Friday, April 17, 2015

Bullet Points: Something for Everyone Edition

Every Secret Thing, the film based on Laura Lippman’s 2004 standalone novel of that same name, debuted at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival and is being prepared for a nationwide release on May 15. But until today, I hadn’t spotted a trailer for this picture starring Elizabeth Banks, Dakota Fanning, and Diane Lane. Click here to see the preview in Janet Rudolph’s Mystery Fanfare blog.

• The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books begins tomorrow on the University of Southern California campus and continues through Sunday. If I lived in L.A., I’d be present for all the festivities, especially since they’re free to the public. But at least I can report on the 2015 Times Book Prize competition, the winners of which will be announced on Saturday night. Here are the five contestants in the Mystery/Thriller category; a list of all the nominees is here.

• Earlier this week I was paging through The Seattle Times, when I happened onto this front-page story about Roy Price, the 47-year-old vice president of Amazon Studios, which you’ll know is behind the Michael Connelly-created crime drama Bosch (covered here and here). What most interested me, though, was this sentence: “His grandfather, Roy Huggins, was a legendary television writer who created such classic series as Maverick, The Fugitive, and The Rockford Files.” Holy crap! I’ve long been a fan of Huggins’ work, both his television projects and his early endeavors as a novelist. I didn’t know I was living in the same city--Seattle--where his grandson can often be found laboring over a desk. I might have to come up with some way to interview Price in the very near future …

• I need the first volume mentioned in this Bookgasm review!

• Bouchercon organizers announced on their Facebook page that they’ve chosen a “brand-new logo for Bouchercon National! Each year--including 2015 in Raleigh--will still have their own logo, but this one will cover the organization as a whole.” I’ve embedded that new artwork on the left.

• As somebody who was very fond of British author Paul Johnston’s series of near-future-set thrillers starring Edinburgh senior cop-turned-private eye Quintilian Dalrymple (last seen in 2001’s The House of Dust), it’s pretty exciting to know the author is returning with a new, sixth installment of that series, Head or Hearts, out this month in the UK from Severn House and due in U.S. stores come July. Euro Crime has posted a synopsis of the new yarn.

• By the way, if you haven’t read Ali Karim’s 2003 interview with Paul Johnston, in which they talk about the Quint books, do so now.

• I never owned a Pet Rock, but I do remember when those low-commitment companions first rolled onto the market in the mid-1970s. So I was saddened to hear that Gary Dahl, the creator of the Pet Rock fad (which Newsweek called “one of the most ridiculously successful marketing schemes ever”) died recently at age 78.

• Over in the Killer Covers blog, we have posted a look back at the “sexpionage” novels of Ted Mark, published mostly during the 1960s and ’70s, as well as the latest entry in our still-new “Friday Finds” series, which highlights “context-free covers we love.” Today’s pick: The Flesh and Mr. Rawlie (1963).

• Back in February, I mentioned that the blog Criminal Element was launching a regular short-story competition called “The M.O.” The initial deadline for tales was March 6 and the theme for all submissions was “Long Gone.” Readers of Criminal Element were asked to vote for their favorite entries. Today the blog has posted the winner of its first “M.O.” contest, “Fix Me,” by Los Angeles “writer and drummer” S.W. Lauden. According to its schedule, Criminal Element will announce its next short-story contest--with a new theme--on May 1.

Honey West star Anne Francis melted hearts looking like this.

• MSNBC-TV host Rachel Maddow did an excellent interview last night with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), during which they talked about Reid’s long political history, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “historic candidacy” for president of the United States in 2016, and the current Republican leadership in Congress (“I think they’ve been absolute failures”). You can now watch it all here.

These are some of the most spectacular aerial shots ever! They come from a Web site called AirPano, where you can find still more breathtaking photos. Copy them to your computer now!

• California author J. Sydney Jones has made an excellent reputation for himself over the last half-dozen years penning mystery novels set in early 20th-century Vienna. However his new release, Basic Law (Severn House)--the first entry in a trilogy--is a more contemporary thriller featuring “expat American journalist Sam Kramer.” To better acquaint readers with Kramer, he’s just posted “Body Blows,” a short story featuring the same protagonist.

• Author Declan Burke recently introduced me to a new blog called Crime Fiction Ireland, which he says “pretty much does exactly what it says on the tin. Edited by Lucy Dalton, the blog covers crime and mystery fiction of all hues, TV and film, provides author profiles and a ‘What’s On’ slot, and also offers a Short Fiction selection.” I’ve added Crime Fiction Ireland to The Rap Sheet’s selection of links.

• I haven’t yet seen any notices about PBS-TV’s Masterpiece Mystery! umbrella series picking up the concluding three-episode season of Foyle’s War, the wonderful Michael Kitchen/Honeysuckle Weeks period drama from British broadcaster ITV that debuted in 2002. That last season began showing in the UK back in January, and is available to people who subscribe to the online viewing service Acorn Media. (You’ll find all Foyle’s War episodes here.) National Public Radio’s John Powers posted a fine wrap-up of Foyle’s final run here, and you can purchase a DVD set of the series’ last three eps here. But for Americans like me who prefer to watch Kitchen’s show on Masterpiece for free, all of this just adds up to a painful reminder of what we’re missing. C’mon, PBS, step up and add this one last Foyle’s War run to your summer 2015 schedule!

Here’s one reason why you can’t trust amateur online reviews.

• Finally, my old friend Matthew, who has spent years talking up Sinbad and Me, the 1966 adventure/mystery novel for children by Kin Platt (author of the Max Roper detective series), reports that the book is back in print this month after being commercially unavailable for decades. Sinbad and Me captured the 1967 Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery Fiction. The new edition is available from Amazon in both hardcover and paperback, but Matthew--who shares my adoration for books--asked me to “encourage your readers to order from their local independent bookseller.” I can’t but endorse that suggestion. Amazon, for all the purchasing advantages it offers, has proved to be a killer of small neighborhood stores, whether they sell books or other goods. I provide links from The Rap Sheet to Amazon pages, but that’s simply for the convenience of my readers. I always try to buy from independent bookstores. And you should too.


Scott Parker said...

I'm with you re: Foyle's much so that, with a coupon, an in-store 30% off, and a member discount, I went ahead and bought the DVDs. Didn't feel like subscribing to Acorn for a month--although it is cheaper.

Craig said...

That's GREAT news about "Sinbad and Me." I stumbled across that book when I was a kid and loved it so much I think I reread it four or five times. Always wished I had a copy for my kids -- now I can get one at last!

Lucy Dalton said...

Thanks for the kind mention of Crime Fiction Ireland. We have you in our links too...


ktford said...

Thank you for another Amazing
Rap Sheet..copious notes taken,

Icewineanne said...

I also check amazon for reviews & DVD/book details such as length. I rarely purchase books from them, unless it is something very difficult to find. I prefer to support my local booksellers.
Thanks for the heads up regarding the fake reviews. So sad that some authors are using these fake reviewers to promote their works.
I tend to visit a number of book/crime review sites to try to get an overall feel of whether a specific book is worth reading. After many books, so little time........esp after 50!!!

Keep up the terrific work, love your blog :-)