Five Teens Accused Of Raping 13-Year-Old GirlToddler Found Frozen To Death On Front Porch Of Her HomeCouple Accused Of Beating Three Children, Forcing Them To Eat Dog FecesWoman Dies After Teen Extended Car Jack Inside Her VaginaMan Dies After Falling Into An Industrial Tire ShredderTeen Gouged Out Both Of Her Eyeballs Outside South Carolina ChurchMorgue Worker Accused Of Having Sex With Corpse Of Reality TV StarTeenage Teaching Assistant Accused Of Molesting 17 ChildrenMan Accused Of Killing Ex-Girlfriend And Three Others At Pennsylvania Car Wash

Cracked Spine Book Club: The Short Drop

March 3, 2016 at 2:01 pm by  

Short DropHERE, NOW – I barely have time to get news articles written up anymore, much less reviews, but I just finished The Short Drop by Matthew FitzSimmons and figured I would add my two cents.

Here’s the synopsis from Amazon:

A decade ago, fourteen-year-old Suzanne Lombard, the daughter of Benjamin Lombard—then a senator, now a powerful vice president running for the presidency—disappeared in the most sensational missing-person case in the nation’s history. Still unsolved, the mystery remains a national obsession.

For legendary hacker and marine Gibson Vaughn, the case is personal—Suzanne Lombard had been like a sister to him. On the tenth anniversary of her disappearance, the former head of Benjamin Lombard’s security asks for Gibson’s help in a covert investigation of the case, with new evidence in hand.

Haunted by tragic memories, he jumps at the chance to uncover what happened all those years ago. Using his military and technical prowess, he soon discovers multiple conspiracies surrounding the Lombard family—and he encounters powerful, ruthless political players who will do anything to silence him and his team.

Cracked Spine Book Club: The Troop

June 16, 2014 at 1:17 pm by  

The TroopHere, Now – I’ve read a lot of books since I last posted a Cracked Spine recommendation, but I just haven’t had time to post anything about them aside for some quick blurbs on our Facebook Page or our forums.

One of these books was The Troop, by Nick Cutter. A nasty, effective horror book I posted about awhile back on Facebook. After numerous responses since, from people who say they loved The Troop and never would have heard of it had I not mentioned it, I decided to give it some front page lovin’.

Hopefully this will turn some more of you horror lovers on to this horrific read. Here’s the official synopsis:

Once a year, scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a three-day camping trip—a tradition as comforting and reliable as a good ghost story and a roaring bonfire. But when an unexpected intruder — shockingly thin, disturbingly pale, and voraciously hungry — stumbles upon their campsite, Tim and the boys are exposed to something far more frightening than any tale of terror.

Cracked Spine Book Club: Reconstructing Amelia

December 2, 2013 at 9:07 am by  

Reconstructing AmeliaHere, Now – Don’t believe the hype that compares this book to GONE GIRL, but Kimberly McCreight’s RECONSTRUCTING AMELIA is an enjoyable crime “thriller” that details a mother’s search for answers regarding her daughter’s fatal plunge from the roof of her school.

Here’s a bit of the official synopsis from McCreight’s official website:

Kate’s in the middle of the biggest meeting of her career when she gets the telephone call from Grace Hall, her daughter’s exclusive Park Slope private school. Amelia has been suspended, effective immediately, though the school refuses to say why, at least by telephone. They will say only that Kate must come get her daughter and she must come now.

An academic overachiever despondent over getting caught cheating jumps to her death. Impulsive suicide, tragic and awful, but far more common than anyone realizes. At least that’s the story Grace Hall tells Kate. And clouded as she is by her guilt and grief, it is the one that she believes. That is, until she gets an anonymous text : She didn’t jump.

Cracked Spine Book Club: The Shining Girls

August 13, 2013 at 5:20 pm by  

The Shining GirlsHere, Now – I’ve gotten pretty slack on these book suggestions, but it hasn’t been for lack of reading anything worth mentioning. Case in point, “The Shining Girls” by Lauren Beukes. I’d never heard of this lady, although I guess I should have because, well, read her bio.

Her latest book was suggested to me by Amazon, but to be honest I wasn’t too interested once I learned it was about a time-traveling serial killer. Here’s the official synopsis:

In Depression-era Chicago, Harper Curtis finds a key to a house that opens on to other times. But it comes at a cost. He has to kill the shining girls: bright young women, burning with potential. He stalks them through their lives across different eras, leaving anachronistic clues on their bodies, until, in 1989, one of his victims, Kirby Mazrachi, survives and starts hunting him back.

While I am definitely a fan of serial killer related material, and I dig some time-travel stuff, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to jump into a book that mixed them together – that is, until I read the reviews:

One of the scariest and best-written thrillers of the year, not to mention the most memorable portrait of a serial killer since Henry H.

Cracked Spine Book Club: The Fort

June 27, 2013 at 10:53 am by  

the fort

Title: The Fort
Author: Aric Davis
[rating:3.5/5]

I was on the toilet about to start reading C.J. Box’s THREE WEEKS TO SAY GOODBYE when I turned on my Kindle and was presented with an ad for Aric Davis’ THE FORT. Digging the stylish cover that featured three kids keeping lookout on and around a treehouse fort, I decided to see what the book was about. Here’s the official synopsis:

“During the waning summer days of 1987, a deranged Vietnam vet stalks Grand Rapids, Michigan, abducting and murdering nameless victims from the streets, leaving no leads for police. That is, until he picks up sixteen-year-old Molly. From their treehouse fort in the woods, three neighborhood boys spy the killer holding a gun to Molly’s back, they go to the police—only to have their story disregarded. But the boys know evil lives in their midst. A growing sense of honor and urgency forces the boys to take action—to find Molly, to protect themselves, to stand guard for the last long days of summer.”

A group of kids in the ’80s tracking down a Vietnam vet serial killer?…

Columbine

[Ever since Hugh Howey gained enormous success with his Wool series of books, one author he continues to mention in interviews is Dave Cullen, the author of Columbine. Hugh first wrote this review for crimecritics.com, a site we tried to start but later dissolved after Hugh started his writing career and I couldn’t juggle site duties between two sites. I later imported his excellent review of Columbine over here to dreamindemon.com in March 20, 2009. Still hard to believe that was four years ago. After reading a recent Huffington Post article in which Hugh mentions Dave Cullen, this book and the glowing review he wrote for it, I figured I would bump the review so you can read it and check out Columbine yourself, a book I think readers of this site will find very eye-opening. – Morbid]

Ten years have passed since the tragic event that has become synonymous with school shootings. Columbine was once a word that simply denoted a high school, a football team or a state flower.…

Crime Screen Movie Suggestion: The Mooring (2012)

February 26, 2013 at 5:56 pm by  

The MooringDirector: Glenn Withrow
Writers: Ivy Withrow, Hallie ToddGlenn Withrow
Stars: Hallie Todd, Thomas Wilson Brown, Karli Blalock, Brooklyn Tate
[rating:3.5/5]

If you’re looking for a survival horror film involving  a group of teens being hunted in the woods by a psychopath, but would like one that didn’t have you rooting for the killer, then I’d like to suggest Glenn Withrow’s THE MOORING.

It’s about a group of teen girls who’ve gotten into trouble because of online activities like cyber-bullying, online gambling, and a hacking. They’ve been entered into a program that will teach them that “there is more to relationships than pushing buttons” by stripping them of their online access, and placing them on a houseboat for some camping in the great outdoors. Unfortunately, their excursion is interrupted by a pair of psychopathic drifters.

Here’s the synopsis from the THE MOORING’S official site:

Every 40 seconds a person goes missing. In northern Idaho, a group of teenage girls attended a summer camp to help them connect with nature without technology.

Crime Screen Movie Suggestion: Stitches (2012)

February 18, 2013 at 7:59 am by  

Stitches PosterDirectorConor McMahon
WritersConor McMahonDavid O’Brien
StarsTommy KnightGemma-Leah DevereuxRoss Noble
[rating:3.5]

Out of all the good movies I have watched since my last review in August of 2012, I would’ve never imagined my next one would be a horror comedy about a clown that has risen from the grave to kill the kids responsible for his death. But out of all the crappy horror I have watched recently, I felt STITCHES deserved some more attention for being surprisingly fun and successfully delivering some imaginative gore.

Here’s the official synopsis from the official siteJaded Richard Grindle is the sleaziest clown working the children’s party circuit in Ireland. Arriving late to one birthday, his timing is off, the bratty kids a nightmare and a prank goes horribly wrong – he falls on a kitchen knife and goes to that Big Top in the sky. Years later the same nasty kids attend another more grown up bash. Little do they know, thanks to a black magic clown cult, Stitches will be the uninvited guest of honour seeking revenge on those responsible for his untimely death.

Crime Screen Movie Suggestion: Scalene

August 31, 2012 at 11:42 am by  

HERE, NOW — You may be as surprised as we are to learn that we occasionally get free movies and books to review. I mention this because, in full disclosure, SCALENE was sent to us by Breaking Glass Pictures to review. But do not fear, DD reader, as I would never risk damaging my reputation for providing excellent choices in movies and books by recommending crap just to get free stuff.

In the case of SCALENE, a film directed by Zack Parker, I can honestly say you owe it to yourself to give it a shot. Not only does it delve into a bit of the headlines often featured on this site, as well as some of the re-occurring discussions they produce, but Margo Martindale delivers one of the best performances I have seen all year. Here’s the official synopsis:

Told from three points-of-view, SCALENE is a perceptual thriller that revolves around a mother’s revenge (Margo Martindale, Emmy  Winner, F/X’s “JUSTIFIED”, Showtime’s “DEXTER”, MILLION DOLLAR BABY) after her mentally-challenged son (Adam Scarimbolo, A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS, LYMELIFE, STAKE LAND) is accused of sexual assault by his student caretaker (Hanna Hall, THE VIRGIN SUICIDES, Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN, FORREST GUMP).

Here, Now — It’s been awhile since I posted a movie recommendation, but not from a lack of watching any. I have six movies I think a lot of you DD’ers will enjoy, starting with LOVELY MOLLY. It’s a horror film directed by Eduardo Sanchez, one of the creators of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, who went on to direct a few direct-to-video movies that didn’t come anywhere close to being as popular with audiences or critics as Blair Witch (although I did enjoy ALTERED). From the looks of the MOLLY reviews, it seems like that streak continues with yet another VOD release.

MOLLY currently has a 42% ranking at Rotten Tomatoes, and top critics use terms like “reductive and histrionic,” as well as “depressing and lazily nonsensical” when describing the film; those who enjoyed it call it creepy, disturbing, and effective at creating a sense of unease. I fall somewhere in the latter camp. I really liked LOVELY MOLLY and thought it was disorientating enough, with just enough creepiness, to overcome its flaws.…

Cracked Spine Book Suggestion: I, Zombie

August 9, 2012 at 10:58 am by  

Here, Now — Back in June I gave you a preview of Hugh Howey’s upcoming book I,ZOMBIE. Since I am a very important man, I got a beta version of the book to read and it was better than I expected, and I already expected it to be good.  I’ve already reviewed Hugh’s best-selling WOOL series, giving it 5 stars, and it looks like I am giving him five more. Here’s the synopsis:

This book contains foul language and fouler descriptions of life as a zombie. It will offend most anyone, so proceed with caution or not at all. And be forewarned: This is not a zombie book. This is a different sort of tale. It is a story about the unfortunate, about those who did not get away. It is a human story at its rotten heart. It is the reason we can’t stop obsessing about these creatures, in whom we see all too much of ourselves.

I won’t be spoiling anything when I tell you that I,ZOMBIE is about a zombie outbreak told from the point of view of zombies.…

Here, Now — I’m back with another great Kindle read for under $5. I promised that I would write these things up within hours of reading a book, but I am already four books behind.

Anyway, THE LION, THE LAMB, THE HUNTED is a crime thriller by Andrew E. Kaufman that came highly recommended and hit the #1 spot on Amazon’s Psychological thriller and Mystery & thriller lists.

Here’s the Goodreads synopsis where the book is sitting at a 3.74 with 844 ratings:

“She only step outside for a minuteBut a minute was all it took to turn Jean Kingsley’s world upside down–a minute she’d regret for the rest of her life. Because when she returned, she found an open bedroom window and her three-year-old son, Nathan, gone. The boy would never be seen again. A tip leads detectives to the killer, a repeat sex offender, and inside his apartment, a gruesome discovery. A slam-dunk trial sends him off to death row, then several years later, to the electric chair. 

Here, Now — I mentioned over the weekend that we’ll be bringing back book and movie articles to compliment our news articles and help round out the overall theme of D’D. The only difference is that they will not be full-fledged reviews, but rather recommendations from us to the D’D reader.

So, that being said, I couldn’t think of a better way to kick things off than with Hugh Howey’s WOOL OMNIBUS EDITION.

Anyone who has been on this site long enough is familiar with Hugh Howey. He was one of our writers, one of the site founders, and a very close, longtime friend of mine. A while back he decided he wanted to be an author, and within a short amount of time, he was.

Already having written a handful of well-received books, it was his latest effort, the self-published WOOL series, that shot him to the top of everyone’s reading list, landed him in Entertainment Weekly and with a movie deal.

I reviewed the first WOOL, a novella involving people living in an underground silo after some kind of catastrophe made living above ground impossible.…

Crime Screen Movie Suggestion: Kidnapped (2010)

November 9, 2011 at 11:27 am by  

I know we deal with some nasty crimes, so watching a film depicting a violent home invasion in a realistic manner may not be something you’re inclined to watch while escaping the crap you read on here. But if you’re a glutton for punishment, boy do I have a film for you.

Kidnapped is a Spanish home invasion film directed by Miguel Ángel Vivas that echoes a bit of the original Funny Games, The Strangers, or more recently, Cherry Tree Lane. But unlike those films, Vivas seems to abandon any form of social commentary or cheap scares, simply turning those who choose to watch into a neutered witness to a horrific crime.

Jaime (Fernando Cayo), his wife Marta (Ana Wagener) and their teenage daughter Isa (Manuela Vellés) have just moved into their new home located in a gated community when, on their first night there, three masked men break in and hold them hostage.

Their motive is money. and they plan on getting it by forcing Jaime to accompany the gang’s leader around town and empty out his bank accounts at various ATMs.…

Cracked Spine Book Suggestion: Wool

November 7, 2011 at 10:27 am by  

Here, Now — Since we are trying to get back into the groove with the book and movie suggestions, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t point you guys towards our very own Hugh Howey’s recent novelette titled Wool. We get emails from time to time, asking about Hugh’s whereabouts, from people unaware he had changed professions. He is no longer our resident troll and site co-founder, trading all that to become an author.

Full disclosure: Hugh and I go back more years than I care to mention. I admit this because I don’t want anyone assuming that because of this, I am willing to forego journalistic integrity (lol!) so that a good friend can make some coin. I’m no shill (sometimes to a fault in regards to this site) and I take my recommendations seriously. I know what it feels like to waste time with a bad movie or book because some jackass got a free copy and repaid the creator with a blowjob disguised as a glowing review chock full of bullshit.…

Crime Screen: Red White And Blue (2010)

November 4, 2011 at 10:47 am by  

It was pointed out to me that I have been real slack on movie suggestions lately, leading the two people who actually take my movie advice to believe that I have not watched any films worth a crap. This is not true. In fact, I have watched a number of good movies this year worthy of a D’D reader’s time.

So while I wait for someone to do something stupid enough for me to write about, I figure I would tell you about one I watched earlier this year — a revenge film titled RED WHITE & BLUE. This slow burner is so bleak and unpleasant that I absolutely love it to pieces. Here is the plot, taken from their Facebook Page.

Set in Austin, Texas, this “slacker revenge movie” follows the disaffected and promiscuous Erica (Amanda Fuller – Buffy The Vampire Slayer) as she sleeps with a series of nameless men, until she is befriended by Nate (Noah Taylor – Submarine, The Proposition), an ex-Iraq war veteran with a sociopathic streak. 

Here, Now — I’m an avid reader who, like a lot of you, found it harder and harder to squeeze in quality reading time within a normal day. It got to the point where most of my reading was being done sitting on the toilet. That is until I broke down and bought a Kindle. Now I read everywhere, including the toilet, finishing one to two books every couple of weeks.

That’s the reason for the resurgence of book reviews in Cracked Spine. That and the fact I want to point out books I found worth my time that you may enjoy as well. I’m here to please, people. I may not get to the bad books as I don’t have time to waste on them (although I did finish the highly praised The Priest’s Graveyard that featured a chick so goddamn annoying it took all I could to finish it) but I plan on talking about the good books like the one I read last month.

It’s the debut novel from S.J.

Here’s another book recommendation for you. I already missed one day and if I go two days without telling you all about a good book or movie, then it’s all over with. This would just hurt you ’cause if I recommend it, then it’s worth checking out. That’s a fact.

Today’s suggestion is Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin. I’ve never read anything from the guy, but his book was high on the Amazon must-read list, and the synopsis sounded promising:

In the 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas “32” Jones were boyhood pals in a small town in rural Mississippi. Their worlds were as different as night and day: Larry was the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, black single mother. But then Larry took a girl to a drive-in movie and she was never seen or heard from again. He never confessed . . . and was never charged.

More than twenty years have passed. Larry lives a solitary, shunned existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion.


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