Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Best of Whatever—Poker Ben

PokerBen’s Top 10 Whatever list 2010.

This is in no particular order.

10. The TV show Justified.
This little show starring Timothy Olyphant is a winner in my book. The pilot was based on the Elmore Leonard short story “Fire In The Hole”, and features EL’s series character U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens. Who knew there were still U.S Marshals? From the kick ass pilot to the gripping season finale, I was hooked. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us in season 2, which starts February 2011.Season 1 dvd available January 25th.

9. John Rector’s The Cold Kiss.
It’s hard to believe this was JR’s first novel. A young couple tangle themselves up with a gut shot man, who has a bag full of money. Mix in a horrible blizzard, and being stranded at an old motel full of crazies. This gem of a novel takes off like a rocket and doesn’t let up until the final page. Rector’s 2nd novel, “The Grove”, is sitting on my Kindle waiting to be enjoyed.

8. The Amazon Kindle.
Speaking of the little guy, it definitely deserves to be on my list. I love having the ability to buy a book, and almost instantly have it available at my finger tips. It’s also nice to have the larger print size available when my eyes are tired, and it’s great for traveling.

7. Needle Magazine.
I love being able to stay up to date on the latest sewing and knitting trends. Oh wait, not that Needle Magazine. I meant the one featuring all the awesome crime fiction/noir stories from today’s who's who in the industry.

6. Crimefactory Magazine.
I can’t mention a crime fiction magazine without mentioning the best one of all in my opinion. It’s got everything a crime lover could want, and a lot more. Not a bad purchase price either. Yep, Rawson and company know how to deliver the goods.

5. Ken Bruen’s The Devil.
What can I say about KB that hasn’t already been said. The man is an extraordinary writer. The Devil is the latest installment of his Jack Taylor series. Everything Bruen writes is gold in my eyes. He could write a computer manual and I’d read it.

4. Red Dead Redemption - PS3
First Rockstar games buts out the awesome GTA series, then they take GTA and drop it into the wild west. Yee Haw!

3. Getting my graphic design work some exposure.
I started off just screwing around in Photoshop. I then made Keith Rawson a banner for his blog, sent it to him, he actually liked it, and used it. I did the same thing for Anthony Neil Smith’s blog. He liked it, and down the road actually hired me to design a book cover for his upcoming E-book edition of Psychosomatic.My latest work was for the banner of this blog. All I can say is I’m thrilled. Who knows maybe this hobby can turn into something bigger down the line.

2. Don Winslow’s Savages.
This was my first Winslow. It knocked my socks off. To describe this book in one word---FUN. This isn’t your standard thriller. Sure its got great fleshed out characters, and an intense plot. It also has one sentence chapters, made up words, slang, lists,the author speaking directly to the reader,sex drugs,music. Pretty much the everything but the kitchen sink. You’ll just have to read it.

1. Winter’s Bone.
Both the book by Daniel Woodrell, and the movie directed by Debra Granik. I first fell in love with the book, but after seeing the movie recently, I love it just as much. WB tells the story of Ree Dolly, a 17 year old girl living in the Ozarks struggling to take care of her sick mother and younger siblings. Her father, a meth cook, has gotten in trouble with the law and has put their house down as collateral on his bail bond. He disappears ,and it’s up to Ree to find him before they loose their home. You will not soon forget this powerful tale. It will stick with you long after you’re finished with it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ben Springer (aka Poker Ben) is Crimefactory’s graphic designer at large. He’s created the banners for Bloody Knuckles, Callused Fingertips, (Keith Rawson’s much under used blog) Day Labor, Anthony Neil Smith’s blog, Herman's Greasy Spoon and the cover to the e-version of Smith’s first novel, Psychosomatic. He’s also written reviews for Spinetingler Magazine