The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made

disasterartistI wish I could say I’ve been eagerly waiting the release of Greg Sestero’s THE DISASTER ARTIST since he mentioned it on a 2011 episode of the HOW DID THIS GET MADE? podcast, but really, I’ve been eagerly waiting it longer than that — in fact, mere minutes after I saw 2003’s THE ROOM, this millennium’s arguably strongest candidate for Best Worst Movie.

Someone, I reasoned, just had to write a book to answer all my questions surrounding such a misbegotten production, not the least of which was simply, “What the hell?”

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laughcomeslastbullets broads blackmail and bombsNo, not that kind of woman problems. The kind where they make a man do stupid things. That is the basis for this column. We have a trio of authors I’ve covered before, with one writing under another name. But now with ebooks, the truth is known. So sit back and take a gander at all the headaches these gentlemen get themselves into. But the third book is bit more women-centric — nudge, nudge, know what I mean, say no more.

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Never Go Back

nevergobackMaybe Lee Child thought that for his 18th Jack Reacher novel, he’d shake things up a bit and have the one place that comes closet to being a home to Reacher turn against him. That seems to be the main premise of NEVER GO BACK, but the anticipated results are something other than expected as Reacher continues to be, well, Reacher.
Maj. Susan Turner, commanding officer of Reacher’s former outfit, the 110 Military Police, has been little more than a warm, inviting voice on the phone (since Child’s 61 HOURS of 2010). So Reacher makes his way from South Dakota to the northeastern Virginia offices of the 110th, hoping to meet Turner and maybe ask her out to dinner. When he arrives, however, not only has Turner been “reassigned,” but a few other surprises await him.

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The First Synn: The Bloodstone Confidential

bloodstoneTrying to recreate the feel of old pulp adventures, especially introducing a series character, can go one of two ways:
1. The writer tries too hard to be clever and infuses the character and series with nods and winks.
2. The writer actually hits the marks of the genre and never oversteps the bounds of the books it’s trying to be like.

Teel James Glenn’s THE FIRST SYNN: THE BLOODSTONE CONFIDENTIAL, the first entry in the Gideon Synn series, thankfully falls into category two. This feels like it could have easily been on the newsstands next to some of those old Street & Smith series.

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Above Suspicion / Assignment in Brittany / Pray for a Brave Heart

abovesuspicionTitan Books is reprinting all of the excellent espionage fiction of Helen MacInnes. If you’re not familiar with her works, this is a perfect time to start collecting the series and enjoy the talents of this seminal spy author who penned 22 books over four decades, moving her action contemporaneously from World War II throughout the Cold War.

Her first, ABOVE SUSPICION, made its appearance in 1941. In this, the spousal and amateur-spy team of Richard and Frances Myles are about to go on vacation when the British government politely asks the couple if they would participate in a wee bit of espionage along the way.

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The Thicket

thicketJoe R. Lansdale returns to the turn-of-the-century East Texas setting of EDGE OF DARK WATER, in his latest work and again focuses on a young protagonist coming of age in a changing and challenging world. THE THICKET, however, distinguishes itself from the earlier novel not only in its central narrative, but most notably in its major characters and unsparing portrayal of an often-romanticized era.
The lives of 16-year-old Jack Parker and his younger sister, Lula, are upended when their parents become the victims of a smallpox epidemic. We meet them as they travel with their grandfather on their way to the home of an aunt they’ve never known. But a heated encounter with a gang of outlaws on a ferry across the Sabine River results in the grandfather’s murder.

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Dead Lions

deadlionsWhere do the washed-up spies go? Well, if they were part of MI5, they are sent to Slough House, a place where these agents work out their final years in service. But of course, these agents — who at some point dropped the ball or, worse, crossed one of their fellow co-workers — still want to be a vital part of agency and get into the action. That is the basis for Mick Herron’s new crime thriller, DEAD LIONS.

When a former agent winds up dead on a bus way outside his usual spots, the boss of Slough House, Jackson Lamb, is sure something is rotten. The story moves into an investigation which seems to go back years, with fingers pointing toward an old Russian agent who no one is sure is real or just a cruel trick the Soviets have played.

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What Doesn’t Kill Her

whatdoesntkillherLeave it to the prolific, imaginative mind of Max Allan Collins to demythologize the overused serial-killer trope, correct several misconceptions about it, and at the same time produce a solid, suspenseful, stand-alone thriller. These are among the several reasons why you shouldn’t miss WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER.

Sixteen-year-old Jordan Rivera lives the life of a perfectly normal high school girl … until one evening, while she contemplates her homework, a man breaks into her home and brutally murders her family. But the killer spares Jordan, and tells her why before he leaves the house.

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Father Gaetano’s Puppet Catechism

gaetanoNow in paperback, this follow-up to Christopher Golden and Mike Mignola’s collaboration of last year, JOE GOLEM AND THE DROWNING CITY, is smaller in format and, being a novella, noticeably shorter. With FATHER GAETANO’S PUPPET CATECHISM, Golden again takes the lead with the story itself, while Mignola contributes his distinctive illustrations to the dust jacket and interior pages.
The story takes place during World War II in the Sicilian village of Tringale. The war has turned the rectory of the Church of San Domenico into an orphanage for the many children who lost their parents. Father Gaetano is the newly assigned priest, and finds the responsibilities of the orphanage much greater than he imagined. For one thing, the children get restless during his Catechism instructions and quickly lose interest.

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The ’Geisters

geistersA few short sentences form the first chapter of David Nickle’s slow-burner of a ghost story. The protagonist, Ann, muses that terror and love always seemed “indistinguishable” to her.

Then we switch gears to a rather dull first date, a very gray-flannel man wooing her over dinner. Michael’s not quite the milquetoast he seems, but then she’s not so much a mouse, either. Objects on the table begin spinning without cause, and Ann rushes off to the restroom, trying to shake off the fear, while Michael sits rapt at the table.

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