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Nathan Weinberg (Flushing, NY USA)
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L.A. Requiem
L.A. Requiem
by Robert Crais
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
116 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars His best work, July 13 2004
Without a doubt, L.A. Requiem is the finest thing Robert Crais has written, and I consider that high praise, as he is one of my favorite authors.
If you have been reading his books, Requiem will be a great payoff for you, since it brings to a head much of what has been building in the previous six Elvis Cole novels. If this is your first Crais book, rest assured you will like this book enough to want to go back and read the rest.
Despite Joe Pike being the character the plot is about, Elvis still remains central. Nearly every page is viewed through his eyes. Tha pages that deviate, when we see and learn about Joe's past, are among the most interesting in the book. Also, without giving too much away, the scenes with the killer are most revealing and in some ways creepy. Elvis remains aloof, but genuine, a much better protaganist than the typical Superman fantasy. Elvis can't beat up fifteen ninjas, pull a gun out of an extremity, shoot a sniper from 300 feet, and then anounce he has, in his head, completed the DNA test and found the real killer.
The one problem I would say I have with this book is it gives up too much. Too many things happen and when it is all said and done, in many ways, Crais has ruined the series. The follow-up, The Last Detective, felt lacking after the carnage of this entry, naked without much of the mystery and buildup. Thankfully, it still tackled a major piece of character development, but left the series with absolutely no steam for the next book. It is possible you could simply read the series and consider "Detective" the final chapter.
Also worth checking out is Crais's Hostage, soon to be made into a movie by Bruce Willis. It is a great stand-alone novel.

Ultimate Spider-Man Vol 2: Learning Curve
Ultimate Spider-Man Vol 2: Learning Curve
by Brian Michael Bendis
Edition: Paperback
19 used & new from CDN$ 8.96

4.0 out of 5 stars The most consistently well-written comic today, July 13 2004
"Learning Curve" is the second volume of Ultimate Spider-man. Ultimate Spider-man is Marvel's seperate brand of comics that, in a sense, are "new", seperated from 42 years of continuous storytelling. The idea is that any new reader would be hopeless trying to read modern comics since they can't first go back and read the 1000+ issues that proceeded it. So Ultimate Spider-man takes a familiar hero, Spider-man, and starts him from the beginning; a whole new story for readers to enjoy.
What is amazing about this series is that it has caught on not just with new readers, but with long-time comic fans. This is because not only does it have clean, accessible art, wholesome writing, and completely accessible and fun dialouge, but it features a "truer" version of Spider-man than the one in the regular comic. In the "Amazing Spider-man" comic, Peter Parker is married, has a job, nothing very interesting for comic readers. In Ultimate Spider-man, he is still 16, still in high school, still struggling to balance a girlfriend, classes, internship, all while putting in swingtime as the misunderstood webslinger.
This collection, number two in the series (I recommend getting number one first), features Spider-man's battle with the Kingpin. The story is chock full of intelligence, with things going on as they would in the real world. No comic book death traps, no silly villians. The final battle with the Kingpin is not only well-written, it is one of the funniest scenes I've ever seen in a comic book. And the final chapter features a great moment in the very real and heartfelt relationship between Peter and Mary Jane, a relationship that gets more real and more interesting with each succeeding chapter.
Buy this book, hell, buy the hardcover with volumes one and two if you can find it. It's worth reading, and it'll be worth taking off your shelf in years to come. Good for kids and adults.

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