Jan 30, 2007

News on films based on James Lee Burke and Greg Rucka books.

Some very cool news has surfaced today.

Tommy Lee Jones has signed on to play Dave Robicheaux in the forthcoming In The Electric Mist with Confederate Dead.
Click here to read complete story on Crimespree Cinema.

A director has been named and a couple of Kates are in negotiations for Greg Rucka's Whiteout.
Click here to read story on Crimespree Cinema.

In regards to Whiteout, it is about damn time!

Jan 29, 2007

Crimespree Cinema week in review.

Here is a look at the past week at Crimespree Cinema.

Clive Owen will be playing Chandler's Philip Marlowe.

Gerald So gives us a heads up on Bones: Season one.

Martin Scorsese, The Departed snag Oscar Noms.

A look at the Crime DVDs released on 01/13/07.

I pimp for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.


Crimespree Favorite Books of 2006

The polling is done.
The counting is done.
We had a few ties again.

And here's this year's list of winners:

Favorite Book Of the Year
1st place
THE CLEAN-UP by Sean Doolittle

THE BLONDE by Duane Swierczynski

3rd place
BOOK OF LOST THINGS by John Connolly
THE NIGHT GARDENER by George Pelecanos

4th place
DOPE by Sara Gran
ESCAPE CLAUSE by James O. Born
NO GOOD DEEDS by Laura Lippman
SHOTGUN OPERA by Victor Gischler
5th place
A DANGEROUS MAN by Charlie Huston
THE DRUMMER by Anthony Neil Smith

Best contribution to an ongoing series

1st place (again!)
THE HARD WAY by Lee Child

2nd place
ALL MORTAL FLESH by Julia Spencer Fleming
ECHO PARK by Michael Connelly
3rd place
KIDNAPPED by Jan Burke
4th place
NO GOOD DEEDS by Laura Lippman
5th place
DYING LIGHT by Stuart MacBride
THE NEXT TIME YOU DIE by Harry Hunsicker
A STOLEN SEASON by Steve Hamilton

Ken Bruen of the year

From the desk of...

Hey, I'm blogging when I should be doing layout!!

I'm putting up an article over on
Crimespree Magazine Blog that Barabra Seranella wrote for us back in issue 2. It's called Confessions of a Biker Chick. It really sums up for me just why Barbara was one of my favorite people.

Issue 16 is in the mail and if you do't have it yet, you should this week. As always, we love feedback so let us know what you think.

If you are at Love Is Murder this coming weekend say hello. I'll be the one sucking down a red bull....

Jan 21, 2007

Crimespree Cinema week in review.

Last week, I posted the news of a new extension of the Crimespree Magazine, Crimespree Cinema. Here is a look at what was chatted about this last week:

Martin Scorese picks up the Golden Globe, this includes a list of the dozen or so awards that he has snagged for The Departed.

The writer of such films as Dead Again, Get Shorty, Out of Sight and Minority Report is making his directorial debut, check out the trailer.

Charlie Mattau, son of Walter, is bringing Elmore Leonard's Freaky Deaky to the big screen.

Sick rumors as to who will play Thomas Magnum in the movie version.

Lee reviews The Illusionist.

A look at The Good German.

Jon reviews Archangel.

Movie night at the Jordans

Last night we did our tradtional post mailing the magazine movie rental. Here's what we thought of what we saw.

Superman Returns
They spent a lot of money on this film, and I know that it was in preproduction a long time, going through many writers. It looks like most of the money went to special effect, and not a workable script. It was enjoyable enough, but I don't think I'll need to see it again. Some major gripes were:
*Lois Lane played by Kate Bosworth - Bad casting, she's an ok actress but she is not Lois Lane.
*Lex Luthor as the Bad Guy - AGAIN! Good Lord, is there not a single original thought in the office where they dreamed this up? Superman has many foes, and a lot of them are really entertaining and would have been great. Enough Luthor already!!!
* Too much Superman still loves Lois....
I won't say more so I don't ruin it, but there were a few other little fanboy nitpicks. But all in all, they really should have done more with this return to what could be a great franchise. DId they all miss out on seeing Batman Begins??!!

Archangel (based on the book by Robert Haris)
A great political thriller with Daniel Craig playing a historian on a trip to Russia to talk on his area of expertise, Stalin. While htere he gets wind of an undiscovered diary and the hunt is on.
Great performances, great settings and a wonderful adaptation.
Go Rent this! There's a more detailed review on Crimespree Cinema

Thank You For Smoking
This was loads of fun, and a very entertaining look at tobacco indutry thinking.Aaron Eckart was great as the lead lobbiest for the cigarette cartels. It also says some cool things about the freedom of choice and relationships with fathers and sons.
Very good movie.

All The Kings Men
Based on a book by Robert Penn Warren, this is a not so hidden version of the rise of Huey Long. Directed by Steven Zallian, this was a wonderful movie and everyone in it was great. Sean Penn, James Gandolfino, Jude Law, Kate Winslow and many more. Ruth and I both loved it and watched all the specail features.

The Sentinel
Another Michael DOuglas thriller, this time taking along Keiffer Sutherland for the ride. Secret Service agents, a plot to kill the President. Nothing really new here. Based on the book by Gerald Petievich, who also wrote To Live and Die In LA, this was fast paced and very fun, despite being similar to a lot of other movies.

Last up was...

The Covenant

The producers of Underworld are on a roll and have put out another mindless but highly entertaining movie. Four guys at a private school are warlocks, they are banded together to fight a fifth warlock the same age who wants to destroy them.

Loads of fun ensues!

So, to wrap up:
Superman Returns - Wait for it to be on TV
Archangel and All The Kings Men and Thank You For Smoking - I'll be buying these

The Sentinel and The Covenant - worth renting

Jan 14, 2007

Crimespree Cinema online.

In the past year, we have featured DVD/theatrical reviews and previews here on the Central Crime Zone.

Now, we at Crimespree magazine are proud to announce the launch of Crimespree Cinema @ www.crimespreecinema.blogspot.com. Crimespree Cinema will feature the same things you have seen here, but with greater frequency and depth.

There will be two regular posts: On Mondays, we will offer a look at crime related DVDs that will be coming out that week. Thursdays will have a preview of the weekend's theatrical releases. Reviews of DVDs and films will be staples at CsC, along with links to the latest trailers of crime flicks, bits of news on forthcoming films and articles on...well, whatever we damn well want blather on about.

Each week, we will post a week in review here, letting Central Crime Zone readers know what is going on over at CsC.

By doing this, we hope to provide more coverage, entertainment and nonsense than ever before.

Your input and comments are, as always, welcome.


Jan 13, 2007

Live Music

Let me open this with a simple statement.
I love Live Music.
I love going to shows and I love watching them on DVD and I like listening to the live shows on the stereo.

I don't go to the live shows as much as I used to. What they charge for tickets is a part of that. The crowd around me is another.

We saw Rob Zombie a few years ago, and the show was great. So was the music. It's too bad the crowd was full of selfish rude twenty something kids jumping and pushing and oblivious to people around them.

We saw Todd Rundrgren not too long ago. Woman behind us insisting on singing along with every song, and trust me when I say, she couldn't carry a tune if you gave her a music bag.


Who is the stge manager or director or whatever who decided a few years ago it would be really cool to flash really bright lights into the crowd? Who ever he is, he's an asshole of immense proportions. I really don't want the lights flashing in my eyes and blinding me. What makes them think this will enhance my experience? And now everyone does it.

What really makes me nuts is watching Live Music DVDs and the director is an "artist". I want to see the band play, not the damn crowd. A coulpe opening shots to see the sheer size of it, ok, I get that. But stop panning to the crowd every 1.5 minutes. Also, is there a reason not to focus on one performer for more than a few seconds? I want to see Larry Mullin Jr play the drums, I want to see the Edge play guitar, not flashs of Bono posing and more crowd shots. And why so many shots from WAAaaaaayyyyy back? If I want the experience of not being able to see anything but thousands of waving arms and lights on stage but not the performers, I'd go to the show myself!

And what's with the asshole who put together the Aerosmith DVD and has interviews over the songs? Why not show the interview seperate? I missed the opening of Sweet Emotion to hear their drummer talking, stupid stupid stupid.

Ok, enough ranting, there are some great live DVDs, and even some with annoying things that are still really good.
The Gorrilaz live at the Manchester Opera House is amazing. The Foo Fighters accustic show is great. The Los Lonely Boys is perfect. And U2's Zoo tour show in Australia is wonderful. I also think Rush live in Rio should be used to teach how to film a band playing live.

Ok, I'm going now, my television and stereo are calling

Jan 10, 2007

Sean Chercover

We witnesses a piece of history last night in CHicago as Sean CHercover did his first ever signing and reading at Borders on Clarke street.

Note the cool clothes on the baby.

Jan 5, 2007

Crimespree Best of 2006 lists - Help us out!

It's that time of year again when the "best of" and "top ten" lists start
showing up.

And you know what that means.

It's time for the voting for the Crimespree awards.

We need nominations.

5 nominations for favorite book of the year

5 nominations for best in a continuing series

and new for this year
Favorite Ken Bruen book of the year

So put on your thinking caps and send us your lists!

you can email them to:


Last year's voting was really close, and there are already some tight races
this year, so every vote really does count!

Jan 2, 2007

DVD releases for Jan 2nd.

The title is not entirely accurate, we have one title for Jan 2nd:

Snakes on a Plane (2006) Samuel L. Jackson, Nathan Phillips, Byron Lawson, Julianna Margulies, Extras: Gag reel, 10 deleted scenes, music video, Internet fan featurette, more. (New Line).

The hype on this film was amazing. It appeared as though a very clever marketing campaign was going to catapult this hohum action flick to box office gold. Alas, it seems that it was more fun to talk about the Snakes than to actually watch them.

January is a little lean in terms of DVD release. We have Edward Norton's The Illusionist coming up, as well as a new edition of Silence Of The Lambs, but all in all a light month.

Jeremy Lynch

Jan 1, 2007

What are you doing New Year's Day? A message from Ruth

New Year's opened to sunshine and a memory of family here in Milwaukee. Last night was family; the kids(Paul, Jen, Dianne, Jon, Ruth) playing, the children trying not to fall asleep(Cole failed miserably but Laura was passing out poker chips even as Jon and I left at 3:30 in the morning) and Karen was cooking up a storm. Much work has been done on the family homestead the last six months and it was like walking into fairyland last night for me. Since the changes were completed I'd not been to Mequon, but many of the clan have worked hard towards the Christmas wonderment I saw for the first time on the last day of 2006. We were all together to speculate on Farve's moment. None of us are drawing conclusions.

And today I find myself looking back on a year more surreal than a Tom Robbins novel. I'll not get into the many conflicting vibes of 2006 here but concentrate simply on mystery. There's been an underground buzz... many have said that in Mystery 2006 was decidedly unexceptional. But I beg to differ and to follow are a few of my highlights with a note that they all belong to me and me alone.

The books:

1.) First "minute" of 2006. Robert Crais's TWO MINUTE RULE was a return to that special something that defined Crais as a unique writer to many of us in the nineties. The nonchalance and irreverence returned with aplomb in this book. It was informative, page turning, and had that certain twinkle in the pen stroke that defines the gentleman for me. A reverence for Chandler with the disregard of Penn and Teller with the best of plotting mystery has to offer. He's lethal. I look forward to the Joe Pike novel.

2.)I discovered Megan Abbott for myself. Have you?

3.)Duane Swierczynski's The Blonde knocked my socks off and Westlake has a true heir.

4.)Denise Mina's The Dead Hour, a follow up to last year's A Field of Blood was another damned fine book from the writer of the Garnet Hill trilogy. Paddy Meehan is something new in female amateur and I'm thinking perhaps the most "relevant" series of today. I'm waiting for book three. Anxiously. And I read the entire Hellblazer run too.

5.) Hard Case Crime- this label continues to amaze me, their mix of old and new and always a capital pulp with no orange juice involved . Charles Ardai is at least an icon and more probably a demi-god.

6.) okay, so it's only been a short while between titles but seeing Steve Hamilton and Sue Dunlap on bookshelves again? Priceless.

7.) The Night Gardener.

8.) He who is William Kent Krueger. Two Anthony's in a row, both books better than the last... and Copper River, better than both of those. The midwestern regional is making a strong contribution to mystery and no one does it better, or ever will.

9.) is a clump..... when you're reading new to you and new authors, looking at future possibilities, and delving into all the mystery history you do not know.... the books can and do overwhelm at times. But this year my belief in many of the writers I started with has been affirmed.

Laura Lippman's No Good Deeds proves that even when you find a strong voice in the stand alone novel you can return to your series and offer a book stronger than any that have come before. She continues to hone her craft in a style and with an ethic that makes every book a wonder, reverent of everything that came before and so unique nothing after will be quite like it.

Michael Connelly continues to make everything he does better than just about anything else out there. He's become so well regarded amongst the reading (note I didn't say mystery) community that we almost forget the craft behind the brand name. That would be a grave mistake, for Connelly's work will always forward mystery and forever be of the highest readability.

Lee Child; charmer, personality, the "total package" and best seller. He's what advertising departments salavate over and very irreverent of his own work. The fact is nobody is attracting readers like Mr. Child and the truth is he may pooh, pooh his own talent and craftsmanship but it is so there. The Hard Way was his best book to date and 2007's? I've no doubt it will be better.

Two that would be on the list alone but aren't out in the U.S. yet.

Ian Rankin's The Naming of The Dead is a tour de force. Written to the score of a famous rock opera and posing questions of the global community in which we live, this book is a concise and timely mystery. With the potential to be his "breakout" American novel, this crime novel is reflective of a time in which none of us see a clear answer but we must all think of the repercussions of our own decisions. That he pulls this off in a long standing series with the most undefined defined character since Hammett wrote his first Continental Op saga is nothing short of miraculous.

Val McDermid's The Grave Tattoo is proof positive that there is nothing that this author cannot do. In "Tattoo" she marries a historical and hugely literary plot, with her first entirely urban crime scenes , and she bounds the two with a traditional mystery. A story of mutiny, tenements and the Lake community comes alive with her pen.

10.) Auld Lang Syne my ass.

On December 28th a book was laid down in bookstores throughout the U.S. The author's name? Sean Doolittle. The book? The Cleanup. It retails for $6.99 (PBO). For those of you who know Doolittle's earlier work it is a marriage of the quirkiness of Dirt and Burn with the tradiotional styling of Raindogs. It is a fantastic read and if you are a fan of Mystery today you owe it to yourselves to find that 6.99 and get this book read before you compile any "best of" lists.

Next time out 2006 the year in pop culture...