Review: <i>The Last Mrs. Parrish</i> by Liv Constantine Review: The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine Kristin Centorcelli Read Kristin Centorcelli's review! Discount: <i>The Scarlet Gospels</i> by Clive Barker Discount: The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker Crime HQ Get a digital copy for only $2.99 through October! Review: <i>Killing Season</i> by Faye Kellerman Review: Killing Season by Faye Kellerman John Valeri Read John Valeri's review! <i>Grist Mill Road</i>: Excerpt Grist Mill Road: Excerpt Christopher J. Yates A dark, twisted, and expertly plotted Rashomon-style tale.
From The Blog
October 15, 2017
Executed 100 Years Ago: Who Was Mata Hari?
David Cranmer
October 13, 2017
6 Eerie, Mysterious, and Unsettling Unsolved Mysteries
Angie Barry
October 13, 2017
Man Arrested for 28th DUI
Teddy Pierson
October 12, 2017
Celebrating Robert Mitchum’s Centennial: Mitch Goes to War
David Cranmer
October 11, 2017
The Knights Templar Through History
James Becker
Showing posts by: David Cranmer click to see David Cranmer's profile
Sun
Oct 15 2017 3:00pm

Executed 100 Years Ago: Who Was Mata Hari?

Exotic dancing and espionage are the twin peaks that come to mind when the name Mata Hari is mentioned. But what is her full, true story? Lost to time and blurred in key passages, for sure. Fact and fiction began cross-pollinating quite early, furthered in great part by her own exaggerations in efforts to hype her lascivious career. Journalists lapped it up for purple prose lines like, “so feline, extremely feminine, majestically tragic, the thousand curves and movements of her body trembling in a thousand rhythms.” Today's Hollywood publicists have nothing on Ms. Hari when it comes to self-promotion and aggrandizement. She discovered early in her stage career that the more outlandish a rumor reported by the press, the more people paid to see her dance.

It all began for the modestly named Margaretha Zelle on August 7, 1876, born in the Netherlands to well-to-do parents. Her father—a haberdasher made even richer by successful speculation in the burgeoning oil industry—provided a comfortable existence for the family until 1889 when he nosedived into bankruptcy. Poverty sparked a chain of events that guided her ill-fated trajectory: her father remarried, her mother died when she was fifteen, and a young Margaretha was left to drift from a godfather to an uncle, never regaining her family stability.

[The spy who loved money...]

Thu
Oct 12 2017 4:00pm

Celebrating Robert Mitchum’s Centennial: Mitch Goes to War

We’ve been celebrating one hundred years of Robert Mitchum, having already looked back at his noir and Western films. Another genre he dominated was war movies, often projecting the great inner strength of tight-lipped heroes who fought the good fight, usually against staggering odds. Here are several of the best:

[See Robert Mitchum's best war movies!]

Thu
Sep 14 2017 3:00pm

Celebrating Robert Mitchum’s Centennial: The Noir

Robert Mitchum (1917-1997) may have gotten his start in Westerns, but it’s his reputation in the world of noir that became indelible. Other actors had ascended the genre throne before him, but with Out of the Past, “The Soul of Film Noir” stole the crown and never looked back. The following list could have easily been twice as long, but these six are essential to his iconic status.

[Check out David Cranmer's top 6 Mitchum films noir!]

Mon
Sep 4 2017 4:00pm

Twin Peaks: The Return Season Finale Review: Parts 17 and 18

Part 17: “The past dictates the future.”

The penultimate episode begins with Gordon Cole (David Lynch) revealing to Albert (Miguel Ferrer) and Tammy (Chrysta Bell) a secret he has harbored a quarter of a century—namely that “Jowday” (or “Jao Dei”), known in modern times as Judy, is “an extreme negative force” wandering the earth. So, beyond BOB (Frank Silva) is another puppeteer.

In the meantime, at the sheriff’s department in Twin Peaks, Bad Coop (Kyle MacLachlan) arrives where he is greeted by overly friendly Andy (who has forgotten pretty much all The Fireman showed him—what was the point then?), who takes him into Sheriff Truman’s (Robert Forster) office. Truman and Bad Coop begin making idle talk—the doppelgänger turns down coffee—when Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) calls to say he’s entered the town and asks Truman to put on a hot pot of java.

[Read David Cranmer's review of the final two episodes!]

Thu
Aug 31 2017 5:00pm

Into the Cold: A George Smiley Primer

John le Carré has brought back his most celebrated creation, George Smiley, in A Legacy of Spies. It has been 27 years since his last appearance in The Secret Pilgrim. Here’s a refresher of the master spy’s collected adventures.

[Get refreshed on all of George Smiley's spy adventures!]

Mon
Aug 28 2017 4:15pm

Twin Peaks: The Return Review: Parts 14, 15, and 16

Part 14: “We Are Like the Dreamer”

Heaps of reveal in this surreal saturated episode, although certain junctions are far from satisfactory. What works: David Bowie, once again, as the time-tripping FBI Agent Phillip Jefferies asks Gordon Cole (David Lynch), “Who do you think this is there?” pointing to Agent Cooper (Kyle Maclachlan). That pivotal scene from the prequel Fire Walk With Me (1992) takes on new relevance knowing what we now know about Bad Coop—I like the puzzlement on Albert’s and Gordon’s faces as they realize they had forgotten Jefferies’s appearance at the Philadelphia office. (Nice cameo by the beautiful Monica Belluci, who routinely graces Gordon’s dreams guiding him toward revelations.) Plus, more backstory as Albert is filling in Tammy Preston (Chrysta Bell), freshly minted on the Blue Rose case that teamed Jefferies and Cole. It seems that the two Coopers are not the first time this duplicitous event has occurred, and Tammy tosses out a word I had to look up: Tulpa—extra bodies that can travel to other realms via thoughtform.

[Read David Cranmer's recap of Episodes 14-16...]

Mon
Aug 7 2017 4:00pm

Twin Peaks: The Return Review: Parts 11, 12, and 13

Part 11: “There’s Fire Where You Are Going”

Some boys playing catch see Miriam Sullivan (Sarah Jean Long) crawling out of the woods after being left for dead by Richard Horne (Eamon Faron). Elsewhere, Becky (Amanda Seyfried) is wielding a gun and screaming mad at hubby Steven (Caleb Landry Jones). She asks her mom, Shelly Briggs, for a car, resorting to a grab-and-go of the keys, and then locks herself in the car. 

Shelly pulls a nice Starsky & Hutch jump-on-the-hood maneuver only to be flung off when her narcissistic offspring can only think of one thing—killing her man, who is holed up with another woman. 

[Read David Cranmer's recap of Parts 11-13 of Twin Peaks: The Return!]

Sun
Aug 6 2017 12:00pm

Celebrating Robert Mitchum’s Centennial: The Westerns

Robert Mitchum’s (1917-1997) first Western film (third film, overall) was Hoppy Serves a Writ (1943), starring William Boyd as Hopalong Cassidy, and his last was the idiosyncratic “psychedelic Western” Dead Man (1995), starring Johnny Depp. Unusual bookends for an actor who made some of the finest of the genre in the middle of the 20th century.

[Check out Robert Mitchum's best Western roles!]

Tue
Aug 1 2017 12:00pm

The Dark Tower: The Dark Tower Part VI, The Final Chapters

Last week, we were left wondering if laughter really is the best medicine. This week, we make it to the Dark Tower as we close out our long journey through Stephen King's magnum opus. 

The Dark Tower is very close, but our ka-tet is spread far and wide. Roland and Eddie are in 1977 where they have just finished meeting with the author Stephen King. In 1999, Father Callahan and Jake are about to storm The Dixie Pig lounge where Susannah is being held along with Mia, who is about to give birth to an unholy demon: this child has the DNA combo of Roland and Susannah and a “co-father” in the Crimson King. So, we are very close to our destination, the stakes are high, and it’s anybody’s guess who will live to see The Dark Tower.

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

The Dark Tower looms on the horizon for both our ka-tet and you, our loyal readers, as we count down the days to the premiere of The Dark Tower film. The plan is to finish the series on the Tuesday before the premiere, so we'll be splitting The Dark Tower into six sections (about 200 pages each) and meeting 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 make it to the Dark Tower as we close out our long journey of Stephen King's magnum opus. Join us in the comments for a discussion of the final chapters of The Dark Tower: PART FIVE: The Scarlet Field of Can'-Ka No Rey – CODA: Found!


CrimeHQ's The Dark Tower Reread


[Our journey has reached its final leg...]

Wed
Jul 26 2017 1:00pm

Review: Killing Is My Business by Adam Christopher

Killing Is My Business by Adam ChristopherKilling Is My Business by Adam Christopher is the second book in the Ray Electromatic Mysteries series.

Check out Adam Christopher's discussion of genre and how his robot noir blurs the lines between sci-fi and crime fiction!

Adam Christopher is a joy to read. It would be agreeably prodigious if those seven words are all you will need to buy his latest novel, but in case further urging is needed (and to justify my humble fee to my editor), here’s what Killing Is My Business is all about with two selections that exemplify his sharp entertaining prose.

Raymond Electromatic is a “steel-titanium skin” robot created by the late Professor Thornton, initially programmed as a private detective but currently working as an assassin out of the City of Angels. He receives his missions from another machine, Ada. While on the job, he likes to have a cup of black coffee at hand and read pulp fiction paperbacks in between cruising in a Buick for his intended target. One serious drawback, it would seem, is that he’s missing his long-term memory.

[Read David Cranmer's review of Killing Is My Business...]

Tue
Jul 25 2017 12:00pm

The Dark Tower: The Dark Tower Part V

Last week, a van nearly took the author's life. This week, we're left wondering if laughter really is the best medicine. 

The Dark Tower is very close, but our ka-tet is spread far and wide. Roland and Eddie are in 1977 where they have just finished meeting with the author Stephen King. In 1999, Father Callahan and Jake are about to storm The Dixie Pig lounge where Susannah is being held along with Mia, who is about to give birth to an unholy demon: this child has the DNA combo of Roland and Susannah and a “co-father” in the Crimson King. So, we are very close to our destination, the stakes are high, and it’s anybody’s guess who will live to see The Dark Tower.

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

The Dark Tower looms on the horizon for both our ka-tet and you, our loyal readers, as we count down the days to the premiere of The Dark Tower film. The plan is to finish the series on the Tuesday before the premiere, so we'll be splitting The Dark Tower into six sections (about 200 pages each) and meeting 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 are left wondering if laughter really is the best medicine. Join us in the comments for a discussion of Part V of The Dark Tower: PART FOUR: The White Lands of Empathica, Dandelo!


CrimeHQ's The Dark Tower Reread


[Our journey has reached its final leg...]

Tue
Jul 18 2017 12:00pm

The Dark Tower: The Dark Tower Part IV

Last week, the ka-tet lost another at the Battle of Devar-Toi as they free the Breakers and save the beam. This week, the author Stephen King is saved, but at what expense? 

The Dark Tower is very close, but our ka-tet is spread far and wide. Roland and Eddie are in 1977 where they have just finished meeting with the author Stephen King. In 1999, Father Callahan and Jake are about to storm The Dixie Pig lounge where Susannah is being held along with Mia, who is about to give birth to an unholy demon: this child has the DNA combo of Roland and Susannah and a “co-father” in the Crimson King. So, we are very close to our destination, the stakes are high, and it’s anybody’s guess who will live to see The Dark Tower.

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

The Dark Tower looms on the horizon for both our ka-tet and you, our loyal readers, as we count down the days to the premiere of The Dark Tower film. The plan is to finish the series on the Tuesday before the premiere, so we'll be splitting The Dark Tower into six sections (about 200 pages each) and meeting 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, the author Stephen King is saved, but at what expense? Join us in the comments for a discussion of Part IV of The Dark Tower: PART THREE: In this Haze of Green and Gold, Ves'-Ka Gan!


CrimeHQ's The Dark Tower Reread


[Our journey has reached its final leg...]

Mon
Jul 17 2017 3:00pm

Twin Peaks: The Return Review: Parts 8, 9, and 10

Part 8: “Gotta Light?”

Hard to convey the vibe this reviewer got from experiencing a seminal moment in television history without coming across as an awestruck fanboy. So, what the hell, let me just embrace it by doubling down: this ranks next to Mulholland Drive (2001) and Blue Velvet (1986) as one of Lynch’s crowning directorial achievements.

“Gotta Light” is a subversive, expressionistic, and harrowing episode with prolonged scenes—even by Lynch standards—of no dialogue. “As soon as you put things in words, no one ever sees the film the same way,” he was quoted as saying in The New Yorker. The sobering result: we hear the eerie, discordant “Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima” by Penderecki as we bear witness to the first atomic bomb test at White Sands, New Mexico, on July 16, 1945, and are pulled into the mushroom cloud among the swirling atoms of hellfire and destruction.

[Read more about Parts 8-10 of Twin Peaks: The Return...]

Tue
Jul 11 2017 12:00pm

The Dark Tower: The Dark Tower Part III

Last week, we lost Father Callahan but ran into an old friend. This week, the ka-tet loses another at the Battle of Devar-Toi as they free the Breakers and save the beam.

The Dark Tower is very close, but our ka-tet is spread far and wide. Roland and Eddie are in 1977 where they have just finished meeting with the author Stephen King. In 1999, Father Callahan and Jake are about to storm The Dixie Pig lounge where Susannah is being held along with Mia, who is about to give birth to an unholy demon: this child has the DNA combo of Roland and Susannah and a “co-father” in the Crimson King. So, we are very close to our destination, the stakes are high, and it’s anybody’s guess who will live to see The Dark Tower.

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

The Dark Tower looms on the horizon for both our ka-tet and you, our loyal readers, as we count down the days to the premiere of The Dark Tower film. The plan is to finish the series on the Tuesday before the premiere, so we'll be splitting The Dark Tower into six sections (about 200 pages each) and meeting 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, the ka-tet loses another at the Battle of Devar-Toi as they free the Breakers and save the beam. Join us in the comments for a discussion of Part III of The Dark Tower: PART TWO: Blue Heaven, Devar-Toi: VIII: “Notes from the Ginger Bread House” – XII: “The Tet Breaks”!


CrimeHQ's The Dark Tower Reread


[Our journey has reached its final leg...]

Tue
Jul 4 2017 3:00pm

An Artistic Debut: Reviewing SoHo Sins by Richard Vine

SoHo Sins by Richard Vine is an intriguing debut novel about the underworld of the New York art scene (now available in paperback!).

Read David Cranmer's review of SoHo Sins by Richard Vine, and then make sure to sign in and comment below for a chance to win a paperback copy!

“You can’t deal successfully in art if you dwell on where the money comes from and how it gets made. I concern myself with my clients’ tastes and credit ratings, not their ethics.” —Jackson Wyeth

Nothing like an admixture of art plus murder for a mystery-fused suspense tale. A classic example is Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Grey, where a vain man's portrait ages as he stays youthful and in a final fit of indignation, he stabs at his degenerate likeness with horrific repercussions. The film The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947) catches Humphrey Bogart, as Geoffrey Carroll, painting images of his wives before planning their deaths. (There's just something, dare I say, creepy when the camera zooms in on the canvas of these human creations and that other world of color, seeming to hold court against mankind's devious nature, enacting lustful revenge.) 

[Read David Cranmer's review of SoHo Sins...]

Tue
Jul 4 2017 12:00pm

The Dark Tower: The Dark Tower Part II

Last week, we began our final book of the series, The Dark Tower, with a chilling and thrilling opening. This week, the ka-tet reunites (minus the late Father Callahan) and Roland runs into an old friend.

The Dark Tower is very close, but our ka-tet is spread far and wide. Roland and Eddie are in 1977 where they have just finished meeting with the author Stephen King. In 1999, Father Callahan and Jake are about to storm The Dixie Pig lounge where Susannah is being held along with Mia, who is about to give birth to an unholy demon: this child has the DNA combo of Roland and Susannah and a “co-father” in the Crimson King. So, we are very close to our destination, the stakes are high, and it’s anybody’s guess who will live to see The Dark Tower.

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

The Dark Tower looms on the horizon for both our ka-tet and you, our loyal readers, as we count down the days to the premiere of The Dark Tower film. The plan is to finish the series on the Tuesday before the premiere, so we'll be splitting The Dark Tower into six sections (about 200 pages each) and meeting 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, the ka-tet reunites and Roland runs into an old friend. Join us in the comments for a discussion of Part II of The Dark Tower: PART TWO: Blue Heaven, Devar-Toi: 1: “The Devar-Tete” – VII: “Ka-Shume”!


CrimeHQ's The Dark Tower Reread


[Our journey has reached its final leg...]

Tue
Jun 27 2017 12:00pm

The Dark Tower: The Dark Tower Part I

Last week, we closed out Song of Susannah on somewhat of an anticlimactic ending. This week, Stephen King flexes his writing muscles with a thrilling and chilling opening to the final book in the series, The Dark Tower.

The Dark Tower is very close, but our ka-tet is spread far and wide. Roland and Eddie are in 1977 where they have just finished meeting with the author Stephen King. In 1999, Father Callahan and Jake are about to storm The Dixie Pig lounge where Susannah is being held along with Mia, who is about to give birth to an unholy demon: this child has the DNA combo of Roland and Susannah and a “co-father” in the Crimson King. So, we are very close to our destination, the stakes are high, and it’s anybody’s guess who will live to see The Dark Tower.

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

The Dark Tower looms on the horizon for both our ka-tet and you, our loyal readers, as we count down the days to the premiere of The Dark Tower film. The plan is to finish the series on the Tuesday before the premiere, so we'll be splitting The Dark Tower into six sections (about 200 pages each) and meeting 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 final book in the series with a chilling and thrilling opening! Join us in the comments for a discussion of Part I of The Dark Tower: PART ONE: The Little Red King, Dan-Tete.


CrimeHQ's The Dark Tower Reread


[Our journey has reached its final leg...]

Tue
Jun 20 2017 12:00pm

The Dark Tower: Song of Susannah Part IV

Last week, we ran into Stephen King in his own story. This week, Jake and Callahan load up on weapons and storm into the Dixie Pig as we close out Song of Susannah.

On September 6th of last year, we began our journey on a reread of Stephen King’s epic series—soon to be a motion picture starring Idris Elba as Roland, the gunslinger. Faithfully each week, we’ve come closer to that looming Dark Tower in the distance that holds our world and Roland’s Gilead together, and that nexus is in danger of being destroyed by the Crimson King. Okay, let’s dig into Song of Susannah, which follows the obliteration of the Wolves, as our ka-tet is weighing the options…

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

Song of Susannah sets up nicely, splitting up the break-neck pace into digestible “stanzas.” So the plan is to read a few stanzas a week (about 130 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 and Callahan storm the Dixie Pig as we close out the sixth Dark Tower book! Join us in the comments for a discussion of Part IV of Song of Susannah: 12th Stanza: “Jake and Callahan” – Coda: “Pages from a Writer's Journal”!


CrimeHQ's The Dark Tower Reread


[And once we start, we don’t stop until we’re dead....]

Mon
Jun 19 2017 4:45pm

Twin Peaks: The Return Review: Parts 5, 6, and 7

Part 5: “Case Files”

In prison, Bad Coop (Kyle MacLachlan), observing his reflection, flashes back a quarter of a century to The Great Northern Hotel where he had smashed his head into his bathroom mirror, and there was creepy BOB (Frank Silva) sneering back at him. “You’re still with me. That’s good,” Bad Coop reassures himself in the present. Later, he gets his one phone call where he teases that he will call a Mr. Strawberry—alarming the warden—before changing his mind and punching a shitload of digits. Prison sirens and lights then begin to go amok as he speaks into the receiver, “The cow jumped over the moon.”

Meanwhile, Good Coop—known to family and co-workers as Dougie Jones—continues to wander around in a stupor with words like “case files,” “agent,” and “coffee” triggering glints into his previous life. Dougie’s boss at the Lucky 7 Insurance company is perturbed with his job performance and gives him a stack of folders to complete by the following day, stipulating that his career hangs in the balance. While many of us fans are looking forward to Dale Cooper’s full return (assuming he will snap out of it), Dougie’s “Chauncey Gardiner” existence is oddly entertaining.

[Like most of David Lynch's work...]

Mon
Jun 19 2017 3:00pm

Page to Screen: American Gods 1.08: “Come to Jesus” Review

The season finale sees the long overdue returns of Anansi and Bilquis. While Mr. Nancy (Orlando Jones) is tailoring suits for big cheese Wednesday (Ian McShane) and his henchman Shadow (Ricky Whittle), he decides he must tell a story. One of a queen. 

We get the rundown of Bilquis (Yetide Badaki), watching her status slowly fade over the centuries into modern times until she is on the streets, destitute and ailing. And here we get a peek at her alliance, seduced to the other side by Tech Boy’s (Bruce Langley) promise of a large internet following, “Worship is a volume business … Whosoever has the most followers wins the game.” As time marches on, she looks none too pleased with having made an association with Tech Boy and the new gods. By show’s end, she’s on a bus on her way to Wisconsin. Knowing the show deviates on occasion from the book, we will have to wait until next season to see where her true allegiance lies.

[As long as she doesn't swallow us with her vagina first...]