Monday, November 25, 2013

Bullet Points: Pre-Turkey Day Edition

Having now concluded my altogether impromptu weeklong vacation, I’m back to (among other things) the business of collecting crime-fiction news bits that don’t necessarily merit their own posts.

• Craig Sisterson, the energetic editor and writer behind New Zealand’s annual Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel, reports that “this year has seen the closest results in the history of the award. The winner, by a whisker, will be announced on 2 December.” In the meantime, check that link above for an assessment of all four contestants for the 2013 prize. And click here to learn how you can pick up a free, “personally signed copy of the winning book.”

• Crime Scraps’ Uriah Robinson (aka Norman Price) brings word that The Missing File, by D.A. (Dror) Mishani, has become the first Israeli work to win Sweden’s Martin Beck Award for best translated crime novel. That book, published in Sweden as Utsuddade spar (and translated by Nils Larsson), had been shortlisted for the prize along with translations of S.J. Bolton’s Immortal, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, Jo Nesbø’s Police, and Ferdinand von Schirach’s Case Collini. Meanwhile, Christoffer Carlsson captured the 2013 Best Swedish Crime Novel Award for his book Den osynlige mannen från Salem (The Invisible Man from Salem), beating out works by Arne Dahl, Håkan Nesser, Johan Theorin, and Katarina Wennstam. UPDATE: Shotsmag Confidential adds that Thomas Engström’s novel Väster om friheten (West of Liberty) has picked up the Swedish Crime Academy’s award for Best Debut Novel.

Kirkus Reviews has proclaimed its favorite mysteries and thrillers of 2013, including novels by Max Barry, James Lee Burke, Meg Gardiner, Stephen King, Maurizio de Giovanni, and Kevin Egan. I didn’t have any input into these selections. My own list of favorites from the last 12 months should be posted on the Kirkus site tomorrow.

• Speaking of Kirkus, another of its contributors, Clayton Moore, offers up a new interview with Charles Ardai, the editor-publisher of Hard Case Crime. The biggest part of their posted exchange covers the “no less than eight under-the-radar novels” Michael Crichton penned as “John Lange,” and which Hard Case is republishing. However, they also talk about some pending releases (including Lawrence Block’s Borderline) and such “lost” works as Charles Willeford’s Grimmhaven.

• Watch for the December 17 debut, on PBS-TV channels, of How Sherlock Changed the World. Described as “a new two-hour special about the world’s most legendary fictional detective,” it “reveals the astonishing impact Holmes has had on the development of real criminal investigation and forensic techniques. From blood to ballistics, from fingerprints to footprints, Sherlock Holmes was 120 years ahead of his time, protecting crime scenes from contamination, looking for minute traces of evidence, and searching for what the eye couldn't see.” Click here to watch a short segment from the special, in which forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee talks about how Holmes’ deductive reasoning has impacted modern crime-scene studies.

• John Harvey has won the inaugural Goldsmiths Prize, which celebrates fiction that “breaks the mould or opens up new possibilities for the novel form.” Congratulations, sir!

• I’m late in noting this, but publisher Open Road Integrated Media is “celebrating mysteries and history from the 1890s to today” with a giveaway contest offering eight titles from its e-book list. According to its posted rules, the contest will end this coming Friday night, November 29. Click here to find out more.

Spinetingler Magazine picks10 Underestimated Noir Authors Everyone Should Know.” I’m pleased to say that I have read fiction by most, though not all, of the authors named.

• It’s the crime drama that wont die! After already being cancelled twice by AMC-TV, The Killing--a pale U.S. version of the popular Danish show Forbrydelsen--is coming back for a “fourth and final limited season,” this time on Netflix. “The six-episode series finale, produced by Fox Television Studios, will be made available only to Netflix streaming subscribers,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

• Crimepieces blogger Sarah Ward has posted a good two-part report about this last weekend’s Iceland Noir festival of crime fiction, held in Reykjavik. Part I can found enjoyed here, while Part II is here. Ward promises to put up a final installment in this series tomorrow.

• Quentin Bates, author of the Sergeant Gunnhildur Gísladóttir mysteries (Chilled to the Bone), delivers his own early thoughts on the Iceland Noir conference here.

• Author-screenwriter Lee Goldberg has spent much of the last week looking back appreciatively at vintage TV themes. Here he recalls “12 TV Shows That Changed Their Theme Song,” among them Kojak and Magnum, P.I. Here are 14 more programs that replaced their original themes, including The Bold Ones and Nash Bridges; and look here to find eight more examples, the most infamous of that bunch being Hardcastle and McCormick. Click here to revisit TV series that removed lyrics from their openings, and here to be reminded of shows that changed both their themes and their names.

• Max Allan Collins has reprinted an essay in his blog that originally appeared in Publishers Weekly. Titled “Why I Write,” it’s sure to ring a familiar chord with veteran scribblers. Check it out here.

• Ali Karim reports for Shotsmag Confidential on a recent visit by Canadian mystery novelist Louise Penny to Heffers Bookstore in Cambridge, England, where she talked about her writing. “This was the only UK event she is appearing at this year,” says Karim, “due to deadline pressures on her current work in progress.”

• And to keep you busy during any free time you might have in the foreseeable future, note that the first quarterly edition of All Due Respect is now available for Kindles. Also, the third collection of stories from Beat to a Pulp has recently been released.

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