Crime Fiction

40 posts

Book jacket: The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes

Book Review: The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes


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As befits a former poet, Hughes’s writing is economical yet stylish, atmospheric without being fussy. And as with almost any vintage detective novel, there are many pleasures to be had in the details of an earlier America.

Broken Harbor by Tana French

Book Review: Broken Harbor by Tana French


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Right out of the gate, French displayed a gift for rich psychological plots, complex characterizations, and evocative prose. With her fourth, Broken Harbor, she continues to mature as a writer and (one hopes) to delight and collect more readers across the English-speaking world.

Book Review: Harriet by Elizabeth Jenkins


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Her measured and elegant style does indeed evoke Austen, and the grace of the writing makes the book all the more chilling. With pitiless clarity, Jenkins limns the process of self-deception by which four people, for the most ordinary of motives, bring themselves to commit murder by deliberate neglect.

Yes Academy, We Do Need To Talk About Kevin


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This film will upset you. This film will follow you home and haunt you. This film takes courage to face. You will not forget We Need To Talk About Kevin.

Trailer Watch: Sherlock Holmes 2, The Woman In Black, Chronicle


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This week is rife with compelling but problematic new trailers. Compelling but problematic but informative. Without excessive judgment before the fact, here are a few early impressions.

The Weekly Listicle: The Art Of The Heist


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This week, I join forces with Brett Davinger to chronicle some of the best heists, rip-offs, and holdups ever put on screen. So just sit quietly and keep your hands away from the phone, where we can see them. This won’t take long.

Book Review: The Craigslist Murders by Brenda Cullerton


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An interior “desecrator” who despises the bored super-rich housewives who can afford her services, she lives amongst people for whom money has dissolved away the real world, and takes her revenge by smashing their heads in with the poker which she carries wrapped in a yoga mat.

The Weekly Listicle: A Question Of Identity


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Identity is a wonderful device for deception and suspense in storytelling. In some cases a whole plot hinges on whether or not someone is who they claim to be. The quest for identity, whether inwardly or outwardly direction, may lead to all manner of obsession, danger, and mischief.

Chloe Moretz attacks in Let Me In

“Let Me In!” Cries A Voice In The Night


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A certain writer for the California Literary Review has thoughtfully distilled a whole year of reviews, reactions, and reflections into two comprehensive and well-researched essays entitled “The 10 Best Movies of 2010” and “The 10 Worst Movies of 2010.” Having been too shiftless to organize a retrospective list of my own, I take grave exception. One of the most entertaining movies of the year failed to rouse sufficient praise or sufficient scorn in his heart to make either list.

Brighton Rock Rises Again. Graham Greene Abides.


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Acclaimed screenwriter Rowan Joffé will try his hand at the directing game next year. For his debut, he has selected an auspiciously high-profile story. Brighton Rock, adapted from Graham Greene’s 1938 novel, is a captivating crime thriller and a chilling exploration of the human capacity for love, betrayal and violence. If all goes right, this will be one beautiful and scary film.

A Watchful Eye On… Sherlock Holmes


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Sherlock Holmes as a strict Victorian period piece is over and done with, but the character still has potential in a new context. The only rule is not to stray from the unique faculties that make Sherlock such a distinctive and popular hero. If the story’s focus ceases to be the detective’s brilliant deductive logic, then the magic is lost and the character wasted. If, however, due attention and respect are paid to this detail, the rest is free and open to broader interpretation.

Movie Time Nostalgia, Part 2: North By Northwest Revisited


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I got myself a videotape of Alfred Hitchcock’s North By Northwest at a young age, and proceeded to watch the ever-living hell out of it. I can’t recall having seen what you might call a grown-up movie before that, and a lot of dramatic films that I love now might not have held my attention then. But North by Northwest really has got it all.

Book Review: The Last Surgeon by Michael Palmer


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Garrity is an archetype, an ill-understood and imperiled hero who after overcoming every obstacle, exits hand-in-hand with the alluring heroine. It is part of the fun for our heroes to be bigger, somehow, than life, and for villains to be so brilliantly inventive and evil as to rival Satan himself. This fictional world of good and bad provides the reader with a comforting temporary escape from the real world with all its pesky shades of gray.