Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

So, I’m going to start out stating that Edgar Cantero will be someone to watch in the future. Meddling Kids is a good read with several good things going on throughout it. You can enjoy the “Scooby Doo” mystery, the Lovecraft-ian elements, or the somewhat more literary Obsession story. Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero gets four stars.

It is fun to read. The tone is a bit poorly held in some areas, and the mystery is a bit too convoluted, but it is a good read.

While there are differing opinions on how well he succeeded in this novel, it never becomes a bad novel. At worst, it is an inconsistent novel, where some jokes are a bit overplayed.

 

Traditional Scooby Doo

The main conceit is the Scooby Doo gang re-imagined in a more-gritty, more-realistic world. This is lightened by cartoon elements from the past as well as certain scenes were cartoon elements are more prevalent.

The core characters are Andy and Nate. Andy may fall into the Daphne position, but she resembles the original character none at all. She is the “tough girl with a heart of gold” archetype and that is continued solidly throughout the novel.

She shows a lot of heart and seems to really care about each of the others. Nate, the Shaggy character, is a horror geek and, unfortunately, psychotic. He appears to be visited by Peter (Fred)’s dead spirit and in that way, along with a dog named Tim and a geeky girl named Kelli, the team is “back together.” 

I’m not here to give you a ton of spoilers, but basically, this is the same old plot of all the movies, only ten times more. This time, unlike all the other adventures in the popular cartoon, the monsters are real. Of course, this is the base plot of every live-action movie made of Scooby Doo.

Also, every movie edition has been turning Daphne into this Andy character, so it isn’t much of a change. And again, due to the same forces, Fred has become less and less effective in each movie, pushing him into an ineffective ghost of his traditional role – a direction that this book takes literally.

Kelli/Velma breaks free of her nerdy role – reprised in the movies – but she is as sexy as every nerd-boy fan fiction dreamed she would be. (Don’t ask, you can google as well as I can.)

Shaggy is the only one with a truly different role. He’s still taking drugs and running away, but it’s anti-psychotic medication, not marijuana. Overall, Meddling Kids version of the Mystery Inc. gang is spot-on with modern sensibilities.

The Advertisement on Amazon

SUMMER 1977. The Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in Oregon’s Zoinx River Valley) solved their final mystery and unmasked the elusive Sleepy Lake monster—another low-life fortune hunter trying to get his dirty hands on the legendary riches hidden in Deboën Mansion. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids.

1990. The former detectives have grown up and apart, each haunted by disturbing memories of their final night in the old haunted house. There are too many strange, half-remembered encounters and events that cannot be dismissed or explained away by a guy in a mask. And Andy, the once intrepid tomboy now wanted in two states, is tired of running from her demons. She needs answers.

To find them she will need Kerri, the one-time kid genius and budding biologist, now drinking her ghosts away in New York with Tim, an excitable Weimaraner descended from the original canine member of the club.

They will also have to get Nate, the horror nerd currently residing in an asylum in Arkham, Massachusetts. Luckily Nate has not lost contact with Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star who was once their team leader . . . which is remarkable, considering Peter has been dead for years.

The time has come to get the team back together, face their fears, and find out what actually happened all those years ago at Sleepy Lake. It’s their only chance to end the nightmares and, perhaps, save the world.

Literary Novel

In some ways, Meddling Kids is far from Scooby Doo. One third of the novel is an interesting coming of age story with a specific interest in obsession. Peter was apparently a charismatic character. The fact that he leaves them and becomes an actor may have been somewhat traumatic. He then commits suicide, which further poisons their ability to reasonably grow up.

Kelli, who had a somewhat unresolved relationship with Peter, is crashing at college, focused more on drinking than study. Andy, who is obsessed with Kelli, has chickened out of confessing her love to Kelli and run off to explore the US.

Nate, who may also have been obsessed with Peter, is having a psychotic break and imagines that he’s visited by Peter’s ghost. Kerri/Velma dips back and forth into relevance, but is mostly a foil for the hyper-athletic Andy, and focus for Andy’s obsession.

Tim/Scooby Doo is a good dog, who contributes to conversations in a realistic, dog fashion. The dog also has his obsessions…which are fairly reasonable given that he’s a dog.

All of them seem to have been running away, in one way or another.  This third of the novel is an interesting exploration of obsession and running away, which would make a dirt-common novel on the literature aisle. Not a bad read, but without the other two elements it would have been a bit boring.

Lovecraft Novel

The Nate/Shaggy character is the center of both the ‘cartoon hijinks’ and ‘Cthulu mythos’ plots, which is a bit odd of a combination. He isn’t a particularly sympathetic character, as Shaggy was, but is more of a mental mover. Here the combination of comedy and horror leads to the conclusion that fantasy novels are based in real magic, so a lifetime of reading Conan prepares you to become a sorcerer.

Overall, some of the sorcery explanations seem a bit ‘tacked on’ so I’m not positive I understood ‘what caused what’. That and the constant flips in tone from serious to comedic, during the Lovecraftian scenes, made the novel less solid than it could have been.

Summary

Overall, I think Meddling Kids tries a bit too hard to be experimental and weird. I enjoyed it, but I think it could have been more consistent in tone and more clear on resolutions. I really liked it and think that it was a top-notch book, so I recommend it. But, I’m only giving it 4 stars. It was 5 star fun in places…but dropped a bit in others. Definitely, Edgar Cantero an author to watch.

 

 

 

Book Review: Magic Burns

Ilona Andrews displays her wit and wisdom in Magic Burns. This is the second book in her Kate Daniels series, with rich, dynamic characters.

It also has pensive magic that also serves to examine and probe the limits of technology in the modern world. Andrews pulls readers into her poignant and harrowing tales.

Story Takes Place In Atlanta

Magic Burns is the second book of the series.

Ilona Andrews’ latest Kate Daniels Novel, Magic Burns.

Set in Atlanta, Magic Burns begins with the series protagonist, Kate Daniels, helping a group known as The Pack search for a set of maps. Those cartographic gems had been stolen. The pack, shapeshifters who help guard the city from arcane beasts that lurk in the shadows, wants them back.

The complication here is that a flare tears through the city. This sends ripples of rampant magic through the urban landscape that complicates everything. Using unorthodox mythology and robust characters many might relate to, this story takes the reader on a joy ride.

The reader enters a world where danger lurks at every corner. Each page offers the potential to reveal new and hair-raising twists.

During the flare, divine beings can, and do, wield their supernatural powers for their own aims. And you can be assured those aims are often quite at odds with the central cast of characters,

Worth Giving Book Three A Read

At some point, I will probably move on to book three. I tentatively recommend the book, based on the exciting characterization and the unorthodox approach the author sometimes takes to the story.

For a shorter work, it is a bit high-priced, and the fight scenes are often a bit stale and prosaic. In addition, one vulnerability is the main character herself – a major problem with any series.

Kate Daniels is an independent woman, and a badass, at that. Unfortunately, she lacks depth, as many mercenary-type protagonists do.

The book contains many adult themes that may not be suitable for all age groups.

International Urban Legends: Belgium

Belgium may not be a big country, but it has some impressive urban legends. A few so mysterious that even Hercule Poirot would be hard-pressed to explain. Here are two such examples for you to labor over today. (See what I did there?)

The Angels of Mons

A Belgium legends "foretold" by a British fantasy author?

The Angels of Mons.

This one has a twist of life imitating art in a very strange way.

It seems fantasy author Arthur Machen published a short story in the London Evening News about angels coming to the aid of British soldiers during World War I. Later on during the conflict came a story that left Machen speechless.

During the Battle of Mons near Ardennes, Belgium the Germans launched a suprise attack that left the British cornered and without hope. But just when it looked like all was lost a miracle happened.

St. George, accompanied by angels, floated down from the sky and held the Germans at bay, allowing the British to regroup and save the day. The report was confirmed by several men who were there at the battle following the war.

The Hairy-Armed Hitchhiker

For whatever reason, Belgium’s legends terrorize young women exclusively. The “Smiley Face” legend gives the victim a choice between sexual assault or having a permanent smile carved into her face

Another one, “The Hairy-Armed Hitchhiker” has a young woman aiding an older woman by giving her a ride home. At some point the driver notices that her passenger has quite manly hair-covered arms and hands and crashes the vehicle in order to flee.

But almost always, in these stories that actually date back to the early-19th century, the passenger flees first. But in an abandoned bag is found a knife or hatchet. A stark reminder of what might have happened if they had reached the passenger’s lair. As well as a good reason why you should never pick up strangers.

 

 

International Urban Legends: Netherlands

We arrive in the Netherlands today and find a host of scary urban legends to haunt you with. From the White Women to ape-like spirits the Dutch have plenty of urban legends. Maybe that explains why the dip their fries in mayo?

Witte Wieven

Do not throw an anvil into a pit with impunity.

A “White Woman” of Dutch legend.

This is likely the most famous legend in the Netherlands. The “White Women” or “Devious White Women”. Legends has it that they are spirits of medicine women, now wraiths, that range from elves, to helpers to evil pranksters.

Among their activities are kidnapping babies, tricking people to their demises, appearing as fog and burying treasure in caves.

Oh, if you think you’ve found a pit that serves as their lair, leave it be. Legend says that if you throw an anvil into the pit they call home they will not like it. In fact, they’ll catch the anvil, run you down and throw it back at you – sharp end first.

The Third Fisherman

In the Maas River near Maastricht a pair of fisherman sailed out into the night. They were having a good night of fishing when they caught more than they had bargained for.

At some point a third fisherman had appeared in the boat, fishing with his back turned to them. Shortly after noticing their new companion, a nearby church bell struck one, and the third man stood up turned and walked toward the other two.

His face appeared to be composed of cobwebs and, even as he stepped over the men and off of the boat and disappeared into the river, the boat never moved.

The Headless Man

As if that wasn’t enough, the Maas River is also home to the Headless Man.

Legend has it that a merchant wanted to cross the river one night but the ferryman was having none of it. “The headless man is roaming the opposite shore,” the boatsman explained.

But the merchant insisted on crossing and the reluctant ferryman carried him across. The merchant departed and went on his way. Only, he wasn’t alone. A large, dark shape was at his side. It moved when and where he did and it stopped whenever he stopped.

At length, the merchant finally turned to face his companion and found himself looking at a 15-foot-tall giant, with broad shoulders and two horse-like legs. Oh, and no head.

The merchant resume walking, quite quickly, with this appareition at his side until the merchant began praying out loud. When he put an “Amen” on his prayer, the headless man wailed loudly and disappeared. But he left a foul odor behind as a reminder.

Blue Gerrit

The Blue Gerrit of legend is an invisible ape-like spirit. It likes to jump on the shoulders of unsuspecting who walking about in rural areas. But, if you look sharp enough, you can occasionally see a pair of shining eyes or a blue light in the bushes where it is hiding.

It is heavy and it smells badly and it will wear you down to the point of exhaustion. But it also has a heroic side to it.

One day a young lord decided to kidnap the daughter of a widow, But the man’s horse would not move. Suddenly the Blue Gerrit appeared, leaped upon the man’s back and rode him until the next morning.

To rid himself of the Blue Gerritt, the man handed over two bags of gold to the widow’s daughter. We assume he returned to the more traditional methods of wooing a wife after that.

International Urban Legends: Austria

As we resume our tour of international urban legends we find ourselves in Austria. Now, most of the legends here are sweet, cute and nice. We don’t that here. Fortunately, we have a whopper of an urban legend based in Austria. And speaking of naughty and nice, this one may be related to Santa Claus, but it isn’t one you want to get on its list.

Krampus

Krampus was Santa's hit man.

An early 20th Century greeting card of Krampus collecting a naughty child.

Back in the olden days Krampus – or so children were told – was someone you did not want to encounter. He was a hairy, horned creature that showed up at their bedroom door to beat them and carry them away. He always showed up at night and announced his presence with the sounds of rattling chains and cloven hooves clicking upon the floor.

Even worse, he was part of Santa Claus’ – or Saint Nicholas as he was known back then – crew. Santa was the nice guy, even when he dished out coal for the naughty kids. At least he left the kid in peace and not in pieces.

Krampus would show up and haul off the naughty kids to his underground lair for a year of torment and beatings. And Santa would be the one who would send Krampus out to collect the misbehaving miscreants at that.

Now, this was probably a legend based on parents looking to scare their kids into behaving. But it probably worked for the most part.

Krampusnacht

While Christmas is now celebrated on December 25th, back then Christmas was marked on December 6th by Nikolaustag. December 5, was Krampusnacht – Krampus Night – when the children spent the night hoping and praying Krampus wasn’t paying them a visit.

Not A Fan?

When the Fascists were running Austria in the early 20th century, Krampus was banned. Possibly from having been his victims a few times in the early years? But once World War II ended and a more democratic government took power, the celebration of Krampus was allowed to return. Parades are held each year and young men dress as the Krampus. They then run through the streets snarling and shaking chains at the crowds.

iZombie Season Two Review

I finished the second season of the undead crime procedural iZombie last night. I binged watched the first season while on vacation at a family member’s house. Everyone else goes to bed way earlier than me so I had the time. Season two has been slower going. Mostly because I rewatched Season One with my husband because I thought he would like it.

Spoilers ahead, turn back if you don’t want to see them!iZombie promotional poster

Season Two opens up with the destruction of villain Blaine DeBeers’ brain selling scheme fronted as a luxury charcuterie, and Liv’s ostracization from her family and closest friends (save for loyal Ravi). Work at the morgue continues as usual, but Max Rager knows about the zombies and blackmails Major into helping them “fix” their mistake by murdering a huge list of people. Major steadily loses more and more of himself to drugs and the world of being a contract killer, while Liv and Clive clash over her unconventional and illegal methods for solving murders. And this, my friends, is the backdrop for all of Season Two.

Pros

Villains. This season rocks it with them. Blaine is down but not out, and he slides back into the drug trade while finding a more legitimate – and less murdery – way to feed Seattle’s zombies. And he starts a plot to take out Seattle’s biggest crime lord using the District Attorney’s office to do his dirty work. This move brings in the odd and seemingly innocuous Stacy Boss. Vaughn DuClark returns in a big way, and is more flippant and disgusting than ever. And because four major players aren’t enough, Max Rager spy Rita moves in as Liv’s new roommate and throws her hat into the villain ring as well. Blaine’s father Angus makes a short appearance as well, before the chaos killer takes him out.

Everyone is not an idiot! There’s very little derpy, sitting-on-my-hands-oh-god-what-do-I-do idiocy in this show, and I appreciate it. That doesn’t mean no one makes mistakes – and man, there are some mistakes – but that things are character driven and not spurred on by stupidity. They’re also pretty observant and roll with the punches pretty well. Big example in my head right now is Ravi catching Liv’s kidnapper at the end of the season and braining him (hah!) with a fire extinguisher. Good on you, Ravi, for having a pair and thinking quickly.

Liv and Ravi

Liv and Ravi from iZombie

And finally, not everyone is a warrior on iZombie. On many shows as time goes on, everyone becomes this competent, badass fighter. So far that’s not the case here, and the show’s depiction of various character’s reactions to violence is realistic and engaging. Ravi is untrained but willing to do what needs to be done to help those around him – and then absolutely freak out later, because he is not a violent man. Liv’s specialty skills come and go, and she has appropriate reactions to them. Major is learning to deal with the violence, but never seems comfortable or lost to it. The scale on this makes the show much more interesting to me.

Cons

This season it really starts to sink into the typical CW overwroughtness and relationship drama, some of which is done just for the sake of being dramatic. And other than will they/won’t they drama, what is keeping Liv and Major apart once Major is a zombie again at the end of the season? It’s still not as bad as typical CW shows, but I find drama for drama’s sake to be a little disingenuous. Then there’s Ravi/Peyton drama, Liv/Drake drama, Ravi/Blaine drama, and then Clive and his lady love FBI agent. Can anyone have a healthy relationship? I know the answer is no, but I thought I would ask.

The end of the season portends what seems to be a genre shift from police procedural with a twist to a post-apocalyptic setting. An episode with 28 Days Later Max Rager super zombies eating brains and military zombies blowing in to kill them all seems like an entirely different show. Are we going to see a huge tone shift here? No way to tell but to keep going, but I can’t say I don’t have a bad feeling about it.

All my raving about the villains above? By the end of the season, we’re only left with Stacy Boss, and an amnesiac possibly reformed Blaine. It seems like the new military contractor owner of Max Rager is the new villain for Season Three, but she does not pique my interest. Who do we get to root against now that everyone is dead (or forgetful)?

Magical Disappearing Family Drama. We start the season off with Liv’s relationship to her mother and her brother going up in flames because she will not give a blood transfusion to her brother. She’s completely disowned and cast out. And couple episodes of angst, then poof, this entire character plotline vanishes down a plot hole, never to be seen again. Except in one episode where Liv lies about her brother visiting to cover up that her new boyfriend is in the house when Major visits her. Somehow I have a feeling that this is not going to be resolved or even really brought up again, though I hope I am wrong about this.

Are dead Liv boyfriends going to be a thing, like the on-again-off-again Liv and Major drama? I bet it will be a thing. It shouldn’t be, though. Liv is three for three with dead boyfriends, if you count Major joining the undead. That’s more than enough. I’m all for character development and suffering, but let’s find a different way to do it from here on out, shall we?

And speaking of dead boyfriends, we have a lot of dead interesting minor characters. This is a police procedural with zombies, so of course there are lots of bodies. But the kill count is kind of high, and they keep taking out the better minor characters. The dead aren’t always replaced with someone as interesting.  Drake? Gone. Chief? Gone. Rita? Yup, her too. Leave me someone, guys.

Highlights

Superheroes. Erotic romance writing librarians. Thugs killed and stuck in a forty-foot Christmas tree. Crazy stalkers, dead bros, magicians and digging for tainted utopium body-packed in a one-legged war veteran.

iZombie season two  is not afraid to go with the weird, over-the-top or even ridiculous storylines. In a show that is already about a zombie coroner’s assistant helping solve murders in Seattle, this is a great way to go with it. It reminds me in many ways of Pushing Daisies, one of my all-time favorite shows.

Liv, Liv, Liv! She continues to be one of the best parts of the series. In an age with what I feel are cookie-cutter, unoriginal female leads, she is interesting and sympatheti. Even with the personality whip-lash that can come with brains.

And how hot is she in the Real Dead Housewife of Seattle episode?

 

Best scene of the whole season is Liv revealing herself to Clive.

 

We had some comments on our Facebook page in response to my first review. Readers said that the first season was the best, and its all downhill from there. I still enjoyed Season Two, but the ending has me hesitant about the rest. I’ll keep going, and hopefully it’s still a fun ride. But, no surprise at a site like Urban-Fantasy.com, I prefer the UF and Horror elements to the show vs. a straight up post-apocalyptic storyline, which is where it seems to be going. Magic and supernatural mixed with regular life is more interesting to me than the other. It’s a quirky little slice of life series, but it loses some of that when it becomes full-blown horror-zombie series.

I’m starting Season Three tonight, so keep an eye out for my review of that over the coming weeks.

Did you enjoy the second season of iZombie? What did you love? What did you hate?

International Urban Legends: Germany

Oh yeah, the country that gave us the Brothers Grimm and a collection of folk tales that will last as long as this ball of rock keeps orbiting the Sun. Germany. And boy does Deutschland deliver the goods when it comes to urban legends.

The Rat Catcher of Hameln

The Pied Piper of Hameln

Germany is home to the Pied Piper.

Back in the days of the Plague, the people of Hameln are watching their fellow townsfolk fall one by one to the Black Death. So they engage the services of a pipe player to lure away the rats. They are hoping to save what is left of the town. The piper plays his tune. Surprisingly, the rats dutifully follow him out of town to pester and plague somewhere else.

The piper gets paid, the town is saved and its all a happy ending, right? Not so fast.

Because yes, as you have no doubtfully guessed, this is the story of the Pied Piper from the Brothers Grimm and it doesn’t have a happy ending. While the Piper did clear the town of rats, the villagers decided to stiff him on his payment for services rendered.

Which led to his playing a tune to lure all of the town’s children to their own deaths, drowning in the nearby sea. So, if you find yourself visiting the town that is home to this Grimm urban legend, always pay your bills.

The Marksman

If you are ever approached by a stranger with an offer too good to refuse… refuse it. A master hunter in old Germany found out the hard way what comes of making deals too good to be true.

The hunter, renowned for his marksmanship, hit upon a stretch where he couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn, much less the game he was actually shooting at. The hunter is approached in the forest by a peddler, his face concealed by a hooded cloak. The peddler gives the Hunter seven bullets that come with an odd proviso.

The first six bullets will hit whatever the Hunter is aiming to hit. But the seventh bullet will fly where the peddler desires. The Hunter accepts the offer and his next six shots bring down a wild boar every time. His reputation soars and he becomes the center of the universe of a girl in the village deemed the prettiest of them all. The Hunter has fame, fortune and love.

Payment Comes Due

Until the day arrives when he fires the seventh bullet. Instead of striking the boar he was aiming at, the bullet flies off in another direction – straight into the heart of the Hunter’s love. The peddler then reappears to the distraught Hunter and reveals his face. It is the Devil himself and he has another deal for the Hunter.

If the Hunter lives a pious life and repents his hubris he will be with his lost love forever in the afterlife. Yeah, you know he doesn’t. Oh, he tries. But he meets another girl and marries her instead of waiting to be reunited with his lost love.

One year after the tragic death of that first girl, the Hunter is out in the forests of Germany once again. He comes upon a macabre scene. Skeletons are dancing around a fire of cold flames. One of the skeletons is that of his dead love and she invites him to waltz with him through the night. The next morning the Hunter, and his horse, are found dead.

That too-good-to-be-true-deal you’re considering. Maybe a hard pass is the way to go, eh?

The White Woman

Ok, this lady gets around. She roamed all over the United States during our tour and here she is in Germany? At least we have a name to work with this time.

Anna Sydow was the paramour of Joachim II, a 16th century Brandenburg King. The couple lived a happy life in Grünewald, just outside Berlin. Joachim fell very ill and his dying instruction to his son was simple. See to it that Anna was well taken care of. Joachim’s son solemnly swore he would do just that.

And did he ever “take care of her”. As soon as Dad drew in his final breath, Sonny tossed Anna inside Spandau Citadel, a prison near Berlin. He left her in  there until she died.

Legend has it that Anna is seen and heard there even today. She wanders about the citadel, never able to leave it.

 

Urban Legends: The Mineral Point Vampire

Not too long ago we skimmed through the urban legends surrounding the state of Wisconsin. Seems like we might have skipped past the town of Mineral Point, Wisconsin and missed one very interesting legend. So we’ve flown back from Europe long enough to check out what has come to be known as the Mineral Point Vampire.

First Sighted In The 1980s

Ah, the decade of the 1980s. Big hair, big mobile phones, cool music, awesome Schwarzenegger movies. Hang on a sec, I’m having a moment here…

Ok, back to Mineral Point. It has a vampire problem that dates back to around 1981. In fact, the entire state once attempted to make vampires illegal. That can make a nocturnal blood-sucker feel downright unwelcome.

A vampire roams these woods along with this haunted house in Mineral Point, WI.

The Haunted Walker House is the least of Mineral Point, Wisconsin’s worries.

And picked upon too, because Mineral Point is also home to a pair of other legends: The Ridgeway Phantom and the very haunted Walker House. And you don’t hear the state legislature making those two illegal, do you?

The Vampire Debuts

John Pepper was a police officer for Mineral Point back in 1981 when he was called out to Graceland Cemetery to investigate a suspicious person wandering the grounds on a dark snowy night. Several people had called the station about a vampire walking among the graves.

Upon arriving, Pepper actually spotted what he believed to be a vampire and took off in pursuit. However, the vampire proved to be quick and elusive and evaded capture…by leaping over a six-foot fence.

Pepper filed his report and the next day when he and several other officers examined the area they found a set of footprints leading up to the fence. But they found no prints on the other side.

The Vampire Returns

The vampire had disappeared, without a trace, and remained that way for 23 years. Long enough for locals to think that the whole thing had been a hoax. But in 2004 several witnesses reported a creepy looking man attacking residents of an apartment near Graceland Cemetery.

The attacker would jump from a tree and land near his victims. Mineral Point PD was once again dispatched and discovered a man that matched the reports of the witnesses in 2004, as well as Officer Pepper’s description from 1981.

Once again they gave chase and once again their prey eluded capture. Only this time

After police spotted the vampire in 2004, he fled again and officers gave chase. This time he launched himself up and over a 10-foot fence with seemingly little effort.

Just like in 1981, footprints were found leading up to the wall, several people had seen the jump and no tracks were found on the other side of the barrier.

The Trifecta

The vampire went into hiding for four years this time around before popping back up. But he apparently was tired of being chased, because this time around he began stalking his victims and approaching from behind.

Brandon Heinz took his girlfriend, Jamie Marker, fishing only to hook a vampire instead. They heard him before they actually saw him and what they saw was pretty scary. As the vampire ran toward them, Heinz hurled a flashlight at the creature before he and his companion ran for their lives. They reached the safety of the car only a few seconds ahead of the vampire.

For a third time, MPPD investigated a sighting. They found the couple’s abandoned fishing gear on the jetty. But they never found the flashlight or the vampire.

Maybe we should just keep driving on through Mineral Point. Until they finally run this legend to ground, eh?

 

Movie Review: The Crow

In a fit of nostalgia, I recently watched The Crow. In this cult classic, a rock star is awakened from the dead to avenge his own death. Eric Draven, the protagonist in this movie, is also fueled by the rape of his former fiancée.

The Crow Is Born

Lee died while filming The Crow.

The Crow, starring Brandon Lee

One fateful October Detroit night saw the devil playing his dangerous games. Eric was mortally wounded, stabbed and left in an ignominious pile in the street, while his fiancée was left in a gruesome mess of blood and gore after being brutally raped. A detective arrives at the scene, shaken by the sheer evil confronting him.

When a crow lands on his grave, Eric is miraculously given the ability to crawl from the grave. He is also afforded the magical gift of regeneration; his wounds heal almost immediately. Armed with his memories and shielded by magic and his rage, Eric begins his quest to find, and punish, those responsible for the tragedy that had befallen his fiancée and him.

The group responsible was a local band of brigands, young thugs with an earned reputation for danger. Eric disguises himself and uses his magical crow ally as he navigates the cruel Detroit underworld, trying to find Tin Tin and his gang.

Tragic Ending For Actor

The movie is as good as it was in the 1990’s. It’s worth a watch. It might be worth noting that the lead actor, Brandon Lee, died on the set of the film during production.

Book Review: Skin Game

In an exciting twist perhaps only a genius like Jim Butcher could pull off, Harry Dresden is forced to work with his hated enemy in Skin Game, the fifteenth book in the famous Dresden Files series. Queen Mab has enlisted Dresden to do another nefarious and herculean task in this gritty novel. Dresden is tasked with trying to rob a tightly secured vault.

And that vault belongs to Hades.

Suicide Mission In Skin Game

Skin Game is the 15th book in the Harry Dresden series by Jim Butcher.

Dresden is back in Skin Game.

With his enemy Nicodemus the Denarian in tow, Chicago’s infamous wizard embarks on a suicidal mission with the intention of surviving.

One remarkable aspect to this exciting tale is that readers are treated to glimpses of the younger, brasher version of Harry they once fell in love with. Awkward around gorgeous gals, daring and sometimes impulsive, Dresden is a perfect portrait of the flawed and conflicted protagonist seeking to do good, even if he doesn’t always know what good is in the given context.

In the middle of the series, as Harry becomes more of a political animal and a leader, we see less of his true self. Perhaps that is because he is sublimating it. Hiding it. Whatever the reason, it felt refreshing to see that facets of the man remained.

Overall, the book was good. I highly recommend it.

>