Thursday, September 23, 2010

Running the Links

• Sixty-one-year-old Canadian author Kerry J. Schooley died on Tuesday, September 21, of “apparent heart attack,” according to The Gumshoe Site’s Jiro Kimura. “Schooley co-edited (with Peter Sellers) noir anthologies such as Iced (2001), Hard-Boiled Love (2003), and Revenge (2004, all three from Insomniac Press),” Kimura recalls. “Under the  John Swan pseudonym, he wrote noir fiction: The Rouge Murders (a story collection; Jasper, 1996) and Sap (a novel; Insomniac Press 2004) featuring former cop John Swan.” A favorable review of Hard-Boiled Love was featured in the original Rap Sheet back in 2003.

• British-born Canadian novelist Peter Robinson (Bad Boy) has won this year’s Harbourfront Festival Prize. The commendation will be given to him on the closing night of next month’s International Festival of Authors in Toronto. (Hat tip to Mystery Fanfare.)

• With the opening of Philadelphia’s NoirCon 2010 fast approaching, in early November, blogger Cullen Gallagher has posted an interview with organizer Lou Boxer that covers the convention’s history, this year’s special guests and award recipients, and his own interest in noir fiction.

Here’s another interview worth reading, this one with actor Stephen Tompkinson, who will portray Peter Robinson’s police protagonist, Alan Banks, in a British television adaptation of the 2002 novel, Aftermath, that begins its two-part run this coming Monday on ITV. That presentation is also the pilot for a full DCI Banks series.

• The first big wave of changes under President Obama’s historic health-care overhaul go into effect today--not a moment too soon. Youll find more on those changes here.

• Television blogger Brent McKee offers a detailed critique of CBS’ new rebooted series, Hawaii Five-O. He’s disappointed that “there seems to have been no effort made to use local Hawaiian talent in the show, particularly Polynesian-Americans,” and writes that the first episode’s pacing was “frenetic, and to my mind this pace left too much unexplained.” Yet McKee likes the new program’s conscientious attention to its characters’ back stories (something that wasn’t done much with the original, 1968-1980 show), and he calls it “a safe bet for CBS in this time slot. ... It builds off an established name and concept and doesn’t do much in the way of pushing the envelope. This may be something that the professional critics, and amateur reviewers like me may bemoan on occasion, but I think that we all have to admit that this is a formula that works. It’s a formula that CBS is riding, cautiously, all the way to the bank.” itll be interesting to see whether CBS’ bet pays off.

• Which Nordic crime novels are most worth your time? The Boston Globe’s Katherine A. Powers has two suggestions. (Hat tip to In Reference to Murder,)

The Kansas City Star looks at the rising wave of Russia-set crime stories, with quotes from Martin Cruz Smith and Sam Eastland.

Historian Loren Latker proposes drinking a toast (with gimlets, of course) come next Valentine’s Day, when the remains of author Raymond Chandler and his wife, Cissy, are reunited during a celebration at the writer’s grave in San Diego, California’s Mount Hope Cemetery

• “The UK’s foreign intelligence agency MI6 published the first authorized history of its early years Tuesday,” reports Agence France-Presse, “revealing the exploits of both real-life James Bonds and its worst ever traitor.”

• Editor, critic, and bookstore proprietor Otto Penzler has posted a list of five authors he calls “the future masters of noir.” His picks: Scott Wolven, Tom Franklin, Christopher Coake, Ken Bruen, and Stuart Neville.

• Reception of the Republican Party’s new midterm elections manifesto, its lobbyist-authoredPledge to America,” isn’t going as well as members hoped. One critic dismisses the rundown of right-wing legislative priorities as the “world’s saddest to-do list,” at the same time as others laugh at its radical “tenther” view of the Constitution and scoff at how it “avoids the hard choices of governance.” Meanwhile, Salon editor Joan Walsh denounces one of the Republicans’ most controversial ideas: privatizing and eventually dismantling Social Security.

• This selection might be intended for writers, rather than readers. lists “20 Must-Read Forensics Books.”

• The e-zine Bare•bones has posted (or rather re-posted) a list, by novelist Bill Crider, of “Fifteen Paperbacks You Might Have Missed.” I’m sorry to say that I have only read about half of the books myself.

• Also from Bare•bones: the beginning of a series about crime-fiction digests. Today’s focus is on Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine.

Spinetingler Magazine’s Brian Lindenmuth writes in the Mulholland Books blog about crime fiction’s “anti-canon,” novels that “have either absorbed the history of the genre without being encumbered by it or have chosen to ignore it. This is crime fiction that fights against regressive trends and forces and looks ahead.”

• First there were vehicle drivers distracted by jabbering on their cell phones. Then others decided it was a reasonable idea to send text messages from behind the wheel. Now this!

• And an announcement of who has won the inaugural Ngaio Marsh Award for Best [New Zealand] Crime Novel, originally to be made during the 2010 The Press Christchurch Writers’ Festival, has been set back due to an earthquake that cancelled the festival. Blogger Craig Sisterson says the name of the prize winner will instead be revealed “sometime in the coming weeks (likely in November).” If you’ve forgotten which books are contending for this prize, click here.

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