rg3Washington Redskins Coach Jay Gruden announced today that former back up quarterback Kirk Cousins is now the starting qb for the 2015 season. Robert Griffin III, the team’s former franchise quarterback, is now basically nothing. Read the Washington Post story on the announcement. 
He was beautiful in his rookie year. But you knew as you watched nothing that beautiful would be allowed to exist for very long.
Robert Griffin III played like a dream and he was a dreamer. He dreamed he could give everything for the team and be given his just deserts, or at least be rewarded with some kind of justice in the end. But this is Washington, D.C., and it doesn’t go that way here.
There’s no sense of decency in this town. From the dirty game of politics played in the ivory palaces of the rich and powerful along Pennsylvania Ave. to the mean streets of the inner city, it’s a hard, brutal town. Bones get broken, spirits crushed, and careers get destroyed as a matter of routine. It’s just another day in the life. The trash gets picked up at dawn, the newspapers deliver the morning edition and life goes on. Who cares?
Good luck, Robert Griffin. I hope you’re not left dangling. I hope you get cut and go on to bigger and better things, where the air is cleaner, and the streets are less full of blood. At least they can do that much for you.

allthrough

I’ve got a new review up on Cinema Retro. This time Bogie takes on a Nazi terrorist cell in “All Through All the Night.”

Hunting Monsters final frontI want to say thanks to one particular reader out there. I don’t know who you are but I want to thank you anyway.

Now with Amazon’ new payment system I can see on a graph how many pages of my books are being read on an almost hourly basis.

Last night around 7 p.m. the graph indicated that someone bought a copy of Hunting Monsters Is My Business and had read 42 pages of it. When I checked this a.m. I saw that my dear reader had read the remaining 300 some pages. This means that you, whoever you are, read the whole thing in one night.

It is very gratifying for a writer to know that someone found the book so interesting they couldn’t put it down. I hope my telling you this won’t freak you out. And that you’l buy Vampire Siege at Rio Muerto too.

The_Man_from_U.N.C.L.E._posterWish I had the $9 back I spent on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Ugh! Very boring.

The two leads were miscast. Henry Cavill trying to do Robert Vaughn was all wrong.  Instead of the insousciant Napoleon Solo we got the smug Napoleon Solo. And Armie Hammer as a giant psychotic version of David McCallum’s character was just dumb. Were they paying tribute to Marvel by turning Illya Kuryakin into the Hulk?

Wrongest thing of all hiring Guy Ritchie to direct.Seems like he wanted to Europeanize an American TV show. Why? He tried to do it as a Sergio Leone type of story, where the characters keep double crossing each other, but his touch is too heavy-handed. The music score was mainly a pale imitation of an Ennio Morricone soundtrack.AAA-EEE-Aaah-EEE-Aaaah!

Biggest failing of all–and one common to these type of pseudo James Bond movies– really weak villain. A snobbish, anemic-looking blonde played by Elizabeth Debiki. What happened to THRUSH?  I liked Alicia Vikander as Gaby. Best thing in the movie, though she was better as a guest on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show.]

Guess what I objected to most was the way Ritchie wanted to set up familiar scenes we’ve all seen before and then turn them on their heads. Fine once or twice but a whole two hour movie of that gets repetitious and predictable. I liked the European locations fine but let’s bring Solo and Kuryakin home for the next one, if there is one. Had a lousy opening weekend. Killed by the boyz from Compton.and the MIF.

Seige at Rio Muerto ebookDo you realize that if you have Kindle Unlimited you can get the two Mordecai Slate books for free? And if you don’t have KU you can buy the Kindle Editions for only $3.99 each. The books are also available in paperback.

VAMPIRE SIEGE AT RIO MUERTO has been called “an instant classic.” HUNTING MONSTER IS MY BUSINESS: THE MORDECAI SLATE STORIES has been praised for its imagination and tight writing.The books combine the old pulp western and horror genres in a unique way. Amazing Stories Magazine called HUNTING MONSTERS “an action packed collection reminiscent of the pulp classic dime store novels with a morbid twist of supernatural mystery and intrigue.”

You’l find elements and influences from a variety of sources in these books ranging from the films of Sergio Leone, Tarantino, and Sam Peckinpah, to the plays of William Shakespeare. Some have called the Mordecai Hunting Monsters final frontSlate books  a combinatoin of Stephen King and Louis Lamour.

You’ll find characters in these two book that say, think and do things you won’t forget. The action is intense. The drama stark and personal.

So why not join the many satisfied readers who have kept these books in Amazon Kindle’s Top 100 best sellers since they were published? You won’t be sorry. And thanks to those who already have their copies.

true_1No sense saying much about the True Detective finale other than it was everything you could hope for with one exception. To go into detail about how the eight part series wrapped up would be to write nothing but spoilers and I’d hate to ruin it for those who haven’t seen it yet.

The series had its flaws but overall was uniformly excellent.

The one thing I didn’t like, the one exception, was a nasty little helping of cruelty heaped onto one particular character. You knew he wouldn’t survive but at least a message he sent to a loved one could have gotten through. Come on, Pizzolatto. Couldn’t you at least have given him that? Such overdone heavy handedness almost ruined the climax.

There were many emotional peaks over the 90 minute episode, and several action set pieces that were well staged and executed and I think most of the questions raised in the complicated plot were answered. But I wouldn’t swear to it. I don’t care if they were or not.

What makes a story for me is the emotional attachment you develop for the characters– the identification with them. And the themes the writer touches on. Pizzolatto knows the truth that fate deals you a hand of cards and you can play them any way you want. But in the end, no matter what, the house always wins. I’ll take three.

Holy Cow! I nearly flipped out when I saw this story. Sony has announced a release date for Steven King’s The Dark Tower. But take a look at the poster art for this film.

dark-tower-146734Is it just me, or does this bear a striking resemblance to the cover art for my book Hunting Monsters Is My Business–The Mordecai Slate Stories.

Hunting Monsters final front
Same landscape, same colors, even the same vulture circling in the sky. Has somebody over at Sony Films been “inspired” by Laura Givens art work for the Mordecai Slate book? Nah! Has to be a coincidence. Right? Right?

vivavilla

I’ve got a new movie review up over at Cinema Retro. VIVA VILLA! tells the story of Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa. It’s got a script by Ben Hecht, and while it’s half fictional, it’s is very entertaining and shows what it’s like to suffer under tyranical rule and have all your rights taken away. Villa as played by Wallace Beery is half outlaw himself and so has no qualms about joining the uprising against Porfirio Diaz.

Check out the review here.

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2B0E53ED00000578-3183501-image-a-7_1438575201172I just finished watching my DVR of last night’s True Detective, “Black Maps and Motels” and I’m stunned. I think I may have seen the best hour of television I’ve ever watched. I was literally glued to the screen, mesmerized by the story, the characters and, yes, even the cross-cutting plot. Nic Pizzolatto has woven more than a first rate crime drama. It’s an existentialist noir masterpiece.

At long last Frank (Vince Vaughn) comes alive as a character. For six episodes he was a sleeping cobra, trapped by circumstances and seemingly impotent. But in episode seven the cobra strikes, and its obvious (especially from the preview of next week’s 90 minute finale) that his plot line will mesh with the situations the cop heroes have found themselves in.

I don’t want to give too much away about he conclusion of this episode, but I did something I don’t think I’ve ever done while watching a TV show. I was on my feet shouting at the screen. At that moment I realized how much Pizzolatto has made me care about the characters in his story.

There was no wasted footage in this week’s segment. Everything built on what has been presented on earlier episodes. The only predictable scene was one involving the death of the person giving Ray, Adi, and Paul authority to do what they have been doing. You could see it coming, but it didn’t detract from the suspense and even terror that has built to a crescendo at this point.

What makes Season 2 so engrossing is that each of the main characters not only faces the threat of death from the corrupt power system they’re investigating, they face even greater personal destruction because of their own flaws.

This is not cop TV drama. It’s a modern day attempt to present something equivalent to Greek Tragedy. It’s different from Shakespearean tragedy. Shakespearean tragedy reveled more in its language than the “pity and terror” the Greeks wanted us to experience. Pizzolatto is the Sophocles of HBO

supermoon-moon-earth-perigree

That big Blue Moon up there tonight. Second full moon in July. So bright. Makes the sky look blacker than usual. Darker, colder. Go out and look at it. You feel something. Something that our prehistoric ancestors felt, only more strongly. For them, when the moon shone like that, it was time to get back in the cave. Get  out of that bright light. There were things out there, ready to pounce. You had to hide until daylight.

And maybe a million years later a blind man sat on the porch of his house with a guitar and sang a song. A song inspired by that same primordial feeling the cave man felt. That twinge of fear and the need for something to make you feel safe.Or if not safe at least a feeling that there’s something more out there than the darkness and that bright, bright moon shining down. And maybe it sounded like this.

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