True Detective 2.04: “Down Will Come”

My recap of last night’s episode of True Detective, “Down Will Come” is up at Criminal Element.


True Detective S2E2: “Night Finds You”

My review of last night’s episode of True Detective is up on Criminal Element:
“We get the world we deserve.”

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True Detective Season 2, episode 1: The Western Book of the Dead

My recap and review of True Detective season 2 will be on Criminal Element every Monday morning. Here’s the first episode, The Western Book of the Dead.

It takes an Ellroy tack, gives us more characters: 3 cops and a crook, including Rachel McAdams, and keeps its despair on full throttle.


True Detective: The Finale

My take on the finale of the first season of TRUE DETECTIVE is live now on Criminal Element:

True Detective: 1.08 “Form and Void” Brings the Story Full Circle


True Detective, episode two: “Seeing Things.”

True Detective, episode two: “Seeing Things.”

I’m greatly enjoying the new HBO series True Detective, by Southern gothic / crime writer Nic Pizzolatto. Here’s my take on episode two, which airs tomorrow. I also picked up Nic’s short story collection Between Here and the Yellow Sea, after the opening story, “Ghost Birds,” grabbed me. His novel Galveston sounds like a winner as well.

True Detective – First Impressions

I got a sneak peek at the premiere of HBO’s True Detective and wrote about my impressions for Criminal Element. I think the show has a lot of promise, and might be the series Southern noir fans have been waiting for. One of the detectives has a copy of Sex Crimes by former Chief of Special Victims Alice Vachss, which is a nice touch.



Ninja Lee Van Cleef: The Master

For the run-up until the publication of BLADE OF DISHONOR on Sept. 10th, I’m revisiting the books and films that inspired it: ninja, samurai, MMA fighters, WW2 epics, and yakuza flicks.

No, not that movie with all the yelling! The TV series starring Lee Van Cleef as a ninja master roaming the world in a van with goofy drifter Max Keller, dodging Sho Kosugi and fighting injustice!

a-masterI loved this show as a kid, and I’m still miffed they never had a crossover with the A-Team or Knight Rider. Ninja master John Peter McAllister (Lee Van Cleef) leaves the ninja life in Japan to seek a daughter he never knew he had. His former student Okasa (played by Sho Kosugi), a ninja master in his own right, decides this is dishonorable and cannot suffer his mentor to live.

The show was rather ridiculous, playing on pop mythology of the ninja powers, but it was good fun. I recall Max and Peter hanging from their ankles as prisoners in a dojo, and Van Cleef smashes a lightbulb with his foot and cuts the ropes using the glass held between his toes. It was better than Ninja III: The Domination, where evil ninja spirits possess a woman, but The Master’s charms were the non-stop action and the simple fact of NINJAS ON TELEVISION in the early ’80s.

Do you remember THE MASTER? The episodes were repackaged as TV movies, but sadly neither these nor the shows are available on NetFlix. Youtube clips are all that remain: