Saturday, August 17, 2019

My comic picks for 8/14/19

Stumptown, Vol. 1: The Case of the Girl Who Took Her Shampoo (But Left her Mini)Stumptown, Vol. 1: The Case of the Girl Who Took Her Shampoo by Greg Rucka
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When you owe thousands of dollars to the casino you can expect that your chips will get called in. This is the case of P.I. Dex Parios who finds herself working for the head of casino operations. The granddaughter of Sue-Lynne has disappeared and if Dex can find the girl, her debts will be written off.

Dex soon discovers that the girl might not want to be found that there are other folks looking for her as well. A Portland, OR crime boss offers to pay Dex to let him know when she finds the girl, plus there are two other thugs who warn her off. Since Dex can be hard to convinced, she ends up being roughed up and even shot. While this might cause others to drop the case, Dex is even more determined to discover where the girl might be and why so many others are looking for her.

Greg Rucka is a great writer and he brings his skill at writing thrillers, as well as comics, to this book. Artist Matthew Southworth is a great choice for the art, making the characters recognizable and making even the quiet scenes interesting. The muted coloring used in the book help with the atmosphere.

I believe the series (or at least the character of Dex) has been picked up for television later this Fall. There are more books in the series and I'm interested in picking them up as well.

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Friday, August 16, 2019

Venus in HeatVenus in Heat by Edward Detetcheverrie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In an alternate history, aliens made contact with Earth in the late 1940s. They did not come to conquer, but to negotiate trade and technological exchanges. Over the years the number of alien races known to mankind has increased. Some use Earth as a tourist spot, but some have come to settle. While many don't have much contact with humans when there are these interactions are under the jurisdiction of the members of StarNet, when problems occur. While generally the alien offenders are sent back to the home worlds for disciplinary action, sometimes more aggressive action if needed. A special group of these officers work with AI called Quasar who assist them.

When the remains of small boys are discovered, they seem to indicate that evidence of being eaten. It soon becomes possible that it may be aliens abducting and using these children for food. Captain Haines Geiko, a member of Quasar Force, probably not the best example of a good cop is paired a new partner, a former veterinarian, Geoff McKenna, to investigate the abductions and murders. Both Geiko and McKenna bring their own personal baggage into the situation and tensions soon arise.

The book contains violence, drug use and sex, as well as the possible exploitation of children, so you should be aware of this ahead of time if any of that bothers you.

The author doesn't shy away from the darker aspects of the case and Geiko isn't always the most likable of characters. There is a lot of humor in the book, along with the examination of an Earth becoming part of a wider galactic order. Personally, I'd like to see some of these characters again, as things are left hanging on a couple of plot threads.

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Saturday, August 10, 2019

Friday, July 12, 2019

My comic picks for 7/10/19

PanicPanic by Harold Schechter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Was there an epidemic of child predators in America. Men driven to horrible desires by listening to swing music. As usual in these situations politicians, the media and others seeking a platform try to.find someone or something to blame for events that are often hard to explain.

One of the more disturbing books in this
series of historical crimes. The author focused on a brutal number of child murders that caused a panic until the more enormous issued taking place around the world in the lead up to WWII drove the issue from the headlines.

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Thursday, July 04, 2019

My comic picks for 7/3/19

The Pirate (Bloodlands collection)The Pirate by Harold Schechter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Harold Schechter is one of my favorite True Crime writers. His focus is mainly American serial killers of the 19th & 20th century. This is the first of a series of shorter works that focus on little known murders that were major events at the time, but have been forgotten.

This deals with the event leading to the conviction and execution of Albert W. Hicks, who was charged with "piracy on the high seas", despite the murders taking place in the waters off New York on an oyster boat. Hired as a mate, Hicks killed the other three members of the crew, for what amounted to less than two hundred dollars, a pocket watch and several items of clothing. As the bodies were never recovered the prosecutor went with the piracy charge.

P.T. Barnum even makes an appearance here as he paid to be allowed to make a 'life mask' of Hicks and purchased from him the clothes he wore while imprisoned. These Barnum put on exhibit in his NY hall for public display. I found it also interesting that in earlier years Hicks moved to my hometown of Norwich, CT where he was arrested and confined for a series of robberies.

Shechter also spends time discussing not only the rise of the oyster industry in NY, but the social and political tone of the era, which helped to make what Hicks did into a huge event. His execution being witnessed by thousands along the shore of what would one day be the island where the Statue of Liberty now stands.

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