Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Book Report

Quick catch-up on some of the books I've been reading lately.

JDM's second novel, and it shows, especially in the dialogue, which has a hackneyed, pulled-from-the-movies feel to it. There are set pieces in it, however, that are pretty tense, including an unforgettable showdown at a shack on the outskirts of New Orleans that involves a vicious dog, a hired killer, and an unconscious victim. Other than that, not so good, and as far as I know, the only JDM thriller in which the bad guys are international spies. Didn't work.

Not her best gothic family drama, but a very good read about a mother who will go to any lengths to make sure her daughter has no contact with the outside world. A little slow-going at times, but the ending, especially the last two chapters, are surprising and excellent.

Now this is JDM in his wheelhouse, describing the political and sexual shenanigans that take place during a weekend business conference in an unnamed city. Incredibly grim, this is like the saddest Mad Men episode you'll ever see.

Robert Bloch's Psycho was a big hit before the movie eclipsed it. Hitchcock did not change a lot. The book practically reads as a scene for scene treatment of the movie, except for details here and there. A very creepy book, obviously, and even knowing exactly how it would turn out, I enjoyed it a lot.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Brit Crime

I've been enjoying Broadchurch immensely while not exactly understanding why it was so massively popular in England (almost as popular as Downton Abbey is what I heard). It's very good, with interesting detectives, and a murder case in which every townsperson is a suspect or a red herring. I'm about halfway through so we'll see how it plays out. I do like it a lot but I don't yet see why it's necessarily better than this past season of Endeavor, for example

Bringing us to Endeavor, naturally, in which Shaun Evans plays a young Inspector Morse, encountering Oxford's ridiculously high murder rate in 1966. It was a good season, but it was really topped off by a superb final episode, called Home, a wintry, moody two hours in which the stakes got raised very high. And as good as Evans is, Roger Allam is just as good as his hardnosed boss Thursday.

Then there's Luther. I just started it tonight. One hour of grimness and bleakness and violence and stress. I'm hoping they bring back Alice soon. She may be a serial killer and a psychopath but she brings some playfulness to the proceedings. I'm assuming she'll be back because I'm pretty sure I saw her in the promo, but there are already a lot of balls in the air from the pilot episode, including a romantic subplot with Idris Elba and Sienna Guillory. Luther is not a particular favorite but Elba is watchable in anything.