Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Bullet Points: Terrific Tuesday Edition

• You may or may not remember reading about this in The Rap Sheet, but in 2007 Irish actor Jason O’Mara was hired to star as Raymond Chandler’s famous private eye, Philip Marlowe, in the pilot for an ABC-TV series updating that character. The project was ultimately shelved, and O’Mara went on to star in the American version of Life on Mars. But as far as I know, the Marlowe pilot never received a public viewing. Until now. Christopher Eaton, who is identified in the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) as having acted in the pilot, posted the whole 43-minute flick on YouTube. Watch it while you can!

• By the way, whatever happened to plans by Castle creator-showrunner Andrew Marlowe for a different updated Philip Marlowe small-screen drama? Much was written in 2013 about how ABC Studios had picked up that project, but I haven’t read anything about it since. (A Google search of the Web turns up no recent word on the subject.) In the meantime, Andrew Marlowe signed on to develop a weekly drama “based on the Derrick Storm series of mystery novels written by Richard Castle, the fictional author played by Nathan Fillion on the ABC drama Castle.” Hollywood being the unpredictable environment it is, we’ll see if either program ever reaches the TV schedule.

• Editor Jacques Filippi has announced the winners of House of Crime and Mystery’s Third Annual Readers’ Choice Awards. Laura Lippman, David Baldacci, Eva Dolan, Anonymous-9 (Elaine Ash), and others should be smiling at the results.

• Publisher Minotaur Books has opened its 2015 novel competitions. There’s a First Crime Novel contest sponsored by the Mystery Writers of America, a Best First Traditional Mystery Novel competition sponsored by Malice Domestic, a Best First Private Eye competition sponsored by the Private Eye Writers of America (PWA), and the Hillerman Mystery Contest sponsored by the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference. Deadlines vary, and there are no entry fees.

• The PWA has also begun accepting submissions to its 2015 Shamus Awards competition. There are five categories open. Entries must be postmarked by March 31. “No extensions can be given.

• The Gumshoe Site brings the sad news that Rose Dannay, the third wife of Frederic Dannay (1905-1982)--who with his cousin, Manfred B. Lee, wrote the renowned Ellery Queen novels--died in New York on December 6 of last year. Blogger Jiro Kimura adds that Ms. Dannay “wrote and self-published her autobiography-memoir, My Life with a Man of Mystery: The Love Story of Ellery Queen and Me, in 2010.” She was 100 years old (yes, you read that correctly).

• The annual mystery-fiction convention Love Is Murder will be held in Chicago, February 6-8. In advance of that, Mystery Fanfare has posted the nominees for the Lovey Award, in nine categories. There are a few well-known authors among the bunch (Raymond Benson, Tasha Alexander, etc.), plus less familiar ones. If you haven’t registered for this conference, you can still do so here.

• Speaking of conventions, if you’re interested in attending this year’s Left Coast Crime event (“Crimelandia”) in Portland, Oregon (March 12-15), but haven’t yet signed up, go ahead and register here. Gar Anthony Haywood is scheduled to appear as toastmaster, with Chelsea Cain, Timothy Hallinan, and Phillip Margolin on tap as guests of honor. Janet Rudolph highlights a few distinctive elements of Crimelandia here, while writer Mike Belefer has some things to say about its Meet the New Authors Breakfast here.

• Left Coast Crime is one of five “major” 2015 mystery-fiction conventions examined in Criminal Element by Deborah Lacy.

• Bill Crider writes in his blog today about the sometimes-overlooked 1968 film Madigan, directed by Don Siegel and starring Richard Widmark (“If you like gritty cop movies and haven’t seen Madigan, you’ve missed a good one.”). He offers a short trailer here. I am particularly pleased to see this post, since I wrote about the novel on which Madigan was based (Richard Dougherty’s The Commissioner) in Kirkus Reviews a couple of years back, and later composed a lengthy piece about the 1972-1973 NBC-TV series Madigan, in which Widmark reprised his role as a veteran New York City cop.

• The funniest part of Phoef Sutton’s new interview with fellow author (and screenwriter) Lee Goldberg might be the latter’s final answer:
Do you have a writing routine? What is it?

Put my ass in the chair and write. That’s about it. I work all day but I do my best work between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. I get up about 10, and I start the day by rewriting what I wrote the day before. Then I get distracted by self-doubt, Facebook, phone calls, self-doubt, e-mail, twitter, lunch, self-doubt, YouTube, conference calls, business meetings, and self-doubt.
• Congratulations to Les Blatt, from Classic Mysteries, on the posting of his 400th entry in a weekly series of podcast reviews of old books “worth your reading time.”

• Here’s an interesting tidbit from In Reference to Murder: “Stephen King’s novel Mr. Mercedes, which King describes as his first hard-boiled detective tale about a psychopathic killer, is set to become a limited series for television. David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal, Boston Legal and The Practice) will pen the script, and Jack Bender (Lost and Under the Dome) will direct.”

• Ned Beauman, author of the brand-new thriller Glow (Knopf), is Nancie Clare’s latest guest on the audio podcast Speaking of Mysteries. Click here to listen.

• While over in Crime Watch, Craig Sisterson talks with Michael J. Malone, the author most recently of The Guillotine Choice, “a searing dramatization of the life of an Algerian Berber who spent 18 years in Devil’s Island for a crime he didn’t commit (and the French authorities knew he didn’t commit).”

• National Public Radio’s Martin Scholz talks briefly with Henning Mankell, the 66-year-old Swedish author of the Kurt Wallander detective novels, who last year was diagnosed with cancer. Scholz notes that Mankell’s “outlook is sunnier than it once was: Only one small tumor in his left lung remains, and the doctors say they can contain it.” That’s good news.

• I’ve never read Russell Thorndike’s Doctor Syn: A Tale of Romney Marsh (1915), but in our childhood, my brother and I must have watched the 1963 Walt Disney miniseries adaptation a dozen times.

• Really, parachuting beavers?

• Ready to investigate a fun new blog? Check out Today in Mystery History, written by “prize-winning mystery writer, librarian, and songwriter” Robert Lopresti.

• My book-design blog, Killer Covers, is now into a second day of celebrating its sixth anniversary. Click here to keep up with the week’s worth of paperback fronts-focused posts.

• I recently mentioned that Hugh O’Brian, the now 89-year-old former star of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (1955-1961) and Search (1972-1973), would make a guest appearance on Ed Robertson’s TV Confidential radio program. That show has finally been archived for your listening pleasure here.

• Author Max Allan Collins has posted his lists of “favorite and least favorite films of 2014.” Benedict Cumberbatch’s The Imitation Game is among his top 10, while Gone Girl (“Spoiler alert: the victim is the audience and the culprit is the book author’s interminable screenplay.”) joins nine other pictures at the bottom.

• Yes, I’m one of those people who hasn’t been watching The Americans, the Keri Russell-Matthew Rhys spy drama on FX-TV. But with that show returning next Wednesday, January 28, Regina Thorne makes the case in Criminal Element for why we should all tune in.

• In case you missed the announcement, Bosch, the Amazon Prime series based on Michael Connelly’s crime series and starring Titus Welliver as Los Angeles police detective Harry Bosch, will debut on February 13. Multichannel News reports that “The 10-episode series follows Bosch as he chases down a killer who has confessed to a boy’s murder, escapes custody, and begins a murderous rampage across Los Angeles. The series also stars Jamie Hector (The Wire), Amy Aquino (Being Human), Lance Reddick (Fringe) and Annie Wershing (24, Extant).” Crime Watch offers a trailer here.

• Writer Christopher Mills reports that Gravedigger, the hard-boiled crime comic series that ended its online run in November, will soon return in two different formats. “[Artist Rick Burchett] and I have just signed with Action Lab Entertainment's ‘Danger Zone’ mature-readers imprint, to bring the two existing Gravedigger sagas--‘The Scavengers’ and ‘The Predators’--to both print and digital formats in 2015,” says Mills. “The stories will be presented in a three-issue comic book miniseries format and as a digital edition on Comixology.”

• And were you aware that this coming Saturday, January 24, has been declared National Readathon Day? Hah! As if any of us needs another reason to pick up a good book …


Scott Parker said...

What I love about the CASTLE franchise is this: a TV show about a fictional writer spawns real books supposedly written by the fictional writer. Now, the fictional writer’s first fictional franchise (Storm) now might be made into a real TV show. Couple that with a comment Castle made on last night show (him being a PI now might influence him in his new PI book), might we also get a second series of real books based off the fictional franchise.

michael said...

Thanks for the tip about the Marlowe pilot.

Oh, I have found a collector's market website that has six episodes of MADIGAN available. I don't want to use your comment section to promote the site but if you are still interested I'll email you the details.

J. Kingston Pierce said...

Hey, Michael:

I would like to know more about those Madigan episodes. Please drop me a note at the usual eddress: jpwrites@wordcuts.org


Patrick Murtha said...

Well, I can certainly understand why that "Marlowe" pilot wasn't picked up, because it entirely lacks distinction. It also lacks any meaningful relationship to Raymond Chandler; all that survives is the Marlowe name, the Los Angeles setting, and a few well-known lines lamely quoted ("Trouble is my business"). Jason O'Mara's thoroughly modern P.I., confident, sexy, and smirky, does not recall Chandler's Marlowe in any way whatsoever. And while I enjoy watching hunky television actors in their late 30s and early 40s as much as the next gay guy - you could even call me an aficionado - there is nothing interesting going on with the character here. Or with any aspect of the production, really.