Category Archives: Reviews


If James Ellroy had never existed, someone would have to invent him. Otherwise, where would we get all these great big, uncompromising novels, allowing us our fix of voyeuristic peeks inside the bowels of historical sacred cows? No one else out there is doing anything even remotely similar. I met Ellroy a few years ago when […]


If you’re familiar with the 1945 film noir classic, DETOUR, check out the novel on which it was based. Written by Martin M Goldsmith in 1939, the novel is every bit as good as the film. There are several editions of this book on Amazon right now, but the others are poorly edited and formatted. […]


I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened Samuel Fuller’s Brainquake (Titan Books/Hard Case Crime, 2014) to the first page. And then I read the opening line: Sixty seconds before the baby shot the father, leaves fell lazily in Central Park. Hook goes in mouth. Paul Page is sitting on a bench in Central […]


DRAWING DEAD by JJ Deceglie (2011) Review by Mike Dennis “I wasn’t always an asshole.” That’s Jack Andrelli talking in the opening line of JJ Deceglie’s Drawing Dead, and then he takes the rest of this riveting noir novella trying to convince you of exactly the opposite. Andrelli is a down-and-out private investigator in Perth, Western Australia, […]


So far, most of the reviews of Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes have been pretty good, but there have been more bad reviews than I would’ve expected. Memo to bad reviewers: Get over it. This is Planet Of The Apes, not Citizen Kane. You have to take the movie on its own terms. Now that I think […]


Imagine several cars plowing full speed ahead from all different directions toward a common intersection. Only now imagine that, instead of going in straight lines toward the center, their routes are long and curvy, allowing some of them to pass each other like ships in the night. In some cases, they even ride two abreast […]


It’s tough out there for the professional hitman. You’ve got to pick up and go to a strange town on a moment’s notice, locate your target, and stake him out for a week or so, following his every move, learning his habits, in order to minimize the margin of error. Then, if you work alone, you […]


Eighty-nine percent chance of success. Eighty-nine percent. Sounds pretty good, right? In other words, for every one hundred trials, you will succeed eighty-nine times and fail eleven times. In gamblers’ parlance, that makes you an “odds-on” favorite, a proposition on which you would be well-advised to risk money. But how about risking your freedom? Or […]


Where do you begin with a movie like The Swimmer (1968)? Supposedly a cinematic masterpiece, it somehow traps itself in 1960s self-consciousness. Every scene seems designed to hammer its eternal greatness into our viewing heads. Over the decades, it has achieved a sort of cult status, and everyone else seems to have bought into it. But […]


Between 1966 and 1972, Michael Crichton wrote eleven novels, all of them under pen names, with the exception of The Andromeda Strain (1969). “John Lange” was his favorite pseudonym and that was the one he used when he wrote the Edgar-nominated Grave Descend (1970), a fast-moving tale of sunken yachts, hammerhead sharks, and assorted unsavory characters. The novel […]