Will iconic images recorded in the grooves of an ancient vase unite the Holy Land or rip it further apart?

THE VASE

A novel by Mark M. DeRobertis

Muhsin Muhabi is a Palestinian potter, descended from a long line of potters. His business is run from the same shop owned by his ancestors since the day his forebears moved to Nazareth. The region's conflict saw the death of his oldest son, and rogue terrorists are in the process of recruiting his youngest in their plot to assassinate the Pope and Israeli prime minister.

Professor Hiram Weiss is an art historian at Nazareth’s Bethel University. He is also a Shin Bet operative on special assignment. With the help of fellow agent, Captain Benny Mathias, he plans to destroy the gang responsible for the death of his wife and only child. He puts a bomb in the ancient vase he takes on loan from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.

Mary Levin, the charming assistant to the director of Shin Bet, has lost a husband and most of her extended family to recurring wars and never-ending terrorism. She dedicates her life to the preservation of Israel, but to whom will she dedicate her heart - the brilliant professor from Bethel University - or the gallant captain who now leads Kidon?

Harvey Holmes, the Sherlock of Haunted Houses, is a Hollywood TV host whose reality show just flopped. When a Lebanese restaurant owner requests his ghost-hunting services, he believes the opportunity will resurrect his career. All he has to do is exorcise the ghosts that are haunting the restaurant. It happens to be located right across the street from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.



Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Strike Back Done, Dustin Clare, too

With the CineMax series Strike Back ended, so too is the brief reappearance of actor Dustin Clare. Before the final season aired, the show had promoted Dustin Clare as a new character on the show, and I was looking forward to it. I had always thought highly of Dustin Clare as an actor ever since he starred in the STARZ show Spartacus. He "stole the show" so to speak.

But I never saw him in anything since, and Spartacus ended a few years ago. Finally, with him being cast in Strike Back, another show I had been watching, I was relieved that he hadn't faded away in the sunset. But with the final season of Strike Back finished now, I was disappointed with the role he played. And that's because the role was a very small one, and really an insignificant one.

Dustin Clare played what at first seemed like a mercenary, working for the CIA, but ended up being just another hitman, leading a team of hitmen, who were hired by, I'm not even sure who hired them, actually, but the bottom line was, he was a bad guy. That's not a problem, really, but the role was weak, and I was let down, because I had thought it was going to be a bigger part for him, and for the show. It wasn't. He had little "air" time, and the part he played was nothing more than a scumbag with the IQ of a street rat. His potential as a character actor is so much more than that.

In fact, I've made no secret that I would choose him to play the part of Trent Smith, the main character in my Killer Series, Killer of Killers and Killer Eyes. I still think he could pull it off, but I don't base that opinion on anything I saw in Strike Back. I base that opinion on his performance playing Gannicus, from Spartacus and Gods of the Arena, the Spartacus prequel.

In those shows, Dustin Clare had charisma. He was overflowing with it, actually. So much so, that he stole the show, as I said. The part in Strike Back offered no charisma at all. But in Spartacus, as Gannicus, he was so filled with charisma that he could have challenged Sean Connery, William Shatner, and even Clint Eastwood, from the iconic roles that made them famous. That's what I thought of Dustin Clare, and that's why I still believe he'd make a great Trent Smith.

But of course, it would take the right producers and director to make that work. I don't doubt that the producers and director of a show like those are vital to making a character work, and without the right people in place on both sides of the camera, it would be a long shot. But, it's worked so well, so many times, that all an actor needs is the right role, and the right people behind him, and his career would take off. Here's to hoping that some producer and director will take Melissa Ratel's advice, (you can read it in the margin to the right,) and make Killer of Killers into a movie. And cast Dustin Clare as Trent Smith. It would be his James Bond, Captain Kirk, or Man with no Name. Here's to hoping.

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