Burn Notice: The Reformed Review

Burn Notice is a show I loved, and in many episodes of the Pod I have gone on the record and said the novels I had read up to this point, along with the Monk and Psych novels, were among the best media tie-in novels I’ve read.
But, this is a new novel and there is always a chance it may not live up to the standard set by the others.
Time to find out!

As always, this is your official ***SPOILER ALERT***

Michael: [VO] My name is Michael Westen.
I used to be a spy.
Until…
Voice on phone: We got a burn notice on you.
You’re blacklisted.
Michael: [VO] When you’re burned, you’ve got nothing: no cash, no credit, no job history.
You’re stuck in whatever city they decide to dump you in.
Michael: Where am I?
Fiona: Miami.
Michael: [VO] You do whatever work comes your way.
You rely on anyone who’s still talking to you.
A trigger-happy ex-girlfriend…
Fiona: Shall we shoot them?
Michael: [VO] An old friend who used to inform on you to the FBI…
Sam Axe: You know spies, bunch of bitchy little girls.
Michael: [VO] Family too…
Sam: [phone rings] Hey, is that your Mom again?
Michael: [VO] …if you’re desperate.
Madeline: Someone needs your help, Michael!
Michael: [VO] Bottom line: As long as you’re burned, you’re not going anywhere.

For those unfamiliar, that’s how every episode of Burn Notice opened.
And every single time I picked this book up to read a few more chapters, that rolled through my head.
Tod Goldberg has such a great grasp of this world that it’s stunning to find out he wasn’t in the writers room on the series.
In all honesty, the worst thing I can say about this book is that it feels a lot like Star Wars: Dark Disciple, in that it feels like an arc of the show that they didn’t film.
It really is like 3 episodes in 1 book.
I can see Bruce Campbell, Sharon Gless, Jeffery Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar, and all of the rest of the cast acting out every single expression, muscle twitch, and flare of anger.
I can visualize the graphics explaining who is the client, bad guy, and asset.
It’s fantastic!

The story goes like this: a former street gang leader that Mikey knows from his youth and time as a spy found God in prison, turned priest, and is in the midst of trying to atone.
But now the collar’s new public image is being threatened with blackmail by a former fellow gang member.
After a chance meeting spurred by Madeline, Mike’s Mom, Mike takes him on as a client and gets dragged into this seedy underbelly.

This novel really crystalized one thing for me, something that would occasionally swim around in my brain from time to time as I watched the show.
That fact is that these characters are so strong and so well defined, far beyond most shows that fall into the same sort of villain of the week formula that this show did.
Mike is the strong leader who is capable on his own but isn’t afraid to rely on his friends and family.
Fiona is an incredible presence that I would dare say is one of the best female characters of all time, without falling into stereotypical female archetypes.
She’s occasionally soft and sweet, occasionally The Punisher in a dress.
And then we come to Sam, the wise crackin’ best buddy who is more than just comic relief.
He can actually handle himself and rescue the hero if he is forced to.
It all comes through so well, it’s perfection on the page.

Mike makes his plan to take down the baddie, who has cops on the payroll. After some clever twists to complicate things and challenge the crew, they unseat the villain, protect a mother and her child, save the priest and his youth workers he’s trying to pull out of the life.
And all is well, for now.

If you are a fan of this show, there is absolutely no reason you won’t love these books.
They legitimately feel like missing TV Movies from the middle of the first three seasons or something.
I don’t know exactly how Goldberg does it, but the dude does it well.
It’s a damn shame he only did 5 of these novels because in the absence of the show, that I deeply loved and terribly miss, these are a magnificent way to extend the experience.
I highly encourage you to check this and all of the others out.
Meanwhile, I’ll just sit here hoping he’ll get an idea some day and they let him do more.

Special thanks to @acferrell1976 for her editorial help.

Be sure to come back tomorrow, gang, for the launch of Fitz’s new Bi-Weekly Figure Feature!

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Episode 054: F**kwhistle Begins

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In this episode, Fitz won’t stop making things up as the fellas are invaded by an ineffective cover band from another dimension on the derpa derpa helpline.

Whiffs abound as the fellas are chasing rats for dinner, update you on some wrasslin’ happenings, talk briefly about Star Wars Resistance, and time travel.

Reading habits are thoroughly discussed after Scooby speculation is confirmed to be for real news in this mega sized episode of fun and fighting.

Was there something else…well, you’ll find out SHORTly, so enjoy!

URL: Episode 054: F**ckwhistle Begins
Direct Download: tnb054.mp3

TNB Commentaries 017: My Name Is Bruce (B-Movie May!)

mynameisbrucePlease turn off your cellphones and join the fellas as they continue B-Movie May in the most groovy way!

For our 17th commentary, we hold you hostage in a quaint little town called 2008 to watch this instant classic starring the King himself, Bruce Campbell!

You’re subjected to a Joke Corner, ball slobbering, over the top action and acting, and these two jack wagon’s making comments that anybody else would have the good sense not to let slip their lips.

The fun rolls on in part 2 of this month long celebration of cheese, gang!

 

URL: TNB Commentaries 017: My Name Is Bruce (B-Movie May!)
Direct Download:tnbc-017-my-name-is-bruce.mp3

This has been a feature of TS-D/JA Productions and JJ2E Media 2017

Hail To The Chin: Further Confessions Of A B-Movie Actor Review

I’m 3 for 3 on Bruce Books, all have their own strengths.
For instance, his 1st book, If Chins Could Kill, sometimes comes off as a how to guide for indie movie making.
His 2nd, a novel, Make Love* *The Bruce Campbell Way, is an over the top, behind the scenes look at how a quiet movie can become a big disater fast.

But this book, a direct follow-up to the 1st, is quieter.
This one feels like visiting a friend you haven’t talked to in a long time because life got in the way, but you’ve heard through the grapevine that they were healthy and successful.
That is the strength of this book, and Bruce’s attitude/persona in general.

Fitz nor I have made our admiration of Bruce a secret, so if you are expecting some snide, shitty, searing put down piece, this is not the review for you.
This is just a stroke-fest from here in.

The chapters I dig most are when he talks about Bubba Ho-Tep, The Man With The Screaming Brain, My Name Is Bruce, Burn Notice (and after), and his return to the Evil Dead franchise, starting with the remake.
The Screaming Brain and My Name Is chapters are particularly good, as he dives in deep on the struggles to get them made, like culture shock of Bulgaria for the former and the money troubles as he turns his property into a backlot for the latter.

Having him candidly break down the struggles in finding work after Burn Notice is interesting.
The failed pilots and the (since ended) ConTV series that he now travels with, to a movie he shot called Highly Functional that he played a washed up 1 hit wonder country star in.
He talks about how that almost died on the vine due to internal friction and was shelved from 2014 until the director was brought back in late 2016 to finish it.
I can’t find many details on it besides an interview or 2 with Bruce saying it’s done and awaiting release.

The last chapter about Ash Vs Evil Dead coming together and all the details that entails are interesting for all who love that show as much as I do.
And the acknowledgements, those are a bitter sweet PS to the near 300 page adventure he takes us on.
I’m halfway there myself, I have a better understanding of the strange void it leaves, Mr. Campbell.

I can’t close out without mentioning how his USO trip with Jeffrey Donovan and his brother Don to Iraq is another culture shock that we rarely hear about over here.
From the stories of these uniformed soldiers to the intimidation of crumbling mansions, it’s fascinating to hear about it from the perspective of an average Joe.

There is so much jammed into this world traveling book that becomes even more impressive when you realize this only covers the last 15 years of his life.

If you have any interest in Indie moviemaking, the stories of an Actor that’s not always 1st on the callsheet, or the inner workings of smalltown bureaucracy, this book is for you.
Hail To The King!