“A gripping mystery with realistic characters and a troubled detective on the case.”
“An expertly plotted detective mystery by the best-selling author T.J Brearton. Kept me reading for a few restless nights.”
“I’ve read a lot of detective stories and this one ranks up near the top. I particularly enjoyed the fact that the main character was a regular guy (and not an ex-seal, top-of-his-law-class who had inherited a few million)…”
“…Wonderfully insightful (with) very human moments of heartbreak.”
(on Netflix and Amazon)
Nightcrawler is an unexpected film that doesn’t stick to convention. A story of a-man-with-a-dream with a completely original twist. Gives as much as it needs to, holds back for your own input. Makes no real statements, yet speaks for itself. Fun, in a dark sort of way, but not too dark it puts you off. Just a great ride with bits of action, moments of scathing black humor, and glimmerings of something epic.
Another story that does not conform or fall to formulaic trappings – you don’t know where it’s head, but when it gets there, it feels just right. Filming is meticulous and zestful – like the art of cooking itself. Makes you want to prepare better meals and spend more time in the kitchen – or doing anything you enjoy with greater attention and care. Totally fun, feel-good with no extra cheese.
Short Term 12 (2013)
Brie Larson and the rest give natural, dynamic performances which inform realistic characters. A film that could easily become a victim of its genre and invent false drama or feel too hammy in its feel-good eventualities, but does the opposite. The issues the characters face feel organic, not foisted upon them by a need to create conflict. The characters create their own conflict simply by being who they are in the world. Smart, touching, funny, with a great little ending that makes your nerves tingle.
The Culture High (2014)
When I started doing this Top Five, I hadn’t intended on including a documentary. But Brett Harvey’s film is so well done, it had to be included. More than a film about decriminalizing marijuana, Culture High probes the systemic problems in the US. This holistic approach is becoming ever more important as we attempt to understand the individual issues we face; through examining the whole we can better glean the characteristics of a single problem, such as marijuana and its legal status. Harvey is a cinematographer as well as a director, so the imagery is attractive. The soundtrack pulses, the edits are crisp, and most interviewees are impressively credentialed, making this an all-around excellent, legitimate treatise on society today.
Whiplash is a powerhouse film. From the opening scene, there is a sense that you are in good hands, that there will be nothing wasted, no messing around. The film deftly avoids clichés, yet is a universal tale. Here is a completely rattling, inspiring, emotional, visceral, brilliant film, solid all the way through, yet better and better as it beats towards a magnificent end – really one of the best endings I have ever seen on screen. I kept thinking about if for days afterward.
What is the dark web?
The dark web, also called the deep web, is the part of the internet not indexed by standard search engines. It is hidden from us, a virtual underground beneath the surface of Amazon, Pinterest, and Facebook, requiring special software to access. On the dark web, you can buy drugs, find body parts for sale, you can even hire a murderer.
For many of us, the dark web seems like something far off. Something that doesn’t affect us.
But the dark web can even reach to remote, small town America. Because not only is it an enormous underground for black market commodities, it is home to the world’s best hackers. Anyone, anywhere in the world, can conceivably access someone’s personal computer through the dark web, and be untraceable.
Recently, the founder of the black market Silk Road was found guilty of dealing drugs online and sent to prison. Experts suggest that while this is a victory, it also works against law enforcement, making dark web sites go even deeper and employ more sophisticated tactics to stay hidden.
This March, the new novel from T.J. Brearton examines the impact of the dark web on a small town family in the North Country. The Simpkins are middle-class, hard-working, and loving. They have two small daughters and a teenage son who likes to spend as much time online as he can get away with. He likes to play a game with others from around the globe, warring with one another and fighting for virtual resources.
He leaves the house inexplicably one night, and meets his end in the middle of a snowy night. The police investigation ramps up, and veteran investigator John Swift takes three young men into custody on suspicion of murder. Only there’s no hard evidence linking them to the death. As the family deals with the unimaginable grief, secrets tumble from their closet. Callie’s previous marriage to an abusive husband. Mike’s torrid childhood and estranged father. And their teenage son’s obsessive online gaming. Detective Swift enlists a cyber-crime specialist while he keeps the three suspects on ice. Is one of them – or all of them – guilty of murder? Or is Callie’s ex-husband the killer? Mike seems to think so, but then he, too, falls under suspicion. As Swift closes in, the case turns in destructive directions, and Mike decides to take the law into his own hands.
Want to find out what happens?
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