Friday, August 21, 2015

Bullet Points: Debuts and Comebacks Edition

• It sounds as if the film version of Erik Larson’s terrific 2003 non-fiction book, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, might finally be getting off the ground. According to The Wrap, that picture--to be directed by Martin Scorsese, with Leonardo DiCaprio starring as serial killer H.H. Holmes--spent many years “in development” at Warner Bros., but has now “found a new home at Paramount, which just won a bidding war for the high-profile project.”

• With Season 4 of Longmire set to debut on Netflix (not A&E) come Thursday, September 10, two promotional clips have recently been released. You can find them in the Crimespree Magazine blog.

• “Forgotten books” reviewers, take note. Author Patti Abbott, who long ago organized the Web-wide weekly celebration of “books we love but might have forgotten over the years,” has proposed another theme for interested contributors. “I am suggesting we review Ed McBain books for Friday, October 2nd …,” she writes in her blog. “Of course, any books reviewed are fine. But let’s especially honor one of the most prolific writers of the 20th century.” That sounds like a good idea.

• Can this be true? Brad Pitt was Guy Ritchie’s first choice to portray American spy Napoleon Solo in the new Man from U.N.C.L.E. film? Fortunately, Pitt told him to “piss off.”

• Still on the subject of U.N.C.L.E., author Linwood Barclay (Broken Promise) writes in the Orion Books blog, The Murder Room, about how the original 1964-1968 NBC-TV series “changed my life.”

• Anyone who’d like to participate in Criminal Element’s next regular short-story contest, “The M.O.,” has until next Friday, August 28, to prepare a submission. “We’re seeking short, original crime stories of 1,000-1,500 words around the loose theme of ‘Lesson Learned,’” the blog explains. Click here for additional information.

• Meanwhile, submissions are now being accepted for the 2016 Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition. As Dixon Hill explains in SleuthSayers, “If you’re an unpublished novelist and can manage to submit a manuscript of at least 40,000 words, featuring a murder or other serious crime, by December 14, 2015, then you might like to enter. The winner gets a contract and 10 grand advance against royalties. You’ll find the publisher’s details here.”

• Finally, you have until December 31, 2015, to enter the competition for the 2016 Pinckley Prize for Debut Novel. As explained here, “First novels by a North American woman published by an American publisher during the 2015 calendar year are eligible for the Pinckley Prize for Debut Novel. Submissions should include a $25 entry fee and 3 copies of the book. Submissions may be sent to Pinckley Prize, c/o Pelican Publishing, 1000 Burmaster St., Gretna, LA, 70053. The Pinckley Prize for Achievement in Crime Fiction will be selected by a jury only. Submissions for the Debut Novel Prize will not be considered unless accompanied by an entry fee.”

• I’m very pleased to hear that “President Barack Obama will travel to New Orleans on Aug. 27 to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.” It’s broadly assumed he will do better in addressing that disaster than George W. Bush did in September 2005, when he visited the Crescent City himself to promise “one of the largest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen.” Bush’s speech, of course, was given at a time when his administration’s incompetent response to the hurricane was drawing criticism from all quarters. If you would like to refresh your memory on the sequence of events just before and immediately after Katina’s devastating landfall, check out this timeline from The Guardian.

• Less happy news: Anthony Horowitz, British author of the new James Bond novel, Trigger Mortis--which is due out in stores on September 8--won’t be doing a U.S. tour to promote that book after all. As blogger John Cox explains in his blog, The Book Bond, “U.S. tours have become a rare thing for Bond authors these days. Only Charlie Higson and Jeffery Deaver have brought their Bonds to the U.S. in recent years. Horowitz had listed a section for ‘U.S. Events’ on his official website, but that is now gone.” He does, however, have a number of UK events lined up.

Also from The Book Bond:CBR (Comic Book Resources) has revealed eight variant covers for the upcoming first issue of VARGR, Dynamite’s new six-part James Bond graphic novel series by Warren Ellis with art by Jason Masters.”

• Author Bill Crider sure has received a heap of attention in the blogosphere lately. It must be because he has a new Sheriff Dan Rhodes novel available, titled Between the Living and the Dead (Minotaur). Lesa Holstine briefly reviews the book here, while Marshal Zeringue first asks Crider how he’d cast a movie from this 22nd Rhodes outing, and then inquires as to what Crider has been reading recently.

• I am always on the lookout for new sources of old TV films and series. So I was delighted recently to discover Truetvmovies. I haven’t yet ordered any DVDs from that site, but there are a few features I have my eyes on for the future, including: Jake Spanner, Private Eye (1989, adapted from L.A. Morse’s The Old Dick), starring Robert Mitchum and Ernest Borgnine; Crime Club (1975), starring Eugene Roche and Robert Lansing; Wild Times (1980), starring Bruce Boxleitner; Mallory: Circumstantial Evidence (1976), starring Raymond Burr; and The Lawyer (1970), the pilot for Barry Newman’s 1974-1976 legal drama, Petrocelli.

Watch a film exploring Dashiell Hammett’s San Francisco.

• Speaking of Hammett (which for me seems like a regular occupation), I didn’t see the TV dramatization of his 1929 Continental Op novelette, Fly Paper, when it was first broadcast in 1995 as part of the Showtime anthology series Fallen Angels, so I was glad to catch up with it today on YouTube. Click here to watch that episode, which starred Christopher Lloyd as the Op, and also featured Kristin Minter, Darren McGavin, and Laura San Giacomo. The screenplay was penned by none other than Donald E. Westlake.

• TV producer-writer Lee Goldberg and small-screen entertainment historian Wesley Hyatt are the guests on Ed Robertson’s new installment of TV Confidential, his popular two-hour radio talk show. Their topic this time out is unsold TV pilots, about which Goldberg knows a good deal, having produced a trio of books on the subject, all of which were recently reissued in print and made available for e-book readers. This episode of TV Confidential will air through Monday, August 24, on a variety of radio stations, and then be archived here.

• In Reference to Murder brings word that the captivating Sarah Shahi (formerly of Fairly Legal and Life) will be returning to CBS-TV’s Person of Interest for its fifth (and perhaps final) season. “Her character was shot in the middle of Season 4,” explains blogger B.V. Lawson, “but it was the actress’ maternity leave that prompted her hiatus from the show.” CBS hasn’t yet announced when Person of Interest will begin airing again.

• “Becky Masterman, author of the critically acclaimed Brigid Quinn novels, discusses how Dorothy Uhnak’s The Bait was a forerunner in chronicling how the police deal with the psychological trauma of their job.” Read Masterman’s short piece here.

• Joseph Finder (The Fixer) offers his list of “the best books to learn thriller-writing from--a few non-fiction books, but mostly great thrillers that I think every thriller writer should read and take notes from.” Included among his choices are James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice, Ken Follett’s The Eye of the Needle, and William Goldman’s Marathon Man.

• Being a longtime Ellery Queen follower, I was interested to learn that publisher Mysterious Press has just added 30 new Queen titles to its e-books collection. Among the new re-releases (some of which were ghost-written under the Queen house name) are The Fourth Side of the Triangle, A Fine and Private Place, A Study in Terror, and Drury Lane's Last Case. Click here to find them all.

• A few interviews worth investigating: Steph Cha (Dead Soon Enough) and Julia Dahl (Run You Down) talk with The Life Sentence’s Lisa Levy; Levy also interrogates Michael Koryta (Last Words); Alex Segura goes one-on-one with Jake Hinkson (The Blind Alley); the Houston Chronicle chats up Linwood Barclay; and Linda Fairstein discusses Devil’s Bridge with Stephen Campbell of CrimeFiction.FM.

• Last but definitely not least, Daniel Hatadi, Australian creator of the crime fiction-oriented social-networking Web site Crimespace, sent a note around today, asking that people “consider making a donation towards the running costs” of his operation. As he explains, “, the company who provides the servers and service for Crimespace to run on, charge an annual fee. The fee is $239.90 (U.S.), and although I do receive donations at times, I’m well short of that target this year. Most years I’ve been a little short, but I don’t run this for profit so it’s not usually a problem.” To contribute, go here. UPDATE, August 31, 2015: Hatadi reports that Crimespace’s money-raising goal “has been achieved.”


Patrick Murtha said...

I have never understood the esteem in which "The Devil in the White City" is held. The book cannot be categorized in any sense as non-fiction, since Larson goes quite freely into his protagonists' minds on no warrant. And the yoking together of the "devil" and "White City" themes is forced and awkward, reading on every page as if Larson is straining for the bestseller that he eventually got. The book is a low form of endeavor altogether.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I reviewed Crider's book as well and it is a good one. As expected.

I elective he has an event next Saturday down at MURDER BY THE BOOK in Houston along with his daughter.

Bill Crider said...

Thanks for the mention, Jeff!

Lee Goldberg said...

I just ordered three tv movies from trutvmovies. I'll let you know how it goes.

Lee Goldberg said...

I got the movies... the quality is fair and appear to be knocked off from off-the-air VHS recordings. But considering how rare these are, I'm not complaining. The DVDs were delivered fast in plain sleeves.