Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Kayla and the Devil by Bryan Smith

Tales about making deals with the devil are a popular plot device in the horror universe. Possibly the oldest, too. We can all name a few, I'm sure. Satan is just fun to write about and easy, too. Making it scary is tough to do though because... well, it's the just about oldest plot device there is and there's only so much you can do. The best thing you can do is just to write and have fun with it. I think Bryan Smith did just that when he wrote Kayla and the Devil. It's different than his other books, though. If you read Depraved then you'll feel like you just got through bathing in an ocean of blood and wonder if indeed Mr. Smith is some sort of closet psycho. But Kalya and the Devil has a certain lightness to it and the gore quotient is significantly decreased. It's one of those books I can read and enjoy without feeling I'll need months of therapy. Not that I don't enjoy months of therapy as much as the next person. 

The book is written as more of an urban fantasy novel, but it still has that Bryan Smith horror feel to it at times. I mean, considering that Satan, Countess Bathory, and Jack the Ripper all make appearances it shouldn't be surprising that it's at least a little bit macabre here and there.

But Ole Scratch doesn't quite have the gusto of the central character Kayla Monroe. She's kind of the glue that holds all of the madness together. Kayla is a bitch. She's got looks, money, brains, a snarky attitude, and she thinks she's better than you. You probably knew a few cheerleaders like her in high school or college. Despite her in-your-face-ness (or perhaps because of it), Kayla becomes a very endearing character, though. I suppose we can thank Satan for that. Sort of.

Kayla has a comfy life. Obviously. But Kayla's cozy life suddenly gets turned upside down when she finds herself being shunned and ignored by all of her friends and even her own mother. Even Kayla's stalker is avoiding her. 

One day she gets a visit by the devil and she is offered an explanation as to why she is being shunned and a chance to end her harsh treatment once and for all. But her chance at a happy social life may come at a very steep price. Or it may not. It's all a matter of how far Kayla is willing to go in order to be accepted again.

This is the first book in the Kayla Monroe: Haunted World series. The second book (initially to be titled Kayla and the Vampires as per the teaser placed at the end of this book) is titled Kayla Undead. Once you finish this book make sure you buy the second book. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Five Books That Bored Me

While I perfectly enjoy trashing movies and albums (at times), I don't particularly enjoy trashing novels. I try insanely hard to finish every book I read. Maybe not on the first time, but eventually. It took me three tries to get through 'Salem's Lot and (ironically) I had to read Dracula to really connect with 'Salem's Lot on that third time. After I finally finished that one I will say that I enjoyed it a helluva lot. But how could I read Dracula (a book I was literally willing myself to pick up each day) and struggle to get through 'Salem's Lot  (which I found to be far more enjoyable) for so long? Well, at the time I read these two books we had no TV and no A.C. and I had no job. So I read and struggled not to go insane. Frankly, if I hadn't been that bored out of my fucking mind I probably would never have picked up Dracula and 'Salem's Lot and those two would still remain unfinished. This is mostly because vampires aren't my bag. Stories about albinos with sharp teeth interest me about as much as Mike Myers films do. Sure, a few here and there are good for shits and giggles, but I wouldn't want to dedicate a whole row on my bookcase to the stuff.

However, there are just some novels I can't get into. I try not to weigh outside influences as an excuse as to why or why not I didn't finish a particular piece of fiction. That sort of seems... well, like an excuse as to why I didn't read it and not a real reason as to why I didn't like it. Now if there is a legitimate reason then I can get that. Think of this: When I first tried watching the movie Point of No Return (a story about a main character who kills a police officer and must learn to be an assassin) I couldn't make it past the part where she killed the police officer because a local cop had been killed the day before and... well, that just kind of spoiled the mood for me. For all I knew the movie could have been a complete masterpiece (it wasn't), but I wanted to watch something that sort of took my mind off the news. So I watched something else instead that didn't involve cops being killed.

Books like Stephen King's Under the Dome and Cell and J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit are all books that come to mind as ones that I couldn't finish because of outside elements creeping in and ruining the experience of reading for me. I could have been reading any book at those times and wouldn't have been able to finish 'em. And those certain experiences have kept me from returning to those pages. Granted what I had read of Under the Dome hadn't thrilled me as much as I thought I would have been before I put it down, but I think judging the book on that basis alone would be putting the cart before the horse. I mean, I finished Gerald's Game and Lisey's Story and what little I read of Under the Dome seemed better than those two.

No, this list is a list of books that just bored the everloving shit out of me no matter how hard I tried reading them. And as such, the list can't really be up for debate. I mean, you can debate if I called a book bad and you loved it or it's some all time classic, but if I found it boring than it is a fact that I was bored and that fact cannot be debated.

5. Lisey's Story by Stephen King - You know, I knew I was reading a Stephen King book and I certainly felt like I was reading a Stephen King book, but I felt like this book also came with a mandatory prescription of Ambien. I found myself wondering if SK should throw out the supernatural altogether on this book or throw out the overbearing sentimentality and just go for the scares while I was reading it because this book just felt off to me. I'm sure a lot of folks like it, but this was one of those books that I read just because it had Stephen King's name on it and not because I really loved it. Gerald's Game and From a Buick 8 were also contenders for this list, too.

4. The Partner by John Grisham - I loved The Rainmaker because of its humor and I like The Firm because it was suspenseful, but this book is SnoresVille. It was the third Grisham book I ever picked up and by this time the lawyer in trouble schtick was already older than yellowed glue. I'm not saying formula is bad, but if you are not going to be consistently good then there's no fucking point in having a formula, is there? Anyway, I'm sure I'll try something else by him down the road. But... it'll probably have a lawyer in it.

3. Ghost Story by Peter Straub - I'm sure you just audibly gasped. This is a book I didn't and couldn't finish. I was more than halfway through and that overbearing feeling that I was reading a textbook on what horror should be like but was incapable itself of being scary just became too much to bear. I wasn't kept in suspense at all. I mean, the writing was good and the characters seemed well-developed, but I kept waiting for the scary part and by the time I reached the halfway mark I just tossed out my "die hard horror fan card" and gave the book up. I might try it again in the future, but... one cannot adequately call this a ghost story if it isn't at least sort of kind of scary. I went into this story with the expectation that I was reading one of the horror novels. This was an elite book... or so I'd been told. And I know there are many fans of this book who obviously saw and felt something I didn't. But man, oh man, was I ever just plain bored outta my mind while reading this.

2. Relentless by Dean Koontz - I bought this in hardcover after I had gotten over the funk of Your Heart Belongs to Me. Yeah, I'm that kind of optimist. This book was the death of my hope in Dean Koontz's ability as a writer these days. I haven't bought a new release Dean Koontz book since, hardcover or otherwise.

1. Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz - I bought this in hardcover when it came out. Yep. I did. And boy, did Mr. Koontz just come all over my face as soon as I turned the cover open. Look, I've got a big Koontz collection and he used to be one helluva writer. But while I felt bad about giving Peter Straub's Ghost Story up because I really wanted to like it... I gave this fucker away to Goodwill so fast that your head would spin. I normally feel bad when I can't finish books, but I felt like a champion for even surviving this piece of shit. Granted, I felt bad for giving this to Goodwill because I can't imagine anyone enjoying it, but I sure as hell didn't want to look at it anymore.

It was a quick read at first because I was still expecting that lean and mean style that books like The Good Guy or Dark Rivers of the Heart had to magically appear. But as I was reading it I realized that I had been robbed of my money and I stopped without knowing or caring how it ended. I know Koontz has been phoning it in lately, but this book wasn't just phoning it in. This book was "royally fucking up my cognitive ability to discern one page from the other" phoning it in. Yes, words were written and I know they were supposed to mean something, but I couldn't for the life of tell the fucking difference between page 1 and page 160. If you want your toddler to sleep at night then by all means read him or her a page or two from this book. Of course, your child might hate you for it later on in life.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's Official: I Am Quite Insane

I spent 47 bucks on a signed hardcover book by Jeff Strand, 40 bucks on a signed hardcover by Wrath James White, 40 bucks on a signed hardcover by Thomas Tessier, and yet another 40 bucks on a signed hardcover by Shane McKenzie... all within the past two weeks. $167 on four books within two weeks. God, someone should revoke my rights to spend money.

And I don't plan on reselling any of them at higher prices and gouging the shit out of people. I ain't that guy.

I know this moment of temporary insanity is brought on by the fact that I get bored way too easily and tend to look up shit on the internet, but as hard as I'm working I figure that a little indulgence can't hurt.

By the way, please help Dark Regions Press reach its goal of donating 1000 books:

Gleefully Macabre Tales by Jeff Strand

One thing I like is humor, but I rarely find any books that really satisfy my peculiar brand of humor. Nelson DeMille's classic The Gold Coast and John Grisham's The Rainmaker (the movie isn't funny, but the book made me laugh my ass off in parts because the book is as hilarious as often as it is dramatic) really tickled my funny bone more than any other books to come to mind. DeMille's John Corey books have also managed to inspire a giggle or two from me. So has the odd Dean Koontz book... or the Dean Koontz Odd book. See what I did there?

But Koontz's humor seems a bit off to me. I think he's far too aware of how funny he thinks he is, but he plays it too straight-laced and takes himself too seriously and prevents himself from actually just being funny. His humor just doesn't have an edge. 

Jeff Strand on the other hand is just plain weird. I like weird. I don't know if he's trying to impress me with his weirdness or trying to come down to my pitifully low standards of what ideal weirdness should be, but whatever he is doing works. If it just so happens that he is doing all of this for my benefit (and I do know that I am, in fact, so awesome that everyone should curb their books to my taste to honor me) then I'd like to know who told the twisted S.O.B. about me and then buy him or her a beer for doing so.

I don't particularly enjoy reading short stories. It just seems like a chore to me (and like any chore, I don't do it as often as I should). Because, well, short story collections just scream of ego to me. Much like double albums. Yeah, I like a few of them and even love a few, but double albums often include some serious ego binging much like short story collections do. It's just my opinion that not everything should be collected and that a little bit more of a judicious eye could really save a lot of collections (and double albums) from being done in by overly-ambitious douchebags but otherwise talented people.

Of course, just about everything seems to have been collected into Jeff Strand's Gleefully Macabre Tales, but not entirely everything. All the really, really atrocious stuff has been left out and thank God for that. This collection is sort of like War and Peace if War and Peace were actually a book called Gleefully Macabre Tales and if it was by Jeff Strand and not by that other guy who wrote War and Peace. In other words, it's a masterpiece.

So buy this book. Or steal it. I don't care. Just read it. Buy some copies for your pals and then give some copies to some homeless people under the condition that they don't burn the pages in order to keep warm. Let's make this book go platinum, by God.

In all seriousness, I'm not even done with all the stories. Those that I've read have been a lot of fun, though. And they are short, too. 33 stories and all of them (so far) pretty much live up to the bill of being a short story with a hint of humor and a hint of horror. Kudos to this man's editor and therapist (I'm assuming they have to be one in the same because I couldn't imagine dealing with a guy who can create these stories without having a couch, a red pen, and a six pack of some god awful cheap beer at the ready). 

Here are a few glimpses of what is lurking within the pages of this book:

The Three Little Pigs - What Walt Disney didn't tell you about...
Socially Awkward Moments with an Aspiring Lunatic - Imagine if a guy like Woody Allen suddenly decided he wanted to kill people and you'd probably have something like this...
Werewolf Porno - Well, it is about what you think it's about...
Glimpses - Imagine Jeff Strand writing a story that is actually serious... I know you can't but it's possible and it's pretty good. 

I'm sure you are undoubtedly enthralled by my brilliant description above so do yourself a favor and buy it. I was just kidding when I told you to steal it. Honest.

Monday, April 8, 2013

High Adventure by Donald E. Westlake

High Adventure, published by Tor books in 1985 and now out of print, is a neat (if not a bit dated) comic caper about smuggling artifacts, marijuana, corrupt government officials, treason, and mistaken identity. The story has a few central characters and just about all of them seem to be thinking the other characters are evil at one point. Sure, there aren't any real heroes at first because no one seems trustworthy, but that doesn't mean that these misunderstandings don't clear up later on and some characters really begin to shine. 

But if this story is to have a central character then I think it would have to be Kirby Galway. Kirby is pilot who lives in Belize and spends a lot of time flying marijuana into the the States. Once upon a time Kirby bought a tract of useless land under false assumptions from a man named Innocent St. Michael and has since been concocting a scheme to make some money off that useless land. What does this scheme involve? Why, smuggling pre-Columbian artifacts found in the Mayan temple on Galway's property to duped buyers from the States, of course.

There's just one problem (among many) with this scheme: All of his prospective buyers are staying in the same hotel in Belize and Kirby must think of a way to keep them from running into each other. 

Innocent St. Michael is a land dealer and a con man in his own right and when he hears about a Mayan temple on Kirby's land he begins grow suspicious. How the hell could there be Mayan temple on the land Innocent used to own when there hadn't been one there before? 

Valerie Greene is an archaeologist and she believes there's an undiscovered temple somewhere in Belize. When she flies down there she gets put into a hotel where the prospective buyers for Kirby Galway's artifacts just happen to be staying. To make things more complicated, Valerie had already and accidentally met one of those prospective buyers with Kirby Galway in the States and the meeting did not go so well. 

The situation in the hotel is easily the funniest moment in the book, but the story doesn't end there.

Vernon is a man who is gutless, but he's being paid off by a Guatemalan colonel to give information about Belize all while masquerading as Innocent St. Michael's dimwitted and overworking helping hand. 

War is coming to Belize and Kirby's troubles with his great temple scam might soon be reduced to ashes if he gets caught by the police. Or the crossfire of an impending guerrilla attack. Or if any of his buyers gets wise. Or if Innocent St. Michael gets wise. Or if Valerie Greene gets wise. 

Some many things could go wrong....

And they all will.

If you can find this book then give it a read. I'm sure you'll like it and enjoy it. Maybe it's not the greatest comic caper Westlake has penned, but it's still good. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Evil Dead (2013)

I don't shell out bucks for movies in the theaters. Especially remakes. If you've seen the list of films I've watched in the theaters than you know that I have fallen for a number of sequels, but I've yet to shell out dough for a remake. Well, other than I Am Legend. I took my dad to watch Evil Dead because we both needed to do something that kept us from ripping our hair out over work-related bullshit. Today I chose the matinee time and got two tickets for five bucks a piece. I did this because I didn't want the day to be over by the time the movie was over and because I didn't want to pay full price for a movie I was slightly pessimistic about.

But I'll be damned if I didn't enjoy the hell out of it. I cringed and I nodded at the nods to the first two Evil Dead movies and I smiled and sat up when I knew someone was about to seriously get mean with a chainsaw. Ash would be proud, by God.

Going over the premise of the movie would be rather silly so I'll just shut up on that front. And I'm not going to spoil anything. But I will say that this movie pays tribute to the first two movies without becoming a pointless shot for shot remake and it stands on its own. No Bruce Campbell (at least not as far as the story is concerned), but his presence in the movie would only have been a distraction. I mean that. Lots of folks tend to forget that the first film and the second film in the Evil Dead series were brutal gorefests as opposed to the humorous and cheesy Army of Darkness (although the second movie had its amusing moments, too). Not knocking either film, but don't go into this remake expecting some guy talking about his boomstick. It's a horror film, pure and straight up. It takes the claustrophobic feel of the first film and the over-the-top gore of both and combines them into a rather macabre and enjoyable flick. 

Just seeing my dad jump a few times would have been worth full price tickets. 

It's a good film. Maybe not great, but it really is a helluva lot better than a lot of other crap out these days. Yeah, it's a remake and maybe not as original as films that aren't remakes (duh!), but it's not a blatant attempt to cash in on the success of movies past. This movie looked and felt like it was made by people who actually cared about the films that had preceded this one. Sure, the bad guys could have been fleshed out a bit more and the whole bit with the book could have been expanded upon... but I take the good with the imperfect with this film. It's worth watching and eventually owning and re-watching. 

It's a worthy tribute. I'm not sure if I'd want to see a sequel because inevitably that would lead to an Army of Darkness approach and that would sort of defeat the purpose of having the franchise go back to its horror roots, wouldn't it? 

But I hear rumblings of other events. Possibly of Raimi doing an Army of Darkness 2 and that the upcoming Evil Dead 2 (yeah, you know it's coming) will end with a possible merging of the two separate storylines. Kinda like what they did with The Avengers and the Alien/Predator thing. Of course, this is all just speculation and such. Will it happen? I don't know. It'd be groovy (if not overly ambitious), but I remain cautious as usual. 

That has little to with the fact that this is a decent flick, though. Just some nerdy gossip for my fellow deadites. 

Watch this movie. 

A Complete-ish List of Movies I've Seen in Theaters

As best as I've managed to gather from my own memories and those around me, this is a list of all the films I've seen in theaters. Remember that I was born in 1990 and that the movies further down this list are typical of what 90's kids would watch. The only movie I am not almost 100% sure on is the original Men in Black so I'll keep an asterisk beside it. My dad says we saw it and I could picture seeing in the theaters, but I don't quite remember doing so. If there are other movies I've seen in theaters then I just can't remember any of them. Not even a little bit. One thing that is surprising is the amount of sequels present. 

Transformers: Rise of the Beast (2023)
Renfield (2023)
Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)
John Wick 4 (2023)
Dungeons & Dragons (2023)
The Missing (2023)
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Captain Marvel (2019)
Dragon Ball Super: Broly (2019)
Halloween (2018)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
IT (2017)
Star Wars: Rogue One (2016)
Doctor Strange (2016)
Suicide Squad (2016)
Star Trek Beyond (2016)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Deadpool (2016)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
Spectre (2015)
Dragonball Z: Resurrection 'F' (2015)
Ant-Man (2015)
Terminator Genisys (2015)
Jurassic World (2015)
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Dragonball Z: Battle of Gods (2014)
Lucy (2014)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
The Wolverine (2013)
Man of Steel (2013)
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Evil Dead (2013) 
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The Expendables 2 (2012)
The Avengers (2012)
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Orphan (2009)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008)
Live Free or Die Hard (2007)
Transformers (2007)
I Am Legend (2007)
Saw III (2006)
Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
I, Robot (2004)
Men in Black II (2002)
Bloodwork (2002)
Jurassic Park III (2001)
Scream III (2000)
Waterboy (1998)
Halloween H2O: 20 Years Later (1998)
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997)
Men in Black* (1997)
Good Burger (1997) 
Batman & Robin (1997)
Space Jam (1996)
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995)
Batman Forever (1995)
The Flintstones (1994)
The Lion King (1994) 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Payback (Director's Cut) Vs. Payback (Theatrical Version)

Any time I hear about Director's Cuts and Theatrical versions I normally just sort of go into a "wait and see" mode. Because some films are needlessly butchered by directors just as often as they are butchered by studios. I mean, how many "unrated" or "extended" versions of decent movies have you watched that have been reduced to less than mediocre thanks to five or ten minutes of essentially pointless footage?

But sometimes, and this is a rarity, both versions of a film are as valid as the other. They are similar and contain a lot of the same footage, but they are so far different that they become completely different. And the weird thing is, they are both good. I really can't think of too many situations like this. The director's cut is a lot truer to the Richard Stark book and Mel Gibson's character is quite a bit harder and meaner, too. That's the way Parker (although he's Porter in the movie) should be, too. The man ain't likeable and he doesn't have a sense of humor. He treats women like shit and he'll kill people with his bare hands. Humor is one thing the theatrical version tried to add in courtesy of the Mel Gibson voice over and the weird theatrics of Lucy Liu. 

But the director's cut strips away that voice over and much of the humor. This movie is quite a bit more "stark" even if it isn't as violent as the 1999 version. 

The blue-looking black and white type of feel the theatrical version has is also done away with in favor of a more realistic but also gritty colorized look. 

The studio shunned Brian Helgeland's original view of the film in favor of a more Mel Gibson-sympathetic vehicle. Yes, once upon a time Mel Gibson was box office gold and folks didn't think Gibson had it in him to play a hardcore asshole. Well, Helgeland's view is restored and so is his original ending. Trust me, the final two thirds of the director's cut are so different that the Kris Kristofferson character doesn't even appear in the director's cut. The bad guy Bronson is actually voiced by a woman. 

And the director's cut of the film is actually a variation of the ending of the novel the film is supposed to be based on. So that's a plus.
Ironically, this picture for the theatrical version
appears to be from the final scene of the director's cut

But both versions work well for what they try to achieve. Maybe they aren't great or instant classics, but they are good and could appeal to different crowds of folks. If you want something gritty but humorous then watch the theatrical version. If you want to see Mel Gibson beat the dog shit out of Deborah Unger and then kill a guy in cold blood for insulting Maria Bello then watch the director's cut. 

One more thing I should note is that the director's cut not only has a different ending, a few alternate scenes, some completely different music, no Mel Gibson torture scene, and a completely different look... it is also about eleven minutes shorter than the theatrical version. Radical, right? No "extended version" here. And with the exception of maybe the beating of Deborah Unger (which might piss of some activists), this film is a lot less violent. So no "unrated" stuff, either. 

My advice? Buy and read the book and then buy the import blu-ray that includes both versions and then watch them. They're all a bit different but they are all pretty good and you'll undoubtedly love the book the best. But you'll enjoy the movies as well. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

My Reading Conquests Thus Far

It's the start of April and these are the books I have slain, conquered, and mastered this year. Maybe it's not as many as you've read, but shut yer trap before ya start braggin'. I am already ahead of the total amount of books I read in all of last year. It basically comes out to two books a month, but that's fine by me. Better than zero books a month.

  • The Killing Kind by Bryan Smith
  • Survivor by J.F. Gonzalez
  • Depraved by Bryan Smith
  • Kill Whitey by Brian Keene
  • Entombed by Brian Keene
  • The Hunter by Richard Stark

I just picked up High Adventure by Donald E. Westlake and I also plan to read a few Jeff Strand books, a few more Bryan Smith haunts, a few more Stark/Westlake capers, and a few Steven Shrewsbury fables. I also plan on reading Joe Hill's newest when it comes out. Other than that I'm just hoping I can keep reading and makes some good choices that won't slow me down.

The Hunter by Richard Stark

Simple prose, fast story, and ruthless characters. These are the things that bring The Hunter to life. Written in 1962 under Donald E. Westlake's famous pen name Richard Stark, The Hunter was the first book in the Parker series and it is for good reason that the man called Parker kept returning. Parker is cold and calculating. He murders people if he has to. He beats women if he has to. And he'll commit robbery when he has to. Basically, he's the ultimate badass antihero. How could you not love him? 

But this first book in the Parker series if sort of ironic in that it isn't really about a robbery or a "job" at first. In fact, the story takes place after a job has already taken place. We start off with Parker walking across a bridge, looking for banks that might be able to give him some dough. But this cash he's looking for is really just a means to finding a guy named Mal Resnick. Parker's tale is one of revenge and not money. Not at first, anyway. Parker wants to kill Mal with his bare hands and he'll kill anyone who gets in his way. 

The second act becomes an impossible quest as Parker seeks to take $45,000 from the crime syndicate called "the Outfit" that Mal had originally stolen from Parker. 

It's a very short read and a little bit different from the film adaptation Payback starring Mel Gibson as the stand-in for Parker (Westlake was against anyone using the Parker name unless there was a series created). Of course, there are two versions of Payback (a director's cut and a theatrical cut) and I've heard they are vastly different. I've only seen the theatrical version and it's quite a bit different from the book. Mostly, the latter half where Mel Gibson gets tortured and all that. And Mel Gibson's character is a little too much of a nice guy to be the real Parker. If the director's cut is any different I'll let you know when I watch it. I'll compare both versions in a later post. 

There was also an adaptation called Point Blank that came out in 1967 and starred Lee Marvin as another stand-in for Parker. I've never seen that version so I don't know how good it is. I've heard a lot of good things, though. 

There's even a graphic novel version out there, I believe. 

I just know that this book kicks ass (regardless of how old it is) and it won't be long until I return to the world of Parker with the second book in the Parker series, The Man with the Getaway Face

P.S. - Originally, this book was meant to be a stand-alone novel, but Westlake was asked by his editor to re-write in order to make it a series. Westlake put out 23 Parker books 46 years.