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Mr. Mercedes
Stephen King
A Long Line of Dead Men (Matthew Scudder)
Lawrence Block

The Devil Knows You're Dead (Matthew Scudder, #11)

The Devil Knows You're Dead (Matthew Scudder, #11) - Lawrence Block A man is gunned down and the person deemed responsible is caught red handed at the scene of the crime. While the accused’s brother realizes that the evidence is damning, he cannot imagine his brother committing such a horrible act. He remembered meeting a man who identified himself as a detective during an AA meeting and reaches out for his help. The man in question is Matt Scudder and he agrees to take the case even though he has his doubts he’ll make a difference.

As with all the books in Block’s Scudder series, one of the most important characters is New York City itself. Whether he’s writing about dingy bars like the infamous Grogen’s or the folks that live in the city’s high-end condos, Block finds away to let the Big Apple play a central role in all of Matt’s cases. While talking with a homeless man about the shooting, the man tells Scudder that even though he shares the same neighborhood as the deceased, they couldn't be further apart.

"Man, how would they know him? He didn’t live here."

"Of course he did," I said. "You can see his building from here."

He made a show of following my finger as I pointed at the top floors of Holtzmann’s apartment building. "Right," he said. "That’s where he lived, up on the fortieth floor."

The twenty-eighth, I thought.

"That’s another country up there," he said. "Man commuted from the fortieth floor over there to some other fortieth floor where his office is at. Where you and me are is the street. Man like that, the street’s just a place he’s got to pass through twice a day, getting from one fortieth floor to another."

The Devil Knows You’re Dead is seemingly about Matt wandering through different worlds without ever leaving New York City. However, I suppose that’s life in and of itself. No one carries the exact same experiences that make up a life and because of this, everyone seemingly exists within a different world. With Scudder being a detective, he finds himself drifting in and out of the lives of others, trying to see the world from their eyes while absorbing as much as possible.

Of course while the crime plays an important part in this novel, it’s what Matt experiences in the course of the investigation that gives the story its legs. Whether he’s exposing his sometimes sidekick TJ to questionable situations, comforting an old friend who has received devastating news or figuring out where his relationship with his girlfriend Elaine stands, The Devil Knows You’re Dead is a very important novel for the character of Matt Scudder.

The Little Sister

The Little Sister - Raymond Chandler “Wonderful what Hollywood will do to a nobody. It will make a radiant glamour queen out of a drab little wench who ought to be ironing a truck driver’s shirts, a he-man hero with shining eyes and brilliant smile reeking of sexual charm out of some overgrown kid who was meant to go to work with a lunchbox. Out of a Texas car hop with the literacy of a character in a comic strip it will make an international courtesan, married six times to six millionaires and so blasé and decadent at the end of it that her idea of a thrill is to seduce a furniture mover in a sweaty undershirt.”

A woman from small town Kansas travels to California and hires Marlowe to track down her missing brother. In his quest to locate the man in question, Chandler will take Marlowe into the world of Hollywood and the shady characters that occupy it.

In The Little Sister, Chandler packs about ten pounds of plot into a two pound sack. As many of his fans have said, trying to follow a Marlowe novel is about as simple as reading a road map upside down and backwards. Ice picks, gunshots and fist on face violence make up the fifth installment of Chandler’s signature series and while the plot twists hit harder than a flurry of punches to the solar plexus, it’s Chandler’s writing that once again blew me away.

Not known for having a positive worldview, Chandler is increasingly bitter this time around. Briefly working as a screenwriter in Tinseltown, certain experiences soured him on the whole industry. Through Marlowe, he muses on the whole damn state of California, hitting it with stinging criticism.

“California, the department store state. The most of everything and the best of nothing.”

“I ate dinner at a place near Thousand Oaks. Bad but quick. Feed ‘em and throw ‘em out Lots of business. We can’t bother with you sitting over your second cup of coffee, mister. You’re using money space. See those people over there behind the rope They want to eat. Anyway they think they have to. God knows why they want to eat here. The could do better home out of a can.”

“They are what human beings turn into when they trade life for existence and ambition for security.”

Despite his general dislike for most of the people he meets, Marlowe spends the entire novel manipulating evidence and tipping the scales in favor of others which makes the ending all that more shocking. If you saw it coming, I’ll bake you a dozen cookies.

I’m sad to see that I’m reaching the end of my Marlowe marathon. Two more Chandler-written novels remain with arguably the best of the best on the horizon. The Little Sister may not be sitting at the top but it’s certainly a worthy piece of Marlowe legacy.

Smoke & Mirrors and Steven Seagal: The Burning Pants of Popular Culture

Smoke & Mirrors and Steven Seagal: The Burning Pants of Popular Culture - Stuart Millard Ever hear about that time Bill Murray swiped a lady’s french fry and left her with the words "..and no one will ever believe you?" What about the allegedly telekinetic James Hydrick? How about pro-wrestlers Brian Pillman and Hulk Hogan – two men who fooled promoters and fans alike. These are the subjects that Stuart Millard tackles in his collection of essays dubbed; “Smoke & Mirrors and Steven Seagal.”

Smoke & Mirrors was a fun, quick read. Millard clearly did his homework when it came to all the pop culture topics he explored. It certainly doesn't hurt that he’s hilarious as well. There were more than a few occasions I found myself laughing out loud. I’m sure he could have just compiled all the rumors and tall tales surrounding several of the text’s subjects but where’s the fun in that? Had it not been for his endlessly entertaining wit, I’m not sure the book would be as enjoyable a read.

For someone like myself – who is as big a pro wrestling fan as they come – I had a great time during the Hogan and Pillman bits. His dissection of the immeasurable number of lies spewed from the mouth of Hulk Hogan had me in tears from laughter. Such highlights include:

Hogan once kicked John Belushi out of a bar in 1986 – despite the fact Belushi died four years prior to that night.

Hogan saying that Andre The Giant died days after he bodyslammed him in 1987 at WrestleMania III. Andre died six years later.

Darren Aronofsky begged him to star in his 2008 film, The Wrestler (he did not). Oh and his films, Mr. Nanny and Santa with Muscles made thirty to forty million.

It should be worth noting that Millard runs a blog dubbed Frantic Planet. Seeing as a few of these essays are basically expanded blog posts, much of his new material should be in line with what’s on the site.

Cross posted @ Every Read Thing

One Kick

One Kick - Chelsea Cain As a child, Kit “Kick” Lanigan was abducted in broad daylight. Missing for nearly six years, an intensive FBI investigation led to her recovery. Ten years later, at age twenty-one, One Kick follows Lanigan as she struggles with PTSD, dodges reporters who are desperate for updates while distancing herself from her fame-hungry mother. When not firing her Glock or learning a new self-defense discipline, Kick keeps her ear to the ground regarding recent abductions, struggling to find a way to help.

Everything changes when a mysterious man named “Bishop” shows up at her door asking for her help. He’s with a group that works to recover missing children and asks for Kick’s assistance. Can Kick lend a hand and help locate two missing children or will her past get in the way?

I received a review copy from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review.

The character of Kit Lanigan is a memorable one and her struggle to maintain somewhat of a normal life following her abduction felt very realistic. In a world where news coverage is literally twenty four-seven, reporters are always desperate for content so when an event like Kit’s rescue captures the hearts and minds of America, it’s only natural that the public are going to want follow-up stories; whether Kit likes it or not. It certainly doesn't help matters that her mother clings to her daughter’s relevance in the same vein as a Dina or Michael Lohan, always trying to parade her daughter into the public eye.

While Bishop and Kit work well together – Kit’s intimate knowledge of the type of person they’re hunting is invaluable – I always felt that Kit played second fiddle to Bishop far too often. I get that she’s less experienced than she thinks she is when it comes to tracking criminals but it seemed like Bishop was picking up the pieces more than he should have to.

This was my first Chelsea Cain experience and while I wasn't blown away, I did enjoy myself. I’d be interested in seeing where the series goes from here and whether or not Kit can evolve into a true kick-ass heroine.

Cross posted @ Every Read Thing

Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation

Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation - Blake J. Harris When the folks at Nintendo released the 8-bit NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), the home console industry was on its last legs. Following a spectacular crash of the gaming market in 1983 (Atari’s E.T. fiasco), Nintendo had its work cut out for it if it believed it could take the medium off of life support. By limiting supply, taking a hard stance on game quality and working with some of the largest retailers in North America, the Japanese company single-handedly resurrected the industry and put gaming back into the popular culture.

While Nintendo was enjoying record profits and unparalleled success, a competitor was sitting on the sidelines, struggling to find a way to get into the game. Sega had released their own 8-bit console dubbed The Master System and while they sold a respectable number of units, they were nothing more than a blip on Nintendo’s radar. With their new 16-bit (double the power of the NES) next generation console, the Sega Genesis, they needed a true visionary to lead the company into battle.

Enter Tom Kalinske. While he’s not a name you may know at first glance, his work with toy giants Mattel and Matchbox could be considered legendary. Armed with a team of marketing mavens, Kalinske would revolutionize the gaming industry and take it to Nintendo like no one had before.


Being born in 1984, I was the target market for both Sega and Nintendo. However, I was lucky enough to own both consoles. Having lived through their fiercely competitive battle, I thought I knew a great deal about each company’s drive to control the gaming market. Turns out, I was wrong. I learned so much from this book and Harris’ choice to present this in a narrative style kept the pages turning and made putting the book down nearly impossible.

Tom Kalinske’s dream team of marketing experts did so much to revolutionize the industry. They beat Nintendo to the 16-bit market, they organized the first ever global video game launch with Sonic 2sday (the first “street date” established for a video game with their sequel to the mega-successful Sonic The Hedgehog) and even went so far as to blatantly attack their competition with their commercials and the "Welcome to the Next Level" campaign.

As with any business, competition forces creativity. Nintendo had a virtual stranglehold on console gaming and without Sega’s constant drive to be better, Nintendo may not have explored the true power of the SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System). Games like Mario Kart, Star Fox and the groundbreaking Donkey Kong Country may never have been made if Sega had not forced Nintendo’s hand.

While Sega was never able to reach the dizzying heights they had with subsequent consoles (the Sega Saturn or the Sega Dreamcast), their hard work and brilliant ideas can still be felt throughout the industry today. Their signature character Sonic the Hedgehog continues to appear in countless games developed for the three leading video game companies - one of which being Nintendo itself!

I could go on and on about just how fantastic this book is but I’ll let the subject matter speak for itself. While I haven’t read [b:The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal|6326920|The Accidental Billionaires The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal|Ben Mezrich|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320527444s/6326920.jpg|6512514] or [b:Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game|1301|Moneyball The Art of Winning an Unfair Game|Michael Lewis|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388176510s/1301.jpg|416305], it’s been said that if you were a fan of those releases, you should pick this one up next.

**Console Wars is currently being developed for a feature length film release as well as a documentary.

Cross posted @ Every Read Thing

Check out my interview with Blake!

Crooked Little Vein

Crooked Little Vein - Warren Ellis Mike McGill is a self-professed shit magnet and as an independent private investigator, he’s brought some bizzare work by some even stranger clientele. However, nothing holds a candle to the job he’s been hired for by the president’s heroin-addicted chief of staff. Tasked with tracking down a secret second constitution, Mike is about to push his sanity to its absolute breaking point; to a place he may never return from.

If watching a copy of Godzilla spliced with audio from a porno seems like your thing, then this book may be for you.

If injecting saline into your testicles with a group of spray-tanned body builders sounds like a good time, then this book may be for you.

If milking a cow using your mouth sounds like a refreshing way to quench your thirst, then this book may be for you.

Enough of the tired, Jeff Foxworthy routine. This book is straight up whack (are cool people still using this word?). Ellis does a great job injecting a wild and weird plot into the tried and true detective genre. While it’s not particularly as smooth or satisfying as your standard hard boiled fare, it’s not particularly bad either.

I feel almost like Ellis created all these insane characters first and the story came later. While the whole quest to track down the alien bound secret constitution is absolute insanity, what should really be taken away from Ellis’ story is what it means to be free. Sure, people can do some seriously messed up stuff but if they’re not hurting anyone, who are we to judge? While The White House longs for the days of the nuclear family and the white picket fence, sacrificing personal freedom for old fashioned values probably isn’t the path to take.

Crooked Little Vein is a fun, short read. If you’re a fan of the first person detective genre and are looking for something different, this will certainly pull you out of your funk.

The Yankee Club

The Yankee Club - Michael Murphy Former private dick turned author Jake Donovan rides the rails to New York City looking to finish the final chapter of his latest mystery novel. The Big Apple doesn’t hold fond memories for Jake, it’s an unwelcome reminder of what he gave up to pursue his literary aspirations. Home to his former girlfriend, stage actor and the recently engaged Laura Wilson, New York offers painful memories of a long lost love.

While in town, Jake decides to meet up with Mickey, a fellow gumshoe and his old business partner. It’s clear something has Mickey on edge but before Jake can pry it out of him, Mickey is gunned down in cold blood. Can Jake track down Mickey’s killer or is he next in line for the big sleep?

I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Michael Murphy pens a solid mystery that is rich in 1930s culture. The crackling dialogue, the prohibition era setting and the plot are in the same vein as a Hammett or Chandler whodunit. I liked the addition of real life social heavyweights in the New York scene like Babe Ruth and Cole Porter and although I felt the main characters were a little thin, the mystery played out well right up until the very end.

The Yankee Club is the first in Murphy’s Jake & Laura series with a second novel slotted for a January 2015 release from Random House imprint, Alibi.

Expected Release Date: August 12th, 2014

DMZ, Vol. 1: On the Ground

DMZ, Vol. 1: On the Ground - Riccardo Burchielli, Brian Wood, Brian Azzarello In the not-too-distant-future, a new civil war has erupted between the United States of America and the secessionist Free States Army. Both factions have declared the island of Manhattan a Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), leaving those inside to fend for themselves. An intern with Liberty News Network, Matty Roth, has elected to live in the zone and document life inside the war-torn Big Apple.

As the opening trade in a lengthy series, On The Ground does a great job establishing the conflict, as well as key figures on both sides of the battle. It presents life in Manhattan as a day-to-day struggle for citizens who reside within the martial law style society. Although it takes Matty time to establish meaningful relationships and to develop true trust in those offering a helping hand, once he does, he begins to show backbone and discovers the immense power he holds in swaying the public’s perception of the war; a perception that has been skewed by the men and woman behind Liberty News.

The only real issue I have after putting down volume one is with Matty Roth. I get that Wood wants to present Roth as a sort of “fish out of water” but as a character, he’s hard to get a handle on. His behavior is erratic and his view is constantly changing – almost too much – to the point where it’s difficult to believe Roth truly believes in anything, which of course raises the question as to why he’s even sticking around to begin with.

I believe the series truly has something special here and I’ll be sticking around for the next two trades at the very least. We’ll see where it goes from here.

The King of Lies

The King of Lies - John Hart Ezra Pickens was an old, cold-hearted, womanizing son of a bitch and when his body is discovered with two entry wounds in the side of his skull, there’s no shortage of suspects. The problem for his son, respected lawyer Jackson “Work” Workman Pickens? The detective assigned to the case likes him for the murder and a hefty inheritance in his father’s will gives him one hell of a motive. The problem for the detective? Work didn't do it; he was wrapped in the arms of a woman he was seeing behind his wife’s back. Work suspects his sister but how does he clear his own name without damning his sister?

I had a tremendous experience with Hart’s Edgar Award winning novel The Last Child so I thought I would check out one of his earlier novels – specifically his first one, The King of Lies. Hart’s great flowing prose returns and while he moves the story with ease, a problem lies with his protagonist.

In an interview discussing his novel Iron House, Hart said that he aims to create characters that are essentially normal people trying to come to grips with abnormal situations. With Jackson Pickens, he’s certainly normal enough but his reactions to certain situations are anything but consistent and that’s frustrating as a reader. I couldn't get a handle on this guy and found it difficult to become absorbed into the story. I felt like I never really knew the character and while I’m not exactly looking for predictability in a story, I’d like for characters’ reactions to be somewhat logical. And don’t get me started on Barbara or Vanessa.

I’m also kind of wishy-washy on the ending. On one hand, I do like how Hart basically recaps the entire novel and deals with any questions that he may have otherwise left unanswered but on the other hand, I don’t like where Hart leaves the characters – I was left with a bad taste in my mouth so to speak. When it comes to Work, I don’t feel like he deserved the ending he got.

Based on The Last Child, I know Hart is better than this novel and with Iron House on deck, I’m hoping for a more enjoyable experience, although I may wait a while before cracking the cover.

Maxwell Street Blues

Maxwell Street Blues - Marc Krulewitch Jules Landau comes from a long line of crooks and thieves but as well all know, your family history doesn't always dictate your future. Attempting to make a career as a P.I., Jules takes on a case involving the murder of Snooky (no, not that Snooky), a family friend who just happens to be an expert money launderer. Hired by Jules’ own ex-con father, can Landau track down Snooky’s executioner or will his family name draw deadly attention?

I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Landau must have scored top spot on the dean’s list at the Philip Marlowe school of hard knocks. Landau is a P.I. who takes a beating and throughout his quest to nab Snooky’s killer, he ends up with more bumps and bruises than Johnny Knoxville in a shopping cart.

Author Marc Krulewitch crafts an interesting and compelling mystery filled with drugs, murder and political maneuvering. Landau deals with a wide cast of characters with help from a plucky journalist, an old school detective mentor and a sultry tattoo artist along the way. There’s a lot to like about this book although I felt at times the case became just a tad convoluted. However, like a great Chandler book, Krulewitch’s prose flows smoothly and keeps the reader turning the pages.

Krulewitch originally released Maxwell Street Blues independently a few years back but it has since been picked up by Random House’s crime imprint Alibi and set for release in August 2014. I’m hoping this is the start of a series as I’d love to read more from him in the future.

Release Date: August 05th, 2014

William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope

William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope - Ian Doescher That William Shakespeare sure wrote a lot of plays, eh? Unfortunately for us, he had to go and die some three hundred and fifty years before George Lucas created Star Wars – talk about your bad timing! Luckily, author Ian Doescher has studied the immortal work of the Bard and has rewritten the classic sci-fi script in iambic pentameter.

I received a free copy from the fine folks at Quirk Books in exchange for an honest review.

Sure, you could look at this book as a joke but the truth is, Doescher puts an interesting spin on the events that unfurled a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Not only has he reworded several of the great quotable lines to fit within the language of Shakespeare’s era but he’s also added several asides creating additional insight into each character’s motivations and thoughts.

It should be worth mentioning that artwork is also inserted depicting characters re-imagined in outfits befitting of a Shakespeare play. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Jaba the Hut draped in Elizabethan garb.


I had a great time reading this book but I felt it worked best in small doses. I couldn't read more than a few scenes in one sitting. This isn't exactly a knock at the book per se, just my own preference in terms of taking in the material.

"I pray thee, sir, forgive me for the mess / And whether I shot first, I’ll not confess!"

The Wolf in Winter (Charlie Parker 12)

The Wolf in Winter (Charlie Parker 12) - John Connolly The citizens of Prosperous, a small town in the state of Maine, have been a fortunate bunch.  Over the years, the town has thrived and its inhabitants have flourished.  But when the death of a homeless man and the disappearance of his daughter bring Detective Charlie Parker to town, secrets threaten to come to the surface.  Can Parker uncover the truth about Prosperous’ darkness or will he end up like many before him – fed to the town.

Connolly opens the twelfth installment of his acclaimed Charlie Parker series with a bang.  Louis, Angel and Parker have been hunting The Collector for months and believe to finally have him cornered.  When things go awry, the focus shifts to the town of Prosperous following a recent event that threatens the town’s peace.  Throughout the rest of the novel, Connolly moves between Parker and a select few of Prosperous’ authority figures creating a quick pace that doesn’t let up until the book is finished.

Louis and Angel are in top form, as always, and Parker’s adversaries are signature evil Connolly creations.  With a series so established, comes a large cast of characters.  Throughout the novel, several folks from Parker’s past make an appearance or two showing the reader just how deep Connolly’s universe is.  It’s a giant sandbox with which he can bury and unearth whomever he wishes.

Connolly ends the novel in an interesting place and as an audience, we’re not sure where he’s going to take the series from here.  If you can’t tell, I’m trying to be as vague as possible to avoid potential spoilers.  We’re told that Parker may never be the same, that his friends and family are worried about his well being. Charlie Parker is getting older and you’ve got to wonder, as a fan, just how long he’ll be able to keep up with the demands of the job.

As always, I’m anticipating just where Connolly is going to take the story next.  I love when he treads into dark territory and The Wolf in Winter is about as bleak as they come.

Also posted @ Every Read Thing

A Swollen Red Sun

A Swollen Red Sun - Matthew McBride Officer Dale Everett Banks comes into money when he nabs fifty-two thousand from the trailer of known meth dealer Jerry Dean Skaggs. When Skaggs discovers his loot is missing, all hell breaks loose. You see, the money wasn’t all his – it’s owed to several partners as well as a crooked cop. With his back against the wall, Jerry Dean has his work cut out for him.

I received a free copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

When it comes to writing, there’s a piece of advice that you’re bound to receive: write what you know. When it came to the setting of Matthew McBride’s new novel and follow up to the excellent Frank Sinatra in a Blender, McBride took that advice and ran with it. A Swollen Red Sun, his new southern noir, takes place in the alleged meth capital of the US, Gasconade County. In a recent interview with Tim Hennessy of Crimespree Magazine, McBride said:

"I think a writer should use region and background to their advantage if the story calls for it. A writer’s background is their strength — one of their strengths — whether they realize it or not. You just tend to draw from the memories you know and the places you've been and the things you've done and seen and the people you've known. I’m a blue-collar factory worker. And I’m proud of that. Knowing who you are inside helps to keep the writing honest."

The heat, the rolling hills and the stretches of forest of Gasconade County are front and center in McBride’s novel and he uses his knowledge of the land to immerse the reader in the true desperation of its residents. Aside from the drug trade, the area is also home to many wineries as well as several hard working farmers. But with every region, there’s always going to be a cross-section of the population who just aren't cut out for that type of work. For those people, there’s always the drug trade to fall back on.

In a county with a population of just over fifteen thousand, there are nearly a dozen meth lab locations found – and those are just the ones known to the police. That's a lot of crank. McBride’s novel explores the struggle in keeping the area clean and the known offenders off the streets. However, with noir, the novel's protagonist isn't exactly the squeaky clean man for the job. While you could certainly do a lot worse than swiping cash from drug dealers, it's still not a noble move for a police officer. While McBride does show the reader a few glimmers of hope within the seemingly doomed community, you wonder if he thinks the area will ever improve.

And of course, there’s the writing. McBride shines again:

"Said he was prepared to shoot and meant it. Warrant or not. Justified or not. He’d rather be judged by twelve than carried by six."

"Banks watched the sun creep over the forest of oak trees and a crack of light broke through the night and grew longer and wider and ate the black like a fungus until the darkness was gone and there was light and it was day."

The only thing I really had issue with was the ending and that’s all on me. While the contents of the novel were as bleak as Sarah Palin’s 2008 vice-presidential aspirations, it sort of ends on a bit of a positive note. While it certainly fits well given McBride’s direction in the final fifty pages or so, I think I would have preferred a more grim aftertaste. Between Frank Sinatra in a Blender and A Swollen Red Sun, McBride has become a must-buy author in my books.

Also posted @ Every Read Thing


Galveston - Nic Pizzolatto "I knew the past wasn’t real. It was only an idea, and the thing I’d wanted to touch, to brush against, the feeling I couldn’t name—it just didn’t exist. It was only an idea, too."

Roy Cady is diagnosed with a terminal illness and if that ain’t bad enough, his boss wants to put him in the ground as soon as possible. When he’s sent on a routine assignment and told not to pack heat, Cady senses that his end may be near. He’s ambushed and while he stands his ground, barely making it out alive, he grabs a bundle of papers and a shocked, terrified young woman. They both hit the road bound for Galveston. The only question that lingers between them: How far will they need to go to ditch the mob?

What is that you say? The guy that created True Detective wrote a novel? What a relief! I guess I can stop stockpiling this army of Pepsi can soldiers.

Nic Pizzolatto wrote one hell of a tremendous first novel. Galveston is violent, poetic and above all else, memorable. Just like his signature character from True Detective Rust Cohle, Roy Cady spends a great deal of time theorizing about the present, the past, and just what the hell is so great about life anyway.

"I've found that all weak people share a basic obsession— they fixate on the idea of satisfaction. Anywhere you go men and women are like crows drawn by shiny objects. For some folks, the shiny objects are other people, and you’d be better off developing a drug habit.”

“Certain experiences you can’t survive, and afterward you don’t fully exist , even if you failed to die."

The best way to describe Roy is Rust Cohle lite. While Cady’s not as bleak, he’s certainly not walking around carrying a bouquet of daisies. While he’s still equipped with one hell of a bullshit detector, at times he comes across as a little more forgiving, more accepting of others.

The acquisition of a terminal illness will certainly make you question your life up to that point. Have I wasted it? Why didn’t I do more with what I had? Cady’s journey from diagnosis to anger to feeling nostalgic for days gone by is a heartbreaking one. An ill advised meetup Roy has with an old flame will crack the most hardened emotional shell of any reader.

Galveston is a great read and an early front runner for my favorite novel read this year. Based on the success of True Detective, I’d be surprised if Nic ever threw his hat back into the novel game. As much as I’d love to read a sophomore effort, more True Detective is an apt trade.

Also posted @ Every Read Thing

Wwe 50

Wwe 50 - BradyGames World Wrestling Entertainment just surpassed their fiftieth anniversary and what better way to celebrate their history than with a massive coffee table book! Author Kevin Sullivan (no, not that Kevin Sullivan) takes the reader from the promotion’s early beginnings as Capitol Wrestling Corporation to the boom period of the 1980s, to the envelope-pushing programming of the late 1990s, all the way to the global media presence they are today.

Full color splash photos coupled with rare shots of items like Vince McMahon’s handwritten schedule from the tenth WrestleMania, early event programs, and throwback merchandise make this book a visual treat. Aside from the main narrative text, Sullivan inserts quotes from legendary performers and current-day grapplers. If you’re a big, big fan of the industry, there’s probably very little that you’ll learn but if you’re anywhere from a casual fan to a newcomer, it’s a great way to kill a few afternoons.

One thing worth noting is the consistent hypocrisy from Vince McMahon in regards to the Monday Night War. As we all know, history is written by the victors and when the dust settled on the battlefield for pro wrestling supremacy in 2001, Vince McMahon and WWE stood tall. However, the same thing is reiterated here just as it has been in prior documentaries, interviews, and books; the employees of WWE cried foul when it came to the fiercely competitive World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and their architect Eric Bischoff.

You see, the professional wrestling landscape we all know today is not what it used to be. Each promotion controlled a set space in the United States (and Canada) and was therefore responsible for bringing wrestling to the masses in their allotted divisions. However, in the 1980s when Vince McMahon took the reins from his father and purchased the then WWF promotion, he decided he wanted to be the defacto presence in the wrasslin’ industry. He embarked on an ambitious campaign across North America to buy out his competitors and offer exclusive contracts to the nation’s hottest performers.

What WCW and Eric Bischoff did in the mid to late 90s was essentially the same thing. Fortunately for Bischoff, he had the ultra-rich Ted Turner bankrolling these massive contracts he offered to main event level WWE stars, luring them to his promotion. Now WCW used lots of other dirty tactics as well (including giving away the odd taped results of Monday Night RAW) but the ability to steal talent and use their established star power was their bread and butter.

While I've always been a hardcore WWE fan as far back as I can remember and I’m glad that they won over that disorganized mess, it’s hard to find any sympathy for a man who essentially did the same thing to everyone else in the country. I always cringe when I read/hear about this stuff because it’s simply not a valid complaint. Essentially, you reap what you sow.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men: Days of Future Past - Chris Calremont This collection is labeled as “Days of Future Past” but seeing as the feature presentation is only a two issue story, there’s a great deal of padding on either side of it and while DOFP is tremendous, everything else in here kind of sucks.

Before the stories even begin, we’re given a massive amount of history bringing us up to date on what has been going down in the X-Men universe. We’re treated to lots of epic storytelling involving the birth of Phoenix, the death of many mutant brethren, and Cyclops’ departure from the group, leaving Storm as team captain.

From there, we’re thrust into a story involving Doctor Strange and the team's venture into a version of Hell inspired by Dante’s Inferno. Nightcrawler is accused of murder and his punishment is brought about by a demon. Sounds cool, right? Well, I was bored to tears and this is mostly due to the horrifically bad dialogue. Tip to Chris Claremont - when you’re using a visual medium like comic books, there’s no need for your characters to tell the reader every single thing they’re doing using the very limited space you have for dialogue. Let the images carry you.

The Days of Future Past story line itself was fantastic and I’m beyond excited for the big screen adaptation in just a few short weeks. From the trailers I've seen, it looks like the screenwriters are playing around with a few of the roles each character has in the original story - which is fine by me. I already have a deep rooted appreciation for anything post-apocalyptic and Claremont and company really nail it. Again, aside from a few complaints about dialogue, DOFP is one of the great stand-out X-Men tales I've read.

The final story involves Christmas and while that’s all well and good in playing to my inner Christmas fanatic, it was in a tough spot having to follow the book’s title track.

If you’re interested in brushing up on the original source material for Marvel’s upcoming X-Men big screen presentation, pick this book up and skip everything else inside. DOFP is the only thing worth checking out here.

Also posted @ Every Read Thing.