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Comics Roundup: Judge Dredd 3 & 4, Two-Step, Grindhouse

Judge Dredd, Volumes 3 and Volume 4 by Duane Swierczynski and Nelson Daniel Volume 3 finds Dredd in the wastelands, trying to track down criminals to save Mega-City one from “The Big Fail.”  Think of it as “Dredd visits The Hills Have Eyes.”  It’s a delightful, if goofy, adventure for everyone’s favorite Clint Eastwood doppelganger.  […]


Farside written by Ben Bova; narrated by Stephan Rudnicki On the far side of the moon, a new observatory is building the biggest telescopes ever crafted by Man.  These massive instruments, combined with the Moon’s airless surface, and the far-side’s shelter from the brightness of the Earth, give its scientists the ability to see things […]

Unholy Night

Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith What if the Three Wise Men of the nativity story weren’t, in fact, scholars, but were rather disguised thieves on the run from Herod?  And what if they happened upon a young woman and her husband and the baby they said was destined for great things?  And what if there […]

Thinking about dead bodies: Stiff, by Mary Roach

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach, narrated by Shelly Frasier As always, Mary Roach explores a topic of interest and (perhaps) disgust with tact, verve, and lots of humor.  In this book–the first of her science books–Roach explores the myriad ways we deal with death and dead bodies, and explains how […]

Where’d you go, D.B. Cooper? Skyjack

Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper written and narrated by Geoffrey Gray Gray starts the tale of famed plane hijacker D.B. Cooper with his own introduction to the tale — a visit from a private-eye friend who wanted to pitch a story.  What follows is a three-year odyssey into one of the modern rabbit holes, […]


Bossypants written and narrated by Tina Fey Fey’s memoir is a nice balance between stories about her career, essays on life as informed by her own experience, and a few cogent and telling discussions of the modern state of comedy (particularly of women in comedy).  Fey shows herself to be a thoughtful, funny writer–this is […]

A Rumpole Christmas: Stories

A Rumpole Christmas: Stories by John Mortimer, narrated by Bill Wallis Everyone’s favorite cantakerous lawyer is back for more glasses of Pomeroy’s finest, carping at judges, and winning most of his cases.  In this collection, Rumpole puts up with Helga’s changing plans for Christmas, resorts to a bit of arm-twisting for a good cause, and […]

In the Best Families

In the Best Families by Rex Stout One of the better Nero Wolfe novels I’ve read, In the Best Families starts off like a conventional tale of Nero and Archie — a lady comes into Wolfe’s office with a confidential problem.  She doesn’t know where her husband — a younger man — is getting the […]

2014 in Review: Books

Top books I read in 2014 — Listed roughly in order of “favorite,” though this is not precise. Fiction (click the image to read my review): Southern Gods by James Horner Jacobs A creepy, Lovecraftian tale buried in the Louisiana Bayou.  Startling and amazing. The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey Deeply heartfelt, […]

Comics Roundup: Shadowland – Moon Knight, Hawkeye, Lazarus

Shadowland: Moon Knight by Gregg Hurwitz and Bong Dazo In what will be the last of my efforts to understand this odd character, I read Gregg Hurwitz’s short run on Moon Knight.  I pulled a rookie move and failed to research what “Shadowland” was, so inadvertently found myself reading a mini-series from the middle of […]

The Uncommon Reader (review)

An Uncommon Reader by Alan Burnett What happens when the Queen of England discovers that a mobile library visits Buckingham Palace regularly?  She checks out a book.  And so begins a tale of a dawning late-in-life love of literature for Britain’s highest royal.  As her Majesty becomes a more adept reader, the world around her […]

The Last Policeman

The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters Detective Hank Palace just wants to solve this murder.  But there are lots of things getting in the way: his colleagues and the coroner think it’s suicide, the mobile phone service is getting sketchy in his little Massachusetts town, the crime lab is backed up beyond belief, and […]

The Girl with All the Gifts

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey It’s hard to be a regular girl in a post-apocalypse world.  But in as much as she can be, Melanie has the same hopes and fears that most children do.  She likes some of her teachers, she dislikes others, she’s interested in Greek Mythology.  It doesn’t […]

The Fat Man

The Fat Man: A Tale of North Pole Noir by Ken Harmon This month my Speculative Fiction book group (which reads about two or three fantasy books each year) selected Ken Harmon’s hard-boiled detective novel, The Fat Man, a story about Gumdrop Coal — the grumpy elf who founded the Coal brigade — trying to […]

The Colorado Kid

The Colorado Kid by Stephen King The Colorado Kid is a crime story and a mystery steeped in place.  Its setting and its storytellers are the crucial ingredient that makes the tale go.  The plot, loosely described, is thus: two veteran journalists in a small town in coastal Maine tell a young journalist about a […]