Wednesday, April 09, 2008

So I finished Den of Thieves Monday afternoon. Totally wrong about what I thought was a setup for the next book. Shows what I know. There are already two more books out in the series, so I've ordered the next one.

Monday night, I started reading the 14th book in the new series of Shadow pulp reprints, collecting The Grove of Doom and The Masked Lady. I've been a fan of the Shadow since I was a kid. Part of the fascination may have been the idea that, once upon a time, decades before I was born, there were whole novels published every other week about this character (I've always loved serial fiction). Years later, DC Comics published a collection of the Denny O'Neil/Mike Kaluta comics that were my first exposure to the character. In his introduction, O'Neil explained that part of the reason for the Shadow's enduring popularity may be because he basically has all the trappings of a sinister villain, but he's a hero. I think that may be part of it, too.

So far, I'm maybe halfway through The Grove of Doom. (Didn't have much time to read last night.) It's interesting, in that it's set on a Long Island estate instead of the usual urban New York setting, and the motivation behind the incredibly weird crimes seems to be a family squabble. The domestic setting is unusual. Additionally, this book ostensibly collects two of author Walter Gibson's favorite Shadow stories, so going in, the expectations are a little higher than usual.

Last night saw the return of NCIS with new episodes. I've said many times before that I enjoy the show because of the characters, and nothing has changed. Nice to see Gretchen Egolff guest-starring as a homicide detective; good to see she's finding work after the cancelation of Journeyman.

In related news, TV Guide's Michael Ausiello reveals that a series regular will be gone by the end of the series. So that's something that will keep me watching (as if I wouldn't otherwise).

Meanwhile, not too sure how I'm feeling about the new season of Hell's Kitchen. On the one hand, I thought that last week's premiere made this season look a bit too gimmicky and game-showy, like they were trying too hard to make it as flashy as other reality shows. This week's attempt by Cory to strategically eliminate her competition backed that up. Ultimately, the show redeemed itself by having chef Gordon Ramsay remind everyone that the prize is an actual job running an actual kitchen in an actual restaurant, and that at the end of the day, regardless of strategy and game-playing, the winner had to prove that they could do the job. So he overrode Cory's choices and got rid of who he saw as the weakest link. So kudos to Gordon Ramsay for keeping it real.

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