Friday, 18 December 2015

Bill's 2015 Top Ten Lists - The Number 7's

It's a nice Friday morning, the rain's from yesterday have stopped. Unfortunately the little bit of snow that fell is pretty well washed away. I'm sure the mountain got a lot though, which will be great for the skiers. So with the weather update, time to get right into my ongoing year-end list of Top Tens. Today we move up to the Number 7's.


7. A Death in a Town by Hillary Waugh (1988) - As a preamble, one thing I have noticed this past year is how many Mysteries have made it into my top ten. I know that my reading tastes do tend toward mysteries, but I guess what surprises me is how many have been 5* reads. Hillary Waugh was an American crime writer. A Death in a Town was his last book. This was my review of the book - "Excellent, excellent! This is the second mystery I've read by Hillary Waugh and I loved both of them. Such a unique way of presenting a mystery. The first was Last Seen Wearing, which I enjoyed very much. This was no different. Basically the plot revolves around the murder and rape of a young teenage girl in a small town in Connecticut. The way this is presented is via a series of interviews of the town citizens, from the family of the murdered girl through various others. As well, there are records of meetings of the police board and the town council. He portrays small town attitudes and how they change as the investigation drags on. Racism and other attitudes of intolerance begin to come to the fore; innocents are accused and their lives turned upside down. And the ending is so surprising and almost had me out of breath. I found this to be one of those books I couldn't put down. As it developed, I had to read a few more pages, then a few more, until I had to get to the end. I can't recommend more. (5 stars)"


7. Breaking Away by Jaki Graham - Jaki Graham is an English singer, who released her first album in 1985. I heard this song first on BBC Radio 2, on Sara Cox's 1980's show back in September. It was released in 1986 and is just a lovely upbeat song. Jaki Graham has a great, smooth sound. The song reached 16 on the UK charts.


7. True Detective, Season 2 - True Detective is an anthology series, with each season set in a different location and featuring a different cast of police detectives and a totally new crime. Season 1 was outstanding and featured Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as the police detectives. Season 2 was set in Los Angeles and dealt with the murder of a city planner. The police officers were brought together from diverse police organizations; the California Highway Patrol, with Taylor Kitsch as their rep, Vinci Police Department, with Colin Farrell, and Ventura County Sheriff's Office, with Rachel Mcadams. The series was not as well-received as the first one by the critics and fans, but I thought it was excellent. And I have to say, the missus got caught up in the story too and she often doesn't like these really gritty shows. It took it's time getting there, but each episode got better and better. There were moments, when the three cops rain the secret club out in the sticks, where it was actually very scary. The cops don't trust each other. They all have their personal issues; are basically broken men and women. At the same time, can they even trust their bosses, all who have some sort of agenda. And there seems to be a conspiracy that places all of their lives in danger. Add into the mix, ex-crook, Vince Vaughn, who has tried to go straight, but finds his business plans destroyed by the murder of the planner, who misused his money and leaves Vaughn in dire straits, and you've got an often convoluted but intense police drama.


7. The Equalizer - Another of my movie selections released in late 2014, this movie was based on the original television series from the late '80's which starred Edward Woodward. The movie stars Denzel Washington in the role of the Equalizer, one of those roles, the tired, worn down character that Washington does so well of late; like the train driver in Unstoppable, the body guard in Man on Fire, and others. It's a perfect role for Washington and you find yourself cheering for him throughout the movie, which is dark and edgy. Washington is a retired black-ops operative who lives a quiet life in Boston in a Wal-Mart. He is friendly, follows a specific routine each day to help him forget his past, but finds himself trying to help a young prostitute and getting involved with the Russian mob. The movie is full of action and can be violent, but it's also excellent. Both the missus and I enjoyed very much. It does draw you in.


7. Essie Davis - Essie is an Australian actress who has made my list before for her portrayal of Australian private detective, Phryne Fisher. She has made my list once again for this role, this time for season 3 of the Miss Fisher Mysteries, one of my favourite series. It's fun, light at times, but excellent and most enjoyable. Essie, as Phryne, is beautiful, strong, intelligent, sexy and wears the most fantastic clothes. Jo and I were so happy when we read that Australian TV had brought back the series for one more season and we've enjoyed every show these past couple of months. Look for Essie Davis in the upcoming season of Game of Thrones as Lady Stark.


7. Colin Farrell - Colin Farrell is an Irish actor, who I saw first when I used to watch Irish TV show, Ballykissangel

So there you go, the Number 7's. Look out for tomorrow, as I move on to Number 6.

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