Friday, July 17, 2020

Bullet Points: Still Hanging in There Edition

The Strand Magazine is out today with its list of nominees for the 2020 Strand Critics Awards. The contenders are as follows:

Best Mystery Novel:
Big Sky, by Kate Atkinson (Little, Brown)
The Lost Man, by Jane Harper (Flatiron)
The Sentence Is Death, by Anthony Horowitz (Harper)
Lady in the Lake, by Laura Lippman (Morrow)
Heaven, My Home, by Attica Locke (Mulholland)
The Border, by Don Winslow (Morrow)

Best Debut Novel:
Scrublands, by Chris Hammer (Atria)
Miracle Creek, by Angie Kim (Sarah Crichton)
One Night Gone, by Tara Laskowski (Graydon House)
The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides (Celadon)
Three-Fifths, by John Vercher (Agora)

In addition, authors Walter Mosley and Tess Gerritsen will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards, and Bronwen Hruska of Soho Press will be given the Publisher of the Year Award. Other winners will be announced during a virtual event come September 4.

• Earlier this week, the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers announced the winners of its 2020 Scribe Awards, in seven categories. The only one focused on crime fiction appears to be “Original Novel—General.” And the winner there is Robert B. Parker’s The Bitterest Pill, by Reed Farrel Coleman (Putnam). Competing for that same honor were Murder, My Love, by Max Allan Collins (Titan), and Murder, She Wrote: A Time for Murder, by Jon Land (Berkley).

• While we’re on the subject of literary prizes, let me also acknowledge the recipients of the 2019 Shirley Jackson Awards, which celebrate “outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic.” There were six categories of contenders, but it’s among the rivals for Best Novel that we find the most works of crime fiction. The Book of X, by Sarah Rose Etter (Two Dollar Radio), captured that title, beating out five other books: Curious Toys, by Elizabeth Hand (Little, Brown); Goodnight Stranger, by Miciah Bay Gault (Park Row); Ninth House, by Leigh Bardugo (Flatiron); Nothing to See Here, by Kevin Wilson (Ecco); and Tinfoil Butterfly, by Rachel Eve Moulton (MCD x FSG Originals).

• A third Life on Mars series is a go! First, of course, came the 2006-2007 UK science-fiction police procedural Life on Mars, followed by its sequel, Ashes to Ashes. Now we can look forward to the “third and final installment of the story,” titled Lazarus. The Killing Times says Mars co-creator Matthew Graham plans a four- or five-episode run, and assures fans that all of the principal series stars—“John Simm, Phillip Glenister, and Keeley Hawes among them”—will be returning for Lazarus.

• Also from The Killing Times comes the welcome word that “Clerkenwell Films has picked up the rights to acclaimed Irish writer Catherine Ryan Howard’s third novel, Rewind.
It tells the story of Andrew, the manager of Shanamore Holiday Cottages, who watches his only guest via a hidden camera in her room. One night the unthinkable happens: a shadowy figure emerges onscreen, kills her and destroys the camera. But who is the murderer? How did they know about the camera? And how will Andrew live with himself?

Natalie wishes she’d stayed at home as soon as she arrives in the wintry isolation of Shanamore. There’s something creepy about the manager. She wants to leave, but she can’t—not until she’s found what she’s looking for.
• Brian Busby, who blogs at The Dusty Bookcase, draws my attention to the under-reported demise of Canadian mystery writer Edward O. Phillips on May 30. He writes: “Ted—as he was known—may not be well-known south of the border, though he was published in the United States. In Canada, his debut, Sunday's Child (1981), was nominated for the First Novel Award. His 1986 novel, Buried on Sunday, won the Arthur Ellis Award.” Wikipedia says the author “was best known for his mystery novel series featuring gay detective Geoffrey Chadwick.” An obituary in The Montreal Gazette notes that Phillips, a lifelong Quebec resident, died “of complications from COVID-19.” He was 88 years old. The Globe and Mail offers its own Phillips obit here.

Variety reports that Ace Atkins’ novels starring Quinn Colson, “a former Army Ranger who returns to his home in rural northeast Mississippi,” and becomes a sheriff, are being adapted into an HBO-TV drama. There are 10 Colson yarns, beginning with 2011’s The Ranger and including the latest entry, The Revelators (Putnam).

• Meanwhile, Oline H. Cogdill interviews Atkins for the Mystery Scene magazine blog. “The plan was to have 10 questions for 10 years of Quinn,” she explains. “Instead, we got a bit carried away.”

• Author Sheila Kohler puts forth the proposition, in the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine blog, that Miguel de Cervantes’ 17th-century yarn, Don Quixote, was the first real crime novel.

• After scouring Ian Fleming’s novels for clues of every sort, William Boyd—who wrote the 2013 James Bond continuation novel, Solo—believes he’s found where British agent 007 lived in London. And it’s not far from the street where another spy-fiction celebrity, John le Carré’s George Smiley, had his own comfortable digs.

• For CrimeReads, Christina Schwarz offers a photo tour of sites familiar from the two years that Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were on the run from law-enforcement officials in the 1930s.

• I remember sitting through the 1990 film Dick Tracy, based on Chester Gould’s comic-strip character and starring Warren Beatty, Al Pacino, and Madonna. The experience was tedious, the script “lousy” (to quote Max Allan Collins, who penned the movie tie-in novel), and the character’s no better than two-dimensional. Early expectations of Dick Tracy generating a movie franchise quickly fell by the wayside. But as Den of Geek reports, there were ideas for what a sequel might be, even if no script was developed. Dick Tracy screenwriter Jack Epps Jr. tells Den’s Mike Cecchini that the follow-up “would have seen a roughly ten-year jump in time, featured an older Junior [the police detective’s adopted son], and put Tracy in the midst of World War II.
“The sequel [would have been] something around munitions and war secrets,” Epps says “I probably would have gone to factories, because I was always amazed at how America turned into this armament industry. We had no weapons manufacturers before the war began, and by the end, we were a juggernaut, turning out planes in two, three days and things like that.”

To be clear, there were no plans to put Warren Beatty in uniform and send Tracy overseas to join the war effort on the frontlines.
Dick Tracy 2 would have been strictly a domestic wartime affair.
• Bloggers Dru Ann Love, of Dru’s Book Musings, and BOLO Books’ Kristopher Zgorski have teamed up for a new YouTube venture, BOLO*MUSINGS. It’s been an opportunity, thus far, for them to chat about recent and upcoming crime/mystery novels. The second installment, posted this week, finds the pair discussing a dozen of their favorite works from the first half of 2020.

• Do you remember Vengeance Unlimited, the 1998 ABC-TV crime drama starring Michael Madsen? As Wikipedia recalls, Madsen played Mr. Chapel, “a mysterious stranger keen on serving justice to those who had been ignored by the law. To achieve those ends, Mr. Chapel made use of promised favors from former clients. People in trouble were usually contacted by Chapel with an envelope on their front doorstep containing newspaper clippings related to previous clients, along with the phone number 555-0132. When Mr. Chapel took a case, his demand was simple: either pay a fee of one million dollars, or promise to do a favor at some time in the future—whatever, whenever, wherever and for however long he needed you—then your debt would be paid in full. In the series pilot, it was clear that Mr. Chapel had been doing this for some time, as he called in a number of favors to help his current client.” Only 16 episodes of Vengeance Unlimited were broadcast, and recently a YouTube channel called Pop Zone posted them all. There’s no telling how long they’ll be available, though, before a copyright complaint provokes their disappearance.

1 comment:

E. Ellis said...

While reading the Ace Atkins series of Quinn Colson, I always pictured Harry Dean Stanton as his number one protagonist Johnny Stagg.