• We’ll be seeing rundowns of what various people think are the Best Books of 2014 from now until December 31, so we might as well get used to it. Amazon’s Omnivoracious blog asked a bunch of celebrities “to tell us about three books they loved in 2014.” The respondents included three crime/thriller novelists; you’ll find their choices under these links: Laura Lippman, James Patterson, and Alan Furst. Curiously, I have read precisely one book from each of their lists.
• I was sorry to hear about the death of Seymour Shubin. The 93-year-old Philadelphia-born author of such novels as Anyone’s My Name (1953), The Captain (a finalist for the Edgar Allan Poe Award, published in 1982), and Witness to Myself (released in 2006 by Hard Case Crime), died on November 2 “of complications from an earlier fall.” Writer Gerard Brennan did an interview with Shubin in 2008, which you can still enjoy here.
• Today is the official release date for The Art of Robert E. McGinnis (Titan), and retailer Amazon at least claims to have some copies in stock, though I’d heard that shipping problems might delay the book’s delivery to the United States. In any case, Brian Greene has a few nice things to say about this volume in Criminal Element, though he frets “that my write-up on this book reads more like a press release than a review.” He could probably have benefited from looking through my two-part interview (see here and here) with Art Scott, who worked with McGinnis on the handsome volume. So far, there’s no sign of The Art of Robert E. McGinnis in my mailbox (though I have
seen a PDF of the book). But I look forward to receiving a finished copy soon.
• Bill Crider has more to say about this McGinnis tribute.
• I don’t own a smartphone. I spend all day long in front of a computer--why would I want one in my hip pocket, too? But since most readers of this blog are probably smartphone users, and many of you are planning to attend Bouchercon 2014--which begins on Thursday in Long Beach, California--I should point out that there’s a free “app” to help you negotiate your way through that convention. “You’ll have access to every event, panel, and speaker detail, as well as local area information, including interactive maps, hotels, and restaurants,” reports Janet Rudolph of Mystery Fanfare. “You can easily browse interactive panel schedules, check out author bios, plan your own personalized event schedule, and create to-do lists with alarms, and never miss another panel or author signing!”
• Bouchercon hasn’t begun, but already organizers of next year’s Left
Coast Crime convention--to be held in Portland, Oregon, from March 12 to 15--are encouraging
people to register for that event.
• Speaking of Bouchercon, those fortunate folks who have signed up for the Friday night Shamus Awards banquet might like to know that there’s been a last-minute change: Max Allan Collins and his wife, Barbara, will be hosting the festivities, rather than regulars Robert J. Randisi and his own partner, Christine Matthews.
• With another new entry in Collins’ series about hired killer Quarry due out in January (this one will be titled Quarry’s Choice), you might want to peruse this pretty good backgrounder on the protagonist, posted by fantasy novelist Howard Andrew Jones.
• Do we really need a remake of The Six Million Dollar Man?
• Since we’re fast approaching Thanksgiving in the United States, it’s appropriate to highlight
“the only cover among the thousands published by Life magazine, across five decades, that did not feature the famous red-and-white Life logo in the upper left-hand corner.”
• Among the blogs I follow is Classic Film and TV Café, written by the pseudonymous Ricky29. It offers a great combination of nostalgia, humor, and trivia. If you like the latter (as I do), check out these two articles: “Alias Smith and Jones: A Look at the Show’s Origin and Untimely Fate” and “Seven
Things to Know About Ross Martin.”
• Yesterday I posted a clip here from the 1975 Philip Marlowe film, Farewell, My Lovely, starring Robert Mitchum and Charlotte Rampling. Today, Evan Lewis offers up for viewing “Nevada Gas,” the fourth episode of the 1980s HBO-TV series Philip Marlowe, Private Eye.
• Although it’s plainly been in business for some while now, it wasn’t until a few days ago that I discovered the author interview Web site/podcast Speaking of Mysteries, managed by Sherlock Holmes authority Leslie S. Klinger and Nancie Clare, the ex-editor in chief of LA, The Los Angeles Times Magazine and co-founder of Noir Magazine, a too-short-lived (meaning one issue) iPad publication. So I find myself with lots to catch up on. This week, Clare interviews my old friend Tom Nolan, who currently writes about mystery and thriller novels for The Wall Street Journal, but is also a biographer of Ross Macdonald. Previous interviewees include Bradford Morrow (The Forgers), Margaux Froley (Hero Complex), and Robert Olen Butler (The Empire of Night). I’ve added Speaking of Mysteries to The Rap Sheet’s blogroll.
• Another interview you might like is this one with Garry Disher. As blogger Ben Boulden explains in his introduction, Disher “is an Australian writer well known for his crime fiction worldwide. He also has a successful track record writing literary, children’s and young adult fiction. Mr. Disher cut his teeth, in the crime genre, with a heist novel featuring his now cult character Wyatt [1991’s Kickback] ... Wyatt has appeared in a total of seven novels. The most recent, simply titled Wyatt, appeared in 2010 ... to rave reviews.”
• And I don’t think I have previously heard this 1979 audio conversation with suspense fictionist Patricia Highsmith, done for the BBC’s Desert Island Discs radio program. In it, explains the blog Boing Boing, “she talks about writing for comic books, her childhood, her interest in snails, her favorite music, and more.”
• Crime Fiction Lover is in the midst of its “New Talent November” celebration. Stories already posted look at A.J. McCreanor’s
Riven, author Phil Lecomber (Mask of the Verdoy), Antonia Hodgson’s The Devil in the Marshalsea, and publisher Blasted
Heath Books. You should be able to follow this series’ progress here.
• Finally, did you know that Robert Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s oldest son and later a U.S. Secretary of War, is “the only person known to have been present or nearby at the assassinations of three American presidents”? Learn more here.