Archive for January, 2018

Book Review- “Bonfire” by Krysten Ritter

January 7, 2018 Leave a comment

BonfireKrysten Ritter has been involved with three of my favorite crime shows of all time: “Veronica Mars,” “Breaking Bad,” and Netflix’s adaptation of Marvel Comics “Jessica Jones.” As an actress she was part of the storytelling of those shows. She helped create a character, and she got to witness how the stories on those shows were brought to life. Now I wonder if she was taking notes because I just finished Ritter’s debut novel, “Bonfire,” and it’s a pretty great first crime novel.

In “Bonfire” Ritter takes readers to the fictional town of Barrens, Indiana. It’s a small company town full of unpleasant ghosts and personal demons for her protagonist, an environmental lawyer named Abby Williams. It’s a town Abby escaped from, but the experiences she endured as a teenager at the hands of her family and peers still haunt her. We immediately get the sense of that, but one of Ritter’s strengths as a writer is her ability to convey a sense of place.

She makes Barrens just as horrific for us readers as it is for Abby. She believably brings to life a town swimming in literal and metaphorical sickness. The former is from possible pollution and why Abby has been forced to return home, and the latter comes from the horrific corruption and secrets that took root when Abby was a teenager and have been festering for about a decade.

Abby is a very believable and damaged protagonist. She clearly has PTSD from some of the horrible things she endured as a teenager and often drinks and makesKrysten Ritter bad decisions. You understand why because Ritter allows you to experience Abby’s memories, but memory is fleeting and subjective. Ritter has fun with that as well.

We meet a number of interesting characters as Abby investigates the mysteries in Barrens like the fellow members of her legal team and some of grown up people who tormented her as a teen, but for me the most fascinating character in the book is someone Abby has returned home to find, her childhood friend turned biggest tormenter as a teen, Kaycee Mitchell. Kaycee is a mercurial and vile person, but too Ritter’s credit she’s not a cartoon. You’re given some scenes that give you insight into Kaycee’s action and even allow you to genuinely empathize with her.

Tone is another area Ritter excelled at. Abby’s investigation uncovers some truly sinister secrets about the town and some of it’s residents. So there’s also a very thrilling and palpable sense of paranoia and psychological horror.

 “Bonfire” is a great debut novel about both the damage teenagers can do to each other and the horrific secrets that can hide in small towns. The book is a kickoff to what I hope will be a second successful career for Ritter because I’m eager for both the second season of “Jessica Jones” and to see what she does next as a novelist.

Categories: Book Review

My Top 10 Comics for 2017

January 1, 2018 Leave a comment

I make part of my living writing about comics. So I thought some of my readers might be interested in my list of the 10 best comic series I read in 2017. In this list I tell you where you can start on the series if it sounds like something you’d be interested in, and I try to do justice to each book with a couple of short sentences describing it.

God Country

  1. God Country published by Image Comics. Available in it’s entirety in one collected graphic novel“Reads like American Gods deep in the heart of texas via the wild imagination of Jack Kirby.”


  2. Hawkeye published by Marvel Comics. Start with Hawkye: Kate Bishop Volume 1: Anchor Points“Reads like Veronica Mars in the Marvel Universe. Yes. It’s that good.”

    Batman Rebirth

  3. Batman published by DC Comics. Start with Batman Volume 1: I Am Gotham “One of the most fun, heartfelt, and exciting takes on Batman ever.”


    Deadly Class

  4. Deadly Class published by Image Comics. Start with Deadly Class: Reagan Youth or the hardcover collection Deadly Class Deluxe Edition: Noise Noise Noise“A powerful, poignant, exciting tale about a high school for teenage assassins in the 1980s. Features my favorite new character: Helmut the East Geman metalhead. Soon to be a Syfy Channel original series.”


Mr. Miracle

  1. Mister Miracle published by DC Comics start with issue #1 of the series. No collection as of yet, but issues #1-5 are available via your local comic shop or digitally“One of my favorite creative team in comics takes on one of my favorite Fourthworld character for a story about love and battling inner demons that mixes the wild imagination of Jack Kirby with the surreal nightmares of David Lynch.”


  1. Defenders published by Marvel Comics. Start with Defenders Volume 1: Diamonds Are Forever.“The stars of the titular Netflix show come together in a beautifully drawn and colored series that is an amazing cocktail of street level crime stories and superheroics.”

    Infamous Iron Man

  1. Infamous Iron Man published by Marvel Comics. Start with Infamous Iron Man Volume 1“One of the best written and drawn Doctor Doom stories . . .ever! An incredible tale about walking the rocky and perilous road to redemption.


Redneck Image

  1. Redneck published by Image Comics. Start with Redneck Volume 1: Deep in the Heart of Texas.

“A powerful and gripping tale about violence, family, . . . and vampires. And that’s saying something coming from me, because usually I don’t care for stories where vampire are the protagonists. Redneck is amazing though!”

Redlands Image


  1. Redlands published by Image Comics. Start with issue #1 of the series. No collection is available right now, but issues #1-5 of the series are available via your local comic shop or digitally.“A haunting and very cool horror series that reads like Charmed by way of the first (the good) season of HBO’s True Detective.

Realm Image

  1. The Realm published by Image Comics. Start with issue #1 of the series. There’s no collection as of yet, but issues #1-4 are available via your local comic shop or digitally.

“What if you took the zombie apocalypse of The Walking Dead and replaced it with the magic and monsters of Dungeons and Dragons? You’d get The Realm; a fun and fascinating series that offers a refreshing take on apocalyptic fiction.”