“Just a few months ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Toronto and strolled right into The Monkey’s Paw, an “antiquarian shop specializing in uncommon books and paper artifacts from the age of print.” Upon entering, I was immediately drawn to this beautiful, vintage-looking vending machine. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it sold random books for only $2. Named the “Biblio-Mat,” it’s the world’s first randomizing vending machine for old books.The Biblio-Mat was built by Craig Small for The Monkey’s Paw. According to the owners, “The machine was conceived as an artful alternative to the ubiquitous and often ignored discount sidewalk bin. When a customer puts coins into it, the Biblio-Mat dramatically whirrs and vibrates as the machine is set in motion. The ring of an old telephone bell enhances the thrill when the customer’s mystery book is delivered with a satisfying clunk into the receptacle below.” Watch the video below to see it in action!”
This is an interesting book. I came into it not knowing anything about it other than it had been recomended on some Internet list of “mysteries you should read” and it sounded interesting. When I went to put it on my Amazon wish list (which is an easy way to keep track of things I want to read) it turned out it was on sale so I clicked down my $2.99 or whatever it was and there it sat in my Kindle, awaiting a closer perusal. Continue reading “Review: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie”
In Pwned, Christa Charter once again brings Sexy Sleuth Lexy Cooper to life with a mystery following hot on the heels of her initial outing, Schooled. Once again, Lexy is dragged into a mystery set amidst the high-tech world of video game systems. This time, Lexy gets involved because her paramour, Nate, the married father she can’t stay away from, calls and asks her to check on a member of the team who should be at the airport about to head for Japan… but isn’t. Ever the dutiful “friend,” Lexy heads over only to discover the guy dead on the kitchen floor, a single stab wound to the chest. Continue reading “Review: Pwned”
There are times during The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons where our protagonist, Bernie Rhodenbarr, laments that he doesn’t want anything to change. He wants everything to continue on just the way it is. We who love the Burglar books want the same thing. There’s just one problem: things change whether we want them to or not.
And yet… Lawrence Block manages to address both issues at the same time and does it brilliantly. Continue reading “Review: The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons”
As someone involved in both the world of magic and the world of literature, I’m surprised it took me this long to come around to Clayton Rawson’s “Merlini” books. These are widely considered classics of the “locked room” mystery genre and with Death from a Top Hat one can see why.
Continue reading “Review: Death from a Top Hat”
I’m on a roll, reading the first book in a series, again. At some point, I’ll read the rest of them, maybe. This one is fun and cute and well written – it may be the first in a series but it’s not a first novel, not by a long shot. Continue reading “Review: Her Royal Spyness”
I picked this up because I was in Edinburgh, Scotland and had been on a Literary Walking Tour of the city’s most famous writers and Rankin’s name kept coming up. We passed places he hung out, locations from his books, and heard stories about his life. So when I had the opportunity to grab one of his Rebus thrillers I took it, feeling like it’s a good thing to read local writers. Continue reading “Review: The Black Book”
Generally, I enjoyed Christa Charter’s new series starter (you can tell it’s a new series because the last line completely sets up the sequel) and her double team of detectives – Lexy and her “uncle” Mike – work well together. The mystery itself is fun and while there are no great twists and turns, it’s also not completely obvious from the outset, which is nice. Continue reading “Review: Schooled”
Sports movies have their own tropes and clichés. There’s always the underdog team, the former star hoping for a comeback, the rising star looking for his break, the down-and-out owner looking to make his team profitable and the big play at the end which redeems everything. Semi-Pro, Will Ferrell’s new vehicle, hits all of those conventions and at the same time adds in a new one, that of Will Ferrell.
Ferrell plays Jackie Moon, a one-hit wonder from 1970s, who used his money to indulge in his second passion, basketball. He is the owner/coach/power forward for the Flint Tropics, an ABA team facing extinction as the league prepares to fold and be absorbed into the NBA. Moon is a horrible player, knowing nothing about the actual mechanics of the game. Instead, he focuses on odd marketing ploys to get a crowd and his mantra of “Everybody Loves Everybody” designed to make the players all feel like a family. Continue reading “Review: Semi-Pro”