Thursday, July 25, 2013

Bullet Points: Racking Up Records Edition

Depending on which statistics counter you choose to believe--either the one positioned at the bottom of this page’s right-hand column or Blogger’s own tallying software--The Rap Sheet has clocked in between 1.441 million and 1.854 million visitors over its now seven-plus years of existence. What’s not in dispute is that Tuesday’s lengthy post about prolific novelist Ed Gorman was the 5,500th entry on this blog. That’s a hell of a lot of writing--not just by me, but also by The Rap Sheet’s less-frequent cadre of contributors--for the sheer joy of covering this genre in all its forms. I want to thank the blog’s plenitude of readers from all over the globe. You give us the motivation and energy to keep The Rap Sheet going. Now, in other news ...

• This sounds like a most worthwhile project: “In a little less than two weeks, the Great Detectives of Old Time Radio will turn its attention to an almost forgotten character who appeared in books, radio, and movies for over a century,” explains blogger Andrew Graham. “Nick Carter made his debut in 1886, the year before Sherlock Holmes came on the scene in London. That’s where the comparison ends. None of Carter's mysteries or adventures were in the ballpark of the greatest detective of them all, but what Carter didn’t have in quality, he made up for (as best he could) in quantity with hundreds of novels and short stories being written.”
I’ll keep you posted on the debut of this series. In the meantime, refresh your memory of the Carter character here and here.

• In tribute to Dennis Farina, the American actor who died earlier this week at age 69, I’m embedding here the opening titles from Buddy Faro, a short-lived 1998 CBS-TV series in which he played a legendary private eye who vanished in 1978 while trying to track down the woman he loved. Twenty years later, he’s found by a much less talented investigator, played by Frank Whaley, and the two soon go into business together. Yes, the concept was more than a little reminiscent of Dan Dailey’s Faraday and Company (1973-1974), but that fact didn’t make Buddy Faro any less worth watching. Too bad it hasn’t won a DVD release yet.

• James Lee Burke, author of the new Dave Robicheaux mystery, Light of the World (Simon & Schuster), is Jeff Rutherford’s latest guest on the Reading and Writing podcast. You can listen here.

• Some excellent news from Max Allan Collins: After recently welcoming into the world Complex 90, the fifth of Mickey Spillane’s unfinished Mike Hammer novels that he’s completed and brought to market since Spillane’s death seven years ago, Collins now reports that he’s signed with publisher Titan Books to turn three more partial Spillane tales into full Hammer books. “These are smaller fragments (in one case, two fragments combined), but all are significant ... usually two chapters or so with notes,” he says. “What I am really excited about is the era of these novels: it’s the lost years between Kiss Me, Deadly in 1952 and The Girl Hunters in 1961.” Before any of those books sees print, however, Collins has King of the Weeds--“conceived by Mickey as the last Mike Hammer novel”--awaiting publication, presumably in 2014.

• Meanwhile, Canadian author J. Robert Janes, who I had the privilege of interviewing last year, has since published two books: Tapestry, another in his acclaimed mystery series featuring Chief Inspector Jean-Louis St-Cyr of the French Sûreté and his partner, German Detektiv Inspektor Hermann Kohler; and The Hunting Ground, a standalone thriller, also set during World War II. More recently, he let me know that he’s also signed contracts to produce two more novels, Carnival (the 15th St-Cyr/Kohler outing) and Betrayal (another thriller), and has agreed to a TV option on the St-Cyr/Kohler series. “[T]here were two groups interested [in a television adaptation],” Janes tells me. “Both had very strong film and California connections. Story Mining and Supply Company, in Santa Monica, have the option for a year and a half, and it can then be renewed. While I’m sure they will be seeing the project as an international one, I really have had little personal contact as yet, though I did send off a brief run-through of the series (about 14 pages).”

• The second edition of Grift Magazine is now available.

• Responding to a notice, in Ed Gorman’s blog, about the first segment of my interview with that veteran Iowa wordsmith appearing on the Kirkus Reviews Web site, his fellow author, Bill Pronzini, wrote: “Well-deserved accolades and fine interview, Ed. If I had my way, you’d be MWA’s [the Mystery Writers of America’s] next Grand Master.” Hmm. And why shouldn’t that happen? In recent years the MWA has bestowed its highest honor upon Ken Follett and Margaret Maron, Martha Grimes, Sara Paretsky, Dorothy Gilman, James Lee Burke and Sue Grafton, and of course Pronzini himself. Why not Gorman? By the measurements of talent, longevity, and his contributions to the genre, he has certainly earned it! This idea seems worthy of MWA consideration. How can we make that happen?

• Aliya Whiteley has a very good piece in Den of Geek! about English-born American stage and movie performer Claude Rains (1889-1967), the co-star of Casablanca, Notorious, and The Invisible Man. “Rains,” she writes, “brought a quiet realism and a penetrating intelligence to the many movies in which he acted; he could work in any genre and improve any film. Sometimes he played amoral characters, or downright evil ones. Or he could play otherworldly figures--he may be the only actor to play both a devil and an angel.”

• I’m not sure that NBC-TV’s forthcoming “sex ’n’ blood retelling” of Bram Stoker’s Dracula is for me. Watch the trailer here.

• Check out Madison, Wisconsin’s new Mystery to Me bookshop.

A mystery solved at Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion.

• John Connolly’s Charlie “Bird” Parker series gets some love from Shelf Inflicted. Contributor Brandon Sears writes, “If it wasn't for Connolly, I wouldn’t read half of the material I consume each year. His Parker series was a gateway drug that caused me to seek out novel after novel after novel, making sure I always had something new and exciting to read.”

William Schallert, the 91-year-old former co-star of The Patty Duke Show (1963-1966) and The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977-1979), is a guest on the latest episode of Ed Robertson’s nostalgic radio show, TV Confidential. That program airs from July 24 through 30 on stations across the United States. Check the TV Confidential Web page for broadcast dates and times.

• Rap Sheet contributor Gary Phillips has a story in Moonstone’s brand-new pulp-style fiction anthology, The Spider: Extreme Prejudice, edited by Joe Gentile and Tommy Hancock. “In it,” says Phillips, “the dark avenger teams up with Jimmy Christopher, Operator 5, another iconic pulp character who, before [24’s Jack] Bauer and [James] Bond, was the first super spy. He had his own title from 1934 to 1939, and this is the first-ever such pairing of these two in prose.”

• As a onetime resident of Detroit, I’ve been following coverage of that city’s Republican-engineered bankruptcy proceedings with interest. I’ve particularly enjoyed David Sirota’s Salon piece, “Don’t Buy the Right-wing Myth About Detroit,” and Jonathan Cohn’s article in The New Republic, “Three Charts that Show Obama Isn’t to Blame for Detroit’s Bankruptcy.” Fingers crossed for the Motor City’s future.

• I usually avoid 3-D films, but a new IMAX version of The Wizard of Oz--which celebrates that picture’s 75th anniversary in 2014--is being released this coming September, and I might just have to go see it.

• Production on a movie version of the old TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E., starring Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer, is only just gearing up in the UK. But already, it may be facing financial troubles.

• Worth reading in The Atlantic Monthly:Why Stephen King Spends ‘Months and Even Years’ Writing Opening Sentences.”

• Think Progress’ Alyssa Rosenberg ponders the parallels between Florida’s notorious Trayvon Martin murder and director Norman Jewison’s 1967 film, In the Heat of the Night.

• If you have fond memories of the 1970s TV anthology series Police Story (created by Joseph Wambaugh), then you should enjoy Marty McKee’s write-up about the pilot movie for that crime drama.

• BBC One has finally announced the titles of all three episodes to be included in the third season of the TV series Sherlock.

• And is no place on earth safe from being immortalized in a noir-fiction collection? Akashic Books has already brought us myriad such anthologies. Now there’s KL Noir, those initials standing for Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. Pulp Curry’s Andrew Nete writes: “Kuala Lumpur may not seem like the most obvious place to set an anthology of noir fiction. On the surface, at least, it has a reputation as an orderly, well behaved city. But if this book is anything to go by, a lot is going on under the surface.”


Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Well done on reaching you 5,500th - my flabber is properly gasted by such industry - congrats Jeff, a job extremely well done - hope it dgoes on forever.

Bob said...

To let The Rap Sheet end would just be 'murder' to some of us.

Thanks for all of your efforts.

John DuMond said...

Loved Buddy Faro. Funny show.

FYI, the pilot episode of Buddy Faro is posted (in 4 parts) on Youtube.