Peter Heller’s new novel, The Painter, mixes murder and Art. The narrator is an artist who is best known for shooting a man in a bar. The painter is haunted by the murder of his daughter. When the painter confronts a man beating a horse, another dark plotline is set into motion. The Painter offers a twisty plot and a complex narrator to tell an unusual story. If you’re in the mood for something different, I suggest you read The Painter when it’s released on May 6th. GRADE: B
No, this is not the best of Bogart because The Big Sleep, High Sierra, Dark Passage, and To Have and Have Not are not included. The more accurate title for this set might have been Bogart’s Biggest Hits. The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and The African Queen never looked so good. The remastering of these classic films make them look great! If you’re a fan of Bogart this is a must-buy. If you’re a fan of classic films, this is a must-buy. I hope Bogart’s other movies are released in similar fashion. GRADE: A
In our unrelenting quest to simulate the U.S. economy, we bought a new 2014 Nissan Altima. This is our 9th Nissan in a row. Our Nissans have been trouble-free. Patrick and Katie have totaled two Maximas…and walked away unscathed. That’s a tribute to Nissan engineering and safety. As a matter of procedure, the Nissan financial officer ran a credit check on us. He came back amazed. “Your FICO score is 892! We don’t see a score like that very often,” he exclaimed. We waited until Winter ended (at least we think it’s over) before buying this sleek Brillian Silver Altima (the second photo shows the actual color better). It’s loaded with plenty of goodies!
Todd Mason and Patti Abbott raved about Orphan Black last Spring and that motivated me to watch it on BBC America. Todd and Patti were right! The slowly unraveling of the plot about clones held my interest. Now, Season Two begins tonight (check your local listings for times in your area). This original Canadian science fiction television series stars Tatiana Maslany who plays several identical looking women. I marvel at the way Tatiana Maslany makes all the women she plays unique. Masterful acting! The twisty plot is full of surprises. Orphan Black, Season One is available on DVD and Blu-ray. And BBC America is running an ORPHAN BLACK marathon today. Highly recommended!
Back in the 1950s, AMAZING published a series of adventure stories featuring a very unique agent. Johnny Mayhem, through some alien sorcery, can possess another body for 30 days. Then, he has to move on to another body. Theoretically, he could never die…unless he stays in a body longer than 30 days. Milton Lesser has fun with the concept as he moves his hero from planet to planet and body to body. Johnny Mayhem is a trouble shooter for the Galactic League. They beam his “elan” to a body that’s waiting on the troubled planet of the day. Mayhem has to get up to speed on the local crisis and solve it within the 30-day time limit. If you like old fashioned, fast-paced science fiction adventure, you’ll find it here.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1. “My Name is Mayhem”
2. “They Sent a Boy”
3. “The Burning Man”
4. “Magellan Was a Piker”
5. “This Planet is Mine”
6. “A Place in the Sun”
7. “Think Yourself to Death”
8. “Get Out of My World”
9. “A Coward Named Mayhem”
10. “Mayhem Enslaved”
11. “World Beyond Pluto”
I was in the mood for another medieval mystery so I read Peter Tremayne’s Absolution By Murder. The novel features the feisty Sister Fidelma of Kildare, Ireland. The King of Northumbria calls a conclave to determine matters of religion. The event is barely underway when one of the principal characters, Abbess Etain, is found murdered. Her throat had been cut. The King asks Sister Fidelma and Brother Eadulf to investigate. More deaths occur as Sister Fidelma and Brother Eadulf uncover a political plot intertwined with the religious controversies. The action is set in 664 A.D. It doesn’t get more medieval than this! GRADE: B
Rick Robinson posted a review of Sharan Newman’s short stories here. As a result, I located a copy of Sharan Newman’s first Catherine LeVendeur mystery, Death Comes As Epiphany, and read it in one sitting. I’m a fan of medieval mysteries like Ellis Peter’s Brother Cadfael series and Michael Jecks’ murder novels. Sharan’s Catherine is a young woman who loves books and scholarship which leads her family to send her to the Convent of Paraclete. But a manuscript Catherine has worked on is missing and could be part of a plot to discredit their patron, Peter Abelard. Catherine is sent to recover the manuscript. But then there’s a murder. Catherine’s investigation is hampered by the religious debates of 12th Century Paris. Newman gives an authentic portrayal of the religious controversies of those times (I’ve never seen so much Latin in a mystery novel!). The story moved quickly and I enjoyed the entire novel. I’ve already ordered the next book in the series. GRADE: B+
This second volume of Bad Girls of Film Noir features Janis Carter, Ida Lupino, Cleo Moore, Jan Sterling, and Audrey Totter. Night Editor (1946), One Girl’s Confession (1953), Woman’s Prison (1955), and Over-Exposed (1956) fill out this 2-DVD set. After watching these films and comparing them with the films of today, it’s obvious that women’s roles have diminished. The actresses in Bad Girls of Film Noir, Volume 2 have much more range. Special Features include the original theatrical trailers to One Girl’s Confession, Women’s Prison, and Over-Exposed. In addition, an episode of All Star Theater, “Remember to Live,” rounds out disc 1. If you’re a fan of film noir, you’ll enjoy this. GRADE: B+
Andy Weir’s The Martian reminded me of Swiss Family Robinson. Yes, it’s a survival story. An astronaut is left behind when a NASA mission departs the Red Planet. Oops! But this astronaut is clever and resourceful. He manages to grow food and provide a supply of air. All of this is told in great technical detail. Of course, things go wrong. NASA attempts a rescue mission, but that runs into difficulties, too. If you’re a fan of race-against-the-clock stories, The Martian will be right up your alley. Andy Weir’s The Martian was first an ebook and then Crown published it as a traditional book. Either way, the story is gripping. GRADE: B