Salvation (?)

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Salvation (?) Pentell Brush Pen on Bristol Plate 2017 Kevin Hurtack

The idea for this one originated when I saw a picture of an old church with a ton of different crosses hanging on it and the word ‘Salvation’ painted above them all. It was a very desolate and weathered building in the middle of an overgrown field. It reminded me of something you’d see in some Romero zombie movie, or even The Walking Dead, and that sparked the idea of a zombie and Faith. Romero, in particular, toyed with the idea of religion in his zombie films, at least the good ones – Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead. It’s an idea that always intrigued me, and something I might explore in some fashion later on.  Personally, I felt Romero tackled the idea better than Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead.

I used my Pentel Color Brush for this one exclusively. I’ve used other ‘brush’ pens that have nylon or felt tips that try to simulate the feel of a brush but I like the Pentel  Color Brush much more since it actually has bristles and handles like an actual brush. It’s also much easier and convenient and less messy to use than a bottle of ink and brush.I recently found out that they make refills for it, which makes even better since it’ll save me money in the long run. The only thing that’s a negative with it is that for whatever reason mine had no English instruction as to how to get the ink flowing, everything was in Japanese. Fortunately, I was able to find a video online that helped me.

Book Review: Coffin Dodgers

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Tom G.H. Adams manages to throw a lot into this novella, (dinosaurs, extreme sports, old love interests, psychopaths) but what really kept me reading was his ability to develop his characters. In particular, the character Eden stood out the strongest to me and the relationships that she had with the other characters and how that effects things once she and the rest of the characters are put in danger.

Adams has a knack for action scenes and description, but his writing really shines when he delves in to the psyche of Eden and the other characters. It’s the psychological impact of being hunted and the internal conflict Eden faces when some of her fellow competitors fall behind that really grab my attention. Its one thing to be on your own and hunted, but another when you see your friends fall beside you. The conflict of self preservation versus friendship is a good one and Adams makes the most of it. Its particularly interesting how Eden’s fiance and their relationship starts off at the beginning of the story and how the dangers they face has an impact on it. In particular its interesting how much her fiance seems to change over the course of the story.

Once I got past the first chapter I found the pace of the plot to be pretty brisk and entertaining. Adams seems to know how to handle a plot and keeps it from being too fast as well as dragging. Overall, it is a suspenseful read with some elements of horror but nothing to graphic in the descriptions.

The only fault I really found about this novella was that early on Adams throws a lot of characters and names at the reader and they remain nothing more than that – just names. I really didn’t feel anything for certain characters deaths because I knew nothing about them from the actual story. I think he could’ve cut out some of the extra characters without hurting the plot. That being said Adams’ does an excellent job developing his main characters and I did come to care about Eden and her friends.

Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot. I enjoy spending time outdoors doing mountain biking, camping, etc, and have been a long time sci-fi fan so it combined those two things with a thrilling survival/chase story line that kept me turning the pages. I would recommend this novella to sci-fi/adventure fans, you won’t be dissapointed.

Coffin Dodgers by Tom G.H. Adams is available via Amazon both as an eBook and paperback. Click HERE to check it out

Year of the Worm: Detective’s Notebook #1

12/30/17

 

Gotta call last night around 3 am about a noise complaint. Couldn’t understand why Jones called me about it. We’re  detectives, major crimes, not  flat-foots. But she insisted, so I gotta outta bed, still nursing a heady buzz thanks to a few  pints of Guinness for dinner, and got down there.

The scene was at an old warehouse down by the river, not too far from the barrio. I figured it was some gang bangers. But I was wrong, damn wrong. The interior of the warehouse looked like a slaughter house. Thick with the hot stench of blood and piss. Cat piss, to be precise. You see some sick son of a bitch had killed damn near a dozen cats.

Okay, killed is a bit too casual of a term. More like systematical slaughtered them. Each one was cut up like a butcher had done it. The heads and legs were gone, God only knows what happened to them,  and the skinned carcasses had been gutted and arranged in a crude circle. Their entrails had been pulled out and arranged into a weirdly shaped  star-like symbol in the middle of the circle.

The worm-rotted floor of the place was slick with the cats’ blood and a putrid pile of their hides sat in the far corner in a haphazard state as if someone had mindlessly tossed them over there like pieces of trash.

Strangest of all was the symbol on the wall that was scrawled in the cats’ blood. It looked like some kinda eye and had these weird squiggly lines around it, almost like worms or tentacles. Someone had written ‘He Awaits’ below it.

What the hell does that mean?

At first I figured it was some shit some junkies did while strung out on meth or whatever new junk was making the rounds on the street. But there was too much thought involved in this all. Someone had planned this shit out, it wasn’t some junkie’s frenzied act.

That didn’t really ease my mind, the last thing this city needed was some sorta serial killer on the loose. We had enough trouble with the gangs and the garden variety rapists.

Jones says CSI is still going over the evidence. I talked to the flat-foots’ who first arrived at the scene. Rookies who looked scared shitless, but one of them told me they’d seen graffiti around the ‘hood in the past few weeks like the one on the wall. Said it was spray painted in the usual spots, and didn’t think nothing of it. But on Christmas Eve someone had scrawled it on the front doors of  St. Michael’s Cathedral. No one had seen nothing, and the church ain’t got no security camera.

I tried taking some photos of the scene on my phone for my own records, but funny thing is they all came out blurry. Even Jones said her phone was on the fritz. I’m sure the boys in CSI will have better ones. I did some sketches myself, guess it’s better than nothing for now.

But what really bugs me is who would do this, and better yet – why?

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Digital Popcorn: Ash vs Evil Dead (Season One)

Over the long weekends for the holidays, I was able to finally watch the entire first season of Starz’ original series Ash vs Evil Dead on dvd. I’d seen the original Evil Dead movie, along with Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness, back in my college days and the movies had become a personal favorite along with a source of countless references and inside jokes among my college friends. The original movies have a cult following for sure and the star Bruce Campbell has managed to reach legendary status among horror fans like me.

So, a few years ago when I heard various rumors of a remake of the original with every one from Ashton Kutcher to Bruce reprising the role, I was disheartened. I’m not a fan of remakes and the idea of seeing an aged Campbell as Ash drew up dreaded memories of another childhood hero trying to resurrect his role, unsuccessfully, that being Harrison Ford’s godawful ‘Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull’.

At the time my position was that I’d much rather rewatch the original Evil Dead films than see it butchered with a reboot. Fortunately, when the Starz series came out I was pleasantly surprised.

The Ash vs Evil Dead series takes all of what made the original movies a lot of fun but avoids being merely fan boy service and nostalgic.  What I liked the best about the series is that rather than simply being trapped in a cabin in the woods the entire time by himself, the series provides Ash (Campbell) with a pair of younger partners that are more than mere cannon fodder for the Deadites as was the case in the original movies.

Instead of being campy and annoying, Pedro and Kelly are enjoyable characters that provide comic relief as well as give the character of Ash a way to develop beyond the snarky jack ass he tended to be in the movies. That’s not to say that Ash is a completely changed man, but over the course of the first season you do get to see a side of him that the movies didn’t get into too much, the fact that Ash is capable of caring about other people and willing to put himself in danger for them.

Kelly quickly proves to be the bad ass of the two new characters, and is a fairly strong character. Unlike the original movies, she’s a woman that can stand her ground against the Deadites and tolerate Ash’s antics without being a stereotypical ‘bitch’. Her backstory and motivation to help Ash is definetly believable, albeit simple, and is an adequate explanation for her growing blood-lust as the series progresses.

Pedro may lack self confidence around the ladies and is not as capable in combat as Kelly, but what he brings to the series is some knowledge and experience with the supernatural. Given that his uncle is a brujo and Pedro himself studied some of his people’s mystical ways gives him an important role in the show. The movies never delved too deeply into the origins and supernatural aspects of the Necronomicon and the Deadites , but with Pedro’s background the show taps into that side of it a bit more which makes the world a bit richer. The scenes with Pedro’s uncle add a lot to the supernatural aspect of the Evil Dead world and set Pedro up to fight the Deadites in a different manner than Kelly and Ash.

The show itself is in thirty minute episodes, aside from the slightly longer pilot episode, which I think works well with the whole comedy-horror genre. The plot of each episode is brisk but contains just enough backstory or character development to keep things from being too shallow.

Fortunately, unlike like some series like The Walking Dead, the writers of Ash vs Evil Dead stray away from the drudgery of characters ‘developing’ a la sitting around and talking about their feelings despite the ever present danger of their situation.

My favorite episode from Season One was the one that involved Ash and his companions going to Books From Beyond and summoning a demon to ‘help’ them put an end to the Deadites. It’s a convoluted plan that’s doomed to fail, like most of Ash’s ideas, but it delves into the origin of the Necronomicon and the demons/Deadites in more depth. The proverbial bloody icing to the cake is the introduction of a new enemy in the form of a demon that proves to give Ash and company a whole new set of trouble unlike anything they’d faced before.

I enjoyed Season One very much, it had the right amount of humor and gore to make it an entertaining series. I would recommend it to any fan of the original movies, and I’m defintely looking forward to catching up  with Season Two.