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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun book, well worth a place on your shelves
pbk out November 10 (No Exit Press) at 9.99
2010: a good year, not just for the roses, but for Mark Timlin too? First, amongst the opening salvo of titles from the new MaxCrime imprint came the welcome reissue of Answers From the Grave, his best book. Retitled Guns of Brixton, it featured an ending just a smidgeon less bleak than the 2004 version. Then came Stay...
Published on 24 Jan 2011 by Mr Creepy

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Filled With Errors & Not Much Meat on the Bone
Let me state at the outset than I am a fan of Timlin's books, so if I had a bias going in, it was a favorable one. That didn't last long.

The pluses are that Timlin, a top-notch mystery author himself, is a real fan of the genre and he writes in a casual, easy-going style. As a whole, the book provides a nice overview of a bunch of British series and a handful...
Published on 23 May 2011 by Lee Goldberg


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Filled With Errors & Not Much Meat on the Bone, 23 May 2011
By 
Lee Goldberg (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 101 Best TV Crime Series (Paperback)
Let me state at the outset than I am a fan of Timlin's books, so if I had a bias going in, it was a favorable one. That didn't last long.

The pluses are that Timlin, a top-notch mystery author himself, is a real fan of the genre and he writes in a casual, easy-going style. As a whole, the book provides a nice overview of a bunch of British series and a handful of US ones that might not be familiar to most UK viewers.

The cons, however, far, far outnumber the pluses. Apparently, Timlin's actual knowledge of the shows he's talking about isn't as strong as his admiration for them...and nobody bothered to fact-check the book, so it is filled with cringe-inducing errors and unfortunate omissions.

For example:

1) he refers to the lead of THE FUGITIVE as Dr. David Kimble when, of course, everyone knows it's Dr. RICHARD Kimble.
2) He says the iconic IRONSIDE theme was composed by Oliver Nelson when it's actually among Quincy Jones' most famous pieces of music (Nelson supplied some of the episodic scores, but didn't compose the theme).
3) He says that the Quinn Martin shows had a voice over that went "This has been a Quinn Martin Production" when, in fact, each show opened with the narrator announcing the name of the series, followed by the words "A Quinn Martin Production."
4) He says LIFE ON MARS began with DCI Sam Tyler walking down a Manchester street, listening to David Bowie on his iPod, when he's hit by a car. That is, in fact, totally incorrect, making this reader wonder if Timlin actually saw the show he was writing about.
5) When discussing HARRY O, he says the hero was an ex-LA cop. He was actually an ex-San Diego cop.

I could go on and on. Beyond the numerous errors, there's also a lack of detail. For instance, when referring to KOJAK, he mentions the 2005 remake with Ving Rhames but either completely overlooked, or was totally unaware of, the six KOJAK TV movies Savalas did on CBS, and later ABC, a decade after the original series was cancelled. In fact, almost all the entries suffer from a paucity of useful information in favor of irrelevant, personal asides by the author ("Oddly enough, it was 'Hill Street Blues' that got me my first video recorder; back when it started, I was offered a job driving a loser heavy metal band called 720. The show had just started and I took the job o the condition that the manager paid for the hire of a VCR. He agreed. Blimey the thing was the size of a suitcase...") Perhaps Timlin is a celebrity in the UK, and the readers there are more interested in his asides than information about TV cop shows, but it doesn't play on the other side of the pond.

One other beef...I found Timlin including his own short-lived series, SHARMAN, among the best TV Crime Series to be more than a little self-indulgent (although he didn't write the entry, he had someone else do it, which only makes the inclusion feel even more self-serving). If only he'd given all the other series mentioned in the book the same loving attention as he did his own (he gives THE SOPRANOS three tiny paragraphs, but the short-lived SHARMAN gets four pages!).

Overall, unless you can get this book at a major discount, I'd skip it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun book, well worth a place on your shelves, 24 Jan 2011
This review is from: 101 Best TV Crime Series (Paperback)
pbk out November 10 (No Exit Press) at 9.99
2010: a good year, not just for the roses, but for Mark Timlin too? First, amongst the opening salvo of titles from the new MaxCrime imprint came the welcome reissue of Answers From the Grave, his best book. Retitled Guns of Brixton, it featured an ending just a smidgeon less bleak than the 2004 version. Then came Stay Another Day (2010), in which Nick Sharman returns from his Caribbean exile after a 10-year gap (apart from his historical bit part in AFtG) in response to an appeal for help from his daughter, D.I. Judith Sharman. It has its moments but not the best of the series, I'd say - go back to earlier titles like Take The A Train, The Turnaround, and don't forget the excellent short story volume Sharman and Other Filth (1996). Stay however was particularly notable for the stunning finality of its concluding chapters.
Now comes this little gem, Timlin's own personal choice of 100-odd crime series from more than 50 years of TV, plus 21 `out-takes' that didn't quite make the cut. If (like me) you are missing the pith and pungency of Timlin's published crime reviews, only rarely featured these days in his alma mater, the Independent on Sunday (anything to do with those Russians in Stay?), then look no further. My wife and I metaphorically punched the air as I read out his comment (under Life on Mars) on Ashes to Ashes, the follow-up series featuring Keeley Hawes. "I lasted ten minutes of the first episode " Timlin remarks, "and turned over to something on Channel Five."
But I'm getting ahead of myself. The book's subtitle is Bad Guys, Spies and Private Eyes. Prepare yourselves therefore for the more hard-boiled end of the TV spectrum? Not a bit of it. Sandwiched between Fabian of the Yard and Cops is Partners in Crime, ITV's series devoted to the Tommy and Tuppence stories from the sainted Agatha (all of which Timlin once confessed to seeing at least twice). There is Miss Marple too (Joan Hickson versions of course), Hamish Macbeth, Pie in the Sky, Midsomer Murders and even Hetty Wainthropp ("I bow to no one in my admiration for Patricia Routledge"),
Blowing his street credentials? Hardly. Discriminating as always, there is no sign of Rosemary and Thyme , or
. Old favourites are here, both ancient ( Dragnet, Highway Patrol ), mid-period (guess which is No.1?), and modern ( CSI in all its various manifestations, Luther (?), Law and Order , the US version). Old adversaries ( Inspector Morse, Poirot ) are not.
He's good on the cultish ( Johnny Staccato , Adam Adamant, Shoestring , not to mention the immortal Hazell ), impressive on the obscure. By which I mean of course, obscure to me. For example Murder Bag (a predecessor of No Hiding Place apparently), Midnight Caller, The Kill Point, Mark Saber, Smith, The Gold Robbers and Ultraviolet , an early entry in the vampire stakes (pun UNintended). Late night trawling of the TV schedules will do that to a man.
He can be controversial, (you don't say) preferring, for instance, the Michael Gambon Maigret to that of Rupert Davies. Whilst retaining his admiration for David Simon's Homicide: Life on the Street , he can't resist a pop at The Wire - or is it a pop at Guardian readers? But, glass of organic Pinot Grigio to hand and part-way into Series Three, I'm inclined to agree. Meanwhile, Timlin chutzpah being what it is, you won't be surprised to find Sharman , the ITV series based on his own books, in the obligatory 101 slot. (Along with Morse, I'd put it in the Top 100.)
One series omission perhaps (I know, go and write my own book) would be a representative of the subtitled crime series increasingly finding UK screentime. My pick, right up the Timlin street I would have thought, would be France's Spiral. Both series, though series 2 has the edge for me, with its script by Virginie Brac, a 2005 winner of France's top crime fiction prize, the Grand Prix de littérature policière.
Supplementary to Timlin's succint commentary (particularly good on musical connections, as you would expect) is data on series producers (though not key directors), related websites and DVD availability. Surprisingly perhaps, writing credits are just a tad scanty, thus missing, for example, the fact that Philip Martin, the author of Gangsters , a Timlin favourite, later wrote one or two scripts for Hetty Wainthropp .
But it's a fun book, well worth a place on your shelves. And just as soon as I've worked out the `hack' for my Region 2 DVD player, I'll be looking for that elusive Johnny Staccato DVD.

TW Reviewer Bob Cornwell
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101 Best TV Crime Series
101 Best TV Crime Series by Mark Timlin (Paperback - 18 Nov 2010)
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