VEGAS Odds: Better Than Most

Dennis Quaid

After wading through the slog of Mob Doctor last week, I am quite happy to report that Vegas, the new crime-drama on CBS starring Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis, delivers all that it promises, if not tons more.  I spent my Sunday digging through my DVR and watching the first three episodes of Vegas, and I’m comfortable laying odds that the show will be picked up for at least one more season.  On the other hand, I wouldn’t be completely blown away if the show fails to find a big enough audience to satisfy a prime-time network slot.  But even then, this would likely be a failure of the system and not the show itself.

New shooter coming out:

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Forget It, Eddie, It’s Toontown – The Crime Fiction Roots Of Roger Rabbit

My friend’s dad took us to see Willow one sunny summer’s day in 1988.  It was a good movie and all, but honestly I was extremely distracted throughout the whole thing.  All I could think about was one of the coming attractions I’d seen for a film called Who Framed Roger Rabbit.  I’d seen Bedknobs and Broomsticks and other fare where cartoons were mixed with live action.  But this flick looked much different—it had sex and violence and swear words.  Mix those with cartoons, and it was everything my almost adolescent heart could desire.

Thing was I was gonna have to wait until the next summer.  Sharp-eyed kid that I was, though, I’d seen in the trailer credits that the flick was based on a book called Who Censored Roger Rabbit? by a guy name of Gary K. Wolf.  The next weekend, I rode my bike down to the local library and checked it out.  The futsy librarian seemed a bit weirded out that a little kid like me wanted to read something that looked if not a little unsavory, then at the very least over my head.

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Victimless Emmys – Crime TV In 2012


The thing one must always keep in mind with industry awards is, aside from a marketing perspective, they mean exactly nothing.  Less than that, even.  If a show I particularly enjoy can move a few more DVD sets on the after-market by slapping an “Emmy winner!” sticker on it, or if that little gold statuette helps convince the suits upstairs that said show should be renewed for another few seasons, then that’s just hunky-dory.  But if the Academy of Television Arts(?) and Sciences(!) doesn’t see fit to acknowledge certain shows or actors for their fine work, that certainly should be no skin off anyone’s nose.  The Emmys are like whipped cream: Great as a nice topping, but if you eat them right out of the can, you’re likely to get a stomach ache.

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My Name Is Markham – The TV Sensibilities of NEAR DEATH

Near Death

Near Death is one of the spate of high-quality comic books Image has been cranking out over the past couple of years, and I finally did myself the favor of reading it.  Of course, now it appears the series has gone on hiatus just as I am getting on board (sad trombone).  Fingers crossed that it starts up again and soon, but in the meantime, Near Death is a nice little jumping-off point for talking about comics for comics’ sake.

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Scam Artist Hall Of Fame: M. Sgt. E.G. Bilko

Phil Silvers

Welcome, dear friends and other suckers, to a new regular feature here at the Criminal Complex.  Yes, the Scam Artist Hall Of Fame, as demanded by none of you, will highlight those great men and women, fictional and non, who through their erudite shrewdness and intelligence part money from its fools.  Our inaugural inductee is none other than that captain of the cardsharps, the service’s own shuckster, Sergeant Bilko.

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The City Of I Will – Why BOSS Is Kelsey Grammer’s Greatest Work

Kelsey Grammer

It’s strange when you consider that Boss is Kelsey Grammer’s first major dramatic role.  He has always been known for playing upright, no-nonsense roles, but for laughs.  Boss season 2, which premiered this past Friday on Starz, is definitely no laughing matter, and regardless of how lauded Grammer has been for his comedy work, the role of Chicago mayor Tom Kane will be what he is remembered for, if there is any justice in the world.

Then again, a major theme of Boss so far is that there is no justice in the world.  So there’s that.

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Get A Haircut Robert Pattinson – COSMOPOLIS


Well, kids, it’s almost here.  The wide release on August 17th of Robert Pattinson’s latest vehicle, the David Cronenberg film Cosmopolis, is only days away, and if you listen closely, you can hear the eager squeals of anticipation from Bobby’s legions of fans.  And now there have been brand-new stills released from the film, which we bring to you today courtesy of The Playlist.  It never quite fails to fascinate just how these guys, these screen idols, continue to elicit such rabid devotion from so many.  It’s not that I don’t understand or anything; after all, I’ve nursed quite a few celebrity crushes over the years and still do.  And as we’ve discussed here before, Pattinson’s presence in this film will lead many to the works of his director and co-stars, many who may not have shown any interest in such otherwise.

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Darwyn Cooke's Big SCORE

Darwyn Cooke’s Big SCORE | review

Just in time for San Diego Comic-Con, Darwyn Cooke’s latest adapatation of Richard Stark’s Parker novels, The Score, hits the stands today, and you would be well-advised to hit the stands today yourself.  Darwyn Cooke has blazed a trail through the comics industry since he bailed on animation back in the late ’90s, but if these adaptations do not go down in history as his greatest works, I’ll eat my hat.

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The Comedy Is Finished

The Posthumous Donald Westlake: It’s All Bullshit

Donald Westlake

Donald Westlake, ever the prolific author, has had two novels released since his death on New Year’s Eve of 2009, both brought to us by the stellar Hard Case Crime imprint.  The first, in 2010, is called Memory, and was thought to be his only “lost” novel, until crime writer Max Allan Collins unearthed a manuscript for The Comedy Is Finished, which was published earlier this year.  Now, I’m not sure that these novels carry a certain extra weight for their timing—that is to say, had Westlake published these novels when he had written them, would they ring so much more important to me?  Or would they be just two more examples of Westlake’s superior writing skills, part of a canon that was revered within the genre well before the man’s passing?

It doesn’t matter.

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The 2012 Edgar Awards: Who Will Win Best Novel Of The Year?

Mystery Writers of America

Good evening and welcome to this Criminal Complex round-table discussion.  I am Jimmy Callaway, your moderator for this discussion.  Tomorrow night, April 26th, 2012, in New York City will be held the annual Edgar awards banquet, held by that illustrious organization, the Mystery Writers of America, and where will be presented the coveted Edgar Award to the best and brightest in the genre of crime and mystery fiction.  Or so it would seem.  We of the Criminal Complex, in our drive to bring you the latest news in all things crime and to be incredible smart-asses, have individually read and assessed the books nominated for Edgar’s highest honor, Best Novel of the Year of our Lord, 2011.  And today, we present our findings to you, dear reader.  These are, of course, our own opinions, and should therefore, of course, be considered the law of the land.

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Joe R. Lansdale: Where Does He Find The Time?

 joe lansdale

Seriously.  I can hardly find the time to read the man’s voluminous output, and that must take at least a little less time to write it.  So how does he do it?

Joe R. Lansdale‘s first book, Act of Love, went into print in 1980, a novel about a truly psychopathic serial killer set in Houston, TX.  Lansdale has not slowed down in the thirty-plus years since, this past year seeing the release of his YA novel, All the Earth, Thrown to to the Sky; a novella, “Hyenas“, featuring my personal Lansdale favorites, Hap Collins and Leonard Pine; and now the latest from Little, Brown’s crime imprint, Mulholland, Edge of Dark Water.

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What Are The Odds That INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS Will Turn Out To Be A Crime Movie?

Carey Mulligan

Though largely regarded as humorists, directors Joel and Ethan Coen have produced some of the finest crime movies ever committed to film.  Blood Simple, Miller’s Crossing, and their adaptation of No Country for Old Men are straight-ahead crime movies enriched with the Coens’ visual style and lip-smacking dialogue.  Even Fargo, though the thick Minnesota dialect draws huge laughs, couldn’t be more of a crime movie.

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