Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Prowling the Web’s Corners

Courtesy of author Jim Pascoe, one of the volume’s contributors, comes news that Akashic Books’ L.A. Noir anthology has won the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association award in the Best Mystery category. Also nominated were Kill the Lawyers, by Paul Levine (Bantam); Play Dead, by David Rosenfelt (Warner); The Archer Files: The Complete Short Stories of Lew Archer, Private Investigator, edited by Tom Nolan (Crippen & Landru); and The Winter of Frankie Machine, by Don Winslow (Knopf).

• Speaking of awards, Digital Spy reports that “ITV’s Prime Suspect 7: The Final Act won a top honour at this year's Prix Europa. The Helen Mirren crime drama took the Special Prix Europa for series, mini-series or serial.” (Via Euro Crime.)

• Jeri Westerton’s nice long interview today with Aztec Murder Mysteries author Simon Levack reminds me of just how far behind I am in reading his historically compelling series starring priest-turned-slave-turned-sleuth Yaotl, a subject of Moctezuma II’s Central American empire. I still haven’t read Book Three, City of Spies, and I wasn’t aware that he self-published a fourth installment of the Yaotl series, Tribute of Death, in August of this year. As usual, it seems, I have some catching up to do. Read Westerton’s conversation with Levack here.

• Two new blogs worth checking out: British lawyer-novelist Martin Edwards (The Arsenic Labyrinth) is keeping track of current crime fiction and crime fact at the humorously titled ‘Do You Write Under Your Own Name?’; and UK books publisher PanMacmillan has launched a new community site seeking contributions from authors such as Aliya Whiteley, Brian McGilloway, Faye L. Booth, and others being brought to readers through the Macmillan New Writers imprint.

Craig McDonald writes about the conception of--and the characters in--his new series debut, Head Games, as the introductory installment of Pulp Pusher’s “Pushed for Answers” series. Catch up with McDonald’s piece here.

• Steve Lewis has begun publishing, in the Mystery*File blog, maps that have appeared in crime novels over the decades, many of them helpful in understanding twisty whodunits in which the specific locations of characters and possessions must be recalled if the reader is to figure out the crime(s) on his or her own.

• Following an earlier fine interview with Australian Peter Temple, that one at the Tangle Web site, Ayo Onatade of Shots talks with the winner of this year’s Duncan Lawrie Dagger-winning The Broken Shore about Aussie crime fiction’s move onto the international stage, this genre’s use as a fictional forum for social commentary, and the difficulty of keeping up with every member of the huge cast in his Jack Irish detective series. Click here to read the full exchange.

• PWA News and Views has some details about Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine’s plan to incorporate classic Black Mask magazine content in its pages on a bimonthly basis.

• There’s a quite excellent profile of John Burdett, author of the Sonchai Jitpleecheep Thailand mysteries (Bangkok Haunts), in today’s International Herald Tribune. Elsewhere in that same paper, author Carlo Lucarelli (The Damned Season) talks about the process of spinning best-selling stories from the restless ghosts of Italy’s criminal past. (Via Sarah Weinman.)

• Duane Swierczynski offers an update to the ongoing Edgar Allan Poe “wars” as they rage between Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Baltimore, Maryland. Catch it here.

• Canadian writer Louise Penny casts the film version of her Three Pines novels (Still Life, A Fatal Grace, and The Cruellest Month, just released in the UK) for Marshal Zeringue’s My Book, the Movie. Before you click over to read her full thoughts on who should play the characters she’s created, however, contemplate this: What could her Three Pines stories possibly have to do with Bonanza?

• And I’m always surprised at how differently individual critics respond to new novels. I, for instance, received a copy recently of Sarah Langan’s The Missing (not to be confused with Chris Mooney’s novel of the same name, from earlier this year), but set it aside with no firm plans of what to do with it. Lance Carter of Murder & Mystery Books 101, on the other hand, contacted the author to do an interview. This is a good example of why authors benefit from having as many review sources as possible. Carter asks Langan about her studies of environmental toxicology as they relate to this book, her multitudinous pop-culture references, her fondness for the state of Maine as a story setting, and more. Read the results here.

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