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Book Review: THE DISAPPEARED by Kristina Ohlsson

Book Review: THE DISAPPEARED by Kristina Ohlsson

March 31, 2014 – 8:10 pm | 3 Comments

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.
The opening of Kristina Ohlsson’s The Disappeared is one of the most disturbing in recent memory. An unnamed woman watches an …

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Gillian (Anderson) Killin’ It

March 16, 2014 – 10:24 pm | 3 Comments

the fall gillian andersonI was idly surfing the Internet this past weekend when I stumbled upon an interview with Gillian Anderson promoting her new TV show, Crisis, that premiered on NBC on Sunday. Network programming hasn’t impressed me much these past few years, so Crisis sounded only mildly interesting, but what made me perk up was Anderson’s mention of The Fall, her hit TV show for the BBC that aired last year. I immediately sought out the first season (available on Netflix and Amazon), stayed up until 4:30 a.m. binge-watching, and screamed in frustration when the five-episode first season ended on a cliffhanger.

Anderson, long a favorite of mine, plays Stella Gibson, a London detective superintendent sent to Belfast (Happy St. Patrick’s Day!) to track down a serial killer. We know at the very beginning who the killer is—Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan), a grief counselor with a wife and two young kids. The suspense comes in watching these two operate on parallel lines, she hunting the predator even has he preys on his female victims.

The show starts a bit slow but picks up fairly soon, with some unsettling scenes and surprising twists. Spector is not the smartest killer and makes several mistakes, so it’s frustrating when the people around him don’t pick up on the clues, allowing him to continue to get away with murder. Luckily Gibson is closing in by the end of the season, and Anderson promises a darker, more intense second season (which started filming last week and currently has no air date).

Some critics have compared Gibson to Prime Suspect‘s Jane Tennison and the comparison is apt—both women are formidable, smart, and very good detectives—but Gibson is much sexier. Nothing against Helen Mirren, who played Tennison, because we all know the actress is sexy as hell, but Tennison was lonely, consumed by her job, and almost asexual. Gibson is alluring and sexually frank, but this aspect of the character takes nothing away from her work. Her male colleagues lust after her and respect her at the same time.

Anderson knows the key to Stella’s strength and appeal is her stillness, direct gaze, and never having to raise her voice. There are scenes in which she cuts men down so calmly yet effectively with her words, you can almost hear the sound of the guys’, ah, cojones shrinking as they slink out of the room.

The show is also interesting as a showcase for Jamie Dornan. The actor’s name has been in a rash of media stories due to his upcoming turn as Christian Grey in the movie adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, but the only thing I knew about him was that he’s a former Calvin Klein model. Though his character is neither suave nor sexy here, Dornan does a credible job. He makes Paul Spector so detestable, I want Gibson to take him down in a hard and painful way. That sick bastard needs to pay. My wait for the second season already seems long and it’s been only one day since I saw the first-season finale.

Wanting another Anderson fix, I watched Crisis on Sunday. The premise has a group of kids on a field trip getting kidnapped, and one of them happens to be the son of the US president. Anderson plays Meg Fitch, a billionaire whose daughter is also among the hostages, and Fitch’s sister is FBI agent Susie Dunn (Rachael Taylor), assigned to the case. Dermot Mulroney plays a dad chaperoning the field trip who gets rounded up with the kids.

Most of the actors playing the kids are forgettable and give unconvincing line readings, Anderson is not in as many scenes as I’d like, and some plot points are illogical, but I’m intrigued enough to keep watching for now to see what the kidnappers’ end game is.

Nerd verdicts: Gripping Fall, lukewarm Crisis

Photo: Vivian Zink/NBC

Book Review: BARK by Lorrie Moore

February 25, 2014 – 10:15 pm | 2 Comments
Book Review: BARK by Lorrie Moore

This review is by contributor Thuy Dinh, editor of Da Mau Magazine.
Lorrie Moore’s Bark is more like a dachshund’s whimper. An elegy to fifty-something baby boomers, this collection of short stories is listless despite the high-concept packaging: the notion of stories …

Weekend Viewing Pleasure

February 7, 2014 – 1:34 am | 5 Comments
Weekend Viewing Pleasure

If you’re looking for entertainment this weekend, there are some good options across different media platforms. The Winter Olympics are on TV, and Amazon just posted ten new pilots for you to watch and rate …

Golden Globes 2014: A Few Thoughts & Fashion

January 12, 2014 – 10:54 pm | 7 Comments
Golden Globes 2014: A Few Thoughts & Fashion

I enjoy the Golden Globes every year because it’s the first show of the season so awards fatigue hasn’t set in yet, and because the stars can eat and drink there, crazy things happen.
Jacqueline Bisset …

Book Giveaway: SUSPECT by Robert Crais

January 9, 2014 – 9:20 pm | 20 Comments
Book Giveaway: SUSPECT by Robert Crais

Hello, dear PCN readers, are you still there?
In case anyone noticed, I have been away for a while, not just from this blog but from home. I spent the last 6 weeks of 2013 on …

Movie Review: ALL IS LOST

October 27, 2013 – 12:51 pm | 3 Comments
Movie Review: ALL IS LOST

Robert Redford stars in a one-person show as a man whose boat (and radio equipment) is incapacitated somewhere in the Indian Ocean and he struggles for 8 days to find land.
If you think that plotline …

Book Review—BRIDGET JONES: MAD ABOUT THE BOY by Helen Fielding

October 24, 2013 – 11:38 pm | 6 Comments
Book Review—BRIDGET JONES: MAD ABOUT THE BOY by Helen Fielding

I really hated starting this book after I’d seen Entertainment Weekly‘s major plot spoiler in a headline on its homepage, with no spoiler alert or option to have the spoiler revealed only to readers who …

Book Review: THE OCTOBER LIST by Jeffery Deaver

October 17, 2013 – 11:48 pm |
Book Review: THE OCTOBER LIST by Jeffery Deaver

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.
In the foreword to The October List (or is it the afterword, since it’s at the back of the book?), Jeffery Deaver explains …

Nerdy Special List October 2013

October 6, 2013 – 7:45 pm | One Comment
Nerdy Special List October 2013

October is here, which means Valentine’s Day decorations should be going up soon. This year has flown! Hope you’re enjoying the fall weather, though it’s 87 degrees outside as I write this. I try to …

Movie Review: GRAVITY

October 3, 2013 – 11:13 pm | 23 Comments
Movie Review: GRAVITY

Movie awards season is finally here, which means the studios are holding screenings all over town, pushing their contenders for the Oscars and the plethora of other awards. This week I went to two screenings, …

Book Review: NEVER GO BACK by Lee Child

September 17, 2013 – 11:59 pm | 8 Comments
Book Review: NEVER GO BACK by Lee Child

This review appeared last week in Shelf Awareness for Readers, and is reprinted here with permission.
After trying for several books to get to Virginia, Jack Reacher finally makes it there in Lee Child’s Never Go …

Book Review: THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND by Jojo Moyes

September 6, 2013 – 12:17 am |
Book Review: THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND by Jojo Moyes

This review appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers last week, and is reprinted here with permission.
Jojo Moyes follows her word-of-mouth hit Me Before You (one of my top three 2012 reads) with The Girl You Left Behind, a …

Nerdy Special List September 2013

September 3, 2013 – 10:15 pm | 2 Comments
Nerdy Special List September 2013

September is finally here, which makes me happy, because fall is one of my favorite seasons, though it’s been ridiculously hot, so I may have to wish winter would hurry.
It didn’t help at all that …

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