Friday, July 24, 2015

Bullet Points: Donald Trump-less Edition

• Why does it not surprise me to learn that the film rights to Don Winslow’s latest thriller, The Cartel (Knopf), have already been sold to Fox, with Ridley Scott tapped to direct and Leonardo DiCaprio being courted to play DEA agent Art Keller?

• Meanwhile, Winslow seems to have won no end of favorable publicity for this still-new sequel to his 2005 novel, The Power of the Dog. Slate has a podcast interview with The Cartel’s author, while Cinephilia & Beyond has posted this appreciation of Winslow’s storytelling. Reviews of The Cartel appear in Crime Fiction Lover and The Big Issue, as well as on the Mystery People site and even in High Times, not to mention a gazillion other sources.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web, David Lagercrantz’s fourth installment in the Millennium thriller series (originally penned by Stieg Larsson)--due out on August 27 in Great Britain, and on September 1 in the States--has been heavily embargoed. However, publisher MacLehose Press has finally released some details about its plot. The Guardian reports:
The novel continues the story of [Lisbeth] Salander and [Mikael] Blomkvist, last seen at the ending of Larsson’s The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, published in Swedish in 2007 and in English in 2009.

Despite the ending of Larsson’s novel, the misfit hacker Salander and the crusading journalist Blomkvist “have not been in touch for some time”, revealed MacLehose Press. The novel opens as “renowned Swedish scientist Professor Balder” contacts Blomkvist, asking him to publish his story.

And “it is a terrifying one,” said the publisher. “Säpo, Sweden’s security police, have offered him protection, but what Balder hopes for is to preserve his life’s work”--he has made “world-leading advances in artificial intelligence”--by going public.

Balder has also been working with Salander, it then emerges. The hacker has been using her old codename of Wasp, and has been attempting to crack the NSA--“a lunacy driven by vengeance, and fraught with every possible consequence”, said MacLehose.

She is also being targeted by “ruthless cyber gangsters who call themselves the Spiders”, and “the violent unscrupulousness of this criminal conspiracy will very soon bring terror to the snowbound streets of Stockholm, to the Millennium team--and to Blomkvist and Salander themselves”.
• This is a historical curiosity: an alternative opening to Season 6 of The Avengers, which that year (the series’ last, 1968-1969) replaced Diana Rigg (as Emma Peel) with Linda Thorson (as Tara King).

• Last weekend brought an end to the 2015 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, but the blogger who styles herself “Crime Thriller Girl” has only now concluded her recapping of festival events. See Part I here, Part II here, and Part III here.

• Earlier today, in the Killer Covers blog, I posted the latest entry in my “Friday Finds” series, highlighting book fronts of which I’m especially fond. The star this week is Jonathan Craig’s Frenzy, a 1962 edition of his novel Junkie!

• While you’re on the Killer Covers page, check out this “Two-fer Tuesdays” installment about paperback novels “that feature women in danger, concealed behind the flimsiest of drapes or screens.”

• With just over four months yet to go before the release of Spectre, the 24th James Bond motion picture, we’ve now been given a fairly dramatic, 2.32-minute trailer hinting at what to expect not only from star Daniel Craig, but also from new “Bond Girl” Léa Seydoux and the flick’s villain, played by Christoph Waltz. Watch below.

• The Archive of American Television has recently posted a slew of interviews on its Emmy TV Legends YouTube page with actors, writers, and producers who are familiar to followers of small-screen series. Among the offerings is this multi-part exchange with Barbara Feldon, who played Agent 99 on the 1965-1970 spy satire, Get Smart.

• It seems unclear when, where, and even if, we’ll ever see Cleo Valente’s noirish TV series, The Port of San Pedro (there’s currently a GoFundMe campaign trying to raise money so this project can proceed). Yet a trailer is now circulating; and while its dialogue seems a bit stilted, the clips it offers suggest the program--set in the Los Angeles community of San Pedro--might offer good entertainment for crime-fiction enthusiasts. Criminal Element has posted the trailer here, along with this précis of the program:
The Port of San Pedro is a clear homage to the glory days of noir, from its black-and-white stylization to the schemings of the duplicitous femme fatale, Luli-May Tang. Throw in Nick de Salvo (Steve Polites), an undercover detective who’s teamed up with his corruptible police captain, Sebastian Montenero (Luke Fattorusso), and you’ve got yourself a classic tale that knows where its roots first grew.

The series’ synopsis informs us that Luli-May Tang (Melodie Shih) is a Chinese woman who’s running an illegal currency forgery operation in Macao and has started to look into new ventures at the port of San Pedro. Luli-May is assisted by Mike Moretti (Mark Mikita), a mute sociopath who serves as her bodyguard. For Nick and Sebastian, their progress is impeded by Augustine “Quint” Quintero (Jesus Guevara), a morally ambiguous man who’s attracted equally to both new opportunities and the deadly femme fatale.
• Speaking of trailers, Jedidiah Ayres has posted a bunch of new ones in his blog, Hardboiled Wonderland, including a teaser for the sophomore season of FX-TV’s Fargo. That comedic crime drama is scheduled to return this coming October.

• Sometimes I wonder if Americans will ever take action against gun violence--action that isn’t simply the National Rifle Association prescription of arming still more people. Blogger Steve Benen notes that “As of yesterday, there have been 204 days so far this year. There have also been 203 mass shooting events so far this year.”

• The Web site Mental Floss presents15 Mysterious Facts About The Hardy Boys, the first of which is this remarkable statistic: “Not including graphic novels and planned releases, there have been well over 450 Hardy Boys titles published since their 1927 debut. This rough sum includes 38 titles from the original series that were entirely rewritten after 1959, releases by Grossett & Dunlap and digests from Simon & Schuster publishers, and the spin-offs Clues Brothers, Undercover Brothers, Casefiles, Super Mysteries, and Adventures series, among others.”

• This comes from In Reference to Murder:
BBC One is partnering with Lifetime for a miniseries based on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. The UK will premiere the program as a three-episode series later this year to coincide with Agatha Christie’s 125th anniversary, with the U.S. premiere on Lifetime as a two-part miniseries in 2016. The iconic novel follows ten strangers with dubious pasts lured to an isolated island where they're accused of crimes and start to die mysteriously, one by one.
• When asked to list his "Top 10 Books About Spies” for The Guardian, Stephen Grey, author of The New Spymasters: Inside the Modern World of Espionage, included The Riddle of the Sands, by Erskine Childers, and Agents of Innocence, by David Ignatius.

• Poet-novelist Carlos Zanón, whose nihilistic tale, The Barcelona Brothers, was released in an English translation back in 2012, has won Spain’s Premio Dashiell Hammett award for Yo fui Johnny Thunders (2014). The Premio Dashiell Hammett is supposed to showcase the best crime fiction published in Spanish.

• Ralph Dibny? Dirk Gently? Really, are they two of “The 12 Greatest Fictional Detectives (Who Aren’t Sherlock Holmes)”?

• I, for one, had never heard “Sax Rohmer,” whose real name was Arthur Henry Sarsfield Ward, and who created the extensive Fu-Manchu series, speak--until today. “Among the goodies just uploaded to YouTube by British Movietone,” explains writer-editor Elizabeth Foxwell, is this undated footage of Rohmer “talking about the levels of U.S. versus British crime.”

• And my Kiwi pal Craig Sisterson, author the newly retitled blog Craig’s Crime Watch (formerly just Crime Watch), has posted the first half of a list of 10 New Zealand fictionists he cheekily suggests “should be locked to their desks until they deliver us another crime novel.” Among his choices so far are Vanda Symon, Alix Bosco (Greg McGee), and Stella Duffy. Part II of his roster is due next week.

1 comment:

Kiwicraig said...

I've interviewed many crime writers over the years (130-150), and I always ask what were the first books they really loved. Along with Enid Blyton and Sherlock Holmes mystery tales, the Hardy Boys also comes up a lot - and it was in doing one such interview I realised that it was the Hardy Boys that first put me on the road to loving crime and mystery (I'd often said Christie's Poirot or Sherlock Holmes, but in hindsight I devoured the Hardy Boys books before either of those).

A few years ago, when I was doing some screenwriting study and research, I kept track of screenplays that were 'in development', that had been bought and might be made. One such script was entitled 'Hardy Men', and was about Frank and Joe as grown-ups. I would have loved to have seen that get made.