Fabulous Fiction Firsts #186

Seriously one of the best nordic crime fiction of the year, Anders Roslund's projected new series debut Box 21* is violent, horrific, and strangely gripping.

Over the course of a rainy summer's week in Stockholm, a Lithuanian prostitute viciously beaten close to death, three Stockholm police detectives investigating the case, sundry petty criminals, and a young doctor at the edge of despair cross path when one of them holds the the city hostage at gunpoint. While lives are lost, scores settled, secrets unearthed (Locker no. 21), friendship and honor severely tested, it is shame that drives the well-crafted thriller to its explosive and tragic conclusion.

Students of human nature and readers of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahlöo's Martin Beck series, Henning Mankell, and Karin Fossum - "Norway's Queen of Crime," will find this irresistible and affecting.

* = Starred reviews

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #182

From the creator of CSI television series Anthony E. Zuiker come this sensational debut Level 26 : Dark Origins.

This is no ordinary crime thriller. In fact, it is the first digi-novel. It combines the book format, film, and interactive digital technologies into an intense storytelling experience.

Level 26 refers to law enforcement personnel's category of evil - with 25 being the most sadistic of torture-murderers. Now Steve Dark, the ultimate crime-scene tactician is on the trail of the most brutal of killers - one that they have invented a new level for. Code named "Sqweegel", this clever, twisted serial killer has been taunting the police and eluding capture for decades. His choice of victims appears to be random. Nobody is safe.

Readers will be able to log onto www.level26.com (special code and clues scattered through the text) to access digital movies featuring the characters, crime-scene details and more. It is an experience like no other.

Go ahead, double-check doors and windows and sleep with the lights on. I did. I drew the line on taking sharp objects to bed though.

The Vanishing (1988)

Dutch couple Rex and Saskia are vacationing in France. After stopping at a busy gas station, Saskia goes inside to buy some drinks and never returns. Three years pass, and it is unknown whether or not she is dead or alive. Rex is still obsessed with finding Saskia and eventually begins to receive communication from the supposed abductor. Will Rex ever find out what happened to his lover? The chilling ending of this top-notch thriller shocked audiences all over the world (and me).

George Sluizer’s The Vanishing (Spoorloos) was inspired by Tim Krabbé’s 1984 novella titled “The Golden Egg” and was published as The Vanishing in English speaking countries. Krabbé also wrote the screenplay for the film. The film received the Golden Calf award for best feature film that year at the Netherlands Film Festival and the lovely Johanna ter Steege (Saskia) won a European Film Award for Best Supporting Actress. Sluizer directed an American remake of the film in 1993 that was not received as well as the original Dutch film, mainly because the ending was altered so drastically.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #177

10 years ago, rumors of human sacrifice, ghosts and magic were just that - until journalist Paul Seaton came face to face with unspeakable evil at the abandoned Fischer House and barely escaped with his life. Still haunted by his loss, he is asked to return to prevent the house from claiming more unsuspecting souls.

Riveting and seductive, The House of Lost Souls* is a brooding and sinister tale of supernatural horror that unfolds gradually, building up suspense, and drawing the readers in. Atmospheric and cinematic, rich with historic details, a complex plot, engaging narrative devices, nonstop chills and gore, this U.S. debut from British F.G. Cottam terrifies and entertains. Likely first of a projected series. Don't miss it.

For fans of horror master Stephen King's Duma Key*; and newcomer Christopher Ransom's spanking new The Birthing House* (another FFF); and of course, a perennial classic - The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.

* = Starred reviews

Travel to Cabot Cove!

Has is been a while since you've ventured to Cabot Cove? Have you missed watching Jessica, Sheriff Mort Metzger, and Dr. Seth Hazlitt in action? If so, you might want to take advantage of our recently acquired seasons of Murder, She Wrote. AADL now has the first four seasons of Murder, She Wrote. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, Murder, She Wrote, was a murder mystery television series starring Angela Lansbury. This long time running series (1984-1996) features former substitute English teacher and famed mystery writer Jessica Fletcher using her talent and unfailing ability to be where murders occur, to solve mysteries. Get your Jessica Fletcher fix today!

Summer's Fabulous Books to Film

Cheri2Cheri2

Set in Belle Époque Paris, Chéri is the story of the love affair between the beautiful courtesan Léa and Chéri, the son of her old colleague and rival. When a marriage is secretly arranged for Cheri to another rich courtesan, they found out, too late, how much they meant to each other.

The sumptuous period drama with blinding star voltage (Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathy Bates) is based on a short novel by Colette, pen name for the flamboyant French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. (Limited release - a chick pick)

The Hollywood adaptation of My Sister’s Keeper is based on popular novelist Jodi Picoult's 2004 bestseller.

Sisters Kate and Anna share a bond closer than most sisters. Throughout their young lives, the sisters endure various medical procedures and hospital stays. Kate has Leukemia, and Anna was conceived to save her sister's life. Anna, now 11 seeks medical emancipation, hires her own lawyer, and initiates a court case that would divide the family. (3 hankies)

Public Enemies is adapted from Bryan Burrough's Public Enemies : America's greatest crime wave and the birth of the FBI, 1933-34 - the true story of legendary Depression-era bank robber John Dillinger, the charismatic bank robber whose lightning raids made him the number one target of J. Edgar Hoover's fledgling FBI and its top agent, Melvin Purvis. Starring Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, and Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard, one would not be surprised to find this the action/thriller of the summer.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #165

Andrew Grant's debut Even* is an exciting addition to the adrenaline-fused suspense/thriller genre.

David Trevellyan, a Royal Navy secret agent stumbles across a murdered tramp in a dark alley as he leisurely strolls back to his Manhattan hotel. An anonymous tip convinces the NYPD that they got their man. With diplomatic tug-of-war across the Atlantic, organized crime, a sadistic villain out for revenge, and the FBI dogging his every step, David's only ally is the lovely Tanya, a former colleague who has her own secrets to hide.

Fans of the Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne series would be pleased to meet up with this 21st century James Bond, a creation of Lee Child's baby brother (See them at a recent joint signing in San Diego). Even's resemblance to the Jack Reacher series is purely coincidental, you think?

* = Starred review

Spring Books to Movies

The Soloist is based on The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music - an emotionally soaring drama in which Journalist Steve Lopez discovers Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, a former classical music prodigy, playing his violin on the streets of L.A. As Lopez endeavors to help the homeless man find his way back, a unique friendship is formed, one that transforms both their lives.

Published in 1995, Bret Easton Ellis' The Informers is "a collection of loosely connected short stories that captures a week in L.A. in 1983, featuring movie executives, rock stars, a vampire and other morally challenged characters in adventures laced with sex, drugs and violence", now adapted as a major motion picture. Read more about Ellis and his interview about the movie.

Directed by Ron Howard, the much anticipation Angels & Demons will be in theaters on May 15th. Based on Dan Brown’s (2000) novel, Tom Hanks reprises his role as Harvard religious expert Robert Langdon (in The Da Vinci Code) who finds that the Illuminati -- the most powerful underground organization with ancient roots is willing to stop at nothing, even murder, to advance its goals.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #156

David Cristofano's The Girl She Used to Be* is a "compulsively readable, skillfully constructed" first novel that you won't be able to put down.

After assuming 8 different identities since aged 6 through the Government's Witness Protection Program that ultimately could not safeguard her parents, Melody McCartney is no longer sure who she is and therefore is stunned when someone actually calls her by her real name!

Enter Jonathan Bovaro, son of the Mafia family that is at the root of her troubles. He is elusive, dangerous, and charming. Melody should run the other way but she cannot resist him, and stays.

Major nail-biting suspense with lots of plot twists, intense and itchy-sexy. Don't miss this one.

* = Starred Review

Perfume

Perfume is a sleeper of a thriller made in 2006. The film revolves around the life of a poor orphaned peasant named Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, convincingly played by actor Ben Whishaw. From birth, everyone around Jean-Baptiste knew he was different. His sense of smell was so intense, that it was his main way of interacting with the world around him.

After being sold into the hard physical labor of tanning hides by the orphange owner, he worked for years and continued to develop his keen sense of smell.

After following a beautiful young woman through the city streets of Paris he becomes obsessed with captivating and preserving the scents of beautiful young women.

On a coincidental hide delivery to master perfumer Baldini, played by Dustin Hoffman, Jean-Baptiste realizes he wants to be in the business of creating perfume. After creating hundreds of wonderful perfumes for Baldini, he gets journeyman papers to leave and study the art of creating and preserving his own scents.

It soon turns out we become witness to his dark and deadly obsession to capture the scents of beatiful women. (Note: the ending is not what you expect).

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