Thursday, October 11, 2012

Not So Elementary

Seventy-five percent of the time, when I go to the bookstore, I am not looking for anything specific. I like to wonder around, perusing the shelves, hoping to find something new. And so it was, last week, when I entered the local Barnes & Nobles.

As B&N does not have a section just for horror, I start in the “Literature” section, where the horror novels dwell. Then I move on to “Science Fiction and Fantasy.” Finally, I check out the “Mystery” section, and it was here that something caught my eye.

There, on the “new book” shelf I saw a picture of a boar-headed soldier, astride a horse. Below this wonderfully bizarre image was the title: Sherlock Holmes: The Army of Dr. Moreau. Finally, at the very bottom of the cover, the author's name: Guy Adams (The World House; Restoration).

This is not the book I will be reviewing today.

Looking over the book, I learned that it was the second Holmes adventure penned by Mr. Adams. I rushed, well, strolled, well, turned around, and right there, in the “A” section (shocking, I know) was Guy Adams first Holmes novel: Sherlock Holmes: The Breath of God.

This is the book I am reviewing.

A body, killed by mysterious means. A dire warning, brought to Holmes by a semi-reputable source (more on that, in a moment). A second bizarre death. And with that, Holmes and Watson are drawn in to a horrifying mystery.

I'm trying to avoid giving anything away. Except...

The characters. Adams has drawn on some rich literary history, for his book. First, we have the semi-reputable, at least in Holmes' eyes, Dr. John Silence, Physician Extraordinary, created by Algernon Blackwood. Next, we meet Thomas Carnacki, The Ghost Finder, created by William Hope Hodgson. Followed by The Demonologist, Julian Karswell, created by M.R. James. Finally, we have Aleister Crowley, created by his parents, I guess, rounding out the cast.

While doing his utmost to stay true to the characters, Adams manages to add some depth to their personalities. While all are quite similar in occupation, the author makes each of them distinct. And Crowley is, well, Crowley.

Adams does a fine job, capturing the voice of Watson, the narrator (of course), without slavishly copying the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The plot moves at a brisk pace, with plenty of spooky scenes; perfect for reading on a dark and stormy night. He captures turn of the century London, at least the way that I have always envisioned it, quite well.

As for Sherlock, he is as brilliant, arrogant, and snarky as ever. As a life long fan of Holmes, I find no fault in Adams' portrayal of the “Consulting Detective.”

As Sherlock Holmes rides a new wave of popularity, due, in no small part, to the feature films starring Robert Downey Jr., and the BBC television show, I hope that fans, old and new, pick up Sherlock Holmes: The Breath of God, and feel the thrills and chills that Guy Adams has wrought.

Oh, and I will be reading Sherlock Holmes: The Army of Dr. Moreau very soon. So, stay tuned

Sunday, May 6, 2012

City of the Lost

A few weeks ago, I went to Barnes & Nobles to pick up the new Jonathan Maberry novel, Assassin's Code. It was sitting on the new book table, at the front of the store, so I grabbed a copy on my way in, and carried it around, as I looked over all the other goodies on the shelves.

And that's when I saw it.

Bright orange spine. Title in black. Author's name in yellow. City of the Lost. Stephen Blackmoore. I'd never heard of the guy, but, what the hell, I'm always looking for something new. I pulled the book off the shelf. Right off the bat, an interesting cover. A cityscape in shades of orange. And in the foreground, a tough guy with a cigarette, a black leather jacket, and a smoking hole in his chest. Ok. You've got my attention.

I flip the book over; read the back cover. Mm hm. Joe Sunday, Leg breaker for the mob, goes out on a job and ends up a zombie. Sorta. And then the freaks come out. Joe is thrust into a dark world of supernatural horror. Sounds good.

And then...those seven words that had me putting Maberry back on the table (Don't worry, Jonathan. I picked up Assassin's Code the next week.) and taking City of the Lost up to the register: "Cover and interior art by Sean Phillips."

I know Sean's art from his work with Ed Brubaker on Criminal, Incognito, and, most recently, Fatale. To me, Sean is the go to guy for noir artwork. His splash pages for the essays in the back of Brubaker's comics are masterpieces. So, yeah, I want this book.

And what a book it is. It's Criminal, with monsters, and I mean that in the best possible way. It's Richard Stark's Parker, stuck in a horror film. It's supernatural noir! (Not to be confused with Supernatural Noir, a great anthology edited by Ellen Datlow, from Dark Horse Books.)

Joe Sunday is a bad guy, but you will find yourself rooting for him, as he goes up against bizarre foes, even badder than he is. You've got a nazi wizard, a feral dwarf, an incubus bartender, and, of course, a beautiful femme fatale. Everyone is looking for a magic stone. Most want it for something nefarious. Joe needs it to keep from rotting away. They all walk the dark streets of L.A., wheeling, dealing, and dying, as the clock ticks down to the final confrontation.

Blackmoore's writing is slick and fast, like his characters, and Sean Phillip's art is as fantastic as ever. The violence is nice and bloody, and the story is filled with twists and turns. This book is great as both horror and noir, and I would recommend it for fans of both.

I certainly wish for Stephen Blackmoore to have a long and fruitful writing career. Purely for selfish reasons, of course. I want to read much more of his work. (That's the problem with discovering a new author. No backlog to dig up and enjoy.) So, thanls to Stephen and Sean for some great entertainment. Keep it up guys.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Inkeepers

Before I get into The Inkeepers, Let me tell you a little bit about my history with Ti West. Years ago, I heard of this movie, The Roost, by some hot shot young director (That would be mister West). The reviews I read were all positive, so, when I found a used copy of the movie on DVD, I picked it up, took it home, watched it, and...was not impressed. Flash forward to Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, another film directed by Ti. I loved the first Cabin Fever, so I had high hopes. Not impressed. (At the time I was unaware that Mr. West was not happy with the final cut of the film, but that's neither here nor there.)

I decided to give up on what I assumed was an over hyped writer/director.

Jump ahead to just a few weeks ago, when I was asked to guest co-host on Fangirl Radio. (Check it out, on You won't be disappointed.) The guest was Ti West. I knew that The House of the Devil was streaming on Netflix, so I decided it was time to reacquaint myself with the works of the man.



The House of the Devil is a beautifully shot movie with great acting, great dialogue, and a slow burn story that builds to a bloody climax.

Shit. I forgot. Not long ago, I ran across The Roost on late night tv. As I had nothing better to do, I decided to give it another chance, and I quite enjoyed it.

Anyway, The Inkeepers came out on bluray (and DVD, of course) the day after we (we being Jessica Dwyer [THE fangirl], Ren Willocks, and myself) spoke with Ti, so I ran out and picked up a copy. I have just finished watching, and I figured I should write this, whikle it's all fresh in my mind. (Not that it will make me any more coherent.)

Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) are working at The Yankee Pedlar, during it's last weekend of business. The only guests are an angry woman and her young son, and an old actress (played by Kelly McGillis) who has psychic powers. Claire and Luke are searching for proof that the inn is haunted. Funny stuff happens. Spooky stuff happens. That's all you need to know about the story. You ARE going to watch the movie, right?

Despite a rocky start to our "relationship," The Innkeepers has solidified my fandom of Ti West. I think that one of Ti's strengths, which shines in this movie, is his natural sounding dialogue, which the actors deliver with top notch ability. Hopefully you will understand when I say that it doesn't sound like actors delivery their lines, it just seems like two (or three, or whatever) people talking. To me, this is a sign of true talent.

The story itself has that Ti West slow build, that eventually leads to a truly frightening end. This movie isn't a splatterfest, or one scare after another; it takes it's time, letting us get to know, and care about, the characters. Again, another sign of a master storyteller.

Sara Paxton (The Last House on the Left [remake], Shark Night 3D) is quirky and cute, as Claire. Ti said that this role is the closest to the real Sara, and I think it shows. She doesn't seem to be acting. And, I know, good actors never seem like thay are acting, so Sara may take my statement as a double compliment. She is NOT "glammed up," and I think that is why I find her cuter here, than in any other movie I have seen her in. I didn't dislike her, in her other films, but I like her very much in this one.

Pat Healy (Ghost World, Magnolia)...well, the first thing I thought, when seeing him, was "Hey! He looks kinda like Jeffrey Combs!" (I think it's the nose.) That is, Jeffrey Combs with a fauxhawk. Pat plays things low key, imbueing Luke with a dry humor and quiet charm.

Sara and Pat work well together, giving the film a warm, friendly, easy going feel, until, well, until the shit hits the fan. Ti West picked two great leads, for his best film to date. If he keeps up with the top notch writing, casting, and directing, I will keep up with purchasing and watching.

So, do yourself a favor, and check out The Innkeepers. And The House of the Devil. And Fangirl Radio (On!)

Sunday, March 11, 2012



I take it all back.

Ok, not all, but dude went nuts and got what he deserved. I still would have prefered seeing Carl do the deed to LIVE Shane, as opposed to UNDEAD Shane.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

It's Sally Time!

The snow is melting, birds are singing in the yard, and the breeze carries the sounds of screams and a chainsaw. Spring is on the way, and Chainsaw Sally is bringing the heat.
Episode 6 of The Chainsaw Sally Show Season 2: Season Of The Bitch has just gone live (dropped? I don't fucking know), and I felt that now was the time to pour my guts out, play with them a bit, put them back in, and then write about Sally.
Quick recap: Chainsaw Sally is the creation of JimmyO and April Monique Burril. First she was an internet hostess. Then, the subject of a low budget film. Next came the internet show and the special "It's Groundhog Day, Chainsaw Sally." Now, the intenet show is back for season two, which is bigger and better than ever.
I'm a fan of gore, low budget films, gore, snappy dialogue, gore, hot women, gore, and, uhm, gore. Chainsaw Sally has all of this, and more.
I could go on and on about the great writing, the fun (and scary) characters, the addition of JimmyO (as the frightening Angel Eyes) and Debbie Rochon (as Blondie. SO talented and beautiful) to the cast, or the death of...well..I don't want to give that one away. But what I really want to talk about is my favorite aspect of the show: the relationship between Sally and her brother Ruby (played with demented glee by Azman Toy).
The greatest sibling pair since Cain and Abel, Sally and Ruby are more fun than a barrel of piranhas and monkeys. I'm getting choked up, just thinking about the love that these two have for each other. (Or it could be a little hooker skin, stuck in my throat.) April and Azman bring these two to vivid, crazy life; the loving, frustrated mother/sister and the man-child, who rebels, while still clinging to the only family he has really known.
I could easily watch an entire episode with just the Sally and Ruby puttering around the house, talking about their day, discussing what to have for dinner, what movie to watch, hell, anything. I still laugh, every time I think of Sally asking, in that exasperated tone, "Was your dick with you all day?" (I may think about that more than is healthy, but it's so damn funny!)
The role of Ruby was originated by Alec Joseph, but Azman has taken the part and made it his own. He's a cute little fucker, who exudes a demented innocence. You can't help but feel bad for him, when Sally goes into lecture mode, even if he deserves the frying pan to the head that is on it's way. And I don't think that Sally takes any joy out of wielding that frying pan, and the contusions she creates are filled with equal parts blood and love.
I want to thank JimmyO, April, and Azman for bringing these great characters to life, and bringing a little warmth to these last cold days of winter. (Okay, it hasn't been that cold, but you know what I mean.)
So, go to and check out the show. Come for the blood (and boobs), but stay for the love.

Monday, March 5, 2012


HERE BE SPOILERS! (Seriously, if you are not caught up on The Walking Dead, you may want to stop reading...NOW!)

I started reading the comic book The Walking Dead when the first tpb collection came out. The zombie genre had just recently risen from the grave, and had yet to saturate the market. (At this point, I fear being bored to death more than I fear the zombie apocalypse.) TWD was fresh; masterfully crafted by Robert Kirkman. And the first trade collection ended with one of my favorite scenes in the series, the death of Shane.
For those of you who have watched the show, but not read the comic, remember the scene in season one, when Shane had Rick in his crosshairs, out in the woods, and Dale came along and, well, nothing really happened? In the comic (issue #5 or #6, I believe.), at that Rick in the crosshairs moment...BLAM! Carl pops Shane right in the head.
I was SO hoping to see that scene in season one of the TV show. It is simply bold story telling, and would have said to me that AMC was willing to take chances. (I have taken to calling that kind of scene a "Joss Whedon moment." That dude will kill ANYONE.) Let me be clear, I didn't want Shane dead, I just wanted him to be killed. Does that make sense?
But now? Well, now I'm glad that Shane is still around. He is, hands down, the best character on the show. (Not to be confused with the best PERSON on the show.) Shane is complex, conflicted and confused. He loves Rick like a brother, but he also loves Lori and Carl (and the baby he believes is his) like, well, not a sister and a nephew. He wants to keep the group alive, but Lori and Carl come first.
Let's get this next bit out of the way. The one TRULY bad thing that Shane has done was the attempted rape of Lori. It was a reprehensible act, for which there is no excuse. For this alone, Shane should be punished. But, the show has moved on, and so shall we.
Some people I know feel that the sacrifice of Otis was a selfserving act, on Shane's part. I have to disagree. I like to think that if theirs were the only lives in the balance, Shane would have kept fighting for the both of them. BUT, Carl's life was on the line, and, as already stated, Shane's love for Carl trumps just about anything. If Shane hadn't done what he did, Otis, Carl, and Shane would all be dead. Shane is making some tough calls, and living with the results.
I do agree with Andrea, that he could tone it down a bit. The massacre at the barn was a rash, dangerous act. The smart thing to do, if you wanted to kill all the zombies in the barn, would have been to pick them off from the loft, not let them loose. Shane is a hothead, no doubt. Perhaps he's a bit stressed.
I do think that Shane should quash his amorous feelings for Lori. Rick is back. Period. There is nothing wrong with caring for them, but he needs to move on. (Oh. I do think that Shane did the right thing, lying to Lori, to get her back to the farm. Frankly, I think she was an idiot for leaving the way she did.)
Did I mention complexity?
I would still LOVE to see Carl kill Shane; that would be a great TV moment. But, I am glad that Shane has been around, giving us a wonderful character to both cheer for and grumble about.
Now, about that Daryl guy...

Oops. I almost forgot about Randy. I can certainly see the sense in killing him; Shane isn't completely wrong there. Even if Randy is honest in his current assertion that he wouldn't lead his group to the farm, it's possible that, if he were returned to his crew, he may eventually come to believe that a life on the road is too much, and that the farm is a better option. I can't wait to see what OUR crew decides to do.