The First Conspiracy

The First Conspiracy is a fascinating story that reads like a modern-day thriller instead of an 18th century historical text. The bizarre-but-true plot takes place in 1776, during the first months of the Revolutionary War. Don’t go snoozing yet. This is not a stuffy history lesson about cobblestone streets and powdered wigs before the era…

Extinction

The alien invasion plot is an industry standard that is now as boilerplate as Batman’s origin and Netflix’s Extinction upholds this formula in a by-the-books thriller yet manages to present the film in a slick and entertaining way. Yes, there is a plot twist deep in the third act that is satisfying and, believe it or not,…

ANON: SciFi blast for cliché crime caper

The future can be scary, and that’s exactly how writer/director Andrew Niccol (Gattica) likes it. Niccol’s latest, Anon, directly distributed by Netflix, takes social media privacy scares and concerns and makes those issues a substantial threat as every event every single person sees is stored forever in an Orwell-ian cloud. Anon presents an original, albeit…

Escape Artist

New York Times best-selling author Brad Meltzer returns with his latest thriller that easily contains everything one would expect from the author, and from the genre. Like any disaster movie from the 70s, The Escape Artist is heavy-handed for the first full half of the book. Packed with character development (A divorced military mortician with…

A Fast, Short Drop

Computer hacking, a kidnapped girl, political intrigue, torture, and guns, guns, guns. Matthew FitzSimmons packs a lot into his fast-read, debut crime novel that introduces prime character, Gibson Vaughn, who is a fun, resourceful chap, albeit with the cliché tortured past, and is just intriguing enough to gain a follow-up. Naturally, of course, The Short…

A Great Newspaper Story

State Of Play, the film from director Kevin McDonald and screenwriter Tony Gilroy, successfully incorporates the high points from the successful BBC miniseries of the same name but does something the series could not, which is the incorporation of the near-irrelevance of print media into a much-better-than-standard conspiracy thriller. In the film, seasoned newspaper writer…