Pat H. Broeske ~ ~ (714) 543-6690

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June 11, 2023

I get Poe-etic with 2 new ‘Mystery Scene’ reviews

This month I’m “ravin'” about my double bill of reviews for the Mystery Scene website: A Mystery of Mysteries: The Death and Life of Edgar Allan Poe and Corman/Poe: Interviews and Essays Exploring the Making of Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe Films, 1960–1964.

The first book, by Mark Dawidziak, opens with the literary icon’s strange passing in Baltimore — a city he wasn’t intending to visit — at age 40 in 1849. Found wearing another man’s clothes, not long after telling a friend “I am full of dark forebodings,” Poe added to the ensuing intrigue by calling out a name in his final hours that no one recognized. Dawidziak examines the many theories of what he labels “one of the great literary stage exits of all time,” tracing Poe’s rise, struggles, artistry and that confounding demise.

In the second, Chris Alexander explores Roger Corman’s popular cycle of eight films based on the darkly imaginative writer’s most famous works; interviews with the pioneering producer/director himself add to the author’s astute analysis.

I recommend both publications … and the website, which you’ll find at

August 1, 2022

Non-fiction for “Mystery Scene,” fiction in “Black Cat” 

I’m pleased to be making my debut as the non-fiction columnist for Mystery Scene magazine in the upcoming Fall issue – this after the retirement of much-respected longtime columnist Jon L. Breen. In my first column I cover a trio of new titles about genre royalty Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes, and examine a true crime entry about the classic Leopold & Loeb case.

I’ve been busy on the fiction front, too. My short story “The Fast and the Furriest,” about a Hollywood fixer, was reprinted in June’s Black Cat Weekly # 41 – which I think is apt, as I’m an unapologetic Cat Lady. The piece first appeared in the pages of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. You can order a copy here:

July 26, 2022

That “Elvis” biopic really shakes, rattles and rolls!

Finally caught up with Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” …  and it was definitely worth the price of admission! This is a very, very authorized take on the King – there is absolutely nothing to upset the powers-that-be within the “Graceland industry.” But although it’s a sanitized account of Presley’s life and career – and that’s the only way this movie was going to get access to all that famous music, etc. – it’s also fabulously produced, and earnestly performed, with Austin Butler giving his all in the title role.

Luhrmann takes oodles of creative license, with the action happening in his trademark flamboyant, sometimes mind-boggling fashion. Along the way the film dodges minefields: several women with whom Elvis was seriously involved, who aren’t popular with the Presley clan, don’t warrant so much as a howdy-do; the Memphis Mafia is downplayed; Elvis’s military time (when he seriously started popping pills) gets short shrift; ditto weight-related issues.

But if this isn’t a warts and all biopic, it does hit the high notes of E’s career, and also serves as an introduction for the younger crowd. And it’s certainly a showcase for Luhrmann’s hyperventilating screen style. This film will be in contention for numerous Oscar technical categories – and possibly, for Tom Hanks’s performance as Colonel Parker. Meantime, with everyone all shook up again, Elvis will continue to entice.

(You’ll find additional thoughts in a longer version of this review on my Facebook page.)

March 10, 2022

Getting political – with thrillers involving Capitol Crimes

It may be an election year, but all the slings and arrows from warring candidates and their respective parties can’t compare to the ominous weaponry and sinister plots perpetrated in politics of the literary kind. In the latest issue (Spring 2022) of Mystery Scene magazine, I take a look at political thrillers: The best-sellers. The writers (some of them actual politicos). The history. And more. The magazine is now on newsstands.

October 20, 2021

Talking about supernatural stuff and shadowy film noir

Have been busy reviewing new books for Mystery Scene (will single out some titles soon) and readying to discuss the spooktacular side of crime fiction (hey, Halloween’s coming!) as well as film noir, for several chapters of Sisters in Crime.

I’ve written lots (and lots) about the horror-fantasy film genres, for publications including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and Entertainment Weekly, so I’m looking forward to discussing “Conjuring Up a Mystery: Paranormal Elements in Fiction” at this Sunday’s (October 24) online meeting of Orange County Sisters in Crime. My talk will begin at 3 p.m.

At 4 p.m. we’ll hear from distinguished authors Chris Offatt and Willy Vlautin (look ‘em up; they have serious credentials!). Interested in attending? Check the chapter website at for a meeting link.

And it you’re interested in film noir, join me at the Saturday, November 13 online meeting of Partners in Crime, the San Diego chapter of Sisters in Crime. I’ll give a virtual presentation on “Out of the Shadows: A Spotlight on Film Noir.” The talk begins at 2 p.m. (I’m an adjunct professor for the Emeritus Institute of Saddleback College, where I teach film and writing. In my film classes I show lotsa noir.) For more about the chapter and the meeting go to .