Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Post-Spam-Blocked Round-up

• Among the dozens of books nominated to receive this year’s Quill Awards, broken down into 18 categories, are half a dozen mystery/suspense novels:

-- The Collaborator of Bethlehem, by Matt Beynon Rees (Soho Press)
-- What the Dead Know, by Laura Lippman (Morrow )
-- Body of Lies, by David Ignatius (Norton)
-- The Overlook, by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)
-- A Welcome Grave, by Michael Koryta (St. Martin’s Minotaur)

Quill winners are to be chosen by “a Voting Board consisting of more than 6,000 booksellers and librarians ...,” according to the awards’ Web site. “On September 10th, the winners will be announced to the public. From September 10th through October 10th, book consumers will be very much involved by casting their votes [here] for ‘The Book of the Year,’ selecting from the group of 18 Quill Award winners.” All of the commendations will be presented “during a gala ceremony” in New York City on October 22, 2007--an event which will then be broadcast as a one-hour NBC-TV special (hosted by the Today show’s Al Roker) on Saturday, October 27, 2007.

Salon’s new rundown of summer reads (to “add sizzle to your beach book list”) is ... well, nothing remarkable, though it’s nice to see Laura Lippman, Peter Temple, and Val McDermid all represented. See the write-ups here.

• Speaking of Aussie writer Temple, he’s the subject of an all-too-short interview in Time Out New York. You’ll find that here.

• Meanwhile, Joe Queenan has a few (pretty funny) things to say in The New York Times Book Review about the concept of the summer reading list. Read them here.

• And for some pre-summer reading, there are new issues out now of two generally reliable Webzines: The spring 2007 “Noir Blues” issue Hardluck Stories, containing short fiction from Jeff Kerr (“Mississippi Saxophone”), Bryon Quertermous (“Cadaver Dog”), and Miles Archer (“The Black Hole”), among others; and the June 2007 edition of ThugLit, rolling out stories by Kieran Shea (“Organ Grind”), Ed Lynskey (“Lead Rosary”), and Geoff Hyatt (“The Petrifying”). Founder-editor Todd “Big Daddy Thug” Robinson also delivers the “big news” that Kensington Books has agreed to publish three annual anthologies of ThugLit tales. Book No. 1 is scheduled for publication in the spring of 2008. Congrats, guys.

• I wasn’t a big fan of this 1975-1976 TV series starring Tony Franciosa, but it definitely boasted a cool theme, composed by Morton Stevens (who also gave us the theme from Hawaii Five-O).

• Wow! I thought I was happy with artist Glen Orbik’s illustration for the cover of Christa Faust’s first novel for Hard Case Crime, Money Shot, due out in February 2008. But it may actually be rivaled by Gregory Manchess’s just-released artwork for Zero Cool, the second HCC outing for author “John Lange” (better known as Michael Crichton), due out next March. (Just click on the images to increase their size.) Ah, what I wouldn’t give to be an art director at Hard Case, and have to entertain Jennifer Connelly look-alike Meredith Napolitano and all those other poor, sexy cover models ...

• Blogger-novelist Declan Burke goes mano-a-mano with Northern Ireland wordsmith Adrian McKinty (The Bloomsday Dead) over at Crime Always Pays. Read their exchange here.

• San Francisco writer Cara Black missed out on contributing to The Rap Sheet’s recent overlooked-books extravaganza. But the author, most recently, of Murder on the Ile Saint-Louis didn’t want to be left out. So she sent along this write-up about her own favorite underappreciated novel--a bit late, but worthy nonetheless. And what’s your choice, Cara?
It’s Berlin Noir, by Phillip Kerr--the trilogy of March Violets, The Pale Criminal, and A German Requiem.
I read Berlin Noir every few years to realize what great writing is, how sense of place and time is captured, and how skillfully humor--a very black Berlin humor--is injected into writing. This trilogy starts with Bernie Gunther as a Berlin policeman in 1936, in March Violets (a term of derision which original Nazis used to describe late converts). The Olympic Games are about to start; some of Bernie’s Jewish friends are beginning to realize that they should have left while they could; and Gunther himself has been hired to look into two murders that reach high into the Nazi Party. In The Pale Criminal, it’s 1938, and Gunther has been blackmailed into rejoining the police by [Reinhard] Heydrich himself. And in A German Requiem, the saddest and most disturbing of the three books, it’s 1947 as Gunther stumbles across a nightmare landscape that conceals even more death than he imagines.
• At Criminal Brief, the new blog about short crime fiction, Steven Steinbock offers up what he promises is only the first installment on a list of his 13 favorite mystery anthologies. Look here, and see if you agree with his choices.

• Bruce Grossman has a few more words to say about brief criminal yarns, as he assesses a trio of collections (by Hank Janson, Richard S. Prather, and Mickey Spillane) in Bookgasm’s latest “Bullets, Broads, Blackmail & Bombs” column. You can read his musings here.

• At My Book, the Movie, novelist-screenwriter Robert Ward talks about who he’d like to see star in a future film production based on his latest novel, Four Kinds of Rain (2006). His virtual casting couch can be found here.

• Brian Lindenmuth takes on Duane Swierczynski (Severance Package) over at Fantasy Book Spot.

• And finally, British author Peter James (Not Dead Enough) answers 10 questions for Material Witness blogger Ben Hunt. Our favorite line comes in answer to Hunt’s query about who James would like to have star in a movie about his own life: “Scarlett Johannsen with facial hair and a chest rug.” The entirety of James’ responses can be found here.

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