Thursday, May 31, 2007

Homicide: Life on the Street -- Main theme

Homicide: Life on the Streets is one of my favorite police procedural dramas, and its intro is unforgettable. It is one of the most apt, exciting and downright cool intros I have ever had the pleasure of watching. It fits the tone of the series perfectly, and I could watch it over and over without getting bored. Hell, I just watched five times. This is the main theme from season one. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

CHASING ELVIS by Glenn Marcel

My latest review at SFReader is online and live. This month I review Glenn Marcel’s Chasing Elvis. Chasing Elvis is the first novel featuring the intrepid, witty and sexy Melissa Vaughn, tabloid reporter extraordinaire.

With the Melissa Vaughn novels—Chasing Elvis and Chasing the Roswell Alien—Marcel adeptly combines great story-telling with humor and pop-culture mythology to make you laugh, and, more importantly, want to know what happens next. In a word—Cashing Elvis will make you turn the pages with glee.

Click Here to read the review.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Ed Gorman's THE POKER CLUB -- Film Update

The regular readers of Gravetapping know I am an avid fan of Ed Gorman's work, and I have good news (thanks to Bill Crider) about the upcoming film version of his novel The Poker Club.

Filming will begin on May 30th--it is cast, the script is written (I hope) and a great director--Tim McCann--is attached. McCann directed the films Revolution #9, Nowhere Man--not to be confused with the masterful UPN television series starring Bruce Greenwood--and at least one episode of the terrific television series Homicide: Life on the Streets.

The cast:

Johnathon Schaech as Aaron Tyler
Lori Heuring as Jan Tyler
Loren Dean as Curtis Wilcox
Judy Reyes as Detective Patterson

Johnathon Schaech and Richard Chizmar wrote the screenplay--Chizmar is best known as the Publisher of Cemetery Dance. An interesting bit of trivia: Cemetery Dance also published The Poker Club in a special limited edition back in the day--somewhere around 1999.

I can't wait to see this movie. I hope its release is big enough to get a glimpse of it on the big screen. Good luck to everyone involved, especially Ed Gorman--hopefully they represent your work well.

Click Here to go to the IMDB page for The Poker Club

Thursday, May 24, 2007

THE NARROWS by Alexander C. Irvine

Here is another review originally published with SFReader in 2006. It is a great novel, and one I hope all of you take a look at--it is very much worth the time and effort. Not to mention it is extraordinarily entertaining.

Next week I will--finally!--have at least one original review here at Gravetapping; to wet your appetite I'm just finishing A Fine Night For Dying by Jack Higgins, and Pulitzer Prize winner The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Maybe one, or hell I may go wild and get both reviewed and online sometime next week.

The Narrows by Alexander C. Irvine is an urban / historical fantasy novel set in World War Two Detroit. It is the story of Jared Cleaves. Jared works on the line of a golem factory in Detroit--the factory is owned by Henry Ford, but the work going on inside is certainly not automobile manufacturing. While Jared's job is unusual, it is routine, if not down-right tedious, as he sifts through clay looking for anything non-organic: iron, steel, barbed wire, fencing or anything else that might destroy the golem's awakening. An old rabbi who works just off the plant floor uses ancient magic to bring the golems to life. And they are sent out into the world to fight the Nazi menace.

This novel is anything but routine. Irivine develops a cast of seemingly real, living, breathing characters. Jared Cleaves is a working class kid with a wife, a young daughter and a smashed up hand that keeps him out of the war. He has tried to enlist, on more than one occasion, but they designate him 4-F every time. He doesn't want much, but he wants to do his part, make his sacrifice for the war effort. And, he tries to convince himself, he is doing just that in the golem factory, but he can't seem to shake the idea that he is a slacker, a bum, or even worse, a coward. These emotions make Jared the perfect target for a game of spy versus spy. He doesn't know much, but everyone, including a talking bird, a couple competing German spies and an American outfit called the OEI, wants everything he has and more. It begins when his supervisor bullies him into getting information about Henry Ford's newest plant at the Rouge, and it doesn't end until Detroit is brought to its knees by a race riot, and Jared is in the middle of it all.

The Narrows is that unusual novel that is able to mix fantasy--curses, magic, and wonder--with a well focused historical setting that seems not only real, but also accurate and factual. Irvine's descriptions of wartime Detroit are harrowing and complete. He has an ability to bring the city and its residents alive. The reader can see the streets, the factories, and more importantly the people as they struggle through their journeys. The fantasy is a small element that, as the story progresses, gains more and more significance, until it overshadows the history and makes the story plain with its own simplicity.

Alexander Irvine is a writer that has the ability to tell a gritty, real and worthwhile story and entertain at the same time. The Narrows is one of the best novels--fantasy or anything else--released in 2005. Its look at racism, war, and the working class is poignant and thought provoking, while its replacement of monsters (golems, werewolves and dragons) for the monsters-that-are-men (Nazis, war, and the over-zealous) is excruciatingly accurate. The Narrows should be on every reader's list, but short of that lofty goal, it should at least be on your reading list.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bourne Ultimatum Trailer

Good news. This summer the third, and presumably final, installment of the Bourne trilogy will be in theaters everywhere. I stumbled across a trailer on YouTube, and thought you all would be interested. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tom Selleck Joins "Las Vegas"

Magnum, P.I. is back--well, at least the star of Magnum, P.I. NBC announced, about two weeks ago, that Tom Selleck has joined the cast of NBC's Las Vegas. He replaces James Caan as the program's lead. To get all the news--a few days late--keep your browser here.

"Selleck will join the cast of the NBC drama next season, playing a billionaire with a mysterious past who becomes the new owner of the show's centerpiece hotel, the Montecito Resort & Casino, the network said Wednesday."

To read the entire CNN story click Here.

And speaking of Tom Selleck, his latest Jesse Stone television movie, Sea Change, premieres tonight in CBS. Selleck does tough yet sensitive Jesse Stone very well. It makes one wonder just how good Spenser for Hire would have been with Tom Selleck as Spenser.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Wyoming to Publish Buffalo Bill Papers

Wyoming has funded a new project to publish the papers--all of the papers--of Buffalo Bill Cody. Cody was best known for his Wild Wild West show, but he was a Pony Express rider, a Union scout during the Civil War and Buffalo hunter as the railroad made its way across the continent. The project is set to illuminate the life of Wyoming's most recognizable figure:

"This project is important because it — at long last, finally — provides funding for a level of research that's equal to its subject and the importance of that subject in Wyoming and its history," said Milward Simpson, director of the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources, which is in charge of administering the state money for the project.*

Thanks to Russell Davis for the heads-up.

*To read the entire article at Yahoo! News click Here.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Rockford Files -- Main Theme

This is one of the best private detective television shows ever, and the opening credits are terrific: funny, exciting and they tell you everything you need to know about The Rockford Files.

This is a landmark post--it is number 100!. Keep coming back, please! Maybe we'll make it to 1,000 posts.

Monday, May 14, 2007

SIX BAD THINGS by Charlie Huston

I'm super busy right now--I have three exams over the next ten days--and so my original posts will be limited. However, I hope to continue to update the blog about three times a week, and my way of doing this is to publish reviews, and other do-dads I have placed elsewhere. And today, for your reading enjoyment, is a review of Charlie Huston's Six Bad Things I wrote for SFReader. This review was originally published September 21, 2006.

Six Bad Things is not the usual fare here on SFReader. It is a crime thriller, and anything but speculative. You will, however, get hooked on the first page and won't willingly let go until the last. It will especially appeal to the horror reader: it is dark, suspenseful and packed with palm-sweating fear. This is Charlie Huston's second novel, and the second in a trilogy featuring Hank Thompson, but it stands alone admirably. You don't need to read the first title in the series--Caught Stealing--to enjoy it, but you will want to.

Hank Thompson is an American fugitive living on the Gulf Coast of Mexico. He swims in the morning, sits on his swing at the local beach diner and keeps to himself. He has a cat, a few local friends and not much else. Unless you count the box buried under his bungalow with more than four million dollars inside. Unfortunately he took the money from the Russian mafia and they want it back.

This is where Six Bad Things begins, and it never lets up. A young Russian named Mickey comes to town and puts Hank together with the stolen money. He has a proposition: Mickey won't tell the mafia where to find Hank for a measly one million dollars. Hank takes the deal, but everything falls apart. He quickly finds himself back in the States running from the mob, the police, two psychotic beach bums and a businessman, who is more than he seems. They all want the money, and murder is nothing more than a tool they will use to get it.

Six Bad Things is a muscled up noir thriller. It is harrowing, hardboiled and damn fun. The plot is frantic and well paced. The dialogue is red-hot, and has the feel of authenticity: "For now. I tried to get ahold of Terry, you know, see if anything had popped up, but he ain't around. I can try him in the morning, I mean after the sun comes up. But."

The characters are fleshed out and drawn to perfection. The good guys aren't always good, and the bad guys are pretty damn bad. The body count is high, but Huston is able to keep protagonist Thompson likable and even better, believable. Six Bad Things will leave you breathless and waiting--very impatiently--for the next Hank Thompson novel to arrive. If you can make this book last more than a few days, you should check your pulse. You might be dead.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Book Reviews--Harriet Klausner Style

I stumbled across a great little blog dedicated to the book reviews of Harriet Klausner. It's not a fan site, but instead the blog is "dedicated to exposing the untenable fraud being perpetrated on the public by this reviewer's false and misleading reviews," and furthermore to, "save the book readers of the world from future torment at the sake of her poorly written, grammatically incorrect reviews."

The site is hilarious. They have a few examples of Klausner-style reviews, and are actually hosting a competition for the best Klausneresque book review. The winner will receive a $25 gift certificate to The blog really is funny.

Go Here to be transported quickly and mysteriously to there.

I also did a search on Google, and I came up with a few other articles about Klausner--a very complimentary piece in Time, and a confusing mess in Wired. According to the Time article Harriet Klausner has published a whopping 12,896 reviews on, and she receives fifty or so books from publishers and authors per week--she actually reads four to six per day. Wow.

Monday, May 07, 2007


I made a great discovery last week. I couldn’t sleep much over a three-day period, and during my restless nights I picked up Lee Goldberg’s Diagnosis Murder: The Waking Nightmare. It was in a stack of books—my to-be-read pile—in my office, and each evening I read eighty or so pages before I could finally retire into the bliss of slumber. In short, I enjoyed The Waking Nightmare a whole lot. It kept my own waking nightmare—insomnia—from driving me absolutely mad. Heck, I even looked forward to reading it each night.

In The Waking Nightmare Dr. Mark Sloan, Chief of Internal Medicine at Community General Hospital, is confronted with three mysteries: 1) how does he keep a cancer patient from slowly killing herself; 2) how does he solve the suicidal problems of a young woman who attempted to jump to her own death, and; 3) who murdered a millionaire skydiver in mid-jump with a knife to his chest, and how was it done. The three mysteries take charge of Dr. Sloan’s life—he can’t sleep (a symptom I was able to relate with), or even live a functional life until he solves each mystery to his satisfaction.

The Waking Nightmare is everything I expect of a tie-in novel. It is familiar—the characters are correct, the setting is perfect and the storyline just right. But instead of a single episode, The Waking Nightmare is more like a Diagnosis Murder mini-series. The story is longer, and the characters are developed and explained much better. Mr. Goldberg also does an admirable job of capturing the always-present humor of the television series, and the comfortable, almost homey, atmosphere. The plotting is wonderful—he twists the plot and sub-plots into an entertaining web that kept me guessing until the final pages.

My only gripe with The Waking Nightmare is that the subplots—at times—overpowered the murder mystery. In fact, when Dr. Sloan solved the mystery of the jumping girl I figured that was it. The book was over, but then in a flash I realized the skydiving murder was not only unsolved, but wasn’t much closer to resolution then it had been at the beginning. Although it could be argued, and quite well, that the jumping girl is the main plot thread. It is certainly the most powerful and interesting of the three.

The Waking Nightmare proves, without a doubt, that Diagnosis Murder isn’t just for the elderly. But rather Lee Goldberg has written a series of novels that can be enjoyed by anyone who wants a fun, light and pleasant mystery. Mr. Goldberg continues to build a world that is both comfortable and invigorating--it is a mix of new and old in both theme and content, and it is very much a place I would like to return.

The Waking Nightmare is the fourth novel in the Diagnosis Murder series written by Lee Goldberg and based on the television series.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Magnum, P.I.--The Original Main Theme

Feeling big and brassy? Well here is your fix. The original Magnum, P.I. theme was used on the first several--maybe the first dozen or so episodes--and it is kind of cool. A little. I like the latter version better, but...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Online Serial Novel by David Wellington

I've been hearing rumors of an online serial novel by zombiest David Wellington. So I decided to check it out--it was difficult, I did a little Google, and their it was. Wow. My own Internet skill never ceases to amaze me.

The title: Plague Zone. It is a zombie novel. Wellington has posted five chapters. According to the website a new chapter is posted on Monday, Wednsday and Friday. I haven't read a word of Plague Zone, but it's free, and I'm sure I'll check it out soon. You can also find online versions of his novels Monster Island, and Monster Nation.

To read Plague Zone go Here.