Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bullet Points: Pre-SOTU Edition

• Jim Winter’s review of The Bricklayer, the debut thriller by Noah Boyd, appears today in January Magazine. Look for it here.

• While the death of actor Pernell Roberts on Sunday (he was 81 years old) reminded others of his years on Bonanza and Trapper John, M.D., it sent me off to reacquaint myself with his many guest-starring roles on TV crime and mystery dramas. Ivan G. Shreve Jr. reminded me that he appeared over the decades on Mission: Impossible, Hawaii Five-O, Banacek, Ironside, and Mannix. But Roberts was also seen on The Name of the Game, Police Story, Ellery Queen, Bronk, Cannon, Barnaby Jones, Switch, The Streets of San Francisco, The Rockford Files, Quincy, M.E., and Diagnosis: Murder. Those are in addition, of course, to the parts he played in westerns and other non-mystery series. Quite a résumé to toss around.

Moralizing hard-liners never cease to embarrass themselves.

• A quartet of interviews worth reading: The first, with old-hand novelist Ed Gorman (Ticket to Ride), can be found in John Kenyon’s Things I’d Rather Be Doing blog; then Gorman turns around and quizzes J.T. Ellison about her forthcoming paperback release, The Cold Room; Gorman also takes on critic and novelist Jon L. Breen; and J. Sydney Jones talks with Leighton Gage, author of the new Brazil-set mystery, Dying Gasp.

• From an article in last weekend’s New York Times Magazine:
Like most authors, James Patterson started out with one book, released in 1976, that he struggled to get published. It sold about 10,000 copies, a modest, if respectable, showing for a first novel. Last year, an estimated 14 million copies of his books in 38 different languages found their way onto beach blankets, airplanes and nightstands around the world. Patterson may lack the name recognition of a Stephen King, a John Grisham or a Dan Brown, but he outsells them all. Really, it’s not even close. (According to Nielsen BookScan, Grisham’s, King’s and Brown’s combined U.S. sales in recent years still don’t match Patterson’s.) This is partly because Patterson is so prolific: with the help of his stable of co-authors, he published nine original hardcover books in 2009 and will publish at least nine more in 2010.
You will find the whole piece here.

• With tonight bringing President Obama’s first State of the Union (SOTU) address, it’s appropriate that Julie Hyzy, author of the White House Chef mysteries, should provide this week’s entry in the My Book, the Movie blog. Look for her casting suggestions here.

• Busted Flush Press’ 2010 release schedule includes multiple works by Zoë Sharp and Daniel Woodrell, and the first U.S. publication of Donna Moore’s Old Dogs.

• While the rest of the crime-fiction world seems to be championing the late Robert B. Parker, blogger Allen Appel offers some lightly dissenting remarks.

Ah, Casablanca.

I, for one, have never heard the 1950-1951 radio drama The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe, starring Sydney Greenstreet (who, coincidentally, appeared in Casablanca). However, it appears I now have my chance.

• There are just over three months left before the beginning of Malice Domestic XXII in Arlington, Virginia.

More Texas textbook craziness.

• Michael Connelly’s third Mickey Haller novel, The Reversal, won’t go on sale until much later this year. But the author just e-mailed this synopsis to his fans:
Longtime defense attorney Mickey Haller is recruited to change sides and prosecute the high-profile retrial of a brutal child murder. After 24 years in prison, convicted killer Jason Jessup has been exonerated by new DNA evidence. Haller is convinced Jessup is guilty, and he takes the case on the condition that he gets to choose his investigator, LAPD Detective Harry Bosch. Together, Bosch and Haller set off on a case fraught with political and personal danger. Opposing them is Jessup, now out on bail, a defense attorney who excels at manipulating the media, and a runaway eyewitness reluctant to testify after so many years. With the odds and the evidence against them, Bosch and Haller must nail a sadistic killer once and for all. If Bosch is sure of anything, it is that Jason Jessup plans to kill again.
• Wow, I’ll have to find this Ellery Queen novel sometime.

• In what many readers see as a blow to crime-fiction coverage in Canada, the prestigious Globe and Mail newspaper has decided to discontinue carrying critic Margaret Cannon’s regular books column in its print edition, and publish it only online. In a recent note to DorothyL listserv members, author R.J. Harlick wrote:
We believe most people would only read Margaret’s column as part of their Saturday perusal of the printed version of the newspaper and would not take that extra step of reading it online. Moreover many readers of mysteries are in their senior years and aren’t necessarily nimble with computers and the Internet.

If you are a fan of Margaret Cannon’s column and don’t see yourself taking that extra step, we’re asking that you let the Globe & Mail know. You can show your support by joining the Facebook group Don’t Let the Globe & Mail Bury Canadian Crime Fiction and by sending e-mails to the editors, John Stackhouse, and Erika Lang, Hopefully if enough people let them know they want her column back in the print edition, they will pay attention.
• “Who penned the bestselling detective story of the 1800s?” asks Craig Sisterson of Crime Watch blog fame. “Go on, guess ... Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? Wilkie Collins? Edgar Allan Poe?” You might be surprised by the answer.

Is this really the “greatest noir song ever”?

• No wonder people think right-wingers are insensitive ...

• Finally, in the latest installment of his Bookgasm column, “Bullets, Broad, Blackmail & Bombs,” Bruce Grossman takes on a quartet of super spies and features a truly cheesy clip of David Hasselhoff starring as Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Click here.

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