Sunday, April 17, 2016

Bullet Points: Out and About Edition

• Last week brought an announcement, by the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers, of the nominees for its 2016 Scribe Awards. As the IAMTW explains, these annual commendations honor “licensed works that tie in with other media such as television, movies, gaming, or comic books.” I won’t try to list all of the contenders here, since many of them are drawn from the science fiction or fantasy categories, but the four rivals seeking the Best Original Novel—General prize are crime-fiction related:

Elementary: The Ghost Line, by Adam Christopher (Titan)
Kill Me, Darling, by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (Titan)
Don Pendleton’s Mack Bolan: Desert Falcons, by Michael A. Black (Gold Eagle)
24: Rogue, by David Mack (Forge)

In addition, “Fallout,” by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (The Strand Magazine, November 2014-February 2015), is in the running for Best Short Story. Again, you’ll find all of the nominees here.

• Meanwhile, Collins, Lee Goldberg, Alan Dean Foster, and Elizabeth Hand were interviewed on the subject of media tie-ins for On the Media, a syndicated radio show from New York’s WNYC.

• Speaking of prizes … Louisianan B.J. Bourg has won the 2016 EPIC E-book Award in the category of Mystery for his novel James 516. (In case you’re wondering, EPIC stands for Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition.) Also nominated for that prize were Murder on Edisto, by C. Hope Clark; Secrets, Lies, and Homicide, by Patricia Dusenbury; Shadows on Iron Mountain, by Chuck Walsh; and The Old Inn at Punta de Sangre, by Theresa Donovan Brown. The complete rundown of finalists this year’s numerous categories can be found here.

• Criminal Element is running a series of posts focusing on this year’s nominees for the Edgar Awards (to be given out on April 28.) Most recently, Kristin Centorcelli looked at Life or Death, by Michael Robotham, and Susanna Calkins talked with her old friend and fellow author, Duane Swierczynski, about Canary. Links to all of these posts are here, and a full list of the 2016 Edgar rivals is here.

• And Ellen Hart’s Grave Soul (Minotaur) has won this year’s Minnesota Book Award for Genre Fiction. Also vying for that honor were The Devereaux Decision, by Steve McEllistrem (Calumet Editions); He’s Either Dead or in St. Paul, by D.B. Moon (Three Waters); and Season of Fear, by Brian Freeman (Quercus).

You can probably forget about a Sopranos prequel.

• However, we can finally look forward to new entries in Caleb Carr’s popular series of historical mysteries featuring psychologist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, first introduced in The Alienist (1994) and subsequently starring in The Angel of Darkness (1997). As Entertainment Weekly explains, “The first of the two books … is set 20 years after The Angel of Darkness, in 1915 New York City, and is ‘centered on nativist violence and terrorism during America’s involvement in World War I’ …The second book will be called The Strange Case of Miss Sarah X, and will be a prequel to the Alienist series. In this novel, the publisher explains, ‘A youthful Kreizler, after finishing his psychology training at Harvard, falls under the spell of William James, has his first run-in with [Theodore] Roosevelt, and delves into the secret life of Sara Howard, heroine of the first books.’”

In a short “By the Book” interview for The New York Times Book Review, Britain’s Philip Kerr is asked, “Who is your favorite fictional hero or heroine? Your favorite antihero or villain?” His answer:
Heroes are always too heroic to be real. Or wholly sympathetic. James Bond is nicely flawed. Sadistic. Sexist. Bitter. I like that. I hate Sherlock Holmes in all his incarnations, written and especially on screen. I like Nick Charles because he drinks gimlets a lot, as I do. I am very fond of George Smiley. My favorite antihero used to be Highsmith’s Ripley. But all that now seems very old hat. I always had a soft spot for Shere Khan in “The Jungle Book.” O’Brien in “1984.” Captain Ahab, of course. Alec d’Urberville—naturally. Mr. Hyde in “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” Edmund in “King Lear”—we have much in common. Mr. Kurtz. Mrs. Danvers—can’t help liking her. And dear, dear Iago.
• From The Spy Command comes news that Peter Janson-Smith has died at age 93. The blog reminds us that Janson-Smith was “Ian Fleming’s literary agent and a behind-the-scenes figure in the success of the literary James Bond … [He] helped raise the visibility of Fleming’s original novels and short stories during the author’s lifetime. After Fleming’s death, eventually he became the chairman of Glidrose, now known as Ian Fleming Publications. In that capacity, Janson-Smith helped launch the 007 continuation stories penned by John Gardner and Raymond Benson that ran from the early 1980s into the early 2000s.” Benson himself, in a Facebook posting, calls Janson-Smith “a mentor, a teacher, a friend, and someone I called my ‘English dad.’ Peter had a long, distinguished career as a literary agent in England. He was Ian Fleming’s agent as well as Eric Ambler’s and [the agent for] many other great authors. He sold Anthony Burgess’ Clockwork Orange. He was the trustee for Winnie the Pooh. So many accomplishments, too many to name here.” More here.

• Library of America’s latest hardcover release, Ross Macdonald: Three Novels of the Early 1960s, edited by Tom Nolan, isn’t due out until later this week, but it has already received a rave from The Washington Post’s Dennis Drabble.

• If you happen to be in London on Thursday, April 28—Ian Fleming’s birthday (he was born in 1908)—consider participating in a special celebration set to include both a walking tour and guest appearances by people involved behind the scenes with the James Bond films.

The role of food in the Bond and Philip Marlowe novels.

• Organizers of this year’s Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival (July 21-24 in Harrogate, England) have chosen P.D. James’ 1972 novel, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, as the convention’s Big Read for 2016. “The Big Read initiative,” explains Shotsmag Confidential, “aims to encourage as many people as possible to celebrate great crime writing by reading the same novel at the same time. An Unsuitable Job for a Woman introduces Cordelia Gray, the first modern female detective in crime fiction.” More information on this subject can be found here.

• Batman teams up with The Avengers? Count on it!

Here’s a private-detective movie from way back in 1973 that I have never heard of, much less watched. Unfortunately, critic Peter Hanson labels it “boring, episodic, and stupid, ideal only for the most lascivious of viewers.” I guess that counts me out …

• As President Obama’s time in the White House nears its end, there are a whole lot of people becoming nostalgic for his steady and thoughtful leadership—perhaps because some of the folks hoping to fill his shoes appear so unsuitable, even dangerous. GQ magazine editor Jim Nelson writes: “With Obama, each thoughtful step of the way, from his soaring acceptance speech (‘The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep …’) to his epic speeches on race and religion, his responses to the shootings in Tucson and Newtown, the killing of Osama bin Laden, the opening of Cuba (‘Todos somos Americanos!’), and countless other momentous occasions, he knew how to speak to our better angels at a time when it was hard to locate any angels.”

• Well, it’s about damn time! Television Obscurities brings word that on July 12, Shout! Factory will release The Defenders: Season 1, a nine-DVD set containing all 32 episodes from the introductory season of The Defenders, the much-lauded legal drama starring E.G. Marshall (later of The Bold Ones) and Robert Reed (The Brady Bunch). The Defenders ultimately earned a four-season run on CBS-TV, as well as multiple awards; yet Television Obscurities says “it was perhaps too topical and controversial to thrive in syndication, and likely hasn’t been aired anywhere since the late 1960s or early 1970s.” The standard retail price for these DVDs will be $44.99.

• The lineup of guest authors scheduled to attend this year’s third annual Mystery Writers Key West Fest (June 10-12 in Key West, Florida) isn’t shabby at all. Included will be Robert K. Tanenbaum, Timothy Hallinan, Sandra Balzo, James O. Born, Heather Graham, Lisa Black, Don Bruns, Michael Haskins, Jake Hinkson, Victoria Landis, and Rick Ollerman. Click here to register.

• Finally, and a bit belatedly, we wish farewell to Gary Shulze, who for more than 14 years—until it was sold in March—operated the Once Upon a Crime Bookstore in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife, Pat Frovarp. He died on April 6 at age 66. The Star Tribune newspaper recalls that Shulze “had been diagnosed with leukemia in 2007, and it returned two years ago.” It goes on to quote Twin Cities mystery writer Jesse Chandler as saying, “Gary loved books, he loved Pat, and he loved Once Upon a Crime. His motto was ‘One more book never hurts.’” (Hat tip to Bill Crider.)

1 comment:

Marty McKee said...

The same director remade STACEY as MALIBU EXPRESS, which is better.