Wednesday, January 27, 2010


112 books survived the fire. i've lost more books than 99 percent of people ever read in a lifetime. also, god is a westlake fan. it's official. now i just have to figure out what's gone.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


thanks to everyone who has expressed concern.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fucking Heartbreak

My fucking books.

A Programming Note

Last night, my apartment building went up in flames. So, obviously I have some business to attend to. (I have insurance, so things should work out), but the blog is suspended until further notice. Hopefully, the hiatus won't last too long.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Co-founder of Soho Press Dies

Laura Chapman Hruska, co-founder of Soho Press, has died.

Your Delayed Wednesday Paperback Cover

The first edition of Frank McCauliffe's Of All the Bloody Cheek. I have some good news to go with this cover. JT Lindroos, formerly of Pointblank and currently of The Outfit, has recently let slip that he has just sent a McCauliffe's unpulished Mandrell manuscript, Kill the President? You Must be Mad, to the printer, and it should be available in the not too distant future.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Wednesday Paperback Cover

is delayed until tomorrow when I can actually scan and crop it. It's worth the wait, though.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Noted hack and blogger Keith Rawson has been pimping this mysterious new site Crimefactory on Twitter for a while now. It would appear to be a new 'zine. Obviously, it's still under construction, but I must admit I'm intrigued.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Review of Rage

The adjective that comes to mind when considering Sergio Bizzio’s novel Rage, (Bitter Lemon Press, 2009), is Ballardian. That may seem like praise, but it’s hard to say. Ballard’s novels are novels of disconnection and alienation, of men and women who are ciphers even to themselves, drifting through the modern world distanced from any real human connections by technology and the strange, solitary, sanitized nature of modern life. In short, Ballard was preoccupied with the death of community, and the great lengths people will go to to feel something, anything. As such, they are often difficult to read. They're certainly not what Graham Greene would have labeled "entertainments."

While, Rage, is a novel of isolation, similar to say, Concrete Island, where a man is stranded in a secret world on an island in the middle of a highway, it is also shot through with a Marxist critique of a decaying society where the gap between the rich and the poor is so large that the poor can, quite literally, disappear in the huge, empty homes of the doomed rich. It is also a novel of strong emotions, as the title implies, and strong emotions are often lacking in Ballard's work.

Jose Maria, a construction worker, falls in love with Rosa, the beautiful, but poor housekeeper of a rich Argentine family. At first, things are going well, as the two find time to be together, but then Jose Maria kills his foreman in a fit of rage and goes into hiding. He picks, as his hiding spot, the huge home of Rosa employers, where he takes up residence in a room no one uses. In his new role as fugitive and voyeur, Jose Maria spies on his former lover as well as the family for whom she works. He learns their secrets, and witnesses their bad behavior. He uses the home’s second line to sneak secret phone calls to Rosa, but will not tell her his whereabouts.

He does adopt a role as her protector and avenger, however. When one family member rapes her, Jose Maria kills him and tries to make it look like an accident. The family quickly covers it up to prevent disgrace. When Rosa’s new boyfriend knocks her up and refuses to take responsibility, Jose Maria sneaks out of the house and murders him as well. From there, he takes up the improbable role of invisible father, forcing a shady relative to deliver money to Rosa, and sneaking time with the baby once he is born.

Of course, Jose Maria can’t hide from Rosa forever. Their reunion, and the end of the book overall, are somewhat puzzling. Without getting into spoilers, it’s a little difficult to decipher Jose Maria’s fate is supposed to mean. Then again, maybe that’s just another way Bizzio is similar to Ballard.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Disassembled Man Optioned for Film

Well, damn. I would have never predicted this in a million years. While I liked Nate Flexer's debut, The Disassembled Man, it never entered my head that someone would option the film rights. I ended my review thusly:

The Disassembled Man is remarkable for its ugliness. It's hard to think of a book with a character as despicable as Frankie Avicious. It turns out he has valid reasons for being as twisted as he is, but his unapologetic homicidal mania may be difficult for some to stomach.

It would be very hard to imagine this movie as even a hard R, provided of course it ever gets out of development hell. Still, good on Nate. Hope it works out.

Revisionist Fiction

I never said much about the whole Harlequin reprint scandal because there wasn't much to say. The entire reprint series was such a transparent bid to cash in on Hard Case Crime's success that the books didn't catch my interest much. When I found out that the published novels were expurgated, I wasn't really surprised. Harlequin is very good a publishing novels for a certain audience, and the overlap between bored housewives and fans of vintage hard boiled fiction is practically nil. It doesn't surprise me that Harlequin decided to make the novels safe for housewives everywhere. The entire reason Hard Case is successful is because Charles Ardai is a huge fan of the genre, and he separates the wheat from the chaff. And once he's collected the wheat he doesn't piss all over it. You know what you're getting, and what you're getting is the real thing.

Well, over at noirboiled, there is an interesting post comparing the new version of I'll Bury My Dead with the Harlequin original. It's well worth reading. A lot of the changes are inexplicable. I mean, why bother?

Wednesday Paperback Cover

I didn't know Harlan Ellison wrote rock 'n roll.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Musical Interlude

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit cover Patterson Hood's song "The Assassin."

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Return of Moe Prager

If you scroll down to item 8 on this news dump from Tyrus books, you'll get a surprise. It looks like Reed Farrell Coleman is bringing Moe Prager back this year. I'm not sure where Coleman is going with this, since Empty Ever After felt like the natural end of Prager's story to me. Coleman did a superb job with the long, overarching story arc in the first five novels, and now that it's all been cleared up (well cleared up is probably not the term for it, but then neither is resolved), I'm not sure where he's going to take the story now.

Wednesday Paperback Cover

Bidding a belated goodbye to the last decade.
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