Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dennis Lehane's A Drink Before The War


Kenzie and Gennaro are private investigators in the blue-collar neighborhoods and ghettos of South Boston-they know it as only natives can. Working out of an old church belfry, Kenzie and Gennaro take on a seemingly simple assignment for a prominent politician: to uncover the whereabouts of Jenna Angeline, a black cleaning woman who has allegedly stolen confidential state documents. Finding Jenna, however, is easy compared to staying alive once they've got her. The investigation escalates, implicating members of Jenna's family and rival gang leaders while uncovering extortion, assassination, and child prostitution extending from bombed-out ghetto streets to the highest levels of government.

A Drink Before the War, the first in Lehane's acclaimed series with Boston detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro, is a remarkable debut that is at once a pulsating crime thriller and a mirror of our world, one in which the worst human horrors are found closest to home, and the most vicious obscenities are committed in the name of love.
Dennis Lehane’s A Drink Before The War is an expertly crafted neo-noir mystery set in contemporary Boston.  Private Investigator Patrick Kenzie the novel’s narrator and main investigator is a descendant of Spade and Marlowe.  A justifiable cynical observer of human nature with a clear distain for those he is forced to work for. 
Kenzie’s partner Angie Gennaro is a terrific supporting player, not fitting the mold of most female characters, and is a fully developed equal of Kenzie.  Beyond the great depths of A Drink Before The War’s investigators is the simple matter of fact brutality, of the Boston area they inhabit.  Lehane’s tale weaves through domestic violence, racial animosity, poverty cycles, sexual assault and plausible political corruption(none of this conspiracy to assassinate the president shit) without ever proselytizing.  Lehane allows the inhumanity of man to stand alone, and force the reader to reconcile the reflection of the world they live in.  In this Dennis Lehane is the true successor to old detective pulp masters, who were very clearly dismayed with the world beyond their window, yet unable or unwilling to look away. 
The mystery itself, concerns a group of powerful political men in search of an ex-employee who absconded with their property is simple and masterful in its composition.  Lehane does not ask his reader for large leaps of logic, and keeps the mystery simple and human in its elements. 
Lehane’s action sequences are well constructed and give the reader a clear sense of fluid movement (even in a car chase sequence, which I always find quite difficult.).  However toward the end of the novel the gun battles come a bit too frequently for my taste. 
In the End;
Dennis Lehane’s A Drink Before the War is a noble successor to the classics of detective pulp.  Lehane has crafted an excellent mystery with fully formed characters, in the muck of the world today.  Highly recommended.  

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Resident Evil Retribution Review

I am a fan of this film series it should be known, accepting it for madhouse style horror themed action set pieces and little else.  That being said this movie is utter RUBBISH.  The plot is shitty for a Resident Evil film and far stupider than any of the games.  AVOID.

 I would call this a spoiler, except you can't spoil this.  Loads of old dead charters are brought back because everyone is a clone, and Wesker is brought back without any explanation.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Army of Darkness Ash's Christmas Horror

Army of Darkness Ash's Christmas Horror is a one shot with two stories following Ash through two Christmases at the S-Mart.  The first story is a simple melee tale of Deadite smashing action.  The second story owes a great deal to A Christmas Carol and Ash hallucinates his way through the iconic TV specials of Christmas to reaffirm his place as the chosen one.  The strength of this one shot is the brisk pacing.  The writing works and the art while never leaving you in awe is solid.  If you are a fan of any of the Army of Darkness comics you'll dig this.   

The Comix app for Android and I-products in the easiest way to read this issue that was originally released for X-Mas of 08.

Untreed Reads Sale

Everyone needs a break between wrapping presents and visiting relatives, and books are the perfect break. It's a hectic time of year, so let us help you make it through by offering 30% off all Untreed Reads releases at The Untreed Reads Store.

L.A. Confidential Non Traditional Christmas Movie

L.A. Confidential, is great movie for the Holidays.  Starting with Bloody Christmas and including The Christmas Blues by Dean Martin this is the perfect movie for adults strung out on a little too much Frosty and Grinch when Christmas Eve comes around.

Batman Noel by Lee Bermejo

Batman Noel is a retelling on Dicken's Christmas Carol with Batman as Scrooge, Catwoman as Christmas Past, Superman as Christmas Present and Joker as Christmas Future.  Lee Bermejo's wrote and produced the artwork for this very original Batman work.  While it was not a great read, it was never dull, or bad.  To me it represents a true innovator trying something original and succeeding at the task.

Silent Night 2012

I had heard good things about this flick, and figured I would give it a try for the Holidays.  Even with low expectations this was a rather large mistake.  Silent Night fails on virtually every level.  The victims of Santa are introduced mere minutes before their cliched and predictable deaths.  Aside from an abysmal slasher, the mystery elements are poorly done and the reveal of who Santa is is nothing short of stupid.  Just to pad the movie about a go nowhere drug dealer subplot is thrown in and does not matter to any of the other plot elements when it is easily resolved.  

Jaimie King and Malcolm Mc Dowell give solid performances, that are wasted in this uninspired drek.  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ice Harvest by Scott Phillips

Tis the Season...Here's M.R.'s December recommendation

Everywhere you look, trashy people are doing trashy things in this darkly delicious debut comic thriller. Set in the middle of a Christmas Eve blizzard in 1979 Wichita, the novel opens with lawyer-turned-petty-mobster Charlie Arglist marking time before an important meeting with his shady partner, Vic Cavanaugh. After this meeting he plans to leave Wichita hurriedly with a load of cash and, presumably, the enmity of its rightful owner, Bill Gerard, the local head of a larger regional crime syndicate. Charlie and Vic run a string of strip bars around Wichita for Gerard, from which they have been skimming cash on the sly. But Charlie, who sets out to visit all the outposts in his "empire" one last time, lets a drunken spirit of Yuletide sentimentality (or maybe spite) trigger an unprecedented (and therefore highly visible) string of improvisations. He comps some of his dancers' shakedown money, causing a riot at a club; he unwisely lets his would-be girlfriend in on one of Gerard's blackmail scams. Then he and his ex-brother-in-law crash the Christmas gathering of their cumulative ex-family, setting off a whole new string of disasters. For Charlie there is only the imminent future of his escape with Gerard's money, and it isn't until he discovers a fresh corpse buried behind Vic's empty house that he realizes that his future isn't what it used to be. Newcomer Phillips's seedy characters are skillfully developed, particularly the semiremorseful Charlie. The frigid Midwestern setting is the perfect frame for Charlie's wretched situation; the time period emphasizes the low-level viciousness of Charlie's contemporaries, and Phillips wastes no time in piling up the bodies. Charlie's final confrontation with Gerard will likely leave readers nauseated with laughterAaltogether not a bad way to debut in crime fiction.

Why for December?

Scott Phillip's cool assured prose creates a clear almost palpable mood of small town self destruction, and the glimmer that their my a horizon.  The Ice Harvest is a wonderful Neo Noir novel with a dark array of distinct characters, crackling dialogue and Phillip's use of the holiday season never comes off as tacky, but rather as a layer of crime to the residents of Wichita 

Raine Delight Interview

Click Below for my interview on Raine Delight