I don’t usually post crime-fiction news wrap-ups in such quick succession, but since last Friday’s batch of “Bullet Points,” there seem to have been quite a number of developments worth mentioning in some manner, no matter how briefly.
• Yesterday seemed to be full of notices about a new online resource called The Life Sentence, which promises to become “the destination sophisticated crime fiction/noir fans go to for reviews and stimulating criticism.” Lisa Levy, formerly the noir and mystery editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books, is this new site’s editor in chief, while the editor’s seat is held by Faith Black Ross, previously an editor with the Berkley
Publishing Group. The contents thus far range from an interview with Laura Lippman and an overview of Thomas Perry’s thrillers to a critique of Ted Lewis’ 1980 “masterwork,” GBH, and a piece about “falafal noir” (aka Middle Eastern crime writing). The site’s editorial board is packed with important names, including those of Megan Abbott, Jonathan Lethem, Sarah Weinman, Art Taylor, and Michael Koryta, so Levy & Co. have clearly set The
Life Sentence up to be A Big Deal. To keep an eye on its development, subscribe to its newsletter, The Verdict. I’ve added The Life Sentence to The Rap Sheet’s blogroll, and will be checking back for new contents.
• In February, I mentioned on this page that I’d been asked by a Wall Street Journal writer about my
interest in collecting the main title sequences for older TV crime dramas--the basis for The Rap Sheet’s YouTube page. At the time I told him there were a few such introductions I had still not found, including one for the 1973-1974 NBC cop
drama Chase, starring Mitchell Ryan. Well, thanks to author Lee Goldberg, who shares my obsession with these classic small-screen openings, I’ve finally added the Chase intro to my collection:
• Cable-TV network HBO is still a month away from the second-season debut of True Detective (mark your calendars for Sunday, June 21!), but it recently made a teaser video available and today released three (slightly) animated posters promoting TD’s return.
• The Bookseller reports that two new TV dramas based on UK author Mark Billingham’s crime fiction are in the works at the BBC: “The first series will be based on Billingham’s 2008 novel, In the Dark (Sphere), and the second is based on his new novel being published this Thursday (23rd April), Time of Death (Little, Brown). BBC Drama North is adapting both books. Filming will begin early next year and both series will launch in autumn 2016. No casting details have been revealed yet.”
In Reference to Murder: “Author Jeanne Matthews takes note of a mystery author who may soon receive canonization by The
Catholic Church. The process is underway of deciding whether to bestow sainthood on G.K. Chesterton, who, among other ecclesiastical works, created the Father Brown mystery series. It doesn’t hurt that Pope Francis is apparently a long-time fan of the author’s novels.”
• Max Allan Collins is the focus of this
delightful new video entry in Amazon’s Kindle Most Wanted series. The prolific Iowa author talks about his love of comics, his years of writing the Dick Tracy comic strip, his “legacy work” on the Nathan Heller private-eye series,
the comic mystery novels he composes with his wife, the U.S. government-focused thrillers he’s writing for Thomas & Mercer, and much more.
• While we’re on the subject of Max Allan Collins (and don’t we often seem to be?), note that publisher
Hard Case Crime today announced that, with the new Cinemax TV series Quarry, based on his hit-man series of novels, currently
in production in New Orleans, it “will publish brand new editions of Collins’ five original Quarry novels--the first editions to appear in stores in almost 30 years. The five books--Quarry, Quarry’s List, Quarry’s Deal, Quarry’s Cut, and Quarry’s Vote--will all feature cover paintings by legendary illustrator Robert McGinnis.” Those new editions are due out in October.
• Crime Fiction Lover recommends 10 Latin American crime novelists whose work we all ought to try, including Claudia Piñeiro, Ernesto Mallo (check), Juan Gabriel Vasquez, and Leonardo Padura (check).
• The Minnesota Book Award doesn’t have a crime-fiction category, but it does honor a
Best Genre Fiction winner. And last weekend that prize went to Julie Klassen for The Secret of Pembrooke Park.
• Emma Myers has a thoughtful piece in The Dissolve that looks at Humphrey Bogart’s posthumous film roles and portrayals. “Overindulging in noir conventions,” she concludes, “the post-Bogart comedies merely set out to remind viewers of a world that was once filled with dames and bourbon, quixotic ideals, and perpetually wet pavement. This world no longer exists, and perhaps it never really did. No man will ever really be a Humphrey Bogart character. But while we can’t help but move relentlessly forward, all we want to do is look back and have him play it again.”
• Scottish author Malcolm Mackay, the author of three much-heralded thrillers--his Glasgow Trilogy--is Nancie Clare’s latest guest on her Speaking of Mysteries podcast.
• I already featured one trailer for the forthcoming film Mr. Holmes on this page, but Mystery Fanfare now brings us a second. I must say, I’m looking forward to Ian McKellan’s turn as an aged Holmes, in a story based on Mitch Cullin’s 2005 novel, A Slight Trick of the Mind.
• Bad news from The Gumshoe Site. “Charlene Weir (rhymes with cheer) died on April 4 in El Cerrito, California. The former nurse started writing after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Before winning the St. Martin’s Malice Domestic contest for The Winter Widow (St. Martin, 1992), introducing Susan Wren, police chief in Hampstead, Kansas, she contributed several stories for Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. The seventh Wren novel, Edge of Midnight (St. Martin’s, 2007), is her most recent book. She
was 77.” Mystery Fanfare offers more.
• Fans of Lovejoy, the classic BBC-TV comedy-drama based on Jonathan Gash’s novels and starring Ian McShane (later to do such a fine turn in Deadwood), will want to watch for the complete series release coming from Acorn Media on June 16.
• And this is weird news. According to the Los Angeles Times, 84-year-old Seattle-area true-crime writer Ann Rule “is in poor health and ‘on oxygen at all times,’” and her two sons, Michael and Andrew Rule, “have been charged with theft and forgery after authorities say they stole more than $100,000 from their mother … Prosecutors have set an April 30 arraignment date for the Rule brothers, who have been released on their own recognizance.” More here.