One That Got Away coverI read a lot of these kinds of books. You know, crime and suspense and that sort of thing? I always check reviews and try to steer clear of the garbage. Oh, there’s no shortage of garbage out there… After I bought my first Kindle I was less-discerning, and read two or three chapters of many low-priced books by people who shouldn’t be writing books. Maybe not even emails or filthy poems over urinals.

Even though I’m now doing my due diligence, and maintaining a higher level of quality, the stories still sometimes run together in my memory. This one stands out more than most.

Zoe and her friend were abducted by a murderous weirdo during a night of heavy drinking. Zoe escaped, but her friend was killed. She feels profoundly guilty, believes she could have done more to help, and her life unravels. Then she sees something on the news that snaps her out of it. The freak is at it again.

It’s not a perfect book. I remember groaning once or twice, when things got a little preachy and melodramatic. But it’s well-plotted, moves quickly, and is a genuine page-turner. Today it’s $1.99 in the Kindle Store. You won’t be disappointed.

Hunger Games coverThis is another book I haven’t read yet, but feel fairly confident in recommending. Especially at today’s price of $2.99 for Kindle.

It’s not my kind of thing, generally speaking. I don’t usually go in for swords and arrows, and characters running through the woods in animal pelts. Ya know? But, people I admire rave about this thing, because of the storytelling and writing. So I’ll probably give it a shot some day. It’s sitting patiently on my Kindle, waiting for me.

There are almost 25,000 reviews of this book at Amazon, and the first Harry Potter only has 10,000. That’s a phenomenon, right there.

If you’re interested, now’s a good time to buy. And if you’ve read it, what are your thoughts?



the shining coverPerhaps you’ve heard of this one? It’s a classic from back in the days when Stephen King’s publisher seemed to insist on at least a small amount of editing. Nowadays I suspect he just emails a Word document, they slap a cover on it, and everybody starts cashing checks.

I read this a million years ago, and loved it. In fact, I loved all the earlyish King books, with the exception of Cujo. Ironically, I thought that one was a dog.

Needless to say, this is the basis for the 1980 movie of the same name, directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson. You know, the one that EVERYBODY loves, except for Stephen King himself? Good stuff.

The Shining is available in the Kindle Store for $1.99 today. You simply can’t go wrong.

Dark Places coverFor years Gillian Flynn reviewed books, movies, and TV shows for Entertainment Weekly. Then she wrote a novel, Stephen King called it “an admirably nasty piece of work,” and everything changed.

She now has three books, the most recent being Gone Girl, which was a genuine phenomenon. That novel was turned into a pretty good movie that was at least thirty minutes too long.

Dark Places is the second book. It feels like it gets the least amount of attention, but is my favorite of the bunch. It concerns a woman who, along with her older brother, survived a night of horror when she was a child. Somebody came into their house and killed most of the family. The brother was convicted of the crime, and sent away for life.

The woman is flawed, and sometimes not even likable. She lives off the fame of being a formerly cute li’l victim of a terrible tragedy. And when she starts investigating that fateful night (she remembers very little), it’s because she’s getting paid to do it. Her motives are not pure. I love it! The protagonists in these kinds of books are usually driven by some righteous fire burning inside them. Not so this one.

As I type this, Dark Places is $2.99 for Kindle.

Decline coverI believe I saw the first of these documentaries on the old Night Flight program on USA Network. And it freaked me out a little. It focused on early Los Angeles punk bands such as Black Flag, X, Fear, and The Germs. It was fierce and grimy, and a bit disturbing to your slightly-sheltered correspondent, who might have just gotten home from a Billy Joel concert, or whatever.

The director, Penelope Spheeris, made a sequel two years later, in 1983 — this time with heavy metal bands. It features the famous “Ozzy cooking bacon” scene, and the whole film is great fun. I probably saw it at the midnight movies, or possibly as a VHS rental. I can’t remember, but I do remember loving it.

I’ve never seen the third installment, and wasn’t even aware of its existence. It reportedly focuses on homeless punk rock kids in L.A. I’ve read that it’s fairly dark and powerful.

This much-anticipated box set is the first time these classic films have been available on DVD or BluRay. Legally, anyway. There’s also a fourth disc of outtakes, etc. It’s put together by Shout! Factory, which is run by some of the original Rhino Records folks. That means we’re in good hands! Check out the Amazon page here.