Bizarro Prez and Constantine Reviewed

BIZARRO DC Comics Written by Heath Corson and drawn by Gustavo Duarte this story of Superman’s misshapen clone is awesome fun. Over the years we’ve seen a lot of variations of Bizarro but for my money he’s at his best when he is written humorous, we have that in spades here. Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen are talking about Bizarro atop the Daily Planet when Jimmy mentions that Lois things Bizarro is Superman’s twin brother. While he almost spits out his coffee he tells Jimmy that his plan to take Bizarro to Canada is a great idea and maybe he can put out a book of pictures taken on the road trip. Which of course leads to where the fun starts, ROAD TRIP! On their adventures they encounter loads of folks, including a run with Jonah Hex’s descendant Chastity Hex. During the ride they have adventures in a ghost town, Las Vegas and a used car lot in Smallville that includes a King Tut styled villain. For me the best part is the banter between Jimmy and Bizarro, it feels natural and it’s a ball watching them become friends. I’ve always believed that comics, no matter what else they do, should be fun. This is just that, pure fun. PREZ Volume 1 CORNDOG IN CHIEF DC Comics Hey gang, Uncle Jon has been reading comics for a long time. In fact Uncle Jon bought copies of the original PREZ back in the 70s. Of course at the time I read it with the eyes of a kid and found it fun with some cool ideas. Rereading the originals now as an adult I smile as there are some hippie like ideas that while good ideas they are impractical. Hey, there’s a reason the age to be President is 35. The premise is pretty simple, the age to be president is lowered and a teenager become President and looks at things with younger and at times idealistic eyes. The version of PREZ we have now works with a similar set up though changed for the changing times. Voting is done on Twitter and Beth Ross is elected because of a viral video that has her dubbed “The Corndog Girl”. What really resonates here is the interference of corporations and selfish people which really is not that much different than when the original series ran. Beth is a great character, compassionate and thoughtful and she reads. Once in office she breaks from the norm and thinks outside the box. The fact that we’ll never really be able to see politics run like this, though they should, doesn’t take away from the fun of seeing it. There is scheming going on to make her position powerless and she finds work arounds. The political situations are very current, especially the portrayal of military nd corporations. This is a fun book, a smart book and a great book. Mark Russell has doen a wonderful job here and I would love to chat with him about politics and the world. I also Love love love the art by Ben Caldwell, fresh looking, comic booky and yet unique. And a shout out to colorist Jeremy Lawson, he did a great job giving this a bright and fun look. You NEED this book.     CONSTANTINE Vol 1 GOING DOWN DC Comics I’ve been following the adventures of John Constantine since he first showed up in Swamp Thing. I am a huge fan. I’ve loved almost all of it. Towards the end of the Vertigo run it felt a little lost and I didn’t care for the art. Now on it’s second relaunch since reentering the DC Universe mainstream I am seeing glimpses of what I loved about the character going back to the early days. We’re getting some background retold and I expect that. The angle on this first arc to do that is a throwback...

PI Pete Fernandez is Back Feb02

PI Pete Fernandez is Back

PETE’S BACK Alex Segura on the return of his washed up PI Pete Fernandez, writing comics and why the Miami in SILENT CITY and DOWN THE DARKEST STREET is darker and grimmer than any you’ve ever seen GOING DARK “SILENT CITY is not a light book, by any means. But DOWN THE DARKEST STREET definitely ups the danger factor for Pete, his new partner and the city in general. It really pushes him beyond his limits. We start out thinking he’s settled into a new, calmer life – which is what he was desperate for after the tragic events of SILENT CITY. But that gets derailed pretty early on in the book. There’s a serial killer on the loose in Miami and Pete’s discovered an important clue that links the murders to the city’s own conflicted past.  But Pete isn’t ready for this kind of case, and when it really starts to hit the fan, readers will find out if he can survive facing off against his own demons, and what happens when he doesn’t. “I really wanted to up the ante with this book – to show Pete has evolved, but to also provide him with a new, different challenge. Part of Pete’s evolution also involves him taking a hard look at himself, and realizing that maybe the way he’s living makes it impossible for him to help other people. But even that journey has a price tag – one that we’ll see him pay a few times over before the book is done.”   ON 2016 BEING A BIG YEAR “I knew it was going to be a pivotal year when I signed with Polis Books. Jason Pinter, the company’s founder and publisher, is extremely smart – and he saw the potential in not only putting out a new Pete Fernandez novel with DOWN THE DARKEST STREET, but in reissuing Pete’s debut, SILENT CITY. Now, readers can dive in from the beginning and get rolling with the series right away. Jason’s put together a really killer lineup of authors, so it’s nice to be part of a bigger team. It also helps that I’m a fan of a lot of them, too. People like Dave White, Rob Hart, Patti Abbott, Bryon Quertermous, Todd Robinson and Jason Starr – it doesn’t get better than that. I’m honored to be at the table. On top of the two novels, we’re expecting our first kid – so, that really brought into focus how important this year is going to be. In terms of major life changes, it doesn’t get any bigger than that. In terms of the books, though, I’m excited for fans to have a new Pete book, and for new fans to be able to start from the beginning without having to hunt down the first printing. SILENT CITY got such a great reception when it first came out, and I’m so happy that it’s going to be available to readers intrigued by the new one. It’s really positioning the series for a strong shelf life and expanded audience.” POOR PETE “I never want it to be easy for Pete, because then it’s boring for me. When I created him, I wanted a protagonist that I could relate to, that wasn’t in the classic detective mold. I didn’t want him in his office, smoking a cigarette waiting for the dame to walk through the door, asking him to find her missing husband. That book’s been written many times over, better than I could hope to write it. I wanted a new character, from my hometown and who was like people I knew growing up – Cuban-American, younger, flawed and with something to prove. Her drinks too much. He says what’s on his mind. He ends up getting his ass kicked more often than not. But he’s also sharp, extremely smart and knows when to go with his gut...

Tim Dorsey on Tour Jan21

Tim Dorsey on Tour

Thurs, Jan. 28 Inkwood Books at 7 p.m. 216 South Armenia Avenue Tampa, FL 33609 Fri, Jan. 29 Book Swap of Carrollwood at 5 p.m. 11738 N Dale Mabry Highway Tampa, FL 33618 Saturday, Jan. 30 Brant’s Books at 1 p.m 429 N. Lime Ave., Sarasota, FL 34237 Saturday, Jan. 30 Books-A-Million at 3 p.m. 4225 14th St. W. Bradenton, FL 34205 Saturday, Jan 30 Haslam’s Book Store at 5 p.m 2025 Central Ave. St. Petersburg, FL 33713 Sunday, Jan. 31 Book Bank at 1 p.m. 13002 Seminole Blvd #8 (Piccadilly Square) Largo, FL 33778 Monday, Feb 1 Vero Beach Book Center at 6 p.m 2145 Indian River Blvd. Vero Beach, FL 32960 Tuesday, Feb. 2 Barnes & Noble at 7 p.m. 1955 W. New Haven Blvd. West Melbourne, FL 32904 Wednesday, Feb. 3 Barnes & Noble at 7 p.m. 780 E. Merritt Island Causeway Merritt Island, FL 32952 Thursday Feb. 4 Barnes & Noble at 7 p.m. 1900 W International Speedway Daytona Beach, FL 32114 Friday, Feb 5 Book Mark at 7 p.m. 220 First Street, Neptune Beach, FL Saturday, Feb. 6 Muse Books at 6 p.m. 112 S. Woodland Blvd. Deland, FL 32720 Sunday, Feb. 7 Barrel of Books & Games at 1 p.m. 128 W 4th Ave, Mount Dora, FL 32757 Monday, Feb 8 Jupiter Library at 3 p.m. 705 Military Trail, Jupiter, FL 33458 BOOKS BY CLASSIC BOOKS Monday, Feb 8 Palm Beach Gardens Library at 6:30 p.m. BOOKS BY CLASSIC BOOKS 11303 Campus Dr. Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410 Tuesday, Feb 9 Murder on the Beach at 7 p.m. 273 Pineapple Grove Way (NE 2nd Ave) Delray Beach, FL 33444 Wed, Feb 10 Barnes & Noble at 7 p.m. 591 S University Dr. Plantation, FL 33324 Thursday, Feb 11 Books & Books at 6:30 p.m. 265 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables, FL 33134 Fri, Feb 12 Key West Island Books at 5 pm 513 Fleming Street, Key West, FL 33040 Sat, Feb 13 Hooked on Books at 4:30 p.m. 81909 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, 33036 Sun, Feb 14 Sunshine Booksellers at 3:30 p.m. 677 S. Collier Blvd. Marco Island, FL 34145 Sun, Feb 14 Barnes & Noble at 6 p.m. 5377 Tamiami Trail Naples, FL 34108 Monday, Feb 15 Sanibel Books at 1-2 p.m. 1571 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957 Monday, Feb 15 Sandman Book Co at 3:30 pm 16500 Burnt Store Rd, Punta Gorda, FL 33955 Monday, Feb 15 Barnes & Noble at 7 pm 13751 Tamiami Trail Fort Myers, FL 33912 Monday, Feb 22 Fox Tale Books at 6:30 PM 105 E. Main Street, #138 Woodstock, Georgia 30188 Tuesday, Feb 23 Eagle Eye Books with the Gwinnett Library at 7:30 PM Norcross Cultural Arts & Community Center 10 College Street, Norcross, GA 30071 Wednesday, Feb 24 Auburn University at 1:00 pm 1360 Haley Center Auburn, AL 36849 Thursday, Feb 25 Alabama Booksmith at 4:00 PM 2626 19th Pl S, Homewood, AL 35209 Friday, February 26 Downtown Huntsville Library doors open at 11:30 PM, program starts at 12:00 PM 915 Monroe Street Huntsville AL, 35801 Saturday, February 27 Parnassus Bookstore at 2:00 pm 3900 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville, TN 37215 Sunday, February 28 Destinations Booksellers at 2:00 PM 604 E Spring St, New Albany, IN 47150 Monday, February 29 Carmel Clay Library Foundation Carmel Clay Library at 6:30PM-8:00PM 55 4th Ave SE Carmel, IN 46032 Tuesday, March 1 Bexley Library at 7:00 PM 2411 E Main St, Columbus, OH 43209 Books sold by Bookloft Wednesday, March 2 Cuyahoga County Public Library North Olmsted Branch at 7:00 PM 27403 Lorain Rd., North Olmsted, OH 44070 Books sold by Mac’s Thursday, March 3 Schuler Books & Music at 7:00 PM 2820 Towne Center Blvd. Lansing, MI 48912   COCONUT COWBOY By New York Times bestselling author Tim Dorsey On Sale: January 26, 2016; William Morrow Hardcover; $25.99; ISBN: 9780062240040 Obsessed with the iconic Sixties classic Easy Rider, encyclopedic...

Ask Crimespree

We get questions from time to time so we thought it might be fun to answer some of them here and share them if we think there is interest in the answer. Tammy from Seattle wants to know: “What do you do with all the review books you get sent?” Over the years the number of books we get sent has grown, a lot. With the advance reading copies (ARCs) we try to pass them on to folks who have little or no budget for reading or to people we think will enjoy them (including folks at Murder and Mayhem in Milwaukee, local nursing homes). On rare occasion we have so many we are unable to place them all so we hit the little free libraries and load them up. With finished books it is similar. We actually keep about half for our own collection. The rest are passed on to people who will enjoy them. Every year we donate boxes of books to various charities. And while we believe there is no such thing as too many books, we don’t see the sense in hanging on to books we won’t be reading when we can give them to someone who will. Got a question for us?? Shoot an email to Jon@crimespreemag.com with “Ask Crimespree” in the subject line....

How I Fell in with the Criminal Element Jan19

How I Fell in with the Criminal Element

Making Mystery Friends: How I Fell in with the Criminal Element By Lori Rader-Day, author of The Black Hour and Little Pretty Things     In the fall of 2011, when I walked into Bouchercon St. Louis, I was the loneliest mystery writer in the world. Inside that conference hotel were nearly 1,800 people who all lived and breathed mysteries. I knew precisely one of them. Terry Faherty (The Quiet Woman) and I had met at an earlier writing event, where he had the occasion to suggest to me that the novel I was trying to write might be a mystery. This was news to me. It shouldn’t have been. I’d been a Lois Duncan and Agatha Christie fan from way back and had turned all my junior high friends onto Mary Higgins Clark. But I’d fallen away from mysteries as a reader and had undertaken a writing program that led me toward what I cavalierly called at the time “literary” fiction. But when I tried to write something longer than twenty pages, what came out was crime. And lucky for me it did. By the end of that conference, I had made two new friends from that sea of Bouchercon humanity: Clare O’Donohue (Life Without Parole), who answered my questions about how to meet other mystery authors by pointing to the Mystery Writers of America table across the room—and Margery Flax, who helped me fill out my application to join. I didn’t have a book deal or an agent. I didn’t have a complete manuscript. I had everything in the world to learn about the mystery community. As I write this in January 2016, only five years later, I am the new president of the Midwest Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. I’m off to New York in a couple of days to meet the rest of the national board, to hang out in New York’s Mysterious Bookshop with my two books for sale nearby, to spend a weekend dedicated to the issues that bring all American crime writers together. MWA changed my life, and I don’t mean only in that over-the-last-five-years sense. I mean immediately. I hadn’t known that I could go to a monthly meeting with like-minded weirdos, that I could get two newsletters of mystery content delivered to my inbox every month, that I could meet up at conferences throughout the year to hang out with mystery writers of all stripes. I hadn’t known how valuable—personally as well as professionally—it would be to know other crime fiction writers, or how quickly I could be of service and also benefit from new friendships and connections. By the time I attended Bouchercon Cleveland the year after St. Louis, there were familiar faces among the Bcon thousands. I also had an MWA assignment: along with Clare and Margery, I helped plan and host a breakfast for librarians featuring guest of honor Mary Higgins Clark. I sat next to her. Mary. Freaking. Higgins. Clark. I’ve had the chance to sit next to some amazing people since I joined MWA—from other published authors and those working hard to join them to guest speakers from all areas of the crime and crime-adjacent career paths. I’ve met mystery writers from all over our thirteen-state (!) chapter area and have learned so much from just being in the same room as them. When I asked other MWA Midwest members to articulate what they found valuable, that’s what they said again and again: the chance to learn from peers. Bo Thunboe said he enjoyed “the generosity of the more experienced members in sharing what they’ve learned,” while Matthew V. Clemens (Fate of the Union, written with fellow MWA Midwest member Max Allan Collins) reminded us that published writers still had things to learn. “Those of us who have been at this for a while can always learn things from others,” he said. “It’s not...