If we stream all our movies and download all our books, what's left to ask for as a Christmas gift?

If we stream all our movies and download all our books, what's left to ask for as a Christmas gift?

Friday, May 27, 2011

The return of Captain Jack


I saw Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides yesterday, and liked it well enough. Thrills, laughs, scares, they're all there. However, it didn't have anywhere near the ambition and scope of the last couple of Pirates movies, Dead Man's Chest and At World's End, nor the variety of characters.

On that last point, there aren't many "normal" characters this time, like the previous films' Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) or Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), for the larger-than-life characters to contrast with and stand out against. Here, nearly everyone is a big, eccentric character... Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow, Geoffrey Rush's Captain Barbossa, Ian McShane's Blackbeard, among others, which eventually makes everything feel somewhat over the top. Making these characters seem even more eccentric is the fact that there isn't a big, ambitious story for them to fill this time, just a fairly modest one about different interests racing to reach the Fountain of Youth.

Despite the smaller, less epic story, there are some high points in the movie, however, including a terrific set piece involving Blackbeard and his crew, with a conscripted Jack Sparrow along for the ride, trying to lure a school of mermaids into a trap, in order to secure the tears of one of the lovely but deadly creatures (the tears being needed to activate the Fountain of Youth once it's found). The whole mermaid sequence starts out bad for the hunters then gets worse, eventually resembling the Pirates version of a fire fight with the Vietcong. It's something to see.

I could tell you a few more things, some good and some less so, about the movie. But in the end, if you liked the other Pirates of the Caribbean movies, you'll probably enjoy this one enough to justify a trip to the theater. You may even like it more than the last couple, if you felt those were getting a bit too bloated and complicated. Me, I found On Stranger Tides to be a bit of a step back in most key areas, but not enough of one to get upset about. I'm glad I saw it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

More ponderables


On this fine Thursday, here are a few more age-old questions for you to ponder...

Why is it when you give someone your opinion, you're "putting your two cents in", but when someone asks for your opinion, they only offer "a penny for your thoughts"? Where's that extra penny going?

Why does a round pizza come in a square box?

If a deaf person goes to court, is it still called a hearing?

If the professor on Gilligan's Island could make a radio out of a coconut, why couldn't he fix a hole in a boat?

Why do we press harder on the TV remote when we know the batteries are weak?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Something for grown-ups


The memorable, entertaining, and decidedly adults-only Burning Palms delivers five edgy, shocking, often funny tales, all centering around sexual and social taboos, and various other sex-related themes. Once you get into the mood of the movie, which is that it's basically a sex-drenched Tales From the Crypt (right down to the comic-book graphics that introduce each segment), you'll enjoy the over-the-top plot developments and shock endings.

My wife and I did utter a few "Oh, come on!" type comments throughout, in response to some of the characters' actions, but to be fair, the filmmakers were probably going for those particular audience reactions. The second story, about a young girl's mental breakdown after her boyfriend asks her to perform a fairly mild (in our opinion) bit of kinkiness, particularly caused some eye-rolling. Aren't these characters supposed to be sophisticated, nothing-can-shock-us residents of hip-and-trendy L.A.? Still, the tale was entertaining, as are all the stories to varying degrees.

The final segment, about a young woman's unconventional response to her recent rape, was actually done pretty much as a straight drama, and ended up being the most memorable of the tales. What would most women do if they stumbled upon the identity of their masked attacker, including his full name, home address, and work address? They probably wouldn't do what this woman does during the course of the movie's thoughtful, complex closing story.

Burning Palms is well acted by an interesting combination of familiar faces and talented lesser-known actors, and sharply directed by Christopher B. Landon (the son of actor Michael Landon) The movie looked and sounded great on the standard DVD we watched.

Give Burning Palms a shot if you're at all open to this type of material. It's worth a look.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Postscript

Extra, extra... I just learned via a web search that, in addition to the new Kobo reader with touch-screen technology coming out in June (and discussed in my previous post), next month will also feature Barnes and Noble's new touch-screen Nook, priced at $139.00.

In fact, it looks like both devices were announced pretty much simultaneously, most likely to take advantage of the need of so many of us to buy Fathers Day gifts.

Does that mean that Amazon's touch-screen Kindle will be announced tomorrow? Sheesh.

New kid on the block


Borders' new Kobo E-Reader Touch Edition, out in June, dumps the ugly rubbery controller, retains e-ink technology, but adds a touch screen. Also including WiFi connectivity, the new device is priced at a very attractive $129.00. As far as I can tell, today is the first day the product is being shown to the public (many of you probably received the same promotional e-mail from Borders earlier today that I did).

So far I've been a Kindle man, but this looks interesting. For some reason I always thought that e-ink was incompatible with touch-screen technology, but why should it be? The sensors are in the main screen, right, regardless of what's underneath it.

Anyway, this whole thing is kind of like the space race during the Cold War, isn't it? You just know that Amazon's Jeff Bezos and his fellow executives are annoyed that Borders got its touch-screen e-ink reader to market before they did.

So, you Kindle purists, would you be tempted to buy this new reader, with its cool new touch screen? Or will you wait for the Kindle 4, which will undoubtedly feature touch-screen tech as well? Myself, considering that e-book readers are plummeting in price, it might not be too extravagent to own both! It might be prudent, even, as we won't be tied to any one retailer to buy our e-books.

One thing's for sure. The e-book playing field has just gotten a lot more interesting.

Ha

Recently spotted on a bumper sticker:

I bet you that I could stop gambling.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Breaking the routine


Never let it be said that I only enjoy mystery novels and superhero movies. Yesterday a friend and I took a jaunt into center city Philadelphia to hear the famed Philadelphia Orchestra perform the majestic Beethoven Symphony #9. It was a tremendous performance, one my friend and I will remember for years to come.

Nicely accessorizing the 2:00 p.m. performance were a couple of glasses of wine prior to the performance at a nearby French bistro, and a couple of glasses after the performance, at a popular Italian restaurant in the area. The less said the better about the glass of indifferent Chardonnay we each had during intermission.

The Philadelphia Orchestra performs in Verizon Hall, the main performance venue inside the Kimmel Center on Broad Street, the city's main thoroughfare. Pictured is the public space just outside Verizon Hall, but still inside the Kimmel Center, just after the conclusion of yesterday's performance. Yes, that's replica of the Eiffel Tower in the photograph. The impressive structure, which is lit up at night, was recently constructed as part of a citywide arts festival.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday tip #2


Courtesy of the HBO Go app on my iPad, I'm finally catching up with Boardwalk Empire, a very entertaining show that centers around prohibition-era gangster activity in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Unlike HBO On Demand, the new HBO Go app features every episode of every HBO series aired during the past ten years or so, not just selected offerings. The app is free to HBO subscribers, with myself being a recent addition to that fine group.

Getting back to to the show, I like how Boardwalk Empire both immerses itself in romantic nostalgia for 1920s-era Atlantic City and blunt, realistic depiction of the gangster activity that took place during that time, with neither flavor undercutting the other. Helping to reconcile those two approaches is Steve Buscemi's crime/political boss character Nucky Thompson (based on the real-life A.C. figure Nucky Johnson), who himself displays both sympathetic and brutal sides. Buscemi is great in the role, demanding viewers' attention despite his high voice and lack of physical stature. Who says an effective crime boss has to look the part at first glance?

I'm sure I'll write more about the show as I watch more episodes, but so far, the first three episodes of season one have been rich, involving, and a lot of fun.

Friday tip #1


2009's State of Play, starring Russell Crowe, Rachel McAdams, Ben Affleck, and Helen Mirren, is a crisp, fast-moving thriller set in the corridors of power of Washington. D.C., in the days following a handful of mysterious deaths. Will Mr. Crowe's rumpled yet diligent newspaper reporter character figure out who was behind the deaths, despite equally diligent opposition? One thing's for sure: the movie will keep you caring as he tries.

The world of private defense contractors in a post 9/11 world figures heavily in the proceedings, and do the current trials and tribulations of the newspaper business. The movie never sacrifices its smarts in its mission to entertain and, despite the private defense contractor angle, doesn't go for easy villains and cheap shots.

State of Play looks and sounds great on standard DVD, the way that I experienced it. A behind-the-scenes featurette and a handful of deleted scenes round out the proceedings.

State of Play was a Netflix rental, and my wife and I both enjoyed it. You might, too.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Harrow's back


In the wake of their spectacular, dramatic, but hard-earned success the year before (chronicled in the first book in the series, You Can’t Stop Me), television personality J.C. Harrow and his reality TV cohorts take on another huge challenge in Max Allan Collins and Matthew Clemens' fast-paced, involving No One Will Hear You. It’s actually more than one challenge, as two serial killers surface to taunt the cast and crew of the “Crime Seen” crime-busting show.

Making things even more interesting is the fact that the killers appear at a vulnerable time for the “Crime Seen” gang, as its various members, including Harrow himself, are discussing whether the good the show accomplishes (putting criminals behind bars, or in the ground) is worth all the nonsense being a TV celebrity entails. Additional texture, also entertaining, comes from the many developments in the personal lives of the ongoing cast that have occurred between the first two books and also during the course of this one. In other words, yes, you get a little romance this time. But don’t worry, it’s snappy, fun, and sexy, not syrupy and eye-rolling stuff.

But we’re never long away from the intense elements of Collins and Clemens’ darkly entertaining story. Longtime collaborators on the “CSI” and “NCIS” tie-in novels (as well as other TV-based novels), I’m guessing that the two writers are really enjoying not having to clear their storylines with television producers and license holders, and can just cut loose with their imaginations now that they’ve created their own crime-solving team with J.C. Harrow and company.

If that’s the case, it shows. The characters (whether good or bad) have depth and complexity; the pacing and action start with high energy right out of the box and then intensify; and the many scary scenarios are, well… very scary. In other words, if you’re in the mood for a cute, “cozy”-style mystery, look elsewhere. Not that you don’t get a clever mystery here, too, because you do (another asset). But this mystery is laced with glinting knives, breakneck thrills, and insane killers with a taste for the theatrical.

If you like the adjectives frightening, creepy, and terrifying when describing the kinds of literary rollercoaster rides you like to dive into on occasion, you can’t go wrong with No One Will Hear You. The first book in the series was a solid, memorable effort, but this one is even better. Here’s hoping for more J.C. Harrow and company in the near future.

No One Will Hear You is available in paperback for $7.99 and the bargain price of $4.58 on Kindle.

Beat the fear


From the May 17 edition of The New York Times:

Conde Nast Publications, whose stable of magazines chronicles the American zeitgeist as meticulously as any anthropologist, has reached an agreement to lease one million square feet at 1 World Trade Center, giving ground zero a much-needed corporate anchor with a proven ability to attract other businesses.

As positive this bit of news undoubtedly is to New Yorkers and the country at large, did any of you have the same dark, morbid thought I did upon hearing it? The first thing to enter my mind was this bit of paranoia: this is just like that scene in Jaws when all the beachgoers were afraid to go in the water after that first shark attack, but then a meek little family all of a sudden gets brave enough to wade into the water, and doesn't immediately get eaten... which of course results moments later in the floodgates opening and a torrent of mankind splashing into the sea to have fun. And we all know how that scene ended, as Chief Brody watches horrified from the beach.

Well, here's hoping that the first part of that scenario indeed comes true, and all kinds of vibrant private businesses will follow Conde Nast's patriotic (and, let's be honest, brave) lead and also move into the new complex. Otherwise, several pundits' predictions might come true, and only grey government agencies will fill the stylish office space because everyone else will be afraid to do so. So, kudos to Conde Nast for wading into the water first.

As for the second part of that comparison, and the general trepidation that generated the Jaws scenario in my head in the first place... well, there's always going to be a little bit of fear from here on out when it comes to setting up shop in anything called The World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, or even just visiting the location. But, to quote the highly unoriginal but probably true sentiment we've all heard countless times: we shouldn't let such feelings dictate our actions. As we all said as soon as September 13th or 14th of 2001, we must be vigilant, but life has to go on.

So, to pull another analogy from Jaws, while the "shark" that still scares us wasn't destroyed with the finality of the one in the movie, it's been suitably bloodied, especially in very dramatic fashion quite lately. It'll really think twice then, right, before circling in for another kill, especially in a location where it's hunted before with the whole world watching?

Right?

Sigh. This fear thing can be a real pain, can't it?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A tragic puzzler


In Sue Grafton's D Is For Deadbeat, the fourth in the author's Kinsey Millhone Alphabet mystery series, an initially simple assignment to deliver a cashier's check turns into a complex murder investigation when Kinsey's client turns up dead. We soon learn that the client, a rumpled alcoholic named John Daggett, was responsible for the deaths of several people in the car Daggett hit when he was driving drunk, creating instant murder suspects among the many people related to the car wreck victims.

The book stays focused on the case at hand, with little diversion. Cleverly, we do learn a little more about Kinsey's shaded past even as the main case is being investigated, as one of the suspects related to the car crash victims, a lost, confused young man named Tony Gahan, reminds Kinsey so much of herself when she was younger, bringing on a reminiscence or two. There's also a short romantic interlude for Kinsey, but even that feels like part of the case, as the guy she becomes involved with, her cop friend Jonah, is also helping out in her investigation.

If you prefer your mystery books to mainly focus on, well, the mystery, you should be happy with this story. But if you're a reader who also likes a little breeziness and character texture to keep your mysteries from simply turning into the literary version of a crossword puzzle, there's just enough of that kind of thing here, too. Something to keep everyone happy, as they say.

In any event, a strong plot, and a dash of Kinsey's past and current personal life, all combine to produce an engaging and entertaining reading experience. The haunting, memorable ending doesn't hurt, either.

D Is For Deadbeat is available on Kindle for $7.99.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Refreshing


For your consideration, the accompanying photograph shows a Grapefruit Crush. This delightful concoction is made up of Absolut Ruby Red Vodka, Triple Sec, fresh grapefruit juice, and a splash of Sprite, all served on the rocks.

The pictured beverage was ordered by my wife Alison at the outdoor patio bar of Romarco's Italian Restaurant ("A taste of Tuscany") in Clifton Heights, Pennsylvania, on Thursday evening, May 12. A dim, cozy restaurant for most of the year, Romarco's breaks out a little in the spring and summer when it opens its outdoor patio bar and serves up seasonal favorites like the Grapefruit Crush and other fruity treats.

For the record, Alison thought the drink was a winner.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Soothing shot of Jack


Thanks to my iPad, I'm catching up on a lot of good TV that I missed over the years for various reasons (life's busy, you know?). Right now, for example, I'm using my iPad's Netflix app to watch one season after another of 24, the Kiefer Sutherland anti-terrorism drama that recently concluded after eight successful seasons on the Fox network. It's a good show, consistently delivering the flavor of the type of high-octane, fast-paced espionage thriller that we guys often like to read on the beach or by the pool every summer. This is especially true because each 24-episode season delivers one big 24-chapter story.

One thing I'm noticing, though, now that we're in the days following the happy destruction of Osama bin Laden, is that the prime fuel powering 24 seemed to be our country's anger and frustration at bin Laden's elusive nature in the years following 9/11. And we were probably more frustrated that we thought we were, as for eight years Americans made a huge hit out of a show that, like clockwork, conceived terrorist characters as bad or worse as bin Laden, which- not surprisingly- Sutherland's Jack Bauer character would locate and satisfyingly vanquish by the end of each season... with a few lesser terrorists being taken out as appetizers in the events leading up to each season's big close. Hey, if you can't have the real thing, fantasy is a good temporary substitute, right?

It got me thinking. Would 24 have been a successful if Osama bin Laden had been found and killed sometime during the immediate months following 9/11, and America was no longer quite so thirsty for vengeance and/or justice? Wasn't America's continuing head-banging frustration about this guy running around free a big part of the reason so many of us tuned in to watch fictional bin Laden stand-ins get blown away on 24 year after year?

Heck, I'm still enjoying watching terrorists bite the dust on 24, more than a week after our Navy SEALS gave America some closure for 9/11. Imagine how satisfying those same 24 episodes felt in 2003, 2004, etc., when they originally aired?

Good military mystery


Hard Rain, the third book in David Rollins' Vin Cooper series, was the first Rollins book I ever read, and it was pretty enjoyable. I particularly liked the conflicting aspects of Vin Cooper's personality. You see, Cooper is a longtime member of the U.S. Air Force, making him one tough, pro-military guy. But he works as an Internal Affairs officer in the Air Force, so he's also well aware, via his many investigations, that military personnel don't always do the right thing. Thus, the patriotic and cynical sides of Cooper's personality, often at odds with one another, make for interesting reading.

The main story here concerns the investigation by Cooper and his fellow investigator (and ex-significant other) Anna Masters into the apparent serial killing of the U.S. military attache to Turkey, who's found cut up into little pieces. The facts soon suggest, however, that there might be more to the attache's death than him simply being the victim of a bizarre ritualistic killer, especially when subsequent deaths occur involving other figures in the attache's sphere of influence.

Things move along nicely, with the investigation being supported by some good action, as well as a couple of spicy subplots involving a new romance for Vin and Vin's annoyance at Anna's new love, who Vin thinks is a creep. Also keeping things engaging is Vin's sarcastic attitude about just about everything (especially lawyers), and the frequent and pretty funny jokes he tells (again, especially about lawyers). Finally, there's also a related plotline, compelling yet sad, about yet another way the U.S. government is perhaps not properly protecting and caring for U.S. service people serving or recently home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

While it's probably better to read the initial two books in this series first, one can dive into Hard Rain cold without any problem, as I did. Be warned, though: although the main story is resolved at the end, there's a doozy of a cliffhanger involving Vin and Anna that will quickly make you crave the next book in the series.

Hard Rain is available on Kindle for $7.99.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Of gods and men


I saw the movie Thor this past weekend, and really enjoyed it. It had well-drawn characters, good action, and imaginative production design. I also liked the way that it was sit-up-and-take-notice epic yet also surprisingly intimate. The characters genuinely mattered here, which always makes a summer blockbuster better. With the big summer movies, it's not all about the special effects, and never has been.

One thing made me smile, though. In the old Thor comics, which debuted in the early 1960's, Marvel's story conceit was that, hey, you know what-- Thor, Loki, and all the other mythical Norse gods were actually real, and here are new stories about them! And the comic book took off, still being published to this day. To my knowledge, no one at Marvel worried, at least with any fervor, that certain groups of people (like Catholics, southern Baptists, devout Jews etc.) might be offended by the notion that the Judeo-Christian God was apparenly being rejected, by a kid's comic book no less, as the only true God out there.

Oh, one thing Marvel did eventually do was insert a scene like this into the comic book every fifty or sixty issues or so:

Catholic priest: Thor, thank you for rescuing all our students from their burning school. You're a true hero, even though your very existence flies in the face of the Christian beliefs I hold so dear in my heart!

Thor: Verily, thou should not allow thy heart to be troubled, good Father! Thor and his compatriots in noble Asgard have never claimed to be the ultimate forces in the universe. The noble idea of your own Christian God watching us all from above is one that indeeds comforts the denizens of Asgard.

Catholic priest: (walking away, faith restored) God bless you, Thor!

So, you see? At least Marvel threw a small bone to traditional religion by noting that even though the Norse gods were real in Marvel's comic book universe, they didn't claim ultimate supremacy. And that seemed to placate the occasional Marvel editor who presumably was concerned about some kind of backlash from traditional religious quarters, a backlash that never really occured as far as I know.

So, what made me smile in the movie? It seems, almost fifty years after Thor's debut in the comics, now there was some genuine worry about offending people with the notion of pagan gods being presented as real, or at least as wholesome movie heroes. The movie, you see, goes out of its way to convert the comic book's mystical, magical realm of Asgard, the home of Thor and the Norse gods, into a realm of technological, scientific wonderment, with Thor and his compatriots being presented as simply noble, scientifically advanced, long-lived beings from another world who were only perceived as gods when they visited the ancient Norsemen on Earth centuries ago.

I mean, it all still works in the movie, and in some ways things are more interesting than they were in the comic book. For example, in the original comics, Bifrost, the majestic Rainbow Bridge that connects Asgard to the physical universe, was just that: a rainbow. Epic, but kind of bland. In the movie, the rainbow bridge is a mightly engineering achievement, crackling with powerful electricity under its ever-churning rainbow coloration, and which connects to a sharp-looking, golden transport chamber, which can shoot Thor and his fellow warriors to any point in the universe. Much more fun.

But, yeah, it made me smile that it was probably Hollywood cynicism and fear that for once resulted in better, more interesting story and production elements in the final film. That's not something you see every day.

Anyway, Thor is worth a trip to the movies. Its epic grandeur and entertaining, charismatic characters are definitely worth catching on the big screen.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The game begins


While a big reason I recently signed up for HBO and Showtime was because I wanted to watch The Borgias on the latter channel, the primary reason was because I wanted to be there on the ground floor when Game of Thrones got underway on HBO. Now, three episodes into the series, I'm patting myself on the back for coming up with and implementing a very good plan.

Sticking close to the novels in George R.R. Martin's immersive Song of Ice and Fire series (four books strong so far), Game of Thrones draws you into its world of political (and often literal) backstabbing, diverse cultures, terrific characters, and epic storytelling. And, to be clear, said story is suspenseful, involving, and thoroughly unpredictable. No one is safe, which is both a sad and dramatically terrific aspect of the show (at least, if it keeps sticking to the plot points of the books).

You don't have to be a fantasy fan to enjoy this series. While things like magic, dragons, and supernatural monsters eventually come into play, it'll be a while before they're a sizable part of the proceedings. And even then they always take a back seat to the human interactions. No, the show mainly feels like an alternate, fictional past of our own human history.

Game of Thrones airs on Sundays at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on HBO, with easy access to all the previous episodes available at HBO On Demand. While I'm enjoying The Borgias on Showtime, I'm really enjoying Game of Thrones on HBO. Why not give it a try and see if you feel the same way?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

More to ponder...


On this fine Wednesday, here are more eternal questions to ponder...

When you go to the drugstore, why are the condoms not in the same aisle as the rest of the party supplies?

Why do you need a driver's license to buy liquor, when it's against the law to drink and drive?

When you choke a smurf, what color does it turn?

Naughty pope, good show.


I don't know if it's good history (probably not), but Showtime's The Borgias has been a cracking good period drama. Each hour is generously filled with sex, violence, intrigue, and nicely complicated characters who you don't like much in one scene but then feel bad for in the next. And the CGI used to create 15th-century Italy is very good: subtle and artful and virtually never reminding you that you aren't seeing real buildings and actual views out castle windows.

Previously, I enjoyed The Tudors, which was produced by many of the same creative people behind The Borgias, but The Borgias has so far done a better job in generating stories from the same heady swirl of truth and imagination presented by the previous show, along with offering better production values. Definitely give this one a whirl if you're at all curious. It's quite easy to catch up on the initial episodes; they're all available on Showtime On Demand. New episodes air on Showtime every Sunday evening at 10:00 p.m.

I experienced The Tudors on DVD, but signed up for Showtime so I could do exactly that: watch The Borgias as each new episode aired. A happy bonus was a generous sign-up deal from my cable provider: six months of Showtime for only $10.00 per month. Actually, I signed up for both HBO and Showtime for the $10.00-each-per-month deal. Maybe your cable provider is currently offering the same deal, too.

Oh, why did I also want HBO? You'll have to wait for tomorrow's cable tip to find out!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Kinsey's on the job


While I admired the confidence of the first two entries in Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone series, in that they stayed laser pointed at their respective mystery plots with little diversion by banter and personal subplots, the wider scope of C is for Corpse turned out to provide a great ride, too.

Here we get two ongoing plots: the primary story involving Kinsey helping a client figure out why someone might want him dead (complicated by the fact that the client soon is dead), and a secondary story involving Kinsey's landlord Henry Pitts possibly being targeted in a financial scam. Kinsey bounces between the cases, with both nicely entertaining us with suspense and puzzling questions. I especially liked how the landlord plot, which essentially doesn't threaten Kinsey with any physical danger, generates just as much suspense as the main storyline, which does.

The main story, by the way, features several reliable mystery novel stand-bys: a client with memory problems, a gothic mansion filled with the idle rich, and lots of family secrets. Grafton does a good job with all this, then tops it all off with a little humor. A favorite running gag has Kinsey continually lamenting the fact that all the spectacular wine she's enjoying in her client's mansion (served to her by liveried staff, no less) is going to ruin her ability to enjoy the cheap, boxed stuff she's used to swilling.

I'm glad I'm finally discovering this series, after years of dismissing it because it seemed to be the type of series only my mom and my girlfriends enjoyed. But, no, these aren't frothy, souffle-like beach reads at all (I know, I know-- I shouldn't characterize women as liking only light reads). Anyway, while easy to get into, each entry so far has offered a tough little tale, challenging plotting, and thoughtful, biting humor. C is for Corpse is no exception.

I'm glad there are still many, many more Kinsey Millhone books left for me to enjoy.

C is for Corpse is available for $7.99 on Kindle.