Thursday, August 30, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
In the other direction, geographically and intellectually, downtown Atlanta will be host to Dragon Con. I'm not actually going to attend DragonCon because I'm afraid that I might hit the first grown man I see dressed as a Storm Trooper. I am, however, going to interview Seth Harwood, who will be in town for the event. Seth has garnered a loyal following with his Jack Palms podcasts, and recently landed a book deal for his first Palms novel, Jack Wakes Up, which will be published by Breakneck Books next year. Look for the interview here early next week.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
The story itself is straightforward, but Chavarria approaches it elliptically, and the constant diversions, detours and asides may try the patience of readers who are used to the more straightforward style of English language fiction. Chavarria’s story jumps around in time, and point-of-view, something that is apparently common in Spanish language fiction. Still, the novel is never too confusing, and if one is patient all will be revealed.
The main weakness of Tango for a Torturer is Chavarria’s naïve worldview. Communism was very 20th Century, and Chavarria, a Uruguayan living in Cuba, is in the awkward position of having outlived his own ideology. The book rightly condemns state sponsored violence, and Aldo’s revenge is certainly just, but the irony of writing a novel condemning such a thing while living in
Bini, the prostitute, is a communist daydream as well. It is made very clear that she whores, not because of economic deprivation, but because she enjoys it. She’s a noble savage, poor, but committed to justice. When Aldo asks for her help in framing Triple-O, she does it for nothing, even though it means she must spend time behind bars. If this has the distinct ring of bullshit, that’s because it’s bullshit. Let’s not forget, however, that Castro has been known to jail people for publishing works abroad without official consent. Of course, if jail is so great in
Friday, August 24, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Report: Rowling Writing Detective NovelBy DAVID STRINGER
Associated Press Writer
LONDON — J.K. Rowling has been spotted at cafes in Scotland working on a detective novel, a British newspaper reported Saturday.
The Sunday Times newspaper quoted Ian Rankin, a fellow author and neighbor of Rowling's, as saying the creator of the "Harry Potter" books is turning to crime fiction.
"My wife spotted her writing her Edinburgh criminal detective novel," the newspaper, which was available late Saturday, quoted Rankin as telling a reporter at an Edinburgh literary festival.
"It is great that she has not abandoned writing or Edinburgh cafes," said Rankin, who is known for his own police novels set in the historic Scottish city.
The rest of the story is here.
Now the question is, would anyone buy an adult novel from Ms. Rowling?
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
We've put our next new title up on our Web site: THE MURDERER VINE by Shepard Rifkin. It's a powerful book that fictionalizes the same historical events that inspired the movie "Mississippi Burning," with the addition of a really stunning crime fiction twist. The author has an interesting history himself: now 89, Rifkin served on the S. S. Ben Hecht in 1947 and was imprisoned by the British in Acre Prison (a fortress on the northern coast of what is now Israel) after a failed attempt to run the British blockade of Palestine while transporting hundreds of refugees from the Holocaust. Rifkin and his crewmates were released -- but not before smuggling a camera into the prison, enabling what has been called "one of the most spectacular prison breaks in history." None of which has anything to do with THE MURDERER VINE -- but what a great story!
Hard Case is also going to be reprinting Steve Fisher's No House Limit, another book there seems to be little info about on the 'Net.
In other news, The latest Soho Crime newsletter in now online, Read it here.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
I have to say I'm disappointed. The fingerprint is a nice touch, but I like my limited editions signed in blood.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Payback by Russell James (Point Blank, 2007) is a novel that, on the surface, shares a lot of similarities with Get Carter (a.k.a. Jack’s Return Home). You can start with the premise: A man with a checkered past returns home to investigate the death of his estranged brother. Both stories are set among the English working class. The main characters of both books share a surname. Both men commit acts of violence in their quest to uncover the truth. But Floyd Carter, the protagonist of Payback, is no Jack Carter. Jack is a hard man; a cold blooded killer, and Floyd, while he’s no angel, is not a Jack. He is an altogether more humane figure.
Despite their superficial similarities, Payback and Get Carter are very different stories. While the latter is a straightforward revenge tale, with bad people doing bad things to each other, the former is a story about the nature of family and friendship with a revenge element.
Floyd Carter returns from
Floyd feels compelled to find out who killed his brother, even though they had not spoken in years, and even though he worries about how his actions will affect his loved ones. It is this additional element that keeps Payback from being your run-of-the-mill revenge story. He’s not a single minded killer like Jack Carter or Donald Westlake’s Parker. He’s a man who wonders if his desire for revenge might end up hurting the ones he loves. The conflict gives the story depth it needs to stand out.
The heroin-addicted friend subplot doesn’t really go anywhere, but it does give James a chance to riff on the drug trade, which he writes about well, pointing out the absurdity of both the user’s attitude and the way the authorities combat drugs. His point is well taken, but it’s too bad the subplot feels tacked on.