Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Bullet Points: Torpid Tuesday Edition

• Deadline reports that actor Max Martini (The Purge, The Order, NCIS: Los Angeles) “is set for a heavily recurring role opposite Titus Welliver on the upcoming second season of Bosch: Legacy, the spin-off of the long-running Amazon series, on Freevee. … Martini [pictured at left] will play Detective Don Ellis, a hardened vice cop in the LAPD. He’s intelligent and fierce, and not above getting down and dirty with the criminals he polices to get the job done.” Based on Michael Connelly’s best-selling Harry Bosch novels, this Freevee TV sequel finds Bosch (Welliver) having retired from the Los Angeles Police Department and set himself up as a private eye. Mimi Rogers plays Honey “Money” Chandler, a prominent L.A. defense attorney who sometimes turns to Bosch for investigative work, and Madison Lintz appears as Harry’s daughter, Maddie, who’s become a rookie police officer. Connelly has already said that Season 2 of Bosch: Legacy will draw on his 2015 novel, The Crossing, for its principal storyline. “In The Crossing,” explains Showbiz CheatSheet, “a defense attorney hires Harry to help find evidence that will prove his client is innocent of murder. While there’s DNA evidence that seems to point to his guilt, the man says he didn’t commit the crime. At first, Harry is reluctant to work with the defense, but after he takes the job and begins to dig into the case, his investigation leads him to look inside the LAPD.” The counsel for the defense in Connelly’s book was of course Bosch’s half-brother, Mickey Haller, but since Haller is now the star of his own Netflix series, I’m guessing—and I doubt this is going too far out on a limb—that Honey Chandler will be the one hiring Bosch on television. Season 2 should debut in early 2023.

• Meanwhile, the Oxford Mail brings word that filming is underway in Oxford, England, on Season 9 of Endeavour, starring Shaun Evans and Roger Allam. “Location trucks have been spotted at the Kings Centre on the Osney Mead industrial estate and it is understood scenes will be filmed … in and around Radcliffe Square,” says the tabloid. It adds: “Filming for the popular ITV detective drama, based on Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse stories, also took place in May in Christ Church Meadow.” The three-episodes of Season 9—Endeavour’s concluding season—may premiere “as late as February 2023.”

• Because I remain a big fan of TV “wheel series,” I can’t help but point you toward this piece, by pop-culture critic Herbie J. Pilato, about McMillan & Wife and the rest of the vintage NBC Mystery Movie lineup. It includes a charming story about how Susan Saint James wound up playing Rock Hudson’s spouse on McMillan:
Saint James was a prime candidate. Also contracted with Universal, the actress with the unique voice she describes today as “scratchy,” had just completed a three-year run on NBC’s The Name of the Game. One of the producers of that series had written a script for her [Magic Carpet] and, as she remembered, “I was off to Europe to shoot a pilot.”

But in the middle of filming, Saint James was instructed by her agent to return to the States to meet with [
McMillan & Wife creator Leonard B.] Stern and Hudson about a leading role in a new TV show.

“Rock was having lunch with every actress in Hollywood who was in my kind of category,” Saint James said.

The following day, she received a phone call from her agent, who said, “That’s it. Go to wardrobe. You got the job.”

Years later, Hudson joked with Saint James about why she won the role. As she recalled, “He told me, ‘I was gaining so much weight just having lunch with people, so I figured, Let’s just go with this woman because I don’t want to have any more lunches.’”
• Kris Calvin, author of the July-released thriller Under a Broken Sky (Crooked Lane), has posted—in CrimeReads—a list of four underrated TV crime series that she says have “the potential to be your next bingeing obsession.” I’m pleased to see the quirky British mystery McDonald & Dodds make the cut, but cannot imagine sitting through all 57 episodes of Mr. and Mrs. North, the 1952-1954 show based on Frances and Richard Lockridge’s books, which I think can be interesting but is likely too old-fashioned for most modern viewers.

• For what it’s worth, the UK-based retail site Book Depository has joined Amazon and CrimeReads in posting lists of what it says are “the best books of 2022 (so far).” Among its 20 crime- and thriller-fiction picks are Janice Hallett’s The Twyford Code, Adrian McKinty’s The Island, Louise Welsh’s The Second Cut, and Tom Bradby’s Yesterday’s Spy. Check out those choices and more in other categories here.

• Australian critic Jeff Popple posts his own selections along this same line. His “best so far” choices include John Connolly’s The Furies, Emma Viskic’s Those Who Perish, Michael Robotham’s Lying Beside You, Shelley Burr’s WAKE, and Deon Meyer’s The Dark Flood.

• Drought-provoked water-level depletion at Lake Mead, an enormous reservoir on the Nevada/Arizona border that was created in the 1930s by construction of the Hoover Dam, has revealed still more human remains. The first set (those of a gun-shot homicide victim concealed in a barrel) were discovered on May 1, with two more skeletons found later that same month and then in late July. More remains turned up in early August. As CBS News explains, “The discoveries have prompted speculation that the lake was used as a burial ground by organized crime and gangs from the early days of Las Vegas, which is just a 30-minute drive from the lake.”

• I read about this proposed novel in a recent newsletter from New York City’s renowned Mysterious Bookshop:
Murray Sinclair, best known for his Ben Crandel series, a trio of Los Angeles-based mystery novels set in the criminal underbelly of early 1980's Hollywood, has created a Kickstarter to help fund his next project: F. Scott Fitzgerald: American Spy.

What if F. Scott Fitzgerald was recruited by the French Resistance to embark upon a secret mission on the eve of World War II? Through the lost correspondence of Henri Duval, a member of the French Resistance, the historical espionage novel
F. Scott Fitzgerald: American Spy tells the story of Fitzgerald’s recruitment by the French Resistance to assassinate the premier of Vichy France on the eve of America's entry into World War II.
You can find out more about Sinclair’s latest endeavor and, if you wish, help fund it by clickety-clacking right here.

• Leave it to Kevin Burton Smith, founding editor of The Thrilling Detective Web Site, to remember that 2022 marks the 100th birthday of the hard-boiled American gumshoe of fiction. He traces that character’s propitious delivery back to the December 1922 edition of Black Mask magazine, which led with stories by Carroll John Daly (“The False Burton Combs”) and “Peter Collinson,” aka Dashiell Hammett (“The Road Home”), both featuring models for the classic shamus we know today. As Smith recalls in the brand-new, fall edition of Mystery Scene magazine, those yarns preceded by only three months the introduction—also in Black Mask—of “the first official hard-boiled private eye,” Terry Mack, appearing in Daly’s “Three Gun Terry.” Smith’s essay, however, is only one of the reasons to grab a copy of the latest Mystery Scene. Among its other attractions are Michael Mallory’s piece about movies based on Vera Caspary’s Laura; Craig Sisterson’s assessment of modern indigenous crime writers; and Oline H. Cogdill’s picks of six authors tipped for greater success in this genre (among them Kellye Garrett, May Cobb, and Gary Phillips). Click here for information about obtaining a copy of Mystery Scene #173.

• Worth checking out, too, is the Summer 2022 issue of Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine, with its excellent cover profile of Javier Cercas, Spanish author of Even the Darkest Night (Knopf).

• Author Max Allan Collins recently sat for an enjoyable video interview with Titan Books editor Andrew Sumner, during which they discussed the soon-forthcoming Mike Hammer novel, Kill Me If You Can. The footage includes, too, Collins’ announcement that he’s “signed with Titan to complete the Mike Hammer Legacy series with two final Mike Hammer novels, to be published in 2023 and 2024. These final two books will, as have all of the books in this series of Collins-completed novels, contain genuine Spillane content.”

• I long ago turned on the comments moderation function for this blog, and it was partly to head off junk messages such as a recent one suggesting readers “buy crystal meth online in Alaska.” The bizarre ad went on to make that dangerous recreational drug sound benign: “It is chemically similar to amphetamine, a drug used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, a sleep disorder.” Why anyone would think these sorts of harmful messages are acceptable, or that a blogger like me would simply let them pass into circulation without hesitation? Amazing!

• I’m sometimes sorry that I wasn’t born early enough to sample the wares of coin-operated book vending machines.

• After years of talk about adapting Erik Larson’s outstanding 2003 non-fiction book, The Devil in the White City, as a movie or small-screen drama (actor Leonard DiCaprio bought the film rights way back in 2010!), the TV streaming service Hulu has finally commissioned an eight-episode series starring Keanu Reeves. Deadline notes that Larson’s book “tells the story of Daniel H. Burnham, a demanding but visionary architect who races to make his mark on history with the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and Dr. H.H. Holmes, America’s first modern serial killer and the man behind the notorious ‘Murder Castle’ built in the Fair’s shadow. This marks Reeves’ first major U.S. TV role. He will also serve as an executive producer.” DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese will also serve as executive producers. The limited series is expected to launch in 2024. Reporting isn’t clear on which of the two leading characters Reeves will play, but I’m assuming a portrayal of Burnham would be more beneficial to his reputation.

• Finally, I continue to be impressed with Curtis Evans’ in-depth features for CrimeReads, the most recent of which recalls author Edmund Crispin (the pseudonym of Robert Bruce Montgomery), creator of amateur detective and locked-room mystery expert Gervase Fen. “Love interest is not what distinguishes Edmund Crispin mystery tales,” Evans remarks, “but rather intelligence, humor, wit, narrative zest and … clever fair-play plotting. Edmund Crispin—let us use this name to discuss Montgomery in his authorial guise—has something of the formidable literary intellect of Michael Innes, yet his humor is earthier, less precious, less an acquired taste, with Innes forever remaining the indulgent don and Crispin the precocious, puckish schoolboy. Despite his small output, Crispin is, in my view, one of the great comedic writers in British detective fiction.”

1 comment:

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I have had to block that same ad about meth and Alaska four times since the first of the month. As a parent of two sons, now grouwn adults, with ADHD, it just cracked me up.