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    Sunday, June 23, 2024

    Tipping Point: Our picks and pans


    Live in Tavastia

    Von Hertzen Brothers

    Whichever you regard as the biggest American musical act — Taylor, Foos, Beyoncé, Aldean — well, that’s what Von Hertzen Brothers are in their Finnish homeland. A fiercely joyous hard rock/prog act with Beach Boys harmonies, structural inventiveness and thoughtful and globally aware lyrical contemplation, VHB are one of the best bands in the world. It’s just that not many people know beyond Europe. Hopefully, this terrific live recording of a 2023 concert will open your eyes and ears to the band’s talent. Personally, I wish they’d have let ME choose the set list. Some of my favorites aren’t represented, but their catalog is so deep that I love this set anyway.

    — Rick Koster

    TV TIP


    9 p.m. Sundays, CBS

    Another solid crime drama? You must be watching CBS. “Tracker” fits in smoothly with the network’s procedurals. You know the kind of show: It’s not particularly adventurous or innovative. You wouldn’t set your DVR to record it, but if you come across it while sitting on the couch, you’re likely to hang around for a while. Justin Hartley, late of “This Is Us,” plays a loner named Colter Shaw who tracks missing people in exchange for a hefty paycheck. (“Tracker” is inspired by Jeffery Deaver’s book “The Never Game.”) The thing is, this kind of character requires a certain intensity and an ability to (just barely) reveal the emotions behind the tightly controlled exterior. Justin Hartley is … well, handsome. He’s a perfectly pleasant actor but is more lightweight than this role could use. In any case, the first couple of “Tracker” episodes are interesting enough, well plotted, with some intriguing side performances. Those supporting actors are Robin Weigert and Abby McEnany as a couple who helps Colter from afar, Eric Graise as a hacker extraordinaire, and Fiona Rene as a spitfire attorney who dresses down Colter for bedding and dropping her.

    – Kristina Dorsey


    Three-Inch Teeth

    C.J. Box

    As a long time fan of Box’s crime novels starring Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett, I’ve accepted that the ongoing narrative has settled into a sort of comfortable momentum. That’s how these series have to evolve to stay fresh: characters get married, have children, face line-of-duty setbacks, deal with recurrent criminals, get older, and so on. Box handles these realities with skill and creativity. But with “Three-Inch Teeth,” it’s like the author took a shot of wasp repellent, and suddenly Pickett et al are faced with some Boxian wizardry. The plot is focused around what seems to be a rogue, man-eating grizzly bear (three-inch teeth indeed!) and also brings back the murderous and newly-paroled former rodeo star Dallas Cates. It’s not good news for Joe that Cates is accompanied by a tattooed “to-be-killed” list. Oh, and you’ll be introduced to a mad-scientist villain capable of the sort of innovations you’d expect from Q in James Bond. And is it saying too much to suggest that maybe you as a reader shouldn’t get too attached to some of the folks you’ve come to love?

    — Rick Koster

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