Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bullet Points: Cake and Candles Edition

Because this is my birthday, and I’m working on something of a larger sort for tomorrow, today is going to offer a lighter than normal blogging schedule here at The Rap Sheet. However, there are a few developments I can’t fail to mention:

Crimespree Magazine editor Jon Jordan is showcasing nine book trailers that he says “are really fun to watch.” Among them are the videos associated with Rap Sheet contributor Linda L. Richards’ new Death Was in the Picture and Jason Starr’s The Follower. (By the way, Starr shared his own opinions about the usefulness of book trailers on this page late last year.)

• Aspiring crime novelist and blogger Col Bury interviews fellow British writer and former Cumbria beat cop Matt Hilton on the subject of Hilton’s forthcoming thriller, Dead Men’s Dust.

• Most people probably don’t remember the 20-novel, softcore-porn James Bond parody series about Agent 0008, written between 1965 and 1968 and credited to “Clyde Allison” (aka William Henley Knoles). However, as Permission to Kill blogger David Foster observes, a few of that series’ book jackets were stunners.

Speaking of remarkable covers ...

• I missed seeing this before, probably because I never read that USA Weekend magazine that’s inserted into many Sunday newspapers; but Stephen King has been declared a national icon.

• Is this good news? From The Guardian:
The estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has authorised a series of books detailing the life of the teenage Sherlock Holmes, which will see the budding detective falling in love for the first time, learning the deductive skills that serve him so well in his adult life, and making the acquaintance of a certain Dr Watson.

Starting at age 14 and tracing Holmes’s life at school and then at university, the books will be written by author Andrew Lane--a self-confessed “super-fan” who has a collection of over 100 Holmes-related books--kicking off with a case referenced but never explained by Conan Doyle, The Colossal Schemes of Baron Maupertius. This will see Holmes, who is sent to stay with relatives in Surrey after his soldier father is unexpectedly posted to India, uncovering a series of murders.
(Hat tip to Bill Crider.)

• While I’m not sold yet on the new Gabriel Hunt adventure series waiting to be rolled out at the end of next month, it certainly benefits from a handsome series Web site. Not unexpectedly, of course, that site looks much like the Hard Case Crime site--both are masterminded by publisher and author Charles Ardai. This new series will appear under the house name “Gabriel Hunt,” but actually be written by authors such as Christa Faust, Raymond Benson, and James Reasoner. The first installment, Hunt at the Well of Eternity, is set to reach stores on April 28.

• Since we’re sort of on the subject of Hard Case, check out the newest addition to its list of forthcoming titles, the delightfully named The Corpse Wore Pasties, written by Jonny Porkpie and due out in December. How can you not be drawn in by artist Ricky Mujica’s cover illustration?

• In Shots, Michael Carlson offers up a tribute to two too-soon-gone masters of crime fiction, Donald Westlake and Mickey Spillane, both of whose latest novels have recently appeared on shelves in the UK.

• New victims of Marshal Zeringue’s famous Page 69 Test: Andrew Taylor’s Bleeding Heart Square and Michael Walters’ The Adversary.

The Standard, the oldest newspaper in Kenya, looks into accusations that the emergence and flourishing of crime fiction in Africa may be one of “the major causes of criminal activities in the country.” Read more here. (I assume that the often clumsy grammar and spelling errors in this piece can be blamed on translators.)

• Writing in Pulp Pusher, debut novelist Danny Hogan recalls the impetus for his composition of Killer Tease (newly released in the UK by Pulp Press) and admits that his prose is “not particularly intellectual, or profound. It’s meant to be a bit of masturbation for the mind.” You’ll find his whole piece here.

• I had no idea that old Green Hornet novels could be so valuable.

Vanity Fair contributor (and sometimes amply paid blowhard) Christopher Hitchens looks back on the colorful life and literary endeavors of John Mortimer, the creator of British advocate Horace Rumpole, who died in January.

• And not only is my birthday today, and the (admittedly posthumous) birthdays of Grover Cleveland, George Plimpton, and John Updike, but it’s also the 19th anniversary of “the largest art heist in U.S. history,” according to the blog Nobody Move!


Scott D. Parker said...

Happy Birthday! Wow. You share a birthday with Cleveland, our only two-non-consecutive term president. There could be worse chief executives with whom to share a birthday.

Cullen Gallagher said...

Happy Birthday!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, and thanks for The Rap Sheet!

Gerald So said...

Happy birthday, Jeff.

Ray Banks said...

Happy birthday, Jeff. Are we at an age yet where the candles overwhelm the cake?

J. Kingston Pierce said...

Hey, Ray:

That all depends on the size of the cake. I like mine LARGE.

And thanks to everyone else for their kind birthday wishes.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Happy, happy birthday. Have one on us. The check's in the email.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday, J!

John DuMond said...

Happy birthday, Jeff. Oh, and if one of your presents is a Rembrandt that was mailed to you anymously, please tell the FBI it wasn't from me.

Janet Rudolph said...

Happy Birthday! I'm lifting a glass to you!