The Friedkin Connection

friedkinHumility is hardly an attribute that comes to mind when considering director William Friedkin, by all accounts a talented man who let success go to his head in the worst way. Refreshingly, he’s the first to admit it — and all his other faults — in THE FRIEDKIN CONNECTION, a dumb title for a smart memoir.

Having been born the year of THE FRENCH CONNECTION and all of 2 when he followed up that Oscar win with THE EXORCIST, I was oblivious to how meteoric his rise was. He had made only four films prior to FRENCH, beginning with the Sonny & Cher vehicle GOOD TIMES, none of them hits.

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Hemlock Grove

hemlockgroveSomewhere in the weird mess that is HEMLOCK GROVE is a germ of a good idea: Two teenagers — one a werewolf, the other a vampire — team up to catch the savage monster preying on the teenage girls in their town.

How anyone could screw up such a simple, yet fun idea as that is beyond me. But debuting author Brian McGreevy, in his effort to reinvent the Gothic horror novel as a tale of modern teen angst (think THE CATCHER IN THE RYE if it were written by Anne Rice — on second thought, don’t), serves up an overwritten and overstuffed novel that ultimately goes nowhere, with a cast of characters that are, well, characters.

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The Good Cop

goodcopCarter Ross, the New Jersey-based investigative reporter returns in THE GOOD COP, this fourth series title by Brad Parks. While it follows the same format as its predecessors, it nonetheless is an entertaining and, at times, engrossing mystery novel.

Ross is awakened at 8:30 a.m. — a particularly ungodly hour for a seasoned investigative reporter — by his boss at the Newark Eagle-Examiner. A local policeman has been found murdered; Ross’ editor wants him to get the story. He does, but just as he is about to file his story, his editor updates him that an internal police investigation reveales that the cop committed suicide. So the murder investigation, and Ross’ story, is canceled.

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Murder Below Montparnasse

murderbelowCara Black’s 13th novel featuring Parisian private investigator Aimée Leduc provides yet another chapter in the story of Leduc’s search for her mother, who abandoned Aimée at the tender age of 8. Fueled by her deceased father, a policeman who was betrayed by men on the force, and her grandfather, another investigator, Aimée has built her private investigation business along with her colorful compadres: Saj, an incense-burning dreadlocked hippie, and René, a 4-foot-tall hacker dwarf.

In MURDER BELOW MONTPARNASSE, René has left France for the golden promises of Silicon Valley and his tale, which is almost more interesting than the main storyline, is told in concert with the adventures of Aimée.

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candlemothThe Overlook Press continues their reissue of the works of British thriller author R.J. Ellory, this time reaching back to his first published novel, 2003’s CANDLEMOTH.
Daniel Ford is on death row for the murder of Nathan Verney, and having exhausted all possible appeals, Daniel soon faces the electric chair. Yet more than 30 years ago, Daniel and Nathan were inseparable friends from Lake Marion, S.C., even though Nathan was black and Daniel white.

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The Riptide Ultra-Glide

riptideTHE RIPTIDE ULTRA-GLIDE is Tim Dorsey’s 16th novel featuring everyone’s favorite psychopathic serial killer (but please don’t call him that), Serge A. Storms, and his eternally stoned buddy, Coleman. In the series, Serge and Coleman roam around Florida while Serge waxes poetic about Florida history, his theories on human behavior and just about any other topic under the hot Floridian sun.

Along the way, they usually encounter some rude people whom Serge then kills in remarkably inventive ways. Sometimes they encounter true criminals as well, who meet the same fate.

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Mystery Writers of America Presents The Mystery Box

mysteryboxBest-selling thriller author Brad Meltzer is at the editing helm of this year’s Mystery Writers of America anthology of original short stories, and the common theme to all of THE MYSTERY BOX’s stories is, “What’s in the box?”
“That was for our writers to decide,” Meltzer explains in his introduction. “A long lost gun, a personal secret, or Gwyneth Paltrow’s head (just like in SEVEN). The box could be real (like the gun), or metaphoric (like their heart). But they had to use a box.”

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Marble Season

marbleseasonLike Charles Schulz’s beloved PEANUTS, Gilbert Hernandez’s MARBLE SEASON occupies that strange, nostalgic realm when the events depicted can be both hilarious and heartbreaking.

Based on his own childhood, the LOVE AND ROCKETS co-creator turns from drawing women with Russ Meyer-worthy breasts to recalling a time when little mattered more than whatever outdoor play awaited after school.

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EURO COMICS ROUNDUP >> Let the River Run

yakariYAKARI IN THE RIVER OF FORGETFULNESS is clearly a children’s comic, with talking bears and horses, not to mention the cute little titular Sioux boy who understands and speaks animal languages. Set in Americas the time long before the settling rush of the white man, this long-running Franco-Belgian series often focuses on Yakari’s adventures with various animals, featuring perilous and amusing situations. These situations usually resolve in lessons about courage, tolerance and kindness for Yakari and thus the reader.

Yawn, right?

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London Falling

londonfallingPaul Cornell has described his new novel as “BUFFY meets THE BILL,” capturing in bang-up fashion its collision of horror tropes and copper attitude.

LONDON FALLING features a special investigative team thrown together by the unexplainable (and bloody) death of a suspect in custody. And, as with any number of Joss Whedon’s ragtag teams, there are traumatic backstories and lots of smart-arsed dialogue, a genuine sentiment flavored by serious narrative consequences, and the whiplash thrills of big action set-pieces and constant screwball chatter.

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