Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spinetingler Awards

I see that voting is open for this year's Spinetingler Awards, in a convenient, new format. No more sending emails, so there's really not an excuse not to vote.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Correction: Frank McAuliffe

In this post, I said Frank McAuliffe, author of the Augustus Mandrell books, was an Englishman. This was not only wrong, it was stupid. Have you ever met an Englishman named McAuliffe? I didn't think so. Will Eley pointed this out in the comments to the original post, and I have taken a long time to point it out because I've been a slacker lately.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wednesday Paperback Cover

This is what happens when you try to play an Abba record.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

New Stark Reprints in the Wild

The Mourner, The Jugger and The Score from the University of Chicago Press are now available for purchase from the vendor of your choice.

The next three books,
The Seventh, The Handle and The Rare Coin Score are scheduled for August, and will have a foreward by Luc Sante. I guess this means they're skipping the Grofield Stark's since The Damsel was published between The Handle and The Rare Coin Score, according to The Violent World of Parker.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Review of Snitch Jacket

Say what you want about the Edgar Awards, but last year's nomination of Christopher Goffard's Snitch Jacket (2007, Rookery/Overlook) is probably responsible for keeping this gem of a book from sinking into undeserved obscurity. Goffard, a Pulitzer nominee, brings a reporter's eye for detail to his work. The result is a well told, entertaining tale of California losers that manages to be both funny and sad at the same time.

Benny Bunt is a nobody. He washes dishes at a Mexican restaurant. He doesn't own a car, and his only friends are barflies at a dive called The Greasy Tuesday. Oh, and he rats out these friends for extra cash because he's a professional snitch. He snitches because he's always wanted to be a cop, but couldn't make the cut. Benny has a deep seated need to belong, but he doesn't fit in anywhere. So, when Gus "Mad Dog" Miller walks through the door of the Greasy Tuesday, Benny wants desperately to be his friend. Gus, a giant wall of tattoos and scars, who quickly takes over the bar, telling stories of his time in Vietnam and stints in prison.

Miller quickly wears out his welcome at The Greasy Tuesday, but he and Bunt hit it off. Miller needs an audience and Bunt needs approval, so they quickly form an unhealthy bond. It is this friendship that is at the heart of the story. It would be very easy to make the reader feel contempt for such characters, but Goffard draws them so clearly that the reader can't help but be drawn in and go beyond pity and contempt to sympathy. Goffard does such a good job painting the relationship between Bunt and Miller that the murder-for-hire plot that becomes the story's center almost seems incidental.

This is not to say, however, that Goffard's plot is thin. It does take a while to get going, but once it does, it leads up to a bizarre climax, which invloves a funny send up of Burning Man, and he manages to throw in several plot twists in the book's final section, all of which work nicely. Hopefully, this book is just the first of many from Goffard.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hard Case Crime Updates

When I first saw it, I was pretty sure Johnny Porkpie had to be a pseudonym, and I guess it is, in a way, but he is, I am told, The Burlesque Mayor of New York City, and the author of Hard Case's December offering, The Corpse Wore Pasties.

Now, if a murdered stripper sounds familiar, it should, since Charles Ardai's
Little Girl Lost was about the exact same thing. Porkpie, who also appears to be the main character of his novel, will have a ways to go to match Ardai's story.

And Leonard Cassuto's
review of Fifty-to-One has been posted on the Barnes & Noble Web site. I would like to take issue with the fact the B & N are tardy getting their reviews up. Cassuto obviously wrote it when it was current, referencing fifty titles, but now Hard Case is up to fifty-three. So, B&N editors, here's a tip: It's the Internet. There's no competition for column inches, and thus no real reason to sit on material for this long.

Wednesday Paperback Cover

If Stuttering Bishop isn't a euphemism of some kind, it should be.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hunt for Adventure Web Site Up and Running

The real Hunt for Adventure Web site is up, and the previous placeholder site has finally come down. The template will look familiar to many of you, I'm sure. There are covers for the first six titles, and sample chapters for the first four titles, Hunt at the Well of Eternity and Hunt at the Cradle of Fear, Hunt at World's End and Hunt Beyond the Frozen Fire. written by James Reasoner and Charles Ardai,Nicholas Kaufmann and Christa Faust, respectively.

Update/Correction: The last two books have sample chapters too. They are Hunt Among the Killers of Men by Davis Schow and Hunt Through Napoleon's Web by Raymond Benson. How the hell did I miss that the first time? I don't know.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hammett on Crimewav

Seth Harwood has obtained permission to read Hammett's first published short story "The Barber and His Wife" on Crimewav. It's not exactly the Hammett of The Maltese Falcon, but it's definitely worth a listen.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The George Kelley Paperback and Pulp Fiction Collection

I'm certain I've linked to the State University of New York at Buffalo's George Kelley Paperback and Pulp Fiction collection before, but their Web site seems to have gotten a redesign and an upgrade since the last time I was there. They have a database that allows many searches, and, in addition to the cover art, there are plot summaries, lists of characters and a breakdown of various topics like instances of violence, sexuality, substance abuse..etc...

If you just wanna look at pictures, however, there's the cover art gallery here and the cover database here.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Novels can be fun? Who knew?

Over at Slate, Ron Rosenbaum enthuses about three detective novels, specifically The Silver Swan by Benjamin Black (a.k.a. John Banville), A Quiet Flame by Philip Kerr and Year of the Dog by Henry Chang. Rosenbaum notes that he enjoyed reading the three detective novels, while he wasn't all that crazy about postmodern abortions like Giles Goat Boy and Infinite Jest . Rosenbaum's taste in crime fiction is predictably tame. I'd have been a lot more impressed if he'd been enthusing about Simenon or Westlake, but hey, at least it's an acknowledgement of genre writing.

SPOILER ALERT: Rosenbaum's article gives away what is undoubtedly a MAJOR PLOT POINT of the forthcoming A Quiet Flame, so if you're planning on reading that one you might want to skip this article. Not cool Rosenbaum.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Leonardo Padura in The Guardian

Leonardo Padura, whose crime fiction is published in English by Bitter Lemon Press, lists his top ten Cuban novels in The Guardian on the occasion of the European publication of Havana Fever (which will come stateside in May.) Fever, set in 2003, revives detective Mario Conde, who has retired from the police force and is now an antiquarian bookseller, who ends up delving into the mystery of a jazz singer who disappeared back before the revolution. I'm very much looking forward to this one.

Wednesday Paperback Cover

Good advice.