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Monday, July 30, 2007
 
Random shots from a big bore...

So long, farewell... Damn, another fiction market gone.

Things I learned from IMDB.com. Last week I wrote a review of Donald Westlake's classic story "The Feel of the Trigger". The story unfolds according to the conventions of the police procedural, and it reads very much like a story by Ed McBain, master of that form.

A few days later I was poking around IMDB.com and found that it had in fact been adapted as an episode of the TV series made from McBain's books, "82nd Precinct". Not only that, but Norman Fell - Mr. Roper from "Three's Company" - played detective Meyer Meyer! The mind boggles.

Another IMDB note: I was looking for a quote from Kill Bill Vol. 2 and discovered that the part of Esteban Vihaio, the pimp who became Bill's mentor, was played by Michael Parks. In Kill Bill Vol. 1 (and From Dusk 'Til Dawn), Parks played Texas Ranger Earl McGraw. He later reprised the same role in Grindhouse. Maybe he has nude pictures of Tarantino or something.

Bound for the Gutter. I'm late to the party, thanks to the fact that I thought I had purchased a year's subscription (five minutes a PayPal convinced me otherwise), but the second issue of Out of the Gutter is now available. This is the "Gangland" issue, and features some nice graphics apparently inspired by Gangs of New York. Here's a peek at the cover:



Here's the best part, in case you missed it:

Yes, I am now Arbiter of Style and Taste for stylish, tasteless crime mags. I vow to use my powers only for evil, not for good.

She's #1. An interesting piece on Amazon's #1 reviewer, Harriet Klausner. Had I thought about it, one of the fake blurbs on John Rickards' Hardboiled Jesus cover would have read: "Worst book I ever read! Three stars!!! -- Harriet Klausner."

The last entry in this tedious list. I read an excellent article on mystery fiction on the web recently. Author Matthew Baldwin talked to Todd "Big Daddy Thug" Robinson, Anthony Neil Smith, Sandra Ruttan, and Dave Zeltserman (among others) and put together an interesting and well-balanced article. Stop what you're doing now (i.e. reading this tripe) and go do that instead.

posted by Graham Powell at 9:56 AM
 
 

Killer Diller


Tuesday, July 17, 2007
 
You may have seen the photos around at various places of the Killer Year crew, promoting their new Killer Year anthology. CrimeSpot.net has obtained an EXCLUSIVE photo of the group last year, promoting a slightly different book:




And is it just me, or does KY editor Lee Child look all, "I'm not with them."

Love in the Great White North. Numerous and sundry congratulations to Mississippian Neil "Crimedog" Smith, now a resident of Minnesota, who recently got married. I think Karen Olson said it best, in a comment at best man Victor Gischler's blog: "All the best to the happy couple..."


"...oh, and to Brandy as well."



Her parents must be so proud. All jokes aside, best wishes to the new couple.

And their must be something in the water up north, because Bryon Quertermous of nearby Wisconson (they're right next to each other on the map) has recently gotten engaged. I give him a lot of grief about his "Canadian" girlfriend (as in, "Yes I have a girlfriend - she's from Canada!"), but again, best wishes. Here's a picture of the lucky lady:




And here's some proof of the fact she's vision-impaired:




New Noir-Type Stuff. I recently came across the newish web zine Pulp Pusher via the Crime Zine Report, and it looks like really good stuff. The latest updates include stories by "Big" Jim Winter, Todd "Big Daddy Thug" Robinson, and Sandra "Rootin' Tootin'" Ruttan.

Another new zine is The Back Alley. The debut issue features stories by (among others)Edgar winner G. Miki Hayden, Stephen D. Rogers, and CrimeSpot fave Jack Bludis, plus a classic story from Carroll John Daly. Check it out.

posted by Graham Powell at 4:58 PM
 
 

Double Trouble


Thursday, July 05, 2007
 
John Rickards has had a few... issues in the past. I'm speaking now of his issues with the covers that his publisher has seen fit to slap on his books. Not once, but twice, his publisher has selected the exact same stock photograph as another recent crime novel.

And now it's happened again:




Personally I preferred John's second choice for the tagline: "So, you were just going to leave me up there, then?" Hopefully this new brouhaha will prompt John to get off his ass and post the "Compleat Hardboiled Jesus" to his new site. There's a new HJ story in the latest Out of the Gutter, so John's actually getting paid for writing this stuff.

In other news: The new issues of Spinetingler Magazine and ThugLit are now on-line. You would already know this, of course, if you'd been reading the indispensible Crime Zine Report. This time out Spinetingler features stories by the likes of James R. Winter and Stephen D. Rogers (natch), plus fine stories by a bunch of writers I'm not familiar with. ThugLit has stories by Nathan Cain, Hugh Lessig (who's been on a roll lately), and four others.

The New Black. There's been a lot of discussion and even argument about neo-Noir lately. Like most arguments, it was started by Kevin Burton Smith (yeah, that's a cheap shot. Sorry). While most of the responses seem to take issue with Kevin's feelings that much modern noir is rife with gratuitous violence, the part of his essay that resonated with me was his argument that the little guy isn't represented in new Noir fiction.

I personally happen to enjoy stories that feature real people doing things that people can really do. For this reason I'm a fan of Bill Pronzini, for example. Too much modern crime fiction focuses on crime lords, evil geniuses, FBI hotshots, etc. What ever happened to the dockworker whose brother was a small-time thief? I think that this change in perspective moves noir into the realm of escapism, away from its roots in social realism (George Pelecanos is the most prominent current practitioner of that).

Although Kevin only touched on it, I believe that noir is now more of a style that can be applied to just about any plot and any collection of characters, which wasn't true when it first evolved. I'll leave it to others to decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing. While I myself prefer the originals I would never run down current fiction just because it doesn't hew to the classical line. As we say here in the South, that's why they make chocolate and vanilla.

posted by Graham Powell at 11:13 AM