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Showing posts by: Laura K. Curtis click to see Laura K. Curtis's profile
Sep 16 2013 9:30am

The Final Cut by Catherine Coulter and JT EllisonThe Final Cut by Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison is the first in a new series of FBI thrillers starring Englishman-turned-FBI-Agent Nicholas Drummond (available September 17, 2013).

I always find it fascinating when two authors work together. The temptation to pick a book apart, try to find the bits written by one author or another is almost irresistible.

The Final Cut is a fairly seamless read, but—as I probably should have guessed from the size of the names on the cover—there's a whole lot more Coulter than Ellison. In fact, I think this is a book that Coulter fans will really enjoy, because although it introduces Nicholas Drummond, old friends Sherlock and Savich still get plenty of airtime.

[Sherlock and Savich and Drummond, oh my!]

Jun 19 2013 8:45am

Bloody skeleton on a table, dollhouse scale

Not every little girl dreams of a prince. Not every little girl plays with Barbie™. And not every dollhouse family is functional. If your dollhouse is a 1:12-scale house of horrors, it's possible that this may be the perfect kitchen table set for you. It's from Caustic Soda on Etsy, and she has a whole lot more grue should you need to deck your dolls' halls with bones of Holly (or anyone else, for that matter).

Jun 16 2013 9:30am

Tami Hoag The 9th GirlTami Hoag's The 9th Girl is a police procedural and thriller featuring Detectives Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska of the Minneapolis Police Department (available June 18, 2013).

The 9th Girl is a hybrid story. First, there's the story of the girl herself. She's a Jane Doe (thus the title), possibly—but possibly not—the ninth victim of a serial killer known around the police department as “Doc Holiday” because he kills on the holidays. In fact, the girl is so badly disfigured that she gains the media nickname “Zombie Doe.” The details of the murder are not for the faint of heart.

All eyes went to the horror-movie still of Zombie Doe’s face taped to the wall as the centerpiece of a macabre montage.

“God help us,” Tinks muttered.

“He’d better,” Kovac said. “He already missed his chance with her."

Because of the disfigurement, identifying the girl takes longer than one might imagine and it is in the search for her identity, as much as in the search for her killer, that Sam and Nikki really shine.

[Speaking for the dead]

Jun 2 2013 10:00am

Craig Johnson, A Serpent's ToothA Serpent’s Tooth by Craig Johnson is the ninth Walt Longmire western mystery (available June 4, 2013).

It’s hard to review a book nine books into a beloved series, especially when you know a lot of readers will be coming to the book with a background from an equally beloved television version. A&E’s Longmire is at once quite separate and yet intimately connected to Craig Johnson’s series of books about Sheriff Walt Longmire.

The cast of characters in the books is slightly different from those in the show and even the shared characters vary slightly between page and screen. But the elements that work so very, very well—the humor, the strength of personality and the endless, barren but beautiful scenery—remain constant.

The thing you get in the books that you don’t get from the show, the thing that brings me back over and over, is Walt’s voice. A Serpent’s Tooth is told in the first person, and right from the start you “hear” Walt. (It’s okay if you hear him in Robert Taylor’s voice—you won’t be the first or the last, I suspect.)

[We! Want! Walt!]

May 29 2013 8:45am

A custom-made Taxi Driver figureEvil Dead, Halloween, My Bloody Valentine, Alien...all kinds of movies outside the realm of the kid-oriented get the action figure treatment at Old Colony Hobbies. He also does vintage-style backing cards for each figure.

Really, the possibilities are endless and now my only questions is whether he makes them to order, because if he does my Christmas list is pretty much already taken care of.

May 20 2013 8:45am

Miki NozawaAnyone who knows me will tell you that food is right at the top of my priorities in life. Follow my Twitter feed, and you’ll notice that probably a full 25 percent of my tweets are related to eating. Still, there are things that seem extreme even to me, like beating a chef to death over a $30 meal.

And yet, that’s precisely what happened to celebrity chef Miki Nozawa, whose food didn’t satisfy two customers at his restaurant on the German island of Sylt. The two left without paying, and later that night Nozawa found them at a nightclub and confronted them. A fight ensued, after which the two men escaped and Nozawa was taken to the hospital where he later died from his injuries.

Relax, everyone. It’s just dinner.

Apr 30 2013 8:45am

What can I say? I can't wait for this. RED was one of my favorite movies, and this one looks like a perfect follow-up. Helen Mirren rocks the world. And they've added Anthony Hopkins to the cast! Did you see the first one? Will you see the next? I'll be in the theater on July 19!

Apr 22 2013 8:45am

Doesn’t that just make your heart sing? On April 29, Sotheby’s will be auctioning off “The Rouchomovsky Skeleton.” According to the catalog, this fully articulated gold skeleton is c. 1900 and

in a velvet-lined coffin chased around on each side with three panels showing the course of life, one end with attributes of the arts, the other with attributes of war, the removable cover with the journey in the footsteps of the Angel of Death, surrounded by the faces of infants alternately laughing and crying.
Skeleton signed in Cyrillic, on the right splint-bone: Mozyr [18]92 Odessa [18]96 and on the left splint-bone Rouchomovsky;
Sarcophagus signed on lid: Israel Rouchomovsky and in Cyrillic on base Israel Rouchomovsky Odessa 1901.
length of skeleton 3 1/2 in., length of coffin 4 3/8 in.

I can’t afford the estimated sales price, but my birthday was just last month and I’d be more than happy to have it as a belated present.

Apr 10 2013 8:45am

NutellaI like Nutella as much as the next person. In fact, I probably like Nutella more than the the next person. Maybe more than the next two people combined. There is nothing in life more perfect than a Nutella and banana crepe, in my mind. But still, I find the fact that thieves in Germany made off with five metric tons of Nutella a bit hard to fathom. That’s 176,370 ounces; more than 13,500 standard size jars, or 6,500 of the larger containers.

In reading about this particular heist, I ran across The Atlantic’s speculations on the possible uses for 11,000 pounds of Nutella, of which I found this the most amusing:

...if there’s a major heist of 10,000 pounds of toast/waffles/bananas in the coming days, then that probably points to someone—or a group of people—with serious Nutella addictions. 

And then there are speculations about hoarding and black markets. I would just love to see a crime story written about Nutella smuggling. Mmmmm... think it’s time for breakfast.

Mar 12 2013 11:30am

Brent Hendricks, A Long Day at the End of the WorldA Long Day at the End of the World: A Story of Desecration and Revelation in the Deep South by Brent Hendricks is a memoir by a man whose father's remains were discovered during the scandal at the Tri-State Crematory in 2002 (available March 12, 2013).

In February 2002, hundreds of abandoned and decayed bodies were discovered at the Tri-State Crematory in rural Georgia, making it the largest mass desecration in modern American history. The perpetrator—a well-respected family man and a former hometown football star—had managed to conceal the horror for five years. Among the bodies found at the Tri-State Crematory was that of Brent Hendricks’s father. To quell the psychic disturbance surrounding the desecration, Hendricks embarked on a pilgrimage to the crematory site in Georgia.

This is a small book with a large impact. There's not a lot of plot—in fact, the really major plot point is one readers probably already know quite a bit about, given the amount of press the Tri-State Crematory scandal generated.

[But narrative is so much more than plot]

Mar 11 2013 8:45am

In 1959, a foreign service memo (you can see the entire thing at Blastr) listed the three regulations for hunting Yeti in Nepal:

1. Royalty of Rs. 5000/- Indian Currency will have to be paid to His Majesty's Government of Nepal for a permit to carry out an expedition in search of 'Yeti'.

2. In case 'Yeti' is traced it can be photographed or caught alive but it must not be killed or shot at except in an emergency arising out of self defence. All photographs taken of the animal, the creature itself if captured alive or dead, must be surrended to the Government of Nepal at the earliest time. 

3. News and reports throwing light on the actual existence of the creature must be submitted to the Government of Nepal as soon as they are available and must not in any way be given out to the Press or Reporters for publicity without the permission of the Government of Nepal.

Are these regulations still in force? We have no idea...who's up for a Yeti hunt to find out?

Mar 4 2013 9:45am

When I first heard about the Catacombo on The Colbert Report, I was sure it was a joke. I mean, it couldn’t be serious, right? Little did I know... this is about as creepy as it gets, IMHO! Can you imagine what kind of hell your enemies could make of your afterlife by hacking in and programming muzak to play at you day and night?

Feb 5 2013 9:45am

No, it’s not another mash-up, it’s two stories from the same city in England. To whit, Leicester, where under a seemingly innocuous parking lot were found the bones of the hated King Richard III. According to the New York Times,

Richard Buckley, the lead archaeologist on a project to identify the bones, told reporters that tests and research since the remains were discovered last September proved “beyond reasonable doubt” that the “individual exhumed” from a makeshift grave under the parking lot was “indeed Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England.”

But what if Richard had come back as a zombie once he had been disinterred? Would he have been smacked down quickly, or could he have taken over the city? Well, according to one concerned citizen who sent a letter to the city council, Leicester is singularly unprepared for zombie attacks. The letter reads:

Dear Leicester City Council,

Can you please let us know what provisions you have in place in the event of a zombie invasion? Having watched several films it is clear that preparation for such an event is poor and one that councils throughout the kingdom must prepare for.

Please provide any information you may have.

Yours faithfully,
Concerned Citizen

Hat tip: Hypervocal

Jan 22 2013 11:30am

As you may or may not remember, back in November, I had a chance to watch the pilot of The Following with eye candy (and, not incidentally, excellent actors) James Purefoy and Kevin Bacon. I had mixed feelings about the pilot (put on your psychic hat and read my thoughts), but at the time so few people had seen it that I had no one to discuss it with.

I imagine that many of you in our audience did catch the pilot last night, however, so I am anxious to hear your thoughts. Let’s talk!

Jan 2 2013 9:45am

I absolutely adore Poynter’s annual list of media flubs, corrections, hoaxes, and all-around drama. Most of the time they are simply hilarious and often juvenile (see picture), but sometimes they are truly awful, like this one from The Australian:

Due to a production error, a quote attributed to Lieutenant Colonel Ghulam Jehlani Shafiq in a report in The Weekend Australian on Saturday (“Afghanistan battles scourge of corruption”, page 16) was altered to change its meaning. Colonel Jehlani did not say: “It’s not like 25 years ago. I was killing everybody.” In fact, he said: “It’s not like 25 years ago I was killing everybody. At that time too we tried not to have civilian casualties.” The Australian apologises for the error.

Umm...yeah. Punctuation makes all the difference.

Dec 28 2012 10:30am

John Connolly The Wrath of AngelsThe Wrath of Angels is the eleventh Charlie Parker thriller by John Connolly (available January 1, 2013).

In the depths of the Maine woods, the wreckage of a plane is discovered. There are no bodies, and no such plane has ever been reported missing, but men both good and evil have been seeking it for a long, long time. For the wreckage conceals a list of names, a record of those who have struck a deal with the devil. Now a battle is about to commence between those who want the list to remain secret and those for whom it represents a crucial weapon in the struggle against the forces of darkness.

The race to secure the prize draws in private detective Charlie Parker, a man who knows more than most about the nature of the terrible evil that seeks to impose itself on the world, and who fears that his own name may be on the list.

Never doubt that Evil exists. Not the little evils of the world, like the teenager selling dope on the corner, or the thief who breaks into your apartment to steal your television so he can buy the dope from corner guy. Not even the classroom bully who assuages his own insecurities at the expense of others. No, the Evil of John Connolly’s world, the world that will become yours from the very first page of The Wrath of Angels, is pervasive and permeating, a deep current running beneath the world and rising in the mist of the dark woods surrounding the fallen plane.

[Here be monsters]

Dec 24 2012 9:45am

Brass bangleWhat happens to the guns collected in buybacks? To the shell casings collected at crime scenes after their use as evidence has expired? If you’re Jewelry for a Cause’s Jessica Mindich, you turn them into bracelets. According to the website of The Caliber Collection:

The Caliber Collection is made up of metal from 250 guns and bullet casings seized by the Newark Police Department. The result is a series of pieces that embody the gun’s transformation from a destructive weapon to a powerful symbol of renewal. Jewelry for a Cause proudly donates a portion of the proceeds from each sale to the Gun Buyback Amnesty program in Newark.

There are steel and brass bracelets. The steel bracelets are made from guns, the brass are made from shell casings collected at crime scenes.

Nov 8 2012 11:06am

Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy

At New York Comic Con last month, I watched the premiere of The Following, Fox’s serial killer drama starring Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy, which will premiere January 21st. It’s taken this long for me to make sense of how I felt about it.

There’s no question, it’s daring. It absolutely pushes the boundaries. My question is, do those boundaries really need pushing? And if they do, do they need pushing on network television in a weekly series?

[Well? Do they?]