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In the TV series Poker Face on the streaming service Peacock, Natasha Lyonne plays cocktail waitress Charlie Cale, who can tell when people lie to her. In the first episode, casino boss Sterling Frost Jr. (Adrien Brody) aims to exploit Charlie's talent. Instead, Charlie catches Junior in a lie, leading him to panic and jump to his death. In the aftermath, Frost Sr. (Ron Perlman) vows to hunt Charlie down, setting his righthand man Cliff Legrand (Benjamin Bratt) on her trail. Driving across several states, falling into odd jobs, and making friends who die suspiciously, Charlie takes it upon herself to solve their murders. Using the inverted detective story structure Columbo popularized, Poker Face leads with the commission of the murder, then backtracks, showing how Charlie came to befriend the victim. The plots are distinct and memorable episode to episode, as are the guest star performances. While set in the present, Poker Face 's credits font is another nod to 1970s Colu
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Free Fans of Fiction

I was a discussion moderator from before Yahoo! bought eGroups until Verizon sunsetted Yahoo! Groups in 2018. My discussions had grown mostly quiet by then and I shuttered them as many others paid to move to I'd still like to connect with people without group baggage, so I've started Free Fans of Fiction , a gratis link list of people who enjoy fiction. One prospective activity is an annual call to post favorite stories and books of the year, not a contest for awards, just a record by anyone who'd like to participate.

I Stand with the WGA


CONFESS, FLETCH directed by Greg Mattola

Back in the U.S. after traveling Europe writing about art, freelance journalist I.M. Fletcher (Jon Hamm) finds the dead body of a woman in his host's apartment. He calls the police, who only suspect him of murdering the woman. I read Gregory Mcdonald's Fletch books in 1993, right after reading Robert B. Parker. I had seen and enjoyed Chevy Chase's Fletch movies, like I remembered TV's Spenser: For Hire fondly, but as soon as I read the books, the movies fell short. I realized Fletch had been turned into a goofy disguise clown to suit Chase's comedy, not portray the character from the books. In the almost forty years since Chase's movies, there have been several movie attempts to reimagine Fletch, all of which I followed, none of which were made. When I heard Jon Hamm was attached and watched interviews with him about Confess, Fletch , I had new hope. He explained the discrepancy between Chase's movies and the books, that he was portraying the authentic


Laura Crain–wife of billionaire battery innovator Andrew Crain and friend of Susan Silverman—hires Spenser to investigate Andrew's sudden paranoia. Robert B. Parker's Broken Trust sees Mike Lupica move from Sunny Randall and Jesse Stone to Parker's best-known character, a shift that interested me more than the plot du jour. As a former English teacher, my main pleasure reading Parker novels was his eloquent yet succinct way with words, shown through Spenser most of all his characters. With Parker gone and current authors continuing his series, it's only fair I give each author some leeway to interpret and deliver the characters. For example, Reed Farrel Coleman's style writing Jesse Stone distinctly differed from Parker's yet delivered and fleshed out the characters well enough for six novels. Mike Lupica doesn't seem to try to emulate Spenser's internal monologue as Ace Atkins did. Lupica's sentences are longer and less mellifluous than Parker&

The Mastodon in the Room

For many years I tweeted about my blog reviews, but Elon Musk changed Twitter too much for me to stay. If you're considering alternatives, read on about my choice. Last November I created a Mastodon account . After my own Linux-using heart, Mastodon is free, open-source, and decentralized. Each Mastodon instance is its own community with its own policy, but they interact like email or wireless providers, and most are ad-free. Some of my favorite features: Verify your account for free by adding a referring link to your personal website(s) and then adding your website link(s) to your account profile; 500-character limit on each post; You can edit, delete, and/or re-draft published posts; "CW" button toggles a blank warning label you can fill in to hide the post body in case of triggers or spoilers; There's no algorithm. You can control the flow of other users' posts to you, for example categorize your total follows into private lists so you don&#

Coming November 28, ROBERT B. PARKER'S BROKEN TRUST by Mike Lupica

As Mike Lupica moves to Spenser, a concerned wife hires the P.I. when her tech billionaire husband, a philanthropic family man, turns paranoid. The synopsis for Robert B. Parker's Broken Trust adds Spenser's findings make him question his morals. The introspection could be deeper than usual, marking fifty years since his debut.