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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Looking Back On. . .


Dying for a Vacation
In this latest adventure set in an alternate present, one in which the Roman Empire maintained its iron grip on world events, we find change is in the air for our dynamic investigating duo, Dai and Julia Llewellyn. While Dai and his team are run off their feet investigating an empire wide theft and smuggling ring, he receives a callous threat against his wife in an effort to deter his efforts. The thing is, Julia is now pregnant with their first child. Beside himself with worry, Dai orders her away from their home in an effort to keep her safe.
Not used to being cosseted, Julia rebels against Dai’s overprotective attitude and takes a break from all the pressure by journeying to faraway Aegyptus. Little does she realize, however, doing so places her in a direct line of fire.
If that wasn’t bad enough, someone makes accusations against Dai’s family tantamount to treason. Something that if proven, could lead to a one-way ticket to the games and death!
Needless to say, the atmosphere created places our favorite crime fighting team under a great deal of stress. How on earth are they going to cope?
You’ll enjoy this latest mystery from Dai and Julia. With a clever, involved storyline, a progressive pace and littered with plots and counterplots, you’ll be rooting for the bad guys to get their comeuppance long before the arrest warrants are issued.
A welcome addition to the series.


Silence of the Lambs

I think you’ll all know this film. I loved it when it first came out and I’ve watched it a good half-dozen times since then. In this multiple Oscar-winning thriller, Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a top student at the FBI's training academy whose shrewd analyses of serial killers lands her a special assignment: the FBI is investigating a vicious murderer nicknamed Buffalo Bill, who kills young women and then removes the skin from their bodies. Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) wants Clarice to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant psychiatrist who is also a violent psychopath, serving life behind bars for various acts of murder and cannibalism. Crawford believes that Lecter may have insight into this case and that Starling, as an attractive young woman, may be just the bait to draw him out. As we all know by now, it works, and Lecter starts to offer up information . . . at a price! Lecter has spent years in specialized solitary confinement and barters for a change of venue, some place with a view. More disturbingly, he wants Clarice to detail certain events from her life and skillfully digs into her psyche, forcing her to reveal her innermost traumas and putting her in a position of vulnerability when she can least afford to be weak.
One of the few films to remain true to the novel’s plot, Foster and Hopkins act their socks off, introducing a slow boil to the story that is part psychological thriller, part menacing horror. It’s mesmerizing witnessing how the pair acts. So much so, that even when you’re watching it for the sixth or seventh time and know what’s coming, it still sends a tingle up your spine. Diabolically delicious and immorally intelligent, it pits the innocence of a young and inexperienced woman against the predatory lusts of a pathological killer who eats every detail as if it were an appetizer for the main course. (Even the way he wears his prison uniform – as if it’s bespoke tailored – smacks of the dominance he is still able to command from his prison cell).
But not all is well, for another dares to profane his kingdom, the deranged transvestite Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine), who places a moth's chrysalis in his victims' throats after first killing and skinning them.
Skillful direction; clinical but compassionate; expertly executed; and mouth-wateringly menacing. Without a doubt one of the most superbly crafted films you’ll ever see.

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