Monday, November 23, 2009

Mysteries on TV: Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Law & Order Criminal Intent, and Life on Mars, New This Week on DVD

Mysteries on TV

, your source for the most complete selection of detective, amateur sleuth, private investigator, and suspense television mystery series now available or coming soon to DVD, is profiling three series that have season DVDs being released this week.

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Information on Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season Four

Legendary, award-winning and suspenseful, set the gold standard for all TV mystery series to come and has remained an indelible part of popular culture.

Join guest stars Steve McQueen, Bette Davis, Claude Rains, Cloris Leachman, Roger Moore, Walter Matthau, Brian Keith, Elizabeth Montgomery, Art Carney, Mary Astor, Barbara Bel Geddes, Denholm Elliott, Dick York, Leslie Nielsen, and more as they act in stories of intrigue and murder, all under the watchful eye of the Master of Suspense himself.

The Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season Four DVD set of 4 discs contain the 36 episodes that aired on CBS from October 1958 through June 1959.

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Information on Law & Order: Criminal Intent: Season Four

The legacy of television’s most successful brand continues with . Analyze crimes from the unique perspective of the lawbreakers themselves as they strategize and execute the plans that end up on the New York Police Department's Major Case Squad roster.

The powerful fourth season features a distinguished cast including Vincent D’Onofrio, Kathryn Erbe, Jamey Sheridan and Courtney B. Vance. Joining them are powerful guest stars such as Chris Noth, Tatum O’Neal, Rosanna Arquette, Neil Patrick Harris, and Peter Bogdanovich.

The Law & Order: Criminal Intent: Season Four DVD set of 5 discs contain the 23 episodes that aired on NBC from September 2003 through May 2004.

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Information on Life on Mars (UK): Series Two

One of today's most original police dramas follows modern-day Manchester detective Sam Tyler (John Simm), a cop who's back on the beat ... and back in 1973 in .

The time-travelling series returns for a second (and its final) season with more twists and turns as Tyler hunts down a notorious cop killer, investigates a racial hate crime, follows the trail of a young woman's killer and attempts to deal with an IRA bombing threat.

Much of the appeal in the series results from the ambiguity of Tyler's situation: is he hallucinating, or possibly in a coma dreaming, or has he really traveled back in time?

The Life on Mars (UK): Series Two DVD set of 4 discs contain the 8 episodes that aired on BBC during the spring of 2007.

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Visit the Mysteries on TV website to discover more currently available on DVD.

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Mystery Godoku Puzzle for November 23, 2009

A new has been created by the editors of the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books and is now available on our website.

Godoku is similar to Sudoku, but uses letters instead of numbers. To give you a headstart, we provide you a mystery clue to fill in a complete row or column (if you choose to use it!).

Mystery Godoku Puzzle for November 23, 2009

This week's letters and mystery clue:

A B D G H I N S T

These “happen” in the title of Harry Dolan’s debut thriller (9 letters).

We now have two weeks of our puzzles on one page in PDF format for easier printing. Print this week's puzzle here.

Previous puzzles are stored in the Mystery Godoku Archives.

Enjoy the weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle from the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, and Thanks for visiting our website!

   

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Enter to Win a Copy of Kwei Quartey's Darko Dawson Mysteries

Kwei Quartey

Kwei Quartey will be releasing his second Darko Dawson mystery in 2011, and he's holding a contest to give away a signed copy of the first in the series, Wife of the Gods, as well as the second, when published.

The first letter of each word in the second book's title spell COTS, respectively. Guess the title of the book from the following description of the story: "In the second Detective Inspector Darko Dawson mystery set in Ghana, the discovery of a corpse plunges Darko face to face with the brutal environment of Accra’s largest slum, its dog-eat-dog underground economy in which street children fight for survival, and a series of shocking murders that resemble ritual killings."

Go to KweiQuartey.com to enter your guess. The first five people who guess correctly win!

(MBN note: In our review of Wife of the Gods, we called Quartey's debut novel "an outstanding effort", adding it was a "truly remarkable mystery that unfolds in a most unusual setting." We're definitely looking forward to the second in the series.)

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Mystery Book Review: The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity by Mac Barnett

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity by Mac Barnett. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity by Mac Barnett

by
A Brixton Brothers Mystery

Simon & Schuster (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-4169-7815-1 (1416978151)
ISBN-13: 978-1-4169-7815-2 (9781416978152)
Publication Date: October 2009
List Price: $14.99

Review: Mac Barnett introduces Steve Brixton, a school age investigative detective (just like it says on his license, which he received for 12 cereal box tops plus $1.95 shipping and handling) on a quest to find a national treasure in The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity.

Steve is given a homework assignment on a Friday, due Monday, to write an 8 page essay on needlework. He'd rather be writing about being a detective, the topic given to his best friend and chum Dana ("don't call me chum"). The following day he goes to the library and finds a book titled An Illustrated History of American Quilting, which he promptly labels the most boring book ever written. Worse even than The Serious Skald's Guide to Medieval Icelandic Poetry. But someone must think the book is interesting, because Steve is soon being chased by a secret society of librarians, a thug working for a mysterious Mr. E., and the Ocean Park Police, an officer of which just happens to be dating Steve's mom. Using helpful hints provided in The Bailey Brothers Detective Handbook, Shawn and Kevin Bailey being two amateur sleuths featured in his favorite series of mysteries, Steve narrowly escapes all sorts of dangerous situations, and with the help of his chum Dana ("don't call me chum"), solves a mystery that dates back to 1776.

The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity is a clever, at times wickedly funny, spin on The Hardy Boys mystery series, right down to the illustrations and endpapers. Quotes from The Bailey Brothers Detective Handbook are generously provided and include advice on hiding places ("You can hide in or behind ... grandfather clocks ... today's newspaper ... hedge mazes ... sea caves ... secret tunnels ... Mexico!), an illustrated guide to how to make rope, and what to do if you find yourself tied up with rope. Of course, the advice doesn't always work quite as well for Steve as it did for the Bailey Brothers. Shawn and Kevin, for example, simply flexed their muscles as they were being tied up, only to relax and have the rope fall effortlessly to the ground after their captors left. When Steve is tied up, he relaxes and the ropes are as tight as ever. "For the first time it occurred to Steve that Shawn and Kevin Bailey had considerably bigger muscles than he did. The old flex-your-muscles-while-you're-getting-tied-up trick did not work every time."

The plot is no more far-fetched than the typical Indiana Jones or National Treasure movie, and is really quite delightfully convoluted. That it will engage young readers is almost a given; what's possibly more surprising is how much the book will appeal to adults, especially those familiar with The Hardy Boys series books. The only incongruous aspect to the story is the inclusion of a scene in which Steve is threatened with a gun. It seems particularly inappropriate given how light and entertaining the story is; moreover, it's nonessential from a plot perspective. Children are exposed to enough overt violence in their everyday lives; it's unnecessary here in what is otherwise and overall an exceptional example of escapist entertainment.

Special thanks to Simon & Schuster for providing a copy of The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right. The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity (Kindle edition) is also available. Learn more about the Kindle, Amazon's Wireless Reading Device.

Synopsis (from the publisher): Steve Brixton always wanted to be a detective ... until he found out he already WAS one.

It all starts here: The thrilling story of Steve Bixton's first case. Our hero has a national treasure to recover, a criminal mastermind to unmask, and a social studies report due Monday -- all while on the run from cops, thugs, and secret-agent librarians.

Since when can librarians rappel from helicopters? Does Steve have any brothers or sisters? If not, then why is this series called The Brixton Brothers? You will solve all these mysteries and many more by the time you finish The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity.

We think you'll agree: Steve Brixton's first adventure is his best adventure yet.

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A Conversation with Anthony Horowitz, on Independent Weekly

Anthony Horowitz

Zack Smith of the Independent Weekly recently had a conversation with Anthony Horowitz, an author whose work we find particularly exciting, from his television screenplays and adaptations to his books for children and young adults. His most recent original screenplay is Collision, the second part of which airs on PBS this evening.

As well known as he is for his superb series Foyle's War and for writing several episodes of Midsomer Murders, he is probably most recognized as the author of the Alex Rider series of thrillers featuring a teenaged spy. Horowitz says that books give him fewer restrictions than TV: "I can destroy the world, I can visit other worlds, and I don't have to worry (about budgets)." He considers it a "golden age" for children's literature and looks forward to writing the further adventures of his teen spy: "I find Alex endlessly fascinating. It's a journey I haven't tired of, ever." Still, with eight books in the series published, he intends to end it after 10 books when the character turns 15. "I've aged 10 years to my character's one," says Horowitz. "It really doesn't seem fair."

Read the entire article about the author, his books and television series, here.

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Games of Mystery: Chronicles of Mystery, The Scorpio Ritual, New at Big Fish Games

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed electronic and board games, parties for kids and adults, and murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations, is pleased to announce the availability of a new mystery game from Big Fish Games released today. You can find out more about these games by visiting our page or by clicking on the links provided below.

Chronicles of Mystery: The Scorpio Ritual
Chronicles of Mystery: The Scorpio Ritual

Professor Olivier Leroux, a well known archaeologist, is gone without a trace. The only person who can find him is his niece Sylvie. Frustrated with the police attempts to find her uncle, she decides to commence her own private investigation, which ultimately takes her to the ruins of an ancient church on Malta. It is there that the scholar encounters a dark secret from biblical times. Become Sylvie Leroux and find out what happened to the professor. Who are the people who wanted him to disappear? And uncover a conspiracy that is thousands of years in the making!

Also available: Chronicles of Mystery: The Scorpio Ritual Game Walkthrough.

Chronicles of Mystery: The Scorpio Ritual may be downloaded and purchased for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. Due to its large size, a demonstration version is not available.

Watch a preview video below:

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Get any game for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. Other benefits include the $2.99 Daily Deal, Tomorrow's Game Today, and special member rewards.

Read our new game reviews by Ms. Terri: , , , , and .

Big Fish Games: Bestsellers

Big Fish Games: New releases

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And don't forget to visit for all kinds of mysterious fun!

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Reviews of Mystery and Suspense Books for Kids, New This Week on Book Trends

Book Trends: Reviews of Young Adult and Children Books

Book Trends, a review site for young adult and children books, published several new book reviews this past week. We're presenting here a summary of those in the mystery / suspense category.

The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity by Mac Barnett. 1st book in the Brixton Brothers Series. Recommended for readers aged 10 to 12. Reviewed by a 6th grade student who wrote, "[I]t is a great mystery for children and I loved everything about the book. I hope there are more books coming out for the Brixton Brothers series soon!"

For more reviews of children and young adult books, visit Book Trends; their reviews will amaze you!

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Games of Mystery: 1912 Titanic Mystery, New from Amazon Video Games

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed electronic and board games, parties for kids and adults, murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations, and more mysterious fun, is pleased to announce this week's new mystery and suspense games available for immediate download from Amazon Video Games.

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1912 Titanic Mystery
Download and Buy 1912 Titanic Mystery

1912 Titanic Mystery

A bomb is aboard the Titanic II on its maiden voyage, launched on the one-hundredth anniversary of the fatal Atlantic crossing. Find the bomb and save the ship and all aboard. Interact with different characters, discovering hidden diary entries and a century old mystery from the original Titanic. This multifaceted storyline offers a tale of lost love and reunion, challenging puzzles, and imagery lovingly recreated from original photographs!

Windows Vista / XP (62 MB download).

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A complete list of downloadable mystery games is available on our Games of Mystery: Amazon.com Game Download page.

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Mystery Book Review: Veil of Lies by Jeri Westerson

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Veil of Lies by Jeri Westerson. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Veil of Lies by Jeri Westerson

by
A Medieval Noir Mystery

St. Martin's Minotaur (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-312-58012-6 (0312580126)
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-58012-4 (9780312580124)
Publication Date: October 2009
List Price: $14.99

Review: Set in 1384 in London, Jeri Westerson introduces Crispin Guest, an amateur sleuth, in Veil of Lies, the first in a series of medieval noir mysteries.

Crispin is of royal blood, a knight in the service of the Duke of Lancaster. In an accusation of treason against the King, he is stripped of his knighthood and lives in a squalid district in London in a single room above a storefront. He's determined to rebuild his disgraced reputation. To survive, he takes on the role of a "tracker", one who, for a fee, will track down stolen articles and return them to their rightful owners. Familiar with the mannerisms of the rich, yet so poor as to be invisible to those with money, he is ideally suited to this kind of work. When well-to-do cloth magnate Nicholas Walcote summons him, Crispin is delighted ... until he learns of the job. He is asked to follow Walcote's wife, who is believed to be having an affair. Although Crispin is reluctant to accept the job, he needs the money. When he visits Walcote the following day, however, Crispin finds him murdered, stabbed several times in his back. What is so unusual is that Walcote is found in a sealed room in his mansion, locked from the inside. Although Crispin has no official authority, the Lord Sheriff allows him help with the investigation.

But the case gets more complicated when Walcote's brothers come to claim the body and are dumbfounded to discover the dead man is not Nicholas. So many questions to be answered: Who was killed? How was he killed? Why was he killed? And where is Nicholas Walcote? Crispin the Tracker must first find all the pieces of this elaborate puzzle before he can solve the unknown man's murder.

The multifaceted, well-crafted plot involving dark secrets, international conspiracy, religious rivalry, an ancient artifact reputed to have magical properties, and, of course, a locked room murder mystery, is but one reason that Veil of Lies is so noteworthy. Another is the principled character of Crispin Guest, who makes for a very appealing amateur sleuth. The individuals in his alliance and those working against him are also all credibly drawn. There is even a touch of humor and romance. This solid debut will have readers looking forward to Crispin Guest's next case.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Veil of Lies and to St. Martin's Minotaur for providing a trade paperback edition of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing Veil of Lies from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right. Veil of Lies (Kindle edition) is also available. Learn more about the Kindle, Amazon's Wireless Reading Device.

Synopsis (from the publisher): Former knight turned detective, Crispin Guest, is called to the compound of a successful but reclusive cloth merchant who suspects his wife of infidelity and wants Crispin to look into the matter. In dire need of money, Crispin reluctantly agrees and discovers that the wife is indeed up to something. But when he comes to inform his client, he finds the merchant dead in a sealed room, locked from the inside. Now Crispin has come to the unwanted attention of the Lord Sheriff of London and finds himself in the middle of a complex plot involving dark secrets, international intrigue, and a missing religious relic—one that lies at the very heart of this heinous and impossible crime.

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Games of Mystery: Mystery Case Files Return to Ravenhearst, Now Only $2.99 for a Limited Time at Big Fish Games

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed electronic and board games, parties for kids and adults, and murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations, is pleased to announce a special sale on a mystery game from Big Fish Games available for a limited time only. You can find out more about this casual game, and others like it, by visiting our page or by clicking on the links provided below.

For a limited time only (the end date is not given), Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst may be purchased for only $2.99! Simply use coupon code RTR299 during checkout.

Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst

Emma's soul is free. But her ghost has delivered a dire warning: evil still lurks in Ravenhearst Manor. Go deep inside the cursed estate in Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst, the thrilling sequel to Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst. Experience Ravenhearst's spectral halls as never before with new immersive adventure-style gameplay and an epic original soundtrack. Feel the floorboards creak as you move from room to room solving puzzles and seeking out clues in over 150 detailed scenes.

Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst may be downloaded and purchased for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. A sample version (92.86 MB) may be downloaded and play for free for one hour; the full unlimited version is 290.93 MB.

Watch a preview video below:

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Other popular games on our page include several and games, games in the series and in particular the latest, Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst, Adventure Chronicles: The Search for Lost Treasure, Syberia and Syberia II, The Serpent of Isis, James Patterson's Women's Murder Club: A Darker Shade of Grey, and Nick Chase: A Detective Story.

Read our new game reviews by Ms. Terri: , , , and .

Big Fish Games: Bestsellers

Big Fish Games: New releases

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And don't forget to visit for all kinds of mysterious fun!

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Press Release: Reviving Great British Thrillers

A Clear Road to Archangel by Geoffrey Rose

November 2009: Using the latest print-on-demand technology, Top Notch Thrillers, a new imprint of Ostara Publishing based in Essex, England, aims to revive the best of British thriller writing from the 1960s and 70s by republishing titles which “do not deserve to be forgotten.”

Ostara has already established a reputation for high quality trade paperbacks of out-of-print detective stories and crime novels under various thematic imprints such as College Crime, Clerical Crime and Medieval Mysteries. For Top Notch Thrillers, they have brought in critic and award-winning crime-writer Mike Ripley as series editor.

“There is a staggering variety of style and breadth of imagination in British thriller writing which is in danger of slipping from popular memory,” says Ripley. “I think of the Sixties and Seventies as a Golden Age for British thrillers, much as the 1930s were for the detective story. The big names are still remembered, if only just – writers such as Alistair Maclean, Len Deighton and Gavin Lyall – but many are unjustly forgotten. It is a labour of love for me to bring back some of the favourite titles of my youth and put them before a new generation of readers before it’s too late.”

The first four Top Notch Thrillers, published this week, are Snake Water by Alan Williams, The Terrible Door by George Sims, Night of Glass by Philip Purser and A Clear Road to Archangel by Geoffrey Rose. Eight more titles are expected in 2010.

Tracking down authors and agents turned into something of a quest for Ripley. He found Geoffrey Rose, who only wrote three novels, living in retirement in southern England despite the fact that his original publisher had lost track of him in 1980.

“Finding Geoffrey Rose alive and well and happy to see his novel back in print makes it all worthwhile,” he said. “He was an amazing stylist and his books, which have a dreamlike almost surreal quality, were once compared to the early work of Graham Greene, but as a thriller writer he was a genuine one-off.”

For further details, visit www.ostarapublishing.co.uk.

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Games of Mystery: I Spy Spooky Mansion, New from Big Fish Games

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed electronic and board games, parties for kids and adults, and murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations, is pleased to announce the availability of a new mystery game from Big Fish Games released today. You can find out more about these games by visiting our page or by clicking on the links provided below.

I Spy Spooky Mansion
I Spy Spooky Mansion

Through creaking gates, you'd best beware -- Enter the mansion … if you dare! Discover a collection of intriguing picture riddles and games while locked inside a dark, mysterious house. Reveal hundreds of hidden objects and thrilling secrets as you uncover three different and surprising ways out. Decode a puzzling message, make your own ghosts, unveil a secret room, and more!

I Spy Spooky Mansion may be downloaded and purchased for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. A demonstration version (144.76 MB) may be downloaded and played for free for one hour.

Watch a preview video below:

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Other popular games on our page include several and games, games in the series and in particular the latest, Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst, Adventure Chronicles: The Search for Lost Treasure, Enlightenus, Cate West: The Vanishing Files, Return to Mysterious Island 2: Mina's Fate, and Nick Chase: A Detective Story.

Read our new game reviews by Ms. Terri: , , , and .

Big Fish Games: Bestsellers

Big Fish Games: New releases

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And don't forget to visit for all kinds of mysterious fun!

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Mystery Bestsellers for November 20, 2009

Mystery Bestsellers

A list of the top 15 for the week ending November 20, 2009 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Another reasonably quiet week, no change among the top five, and only one new book entering our list this week in 9th position.

I, Alex Cross by James Patterson

Just 3 months after the publication of the 20th thriller in the Alex Cross series, the 21st, I, Alex Cross by James Patterson, is released.

You can't run

Detective Alex Cross is pulled out of a family celebration and given the awful news that a beloved relative has been found brutally murdered. Alex vows to hunt down the killer, and soon learns that she was mixed up in one of Washington's wildest scenes. And she was not this killer's only victim.

You can't hide

The hunt for her murderer leads Alex and his girlfriend, Detective Brianna Stone, to a place where every fantasy is possible, if you have the credentials to get in. Alex and Bree are soon facing down some very important, very protected, very dangerous people in levels of society where only one thing is certain -- they will do anything to keep their secrets safe.

Alex Cross is your only hope to stay alive

As Alex closes in on the killer, he discovers evidence that points to the unimaginable -- a revelation that could rock the entire world.

The top four mystery bestsellers this week are shown below:

The Lost Symbol by Dan BrownTrue Blue by David BaldacciNine Dragons by Michael ConnellyThe Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sam Worthington Cast in Film Adaptation of The Last Days of American Crime

The Last Days of American Crime by Rick Remender

Mania.com is reporting that Sam Worthington (Avatar) has been cast to appear in the film adaptation of the soon-to-be-published graphic novel series The Last Days of American Crime, written by Rick Remender and illustrated by Greg Tocchini.

About the book: In the not-too-distant future as a final response to terrorism and crime, the U.S. government plans in secret to broadcast a signal making it impossible for anyone to knowingly commit unlawful acts. To keep this from the public, the government creates a distraction, installing a new currency system using digital charge cards. Enter: Graham Bricke. A career criminal never quite able to hit the big score, Graham intends to steal one of the charging stations, skip the country and live off unlimited funds for the rest of his life. But the media has leaked news of the anti-crime signal one week before it was to go live ... and now Graham and his team have just a few days to turn the crime of the century into the last crime in American history.

"It's really motivated by [David] Mamet's Heist film and James Ellroy's [novel] American Tabloid," Remender explained. "Ellroy being an example of the kind of hard-boiled crime that has a socio-political backdrop and Mamet's Heist a very well-thought out film that focuses on the heist itself."

The Last Days of American Crime (Book 1) publishes January 19, 2010, with the second book in the series two months later.

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Film Adaptation of Graphic Novel Miss: Better Living through Crime Planned

Miss: Better Living Through Crime by Philippe Thirault

Variety is reporting that the 2002 graphic novel Miss: Better Living Through Crime, written by Philippe Thirault and illustrated by Marc Riou and Mark Vigouroux, is being adapted for the big screen. Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Tears of the Sun, Brooklyn's Finest) will direct the John Ridley adaptation with Spike Lee producing.

About the book: We called them "the crazy years‚" New York City was spreading like a pool of urine across a subway platform. Even rats caught diseases there. Welcome to the world of Miss, a bold new journey into crime graphic novels. Set during the early 1900s in New York, Miss tells the tale of two unlikely partners in crime, Enola and Slim. Enola is a poor white girl who has learned to survive by hook or by crook since being expelled from the orphanage. Slim is a black pimp with an uncertain past, trying to keep one foot out of the grave. When their paths cross, and their options run out, Enola and Slim forge a partnership as murderers for hire. This is their story ... what it takes to survive when all you have is a gun.

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