Friday, April 20, 2012

Bullet Points: Feet Up on Friday Edition

• Actor Johnny Depp has already turned Dark Shadows from a vintage TV soap opera into a new big-screen film production. Now it seems he wants to develop “a feature version of the ’70s TV movie The Night Stalker,” which introduced reporter-cum-monster hunter Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) to the viewing public, and led to a short-lived Kolchak TV series. Let’s just hope Depp doesn’t try to make Stalker into a comedy, the way he did Dark Shadows.

• Almost a year ago, I mentioned on this page that I had contributed several pieces to an encyclopedic work titled 100 American Crime Writers, which was being brought out by British publisher Palgrave Macmillan. Now a cover for the book has finally been released (see the image at right), and word is that 100 American Crime Writers--all 320 pages of it--will be released on June 29.

• Today’s Web-wide crop of “forgotten books” posts includes write-ups about Philip McCutchan’s The Dead Line, Christopher Bush’s The Case of the Chinese Gong, Caroline Graham’s The Killings at Badger’s Drift, Thomas Kindon’s Murder in the Moor, Walter Satterthwait’s Joshua Croft series, and many more unjustly overlooked works of crime fiction. You’ll find a full list in Patti Abbott’s blog.

• Shotsmag Confidential reports that UK publisher Orion has now “acquired two novels from CWA Gold Dagger winner Robert Wilson. The first title, Capital Punishment, opens a new crime series featuring Charles Boxer, ex-army, ex-police with a specialty in kidnap and rescue. He is hired to find Alyshia D’Cruz, the kidnapped daughter of an Indian billionaire. Capital Punishment is due to be published in January 2013.” More on that book can be found here.

• Happy 50th anniversary to the film Cape Fear, which debuted in theaters on April 12, 1962, starring Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck.

• In addition to its e-book release this week of Gar Anthony Haywood’s Aaron Gunner private-eye novels, Mysterious Press is also making available--again in electronic versions--back titles from Jeremiah Healy’s John Cuddy series and Stephen Marlowe’s Chester Drum series, as well as two works by Horace McCoy: They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? and Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.

• This is terrible news! The century-old Sam Wo Restaurant in San Francisco is closing its doors. I’ve been to Sam Wo’s many times. It was a wonderful eccentric eatery, multi-storied and loud with the chatter of Chinese diners and the clatter of plates. I loved every visit!

Agatha Christie’s most oft-overlooked work?

Get a free peek at the opening chapter of Vertigo’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo graphic novel, which is due out in November.

• Portrait of a City Bookstore in Los Angeles’ Studio City neighborhood will be closing its doors on May 17 after more than a quarter-century in business.

• The Los Angeles Review of Books Web site has been relaunched with a handsome new look and an easy functionality. Click here to investigate further.

• I can usually go along with changes made to The Associated Press Stylebook. But the editors’ recent decision to accept the usage of the word “hopefully” as meaning “it’s hoped” or “we hope” just won’t cut it. That word actually means “in a hopeful manner,” as used in the sentence “We look forward hopefully to next year’s Christmas festivities.” The last time I balked at such a stylistic concession pertained to the acceptance of “website” in place of “Web site.” Now I have to hold the barricades against this usage of “hopefully.” Good thing I’m not alone in this fight. (More here.)

• Deborah Lacy of Criminal Element showcases television’s sloppiest sleuths, “character[s] who [make] mistakes to move the story along.”

What a fabulous book cover!

• This ought to be interesting: The original legal contract for the novel Dracula, “hand-written by [author Bram] Stoker himself and which has been kept under lock and key, is to be published in a new version of the vampire tale. It reveals the terms dictated by Stoker--who studied law but never practised--in negotiating a 20 per cent royalty fee for the book on 1 May 1897. This was remarkable at the time and is more than modern authors and their agents can command with the current standard of 10 to 15 per cent.” The Independent offers more on this subject here.

• Sunday is Earth Day, so Janet Rudolph has assembled a rundown of environmental mysteries for consideration.

• Meanwhile, Elizabeth Foxwell points out that “Valancourt Books’ new edition of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Parasite (1894) and Stoker’s The Watter’s Mou (1894) features a 1907 interview of Conan Doyle by Stoker.” That should certainly be worth reading.

• When I interviewed actor James Garner last fall, I made sure to ask him about the 1971-1972 NBC-TV western Nichols, which I knew was a favorite project of his. Most people who read this blog probably don’t remember Nichols, as it was cancelled so fast and hasn’t made it to DVD format (though I hope it will someday). So I was surprised but pleased to see Marty McKee, of Johnny LaRue’s Crane Shot, post a complete episode guide to the series. Way to go, Marty!

• Gee, I wonder why this dance never caught on ...

• Amid all of last week’s Titanic hoopla, it was announced that Erik Larson--author of The Devil in the White City and In the Garden of Beasts--is writing his next non-fiction work about the 1915 sinking of quite another ship disaster, that of the RMS Lusitania.

• William Boyd, the British author chosen to pen the next James Bond novel, tells The Daily Telegraph why he was interested in taking on this project. Watch the video here.

• Alan Furst’s 2008 novel, The Spies of Warsaw, is being adapted as a three-hour-long miniseries for BBC America. Former Doctor Who star David Tennant will lead the cast of this spy thriller set in Poland.

• UK publisher Angry Robot has announced the coming debut of its crime-fiction imprint, Exhibit A, which will be headed up by Emlyn Rees, author of the thriller Hunted.

• And even the National Rifle Association isn’t stupid enough to allow musician, NRA board member, and right-wing kook Ted Nugent to continue spewing his ridiculous anti-Obama hatred online.

1 comment:

John said...

Excited about the release of 100 American Crime Writers. The US amazon site (not my favorite place to purchase books) is offering it at a slight discount as a pre-order. The book retails at $85 which is more like an investment than a purchase for me. At least I'll get free shipping.