TV Review: Young Wallander (S2): Killer’s Shadow | I Still Like That Voice

Last season, I developed a fascination – some might call it weird – with our Title character’s (Adam Palsson) speaking voice. I had forgotten about that and rereading my review of S1 I realized that I also noted it this time around. But I digress, in the sophomore season of Young Wallander – inspired by Henning Mankell‘s best-selling novels – we have Sara Seyed, Yasen Atour (The Witcher, Strike Back), Ellise Chappell (Poldark), Leanne Best (Close to Me) and even Charles Mnene returning with Lewis Mackinnon (Victoria), Josef Davies (This Is Going to Hurt, The King), Tomiwa Edun (ADOW), and Kim Adis (Foundation) joinning the cast.

Last season we left Kurt Wallander, turning his back on his detective job after losing his mentor Hemberg during his first serious investigation. This time around Kurt is sucked back in with what first appeared as a simple hit-and-run case that inevitably turns into a bigger investigation.

The series was and remains an easy binge for a 45min episode mystery crime drama. The story flows quite well and keeps you entertain throughout, even if the most eagle-eyed or attentive of us might figure some things out sooner than they’re revealed or discovered but most of the time that delay makes sense within the frame of the investigation at play here.

The story behind the investigation this time might not be the most original, but the way it’s presented and portrayed by the actors does make a big difference. Josef Davies knocked it out of the parc because even when I thought he was a bit of a prick, I still felt for him before even knowing his story.

My man Rez got some justice this season, the way he was dealt with in the first didn’t exactly sit right with me, but the writers still played with my emotions when it came to him by putting him through some stuff. As for Kurt he’s clearly evolved since the last case, it’s more apparent with the “new” detective working with him, yet he still leads with his heart and still has some bad habits to shed.

The show is not afraid to tackle difficult topics. They always serve the story and the characters, it would have been strange if they were not brought up. More of an effort is made in terms of diversity – gender and race – but I admit that I was afraid that they’d demonize one of them – the new chief – instead they took his position and background into consideration regarding his behavior, which rings very true to me.

Young Wallander: Killer’s Shadow is an enjoyable show balancing complicated topics, flawed characters wrapped in an entertaining mystery.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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Book Review: Fluke and the Faithless Father | Sam Burns

After escaping a murderer and resurrecting his boyfriend, Sage figures he deserves a little time to recover.

Unfortunately, life is rarely fair.

So instead of a break, he gets to deal with a magical law enforcement rookie asking uncomfortable questions about his brush with death. The quaesitor is acting downright suspicious. Or is it suspiciously?

Things go from awkward to dangerous when the man who murdered Sage’s mother is released from prison, and soon after there’s a break-in at the bookstore. The situation escalates so fast that Sage is afraid he’s going to end up with whiplash. Or worse, end up dead. He wanted a break, but not a permanent one.

Fluke and the Faithless Father is a direct sequel to The Fantastic Fluke, and should not be read first. It is an ~85k word novel that follows the continuing adventures of Sage, Fluke, Gideon, and their whole family, found and otherwise.

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How was it?

Going back into The Fantastic Fluke‘s world for this second entry, I had forgotten how Sage could be so hard on himself, which is probably why I didn’t rush to this book even though I enjoyed the first.

The story picks right after the events of book one – so if you read both back to back you’re set – so Sage survived an attack from low-level mage killer, and one from a cultist he first taught came to his rescue. You’d rightly think, how unlucky one can get? Being in the crosshairs of two killers with very different agendas? That’s insane. Well turns out Sage never really had a lot of luck. In this entry we get a little more background on the people in his past, the first entry might have given us all the relevant information about it but the focus was on the effects Sage’s past has on him. Here the focused shifts a bit to the people, past and present, who shaped him. In The Fantastic Fluke I was annoyed with Sage belittling himself every chance he got, in this one I was more horrified by the people who raised him and glad to see that he’s developed a bit of backbone and stands up for himself more, even though he avoids and procrastinates a bit too much still – which is rich coming for me.

All I’m saying with this mini “rant” is that the main characters – well mostly Sage – are written in such a way that you can’t help but feel something. The characters have an emotional weight that resonates, whether you want to throw hands, cussed them out – because some of them need it – or hug them. Having Sage’s P.O.V. makes the story personal but his emotional damage means they are ramblings, yet didn’t bother as much as book one.

When it comes to his relationship with Gideon there’s not much happening but I didn’t miss it. I loved addition of Freddy even though I don’t trust him. I love a badass grandma so Iris is the best, also I can’t wait to see what will happen with Roger – and it better be good.  And finally another thing that I particularly enjoy is the commentaries on the Quaesitors, the magic enforcement.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Book Review: Color Him Gay by Victor J. Banis

Steve thought to cut in on the source of blackmail money that Dingo Stark was paying the boys who wanted to COLOR HIM GAY but his hatred took him too far. As his screams drift through the still air, it’s up to the debonair secret agent, Jackie Holmes, that Man from C.A.M.P., to arrive in time to save the day!

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How was it?

For most of it Color Him Gay is  a silly, camp, gay spy story with a rough moments – maybe triggering ones for some – and a Gary Stew for a main character. Steve might get knocked down a bunch in this book but when it comes to the breath of expert level skills and knowledge he has it’s a bit much. However, the idea of a gay secret agent who fights for and protects queer folks from a society that isn’t always kind to them sounds good to me. The story and writing style might be a prime example of its era – the book was first published in 1966 – but it still resonates. The atmosphere the main characters are living in is still feels fresh, homosexuality is more accepted and mostly decriminalized now but there’s still a stigma to it, making it hard for some of us to live without fear.

Like I mentioned there are rough moments in this story like murders, beatings, rape and such, but the way they are brought about doesn’t really work with the overall tone that is mainly light and fun. So it’s a bit jarring yet it kind of works.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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Book Review: Killing Floor by Lee Child

Ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is a drifter. He’s just passing through Margrave, Georgia, and in less than an hour, he’s arrested for murder. Not much of a welcome. All Jack knows is that he didn’t kill anybody. At least not here. Not lately. But he doesn’t stand a chance of convincing anyone. not in Margrave, Georgia. Not a chance in hell.

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How was it?

My first experience of Jack Reacher was the Tom Cruise Jack Reacher: Never Go Back version back in 2016 and the trailers for the 2012 movie before that. So I was curious about the original book version.

It starts out very slow and methodical, just like how Jack Reacher seems to be. A quiet man who observes, analyzes and acts accordingly. We are taken along on his thought processes and see how he scrutinizes everything around him. It’s quite fascinating if it weren’t for how obvious the bad guys were. Maybe the trailer for that first Cruise Reacher movie spoiled this book for me and that opening scene from the trailer seems to be summing up this story.

Another striking thing about Reacher, he’s not willing or eager to help, at first. He intervenes when he has to and when it serves him. He might be a bit selfish but to me it came off as a guy who just minds his own business. However the reason why he gets involved into the case made sense, yet seemed a bit too coincidental. Too much time had been spent establishing that he didn’t want to get involved so it had to be something big enough for him to join the investigation.

Although there is a small chunk that I zombie read, I’m pretty sure there are some plot holes in this book, an obvious one for me was the big deal that was made of Reacher not carrying any ID but he somehow took a plane and I don’t remember him going to get his ID or nothing. The other thing that really doesn’t make much sense is how Finlay got his job because they needed an idiot for it but there’s someone involved in the scheme at play here that who should’ve known that he’s a competent investigator.

So there are major non-sensical things in this book but it still entertains. It never became a chore to read or boring for me, despite admitting zombie reading some of it. It is a bit cliché for sure but the investigation part of the story was good even thought I would have expected it to be more action driven.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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TV Review: Station Eleven (Premiere) | A Fascinating Start

Review: Following a group of seemingly unrelated people during the outbreak and years into a deadly pandemic, Station Eleven tells the story of those who crossed paths with actor Arthur Leander. The three episode premiere sets the stage for the saga of these individuals in a very enigmatic and suspenseful way.

Right off the bat I loved the glimpses to the future we had in the pilot. Some strong choices were made in adapting this story and I love how Jeevan and young Kirsten’s stories were intertwined because for one it gave the situation a sense of urgency and limited option, and two showed Jeevan’s character. He went the extra mile to help a total stranger during a crisis, maybe it was due to the fact he didn’t think the flu was that bad but I think he’s just a decent man who did what he could to help. Yet at the same time he also seemed a bit unhinged, which why the plane scene was so important because it validated Jeevan’s fear to the others.

It was interesting to me when and where they decided to go, when jumping to adult Kirsten’s life, I thought it set up the traveling symphony and the people living in this post Georgia flu world well. It gave us a sense of how things have settled after the mayhem of the first years of the pandemic.

For some reason, I began to think that we’d be spared the Hollywood part of the story, even though I knew that the dinner scene was important, so I’m glad it’s here because it was awesome, I loved every bit of it.

The show seems to be doing justice to the novel so far, with its somewhat confusing time jumps in depicting this beautiful and tragic story.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

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Stay Close | Trailer

  • Writer: Harlan Coben (Novel), Daniel Brocklehurst
  • Director: Lindy Heymann, Daniel O’Hara
  • Stars: Cush Jumbo, James Nesbitt, Richard Armitage, Eddie Izzard, Jo Joyner, Youssef Kerkour, Sarah Parish, Daniel Francis, Bethany Antonia 

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