Monday, April 14, 2014

New Doc

This amazingly cool cover was recently unveiled at the Wild Adventures of Doc Savage Facebook page. The book isn't out yet, but since the Joe DeVito cover blew me away, I wanted to share it here.

I'll review it when it's released. As detailed here, I've become a fan of Will Murray's novels.

Oh, look, another 90s Doc is being re-released, too.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Innocence by Dean Koontz

I’ve been reading Dean Koontz for a lot of years, starting in my youth when I knew I wanted to be a writer. My local library had a book called Writing Popular Fiction by Dean R. Koontz (I believe the book was later released under the title Writing Bestselling Fiction , once Koontz was actually a bestseller). The author’s photo showed a long-haired young man with a mustache. Cool, I thought. Unlike most jobs, writing let you grow your hair as long as you liked.

I must have checked out that book 10 times while I was in high school, trying to memorize its secrets.

A few years later, when I was looking for another author to fill the gap between releases by my new favorite, Stephen King, I discovered the fiction of Koontz (I recall searching for his work after reading the non-fiction book, but Koontz’s science fiction novels were hard to find in this part of Kentucky).  I think the first Koontz I read was Whispers. After that, I was hooked. While Koontz didn’t seem to dig into his characters’s heads as deeply as King did, his plots were outstanding and the premise of each novel was imaginative and original. Since then, I’ve grabbed everything he’s released. That doesn’t mean I’ve loved every book, but even the least of them were enjoyable.

Over the years, Koontz has introduced more spirituality into his novels. I hope it isn’t too much of a spoiler to say that Innocence is his most overt expression of this.

Innocence concerns a boy named Addison, who must remain hidden from the world. If he’s spotted and someone looks at his face or into his eyes, that person tries to kill him. So Addison only goes out at night, and only with his face hidden. One night he meets a girl named Gwyneth, who can’t stand to be touched. They bond, and we’re off on another Koontzian adventure.

At times, the book’s pace slows down, but the ultimate revelation of Addison’s “condition” is quite unique and offers a payoff that makes up for any of the novel’s shortcomings.

There are a few unanswered question, though, and that’s unusual for a Koontz novel. Those include the presence of spooky marionettes and a confrontation with an archbishop, both of which almost read like plot threads that were meant to be expanded upon.

I’ll give Innocence a grade of a solid B. We’ll see what Koontz comes up with for The City, due out in July.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Batman Turns 75

Artist and producer Bruce Timm, who brought us Batman: The Animated Series, returns to the character with this short cartoon. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Evil Update

From today's walk, the evil Flatwoods tree is still bringing the creepy.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Still Stinky After All These Years

Check out the story of the human waste that still smells as fresh as when it was excreted in the 1300s.

Who knew 14th Century Denmark had a Taco Bell?

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Odd Thomas and Other Sunday Morning Musings

Dean Koontz, a writer I’ve enjoyed for nearly 30 years, has a series of books about a young fry cook named Odd Thomas. Odd can see the silent spirits of the dead, who linger on Earth due to unresolved issues. Those issues usually involve murder. Odd is aided in his mission by his girlfriend, Stormy. They have been a couple since childhood, when a card from a gypsy fortune telling machine revealed Odd and Stormy were destined to be together forever.

Koontz, like many writers, has not exactly hit the jackpot when his work has been adapted for movies and TV. Watchers 3, anyone? However, several months ago, Koontz praised the adaptation of Odd Thomas, written and directed by Stephen Sommers, the man behind the Brendan Fraser Mummy movies. The movie briefly appeared in theaters and was recently released to DVD and Blu-Ray. We just watched it and here are a few thoughts.

* Anton Yelchin, from Hearts in Atlantis and the guy who plays Chekov in the Star Trek reboot, is perfect as Odd. He manages to embody a mix of optimism, dread and a sense of heavy responsibility. Humor is a big part of Koontz’s Odd Thomas books, and Yelchin and Addison Timlin as Stormy, do a fine job delivering one liners and keeping the mood as light as needed.

* The plot of the novel has been compressed and changed to work as a film. At least there’s a nod to Elvis, who is a character in the book.

* At times, Odd Thomas has the look of a TV movie, due, I’m sure, to budget constraints. On the other hand, the effect are impressive, particularly the bodachs and a scene inside the house of Fungus Bob.

* The story has a lot of heart, and it stayed with me. There aren’t many days when I wake up thinking of the movie I watched the night before. In this case, I did.

All in all, it’s a solid representation of Koontz’s work, and I would recommend it for fans of the book.

We also watched Last Vegas, which has been predictably referred to as The Hangover for seniors. Four old friends go to Vegas for a bachelor party and hijinks ensue. The big takeaway? Michael Douglas looks more like his dad than ever. The performances are good, the script has some solid jokes and Mary Steenburgen can sing. Who knew? It’s was an enjoyable couple of hours. Definitely a rental, not an owner.

While writing this weekend, I realized what the title to the third Dead Sheriff book needed to be. For fans of the first book, I realize this news might be slightly ironic and perhaps even frustrating, since I haven’t finished writing the second book yet.

No one has been more disappointed than me at my lack of productivity. The last couple of years have been tumultuous and that’s all I’m inclined to say. I may be the only person on the Internet who doesn’t feel an obligation to share every personal detail of my life with the world, but I’ve never been one of the cool kids, so why start now?

The good news is that my writing is returning to something resembling a normal schedule.

And it feels good.

In addition to the next Dead Sheriff book (which involves masked vigilantes, cannibals and a vampire bordello, so, you know, booyah), I have several other projects in the works for this year and I’m anxious to see some results. Now it’s a party.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

The Guardians of the Kitty Cave

I woke up to this today. It's kind of interesting to me because I didn't leave the shoes there. They were next to the cave, not in front of it. I did see Sabrina rolling on my shoes last night, one of her favorite leisure activities. If Norma didn't move them, then Sabrina put a lot of effort into that arrangement. I hate to move them now.