Friday, October 13, 2017

Bullet Points: Bouchercon Week Edition

• Denise Mina’s latest novel, The Long Drop, doesn’t lack for honors. In addition to its win, in September, of this year’s McIlvanney Prize, the book has now nabbed the Gordon Burn Prize. That report was made on Thursday during England’s Durham Book Festival. The Long Drop bested five other shortlisted nominees to win the commendation, which was named in honor of Gordon Burn, the British author of such books as Alma Cogan and Sex & Violence, Death & Silence.

• Among this year’s 24 recipients of MacArthur Foundation “genius grants” is Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of the Vietnam-set spy novel, The Sympathizer, which won both a Pulitzer Prize and a 2016 Edgar Award. To learn more about Nguyen, refer to this “By the Book” piece that ran in The New York Times in early 2017.

• “Now that Robert Downey Jr. and HBO are prepping a new cable take on Erle Stanley Gardner’s iconic Perry Mason, this may be a good time to consider the famous defense attorney’s many and various appearances other than between book covers.” So opines Dick Lochte in a Mystery Scene article that looks back at how Mason was portrayed not only on TV, but on radio, in movies, and even in comics.

• Speaking of the TV series Perry Mason, here is MeTV’s list of unusual episodes from that 1957-1966 legal drama. “Have you seen the one in color and the one starring Bette Davis?” the story asks in its subhead. Or how about the one starring Mike Connors?

• There have already been multiple big-screen and TV adaptations of Wilkie Collins’ 1859 “sensation novel,” The Woman in White, including what I remember was an estimable, 1997 BBC version (watch the trailer here) scripted by Dark Water author David Pirie. Yet now comes BBC One with yet another, five-episode dramatization of the spooky tale, this one starring Ben Hardy (EastEnders) and Olivia Vinall (Apple Tree Yard), and due for airing in the UK in 2018.

• Well in advance of that will premiere Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive, a documentary film—part of PBS-TV’s American Masters series—that “draws on Poe’s evocative imagery and sharply drawn plots to tell the real story of the notorious author …,” according to a news release. “An orphan in search of family, love and literary fame, Poe struggled with alcoholism and was also a product of early 19th-century American urban life: depressed from the era’s culture of death due to the high mortality rate and the struggles of living in poverty. Poe famously died under mysterious circumstances and his cause of death remains unknown.” Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive is scheduled for broadcast on Monday, October 30, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/PT—a pre-Halloween treat! The trailer for this presentation is embedded below.

• Yes, All Hallows’ Eve is now a little more than two weeks away. So expect plenty of related features to show up online, such as this BookBub Blog post recommending “20 Creepy New Books to Read This Halloween.” Also check out this Literary Hub offering of “40 of the Creepiest Book Covers of All Time.” Meanwhile, the New York City-obsessed blog, The Bowery Boys, has put together what it calls “brand-new, mysterious podcasts that will send a shiver down your spine.”

• I mentioned on this page in July that Tom Nolan, who edited the Library of America omnibus Ross Macdonald: Four Later Novels: Black Money/The Instant Enemy/The Goodbye Look/The Underground Man, was composing essays about all of those Lew Archer private-eye stories. I see that three of them are now available for your investigation—his thoughtful takes on Black Money (1966), The Instant Enemy (1968), and The Goodbye Look (1969). I look forward to reading what Nolan has to say about The Underground Man (1971), which is one of my favorites among Macdonald’s Archer yarns and was adapted as a 1974 TV pilot starring Peter Graves.

When James Bond didn’t like The Beatles …

… And how he was deeply affected by World War II.

• In a diverse recent blog post, Max Allan Collins mentioned that he has delivered the manuscript for Killing Town, his 10th Mike Hammer novel developed from fragmentary material Mickey Spillane left behind at the time of his death in 2006. Collins goes on to explain that Killing Town (due out from Titan next April) is “chronologically the first Mike Hammer novel,” and that he composed it based on “a substantial (60 double-spaced pages) Spillane manuscript from around 1945 … before I, the Jury!! It has an ending that will either delight, outrage, or disgust you … perhaps all at the same time.” Killing Town, concludes Collins, “will join The Last Stand [due out from Hard Case Crime next March] in the celebration of Mickey’s centenary, the first Mike Hammer novel bookending the final Spillane solo novel.”

• Sometime Rap Sheet contributor Mark Coggins sent me a notice he discovered recently in the newsletter Publisher’s Lunch:
Following the death of [book agent] Ed Victor (and before that, in fall 2016, the death of [UK publisher] Graham Greene), the Raymond Chandler estate has selected new representation. They are working with Peter Straus at Rogers, Coleridge & White for publishing, and Stephen Durbridge and Katie Haines at The Agency for film and TV. Greene’s son Alexander, director of Raymond Chandler Ltd., says in the release: “In choosing Peter and RCW and Stephen and the Agency we wanted to reintroduce Chandler to an audience who perhaps recognize his style but don’t immediately associate it with him or his archetypal character Philip Marlowe.”
One can only speculate as to the eventual results of these altered business associations. Could we be provided more literary revivals of Los Angeles private eye Marlowe? Another crack at a Marlowe TV series, or more new Marlowe films?

• Let’s hope this eventually reaches the United States! From Mystery Tribune: “Scandinavian crime fans will be pleased to know that Sagafilm’s new drama Stella Blómkvist, starring Heida Reed (Poldark) and directed by Oskar Thor Axelsson (Trapped), will soon come to life via Nordic streaming service Viaplay. The series is based on a series of novels that follow a hard-nosed lawyer named Stella Blómkvist as she takes on mysterious murder cases.”

• Gadzooks! The DVD release of C.S.I.—The Complete Series will be a “93-disc set includ[ing] 19 hours of special features, all 15 seasons, and all 337 episodes, plus the 2-hour finale.” I’m not sure I can even accommodate such a sizeable package among my DVD collection. This CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount Home Media set will become available as of November 21, according to TV Shows on DVD.

• For the Mulholland Books site, Portland, Oregon, science-fiction author Fonda Lee (Jade City) has cobbled together a rundown of what she says are the “Top Ten Fantasy Crime Novels.”

• David Cranmer is doing a bang-up job, for Criminal Element, of celebrating the centennial of Robert Mitchum’s birth. He’s written over the last three months about Mitchum’s Western films, his noir pictures, and yesterday he recalled the actor’s war movies (including the 1983 TV mini-series The Winds of War). Mitchum, writes Cranmer, projected “the great inner strength of tight-lipped heroes who fought the good fight, usually against staggering odds.”

• Linwood Barclay talks with Suspense Radio about his latest novel, Parting Shot, which is due out on October 31. Listen here.

• Hard to believe, I know, but it has been a full decade since the debut of Chuck, NBC-TV’s action-comedy/spy series starring Zachary Levi as computer-service specialist-turned-special agent Chuck Bartowski, and Yvonne Strahovski as his CIA protector, Sarah Walker. In honor of this anniversary, TV Guide created a video compilation of their most romantic moments from the show’s five seasons.

From In Reference to Murder:
Fox has given a script commitment plus penalty to The Dime, a crime drama with a lesbian cop at the center that’s based on bestselling author Kathleen Kent’s new novel, from Hell on Wheels creators Tony Gayton and Joe Gayton, feature director Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes), and 20th-Century Fox TV. Written and executive produced by the Gayton brothers, The Dime follows Brooklyn cop Betty Rhyzyck, a tough-as-nails firebrand who moves with her girlfriend to Dallas to lead a group of detectives. Their more traditional sensibilities are a far cry from her blue-state mentality, and in order to survive, Betty and her team will have to put aside their differences.
• Marty McKee has an excellent piece in Johnny LaRue’s Crane Shot about the reworked sixth and final season of 77 Sunset Strip, which starred Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Los Angeles private eye Stuart Bailey. To give that season “a kickstart,” McKee recalls, Warner Bros. “gave it a radical reboot. Everyone but Zimbalist was fired, and Bailey moved into a new office in the Bradbury Building as a solo act. New producers Jack Webb (Dragnet) and William Conrad … made the series less glossy and more noirish. While the new approach didn’t work—the series was cancelled after 20 episodes—it did give 77 a creative shot in the arm. To begin the sixth season, producer Conrad hired screenwriter Harry Essex (credited with Creature from the Black Lagoon, It Came from Outer Space, and I, the Jury) to concoct an ambitious five-part story that Conrad would also direct. The result was ‘5,’ which aired on consecutive Fridays in September and October 1963. Loaded with guest stars ranging from Richard Conte and Cesar Romero to Diane McBain and William Shatner, ‘5’ yanks Bailey out of L.A. to New York and even all the way to Israel to solve the case.” I wrote about that same multi-part episode of 77 Sunset Strip in this 2012 post.

• Congratulations to The Spy Command on its ninth anniversary!

• I know it seems a bit early yet to talk about next spring’s Florida SleuthFest (March 1-4 in Boca Raton), what with Bouchercon 2017 still underway in Toronto. But the deadline for discounted early registration for SleuthFest is this coming September 30. And would-be authors who wish to arrange manuscript critiques must submit their work by January 31—just over three months from now. More generally, this annual writers’ conference (sponsored by the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America) will have as its 2018 keynote speaker Andrew Gross, and Katherine Ramsland, Ph.D., has been tapped as forensic guest of honor. Other special guests will include James R. Benn and Hallie Ephron. More information can be found on the SleuthFest Web site or by contacting co-chairs Victoria Landis and Michael Joy via e-mail at

• While we’re on the subject of near-future mystery-fiction festivals, I should also point out that discounted early registration for Left Coast Crime 2018 (March 22-25 in Reno, Nevada) is available only through December 31 of our present year. The guest of honors at that gathering will be Naomi Hirahara and William Kent Krueger.

• And let’s conclude here with links to a few author interviews worthy of your attention: John McFetridge, who played a large role in organizing this week’s Bouchercon in Toronto, talks with S.W. Lauden about his very underappreciated novels; MysteryPeople chats with both Adam Sternbergh (The Blinds) and J.M. Gulvin (The Long Count); Lisa Scottoline (Damaged) and Jussi Adler-Olsen (The Scarred Woman) field questions from Crimespree Magazine; J.J. Hensley discusses Bolt Action Remedy with the UK site Crime Fiction Lover; and Paul Bishop grills Greg Shepherd, the publisher of Stark House Press. Although it’s an essay rather than a Q & A, I want to mention as well Russian writer Polina Dashkova’s piece for BoingBoing about how she came to concoct her new-in-America thriller, Madness Treads Lightly.


Marty McKee said...

Thank you for the kind words, Mr. Pierce.

cairplusfitness said...

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