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Whether it be a book, movie, or something else, here’s a critique.

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

11 April 2019

Is it the greatest spy thriller ever written? The Spy Who Came in From the Cold certainly ranks highly on best crime/mystery lists and is considered a quintessential Cold War era spy novel. In it, British agent Alec Leamas becomes part of a careful laid plan. One that even he may not be fully apprised… Read More ›

By Its Cover: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge

A woman holds up a glowing martini glass in front of a green-lit bar. The mix of light and shadow draw the eye, but it’s the subject matter that piques interest: a novel of magic and mixology. Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge is, according to the book blurb, an urban fantasy that “blends alcohol… Read More ›

Aaron Elkins’ Old Bones

An ingenious murder kicks off this award-winning Gideon Oliver mystery. The story opens with a man exploring the tidal pools of Mont St. Michel Bay, but who appears lost in thought. “For many minutes he remained so, unmoving, lost in reflection, and then he tensed suddenly.” He hears the tide rushing in. “The tide! How… Read More ›

The Third Man

Graham Greene’s The Third Man has the aura of familiarity about it. It’s one of those works that’s part of the collective consciousness, much like Romeo and Juliet, Gone with the Wind, The Maltese Falcon, and several Greek myths, that—whether or not one has seen or read them—we have a sense of their basic story… Read More ›

Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent

Radicals, extremists, anarchists, terrorists… they’ve been around in some form since the dawn of civilization. Adolf Verloc would seem an unlikely agent of terror. Ostensibly he was a shopkeeper. “The shop was small, and so was the house. It was one of those grimy brick houses which existed in large quantities before the era of… Read More ›

Top 10 Fantasy Novels of 2018?

Following a look at last year’s top mysteries, it’s time to check out the fantasy novels that were the most popular in 2018. Based on circulation figures at my local library, these were the most checked out fantasy titles in 2018. Some surprising entries ranked high on this year’s list… *** 10. The Invisible Library… Read More ›

Top 10 Mysteries of 2018?

With the advent of a new year, it’s time to take one last look at 2018 and the most popular mysteries that readers picked up. Based on circulation figures at the library where I work, these were the most checked out mysteries in 2018. Not surprisingly women authors ranked supreme taking all top ten slots!… Read More ›

John Polidori’s The Vampyre

Before the arrival of Bram Stoker’s Dracula on the literary scene in 1897, there was Lord Ruthven, “a nobleman, more remarkable for his singularities, than his rank.” Lord Ruthven’s origins and the story in which he appears germinated one infamous night in June 1816 at the same gathering that birthed the idea for Frankenstein. John… Read More ›

Peril & Prayer: a Sister Lou Mystery

“Sister Louise LaSalle, two murders in Briar Coast in three months—and you’re on site for both of them.” So pronounces deputy sheriff Ted Tate upon arriving at the scene of the crime in this second mystery by author Olivia Matthews. Welcome to Briar Coast, a not-so-sleepy town in Upstate New York. The sisters of the… Read More ›

By Its Cover: Footsteps in the Dark

It’s a throwback to what was once considered cool and sophisticated. A man and a woman light up there cigarettes on this cover of Georgette Heyer’s 1932 novel. Though perhaps better known as a writer of Georgian and Regency romances, Footsteps in the Dark was Heyer’s first of several detective novels. Perusing through a selection… Read More ›

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