Living with a Jar of Secrets... ("What I'm Reading Wednesday" review)

I can’t really say that I’ve done many (any?) bad—like, seriously bad—things. Most of us probably can’t, if we’re honest. Plenty of stuff we’re not too proud of, sure. Things we’d take back, not do, or do differently, you bet. But really, truly, awful bad? 
But… what if you had—or, since I don’t know everyone out there who’ll stumble across this, what if you’re the rare beast who has—done something undeniably horrible, that’s been buried deep for however long? What would your life be like, every day, knowing that… whatever… was there, had happened?
It’s a scary thought, and a far-scarier reality, in Jennifer Hillier’s brilliant Jar of Hearts. ____________________________
Teenagers are notoriously stupid… in the sense that they process things differently, often act (or act out) very impulsively, and make some incredibly-poor decisions (of the sort that down the road, as adults, they’d never, ever make).

Fourteen years ago—under the combined (bad) influences of too much booze on an empty st…

Nothing Stays Buried Forever ("Safe" review--"What I'm Streaming")

Harlan Coben is one of those authors whose books I’ve been reading for a coon’s age (however long that is), because he consistently delivers deliciously-twisty tales peopled with complex characters.

Recently, he’s also gotten into film productions, so as soon as I saw he had a new TV series out on Netflix—Safe, following 2016’s The Five and 2015’s No Second Chance—it was an easy choice as to what I’d be streaming next.
Short verdict? Wow. (No, really. Wow.)

Yeah, okay, I can do better than that. (And totally spoiler-free, natch.)

Set in a suburban area somewhere in England, Safe mostly takes place within the walls of a gated community. (Picturing beautiful large houses on ample lots, with wide, well-manicured lanes gently wending their way through the well-heeled neighborhood? Cool, then you’re in the right ballpark.)
Dr. Tom Delaney (Michael C. Hall, of “Dexter” and “Six Feet Under” fame) has been trying to make a life for himself and his two teenage daughters following the death of h…

An Avalanche Needed to Bury This Book (Jack Frost review)

Some things make no sense.

Take me, and cold weather. There isn’t much extra “fluff” on my frame, which means I’ll probably shiver if the smallest breeze picks up. My extremities have less-than-robust circulation, so my fingertips and toes have this annoying little habit of going numb and turning a creepy shade of death whenever it’s chilly outside. And don’t get me started on the thought of jumping into any (unheated) body of water unless the day is over 90 degrees F.
By all rights, then, I should have an aversion to all that is snowy or cold… yet that isn’t the case, at all. Maybe I just revel in being perverse (entirely possible), or proving how tough I am (also believable), but I actually really like that stuff, including reading about and watching it. 
So, when Christopher Greyson’s Jack Frost came across my radar, I thought, “A P.I. takes a case on the down-low for a client who produces a popular survivalist reality TV show, and the current season, set high up a treacherous mount…

Mid-Week Wrap-up: Sophomore Seasons, Streaming (part 2)... Sneaky Pete

Sneaky Pete Okay, so I lovea good con job. There’s just something about being able to outwit, outmaneuver, and outmatch another person (a group, a company, whatever)—by using your brain, rather than relying on manpower, weaponry, or whatever, that really appeals to me.

But, while there’ve been plenty of good movies about con men (and women, obviously, but no one ever says “con women”)—“The Sting” or “Oceans Eleven” (et al), for instance—televised examples of the genre have been pretty sparse.
With the arrival of “Sneaky Pete” last year—and the follow-up second season, which debuted earlier this spring—that’s all changed, though, because “Pete” is, most assuredly, the real deal.

So, a little background from the first season (non-spoilery, as per my usual, so no worries). A con man (one Marius Josipovic) gets out of prison and, after learning that a lot of really bad dudes from New York are hot on his tail, decides to borrow the identity of his former cellmate (still imprisoned, natch)—a …

Mid-Week Wrap-up: Sophomore Seasons, Streaming (part 1)... Bosch

Whenever I’m rehabbing an injury or working on my daily step total, I tend to spend a fair amount of time using cardio equipment. The downside—as anyone who’s ever stepped foot on a treadmill, exercise bike, or elliptical machine will probably agree—is that working out on them can be deadly dull. 
My life-hack to curing the monotony? I multi-task, distracting myself from the repetitive boringness by streaming things I want to see.
Coming up over the next few days, then, a little look at some things I streamed (all while on gym equipment!) over the past month… all in their second (or fourth, in one case) seasons.

I’ve been a Michael Connelly fan—including his long-running Harry Bosch police detective series (now twenty books in)—forever. So, the Amazon show which he exec-produces—based on those same characters, and simply called, “Bosch”—has been a welcome addition to Connelly’s oeuvre, and the recently-released Season 4 is, for me, the best one, yet. 
In the fourth season, the L.A. …

A "Sure-Fire" Tale that Fizzles Out Like a Match Tossed into the Ocean (review)

The basic plot has promise: young(ish) married couple goes on vacay on a remote Malaysian island, in hopes of repairing and rekindling their floundering relationship… only to find themselves kidnapped and carted off to the jungle by a band of pirates. Not inherently original, but surely the sort of action/psychological-terror vehicle to provide ample—and satisfactory—escapim, right? 
Unfortunately, not so much; despite having the makings for a suspenseful low-budget movie, the premise of Kirk Kjeldsen’s The Depths is far better than its execution. 
How does it all go so wrong, then? Believe it or not, even at a miniscule print length of 143 pages (listed as a “novel”, by the way, though to me it would be more-aptly described as a “novelette”)—the very definition of “tight” writing and editing(!!)—The Depths still feels a good (or bad, yeesh) 90 pages longer than it needs to be. (Yes, really.)
The problem, in all those excess pages, is that very little ever actually happens… and the space…

Blood Makes for Bad Decisions... (Scandinavian Noir review)

TV Tuesday...
On the heels of a major bust—one which resulted in his naming a fellow, decorated, senior cop as a young woman’s murderer—detective Nikolai Andreassen (played by Tobias Santelmann) is given some time off… to decompress, and to let things settle around the police station and in the media. 
Before leaving town, though, he’s roped into attending a party thrown by the victim’s family—jubilant at receiving some closure—in his honor. And there, amidst all the merry-making, Nikolai shares a tender, passionate kiss with… the victim’s brother.
Thus begins the never-predictable Borderliner (or Grenseland, in its native Norwegian), one of the latest in a recent crop of totally-immersive Scandi-Noir crime dramas, streaming on Netflix.  ___________________________________
So, where does a suddenly-in-the-spotlight detective go after being commanded to hole up for awhile? The same place a lot of people would: back home, which in Niko’s case is a small town in the beautiful fjords of Norway…