Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bullet Points: New Year’s Eve Edition

• For this last wrap-up post of 2008, let me begin by mentioning Janet Rudolph’s rundown of New Year’s-related mysteries. Just remember to put down that copy of Lee Harris’ The New Year’s Eve Murder or Jeffery Deaver’s The Devil’s Teardrop in time to watch the televised midnight festivities in New York City or your own hometown.

• Richard Helms, editor of The Back Alley, has posted the latest edition of his fine Webzine. “This is our All-Canadian issue,” he explains, “featuring authors from the land of Labatts and back bacon. Featured authors include Derringer Award winner Nick Andreychuk, Art Montague, Claude Lalumiere, Jason S. Ridler, Steve Olley, and Matthew Fries. We’ll also have a reprint of a 1914 article from The New York Times reviewing and discussing Frank Norris’s first novel, Vandover and the Brute, and Part Four of our serialization of Norris’s massive 1901 naturalistic proto-noir work, McTeague.” Look for the new edition here.

• Meanwhile, Geoff Eighinger reports that the first edition of his new crime-fiction Webzine, Crooked, is now available online. He says it features “short stories from Sandra Seamans, Albert Tucher, Kaye George, Michael S. Chong, Eric Beetner, Cormac Brown and Sandra Ruttan. Also included is an interview with Charles Ardai.” I look forward to seeing the finished, PDF product. Unfortunately, my computer so far refuses to let me look. Try your own luck here.

• Two other Webzine bits: The Winter 2008 edition of Mysterical-E has been posted, and this week’s short-fiction offering from Beat to a Pulp is “Disimpaction,” by Glenn Gray.

• Bookgasm gets in its last end-of-2008 posts today. Editor Rod Lott proclaims Max Allan Collins’ most recent Hard Case Crime paperback, The First Quarry, to be this year’s best novel. He also liked Joseph Wambaugh’s Hollywood Crows, “a seriocomic cop drama that’s stuck with me all year long.” Lott has more reservations about other books produced during the last 12 months. Read all of his comments here. Elsewhere in Bookgasm, “Bullets, Broads, Blackmail & Bombs” columnist Bruce Grossman offers up a list of 10 “great” books from 2008, including Dave Zeltserman’s Small Crimes, Tom Piccirilli’s The Cold Spot, and ThugLit editor Todd Robinson’s short-fiction anthology, Hardcore Hardboiled. More here.

Dragnet, Perry Mason, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and The Twilight Zone are among the many early American TV shows set to be honored with U.S. postage stamps in 2009. Learn more by clicking here, here, and here.

• The Drowning Machine’s Corey Wilde presents his first Lowhead Dam Awards for Crime Fiction, honoring books that particularly caught his attention over the last twelvemonth--both new and older titles. Look for the results here.

• Who are the long-missing fictional detectives readers most want to see return in new books? According to an unscientific poll conducted by Sons of Spade, the winner is Jeremiah Healy’s Boston private eye, John Francis Cuddy, who was last seen in Spiral (1999). It should be mentioned that these results are rather different from what The Rap Sheet found when it conducted a similar survey in 2006. Our findings can be revisited here.

• Super-sleuth Sexton Blake, who was something of a publishing phenomenon back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is set to make a comeback in Great Britain, both in print and on the radio. (Hat tip to Bish’s Beat.)

• Lend her your ears: Euro Crime’s Karen Meek reveals her “favourite audio books of 2008.”

Mystery Scene editor Kate Stine is giving away free copies of her excellent magazine. “All anybody has to do is go to and request one, no obligation,” she explains. Click here to send an e-mail note asking for a copy of your own. (I don’t know whether you can request a particular edition, but it’s worthy trying.) This offer is valid only for U.S. residents.

• Author Leighton Gage has some ideas about how he’d cast a movie made from Buried Strangers, his second mystery featuring Brazilian Chief Inspector Mario Silva. He shares some of his choices with Marshal Zeringue at My Book, the Movie. To learn more about Gage, check out Crime Scraps’ three-part interview with the author, here, here and here.

• Sandra Ruttan (The Frailty of Flesh) is interviewed by Shots contributor Damian Seaman.

• Am I the only person who’d never heard of Warner Baxter’s World War II-era Crime Doctor film series before Ivan G. Shreve Jr. started writing about it at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear? My Netflix list keeps growing longer and longer ...

• One more for the Netflix stack: The Persuaders!: 3 Film Collection, which according to Double O Section “collects all three Persuaders! theatrical releases from the early Seventies: Mission: Monte Carlo, Sporting Chance and The London Conspiracy.” Read more on the set here.

• And this is too bad. Crimespree Cinema’s Jeremy Lynch reports that In Electric Mist, the long-awaited film version of James Lee Burke’s 1993 novel, In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead, is headed straight for DVD.

• More bad news, this time from Independent Crime. Writes Nathan Cain: “I was disappointed to find out today that Shannon Clute and Richard Edwards have discontinued their podcast Behind the Black Mask: Mystery Writers Revealed. You can read their goodbye message here. The good news is that all their episodes are still available, and the change seems to have come, not out of a lack of interest, but because both men have had kids, and jobs, and other good things to put their effort into, including a possible book based on their other podcast, Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir, which still seems to be going strong.”

• They just don’t make TV ads anymore the way they used to do ...

• A little musical tribute to the late, great jazz musician Freddie Hubbard, who died earlier this week at age 70:

• The worst Americans of 2008? Here’s your list.

• I have to admit, I’ve never so much as tried enjoying a novel on an electronic reader such as Amazon’s Kindle. However, e-books are evidently still being turned out for consumers around the world. And sales achievements continue to be watched. According to Mike Stotter’s Shotsmag Confidential blog, “[UK publisher Faber and Faber] is seeing its digital publishing take off, with the first milestone passed this week--sales of 500 copies of the ebook of the new P.D. James, The Private Patient, released simultaneously with the hardback, on 4 September, and priced the same (£18.99). The Private Patient is far and away the e-bestseller and has topped [bookstore] Waterstone’s charts, but the majority of the James backlist is now available, with those titles selling at the regular paperback price of £6.99. The sales are ‘smaller but solid’.”

• Mary Higgins Clark and daughter Carol Higgins Clark talk about their books on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition.

Rhys Bowen interviews Jan Burke, whose brand-new novel is called The Messenger.

• There’s a collection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s medically themed short stories available? Yes, please!

• Tony Spinosa (aka Reed Farrel Coleman) submits his second Joe Serpe novel, The Fourth Victim, to the infamous Page 99 Test. Results are here.

• Finally, I really ought to get around to reading one or two of Thomas B. Dewey’s novels in 2009. This definitely represents a hole in my education.

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