Wednesday, October 14, 2015

FARGO Best Crime Series on Television in Second Season

Fargo (FX Cable) opened its new season this week as the best crime series on TV. The series is a spin-off from the cult classic neo-noir movie by Joel and Ethan Coen. The TV version has faithfully lived up to the standards of its acclaimed movie predecessor.

The familiar plot elements are still present. The snowy, blank whiteness of the Minnesota landscape. Slow thinking, earnest small town cops. An act of stupidly impulsive violence that triggers a chain of out-of-control consequences. The pervasive undertone of quirky, deadpan black humor.

Add to that a brewing gang war between a local family crime business and invading organized crime mobsters. Caught in the middle is a hapless, none-too-bright married couple who accidently kill one of the criminals, then clumsily try to cover it up.

The great theme of the Coen brothers has always been a bleak, fatalistic view of humanity and the misguided acts that people undertake which lead inexorably to their own destruction. The empty white landscape serves as a metaphor for the amoral blankness in which the characters flail futilely about.

The Fargo TV series is faithful to that theme, offering a pitch black, quirky crime drama and a cast of dumbly motivated, morally vacant people who can't get out of the disastrous situations they have blundered into.

Monday, October 5, 2015

DRY BONES a New Walt Longmire Wyoming Mystery

Dry Bones by Craig Johnson is the latest in the popular mystery novel series featuring Wyoming county sheriff Walt Longmire.

A highly prized T-Rex fossil skeleton is discovered buried on a local ranch. Soon afterwards, the body of the ranch owner is found floating dead in a fishing pond and it looks like he was murdered.

Longmire pursues the homicide case while the valuable T-Rex fossil is the subject of a tangled legal dispute involving a museum, federal agents, and an Indian tribal group that also claims title to the skeleton. Longmire looks for a link between the murder and the T-Rex find, or was there another less obvious motive?

The real charm of the Longmire series is Walt's own dry, unflappable nature and the set of eccentric characters surrounding him. His tough talking deputy, Victoria Moretti. Walt's wise and mystical friend, Henry Standing Bear. And all the colorful members of reservation tribes that Walt must regularly deal with.

Dry Bones is another entertaining tale for readers who like their mystery stories salted with wry humor and a backdrop of rugged Western landscape.