Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Bullet Points: Too-Busy Tuesday Edition

• This is an exciting development, indeed. Publisher Brash Books has acquired the rights to all of teacher-turned-crime novelist Ralph Dennis’ work—“his published and unpublished novels.” Dennis (who died in 1988), is best known for producing a long-lost series starring Jim Hardman, an Atlanta, Georgia, cop who becomes an unlicensed private eye after being wrongly accused of corruption and stripped of his badge. The series began in 1974 with Atlanta Deathwatch. As Brash’s Lee Goldberg tells me in an e-mail note:
We will be re-releasing the 12 Hardman novels, starting with the first four in December, and the rest through 2019. The books include an introduction by Joe R. Lansdale. The third book includes an afterword by Richard Moore and the fourth book an afterword by Paul Bishop. Other authors and mystery fans will be providing afterwords in subsequent books.

We’ll also be re-releasing, in 2019, a substantially revised version of [Dennis’] World War II thriller,
MacTaggart’s War [1979], which we’ve retitled The War Heist. It was his last published title and didn’t do as well as he, or the publisher, hoped. I believe I know why … I’ve gone back to his original manuscript, rearranged chapters, deleted chapters, and made other revisions to heighten suspense, sharpen characters, etc., cutting the book by about 35,000 words along the way (it still clocks it at 100K words).

We’re also going to be releasing his unpublished novels—which, if they need revision, I will be doing myself. One of the manuscripts is going to be slightly reworked as a sequel to his previously published novel
Atlanta [1975] (which we are likely to retitle before re-publishing).
• Actress Jacqueline Obradors, who you should remember from her captivating turn as Detective Rita Ortiz on NYPD Blue, “is set for a key recurring role on the upcoming fifth season of Amazon’s Bosch,” according to Deadline Hollywood. The site explains that “Obradors will play the fast-learning and good-at-hiding-her-nerves Detective Christina Vega, who’s been brought up to work in homicide. She feels the promotion has been a long time coming and is determined to prove her worth as quickly as possible.” The only sad thing here is, we’ll have to wait until early next year to welcome her debut on Bosch.

• Robert Olen Butler, the author of Paris in the Dark, is Nancie Clare’s latest guest on the podcast Speaking of Mysteries.

• Other writer interviews worth your time: Dietrich Kalteis, author of the new novel Poughkeepsie Shuffle, chats with Dana King on his blog; Caz Frear talks about Sweet Little Lies with Crimespree Magazine’s Elise Cooper; and Criminal Element grills both Mindy Mejia (Leave No Trace) and Dolores Redondo (All This I Will Give You).

• Just when you thought I’d run out of summer-themed vintage paperbacks to post in my Killer Covers blog ...

• The next Law & Order TV series from producer Dick Wolf will be called Law & Order: Hate Crimes. According to a news release, NBC has already ordered 13 episodes of the show “based on New York’s actual Hate Crimes Task Force, the second oldest bias-based task force in the U.S. The unit, which pledges to uphold a zero tolerance policy against discrimination of any kind, works under the NYPD’s real Special Victims Unit and often borrows SVU’s detectives to assist in their investigations.” Wolf’s fictional version will be introduced next year on his long-running crime drama, Law & Order: SVU.

• The 50th anniversary of Lieutenant Columbo’s memorable debut on the small screen, in the 1968 made-for-TV-movie Prescription: Murder, was actually last February. However, it’s still nice to see this belated anniversary retrospective on the character published in Cleveland, Ohio’s Plain Dealer newspaper. The piece was penned by Mark Dawidziak, author of the 1989 book The Columbo Phile: A Casebook. Dawidziak concludes his remembrance thusly:
During one of our many talks after “The Columbo Phile” was published, Falk told me he knew that “Columbo” would be mentioned in the first sentence of every obituary about him. He said this with a smile because he never resented or fought the overwhelming identification with the role.

“It never bothered me about the identification,” he said. “I think anybody who’s troubled by that has got to be crazy. The whole world knows it and loves it.”

A testament to the character’s enduring appeal is that Falk played Columbo in five different decades.

“They like the man a lot,” Falk said of Columbo. “Columbo is a man who seems to know who he is. He’s content with himself. He’s good at his job. And he’s not preoccupied with the shallow things in life … I like the guy a lot.”
• Crusin’, the ’60s revival band with which author Max Allan Collins has performed (as lead singer and keyboard player) since 1974, was inducted into the Iowa Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame this last weekend.

• Finally, B.V. Lawson, of In Reference to Murder, recently posted this news: “Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, has received another new lease on life. Tara Goldberg-DeLeo and Kristy Bodnar bought the bookstore from Natalie Sacco and Trevor Thomas, who put the store up for sale in May. They plan on expanding the children’s literature section, increasing the store’s online presence, and reviving coffee service. Mary Alice Gorman and Richard Goldman opened Mystery Lovers Bookshop in 1990 and sold it in 2012 to Laurie Stephens, a librarian with bookstore experience. Stephens sold it to Sacco and Thomas in 2015.”

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