Sunday, July 28, 2013

Judge Me Not (1951)

An early thriller from JDM, and a good one. It's his version of the dirty town thriller, as the flawed and manly lead (natch), works against the extremely corrupt factions of a small northern city. It's super pulpy, loaded with violence (pretty extreme), greed, and sex. There's a hooker with a heart of gold, and instead of being a terrible cliche, she's actually a decent character.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Rogue Male (1939)

Another book that always shows up in lists of the greatest mystery novels of all time. It was hard to find, but I got a used copy and checked it out. The book is in the man-on-the-run genre. An English aristocrat (we never learn his name) is hunting in a foreign country (almost certainly Germany) and decides to see if he can stalk and kill a dictator (Hitler). He almost succeeds but is caught, tortured, and left for dead. All of this, by the way, is in the first few pages of the book. After that, he is on the run across Europe and then back in England, where he literally goes to ground, creating a burrow where he lives.

This is one strange book, but completely compelling, especially the sequence in Dorset, where the narrator creates his hidey-hole. Beautiful descriptions of the landscape combined with a genuine sense of what it feels like to be hunted. A classic for a reason.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Charlotte Rampling on Dexter

The producers of Dexter scored a major coup in getting Charlotte Rampling for their final season. She plays Vogel, a psychiatrist who was partially responsible for creating Dexter in his formative years. She's like a combination Doctor Frankenstein/mother figure with lots of dark secrets. Needless to say, she's excellent. The always stunning, stylish and gorgeous Rampling has had such a terrific career playing cold, enigmatic woman. A few pictures below.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Last Seen Wearing (1952)

One of those novels that consistently ranks in any top 100 mysteries of all time list. It's long been a book that I've been meaning to check out, but I haven't been able to find a copy from any of the used books sites that I go to. So I resorted to the library, and was glad I did. This is a straight-up procedural, following the case of a missing college student from the points of view of the police force. Apparently, this was a first-of-its-kind, setting the stage for about a hundred Ed McBain novels, and about ten thousand Law and Order episodes.

What's nice, though, is how riveting this book is. It doesn't resort to tricks, or impossible murders, or quirky detectives. It just unfolds like an actual police investigation, the detectives getting closer and closer to the truth. It's dated, but in a good way, like a time capsule that shows you how college students lived in the early 1950s.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

One More Sunday (1984)

An excellent late novel from JDM. It was new subject material for him, as he portrays the machinations of a mega-church. There's a murder as well, but it takes a backseat to the financial and sexual shenanigans of the church's hierarchy. My big problem with this novel is that there are just too many characters, and that the book loses a little bit of steam by not focusing more on one central character. But the writing is amazing.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Hitchcock Sonnets Published ...

I'm thrilled that the very cool ezine District has just published three of my Hitchcock Sonnets: Champagne, Rear Window, and Psycho. You can check them out here.

Champagne, 1928

Rear Window, 1954

Pscyho, 1960