Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Logan's War: Bound By Honor

           This was a Chuck Norris TV movie back in 1998.   You could say that the plot of the movie is disturbing since it’s based on an 8 year old child that witnesses the murder of his entire family by a group of mobsters.  

           Logan Farrell is the only one that survivied this attack from Albert Talgorno’s mobsters.  Talgorno wanted Farell’s family killed because Logan’s father was a DA and he wanted to put Talgorno and his mobsters in jail.  

            Farrell’s uncle is Jake Fallon, who is played by Chuck Norris.  Farrell makes a vow to Jake that he will avenge his father’s death by killing Talgorno when he gets older.  He’ll dedicate his entire life to achieve his revenge.  

             At first, Jake is reluctant but he’ll be the one training Logan in the martial arts.  The movie is fragmented as well since Logan will spend time in in the army rescuing an officer in one of his missions.  

            The movie continues to move from Farrell growing up from 8 years old, all the way to the army, then going back to Chicago with a plan to inflitrate Talgorno’s mob.  Once again, there is another subplot with Logan helping a mother and son who are being abused by their stepfather.  

            If you think that would make the plot more convulted, then I would agree with that even though the movie wasn’t hard to follow.  It does take away from the movie since there are diffent story lines that seem thrown into the movie just to make it an houre and 30 minutes.  

            One of the other surprises in the move is that Chuck Norris isn’t playing the huge role that he would have in a movie like this although you’ll see him towards the end in martial arts scenes that would overshadow Logan’s character, who is played by Eddie Cibrian.  

             Cibrian would never make it out of TV series in upcoming roles after this movie.  Even though the movie was predictable, I would still give it four stars.  

Ron Hummer 

Six Years by Harlan Coben

         Six years represents the time that from which Professor Jake Fisher made a promise to his girlfriend Natalie to leave her alone.  At that time, he attened her wedding of the woman he loved and agreed never to see her again.  

         It was six years later that Jake found out that Natalie’s husband passed away.  Jake decides to attend his funeral only to find out that the woman that was supposed to be Todd’s wife is not Natalie and that Todd was murdered.  Suddenly, the Professor is on course to finding out what happened.  

         Six years is a great psychological thriller where Coben is at his best.  The story moves along at a very fast pace with a lot of action and suspense as Jake tries to track down Natalie only to find out that there are other people that are after her as well.   If that isn’t enough, there are other people warning Jake to drop his seach, leaving Jake with no one to trust.

         The plot moves along at a great place and you never know which direction it’s going to take as a result.  With each obstacle that Fisher had to overcome, he moves along with his search, fighing everyone he could from his close friends to people in Natalie’s family.   All this led to a surprising ending as Fischer drew closer to finding Natalie.  

          You could also say that Coben has created some complex characters, including some visious and sadistic ones that made the story chilling at times like one of my favorite writers, Gregg Hurwitz.   What really made the book build with more suspense was that Jake was in this for himself.  There would be no one that would help in in his quest to find Natalie.  

           You can’t go wrong with a Harlan Coben book . I’m surprised that anyone could give Six Years a bad review.  I’m happy to give it more than five stars and say that it’s one of the best books I’ve read this year.  

Ron Hummer 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

House Of Cards - Netflix TV Series

         I guess that when a TV series is produced, there are a lot of factors that go into it.  If you have a good plot that keeps the viewer watching along with some great characters, then you have a good series that will keep people interested. 

        Unfortunately, there are some writers and producers who may lose confidence in what they’re doing and feel that then need to add some shock value to the story.  As a result, it probably makes the TV show much worse and people like me become frustrated that the writer pushed me away.  

        In House Of Cards, the drama had a intriguing character named Francis Underwood, who is played by Kevin Spacey, a Senator who will eventually become Vice President of the United States.  His demeanor and his actions seem off beat for a Democrat.  My first thought was that he would be better as a Republican.  

         In the first season, he managed to get an education bill passed by getting one of the members of the teachers union to start a fight with him.  Later, in the finale of the first season, Francis would murder a state senator and make it look like a suicide.  

          By the time the second season has begun, a reporter that Francis has had an affair with seems to be closing in on him with proof that he murdered the Senator.  His response.  He would throw her on to the tracks of a train that would run her down.  

          There were things that I did not like about this show.  One would be when Francis would kill a dog to put it out of it’s misery after it was hit by a car.  Then, later on in the second season, we would see another character named Raymond Tusk, kill a bird with his bare hand.  Being that I have a cat, I’m not comfortable seeing this since there are so many stories that we hear about regarding animals being abused.  

           There were some other good points to this series.  Seeing how reporters operated on their own with the internet seemed very interesting.  Francis being at odds with Tusk and the President made for some good conflicts as well.  Then there were other memorable characters such as Francis’s wife having her affair and being raped by a officer in the military as part of her past.  

            I could go on and on and would even say that the writer and producer of this show was on to something.  I found this series gripping and couldn’t wait to see the end until I got to Episode 24.  

            Towards the end of this episode, you would see Francis, his wife, and his bodyguard, in the beginning of a three way with all three of them kissing each other.  It took less than five seconds for me to grab the remote and shut off the show, shaking my head, saying “come one, this is ridiculous.”  

             In a nutshell, that is me canceling this show.  Writers and producers have to learn that you can only take a viewer like me so far.  Once you go too far and cross a line, then that’s when I walk away and felt that the whole series was a waste of time for me to watch.  

              No stars for House Of Cards.  Just another TV show that was a huge disappointment.  

Ron Hummer 

Don't Look Back by Karin Fossum - Nordic Crime Review

           The story begins when a little girl named Ragnhild who has disappeared from her village and no one knows where she is.  She was going home when a man picked her up in his van and said that he would take her where she needed to go.  

           Obviously, this is terrifying and you hope for the best.  Ragnhild is brought back to this man’s house and after a while she pleads with the man to take her home.  Eventually, he agrees and he leaves her by her parents house.  

           Inspector Sejer has already gotten involved in the case and he is questioning people along with his partner.  Once the girl returns home, every one is relieved until Ragnhild makes a startling confession.  She saw a dead body with this man in the woods.  

            This is where the story, Don’t Look Back begins, as Sejer along with his team go out to the woods to see the woman who has died.  Her name is Annie and she is a student.  There are a multitude of suspects and it’s up to Sejer to solve the mystery.  

            To me, it didn’t make much sense to start the story with the disappearance of Ragnhild.   For a book that was 421 pages, having what seemed like 30 or 40 pages to begin with on this story which has nothing to do with the murder seems bizarre.  Yes, children can disappear and this is scary but why bother putting it at the beginning of a mystery that will have nothing to do with the rest of the story seems more like a waste of pages if anything.  Just start the mystery with Ragnhild seeing a body would make more sense to me.  

             As far as the rest of the book is concerned, much of it is a dry police procedural with Sejer and his partner questioning suspects.  The point of view switches back to the minds of the suspects as well, which again, makes the story drag on.   The story seemed to go on forever for me at times, as if each chapter was at least 50 pages, if not more.  

              The story takes place in a rural village outside of Oslo, but unlike novels by my favorite writer, Camilla Lackberg, there wasn’t much of a feeling that this takes place in Norway.  Yes, this was a poor village and one of the people who was questioned mentioned that some children spent most of their lives weaving baskets until their fingers were worn out.  That only made the book more depressing for me.  

                Aa a result, most of the novel lacked any real suspense for me.   Since the viewpoints were going back and fourth between Sejer and the suspects, this put an interesting twist on the last 50 pages of the novel as the killer was revealed.  You could say that it was a dark twist but in detective novels, I prefer that someone like Sejer has all the answers like DCI Banks or other great detectives. 

                In some ways, you could say that these characters were broken, making this more of a psychological thriller.  The problem here was that you needed more of a story other then a detective questioning suspects.  Again, if you were to compare this to Lackberg, you would find that she creates a story that is more character driven with a great ending.  

                Not a great novel but not a bad one either.  I understand that this book is loosely based on an Italian film, The Girl By The Lake.   That movie didn’t get good reviews.   While there were a lot of good reviews on Goodreads and Amazon,  I can’t follow them and will give this book three stars.  

Ron Hummer 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Jack Ryan - Shadow Recruit - DVD Review

        In a slow moving action packed drama, a younger version of Jack Ryan is back.  Here he is trying to stop the Russians from crashing the US Economy with a terrorist attack.   

        Chris Pine plays Jack Ryan, the soldier of the Tom Clancy novels instead of Harrison Ford.   In Shadow Recruit, the movie starts out with Ryan enlisting in the Marines after 911 and going to Afghanistan.   A chopper that he would get on would be shot down and he would suffer injuries where he would require intense rehab.  

         From there, he would meet Cathy Mueller, played by Keira Knightly.  She would help him and eventually, she would become part of his life as his girlfriend although you don’t know too much about that since the movie switches to the present where he becomes analyst for the CIA. 

         After that, much of the movie focuses on Ryan working on Wall Street and looking into financial indiscretions in the market.  He discovers a plot by the Russians that will crash the market and the movie takes off from there. 

         The movie becomes intense from there.   The subplot is that Cathy seems to think that Ryan is having an affair and she gets involved in his mission as a result.  That only builds the suspense as the movie moves further.   Adding Kevin Costner to the movie only made it better. 

         I’ve read Tom Clancy novels in the past and my feeling is that they were really drawn out and much too long.  In this movie, that seems to be more of the same since it moves from Ryan’s early life when he enlisted in the Marines.  For a movie that is barely under two hours, I just wonder how important it was to the movie.  

         In any case, I will say that I enjoyed this movie in any case and it was worth five stars.  

Ron Hummer 


Justice for Sara by Erica Spindler - Book Review

          One night, there were two murders in the small town of Liberty.  Katherine McCall finds her sister, Sara, brutally murdered.   Someone had come into her home and beat her to death with a baseball bat.  The main suspect in the murder was Katherine because she would inherit all of her sister’s money.  

         Later on that night, a police officer named Wally was killed during a traffic stop.  The police tried to connect the two murders but were unsuccessful.  

           10 years later, Katherine came back to Liberty to open her bakery and find out who killed her sister after she was acquitted at her trial.  She would find an ally in Luke Tanner, the new sheriff of Liberty.  His father, the former sheriff, was the one who thought that Katherine had killed Sara. 

          I guess you could say that this book was a psychological thriller in combination with a murder mystery.  The elements of the psychological thriller were threats to Katherine when she came back to liberty such as finding a baseball bat in her home.  The mystery part was that there were a multitude us suspects that could have killed Sara.  

           The story moved from different points of view of characters from Luke Tanner to Sara McCall.  At other times, it moved to what happened the before and after the murders from different suspects who may have killed Sara.  It was hard to eliminate anyone and even harder to guess who killed Sara and Wally.   

             I thought that this made the book more dynamic like the mysteries that Bruno Fischer wrote with his detective, Ben Helm.  In that series, he wrote the book from different points of view that included all the suspects.  By the end, Helm would solve the murder.  

             While the book was a great mystery, I thought that the combination of it being a psychological thriller weakened the story.   Going from different points of view and replaying the murder scenes seems dynamic but I thought the story didn’t work well as a psychological thriller murder mystery as a result.  My feeling was that if the author made a choice to go either way, it would have been a better story with more suspense.  The only suspense I found that the story had was in guessing who the killer was. 

               The other point was the end, when we knew who the killer was.  Yes, there were twists and turns but the combination of the murder mystery psychological thriller let Sara and Luke to stumble over each other in solving the murders.  

              The best part of the Justice For Sara was the mystery of finding out who the killer was.  In any case, I would still give Justice for Sara four stars. 

Ron Hummer 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Non-Stop - DVD Review

           Liam Neeson is back as Bill Marks, an Air Marshall who seems to have problems since he’s an alcoholic that was brought on by his daughter’s death, is on a plane with a passenger who has texted a threat to him.   He wants $150 million dollars transferred to an offshore account or he will kill a passenger every 20 minutes.  

           The move is a great psychological thriller with the mystery of Neeson trying to find who the killer is before all the passengers are killed.  He’s not getting any help from the crew or his boss because they don’t trust him due to his past.  If anything, the killer is making it look as though Marks is on the plot to kill passengers.  

            What makes it tougher for Marks is to find the killer.  Everyone has a cell phone and it’s hard to figure out who is sending him all the texts as he’s trying to find the killer.  The suspense only builds since each death is more elaborate than the last one.  Marks’s gruff behavior of getting the passengers to listen keeps the movie moving as well.  

             I thought at one point that the movie had at least one flaw.  When there is the threat of an explosion on the plane, the solution seemed to put as many bags as possible on top of the bomb so it wouldn’t explode.  I couldn’t buy into this at all as the plot moved along.  It would have better to go in a different direction than that since it wasn’t believable.  

             With the flaw, the movie still had a lot of good moments.  I like the way Marks’s character blended with other characters such as Jen Summers, who was played by Julienne Moore.  Moore’s performance was great since she was a broken character that added more suspense to the movie as  well.  

             Neeson was great in the lead role like he was in the Taken movies.  It was a different character for him and he did a great job.  In some ways, I felt that he was back in those movies again in character - especially with the martial arts scenes - but in any case, he did a great job.   

             With the flaw on the explosion on the plane, I would still give the movie four stars since it did leave me on the edge of my seat throughout the movie.  

Ron Hummer 

The Breach by Patrick Lee - Book Review

          I guess you could say that on one hand, The Breach is an action-packed novel with Travis Chase playing the lead character and hero like you would see from other writers like Barry Eisler, Lee Child, and Brad Thor.  The difference here that this is more of a Science Fiction blend since there is an object called The Whisper that controls peoples mind.  

          The story is off to a great start.  Travis Chase sees a plane with dead bodies inside.  One of the bodies is the President’s wife.  Evidently, there is a group of people out to find The Whisper and it’s up to Patrick to find this first.

           While the first 60 or so pages of the story did have a great beginning filled with action and suspense, the middle of the story slowed down.  It didn’t help that there were flashbacks to Travis’s past that included how he was in jail in the first place.  The conflict of how he went to jail and what happened to his wife was a good build up but again, there wasn’t that much suspense that led up to it. 

            For me, I think the biggest reason for the lack of suspense was the main character, Travis Chase.   This is the kind of story where people like me would compare Travis Chase with characters like John Rain, Lee Child, and Barry Eisler.  Travis doesn’t have the charisma that drives this story home for me.  If you need a better example, I would say look to the Die Hard movies with Bruce WIllis.  

             There was a chance of romance Paige Campbell, a survivor of the crash.   To me, that fell flat.  It could have made the book stronger for me, especially with Travis being involved in battles with the people who wanted the whisper.  One reader on kindle thought that Paige was a femme fatale.  I didn’t see that.  

               While this book got a lot of five star ratings on Kindle, I have to agree with what was said on the three star ratings.  The characters weren’t developed well.  One person even said that they seemed like cardboard cutouts.  Have to agree with that and give this book three stars as well.  

Ron Hummer

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Begin Again - Movie Review

          Mark Ruffalo plays Dan, a music executive who gets fired from the company that he owned.   After leaving the company, he goes out to a bar to get drunk and meets Gretta - who is played by Kiera Knightly - and sees her perform and wants to sign her to a deal.   Eventually, they would produce an album together on the streets of New York City.  

           This is the story of Begin Again, a character driven movie with music that reminds me of artists like Cheryl Crow and Jewel.  This is a great story with characters who are broken combined with great music which is great to listen to as the movie progresses.  

            Much of the movie involves the relationship with Gretta and flashbacks to her former boyfriend Dave, who is played by Adam Levine.    From there, the movie moves through the streets of New York where she is singing while Dave is making an album.  

             The beginning of the movie repeated three times from three different points of view.  I found that confusing but I went with it since there were some great performances by Knightly and Ruffalo.  I liked the relationship between them and Ruffalo’s antics of never having money to pay his bar tabs.  

             This wasn’t the kind of movie that had any suspense although I wondered if Gretta and Dave would get back together and what effect it would have on their album.  It was good since the romance wasn’t predictable and you never really knew how that would end.  

             I wondered if there was a message sent about this movie regarding the music industry since there was some hesitation by Gretta to have a record company back her on an album.  That’s what made the end of the movie more interesting for me. 

             Happy to say that there are great characters, great movie, and a great story with some funny moments.  Happy to give this movie five stars. 

Ron Hummer 

The Athena Project by Brad Thor - Book Review

It’s hard to not like a book if you’re into four hot female ops agents who get the job done as well as Scott Harvath. In The Athena Project, Athena Team members -Gretchen Casey, Julie Ericsson, Megan Rhodes, and Alex Cooper - go after an arms dealer who is about to give weapons to someone that could destroy the world. 

Unlike other books by Brad Thor, The Athena Project has some science fiction added to this story as well. I thought it was neat when he mentioned the old Star Trek series and how they communicated by flip phones and ear pieces during their missions. The teleportation plot in the story made the Athena Project even more intriguing and fun for me to read. 

The suspense in the book moves along as the point of view shifts between characters from the Athena team to other characters in the book who are trying to gain access to weapons and blueprints to a secret tunnel that was once used by the Nazi’s. There is plenty of action as the Athena team fights to make sure that these weapons don’t end up in the wrong hands. 

While there were point of view shifts in the story, there was a subplot in the book as well. I know that Brad Thor has used subplots in other Scott Harvath novels but in this case, I thought that this subplot took away from the story. I would have liked to have read more about the Athena Team as well but between that and all the point of view shifts, that just seemed to make the story tougher to follow at times. 

The Athena Project was much shorter than Thor’s other books, barely over 300 pages. I guess that it’s not easy to go over 400 pages in every book that Thor has written but this made the plot and action seem too quick before it was over with. That, and Thor’s attempt at keeping the Athena Team under close guard of Scott Harvath, just seemed to bring the book down in this case for me. 

I usually enjoy Brad Thor books but I didn’t enjoy The Athena Project as much as his other books. I would like to see the Athena Team continue and I think that could be done if Thor were to separate them from Harvath and his characters entirely. Focusing that and making a better plot would help me in giving books like this a better rating than four stars. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sons Of Anarchy - TV Review

         It came to my attention last night that this is the last season of Son’s of Anarchy.  I realize that there are a lot fans that are disappointed.  I am not one of those fans.  

         At one time, I thought this was a great show.  To me, it was one of the best shows on FX.   The most memorable part of the show for me will be when the Son’s of Anarchy battled the Neo Nazi’s and won.  

         Of course, the plot only got better when you saw Jax and Clay vying for leadership in the gang, although Jax was only doing it to get rid of Clay since he was a bad influence on the club to say the least.  They were the anti-heroes that you rooted for when the cops seemed to close in on them yet somehow they got away.  

          Unfortunately,  the producer of this show thought that he could do anything and that was why he had a season opener where we saw one gang member urinating on other people.  Then there was the scene where one of the Sons dumped someone in a tub of urine.  I asked myself why I was continuing to even watch this garbage now.  

            Then there was the big scene.   We didn’t actually see it but there it was.  A child going into a church and shooting people.  Beyond irresponsible especially after all the tragic shootings we had in this country.  Yet here was FX, putting all these appalling scenes on their season premier.  I couldn’t take it anymore so I turned off the show, vowing never to watch it again.  

              What was worse was seeing Brent Bozell and his group criticizing the show over this.  Of course he was right, and the last thing we need on television is to have TV shows censored by people like Brent Bozell but when the director of Son’s of Anarchy puts out appalling and irresponsible ideas on his show, then it does bring us one step closer to censorship.  

              I hope that a lot of people stopped watching this show like I did.  Most of all, I hope that the director of Son’s of Anarchy does not get the opportunity to do another show again.  I would not watch it if he did.  

              Goodbye Sons Of Anarchy.  And good riddance.  

Ron Hummer 

The Panther By Nelson DeMille - Book Review

          John Corey is back, along with his wife, on his next mission to Yemen to stop The Panther, a vicious terrorist who in the opening scene killed tourists.  He was also responsible blowing up the Cole.  In any case, it’s up to Corey to put a stop to him.   

           One thing you can say about Corey is that he is full of jokes and wise cracks throughout this long 642 page book.  I think it takes a certain talent to keep up the laughs for over 600 pages but DeMile does a great job.  It doesn’t matter if Corey is speaking with someone, or when he is thinking about something, there is always a good laugh to come. 

             In one part for example, when Corey’s wife is forced to wear a balto, Corey says why don’t you wrap it around your eyes when you go shopping.   Her reply was why don’t I wrap it around your throat.   There is constant banter like this throughout the book and there are times when you see other characters join Corey in his brand of jokes and wisecracks.  

           While the laughs are there throughout the book, the suspense seems to have disappeared.  Yes, of the 642 pages, the action and the suspense never really begins until the last 100 pages of the book.  I was also surprised that I read so little of The Panther’s character since Corey’s character took up over 90% of the book. 

            I enjoyed the Lion’s Game and The Lion and the biggest reason was that not only did you have Corey but you also had a terrorist who was killing people throughout the book, making it more suspenseful since the point of view switched between Corey and the terrorist.   The balance was great and the suspense was top notch.  

            In looking at some of the reviews on Kindle, many of the people said that the book was too long and should have been shorter.  That’s an excellent way to sum this up.  The other part is Corey’s character.  I happen to think he is funny but not everyone has the same sense of humor as I do so there will be people who won’t like his jokes or feel that he is getting worn out.   That’s the risk that DeMille takes when he writes this book.  

             Books like The Lion’s Game and The Lion had a tremendous amount of suspense and both of those books deserve more than five stars.   I enjoyed The Panther but not enough to give it five stars.   Four stars is more than fair for this one. 

Ron Hummer  

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Laser Mission - DVD Review

         As a fan of Brandon Lee, I only managed to see his last three movies.  Of the three, I really enjoyed Rapid Fire and Little Showdown in Tokyo.  When I managed to find a bargain DVD box with had 10 movies for $4.99, I decided it to buy it, seeing that one of the movies was Laser Mission with Brandon Lee. 

         If there was a time to say that actors started off in movies that turned out to be a dud, I would give a giant dud to Laser Mission.  At the very least, I had hoped for some excellent martial arts scenes that Lee was famous for in Rapid Fire but that was a huge disappointment since many of the fight scenes were under two minutes.  

         The movie was about Lee playing Michael Gold, a CIA agent who has to track down a stole diamond that can be used in a laser cannon.  Ernest Borgnine plays a Russian Professor named Professor Braun, who has trouble speaking English.  Obviously, this was a really poor role for Borgnine and I had to wonder how he was even working after taking this movie in 1989.  

          Debi Monahan has a large role in this movie also as Alissa.  If you look at her credits, you would see that this was the only movie she was in and if you saw this movie, you would see why.  Her acting was beyond awkward for the role she was in, even when she had a few scenes when she was shooting people.  

           Beyond the two minute fight scenes and maybe one or two funny moments in this movie, I would say that since this was an action movie blended with comedy, the jokes were flat and the plot wasn’t believable.  

           A bigger surprise was the person who had a role in the soundtrack of this movie.  Yes, it was David Knopfler of Dire Straits.  The song, Mercenary Man, is not one of his best songs.  You might say that it was one of his worst.  You can play the track on You Tube and see some scenes from the movie as well. 

           After seeing the video on youtube, I’m sure that anyone would not waste their time renting this movie.  I can see why some movies never make it to HBO or Showtime or even Netflix instant.  It would be generous of me to give this movie one star

Ron Hummer 

The Bat By Joe Nesbo - Nordic Crime Review

           This is the first in a series of books by Joe Nesbo on his private detective Harry Hole, although there were times in the book when he was called Harry Holy or Hole or Holy.  I was expecting HH since a lot of characters like to refer to themselves by acronyms.  

            In this book, Hole is overseeing a murder investigation of a minor celebrity back home.  He is told just to observe and stay out of trouble.  He does offer some valuable assistance since he is playing the role of a brilliant detective that can solve this murder case.  

             The case seems to turn to the point that there may be a serial killer involved since there is a pattern of him raping and killing women.  The book moves along with Hole asking questions of people who he thinks are suspects.  The subplot of the book seems to move towards relationships he has had in the past and the present with Kristin and Birgitta.  
              During the book, you will see signs of Hole drinking a lot and having a drunken tirade.   If you’re a fan of Ken Bruen for example, this might appeal to you but to me, it’s more of a turnoff.   The grandfather of this type of detective, who is Mat Scudder from Lawrence Block does a much better job with this.  

              Harry’s personal life seems to play a big role in the story.  For me, it was too much of a role since much of it had little or no relation to the case. The relationship between Birgitta didn’t seem very strong to me and I was amazed that they had any kind of relationship at all after Hole’s drunken tirade. 

               The bigger problem for me in the story was when Birgitta was willing to let herself be bait for this serial killer.  I find that hard to believe no matter what her feelings are for Hole.  I mean, there must be at least one woman on the police force that can do this.  

               That whole scene would have worked for me if Birgitta was kidnapped.  If that happened, it would have made the book seem more believable to me.  I felt that this flaw really brought the book down for me as a result of this. 

               I am willing to give credit where credit is due and say that the last 60 or so pages of this book was superb and intense.  At that point, the book was extremely hard to put down and I can’t think of any kind of mystery that was intense as this was.  

              With all that said, I would say that I would have given this book more than five stars if it weren’t for the flaw.  In any case, I’ll give this book 4 stars.  

Ron Hummer 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

In The Blood - DVD Review

          Gina Carano is back in In The Blood, playing Ava, a woman that is marrying a rich business man named Derek Grant.   During their honeymoon, Grant disappears after taking a huge fall and breaking his leg.  It’s up to Ava to find out what happened to him since she is a suspect in his disappearance because she can inherit his money since he may have been killed. 

          Carano, the former kickboxing star, brings plenty of action and suspense from start to finish from the moment she is on the island with her husband.  She seems unstoppable in the beginning when she is hit on by Big Biz, who is played by Danny Trejo.  Trejo, who would not leave her alone, gets himself a few bruises from Carano when she attacks him and several people in the bar when they go after her. 

          The movie has a lot of suspense as we wonder if Derek is alive or dead throughout the movie.  Ava has to go into some dangerous parts of the Caribbean in order to find her husband and you had to wonder if she was going to survive.  It’s not a predictable movie like you would see with Sly Stallone since the police seemed to be just as corrupt as the rest of the people are on the island as well.  

           There are a lot of surprises in the movie which make it unpredictable from start to finish.  Carano is kicking ass and asking questions, trying to find the answers to her husband’s disappearance with each clue leading nowhere until she gets all the answers in the end.  

            By the time we have the answers, the movie continues to keep going somehow with more non-stop action as Ava has to do whatever she can to get out of the problems that she is in and get home safely.  By the time the movie is over, I only wondered how she managed to resolve all her problems.  

            If you’re into action and suspense and lots of martial arts scenes, then I would have to say that Carano is at her best, making this movie much better than Haywire.  I have to say that this is worth more than five stars. 

You're Next by Gregg Hurwitz - Psychological Thriller Book Review

          At the very least, the opening of You’re Next starts off in a terrifying way.   Here is Mike Wingate, 4 years old, who is about to abandoned by his father.  In the readers mind, you have to say to yourself that there is no excuse for a parent to do this yet this is the opening scene and you’re left to wonder what is going to happen to Mike as a result of this. 

          From there, the point of view shifts from Mike being a family man with a wife and daughter to his days in an orphanage where his only friend was Shep.  The story moves along with Mike having problems with his job as head of a construction company that could put him out of business. 

           If that isn’t bad enough, he is starting to run into shady characters who seem as broken as he is along with his friend, Shep.  The mystery is where these characters came from and why are they after Mike and his family.  The answers aren’t easy and the threats seem not only violent but chilling at times with text messages of You’re Next to his cell phone.
           As far as the characters are concerned, they were memorable.  They weren’t ordinary characters.  You could say that they were broken people who dealt with some physical problems.   I thought that brought the characters out further and made this story even more unique.  

            This was a very hard book to put down.   The main reason was the characters, especially the shady characters who were after Mike.   Being that they were evil also since they wanted to kill him and his family, that just brought out the suspense even more, making me wonder what he could have possibly done to have these people come after him. 

            I was surprised by the reason once it came out.  Some people who reviewed this book on Amazon didn’t seem to think that it was believable.  I would say that it was not only believable but it seemed like the author had done some research on this as well.  The story kept moving for me and it was even harder for me to put the book down since all this lead to a very unpredictable and fascinating ending.  

            It was a long time since I read Gregg Hurwitz.  I really enjoyed They’re Watching.  While that was a great psychological thriller, I have to say that You’re Next was just as good if not better.  Happy to say that this was one of the best books I read this year and I would give it more than five stars.   Can’t wait to read more of Gregg’s books.  

Ron Hummer