Friday, June 9, 2017

Edgar Allan Poe

In addition to working on my latest screenplay, I am also editing a series of Edgar Allan Poe's work. Volumes 1 and 2 are currently available. The links to them on are below in case anyone is interested. 

The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe Vol 1 Poems 1824 - 1829 


The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe Volume 2: Poems & Tales 1831 - 1833

Monday, January 23, 2017

Book Review: Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett by Georges Simenon

In Georges Simenon’s first Maigret novel, Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett, we are introduced to the dogged investigator tracks Pietr the Lett (or Latvian in other editions) around Paris and other locales in France. Pietr is a globe hopping criminal who thus far has managed to elude the agents of Interpol and local police. Unfortunately for Pietr, he has wound up in the jurisdiction of the tenacious Maigret, who will undoubtedly bring his criminal career to an end.

But who is Peitr the Latvian, really? Is he Oswald Oppenheim, a debonair gentleman who hob knobs with the world’s elite? Is he Olaf Swann, a Norwegian merchant officer living in Fecamp with a wife and family who spends most of his time away from home? Perhaps he is Fedor Yurovich a Russian alcoholic living in a seedy motel with a slovenly young woman so devoted that she would kill to protect him? Is he all three? Or is he someone else entirely? The answer is, of course, complex, this is a detective novel, after all, but ultimately not much of a surprise and in some ways, rather obvious.

The novel opens with intrigue, a man matching the bare description Maigret has of Pietr is found murdered in a train car w.c.; as another man, also fitting the description walks away from the station. The plot goes on a bit of a slow burn from there until the end as Maigret spends a few sleepless days uncovering the true identity of Pietr and how the various players in the mystery are connected to each other. In the process, Maigret loses his right hand man, and literal mini-me, who is killed by an assassin, and is himself shot in the chest and may possibly lose three of his ribs. Yet none of this stops the indomitable inspector from hunting down his man; all the way back to Fecamp where Maigret and the “villain” engage in fisticuffs on a jetty among the rising tide.

Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett is an interesting mystery novel with a good translation by Daphne Woodward. While it’s certainly difficult to gauge an author’s work in piece translated out of its original language, one can get an idea by the plot and feel of the story. Simenon presents a dreary atmosphere where the police and criminals dwell. The only bright spot comes in the form of Maigret’s wife, who only appears in a few scenes. In order to hunt down criminals, law enforcement must follow them into the murky domains they inhabit, as though any one associated with crime, even on the good side, becomes touched by their darkness. This does not detract from the book at all, but rather adds to it a film noiresque atmosphere. The book, though short, meandered too much to me. Going around a bit and adding in subplots and characters that didn’t go much of anywhere.

The title of this and other editions, Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett, is a misnomer, as Peter the Lett (as he is referred to in this edition) is not enigmatic and is no real mystery. Although we don’t know exactly who he is until the end, it is quite clear from the beginning the different identities he assumes; and there is no real mystery as to his motivations or character. The true enigma of the story is Maigret himself; even though the third person narrator is inside Maigret’s head for the entire novel, the reader never really gets a sense of who Maigret is or what makes him tick as it were. Even the inner workings of his process as all the tumblers fall into place, are kept a mystery to the reader. Maigret just knows why such and such is. He’s reminiscent of a Terminator in that he keeps going until he gets his man, ignoring pain and his body’s need for sleep. Even when the closest thing to a friend the inspector seems to have is murdered by one of Pietr’s associates, Maigret and the narrator barely give pause before continuing on. The only thing Maigret seems to feel is cold as he is constantly seeking warmth from a fire. For me, this was the biggest drawback of the book. Although I am fine getting on board with a character who has super human powers of deduction, I’d like a little heart, which this book is sorely lacking. Maigret is in desperate need of a Doctor Watson.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

How is everyone doing? I've been super busy with my films, so haven't had much time to hang out on wordpress or even post at all. Happy to report that my short documentary, Kahana: Teaching Life, (about stuntman Kim Kahana Sr.) has been accepted as an official selection in two film festivals and we're waiting to hear back on several more.  
My short film, Coulrophobia out to several festivals, but it will be a few months before I find out anything. Also, one of my older short stories is on Wattpad: Letter to Dr. Frederick Reynolds. If you don't know about Wattpad, it's a place where you can read free books/stories. I'm working on several other projects right now, writing and film, so be sure to check back for updates or, like my Facebook pages for more frequent updates.
 Gemini Films
DaJa Vu Films

 My Author Page on Facebook  

 And don't forget to let me know what you've been up to in the comments.  

Book Review: Ghosts of Manhattan by Douglas Brunt

In Douglas Brunt’s debut novel, Ghosts of Manhattan, we are introduced to Nick Farmer, a bond trader at a company with unethical business practices, as he ponders his place in life and his job. Although Nick’s job forces him to live a lifestyle of drugs, booze and strippers, he has somehow managed to rise above it all, keeping his head above the murky waters that constantly threaten to drown him and his marriage. Nick Farmer is presented as tarnished saint in a world of sinners, as, even though he has partaken of plenty of drugs and liquor, he has never let it touch his soul. Of all the things he has done, Nick has never cheated on his wife, even though his coworkers are constantly cheating on their wives or girlfriends. Even when temptation arrives in the form of Rebecca James, beautiful correspondent for CNBC, he remains true to her, physically, if not emotionally. Nick’s true moral test is presented to him by Freddie Cook, a risk analyst who informs Nick that the company they both work for, Bear Stearns, is about to go under, along with every other bond trading firm, if they don’t change their unscrupulous selling tactics. Nick realizes that this is his last chance; he can either get out and start life over at thirty-five, or lose his soul forever.

Douglas Brunt certainly shows promise as a writer and presents a well written narrative that is easy and quick to read. However, to me, Ghosts of Manhattan lacks character and heart. The characters that populate Nick’s world seem thinner than the paper the words are printed on. Even Nick, who is going through a struggle, comes across as not being very well fleshed out; and the constant self loathing felt a bit much. Sure, he’s not the best guy in the world, but he’s certainly not the worst, and it never seems to be in question that he is going to do the right thing, because he is ultimately a good guy. He’s dipped his toes in the water, but has never jumped in the simmering cesspool of sin, so it comes as no surprise in the end when he quits his job and begins the journey back to a life away from the dangerous lifestyle he’s been flirting with since graduating college, and repairing the marriage his job has almost destroyed. 

That being said, Brunt does show a lot of potential in this freshman effort and I didn't feel like my time was wasted, so would give his next book a shot. 

Final Assessment: It was ok

Monday, October 31, 2016

My New Short Film: Coulrophobia (a creepy clown short film)

Please check out my new short film, Coulrophobia

It is Halloween and Sleepy Ridge's most infamous reporter, Marcus Micklewhite, struggles to overcome his fear of clowns in order to finish his latest article, The Creepy Clown Menace, before his midnight deadline. His writer's block is also in the way of him meeting with his girlfriend, Luanne, who is ready to break up with him because Mark keeps making excuses to get out of meeting her friends. 

Of course, this being Sleepy Ridge, something strange is a foot and on top of his personal problems, Mark finds himself terrorized by an actual creepy clown. To survive this harrowing Halloween night, Mark must overcome his coulrophobia and confront the menacing clown.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Special Preview of a Film I Wrote

Please check out this advance preview video of I Love You Because and see what we at DaJa Vu Films have been busy working on!

And don't forget to join the Official I Love You Because Group on Facebook so you don't miss out on exclusive content!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Just signed up for the #ODDSQUAD street team and you should too!