffin

Benefit of the Doubt by Neal Griffin is a debut crime novel about a disgraced big-city cop who learns his tiny hometown is no safe haven from corruption (available May 12, 2015).

This gritty debut novel from a former law-enforcement officer is a hard-hitting look at police corruption in small-town America, laced with an impressive amount of insider information on police work, mentality and culture. Our hero, Ben Sawyer, was a hot-shot Oakland PD sergeant, until a moment of violent madness nearly cost him everything:

[The gangbanger]'s hands came off the [other] cop's gun and went high over his head in a clear display of unconditional surrender. His eyes filled with terror as he looked awkwardly toward the gun that was still poised at the side of his head. His expression said it all. Hector knew [Ben] would not hesitate to kill him.

It could have ended there, and if it had, Ben figured he would have received a commendation for lifesaving. Hell, not only for saving the cop, but he even managed to keep Hector alive. Avoiding an officer-involved shooting always gave the department brass something to brag about. Yep. It could have been a great day for the Sawyer legacy. A hell of a war story for the locker room: how Sawyer almost performed a gangbanger street execution with his forty-cal. But it didn't end there. Sawyer was just getting started.

[Since Ben didn't stop there, neither does the story...]

Thu
Apr 9 2015 12:00pm

Fresh Meat: Medium Dead by Paula Paul

Medium Dead by Paula Paul is the 4th installment in her Victorian-era cozy series about Doctor Alexandra Gladstone (available April 14, 2015).

I'll admit to having never heard of Paula Paul before picking up this charming installment of her Doctor Alexandra Gladstone series. It seems almost impossible to think that I’d never before encountered these tales of a plucky female doctor in Victorian England solving mysteries as she confronts social prejudices, as that kind of thing is squarely in my wheelhouse. Better late than never I suppose!

In this latest book, Alexandra is forced into uncomfortable encounters with nobility, primarily in the form of the spoiled mother of her neighbor and erstwhile suitor, William Forsyth, as the death of a local medium draws attention to secret visitors at William's seat at Montmarsh.

[Who are these mysterious visitors?]

Sun
Feb 15 2015 1:00pm

Fresh Meat: Nobody Walks by Mick Herron

Nobody Walks by Mick Herron is set in the same fictional London as his Slough House series, and now introduces Tom Bettany, an ex-spook with a violent past and only one thing to live for one thing — avenging his son’s death (available February 17, 2015).

The news had come hundreds of miles to sit waiting for days in a mislaid phone. And there it lingered like a moth in a box, weightless, and aching for the light.

So begins Mick Herron’s beautiful, bleak novel of a former spy for the MI5, come home at last to investigate the sudden death of his estranged son. After years of self-imposed exile abroad, Tom Bettany receives a voicemail that compels him to return to a London now alien to him. Grappling with the grief that has come so unexpectedly, he realizes that all is not as it seems with his son’s fatal fall from an apartment balcony. His inquiries soon have him crossing paths with high-tech billionaires and drug-dealing criminals, as well as with the weapons dealers he’d previously betrayed while in the service. And lurking in the background are his watchful former bosses, with their own secret, none-too-benign purposes.

[This will boil over soon enough...]

Wed
Dec 3 2014 4:30pm

Fresh Meat: Bad Machinery Vol. III: The Case of the Simple Soul by John Allison

Bad Machinery Vol. III: The Case of the Simple Soul by John Allison sees the return of the teenage Tackleford gang as they try to solve an arson case (available December 10, 2014).

I greet the publication of every new Bad Machinery collection with a thrill and a silent cheer. No group of sleuthing teens has ever charmed me as much as John Allison’s rival gangs in Tackleford, England have. Alas for our intrepid investigators though, summer term at the start of this third volume finds both groups seriously short-handed, as their respective leaders, Shauna and Jack, have finally made their romantic relationship public. As a result, Shauna and Jack have started spending more time with each other than with their friends, leading to considerable unhappiness in those left behind. In particular, Shauna’s best friend, Charlotte, takes it hard, as she and the other member of the girl’s sleuthing group hang out together:

Mildred: Where is Shauna today?

Charlotte: You know... she's gotta lot on... swimming club... she's... SHE'S BUSY BEING IN LOVE. We had a lot of plans for what we were going to do, too.

Mildred: Don't let love ruin your summer! She'll get bored of kissing, eventually your lips must get worn out.

Charlotte: No. From what I've seen, BLORG, they take breaks to do some intense staring at each other.

Mildred: I'm pretty sure your eyeballs can dry out doing that.

[No one likes a third wheel...]

Sun
Nov 16 2014 11:00pm

Fresh Meat: Want You Dead by Peter James

Want You Dead by Peter James, a Roy Grace novelWant You Dead by Peter James is the 10th police procedural featuring UK Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, this time pursuing a violent stalker who wants to set fire to everything and everyone his ex-girlfriend still cares for (available November 18, 2014).

The tenth installment in this wildly popular British series, following the exploits of Brighton Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, delves into the twisted psyche of a narcissistic firebug. Bryce Laurent stalks and terrorizes his ex-girlfriend, Red Westwood, using all the tools of modern technology he can get his hands on. Want You Dead provides us with a chilling portrait of a sadistic killer, showing us his point of view from the very beginning in passages such as these:

Some things were meant to be. Like he and Red had been meant to be. Taking the binoculars from his eyes, he rocked his head from side to side, fury twisting inside him. Okay, so some bad stuff had got in the way of their relationship, but that was all history now — it was too far gone.

[Too far gone to stop reading now...]

Sat
Sep 20 2014 12:00pm

Fresh Meat: The Haunting Ballad by Michael Nethercott

The Haunting Ballad by Michael Nethercott is the second supernatural mystery featuring the mismatched crime-solving duo of O'Nelligan and Plunkett (available September 30, 2014).

The second book in the O’Nelligan and Plunkett series is another well-crafted meditation on love (this time primarily romantic) and tragedy wrapped in a period murder mystery. Set in 1950s Connecticut and New York, we follow the somewhat hapless private investigator Lee Plunkett as he and his fiancee of three years explore, with varying degrees of interest, the bohemian scene of Greenwich Village. At a club named Mercutio, an uncomfortable Plunkett and a more enthusiastic Audrey, along with two of her friends, watch the act of a handsome young folk singer named Byron Spires:

Then, to seal the deal, he slid into a mournful ballad, which I have to admit was downright haunting. Phrases like the wind that stirred our wounded dreams and she was the girl I should have loved were I not so young and lost seemed to linger after Spires had strummed his last chord. His set finished, he took in the blend of applause and finger-snapping (a modern form of admiration, I was told), muttered a thanks, and sauntered off the stage.

Scanning the crowd, he seemed to take fast notice of our table, stocked as it was with its trio of comely females. My manly presence was seemingly no deterrent, and Byron Spires, guitar slung to his side, made his way to us directly. Three pairs of eyes widened at his approach. Mine—the only non-female set—narrowed behind the twin shields of my spectacles. Right off the bat, I wasn’t sure that I really loved this guy.

[His feelings might be founded...]

Fri
Sep 5 2014 2:00pm

Fresh Meat: The Fuse Vol. 1: The Russia Shift by Antony Johnston and Justin Greenwood

The Fuse Vol. 1: The Russia Shift, written by Antony Johnston and illustrated by Justin Greenwood is a sci-fi procedural graphic novel, featuring two cops forced to patrol an energy platform orbiting Earth (available September 9, 2014).

One of my favorite, if definitely niche, entertainment genres is the sci-fi police procedural. I was saddened by the recent cancellation of the TV show Almost Human—featuring a grouchy cop and his quirky android sidekick, for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure—so I'm extra pleased that a book as good as The Fuse has emerged to fill that void for me.

Set on Midway, a city that orbits 22,000 miles above the surface of the Earth, The Fuse Vol I: The Russia Shift follows a veteran cop, Klem Rystovich, and her fresh from planetside partner, Ralph Dietrich, as they investigate the murders of two “cablers.” Midway’s equivalent of the homeless, cablers choose to abandon society and live on the fringes, within the very skeleton of the orbiting city itself. Originally designed solely as a power station known as The Fuse, Midway was built up around the core generator by a group that included Klem’s cabler friend, Pyotr, whom the detectives run into during the course of their investigations:

Dietrich: Will anyone ever tell me what “FGU” means?

Klem: Don't—

Pyotr: First Guys Up. You didn't know?

Klem: He's fresh. I was gonna string him along a while longer. Go on, tell him.

Pyotr: Thousands of engineers built this place. We all lived up here for six months at a time, doing tours. But only a few hundred of us decided we preferred it up here to down on earth. When the Fuse was finished, everyone else went home. But to us, this was home. We started building. We were the First Guys Up. People like me and Klem built this place. We know every girder, ever rivet, every corridor and exhaust well. Course, most of us didn't figure we'd end up sleeping in them, too.

[There's even more world building!]

Sun
Jul 20 2014 12:00pm

Fresh Meat: Rocket Girl Vol. 1: Times Squared" by Amy Reeder & Brandon Montclare

Rocket Girl Volume 1: Times Square by Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder is a time-traveling comic series where a girl must travel back to 1986 NYC to save the future from an evil corporation (available July 22, 2014).

Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder present us with a neat new twist on time-travel: a teenage cop from the New York City of 2013 travels back in time to 1986 to stop the invention of an engine that will allow a megacorporation to establish its near-totalitarian and wholly criminal grip on the city.

Dayoung Johansson works for the New York Teen Police Department, a body established due to people over the age of 20 no longer being considered trustworthy. When she and her partner, LeShawn O’Patrick, stumble across information proving that Quintum Mechanics has been manipulating the past in order to control the present, she determines to travel to the one point in time that begins Quintum’s domination and stop it in its tracks.

[Sounds simple enough...]

Thu
Jul 10 2014 2:30pm

Fresh Meat: The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang

The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and illustrated by Sonny Liew is a revived  comic series adapted from a 1940s series about the Green Turtle, the first Asian American superhero (available July 14, 2014).

In 1944, an obscure comic book artist named Chu Hing was asked to write and draw an Asian-based cartoon feature for the equally obscure publisher, Rural Home. He created a hero named the Green Turtle, whose exploits would span five whole issues before cancellation. The entire enterprise might have been consigned to a footnote in comic book history, if Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew hadn’t come across the Green Turtle and decided to expand upon what Chu Hing had begun, extrapolating from the Golden Age of comics (and its inherent limitations) to create a fully-fleshed, touching, and incredibly funny superhero comic that, while set in the same mid-century milieu as the original, feels both fresh and timeless.

The story begins in a turbulent China, following the collapse of imperial rule. The four guardian spirits of China—Dragon, Phoenix, Tiger and Tortoise—come to a council to decide the best way to ensure China’s, and their own, survival. While the others argue, Tortoise is silent. The next day, to the dismay of his fellows, Tortoise hops aboard a ship leaving the mainland. There he strikes a deal with a young drunk who, travelling to America, will become Hank Chu’s father and unwittingly bequeath the protection of Tortoise to his American-born son.

[It's a surprisingly smooth ride...]

Thu
Jul 3 2014 3:00pm

Fresh Meat: The Occultist Vol. II: At Death’s Door by Tim Seeley

The Occultist Volume 2: At Death's Door by Tim Seeley is a comic series centered on a young man who wields The Sword, an ancient book of spells that binds itself to him (available July 8, 2014).

The second story arc of the on-going series, The Occultist, veers away from the criminal mayhem of the first volume to explore in more depth the backgrounds of our main characters, as well as the occult responsibilities of our hero, Robert Bailey. Unwittingly earned when he was selected to be the living embodiment of the ancient artifact known as The Sword, these powers allow him to patrol the line between the living and the dead. As this volume opens, Rob and the police officer who knows his secret, Detective Anna Melendez, are investigating the disappearances of local pets and small livestock. Their successful closure of the case causes a moment of closeness, but when Rob tries to express his romantic interest, Anna abruptly changes the subject, sending him off to meet his mentor, James Charles, instead.

[But he won't find him...]

Fri
Jun 20 2014 11:00am

Fresh Meat: The Victories Vol. 3: Posthuman by Michael Avon Oeming

The Victories Volume 3: Posthuman by Michael Avon Oeming is a comic series where superheroes have been locked up in internment camps, unable to save the world (available June 24, 2014).

Michael Avon Oeming’s The Victories is taking a page out of the A Game Of Thrones playbook, and I don’t know how I feel about that. Without giving away any plot points, allegiances in The Victories change and characters (that I love!) die, and while it all makes sense story-wise, my fangirl heart feels entirely too bruised by the losses.

Fortunately, it’s easy to shunt aside my personal issues to lose myself in the deepening plot. When we last left our titular superhero group, the majority had voluntarily accepted internment in government camps in order to prevent further bloodshed. Champions, as superpowered heroes are called in this version of the near-future, are thought to be the vector for a plague that has descended upon mankind, so most accept government quarantine as a good thing…until it soon becomes clear that the plague was just a ruse to neutralize them. A powerful, secretive cabal has seized the reins of power, and wants both the good guys and civilians out of the way while they implement the final steps of their evil master plan.

[On second thought, maybe we shouldn't have locked up our only hope...]

Fri
Jun 13 2014 1:00pm

Fresh Meat: Protectors, Inc.: Volume 1 by J. Michael Straczynski

Protectors Inc. Volume 1 by J. Michael Straczynski, Gordon Purcell, and Michael Atiyeh is a superhero comic series where superheroes are rented out to the highest bidder (available June 17, 2014).

In this superhero comic title from one of the masters of the field, superpowers first manifested in the skies over 1944 Normandy, changing forever the life of one average soldier. Taking on the moniker The Patriot, he would turn the tide for the Allied nations in World War II, even as he carefully cultivated his anonymity. Decades later, he would put down the mantle, never explaining why, and disappear into the masses.

But he wasn’t the only one gifted with, seemingly, the abilities of flight, super-strength, super-speed, invulnerability and agelessness. Other individuals soon stepped forward with similar powers, though slightly different motivations:

[The Patriot] seemed like a regular guy who got lucky. He just wanted to be a good soldier. Never let it go to his head. Never put on airs, never took a dime in endorsements… not like the bunch who came after him. See, whatever entered the world that day, it wasn’t done doing what it came to do. After that, guys with powers started popping up all over the United States, as if the power that hit him in France followed him home. Not only were all the new powers Americans, most of ‘em were rich Americans, a fact the government used during the Cold War to argue the superiority of capitalism over communism. They said the power that entered the world was drawn to people who would know how to use it for freedom and the good of mankind. Now there’s fifty of ‘em. All good guys, no bad guys, if you believe the press. They called themselves Protectors… a name that got incorporated in the 1950s when there got to be a bunch of ‘em. The company took over their public appearances, finances, bookings, designed their costumes, helped ‘em pick hero names, the whole catastrophe.

[Brace yourself, supervillians are coming...]

Thu
Jun 5 2014 11:00am

Fresh Meat: The Adventures of Apocalypse Al by J. Michael Straczynski

The Adventures of Apocalypse Al by J. Michael Straczynski, Sid Kotian, and Bill Farmer is a comic noir series laced with comedy about a woman tasked with preventing the end of the world (available June 10, 2014).

I love noir and have a soft spot, if it doesn’t seem too much of a contradiction, for comedic noir. In the best of comedy noir, humor leavens the bleak brutality and frank sexuality of its parent genre, bringing warmth to stories that otherwise paint humanity in the basest shades of grey. Interestingly, most of the comedy noir out there today introduces supernatural elements to the mix, with The Adventures of Apocalypse Al being one of the newest entries to this field.

Apocalypse Al is the nickname given to Allison Carter, the latest in a long line of investigators into the supernatural whose remit is preventing the end of the world. Based in Los Angeles, she lives a busy and fairly lucrative, if somewhat lonely, life. She’s fresh off closing her latest case when she’s contacted by the mysterious group known as The Committee. They inform her that some amateur has managed to get his hands on he Book of Keys and is intent on using it to permanently open the doorway to hell, thereby unleashing the apocalypse. Her investigations into the matter bring her to the attention of Ultimate Darkness, a higher-up in the demonic world who, in good noir form, unexpectedly proves to be an ally instead of an enemy.

[One woman stands between us and the end of the world...]

Thu
May 29 2014 11:00am

Fresh Meat: Archer Coe and the Thousand Natural Shocks by Jamie S. Rich and Dan Christensen

Archer Coe and the Thousand Natural Shocks by Jamie S. Rich and Dan Christensen is the debut comic series about a successful stage performer who learns more than he expected to after taking on a wealthy client (available June 11, 2014).

In this decidedly noir take on the life of a stage hypnotist, Archer Coe, a.k.a The Mind’s Arrow, is a performer with a successful act that has taken him from back alleys to seedy nightclubs to far, far more respectable venues. One of his specialties is enabling willing volunteers to overcome their vices, such as in this scene, where a man in the audience named Delmar asks Archer to help him quit smoking cigarettes. Archer removes the pack of cigarettes from Delmar’s shirt pockets and intones:

Archer: It appears you travel with your vice wherever you go. The greatest boon to religion was sin being made portable. What can be brought... can also be removed. Are you ready to remove that addiction, Delmar?

Delmar: I- I- I—

Archer: This requires you to be present, Delmar. I asked if you're ready to remove the addiction. I didn't say I was doing it. Do you believe you can conquer this, Delmar? DO YOU?

[But how does he do it...]

Fri
May 23 2014 12:00pm

Murder Mysteries by Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell

Murder Mysteries by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by P. Craig Russell is a graphic novel adapted from Gaiman's short story by the same name about the very first murder ever.

Can I tell you a secret? A guilty secret, if you will, given the kinds of books I like to read, foremost among them being murder mysteries and fantasy novels (and, of course, graphic novels of any stripe.)

I don’t particularly care for Neil Gaiman.

I have to qualify that, though, with the fact that I don’t particularly like his fantasy work. Admittedly, that’s the work for which he’s most renowned, and for which he’s earned numerous Hugos, a Newbery and a Carnegie, as well as the slavish devotion of legions of fans. Alas, most of his stuff with The Endless and his prose novels have all elicited a very firm “meh” from me. But when he ventures into crime territory (as with the awesome concept of the Serial Convention, as well as his graphic novel, Violent Cases, and his brilliant Sherlock Holmes pastiche, A Study In Emerald,) he holds my interest much better than he does with the books and ideas for which he’s more lauded.

When the graphic novel adaptation of his story, Murder Mysteries, first came out in 2002, I read through it quickly, judged it adequate, and moved on. But with the upcoming reissue, I thought I’d give it another whirl and see whether my opinion of it has changed any. Time and distance, I have found, can often drastically change what I previously thought and felt.

[Some things take time...]