Monthly Archives: December 2009

Happy New Year

As 2009 comes to a close, I hope you are welcoming in the new year with friends and family, with happiness, and in safety and comfort. I know this was a hard year for many, but do hope that this weekend will be a time to celebrate what we value most in our lives and to create optimism about an even brighter future.

It has been more than a year since my last book, Angel’s Tip, was first published in hardback, and yet so many of you stay in touch with me, personally and online. Your kind words, both to me and in your efforts to spread the word about my books, mean the world to me. Knowing that you are there – with faith that the next book will be worth the wait – helps me be a better writer. I can’t thank you enough for your support.

As we enter 2010, I am eager to see 212 hit shelves on March 23. I’m also happy to announce that my website has been updated with information about the book, including a look at the jacket. I think the publisher did a terrific job and hope you agree.

Hopefully I will have a chance to see many of you in person this year. I will be posting an events calendar soon, so stay tuned. In the meantime, be well and happy tonight. My husband and I will spend the weekend with dear friends and the Duffer in East Hampton. At midnight, I will get two sets of kisses: one to mark the beginning of 2010, and the other to celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary.

Happy New Year, friends.

2009 Favorites on Screen (Big and Small)

My friends over at Crimespree Magazine* recently asked me to compile a list of favorite TV shows and films of 2009, whether current to the year or viewed on DVD. My number of visits to the theater this year was in the single digits, and some were wasted on duds like Men Who Stare at Goats (waste of George Clooney) and 2012 (waste of John Cusack), so the list is dominated by TV shows.

Nevertheless, I thought I’d share an expanded list here in the hopes of learning about your favorites as well. Maybe my list will change after I finally see The Hurt Locker, Inglorious Basterds, An Education, Zombieland, and all the other films I missed, but here’s where the tally stands today.

Dexter – In the event you’re still catching up on DVD, DVR, hulu, or on-demand,** I won’t spoil the fun by mentioning the scene that pushed this to the ultra tippy top of my list, but John Lithgow was deliciously, disturbingly evil, and the show’s writers have proven they will take risks to ensure that every season surprises and surpasses.

Up ­ – As much as I’ve loved other animated features, this is the first one that made me laugh, sob, and wish (and momentarily believe) that the chubby little cubscout was a real, live boy so I could adopt him. Extra points for bringing back the wonderful Ed Asner.

Up in the Air – ­ It’s pure coincidence that my two favorite films of the year both involve the word Up. This is the kind of movie they just don’t make any more: good, solid, simple grown-up story telling. George Clooney has never seemed so real. (Can I adopt him, too, but in a different way?)

30 Rock – ­ I cherish my twenty-four-ish minutes each week with the folks at TGS. Tina Fey recently told Entertainment Weekly that, other than her choice to have a child, asking Alec Baldwin to take the role of Jack Donaghy was her best decision. I’ve never met her daughter, but I have to think she’s at best at close second. Incidentally, I want to adopt Tina Fey, too, to be my BFF. In my dreams, we write a TV pilot together. “Want to go to there.”

Glee – The dry humor of Jane Lynch and the earnestness of high school chorus geeks, wrapped together in one big snarky, happy bundle. It’s as if the TV gods came together to create a show specifically for me. I love the show so much I based my criminal law students’ final exam on a heist pulled off by Mr. Shuester, Rachel, Flnn & Quinn. Poor Sue Sylvester perished after taking a hit to the noggin with a Cheerios trophy. Now if only the actual show could incorporate a mystery arc.

Battlestar Galactica ­ – I was slow to come to this series because I still tell myself I don’t like sci-fi. Well, if loving this is wrong, I don’t want to be right. We watched the entire series in a matter of months and
now wish we could lobotomize the BSG-parts of our brains so we could experience it all over again. (Special shout-out to friend and author Lisa Unger for finally getting me on the BSG train.)

The Hangover – I must have a sixteen-year-old boy hiding among my multiple Sybil-esque personalities, because I swear I could not stop laughing when I saw this movie. Granted, I can no longer remember why I was giggling so incessantly, but I also can’t remember why I had so much fun on that one spring break, but I’m nevertheless convinced I enjoyed myself.

The Shield – The series finale was simultaneously shocking and unflinchingly human. This show consistently proved how well the medium of television can explore character. Never seen it? You don’t know what you’re missing. Start with Season 1 on DVD.

Fantastic Mr. Fox – This was the most creative work I’ve seen in a long time. The adaptation of the classic books to a contemporary film, the visual choices, the familiar Wes Anderson vibe in a new medium: I loved it all. Added bonus: Another win in the George Clooney column (officially getting him out of my mental doghouse for that horrible Goats movie).

Lost – Polar bears, time travel, numerology, the mystical Jacob? It really is enough to make even a writer’s head hurt. But that image of Juliet peering up at Sawyer, managing to say, “I love you, James. I love you so much,” was enough to remind even the craftiest, puzzle-solving viewer that the secrets of the island don’t ultimately matter. The show is about people. (Check out the video from 2:42 if you have any doubts.)

Tie: Modern Family or Community. Too soon to tell here, but I’m cautiously optimistic that one of these two new sit-coms will eventually fill the gaping hole left in my comedic existence since the demise of the sublime Arrested Development.

There you go, just in time for some last-minute DVD purchases for the holidays.

So, come on, let me have it: What did I miss?

*Crimespree is the Entertainment Weekly of the crime fiction scene. If you’re a ‘Rati reader, you’ll probably love it. Find out more here.

** When did we start living in the future?

Duffer is famous

Although I’ve gotten used to the idea of the Duffer having his own adoring fans, I believe he’s now officially famous.

I was interviewed recently by French Bulldog Village, a terrific rescue, placement, and adoption organization. The topic? Duffer, Duffer, Duffer! The life of a frenchie and his crime-writing person: Read the interview here.

Favorite TV, movies, and DVDs of 2009

Those of you who are signed up for my mailing list will soon be receiving my annual holiday newsletter, complete with some of the funniest and best gifts I came across during this year’s online shopping spree. (If you’re not on the mailing list, you can sign up here.)

In the meantime, I thought you might be interested in another “tops” list I recently compiled. The good people at Crimespree asked me to write about my top 5 TV shows, films, or DVDs this year. You can read my thoughts here.

Forgive the Tiger Talk

I wrote this last week for Murderati:

Unless you’ve been in a stuffing-induced food coma since Thanksgiving, you’ve probably heard that Tiger Woods was in the news lately for more than just his game. Given my obsessions with golf, celebrities, and secrets, I can’t resist sharing a few random thoughts I had on the matter.

When the story (insert virtual air quotes for those of you disgusted by the news coverage) first broke, I tried to convince myself I had high-minded reasons for following it. At first, I feared for Tiger’s well-being after the initial reports of serious injuries. Then as a former domestic violence prosecutor, I wondered whether Florida law enforcement was seriously considering investigating Tiger’s wife as some reports suggested.

But there’s also the voyeurism. We all know (I hope) that we don’t really know celebrities, only the public images that publicists and managers have carefully crafted for us. But despite that cognitive understanding, consistent and prolonged exposure to those public faces sometimes creates sticky impressions of familiarity. After more than two decades of nightly Letterman monologues, I confess that David Letterman seemed like a known quantity. And after countless golf tournaments and Nike ads, so did Tiger.

Now I know.

But I’ve been thinking less about Tiger than about his women.

Rachel Uchitel, the woman first named by the National Enquirer, has seen more than an average person’s media coverage, as photographs online track her journey from grieving 9-11 widow to healing new bride to red-velvet-rope vixen.

Who is the woman behind all of these faces?

And then there’s Tiger’s wife, Elin Nordegren, who went from swimsuit model to au pair to marriage and motherhood.

I’ve seen countless images of her biting her nails at the 18th green, smiling at her husband, and holding the babies, but I’ve never heard her voice. Who would have suspected that quiet, smiling, waif of a woman had it in her to (allegedly) take a pitching wedge to the windows of a Cadillac Escalade?

My guess is she’ll stand by her man, at least in the short-term, but we’ll all be wondering whether it’s out of love or savviness. With Tiger struggling to hold onto his commercial endorsements, reporters claim Elin’s out to revise her pre-nup. Ten years of marriage no longer required. 55 million dollars instead of 20. Perhaps clauses that penalize further “transgressions”?* Jewelry, candy, and flowers just aren’t going to cut it.

We love to fret about the public fascination with celebrity scandals, but I have to confess that I get it. When I was a prosecutor, my daily work let me peer behind the facade to reveal the secrets people carry. Celebrity scandals satisfy that same itch – the realization (and validation) that everyone makes mistakes, no one is what he seems, and we all have multiple personas. That perfect son, husband, and father might be an insatiable dog on his trips to Vegas. That scantily clad hostess at the nightclub might have lost someone she loved to tragedy. And that quiet wife in the background might just be a hundred solid pounds of fortitude.

Thanks for tolerating my Tiger talk. Is anyone else willing to out themselves as a celebrity watcher? What seemingly superficial stories have kept you riveted and why?

*I found no comfort in the company I was keeping by following this story when I learned the following (pathetic) tidbit: After Tiger’s public admission of “transgressions,” online searches for the definition of that word topped Google’s search list.