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PCR #409 (Vol. 9, No. 4) This edition is for the week of January 21--27, 2008.

The Fabulous Architecture of the Tampa Bay Region: Part 6 by Will Moriaty
The 80th Annual Academy Award Nominations by Mike Smith
Book Review: Darkness Falls by Kyle Mills by Lisa Ciurro
Pirates! Pirates! Pirates! by Terence Nuzum
DVD Grindhouse: Parts: The Clonus Horror by Andy Lalino
FX The Mike Herz Interview by ED Tucker
Birthday Boy....New Furnishings....Politico....Rondo Awards....Masters of Horror....Heath Ledger by Matt Drinnenberg
I've Got An Erection! .... The Anti-oscars .... The Name Is... .... Lost .... Passing On .... .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1969 Should Have Gone To... ' by Mike Smith
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FANGRRL by Lisa Ciurro

Book Review:
Darkness Falls
by Kyle Mills

Plot Summary:
Former genetic engineer-turned-environmental activist Erin Neal is a recluse, hidden away from the world in a remote area of Arizona. Neal spends his days mourning the death of his girlfriend and wishing that he had made different choices in life. He's forced to focus on different things, however, when Homeland Security shows up at his door one day, demanding his assistance.

Bioterrorists have discovered a way to use crude-eating bacteria to threaten the world's oil supply. As the leading non-terrorist expert in the field of bioremediation, Neal has to work with Homeland Security to help them find a way to stop this ecological destruction from happening. If that fails, Neal has to help the world find a way to continue functioning without oil. A lack of oil doesn't just mean that everyone walks instead of driving cars, you see. It means that emergency services cannot rescue people from burning buildings, food cannot be mass-produced or transported anywhere and the military cannot mobilize. Once the bioterrorists' bacteria devour the world's oil supply and begin chomping on plastic (which is made from oil), every industry, every building and every person would be affected. After a while, all food, clothing, goods, industry, transportation, shelter, utilities and medical assistance would have to be directly produced by self-sufficient people with access to land, supplies and a strong security force (to fend off the hordes of starving people willing to fight to the death for food and other necessities.)

Knowing the potential devastation that could occur, Neal agrees to confront his personal and professional demons to help Homeland Security stop the threat. He never imagined, however, that he'd encounter so many past enemies and former friends along the way.

About the Author:
Kyle Mills is a New York Times-bestselling author who creates suspenseful thrillers that incorporate our society's current fears and concerns. He lives in Wyoming, where he spends his time biking, rock climbing and writing books. Darkness Falls is his ninth novel.

What I Liked:
I loved Mills' ability to confront and explain serious, complicated, important issues in a non-judgmental, non-preachy way. In Darkness Falls, there aren't Good Guys wearing white hats and Bad Guys wearing black hats. There are shades of gray, just like in real life. Mills explores the positive and negative sides of several "isms" -- environmentalism, activism, consumerism, commercialism and industrialism, to name a few -- and shows that any ideology can be distorted and misused by over-zealous radicals. The author exposes the reader to new ways of thinking without proclaiming any particular concept to be absolute gospel or the one true path.

The book's nightmarish depiction of an energy-dependent world suddenly stripped of oil chilled me to the bone. I get flashbacks every time I pay my electric bill or see a new "green" ad campaign on TV.

What I Disliked:
No dislikes, really.

Bottom Line: A solid, suspenseful thriller with a powerful theme that will haunt you afterwards.

Rating: A

"FANGRRL" is ©2008 by Lisa Ciurro.   All graphics, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.