Tuesday 17 February 2015

Book: The Apostle by J.A Kerley

Strange religious murders and an ailing Preacher are the focus of the latest Carson Ryder novel which sees the welcome return of his old partner, Harry Nautilis.

Newly retired Nautilis is employed as a driver / bodyguard by an up-and-coming tv preacher who is soon summoned to stand in for the sickly veteran. This takes Harry to Miami where he soon teams up with his old buddy Ryder as they compare notes and attempt to solve the latest series of grisly murders. 

Jack Kerley took a chance when he decided to relocate his novel series from Alabama to Miami. Uprooting the main character and surrounding him with new faces was a test for even the most loyal fan.

For the most part it has worked as the Miami novels have been fresh but the absence of Nautilis has been noticeable and his re-introduction brings a much needed grounding to the Ryder series v.2. The promotion of Carson’s enigmatic brother Jeremy to a regular character is also welcome.

12 books in and these books remain as intriguing and entertaining as ever but I wouldn’t recommend The Apostle as either a starting point or a stand alone novel. Start right back to the beginning with The Hundredth Man or join the Miami series with The Death Box to get the most from The Apostle.

Visit www.jackkerley.com for more information on the author and his books.

Ric’s Rating: Highly Recommended  

Friday 13 February 2015

Film: Jupiter Ascending

An ordinary girl discovers she is the reincarnation of the Queen Of The Galaxy..or something.

Jupiter Jones is whisked into the middle of a war between siblings of an inter-galactic race vying for control of the Earth in this sci-fi adventure from Matrix directors the Wachowskis.

The nifty special effects and entertaining chase / fight scenes aren’t enough to save this from the incomprehensible story and even Channing Tatum’s flying boots grate after they save the day a few times.

Ric’s Rating: Dodgy. 

Film: Mea Culpa

When his young son witnesses a gangland killing a disgraced former cop enlists the help of his old partner to track down those responsible.

This French thriller features a powerhouse performance from Vincent Lindon as Simon, a man troubled by his past who is also struggling to come to terms with his current standing as an estranged Father.

When it all kicks off the action is ferocious and there are a few twists and turns along the way ensuring the story remains gripping throughout.

Mea Culpa is my first World Cinema movie of 2015 and it has served as a timely reminder that we shouldn’t limit ourselves to only Hollywood (or even English speaking) productions.

Ric’s Rating: Highly Recommended.

Thursday 5 February 2015

Book: Larry by Adam Millard

Back in the 70s Larry “Pigface” Travers was a prolific serial killer who went on several Friday The 13th type summer camp killing sprees.

Move on 40 or so years and Larry is in his sixties and living with his eighty year old Mum..but the urges have come back.

Larry decides (against his Mother’s advice) to don his Pig mask one more time and pay a visit to this years inhabitants of the camp. Are his creaking old bones up to it?

Adam Millard has produced a serial killer comedy that works pretty well. Larry is hilarious as he huffs and puffs his way around attempting to terrorise some teenagers with names like Freddy, Jason and Myers.

Laughs spliced into horrific murders make for a gory but highly entertaining quick read and in the great tradition of cheesy horror films a sequel will be with us soon. You can’t keep a decrepit killer down!

Ric’s Rating: Good.    

Film: Gone Girl

When a seemingly happily married woman (Rosamund Pike) vanishes without a trace suspicion quickly falls on her husband (Ben Affleck).

The couple’s happy façade is soon exposed as a sham as we learn their troubles through a series of flashbacks. When we return to present day proceedings events take a surprising turn as nothing is what it appears to be.

Saying any more would risk spoilers but rest assured that this is a compelling tale that makes it easy to see why the book of the same name was a bestseller. Affleck and Oscar nominated Pike are excellent and there is decent support from Neil Patrick Harris (Starship Troopers).

Seven director David Fincher delivers a series of twists and turns that should delight anyone who hasn't read the book although the finale did feel like a little over-stretching of the imagination.

Ric’s Rating: Highly Recommended.    

Film: Big Hero 6

Young Hiro’s dreams of joining Nerd School (his term for a top level scientific learning facility) literally go up in smoke when a fire destroys the building and leaves him mourning the loss of his brother.

However, his brother’s invention, a robotic health assistant named Baymax, lives on and soon becomes his best friend and ally as he searches for those responsible.

Baymax is excellent as the hapless hero and the duo quickly recruit additional members to their team.

This animated feature manages to explore the complicated issue of grief without becoming too bogged down and always remembers to be child friendly and fun.

Great comic sequences, fantastic action scenes and a touching story make this  a must see for kids of all ages.

Ric’s Rating: Highly Recommended.