March 30th, 2009


The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

Tonight's two-hour premiere of HBO's new series, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, based on the bestselling novels by Alexander McCall Smith, was absolutely delightful. It's got a cast to kill for, too. Jill Scott plays Precious Ramotswe, who opens the title detective agency in Gabarone, Botswana, with such sweetness and joie de vivre that you can't help but take to her instantly. Anika Noni Rose plays her weirdly uptight secretary, Grace Makutsi, and together the two of them are the perfect comic duo. The supporting cast seems pretty game as well, especially Lucian Msamati as the hapless man who's in love with Precious. Not sure what to make of the stereotypical gay hair stylist who works next door to the agency yet, but I'm willing to give the character a chance to evolve beyond the cliché.

Aside from a small handful of darker moments -- most courtesy of The Wire's Idris Elba as a gangster and a child kidnapping plot -- the series is bright and light-hearted, a definite change from HBO's usual dramas, and the joyous mood is infectious. By the end of the episode, I was ready to move to Botswana myself.

The TV Nerd gives it five typewriters with broken H keys out of five.

New Book Announcement

I've been keeping this a secret for half a year, but now that the contracts are signed, I can finally announce a new book that will be coming out soon.

Chasing the Dragon, a dark fantasy about St. George and heroin, will be published by ChiZine Publications. The limited edition hardcover is tentatively scheduled for this October, to be followed by a trade paperback release.

More news as things develop.