Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Bullet Points: Abundance of Riches Edition

• Until today, I’d forgotten about the news--reported last October--that Warner Bros. and producer Joel Silver had bought the film rights to The Galton Case, Ross Macdonald’s 1959 turning-point novel starring Los Angeles private eye Lew Archer. But now comes word that controversial journalist-turned-screenwriter Peter Landesman has been hired to adapt Macdonald’s story for the big screen. (Hat tip to Craig Pittman.)

• Yesterday marked 25 years since the theatrical opening of Angel Heart, director Alan Parker’s film adaptation of the 1978 horror-detective novel Falling Angel, by William Hjortsberg. Critic Edward Copeland has an excellent anniversary tribute here.

• How did I miss this news? Steve Hamilton (Die a Stranger) has been chosen as the new president of the Private Eye Writers of America, while O’Neil De Noux (New Orleans Confidential) is the organization’s latest vice president. Congratulations to both men!

• I also didn’t mention that the Winter 2012 edition of Plots with Guns is currently available online. Contributors this time include Eric J. Bandel, Taylor Brown, Nick Ripatrazone, and Craig Renfroe.

• I’ve been wondering what became of author J. Robert Janes, who wrote a dozen World War II-era mysteries featuring Sûreté detective Jean-Louis St-Cyr and his unlikely partner, Gestapo Detektiv Inspektor Hermann Kohler. His last installment of that series was Flykiller, which I wrote about in the old Rap Sheet newsletter back in 2002. But just today I stumbled across a new note on his Web site that reads:
In December 2011, I signed two contracts with The Mysterious Press in New York. They will publish the complete St-Cyr and Kohler series, all 12 of them, in e-book form and print-on-demand, releasing one a month throughout 2012. They will also publish a new mystery, the 13th in the series, Bellringer, so please watch for these.
So far, there’s no mention of Janes’ work on the Mysterious Press Web site, but I’m looking forward especially to reading Bellringer. St-Cyr and Kohler have been out of the limelight for too long.

• When you get a chance, check out Christopher Lyons’ long and thoughtful piece on the Violent World of Parker site. Titled “The Man Who Doesn’t Wink,” it’s apparently the first installment of a two-part essay about the complex emotional and moral qualities of Donald E. Westlake’s professional-thief series protagonist.

• Blogger Rob Mallows is one lucky son of a gun.

• You knew this was coming sometime: “an entire crime book composed of 140-character tweets.” It’s called Executive Severance and was written (tweeted?) by Robert K. Blechman. Crime Fiction Lover has an excerpt. A short one, of course.

• Efforts continue to save Undershaw, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s onetime home in Surrey. D.E. Meredith provides an update.

Say good-bye to Denver’s Book Fair.

• I’ve never read The Notting Hill Mystery, by Charles Felix (aka Charles Warren Adams). But judging from J.F. “John” Norris’ comments in Pretty Sinister Books, I should spare no speed in tracking down a copy of that 1863 work. He describes it as “an excellent Victorian sensation novel of crime and the supernatural that has been called by genre historian and crime writer Julian Symons ‘the first detective novel.’” The British Library offers a new reprint edition, which Norris says “includes the original illustrations.”

• Oh, well, back to the idea mill. “Scarcely a month after CBS ordered a pilot for a crime drama titled Quean, Warner Bros. has shut down production,” reports Omnimystery News. “The series premise was described as a tattooed female computer hacker, who helps the Oakland (Calif.) police solve crimes. If the character sounds familiar, it should: it is a clone of Lisbeth Salander in ‘The Millennium Trilogy’ by Stieg Larsson. Apparently Sony Pictures, which holds the U.S. rights to the adaptations of Larsson’s books, took exception to the description and threatened to take legal action.”

• Not surprisingly, the tattooed Ms. Salander appears on Flavorwire’s list of “10 of the Most Powerful Female Characters in Literature.”

Matthew Pearl submits his new historical mystery, The Technologists, to Marshal Zeringue’s Page 69 Test. Results are here.

• Good news for Robert Wilson fans: Sky Atlantic HD has begun production, in Seville, Spain, on the first TV film based on Wilson’s four Javier Falcón novels (which include The Blind Man of Seville, one of January Magazine’s favorite books of 2003). Meanwhile, CrimeFicReader (aka Rhian Davies) has posted info about Wilson’s next novel, Capital Punishment, due out in January 2013.

This new book about actor Henry Darrow might be just the thing for fans of the 1974-1976 ABC-TV series Harry O. Darrow co-starred as San Diego Police Lieutenant Manny Quinlan, the first police contact for gumshoe Harry Orwell (played by David Janssen).

Who will perform the title song for the 23rd James Bond motion picture, Skyfall, due out in October? Can we really expect a collaboration between Queen and Lady Gaga?

• Eighty-three-year-old actor James Hong, who--in his long career on the big and small screens--played a cook on Switch, an eye manufacturer in Blade Runner, a low-rent private eye in Black Widow, and was often seen on the 1970s TV series Kung Fu, will be celebrated during an April 9-14 blogathon spearheaded by the Lost Video Archive. A schedule of posts is available here.

• Elmore Leonard has his 10 rules of writing. But it seems George Orwell had six rules of his own to share with active and hopeful wordsmiths. Neither, of course, is perfect.

• The publication date of The Kings of Cool, Don Winslow’s prequel to his 2010 novel, Savages, has been moved up to June 26.

NPR gives The Singing Detective some anniversary love.

• And far be it from me to suggest that BBC America’s forthcoming paranormal drama, The Dead Beat--about “two cops, one dead and one alive, [who] become a reluctant team, working from leads in the world of the dead to track down killers in the world of the living”--isn’t exactly a new idea. But doesn’t that description make it sound an awful lot like the 1969-1970 British series Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)? Hey, I’m just saying ...


David Cranmer said...

I just read The Galton Case for the first time. A great choice for an Archer film. Fingers crossed they do it right.

John said...

The Bond producers would be fools not to ask Adele to sing the movie theme. She'd guarantee a hit and generate a bankful of cash, I think even moreso than a Queen/Gaga partnership. I love Queen (especially in the Freddie Mercury heyday), but the younguns who dole out the money at iTunes and everywhere else probably haven't a clue who they are.

BTW - Thanks for the link to my blog post.

Robert K. Blechman said...

Thanks for the mention! You can read the rest of Chapter 1 of Executive Severance at "Whale Fire" the companion blog at


Bob Blechman