Monday, September 24, 2018

Bullet Points: Random Discoveries Edition

• Somehow it escaped my notice that California author Don Winslow was in the midst of penning a trilogy of books, one that began with 2005’s The Power of the Dog, continued into 2015’s The Cartel, and is now set to conclude with The Border, due for publication by William Morrow in February 2019. As Entertainment Weekly reported earlier today, The Border “continu[es] the saga about international law enforcement, merciless drug traffickers, the press trying to cover the carnage, and the everyday people trapped in the crossfire. It’s the culmination of decades of research and writing, but The Border also brings us to the present day—exploring real-life corruption in Washington, D.C., the opioid epidemic sweeping the U.S., a new generation of brutal narcos, and how Wall Street and real estate moguls have helped launder untold amounts of blood money.” I guess I know one book I'll be reading in five months.

• Benet Brandreth, the rhetoric coach to the Royal Shakespeare Company and the author of The Spy of Venice (Pegasus), suggests in this piece for CrimeReads that renowned playwright William Shakespeare may not simply have been “a man of words but also of action, and dangerous action at that.” Elizabethan England was no place for the faint of heart, it seems.

• Coming off his McIlvanney Prize win, author Liam McIlvanney chooses his top five books about crime for The Big Issue.

• Meanwhile, in Criminal Element, writer Ryan Gattis (Safe) selects “The 5 Best L.A. Crime Novels,” choices that include Nina Revoyr’s Southland and Ross Macdonald’s The Underground Man.

• Classic Film & TV Café’s new list of “Seven Things to Know About Robert Goulet” mentions that in 1966, that singer-actor starred in the World War II-era espionage drama Blue Light, “play[ing] a double agent posing as an American journalist [David March] in Nazi Germany. French actress Christine Carère portrayed another spy, the only person who knows about Goulet’s true identity. The series lasted just seventeen episodes.” A few of those TV eps were scripted by the program’s creator, director-screenwriter Larry Cohen, who’d previously created the Chuck Connors Western Branded and would go on to give viewers Coronet Blue, The Invaders, and the NBC Wednesday Mystery Movie series Cool Million. Wikipedia notes that following Blue Light’s axing, “its first four episodes, which told a continuous story of David March’s efforts targeting a German super-weapon facility at Grossmuchen, Germany, were edited together to create a movie. Entitled I Deal in Danger, it was released theatrically in the United States in December 1966 and in other countries in 1967 and 1968.” I’m not old enough to have watched Blue Light when it first ran, and I remember little about it. But I was able to track down the show’s main title sequence, as well as its second episode, “Target: David March,” which—at least for the time being—can be enjoyed on YouTube.

• Wow, I haven’t yet found free time enough to sit through the opening season of Sacred Games, Netflix’s India-based crime thriller based on Vikram Chandra’s novel of the same name. But already, that series has been renewed for a second season.

• AbeBooks’ newly posted compilation of “10 Novels Set in Bookstores” features a couple of works plucked from the crime/mystery shelves: Mikkel Birkegaard’s The Library of Shadows and John Dunning’s Booked to Die. Whoever put that list together, though, neglected to also mention Matthew Sullivan’s Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore and Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Shadow of the Wind. If we extend our parameters beyond novels, to short stories, then we can also include editor Otto Penzler’s Bibliomysteries: Stories of Crime in the World of Books and Bookstores, as well as its equally chunky sequel, this year’s Bibliomysteries: Volume Two: Stories of Crime in the World of Books and Bookstores.

• This comes from Crime Fiction Lover:
Good news just in for crime fiction lovers: reading makes you smarter. That’s the conclusion of Global English Editing [an editing and proofreading service based in Southern California], which has checked all the relevant facts to support the theory and put them together into a fascinating infographic …

The majority of readers seem to find crime fiction to be therapeutic. The genre provides not only excitement and an escape from the regular world, but a sense of comfort in knowing that although troubling things may be happening in the book, you are safe on the couch in your pyjamas.
• In a Rap Sheet post just last week, I noted that Esquire magazine was important in getting Henry Kane’s Peter Chambers private-eye series off the ground. I quoted a source as saying that Chambers “made his debut in February 1947 [with ‘A Matter of Motive’] and remained an Esquire exclusive through the end of the decade.” Since then, I have located a scan online of how “A Matter of Motive” appeared in that issue of the mag. (Sorry, but you must be an Esquire subscriber to leaf through the whole story.) I also discovered—and can’t believe I didn’t know this before—that “man-about-Manhattan” Chambers was the star of a short-lived, 1954 radio drama series. Cast as Kane’s “private richard” in Crime and Peter Chambers was Dane Clark, who would later star on television in Justice (1954-1956), Bold Venture (1959), and as Lieutenant Arthur Tragg in The New Perry Mason (1973-1974). If you’re interested, you can listen to 21 installments of Crime and Peter Chambers by clicking here.

• In Reference to Murder spreads the word that Apple’s soon-to-debut, G-rated TV-streaming service “has given an eight-episode straight-to-series order to Defending Jacob, headlined and executive produced by Chris Evans. Created and written by Mark Bomback (Planet of the Apes trilogy) and based on William Landay’s bestselling [2012] novel, the project tells the story of a father dealing with the accusation that his son is a 14-year-old murderer.”

Really, The Monkees are releasing a Christmas album?

• My radar also somehow failed to catch The Dame Was Trouble, a collection of short crime stories by Canadian women authors, edited by Sarah L. Johnson, Halli Lilburne, and Cat McDonald, and released in July by Coffin Hop Press. Author-blogger C.S. O’Cinneide opines in She Kills Lit that each of the book’s contributions takes the “dame” archetype “out for a different spin. There are nasty dames, ingénue dames, ghost dames and double-agent dames. Gay dames, trans dames, and dames of colour. Dames who are detectives and cops, but also sex workers and hard-done-by diner owners. Dames out to even the score, to find love or money, or maybe just to find a little peace in a patriarchal world. Most of the time, some unsuspecting man dies who deserves it. No offense to the guys, but given the prolific trope of defenseless female victims, this is a refreshing change. One can only watch so many episodes of Law & Order: SVU without tiring of seductively arranged female bodies outlined in chalk.”

• This reminds me that it’s nearing time for me to think about building on my “12 Dames of Christmas” set of vintage paperback fronts in my other blog, Killer Covers.

• Did Nobel Prize-winning 20th-century author Isaac Bashevis Singer find literary inspiration in the obscure Yiddish pulp exploits of “Max Spitzkopf, the King of Detectives, the Viennese Sherlock Holmes,” a fictional sleuth created by Yoyne (Jonas) Kreppel? Apparently so. (Hat tip to Elizabeth Foxwell of The Bunburyist.)

• And here’s another batch of interviews worth checking out: Caroline and Charles Todd talk with Crimespree Magazine about their latest Bess Crawford mystery, A Forgotten Place; English author Mark Dawson discusses his new novel, Sleepers, with Crime Fiction Lover; and the MysteryPeople blog features a trio of conversations, with Sarah Gran (The Infinite Blacktop), Tom Siegel (The Astronaut’s Son), and Edwin Hill (Little Comfort).

1 comment:

Bill Selnes said...

Vicki Delany has a series set in a Cope Cod mystery bookstore. The first is called "Elementary, She Read".