pattinase (abbott)

Nov 212014
Evan Lewis will be hosting FFB next week.

(From the archives)

This was the first Sam McCain book I read back in 2009 and what a pleasure it was. All of Ed Gorman's novels are a treat to read. You enter a world that is mostly filled with benevolent, well-drawn non-stereotypical characters.

And then Ed throws in the monkey wrenches that set that peaceful Iowa world on its ear. There is murder and mayhem but you are never offended. We have a gentleman here.
And then he sets things right in a humane and compelling way.

Especially fun for me were the sixties touchstones-and I really admired the way he caught it on the cusp of a new era-and captured it without overplaying its markers. Sam McCain feels young, vibrant, and on the edge of adulthood himself.

What I liked most about Ed's books is his obvious admiration and enjoyment of women. This is unusual in the books I read. His women are rarely shrews or nags or harpies. All of them seem like a romance or an adventure is just within their grasp--young and old.

My very favorite Gorman book is SLEEPING DOGS, but this is right up there. They all are.

Sergio Angelini, John Dickson Carr
Yvette Banek, SILVER MEADOW, Barry Maitland
Joe Barone, CARIOCA FLETCH, Gregogy McDonald
Brian Busby, Basil King
Bill Crider. SHOOT, Douglas Fairbain
Martin Edwards, DEATH OF A MILLIONAIRE, G.D.H. and Margaret Cole
Curt Evans, THE FARM AT PARANOA, Laurence Kirk
Ray Garraty, DOG STARS, Peter Heller
Ed Gorman, FAST LANE, Dave Zeltserman
Rick Horton, THE SHEIK, E.M. Hull
Nick Jones, THE FNGER OF SATURN, Victor Canning
George Kelley, TROS OF SAMONTHRACE, Talbot Mundy
Margot Kinberg, THE HOUSE WITHOUT A KEY, Earl Der Biggers 
Rob Kitchin, THE MIDNIGHT SWIMMER, Edward Wilson 
B.V. Lawson, AH, SWEET MYSTERY, Celestine Sibley
Evan Lewis, HOME IS THE HANGMAN, Richard Sale
Steve Lewis/Dan Stumpf, HOT ICE, Robert J. Casey
Todd Mason. QUARK 4. ed. Samuel Delaney, SATURDAY EVENING POST
James Reasoner, IN THE HILLS OF MONTERREY, Max Brand
Richard Robinson, ILL WIND, Nevada Barr
Gerard Saylor, FATALE, Jean-Patrick Manchette
Ron Scheer, QUITTING TIME, Robert J. Conley
Kevin Tipple, KINGS OF COLORADO, David E. Hilton
TomCat, MISSING SUSAN, Sharon McCrumb
TracyK, MURDER WITHIN MURDER, Richard and Frances Lockridge
Prashant Trikannad, THE HARDY BOYS: THE TOWER TREASURE, Franklin Dixon


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Nov 192014
In WHIPLASH, the majority of the film details the relationship between a sadistic music teacher and his talented but narcissistic student. One of the best films of the year beyond a doubt. But there is a long tradition of films, TV shows and also, of course, books about such relationships. It is practically its own genre.

Sometimes the teacher is a positive influence but it often goes the other way as in WHIPLASH and the forthcoming FOXCATCHER.

Two favorites of mine are THE MIRACLE WORKER, about Helen Keller starring Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke from 1962. And also the TV show FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS. Coach Taylor taught his students football but also how to be an honorable man. Annie Sullivan brought Helen Keller into a world she was excluded from.

What work about this sort of relationship, good or bad, speaks to you?

Tuesday Forgotten Movies: CHILLY SCENES OF WINTER

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Nov 182014

Joan Micklin Silver directed this Ann Beattie story. It looks a lot funnier here than I remember it. It was brought to my attention when I saw it was playing at a NY theater. Here is a piece from 30 years ago about how it came together.

Ann Beattie was a hot writer in the seventies with a unique style that few believed could translate to a film. This was in the day before indies. When you had to convince a Hollywood studio to make the movie. And this downer was a hard sell.

It's the story of a man (John Heard) who falls for a married woman (Mary Beth Hurt) and his pursuit of her. The original movie title was HEAD OVER HEELS, which tells you the kind of movie the studio thought they were financing. Luckily, the ending was changed to keep the tone of the book. Silvers made this one right after BETWEEN THE LINES, another favorite of mine.