Monday, December 28, 2015

First Look - Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange

From this week's Entertainment Weekly. Not bad, definitely keeps the general look and theme of the character. I always think the movie look could be closer to the comic (except for Spider-Man, his last movie costume was dead-on), but this isn't a bad start. I hope the cape is crazy and flowing as he casts spells and fights on the Astral plane. And that's probably the geekiest sentence I'll write all week (but maybe not).

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Books - Levon Cade Series by Chuck Dixon

Levon's Trade: Levon Cade Book 1
Levon Cade is the newest tough guy on the literary scene. Cade, I think, is much like his author, ace action writer Chuck Dixon: a tall, honorable, mildly shy father who means no man harm. But, unlike his multi-talented creator, trouble finds Cade on a regular basis (or—maybe Cade is more like his creator than we thought ...). In this terrific debut of a promising new series, Cade is a retired military man, working construction and taking care of his young daughter Merry. When his boss asks him to track down his missing college student daughter, the money is good and Cade reluctantly agrees. He finds himself in a bit over his head, fighting some unsavory mob types who don’t appreciate Cade turning over the rocks they’re living under. Violence ensues.

I love the fact that, despite being a tough combat veteran and hand-to-hand combat expert, Levon is a very human protagonist. He loves his daughter, he lives by lessons taught from his fellow soldier Gunny Leffertz, and is not perfect. He makes some mistakes, and his vigilante actions cause some repercussions that will probably drive the story for some volumes to come. 

Full of driving action, flying bullets and good parenting. Don’t miss Levon’s Trade

Rating: **** out of 5 stars 

Levon's Night: Levon Cade Book 2
Dixon grows as a novelist with every new book. Levon’s Night is even better than the first Cade story. Due to the events in that first book, Levon and his daughter Merry have moved to a remote part of Maine to lay low for a while. They’re so remote when the snow starts falling they had better hope the larder is stocked and they have enough baloney to last until spring. Of course it would have to be the town a rich Bernie Madoff-type criminal has chosen to purchase a safe house. Or safe mansion, more like. Unfortunately, the mansion doesn’t prove to be so safe when a team of very bad mercenaries come searching for treasure that may be hidden in the house during a nasty blizzard. They’ve invaded several such mansions around the world and they’re getting tired of looking. Their M.O. is to kill everything moving, then tear the house to pieces in their treasure hunt. In this case the entire town is marked for destruction. The only thing between the townspeople and utter devastation ... is Levon Cade. And he’s all outta bubble gum. 

Levon Cade is fast becoming one of my favorite action heroes. Quiet with a generous kind streak, all he wants is to be left alone to raise his daughter in peace. But when someone—or group of someones—approach him with violence in their hearts, that person or group will be dealt with. Levon is a protector with that special set of skills you want in someone on your side. And pray Levon Cade is on your side. An action packed, snow-covered, thrill-a-minute read. Highly recommended. 

Rating: **** out of 5 stars. 

Levon's Ride: Levon Cade Book 2.5
On the road after the events in Levon’s Night, Levon Cade and his daughter Merry stop at a roadside diner for a quick meal. When Levon walks outside to check his SUV, it’s gone. The stolen car means nothing to him, but the guns, cash and diamonds hidden inside are another matter. 

Using his military training, street smarts and a load of common sense, Levon tracks down the local car thieves and their chop shop, but finds no sign of the SUV. Where he goes from there is where the story really takes off. Oh, and there’s the mob hitman who’s been chasing Levon and Merry and is very close to catching up with them. A series of events converge with some very bad timing. For the bad guys. 

This short story acts as a bridge between books two and three of the Levon Cade saga. Dixon keeps the stakes high and the action tight, as Levon, who has already lost so much, stands to lose what little he has salvaged for his and his daughter’s future. It would probably be smart not to stand in his way. The novel also has spot illustrations by one of the most talented artists around, Butch Guice. At $1.99 on Kindle (and free this month on Kindle Unlimited), why aren’t you downloading it right now? Bring on book #3! 

Rating: **** out of 5 stars