Sparky: Rambling again ... Did a reorganization of the sidebar - added Barry Eisler - the mystery/spy/assassin fiction writer - to our blog roll.
Barry Eisler, born 1964 in New Jersey is an author of fiction.
He undertook graduate studies in Jurisprudence at Cornell University and work for the CIA for three years.
He writes thrillers and is the creator of the John Rain series:
1. Rain Fall (2002)
2. Hard Rain (2003)
aka Blood from Blood
3. Rain Storm (2004)
aka Choke Point
4. Killing Rain (2005)
aka One Last Kill
5. The Last Assassin (2006)
All of them are worth reading. Mine are signed by Barry and that makes me happy ...
To be fair - let's do a brief on Robert Crais too. As both the Guru and I like his books as well.
is a contemporary American
author of detective fiction
. Crais began his career writing scripts for television
shows such as Hill Street Blues
, Cagney & Lacey
, Miami Vice
and L.A. Law
. His major literary influences are Raymond Chandler
, Ross Macdonald
and Robert B. Parker
. Crais lives in California
's Santa Monica
mountains with his family.
Crais's usual protagonist and first-person narrator is private detective Elvis Cole, an archetypal wisecracking tough guy with a heart of gold and all the charm of his namesake, Elvis Presley. Almost as well known is Cole's partner Joe Pike, an intimidating ex-Marine who never smiles. Except for Demolition Angel, Hostage and The Two-Minute Rule, all of Crais's books feature Cole and Pike.
The author tackles a variety of subjects in his novels. Free Fall was inspired by the Rodney King riots and Sunset Express dealt with a killer who bore an uncanny resemblance to O.J. Simpson. The most frequently recurring theme in Crais's books is the value of honesty; in his works, the long-term value of coming clean always outweighs the short-term benefits of covering up the problem. Crais also delves into issues of family and loyalty.
Some readers have complained that Crais's style has veered into over-the-top melodrama in recent years and that each book has the same basic structure (usually leading to a shoot-out climax). Others insist that his increasingly cinematic storytelling is how he keeps getting better with every novel. Over the years, his novels have taken a turn for the darker side, with a greater cynicism being expressed in his writing, although the wit and humor of his earlier books are still present. His novels and characters have become more deeply realized, and his extensive use of flashbacks and dream imagery add a greater depth to the present-day narrative.
In March of 2005, Bruce Willis appeared in Hostage, the first Hollywood adaptation of one of his books. He refuses to sell the rights to Cole, Pike, and his other recurring characters, preferring to allow his readers to keep their own personal conceptions of the characters.
- The Monkey's Raincoat -- Bantam -- 1987
- Stalking the Angel -- Bantam -- 1989
- Lullaby Town -- Bantam -- 1992
- Free Fall -- Bantam -- 1993
- Voodoo River -- Hyperion -- 1995
- Sunset Express -- Hyperion -- 1996
- Indigo Slam -- Hyperion --1997
- L.A. Requiem -- Doubleday -- 1999
- Demolition Angel -- Doubleday -- 2000
- Hostage -- Doubleday -- 2001
- The Last Detective -- Doubleday -- 2003
- The Forgotten Man -- Doubleday -- 2005
- The Two-Minute Rule -- Simon & Schuster -- 2006
Robert also inspired Bialar Crais
|Farscape character |
|Captain Bialar Crais |
|Title ||Captain |
|Homeworld ||Sebacean Farming Colony |
|Race ||Sebacean |
|Gender ||Male |
|Affiliation ||Peacekeepers; Independent; Talyn; Ally of Moya's crew |
|Portrayer ||Lani Tupu |
Bialar Crais is a fictional character in the television science fiction series Farscape. The series' creator, Rockne O'Bannon, named the character after his friend, contemporary mystery novelist Robert Crais.
Played by Lani Tupu (who also provides the voice for the animatronic puppet character Pilot onboard Moya), Bialar Crais was born in a Sebacean farming community, but while still a boy, he and his younger brother Tauvo were taken from their family and conscripted against their will into the Peacekeeper military. As they were hauled away, Crais' father charged him to look after his younger brother. It was a burden Crais would always remember, one that would later come back to haunt him.
Peacekeeper for Life
Crais and his brother eventually dedicated themselves to their lives as Peacekeepers. Both rose through the ranks until Crais gained command of his own Command Carrier. It was a position rarely achieved by any Peacekeeper not born on a carrier, perhaps even the first such case. Tauvo, who had reached the rank of Lieutenant, served under Crais' direct command as a Prowler pilot.
Crais was able to use his position to pursue several scientific projects, one of which included the breeding of a Leviathan gunship under the supervision of Lt. Velorek. The project took place on the Leviathan Moya and led to the placement of the ship's current Pilot, after her first pilot was executed. The project eventually led to Velorek's execution after it was revealed that he was undermining its progress as well as Crais' first encounter with Officer Aeryn Sun. 
Two cycles later, Crais' battle group was transporting Moya to the prison colony Terren Ra, when the prisoners aboard Moya staged an escape. Crais ordered an attack on the Leviathan to stop them, and a number of Prowlers assaulted the overtaken Leviathan. During the fight, a wormhole opened in space and the Farscape One module, piloted by John Crichton, emerged. The module appeared directly in front of Tauvo's Prowler and he was unable to avoid collision. The impact knocked his Prowler out of control and into a nearby asteroid, destroying the ship and killing him. After taking Crichton's ship onboard, the prisoners, whom included Ka D'Argo, Pa'u Zotoh Zhaan, and Dominar Rygel XVI, managed to free Moya of her control collar and starburst away. Officer Sun's Prowler was caught in the ship's wake and pulled with it. When Crais learned of the accident, he believed that Crichton had intentionally rammed Tauvo's Prowler and murdered his brother. He pursued Moya to a nearby commerce planet and confronted Crichton and Aeryn on its surface, accusing Crichton of murder and threatening to dissect him for further study. When Aeryn attempted to defend Crichton, Crais declared her "irreversibly contaminated" for spending too much time with the unknown human, a charge that carried the sentence of death. As they were being transferred back to his carrier, John and Aeryn managed to escape back to Moya. Though Crais pursued with his Command Carrier, Crichton was able to use the planet's gravity to sling Moya to a velocity that allowed her to escape. Though he had lost him for now, Crais decided to pursue Moya outside of Peacekeeper space and into the Uncharted Territories in order to recover its prisoners and bring his brother's "killer" to justice. 
In the Uncharted Territories
Crais is the antagonist of John Crichton, who accidentally killed his brother in a collision of their two ships. Bent on avenging his brother's death, Crais pursues Crichton.
For the next cycle, Crais searched the Uncharted Territories for Crichton. During that time, he rediscovered the legendary Command Carrier [[Zelbinion]]. Not wanting to take time away from his search, Crais left a group of technicians to salvage what they could from the ship then left, planning to return for them later. While he was gone, the techs were attacked by Sheyangs and all but one technician, Gilina Renaez, were killed. The Zelbinion would later be discovered by Moya and boarded by her crew. They aided Gilina in partially repairing the ship and driving off the Sheyangs. Gilina agreed to keep her encounter with Crichton and his companions a secret from Crais when he returned. 
Later, Crais was pulled into a confrontation with Crichton by the malevolent entity Maldis. Though Crichton tried to reason with Crais, Maldis' influence drove Crais into a rage and he tried to kill Crichton with his bare hands. When Crichton got the upper hand, Maldis transferred Crais back to his Command Carrier. There, Crais was ordered by Peacekeeper High Command to cease his pursuit of Moya and return to Peacekeeper space. Crais ignored the order and murdered the only other officer who knew about it, his first officer Lt. Teeg. Crais had gone rogue. 
Throughout his search, Crais placed a number of wanted-beacons througout the Uncharted Territories in hopes someone would turn them in for a reward. The beacons also contained a message for Aeryn, offering her an honorable discharge if she returned to the Peacekeepers. Despite the beacons, his efforts to find them remained fruitless. 
Months later, Crais was informed by Scorpius that he had captured Crichton at his Gammak Base. Happy that Crichton was finally theirs, Crais took his carrier to the Gammak Base to retrieve Crichton. There, he aided Scorpius in interrogating Crichton in the Aurora Chair since Scorpius refused to hand Crichton over before he found certain information. The interrogation ended abruptly when they discovered a memory that showed Crichton giving Crais information on wormholes, exactly what Scorpius wanted. The memory was fake, created by Gilina, whom had been transferred to the Gammak Base. Scorpius used the Aurora Chair on Crais but instead of the wormhole information, he found Crais' memory of Teeg's murder. Realizing that the chair had been fooled, he stopped the interrogation. Before Crais was let out of the chair, however, he was found by Aeryn Sun. He ordered her to release him, but she refused. When he vowed to hunt her down and kill her as he had vowed to Crichton, she turned the chair to full power and left him to die. Crais survived, but was a broken man. His quest to find Crichton had become Scorpius' and the half-breed soon took Crais' Command Carrier as well. 
Following Scorpius' takeover, Crais realized that he would soon have to face the consequences of his decisions for the past cycle. When Rygel XVI turned himself in to the Peacekeepers to betray the crew of Moya, he made a deal with the Hynerian. He would help them escape if they granted him asylum from the Peacekeepers. Rygel agreed, taking Crais with him back to Moya. Though reluctant to let him onboard, Crichton and his companions refrained from killing him and imprisoned him instead. It was then he finally faced Crichton on civil terms. He explained to Crichton that he had been wrong, that his pursuit had become more about him than his brother, and he apologized to John. Shortly after, Crais was released from his cell and taken to Talyn, Moya's newborn offspring and the successful outcome of the project he'd started nearly three cycles before. He quickly formed a bond with the young gunship and after Crichton, D'Argo, and Aeryn left to destroy the Gammak Base, he stole Talyn, devastating Moya.
Crais soon discovered he'd grabbed more than he bargained for. Talyn was difficult to control and too young to starburst. After helping save Crichton and D'Argo, he enlisted Aeryn's help to get Talyn to cooperate. After some difficulties, Talyn offered Crais the "hand of friendship" over Aeryn, to her objection. Crais was now neurally linked to Talyn and after forcing Aeryn off of the ship, he and Talyn starbursted away. 
For the next cycle, Crais and Talyn wandered the Uncharted Territories. Crais acted as a guide, a mentor, and a father to the developing Leviathan gunship. 
A few months after parting with Moya and her crew, Crais and Talyn encountered a Halosian vessel. Though they informed the Halosians that they travelled peacefully, the Halosians attacked. Crais ordered Talyn to fire in self defense, effectively crippling the Halosian vessel. 
Months later, Crais and Talyn contacted Moya. It was his intention to help Talyn become less aggressive and threatening to others by replacing his main cannon with non-lethal weapons. He planned to purchase them from Plokavians, but he needed the help of Moya's crew to install the weaponry. When the Plokavians arrived, however, Talyn fired on their ship, destroying it before again fleeing. It was later revealed that Talyn had detected a substance on the Plokavian ship that would have threatened Moya. He had destroyed the ship to protect his mother. 
At one point while under Scarran torture, Crichton would encounter a mental image of Crais. This image was cast in the role of an Australian beat cop. 
Crais and Talyn would again cross the paths of Moya and her crew after Talyn heard a call of distress from his mother. While Talyn helped Moya recover, Aeryn implored Crais to help them assault a Shadow Depository and save Crichton. Crais refused to allow Talyn to participate as he was hoping to steer the Leviathan away from violence. Talyn decided to return, however, and they destroyed the Shadow Depository with a single strafing run. After Crichton was recovered, Crais and Talyn accompanied Moya to a planet where she could be healed from severe burns and Crichton could have Scorpius' chip removed from his head. Crais and Talyn orbited and kept watch for any Peacekeepers. While they waited, Crais informed Aeryn that Talyn wanted someone else to help guide him along with Crais. Together, they had selected Aeryn. While Aeryn was gratified at the offer, she left to pursue Crichton after he escaped Moya. Aeryn was killed before she could ever give an answer. Her death devastated Crais and he attended her funeral before returning to Talyn. The distraction provided by her death also allowed Scorpius to reach the planet's surface undetected in a Marauder. After recovering Crichton's chip, Scorpius fled in the Marauder. Crais and Talyn pursued and destroyed the Marauder before it could reach Scorpius' Command Carrier, avenging Aeryn's death. Again Crais and Talyn starbursted away, believing both Aeryn and Scorpius to be dead. Both would eventually be false as Scorpius had not been onboard the Marauder and Zhaan would sacrifice herself to bring Aeryn back from the dead.   
Shortly after these events, Crais and Talyn were discovered and attacked by a Peacekeeper Retrieval Squad. Talyn managed to fight off part of the squad, but he was severely damaged by a Pantack Class Vigilante armed with an Immobilizer Pulse. Though they managed to escape, both Crais and Talyn were nearly killed and ended up drifting for days before Moya arrived, having received a signal from her son. When he was revived, Crais explained the situation and informed Aeryn that her mother, Xhalax Sun, was in command of the squad. Shortly afterward, a healed Talyn had to separate from Moya. Crais and Talyn were now joined by Aeryn, Rygel, Stark, and one of the twinned Crichtons.
They would travel together for several months, during which Crais would face his growing attraction to Aeryn, Talyn's persistent behavioral problems, and the ever threatening Retrieval Squad. At one point, Xhalax and her squad tracked Talyn to a planet where he was healing. When her squad failed to capture or eliminate Talyn, Crais, and their companions, she found herself at their mercy. Knowing Xhalax was too dangerous to leave alive, Crais offered to kill her so Aeryn didn't have to do so. Though he fired his weapon, making the others believe he had indeed killed Xhalax, he decided to spare her life and instead made a deal with Xhalax. He would allow her to live if Xhalax informed the Peacekeepers that Talyn and Crais were dead. Xhalax agreed, but this would not be the last time they would encounter her. After Crichton was killed on Dam-Ba-Da, Stark discovered Xhalax alive on Valldon. Though they believed that Crais had betrayed them, he eventually convinced them that his intentions were in everyone's best interests. Eventually, Crais killed Xhalax to save Aeryn, unaware that Aeryn had reconciled with her estranged mother.
After Moya and Talyn had reunited, Crais elected to join John and Aeryn in stopping Scorpius' wormhole program. As they enacted Crichton's plan, Talyn became more irrational, going as far as destroying an unarmed medical ship as well as firing on his own mother, Moya. Realizing that Talyn needed extensive repairs and modifications, Crais decided to shut down his companion and friend and bring him to the only people who could help him, the Peacekeepers. On the Scorpius' Command Carrier, Crais realized that the only way to stop Scorpius and destroy his carrier would be to use Talyn. While Crichton provided a distraction, Crais managed to board Talyn and reactivate his higher functions. After convincing Talyn that their sacrifice would save many lives, including Moya's, Crais ordered Talyn to starburst inside of the carrier's hangar. The resulting explosion was devastating, slowly consuming the Command Carrier from within. The sacrifice of himself and Talyn allowed Crais to exact his vengeance on Scorpius, allowed Crichton accomplish his mission and save countless lives, saved Aeryn, whom Crais had come to care for deeply (possibly to the point of love), and allowed Talyn to die nobley and free from Peacekeeper control. Their deaths gave Crais and Talyn the redemption they had long sought.
Though he was dead, Crais would appear again in various forms. Less than a cycle after his death, Crichton encountered an image of Crais inside of a mental video game-like device. This image was in the form of an ogre The ogre-Crais was married to a princess whom looked just like Aeryn.
Crichton would again encounter Crais, this time in an Unrealized Reality. In this reality, Crichton was a Peacekeeper and Crais his commanding officer. After the Peacekeeper Crichton accomplished his mission by inadvertently capturing Moya and killing her crew, Crais embraced him and congratulated him on a job well done.
Crais begins the series as a typical villain, chasing the show's hero because of a personal need for revenge. His continued failure to catch Crichton, and the introduction of Scorpius late in the first year leads to a change in Crais. He chooses to leave the Peacekeepers and take Talyn, the product of his most successful project. Crais acts as a mentor, father, and companion to Talyn and tries to teach him peace and discipline. His time with Talyn allows him for a more civil and personal relationship with Moya and her crew.
In the two cycles following his defection from the Peacekeepers, Crais becomes a valuable ally to Moya's crew.
Crais' respect for the Peacekeeper mandates is unclear; at times, he's the flagbearer for military tradition; at other times, he's a renegade. Anything that could be construed as a challenge to his authority terrifies him; he despises Scorpius for almost the same reason he despises Crichton. Like Inspector Javert, Crais simply wants the universe to operate by his rules. And only Crais knows what his rules are.
Because of this, the motives behind his decision to defect from the Peacekeeper military, and his decision to steal Talyn, remain to be fully revealed.
In the penultimate episode of Season 3, Crais uses Talyn to perform a suicidal Starburst inside Scorpius' command carrier. This heroic act of self-sacrifice effectively destroys the Peacekeeper wormhole project, but Talyn and Crais along with it.
Crais's entry at Farscape-1
Farscape Official Site
Hostage is a 2005 action/thriller movie which was directed by Florent Emilio Siri. The film was based on a novel by Robert Crais, and was adapted for the screen by Doug Richardson.
Tagline: Would you sacrifice another family to save your own?
After a failed hostage situation which resulted in the gruesome deaths of three people, veteran LAPD hostage negotiator Jeff Talley leaves Los Angeles with his family to become police chief in Bristo Camino, a peaceful suburban hamlet in Ventura County, California.
One year after the incident that ended his career with the LAPD, Talley finds himself in yet another hostage situation. Two teenagers and their mysterious accomplice Mars Krupchek take hostage Walter Smith and his two young children in Smith's house after a failed robbery attempt. Unwilling to put himself through yet another life-or-death situation, Talley hands authority over to the Ventura County Sheriff's Department and leaves the scene.
Unfortunately for Talley, Smith has been laundering money for a mysterious criminal syndicate through offshore shell corporations. He was preparing to turn over a batch of important encrypted files (recorded on a DVD) when he was accidentally taken hostage. To protect such incriminating evidence from discovery, the syndicate arranges for Talley's family to be taken hostage, and forces him to return to the scene and stall for time until it can mobilize its own attack against Smith's house.
Back at the scene, Talley learns that Mars is a serial killer, who could turn on the hostages and his own accomplices at any moment. The rest of the movie's plot turns on whether Talley can save two families while fighting two separate groups of hostage-takers at the same time.
According to the movie's official production notes, the movie's plot is roughly the same as the novel; the main difference is that a complicated subplot involving the Mafia was removed and the ages of the first group of hostage-takers was lowered slightly. In the novel, Smith's employer is Tony Benza, a crime overlord whose influence reaches throughout the entire West Coast.
Bristo Camino is a fictional town (though apparently intended to be a parody of Ojai or Moorpark). According to the production notes, most of the movie was actually filmed in the Malibu area (in western Los Angeles County). The exterior views of Smith's lavishly appointed house were filmed at a real house in the unincorporated Topanga Canyon area, between Malibu and Los Angeles; the interior scenes were done on soundstages in Hollywood.
The movie's opening scenes were filmed in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, just east of downtown.
Mars Krupcheck: [leaning in really close to Jennifer when she's tied up]What's the best day of your life? [looks at him, scared, and doesn't say anything]
Mars Krupcheck: You don't know? [shakes her head]
Mars Krupcheck: Mine's today.
Jeff Talley: [Jeff Talley on the cell phone whilst talking to the 'FBI' agent] Go ahead. Kill my family. Kill me. Before you do, let me get to Smith's house and I'm gonna box up all that dead motherfucker's DVD's and you and the feds can bid on it on eBay! How's that, smart fuck?
I'm thinking the cheater who has us mired in a phoney war gone bad - thinks somewhat along the lines below. You have to think - he's nuts and that he wants Armeggedon now.
Something to ponder - eh?
Childproofing the House
Before your child is crawling, walking and becoming a lot more mobile, it would be a good time to child proof your house. Get down on all fours and search the house for potential hazards to your child.
Remember that in addition to childproofing your own home, make sure that your child safe at daycare or when visiting friends and family. Do grandparents have medicines out of reach? Does your neighbor have a gun in the house?
Here are some tips for childproofing your house:
- Use covers on electrical outlets and latches on cabinets.
- Set the temperature of your hot water heater to 120 degrees F to prevent scalding burns.
- Prevent poisoning by keeping household cleaners, chemicals and medicines completely out of reach and always store them in their original container and know your local Poison Control Center number (1-800-222-1222). Also, buy and use products with child resistant caps.
- Make sure that used or hand-me-down equipment, such as car seats, strollers, toys and cribs, etc., haven't been recalled for safety reasons. Call the manufacturer or the Consumer Product Safety Commission for an up-to-date list of recalled Products (800-638-2772 or www.cpsc.gov).
- Use stair gates and window guards.
- See the Lead Poisoning Guide or take our Lead Screening Quiz to see if your child is at risk for lead poisoning.
- Maintain smoke free environments for your children.
- Remove mobiles from the crib and playpen once your child can stand.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers in the house and use flame retardant sleepware.
- Install fire extinguishers and consider purchasing flame resistant or flame retardant furniture in your home.
- Remove furniture with sharp edges or use soft guards.
- Use nonskid backing on rugs and make sure carpets are securely tacked down.
- Remove breakables from low tables and shelves.
- Remove small toys and other choking hazards from around your child.
- Tie cords of blinds, curtains and appliances up out of reach or use a blind cord wind-up device. Remove loops from blinds.
- Do not use a mobile baby walker. Stationary walkers are much safer.
- Do not carry hot liquids or food near your child and do not allow your child near stoves, heaters or other hot appliances (especially curling irons). When cooking, use the back burners and turn pot handles inward.
- To prevent drowning, empty all water from bathtubs and pails, keep the door to the bathroom closed and never leave your child alone near any container of water.
- In the bathroom, use a lid lock on the toilet, a non-slip mat on the tub floor and consider a cushion for the tub faucet.
- Child proof the swimming pool by enclosing it in a fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate and never leave your child alone in a swimming area, even if he is a good swimmer.
- If you must have a gun in the house keep it and the bullets in a separate locked place.
- Be cautious of certain dog breeds (Rottweilers, pit bulls, German shepherds) that account for over fifty percent of fatal dog bites and closely supervise children when in the presence of animals.
- If using bunk beds, remember that kids under age 6 years of age should not be allowed to sleep in the upper bunk.
- Make sure your house is free of enviornmental health hazards, such as radon, carbon monoxide, asbestos, mercury and mold.
- If considering buying a trampoline, keep in mind that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that 'parents should never purchase a home trampoline or allow children to use home trampolines' and that even when supervised, children under age 6 years should not be allowed to use a trampoline.
- Place childproof covers on doors that your child could use to leave the house.
- Keep a list of emergency numbers near the phone and keep a phone handy at all times in case of an emergency.
- Lock rooms (with a childproof lock or door knob cover) that are not childproof and the exterior doors of your house so that your child can't get out the front door or into the garage, attic, or backyard without help.
- Consider using a wall anchor or safety strap for the stove and large pieces of furniture that can tip over.
- Do not place your TV on a cart that could easily tip over onto your child.
- Consider a lock for the dish washer (so he can't reach unsafe items, like steak knives, that you might be washing) and refrigerator.
- Secure (keep out of reach of your child) your car keys and lock your car so that your children can't get locked in the car or the trunk.
- Consider getting a trunk release mechanism so that your child can't get trapped in the trunk.
- Remove the rubber knob or tip from door stops, as younger children can choke on them, or just use a one piece door stop.
- To prevent finger injuries, use a finger pinch gaurd on doors.
- Secure the key for a gas fireplace or consider using a valve cover.
- Use a guard on bannisters and railings, especially if your younger child can fit through the rails.
- Remove the hood and neck drawstrings from your child's jackets and other clothing, as they can get caught in school bus doors, handrails and playground equipment, etc. Also warn your child about using dangling key rings and hanging things from their backpacks, as they too can get caught and injure your child.
Random enough? Let me know - Sparks