Friday, October 30, 2015

Bullet Points: Treats Only Edition

• Since tomorrow is Halloween, it seems appropriate to begin here with some ghost-and-ghoul-related links: Author Michael Koryta (Last Words) identifies his “10 Favorite Halloween-Season Reads,” including Ray Bradbury’s The October Country and Stephen King’s Christine; meanwhile, Janet Rudolph has posted a much more comprehensive rundown of Halloween crime and mystery fiction in Mystery Fanfare; a site called Electric Lit picks “Twelve Haunting American Short Stories to Read This Halloween,” only a couple of which I’ve already enjoyed; some additional suggestions of books suitable to Saturday’s celebration, this time from BOLO Books’ Kristopher Zgorski and Bookgasm; for Criminal Element, Poe scholar Chuck Caruso talks with Leslie S. Klinger about this new collection, In the Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe: Classic Tales of Terror 1816-1914; e-book publisher Open Road recommends “Five Halloween Books You Haven’t Read Yet”; blogger NancyO recommends picking up a classic to go with this celebration--Agatha Christie’s 1969 Hercule Poirot mystery, Hallowe’en Party; Pulp Curry’s Andrew Nette presents a splendid selection of book covers featuring Satanism and witchcraft; in this Mystery*File post from last October, Michael Shonk ignores “TV series with monsters as the villains,” and instead samples “the shows with a monster as a good guy”; in A Shroud of Thoughts, Terence Towles Canote recommends “Ten Classic TV Show Episodes Suitable for Halloween Viewing,” one of which is the 1967 Star Trek installment “Catspaw,” written by “legendary horror writer Robert Bloch”; young adult novelist Sonia Gensler recaps her “spooky movie viewing” over the last year; the Classic Film and TV Café blog chooses the best and worst Dracula films made by Britain’s Hammer Pictures; short-story author Evan Lewis showcases dozens of vintage Halloween masks, while the blog Vintage Everyday hosts this gallery of “Strange and Terrifying Halloween Costumes from Between the 1900s and 1920s”; a magazine called Smart Meetings looks at “10 Famously Haunted Hotels of America”; and the photo above showing lovely Ava Gardner perched on a broomstick (lucky damn broomstick!) comes from a Film Noir Photos display of “Halloween Honeys.” UPDATE: Also check out this Halloween-themed radio episode of The Adventures of Sam Spade, first broadcast on October 31, 1948; Studies in Starrett’s examination of correspondence between fellow lovers of the macabre Vincent Starrett, a Sherlock Holmes expert, and “the man behind the Cthulhu mythos, Howard Phillips Lovecraft”; and the Universal Blogathon’s history of the horror films produced by Universal Pictures.

• The much-anticipated historical episode of Sherlock, titled “The Abominable Bride,” is set to premiere on January 1 as part of PBS-TV’s Masterpiece Mystery! series. “Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman return as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in the modern retelling of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic stories,” explains Mystery Fanfare. “But now our heroes find themselves in 1890s London. Beloved characters Mary Morstan (Amanda Abbington), Inspector Lestrade (Rupert Graves) and Mrs. Hudson (Una Stubbs) also turn up at 221B Baker Street.” At the link you will find a short video preview of “The Abominable Bride.”

• Meanwhile, Red Carpet Crash has posted a short trailer for the forthcoming HBO/Cinemax TV series Quarry, based on Max Allan Collins’ continuing book series about a killer-for-hire. “The trailer is getting a very positive response on the Net,” Collins writes in his blog, “and I like it very much myself--great noir-ish mood and a fine evocation of the early ’70s.” It’s still unclear exactly when in 2016 Quarry might reach TV screens, but the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has six episodes listed so far.

• Ben Affleck’s big-screen adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s 2012 historical crime novel, Live by Night, just commenced shooting this month, and already there’s a first image circulating. The movie is tentatively scheduled for release in 2017.

• David Cole, the Michigan-born author of seven novels set the American Southwest and starring part-Hopi cyber-investigator Laura Winslow (including the 2006 Shamus Award finalist Falling Down), passed away on October 21 at a hospital in Syracuse, New York. He was 79 years old. An online obituary says, “David was a graduate of Michigan Technological University with a degree in electrical engineering; San Diego State University with degrees in English and Creative Writing; and was a doctoral student of Drama at Stanford University. He had a deep love of the Southwest … Tucson [Arizona] was his second home. David lived his life to the fullest, he was a multi-dimensional man. He was a trained engineer, an actor, a technical writer, a teacher of computer software, a musician, as well as a published author. He had an indomitable spirit and his joy of life and living was infectious to all.” In tribute, Janet Rudolph has republished an essay by Cole that appeared originally in the Winter 2000-2001 edition of Mystery Readers Journal.

• I somehow missed hearing this excellent news: J. Robert Janes, creator of the acclaimed World War II-set Jean-Louis St-Cyr/Hermann Kohler mysteries, has a new standalone thriller due out in mid-December. It’s titled The Sleeper. I’ve added this title to my already extensive list of fall-winter 2015 crime-fiction releases.

Too good to be true? Actor Garret Dillahunt, who played two different roles on the 2004-2006 HBO-TV Western Deadwood, tweeted recently that he’s “hearing credible rumors about a Deadwood movie.”

• With the latest James Bond film, Spectre, having already debuted in Great Britain, and due out in American cinemaplexes early next month, Variety glances back at four Bond flicks that never quite made it into production. Those include a spin-off series of motion pictures starring Halle Berry as Giacinta “Jinx” Johnson, the National Security Agency (NSA) operative she played in 2002’s Die Another Day.

• Speaking of Spectre … The Book Bond cites a report saying there’s a pivotal scene in that flick inspired by events in the first James Bond continuation novel, Colonel Sun (1968), by Kingsley Amis.

• If you haven’t been paying attention to my Killer Covers blog, note that just days ago I posted this piece about the beautiful front of Clyde Allison’s 1962 novel Have Nude, Will Travel, then followed that up with this article about the Robert McGinnis-painted covers of Max Allan Collins’ brand-new Quarry novel reprints and this update of my work to expand an older gallery of Carter Brown paperback façades.

• In association with the early November release of Stephen King’s new short-fiction collection, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Britain’s Guardian newspaper has teamed up with King’s UK publisher “to run a short-story competition, in which King himself will pick the winner. … We’re looking for original and gripping stories of not more than 4,000 words” inspired by this vague King prompt: “There’s something to be said for a shorter, more intense experience. It can be invigorating, sometimes even shocking, like a waltz with a stranger you will never see again, or a kiss in the dark, or a beautiful curio for sale at a street bazaar.” Click here for details about how to enter this contest.

• We can now add “author” to the list of Gary Oldman’s occupations. The Bookseller reports that the star of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Child 44 is set to publish, with co-author and film producer Douglas Urbanski, a debut vampire novel called Blood Riders. “We have always wanted to write a story of vampire cowboys, set in the Wild West, the gold rush--and we have had these characters and this story kicking around in our heads for years,” the pair explained in a joint statement. “We hope everyone is drawn to Magnus and we envision a series of books that follow his curse and struggles with the forces of good and evil, and also the ever-present vampire ingredients of blood, and love.” This book should reach stories in the fall of 2016.

• Who says that reading novels won’t make you a better citizen of the world? Certainly not President Barack Obama.

• I was honored to have been “friended” not long ago on Facebook by author Sara Paretsky (Brush Back). Shortly afterward, in late October, she posted this short, humorous item on that social network site, recalling the birth of her series sleuth, V.I. Warshawski:
A gloomy late-fall day in Chicago, cool, drizzle, dying leaves. It was on a day much like this that V.I. Warshawski was conceived. Some of you have heard this tale before, but I was working for CNA Insurance in Chicago, part of the wave of young women entering management and the professions in large numbers in the 1970s. We had male bosses who were great mentors, some who were ordinary average managers, and a handful of pills who liked to throw boulders in front of us so they could laugh when we tripped and fell. I was working for one of those, Fred, I call him, at a meeting in his office, looking down on Grant Park in the dreary drizzly day. For about 8 years I’d been imagining writing a crime novel with a woman P.I., someone to turn the tables on Chandler, et al, but I wasn’t getting traction. And suddenly in that meeting, my lips [were] saying, “Gosh, Fred, heck of an idea,” while the balloon over my head was saying, “you expletive-deleted turkey bird,” [and] V.I. came to me. Not Philip Marlowe in drag, but a woman like me and my friends, doing a job that hadn’t existed for women when we were growing up, but saying what was in the balloon over her head because she dealt with the turkey birds without fear or favor. I guess I should send Fred a thank-you note (although at the rate he ate eggs Benedict when I had to travel with him and see him at breakfast may mean he’s sunk beneath his cholesterol by now. Although, of course, only the good die young.).
• I only just became aware that e-book publisher Open Road Media and the Mysterious Press have gotten together to resurrect Howard Engel’s Benny Cooperman series. So far, nine Cooperman tales are available for Kindle e-readers, including the Canadian gumshoe’s first outing, The Suicide Murders (1980).

• “The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo., where Stephen King was inspired to create his 1977 bestseller The Shining, wants to go one step closer to the dark side,” according to the Los Angeles Times. “Last week, the landmark hotel near the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park released plans to create a building that would house a horror-themed museum, film production studio and film archive.” The Stanley is certainly not the first movie location hoping to capitalize on its Hollywood connections.

• Editor-blogger Elizabeth Foxwell notes that “Intellect Books in the UK will launch a new non-fiction series, Crime Uncovered, in November, which seeks to ‘explor[e the] genre in an intelligent, critical and accessible manner.’ Its first two volumes will be on the antihero (ed. Bath Spa University's Fiona Peters and Rebecca Stewart) and the detective (ed. Crime Time’s Barry Forshaw). In March will be a volume on the private investigator (ed. University of Newcastle’s Alistair Rolls and Rachel Franks).”

Happy anniversary to BOLO Books, which celebrated the beginning of its third year in business on October 24.

• New Zealand critic-blogger Craig Sisterson has finally posted both parts of his rundown of the 10 Kiwi scribes he’d most like to see “chained up until they write another crime novel.” Click here to see his first five choices, and here to consider the remainder.

• Guaranteed to delight fans of the British TV detective drama Foyle’s War is news that a 29-DVD complete series set will be released on November 3. “Priced at $199.99 SRP, you’ll get 28 mysteries plus over 6 hours of bonus features,” says the blog TV Shows on DVD.

• Finally, here are a few interviews to check out around the Web: Editor Otto Penzler talks with Paste about the new Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories; Matthew V. Clemens is quizzed by Ava Black of Crimespree Magazine about Fate of the Union, the sequel to last year’s Supreme Justice, co-authored with Max Allan Collins; Bonnie MacBird chats with Nancie Clare at Speaking of Mysteries about her Sherlock Holmes adventure, Art in the Blood; Jason Starr answers questions at Crime Fiction Lover about his new novel, Savage Lane; S.W. Lauden conducts an e-mail interrogation of the mysterious St. Louis writer Jedidiah Ayres, author of Peckerwood; Sarah Weinman takes questions about her new work, Women Crime Writers, from both Cullen Gallagher (writing in The Paris Review) and Nancie Clare (again in Speaking of Mysteries); and National Public Radio’s Scott Simon carries on a delightful exchange with Stanford University professors Adrian Daub and Charles Kronengold, authors of The James Bond Songs: Pop Anthems of Late Capitalism (Oxford University Press).

1 comment:

Phil Poggiali said...

Also, this month's issue of MI6 Confidential has an article on Donald E. Westlake's story treatments for "Bond 18" a.k.a. Tomorrow Never Dies. It summarizes the two treatments and gives some background on Westlake's unpublished novel (Fall of the City) based on the Bond material.

The issue can be ordered here: