Saturday, June 16, 2007

You Gonna Do Something With Those Leads?

Sheesh! I play hooky from The Rap Sheet for just a couple of days, and what do I find upon returning? A high-stacked Inbox of noteworthy developments. That’ll serve me right to take a breather, when duty calls. Anyway, let’s take it from the top:

• Kevin Burton Smith & Co. have posted their latest update of The Thrilling Detective Web Site, complete with new fiction from Patricia Abbott (“A Saving Grace”), Michael Bracken (“My Client’s Wife”), and others; a fine excerpt from Peter Spiegelman’s newest novel, Red Cat; the latest installment of Detective Fork, Kevin J. Guhl’s comic series; and--the best part--new or updated entries in Thrilling Detective’s fantastic database of information about fictional sleuths and sidekicks, this edition’s additions including notes about Joe Pike, Timothy Cone, Poke Rafferty, and Jack Starr. In a post at his separate Thrilling Detective Blog, editor Smith observes that his site is nearing its 10th anniversary (“TEN YEARS! No wonder some people are pissed off!”). Let’s hope he’s planning something big to celebrate.

• Congratulations are owed to UK crime writers Simon Kernick and Mark Mills, whose latest novels--Relentless and The Savage Garden, respectively--are among the eight books chosen for reading this summer by Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, co-hosts of Britain’s immensely popular Richard & Judy TV-magazine show. (If you’re unaware of Richard and Judy, they’re the British equivalent of Oprah Winfrey, in terms of television book advocates.) The other half-dozen are non-crime fiction titles. Since this likely means tremendously enhanced sales figures for Kernick and Mills, the next round of beers will be on them.

• Independent Crime’s Nathan Cain remarks on a handful of full novels now being made available online. (To these, he might have added Rob Kantner’s suspense work, Clean Slate.) If you know of any other examples of crime, mystery, or thriller novels unrolling exclusively on the Web, please let us--and other Rap Sheet readers--know in the Comments section below.

• Clayton Moore’s latest “Mystery Strumpet” column in Bookslut carries a conspicuously Thai flavor, for he reviews two novels set in colorful Bangkok: John Burdett’s Bangkok Haunts (“His reluctant hero [Sonchai Jitpleecheep] is one of the most complex, well-written characters to emerge in crime fiction in the past decade”) and Timothy Hallinan’s A Nail Through The Heart (“It’s a Gordian Knot of storylines, some of which might be a bit superfluous, but they ultimately unravel in a satisfying fashion”). You can read Moore’s whole column here.

• Sandra Ruttan has ideas not only about who should star in a movie version of her first novel, Suspicious Circumstances (Question: What do The X-Files and Ruttan’s conspiracy-laden debut have in common?), but some very specific suggestions as to directors and writers. Read her musings at My Book, the Movie.

• For fans of private-eye fiction who are looking to expand their reading beyond American and British books, Crime Down Under blogger Damien Gay has now produced useful guides to both Australian male P.I.s and their female counterparts. What’s surprising is that the latter list is actually longer than the former. Could it really be that women rule the gumshoe (gumheel?) trade in the world’s smallest continent?

• This next week will bring the U.S. release of Lovejoy, Season 1, starring Ian McShane as the slightly unscrupulous and delightfully lecherous, one-named British antiques dealer introduced by doctor-turned-author Jonathan Gash (né John Grant) in 1977’s The Judas Pair. The TV series Lovejoy ran originally on BBC One from 1986 to 1994. By the way, Gash/Grant has a new Lovejoy novel--his 24th, if I have my math right--coming out this August in Britain, Bad Girl Magdalene (Allison & Busby).

• And novelist Elaine Viets (Murder with Reservations), who suffered a stroke in April, updates readers on her condition--and her bad-hair nightmares--at The Lipstick Chronicles. Good to see you back, Elaine.

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