Showing posts with label thriller. Show all posts
Showing posts with label thriller. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

[Review] - 'Down Range' by Taylor Moore

A Down Range paperback (published by William Morrow) had been sitting on a Walmart shelf collecting dust for nearly two months when I finally bought it. What lured me in was the back-cover quote from Providence Journal - "A masterwork of classic storytelling: a man defending his own in the best tradition of John Wayne or Clint Eastwood film." I'm in no way a John Wayne fan, but I love anything Eastwood-related.

Monday, September 13, 2021

[Review] - Evil Seeds: The Ultimate Movie Guide to Villainous Children

Something's wrong with the children. They're murdering classmates, torturing parents, speaking in tongues, drinking human blood, and practicing black magic. Your offspring is on the rise, their blood no longer innocent. There will be casualties, and you may be among them.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

[Review] - The Shadow by James Patterson and Brian Sitts

"Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of men? The Shadow knows!" 

My knowledge of The Shadow franchise is limited. I recall watching the campy 1994 feature film adaptation starring Alec Baldwin, which I didn't like at all. And that's it. Yeah, I said my knowledge about The Shadow is limited, right? Now, I'm not completely clueless. I am well aware The Shadow began as a series of pulp magazines in the 1930s written by Walter B. Gibson under the pen name Maxwell Grant. Before the vigilante character appeared in literary form, he was the narrator of the radio program Detective Story Hour. Later, the character appeared in comic books, comic strips, movies, serials, and video games.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Review - The Ancestor by Lee Matthew Goldberg

About the Book

A man wakes up in present-day Alaskan wilderness with no idea who he is, nothing on him save an empty journal with the date 1898 and a mirror. He sees another man hunting nearby, astounded that they look exactly alike. After following this other man home, he witnesses a wife and child that brings forth a rush of memories of his own wife and child, except he’s certain they do not exist in modern times—but from his life in the late 1800s. After recalling his name is Wyatt, he worms his way into his doppelganger Travis Barlow’s life. Memories become unearthed the more time he spends, making him believe that he’d been frozen after coming to Alaska during the Gold Rush and that Travis is his great-great grandson. Wyatt is certain gold still exists in the area and finding it with Travis will ingratiate himself to the family, especially with Travis’s wife Callie, once Wyatt falls in love. This turns into a dangerous obsession affecting the Barlows and everyone in their small town, since Wyatt can’t be tamed until he also discovers the meaning of why he was able to be preserved on ice for over a century. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Review - Cross Shadow by Andrew Huff

Paperback * Kindle

About the Book

All journalist Christine Lewis wants is the truth. All pastor John Cross wants is to avoid it.

Former CIA agent turned evangelical pastor John Cross is busy caring for the small community of believers he ministers to in Virginia. Journalist Christine Lewis is busy with the demand for her talents from top news agencies in New York City. Neither has any time left for their relationship, which began eight months before when they paired up to prevent the detonation of a chemical bomb in the nation's capital.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Review - After She Wrote Him by Sulari Gentill

*This is a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine.

Paperback * Kindle

Being released on April 7th from Poisoned Pen Press is the thriller "After She Wrote Him" by Sulari Gentill, winner of the Ned Kelly Award for Best Crime Fiction. There's been a lot of buzz around this title and I was fortunate enough to get my hands on an ARC earlier this year.

The novel centers around Madeleine d'Leon, a former corporate lawyer who quit her day job to write quirky whodunit mysteries. Her next writing project is a crime novel that centers around the character Edward "Ned" McGinnity, a literary author who finds himself in a middle of a murder mystery when the famous critic Geoffrey Vogel is murdered at an art gallery event.

Madeleine becomes obsessed with her creation and at times she cannot tell between what's real and what's fiction.

Final Thoughts

From my understanding, After She Wrote Him was originally released in 2017 under the title Crossing the Lines, though I'm not for sure if that was an Australian release, which is the author's home country. Sometimes titles do get changed for USA releases. Then again, I might be completely clueless on the subject and wasted an entire paragraph on nothing.

Anyway, I became interested in reading After She Wrote Him after hearing a lot of buzz about the novel, which resulted in me getting my hands on an ARC. To keep things short, let's just say I was both intrigued and disappointed by the time I read the final page. The constant narration switcheroo wasn't too big of a distraction for me. However, the two narrations caused many "show, don't tell" moments and became very repetitive throughout the entire novel.

To enjoy a book, I need to connect with a character and, sadly, this never occurred with Madeleine or her creation, Edward. I found both characters to be quite boring!

Overall, After She Wrote Him has an interesting concept but was poorly executed by the author. I had to push myself just to finish reading it. Maybe other readers will like it, but I'm not one of them.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Review - The Eyes of Darkness by Dean Koontz

Available on Audible Audiobook!

Considering there's a worldwide epidemic, and add in the fact that I suffer from anxiety issues, the last thing I should be doing is reading a book about a man-made virus, but that's exactly what I did after I noticed author Dean Koontz was making online headlines with his 1981 thriller The Eyes of Darkness. It seems readers were saying Koontz predicted the COVID-19 virus, which if you've actually read the novel, then you would know it's a false claim.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Bu-ray Review - The New Kids (1985)

*This is sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine.

Mill Creek Entertainment; Amazon
There were a slew of teens in peril movies released in the 1980s. A few of these titles became classics and many others have mostly been forgotten, such as 1985's The New Kids starring a young Lori Loughlin and James Spader.

The New Kids was released this week to Blu-ray (R; 90 mins; $14.98) for the very first time by Mill Creek Entertainment. There are no special features or bonus extras. It does come with an '80s VHS-style DVD slipcover. 

Directed by Friday the 13th's Sean S. Cunningham, the film centers around Loren and Abby McWilliams (played by Shannon Presby and Lori Loughlin), whose parents were killed in an accident. With no were else to go, the siblings pack their bags and move to a small Florida town to live with their Uncle Charlie on his roadside amusement park.

After helping their uncle get the amusement park in working shape, Loren and Abby start school at the local high school, where I guess you can say things don't go so well there. Unknowingly to Abby, Dutra (played by James Spader) and his redneck gang make a bet to who can take Abby's virginity. However, Abby rejects all their attempts to sweep her off her feet. This leads to Dutra and his goons harassing, stalking, and tormenting Abby and her brother.

The film was critically panned and bombed at the box office; taking in under $200,000 on a $6 million budget.

Final Thoughts

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Review - The Black Book by James Patterson & David Ellis

Little Brown & Company; 448 pages; $28; Amazon

For anybody who follows this blog regularly, it should be no surprise to find me reviewing a James Patterson novel.

Yes, I like reading mysteries, and yes, Mr. Patterson happens to be one of my favorite authors. Of course that hasn't always been the case, as I started reading his books around 2003 or 2004 after my grandmother gave me a few Patterson titles to read. I would buy each new title, read it, and then pass it on to her. After my grandmother's death in 2009, I've continued to buy every new Patterson title, well, the ones that I don't receive a review copy for on here.

This week I finished reading The Black Book by James Patterson & David Ellis. Despite being disappointed with Never Never (read my review here), my expectations for this one were high, mostly due to the fact that I had heard good things about the novel before I even started reading page one.

The Black Book starts off with a bizarre crime scene involving one male and two female victims. The male is the only one to survive the crime, and he happens to be Detective Billy Harney, the son of Chicago's chief of detectives, and the twin brother to Hatti, who is also a cop.

The novel flips back and forth from the past to present. In the past, Billy and his adrenaline-junkie partner, Detective Kate Fenton, are investigating a murder that leads them to an exclusive Chicago brothel that caters to rich and powerful. Their only lead to the killer might be inside a black book containing all the brothel's clients, but of course the book is missing.

In the present, as Billy recovers from his wounds, he tries to piece together the final hours that lead to the death of two women (I'm not naming names here as I don't want to give away too many spoilers!), but proving his innocence isn't going to be easy as he can't remember what actually happened that fatal night.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Review - Justice Delayed by Patricia Bradley

Revell; 352 pages; $15.99; Amazon
Now available in bookstores from Revell (a division of Baker Publishing Group) is the crime thriller Justice Delayed, book one in the Memphis Cold Case series, by author Patricia Bradley.

I have a habit of picking out new books to read just by their cover arts alone, but this isn't the case with Justice Delayed, as I don't think the cover art is very good for it. To me, it looks very bland. The only reason I signed up to review the novel is because I had read a couple other titles by the author in the past.

The novel centers around Andi Hollister, a crime reporter who's sister was murdered eighteen years ago. After a letter surface with evidences that suggests the murderer might be innocent, Andi teams up with Will Kincaide, a detective at the Memphis Cold Case Unit, to seek out the truth.

With the accused murderer's execution date looming just around the corner, Andi and Will race against time to unravel the mystery and track down the real killer.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

DVD Review - I.T.

Not Rated; 95 mins; $29.96; Walmart

Now available on DVD & Blu-ray from RLJ Entertainment is the thriller I.T. Directed by John Moore (Max Payne), the film stars Pierce Brosnan (The November Man, James Bond Franchise), James Frecheville (The Stanford Prison Experiment, Animal Kingdom), Anna Friel (“Marcella,” “Pushing Daisies”), Stefaine Scott (Insidious: Chapter 3, “A.N.T. Farm”), and Austin Swift (Live by Night).

I.T. centers on an aviator entrepreneur Mike Regan (played by Pierce Brosnan) who plans on launching a new private jet app. After a computer glitch is fixed by a temp I.T. worker, Ed Porter (played by James Frecheville), during a board meeting, Mike invites the young man to his state-of-the-art-"smart home" to help fix a few problems with his security system, and he introduces him to his wife (played by Anna Friel) and daughter, Kaitlyn (played by Stefaine Scott).

Unfortunately, an unthinkable nightmare begins for Mike and his family as Ed becomes obsessed with Kaitlyn.

The film was released to limited theaters and video on-demand back in September of this year.

Bonus Features on the DVD includes:

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Review - Robert B. Parker's Slow Burn by Ace Atkins

G.P. Putnam's Sons; 320 pages; $27; Amazon
A few of you might remember me reviewing Robert B. Parker's Blackjack, book eight in the Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch series, earlier this year. Well, shortly after I posted my review, out of nowhere I received an advanced copy of Robert B. Parker's Slow Burn, which is part of the "Spenser" book series. At the time I had other books to read & review, so this title got put on the back-burner until I could squeeze in some time to review it.

The "Spenser" book series began with The Godwulf Manuscript in 1973. It centered on the character named Spenser, a Boston private detective. The books were adapted into a short-lived series in the '80s called Spenser: For Hire; later followed by a short-lived spinoff, A Man Called Hawk, and four made-for-television movies. Small Vices, Thin Air, and Walking Shadows were adapted into made-for-television movies for A&E from 1999 to 2001. After Robert B. Parker's death in 2010, author and an American journalist Ace Atkins took over writing the "Spenser" novels, including Slow Burn.

Slow Burn centers Spenser, his buddy Hawk, and Sixkill (sorta like his apprentice) tracking down an arsonist throughout Boston. Jack McGee, a firefighter and an old buddy of Spenser's, had asked them to look a church fire that occurred a year ago. Three fireman were killed in that fire and Jack suspects foul play, but he doesn't have any proof!

Of course this is where Spenser and crew get involved; taking their investigation into the underworld of Boston, where they learn that the arsonist/killer has already planned his next target - Spenser.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Review - Bullseye by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Little, Brown, and Company; 369 pages; $28
James Patterson is one of the busiest authors as it seems like he has a new title out every few weeks, from kids books to adult thrillers. Plus, he just launched the new Bookshots novellas.

For the last few days, I've been reading Bullseye by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge, which I believe is the 9th installment in the "Michael Bennett" series (minus the "Chase" novella). I hate to admit this, but I haven't read every book in the series, though I do own a copy of each book.

The series focuses on a NYC police detective named Michael "Mike" Bennett, who is always finding himself hunting down serial killers, assassins, and crazies. When Mike isn't chasing down criminals, he's trying to be a good father to his ten adopted kids! Yep, I said ten kids. His wife had died several years ago, so he relies on his elderly priest grandfather, Seamus, to help out with the kids from time to time. Then of course there is the nanny, Mary Catherine, who just happens to be Mike's girlfriend/significant other.

Bullseye opens up with Mike having to leave his family on a Saturday morning as a major international crises was in the making - a possible planned assassination attempt on newly inaugurated President of the United States, who is currently flying on Air Force One and will make a stop in New York City.

Why would someone want to harm the President?

Well, it happens to involve starting another Cold War with Russia.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Reviw - The Games: A Private Novel

Little Brown & Co.; 395 pages; $28.99; Amazon
It's only less than a month away from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. However, Little Brown & Company has already released a book set around the Summer Olympics, titled The Games: A Private Novel, written by bestselling authors James Patterson & Mark Sullivan.

The "Private" series centers on Jack Morgan, the owner of a worldwide security/investigation business. "The Games" marks the 11th entry in the series with Jack Morgan once again being part of the action.

The novel begins in 2014 in in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil around the time of the World Cup Games. While everyone is celebrating the game, Dr. Castro, is fighting to stop a possible outbreak of a deadly virus known as Ebola. Luckily, only a few deaths occurred from the virus and it never spread to the public.

Fast-forward to end of July 2016, with the Summer Olympics quickly approaching, the BOPE (Special Police Operations Battalion) are busy to make sure the Olympic stadium is secured from any possible terrorist threat or from the many protesters in Rio de Janerio.

Of course Jack Morgan is there, but not for the games; instead he is there to help Octavia "Tavia" Reynaldo, a tall woman who is in charge of Private Rio, to help find the nineteen-year-old Warren twins (Alicia and Natalie) who have been kidnapped by unknown assailants. Jack and Tavia want to make sure that everything goes okay with the ransom and that everyone comes out of the situation safely.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Blu-ray Review: Return To Sender

Return To Sender
Director: Fouad Mikati
Cast: Rosemund Pike, Shiloh Fernandez, Nick Nolte
Studio: RLJ Entertainment
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Retail: $12.99 (Best Buy Price)
Running Time: 95 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Buy Link: Best Buy


Now available to own on DVD & Blu-ray (only at Best Buy) is the thriller Return To Sender. Directed by Fouad Mikati, the film stars Rosemund Pike (Gone Girl), Nick Nolte, Shiloh Fernandez and Camryn Manheim. There are no extras or special features on the Blu-ray.

Return To Sender centers on a dedicated nurse Miranda Wells (played by Rosemund Pike) living in  small town. She just finished her training to become a surgical nurse and she plans on buying a new house. For Miranda, her life was perfect, but her friends believe otherwise and they set her up on a blind date.

The unthinkable happens when a stranger, William Finn (played by Shiloh Fernandez), shows up at Miranda's doorsteps. She mistakes him for her blind date and lets him into her home, which turns out to the be the worst mistake of her life as Finn brutally assaults her. The real blind date eventually arrives, finds Miranda and call 911. Finn is quickly captured by the authorities and locked behind bars.

With her father (played by Nick Nolte) by her side, Miranda somewhat recovers from the attack and tries to pick up her life where she left off, but things aren't too simple. Due to the fact that the crime occurred in her home, selling her house becomes a major problem. Even worse, her dream of being a surgical nurse might come true as she her hands now shake when holding a scalpel.

Monday, September 28, 2015

DVD Review: William Castle Horror Collection


William Castle Horror Collection
Director: William Castle
Cast: Rosemary DeCamp, Glenn Corbett, Tom Poston
Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Retail: $14.98
Running Time: 7 hours 18 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Buy Link: Amazon


Just in time for the Halloween Season is the two-disc DVD release from Mill Creek Entertainment, titled William Castle Horror Collection, featuring five films from the director William Castle. The films are 13 Ghosts, 13 Frightened Girls!, Mr. Sardonicus, Homicidal and The Old Dark House.

While the 2001 remake was full of gore, the 1960's 13 Ghosts is more of a family-friendly ghost story about a family that inherits a mansion from a rich uncle, Dr. Plato Zorba. They quickly realize that the house is haunted by 12 terrifying ghosts - a lion with it's headless tamer, an executioner with a severed head, a wailing lady, a pair of clutching hands, a floating head, a skeleton,an chef that keeps murdering his wife and her lover in the kitchen and Dr. Zorba.

The 1963 flick 13 Frightened Girls! is less horror and more of a teenage movie in the vein of Gidget. Set in a Swiss boarding school for girls, the films centers on a sixteen-year-old that develops a crush on an intelligence agent, which leads her to uncovering the mystery behind the death of a Russian diplomat.

William Castle once stated that the 1961 Mr. Sardonicus was one of his favorites that he had produced. The plot centers on a greedy man that digs up his father's corpse just so he can get the winning lottery ticket that was in the coffin, but recovering the lottery ticket comes with a frightening cost - his face is now permanently fozen into a hideous grin.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Review - Finders Keepers by Stephen King

Finders Keepers
by Stephen King
Publisher: Scribner
Pub. Date: June 2, 2015
ISBN: 978-1501100079
Pages: 448
Buy Link: Amazon

Release Date:

This time around we don't have to wait 30+ years for a sequel to a Stephen King's novel, like we had to with Doctor Sleep (the sequel to The Shining) as Finders Keeper, the sequel to last year's Mr. Mercedes, arrives in bookstores this week.

Unlike the first the novel, the first 154 pages is devoted to the backstory of the new characters and sets up the main plot. We're introduced to the author of the Jimmy Gold trilogy, John Rothstein, whom is viciously murdered by four men that invaded his home in 1978! The robbers, led by Morris Bellamy, steal the entire contents of what was in Rothstein's safe - dozens of envelopes with $500 in them and stacks of notebooks, all of which contains unpublished writings by Rothstein, even two new Jimmy Gold novels. Bellamy has been a major fan of Rothstein's writings for years and the last two Jimmy Gold stories are now his, well, that is until he gets arrested for rape.

Skip ahead to the year 2010, where the story centers on teenager Pete Saubers. His father was injured by the Mercedes Killer a year before and their family has been struggling financially ever since. After investigating the area behind their house, Pete discovers an old chest inside of a hollow tree. Lo and behold, he finds Rothstein's lost works and a slew of money, which solves his parents financial problems. Knowing that his mother would just give the money to the police, Pete comes up with clever plan to make sure his parents receive the cash.

Jump forward four years later and the money has ran out, but the Sauber's money problems are still there, so Pete, who now loves literature, plans on selling the Rothstein's notebooks one by one, but he is unaware that Bellamy has finally been paroled!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Blu-ray Review: The Boy Next Door

The Boy Next Door
Director: Rob Cohen
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, John Corbett, Ian Nelson & Kristen Chenoweth
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Retail: $34.98
Running Time: 91 minutes
Rating: R
Buy Link: Amazon


Arriving on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD on Tuesday April 28 is the intense thriller The Boy Next Door. Directed by Rob Cohen, the film stars Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, John Corbett, Ian Nelson and Kristen Chenoweth. Bonus Features include deleted scenes, The Making of The Boy Next Door and Feature Commentary with Director Rob Cohen.

Jennifer Lopez stars as Claire Peterson, a high school literature teacher, whom is recently separated from her cheating husband Garrett (played by John Corbett). Despite the fact that her best friend Vicky Lansing (played by Kristin Chenoweth) advises her to get a divorce, part of her is not ready to give up on her marriage. Well, that is until a nineteen-year-old, Noah Sandborn (played by Ryan Guzman), moves into the house across the street.

Ryan looks like a decent teenager that is taking care of his wheelchair-bound uncle. He quickly charms his way into Claire's life by befriending her shy teenage son Kevin (played Ian Nelson). Feeling depressed late one night, Claire makes the mistake of sleeping with Ryan!

The next morning she realizes that all it was was a one night stand, but Ryan wants more than that. He enrolls into her literature class and begins to stalk her. At first, Claire thinks it's just a simple crush that will go away, but she quickly realizes that Ryan has a dangerous obsession with her.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Review - NYPD Red 3 by James Patterson & Marshall Karp

NYPD Red 3
by James Patterson & Marshall Karp
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Pub. Date: March 16, 2015
ISBN: 978-0316406994
Pages: 416
Buy Links: Hardback, Kindle


It's definitely difficult to keep up with all the new James Patterson's books as there is practically a new title (sometimes two) being released every month. I came across Patterson's titles about twelve years ago when my late grandmother wanted me to read one of his books (I don't recall the title) as she had just became a fan of works. I started buying every new Patterson book, even the young adult titles, and gave each one to her. After my grandmother's death in December 2009, I continued buying each new release, but my heart just wasn't in the mood to read them. However, I recently started reading Patterson's books again, including his middle grade ones.

Arriving this week in bookstores is NYPD Red 3 by James Patterson & Marshall Karp, the exciting third entry in the police procedural series. Little, Brown & Company was nice enough to send me an advanced copy to review a few weeks ago.

NYPD Red is an elite task force that is assigned to protect the rich and famous. The third installment centers on Detective Zach Jordan and his partner Kylie MacDonald, whom just happens to be an ex-girlfriend he had back in police academy. While it has been an awkward beginning working with Kylie, Zach is trying his best to adjust to everything. His personal life has improved as he's now in a relationship with NYPD psychologist Cheryl Robinson, but his New Year getaway with her comes to a complete halt when a bizarre crime occurs.

The decapitated body of Peter Chevalier, the chauffeur for the billionaire businessman Hunter Alden Jr., is found in a limousine in a parking lot, but his head is nowhere to be found. Of course,  Zach & Kylie check into Peter's background and besides from a few parking violations, he had no criminal history. While the detectives don't have any leads, they do suspect that Hunter Alden Jr. is hiding something.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

DVD Review - Poker Night

Poker Night
Director: Greg Francis
Starring: Beau Mirchoff, Titus Welliver, Michael Eklund, Ron Eldard, Corey Large, Halston Stage, Giancarlo Esposito, Ron Perlman
Studio: XLrator Media
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Retail: $14.99
Running Time: 105 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Buy Link: Amazon


Arriving on DVD from XLrator Media on Tuesday February 10, 2015 is the crime thriller Poker Night. The film is written & directed by Greg Francis and it stars Beau Mirchoff, Titus Welliver, Michael Eklund, Ron Eldard, Corey Large, Halston Stage, Giancarlo Esposito and Ron Perlman. There are no special features on the disc.

Poker Night is set in Warsaw, Indiana and centers on a rookie detective Stan Jeter (played by Beau Mirchoff) and his nearly underage girlfriend, Amy (played by Halston Sage), whom are kidnapped and tortured by a sadistic masked serial killer (played by (Michael Eklund). Stan must use the knowledge handed down to him by his veteran officers, Calabrese (played by Ron Perlman), Bernard (played by Giancarlo Esposito), Davis (played by Corey Large), Maxwell (played by Titus Welliver) and Cunningham (played by Ron Eldard), so he can outsmart the killer.

The film was released on VOD on December 5, 2014 and received a limited  theatrical release on December 20. It received mostly negative reviews from critics and holds a 38% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.