Thursday, October 30, 2014

How About a Protest Song: IMAGINE


Happy Halloween October 30, 2014


Happy Halloween!! My poor brother was dressed as a girl until he was old enough to complain!
But the little girl next to him, Meryl if I remember right, got dressed as a boy. 

Here we are in Philly circa 1954 and now I am in Philly 60 years later. 
Probably won't get to the old neighborhood (Mt. Airy) but Noircon should be fun.
Have a good holiday. 









Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How About a Protest Song: THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND


What recent read really surprised you?

I rarely put much value on being surprised because I don't read whodunits. But THE GOOD GIRL offered a very late twist that caught me up. Didn't see it coming by a country mile. THE GOOD GIRL is a story of a kidnapping that careens out of control. I liked it all the way through but the ending sealed the deal for me.
\


What recent read surprised you?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How About a Protest Song: I AM WOMAN


Forgotten Movies: Clean and Sober

Now that Michael Keaton has finally landed what looks like a successful movie (BIRDMAN) I took a look at his earlier films and CLEAN AND SOBER from 1988 was an early success for him. Directed by Glenn Gordon Caron (MOONLIGHTING) this film details the story of a man who tries to hide in a drug rehab center to escape his problems with various entities only to find that he indeed belongs there himself. Kathy Baker, Morgan Freeman and Tate Donvan fill out the cast. This was a solid acting job for Keaton. Taking the role of BATMAN probably did not help his career.

Keaton should have had a better career. So many actors seem unlucky or unwise in their choices. Hoping BIRDMAN will send him on a more successful path.
***********************************************************

My Halloween story THE ANGEL DEEB, which first appeared in DEADLY TREATS, a print anthology edited by Theresa Weir, now appears on BEAT TO A PULP. Thanks, David Cranmer.

Monday, October 27, 2014

How About a Protest Song: STRANGE FRUIT



My Halloween story THE ANGEL DEEB, which first appeared in DEADLY TREATS, an anthology edited by Theresa Weir, now appears on BEAT TO A PULP. Thanks, David Cranmer.

How Do You Relax?

I am sure most of you will say by reading, but reading is not that relaxing to me. It makes certain intellectual demands if the book is a good one.

One thing that always seems to help me is going to a classical music concert. We did this on Friday and heard an amazing program, ending with Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto. I just can feel an increase in serotonin as I sit and listen. If I listen to music at home, I tend to read or do something at the same time. At a concert hall, I am a prisoner of the music and that is a good thing for me.

How do you relax on days when you feel stress?


Orchestra Hall, Detroit

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014

Hello Cello




My review of A SUMMER'S TALE is up on CRIMESPREE CINEMA.

Friday's Forgotten Books, Friday, October 24, 2014

Off to the symphony so additional links will be added mid afternoon.


Charlie Stella is the author of seven novels about the New York underworld.

LET IT RIDE, John McFetridge


John McFetridge’s Let It Ride presents a lot of subplots to keep readers engaged. A husband and wife, fresh from a swing party, are mistakenly whacked by a hit man while in a semi-compromising position in their car while driving home from a swing party.The hit man could only see the driver (so yous figure out the position). A couple of veterans used to hustling drugs and guns out of Afghanistan are
joined in Toronto where one of them,
JT (a Canadian Afghanistan veteran) is about to earn his full patch (become a made man, so to speak) for the gang run by Richard Tremblay (another subplot), a full patch who seeks the ultimate power (cappo di tutti cappi, so to speak). Vernard “Get” McGetty is the Detroit half of the connection and always looking for something better. After delivering some hardware up to JT in Toronto, he’s shown the ropes of the motorcycle gang world (and notices how many of the motorcyclists drive SUV’s) … JT shows him how they operate and it is impressive.
There’s also Sunitha, an Indian "rub and tug" (hand job) hooker with a second gig heading a small band of women who rob massage parlors of the almost rich and not so famous. She wants more and is ambitious enough to get it. Once she hooks up with Get (after JT takes him for some relief), she sees gold in her future.
Literally gold.
There’s also a subplot that has to do with the law trying to solve the couple murdered in their car … Maureen McKeon is cop no longer satisfied with her home life, her husband or young infant ... and she’s drinking again.
There are also those pesky, but not so powerful eye-talians out and about; with a subplot within their story as well.
Hookers and hit men abound … the names of the characters sub-title each chapter so there’s no reason to get lost. Let It Ride is chock full of references to the author the author of Let it Ride is most often compared to (say that three times fast). The name Elmore Leonard and several of his works make a few appearances, in tribute, I suspect. The references work well, as does the writing in this exciting page turner from the Toronto Bills very own crime fiction specialist.
The bit about full patches … essentially, a Full Patch = Made Man … north of the border there are motorcycle gangs that operate much the same way traditional organized crime does (or did); those seeking full honors in the program need to prove themselves over time … earn their stripes (so to speak) and then be approved by a board (of sorts) before they can become full patch members. There are rules one needs to abide along the way (or at least not get caught breaking them) and some are pretty similar to those the Italian-American mob are supposed to abide by.
Like don’t screw the wife of a made guy/full-patch and get caught without expecting to meet your maker. It’s one of the rules tested by JT …
No spoilers here … but know that McFetridge does very good work. He teaches as well as entertains. Let It Ride offers convincing snapshots of the different characters who inhabit our world. Like them or not, their choices are much more understandable by the novel’s several endings (each character has one, whether open ended or not). I never imagined motorcycle gangs were so powerful until I saw a documentary on the subject. It was chilling. Let It Ride was a reminder of just how powerful a group of determined sociopaths can be in a society unprepared for the violence and protected by law enforcement as corruptible as politicians.
Take a journey with this character driven novel of crime that takes place north of the border. You’ll meet interesting people at each turn; characters that both frighten and intrigue. Let It Ride is the character driven page turner we expect from McFetridge and we’re always glad to see some of his characters from prior works appear. Comparisons to the master from Detroit are valid.North of the boarder, McFetridge’s people inhabit the gritty world it is better to read about than taste first hand. Let It Ride lets us do that. An intriguing novel about opportunistic characters seizing their day. Carpe Diem indeed. McFetridge is the real deal.

Forgotten Books: Fright by Cornell Woolrich


Fright

Cornell Woolrich's first novel emulated the novels of his literary hero, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Judging from the first act of the new Woolrich novel Fright from Hardcase Crime, the Fitzgerald influence lasted well into Woolrich's later career as a suspense writer.

The young, handsome, successful Prescott Marshall could be any of Fitzgerald's early protagonists. New York, Wall Street, a striver eager to marry a beauiful young socialite and acquire the sheen only she can give him...even the prose early on here reminds us of Fitzgerald's "Winter Dreams" and "The Rich Boy." Strivers dashed by fate.

Bu since Woolrich was by this time writing for the pulps and not Smart Set or Scribners Magazine, young Prescott Marshall's fate is not simply to lose face or be banished from some Edenic yacht cruise...but to face execution at the hands of the State for killing a young woman he slept with once and who turned into a blackmailer. This is in the Teens of the last century, by the way; a historical novel if you will.

From here on we leave the verities of Fitzgerald behind and step into the noose provided by another excellent writer and strong influence on Woolrich...Guy de Maupassant. In the Frenchman's world it's not enough to merely die, you must die in a tortured inch-by-inch way that makes the final darkness almost something to be desired. And dying for some ironic turn of events is best of all.

I read this in a single sitting. It's one those melodramas that carry you along on sheer narrative brute force. I woudn't say it's major Woolrich but I woud say that it's awfully good Woolrich with all the master's cruel tricks at work and a particularly claustrophobic sense of doom. Readers will appreciate its dark twists. Collectors will want to buy a few extra copies.
Ed Gorman is the author of the Sam McCain and Dev Conrad series of crime novels. 
Sergio Angelini, THE BLACK SPECTACLES, John Dickson Carr
Yvette Banek, Seasonal Fare
Joe Barone, IN A DARK HOUSE,Deborah Crombie
Brian Busby, Books about the Trudeaus
Bill Crider. RIDER FROM WIND RIVER, Marvin H. Albert
Martin Edwards, FOURFINGERS, Lynn Brock
Curt Evans, A Look at Medora Field
Rick Horton, HEYDAY, W.M. Spackman
Randy Johnson, COPP ON FIRE, Don Pendleton
Nick Jones, Assorted James Mitchell publications
George Kelley, GUN GLORY FOR TEXANS, Marshall McCoy
Margot Kinberg, NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND EYES, Cornell Woolrich
Rob Kitchin, VILLAIN , Shuichi Yoshida
B.F. Lawson, THE HAND IN THE GLOVE, Rex Stout
Evan Lewis, SATAN'S REVENGE, Carroll John Daly
Steve Lewis/ William Deeck, THE MOONFLOWER MURDERS, Beverley Nichols
Todd Mason, Books and Magazines Influencing My Early Reading
Neer, DEAD MAN'S TALE and WIFE OR DEATH, Ellerry Queen
J.F. Norris, THE LONGBOW MURDERS, Victor Luhrs
James Reasoner, THE SQUARE SHOOTER, WALT COBURN
Gerard Saylor, WAYS OF A WANTOM, Richard S. Prather, BIG BLACK MARIA, Johnny Shaw
Ron Scheer, CAMPFIRE TALES, Andy Adams
Kevin Tipple, PATTERNS IN SILICON, Maureen Robb
TomCat, THE BONE IS POINTED, Arthur Upfield
Prashant Trikannad, GREYLORN, Keith Laumer
Tracy K, KEEPER OF THE KEYS, Earl Derr Biggers

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hello Cello

Movies You Should Have Seen But Haven't


COOL HAND LUKE

As a huge Paul Newman fan, I should have seen this movie years ago but something about it has always held me back. I am not much a fan of prison movies. That's probably the main reason. But from the scenes I have seen, I am not sure I will like him in this role.

What classic movie have you skipped?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hello Cello

Forgotten TV: SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR



Although I never found the Smothers Brothers all that funny and I never found their singing all that good. But they managed to put together a fun show that we watched every week for the two years they were on CBS. The show became hip to watch for young people because of the focus of the humor and the youth and prestige of the musical guests.

They ran amuck of the network constantly and were pulled for their anti-war stance. That I  really did admire. How many entertainers use the power they have to try and stop a war? Despite being pulled in the middle of a season, the show won an Emmy for best writing that year.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Hello Cello

Best Last Scene in a Movie?



And there are a lot of great ones. But the other night I was reminded of one of my favorites. In the last scene in BIG NIGHT, a movie about two brothers trying to get a restaurant going, the brother who is the lesser cook but more the manager, (Stanley Tucchi) makes an omelette for his brother (Tony Shaloub) and a waiter. 

And then they sit down and eat it. This occurs after a particularly trying night for the brothers. 

There is absolutely no dialog in the scene but it perfectly encapsulates the brothers' relationship and what their life is about. 

What is your favorite last scene?

Friday, October 17, 2014

How About a Little Sax Music?

Friday's Forgotten Books, October 17, 2014

(From the archives)

R. Narvaez was born and raised in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. His work has been published in A Thousand Faces, Indian Country Noir, Murdaland, Plots with Guns, and Spinetingler. He is co-editor of The Lineup crime poetry chapbook series

I Am Thinking of My Darling,
 Vincent McHugh
A virus. The City. Civic chaos. Government collapse. The stuff of zombie flicks and terrorist scenarios in 2010. But back in the ’40s, such a plot could still be light-hearted. In Vincent McHugh’s 1943 novel I Am Thinking of My Darling, a virus infects New York City—but it's a happy virus! The infected follow their bliss, feverishly losing their inhibitions (for you Trekkies, think "The Naked Time" episode). The problem is that no one wants to work. Honestly, who would?

Acting planning commissioner Jim Rowan returns home from a trip to DC to find cheerful chaos quickly spreading across town—and his actress wife Niobe missing. She’s infected and on the lam, looking to live out a succession of character roles in a kind of Method fervor. Meanwhile, in an emergency management meeting (consider what that term evokes today), the mayor announces he has the virus—and would rather play with model trains than lead the City. To avoid panic, Rowan is secretly made acting mayor.

The plots riffs genially from there, with Rowan hot on the trail of his slippery wife, cabbing from City Hall to Harlem across a Cityscape in Mardi Gras mode—all the while consulting with civil services to keep things running and with scientists to find a cure. (The fact that the virus apparently originated in the tropics, implying that people there are inhibition-less, may be another artifact of the past.) A polymath (when being a polymath was simpler), Rowan narrates in sensual, informed detail about now-bygone architectural wonders, regional accents, lab science, and jazz music.

This book, with its glad-rag view of a long-lost era, has been a favorite of mine since it was recommended to me decades ago. (I still have my first copy, bought in the now-bygone Tower Books in the Village). McHugh, a poet and a staff writer for The New Yorker in the ’30s, employs a prose style that winks slyly at Chandler and pulp. (Once Rowan is inevitably infected, he’s like Marlowe on E.) Darling also features a nice amount of sexual frankness that may surprise modern readers who forget that people in the ’40s had sex. The novel was made into the very '60s movie What's So Bad About Feeling Good?, but by then the times had already been a-changed enough that the conceit no longer had the right kind of jazz.

 Black Friday by David Goodis: 

Ed Gorman is the author of the Sam McCain and Dev Conrad series of books.  



"In fact, the craftsmanship (David Goodis) mastered in all those years of turning out fiction for the pulps was sometimes all that salvaged his books from a morass of aberrant psychology and obsession." --James Sallis

Black Friday is proof absolute of Sallis' comment. It's a crime novel only by default. Here we have the typical Goodis loser loner protagonist, this time named Hart who is on the run from a murder charge. Through a cosmic coincidence he is taken in by a murderous big time burglar named Charley. And his gang.

The story arc deals with a pending huge burglary of fine art and jewelry that Hart will be allowed to join in if he can prove to Charley that he is a "professional"--i.e. a man who never kills for passion but only for money. Loopy at this measure is Goodis makes it go.

But please don't confuse this heist with the book's real import. I remember reading a lot of August Strindberg in my college days as a wanna-be playwright. Goodis has pulled a Strindberg. What a feckless loveless hopeless cast of oddballs and freaks he offers us.

The gang doesn't like Hart so we have scenes of frequent intimidation except for the gangster who starts to like Hart because Hart finds the man's artistic skills impressive (or claims he does), Then there's Freida the obese sad crazed dangerous vamp of Goodisworld. Repellent as he finds her he has to sleep with her because she needs the kind of sex her man Charley can't deliver. He's impotent most of the time. Hart is using her--he literally grimaces when he touches her--but she falls in love with him and Charley figures it out. Charley is not happy.

Then there's Myrna the forlorn faded woman whose brother Paul Hart killed because he seemingly had no choice. She despises Hart at first but eventually they come together. The interplay of all these relationships accounts for seventy-five, maybe eighty per cent of the novel. I couldn't stop flipping the pages though several times I wanted to. This is the only book I've ever read that makes Orwell's Down and Out In Paris and London read like a B'way musical. It's past grim. It's a violent ward of wanton treachery and despair.

It's as close to Grand Guignol as crime fiction gets.


Sergio Angelini, THE SNATCH, Bill Pronzini
Yvette Banek, THE VERGE PRACTICE, Barry Maitland
Joe Barone, THE DEATH OF LUCY KYTE, Nicola Upson
Brian Busby, SOFT TO THE TOUCH, Clark W. Dailey
Bill Crider, STRANGE DOINGS, R.A. Lafferty
Martin Edwards, NIGHTMARE, Arthur La Bern
Curt Evans, GOLDEN ANTHOLOGIES 2, ed. Tim Heald
Rick Horton, NIGHT LIFE OF THE GODS, Thorne Smith

Jerry House, AS IT IS WRITTENDe Lysle Ferree Cass
Randy Johnson, AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE, Robert Bausch
Nick Jones, SPLIT IMAGES, Elmore Leonard
George Kelley, HEAVY PLANET, Hal Clement
Margot Kinberg, BITTER RIVER, Julia Keller
Rob Kitchin, ALL GOD'S CHILDREN, Arthur Lyons
K.A. Laity, VIV ALBERTINE's MEMOIR
B.V. Lawson, THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, ed. Martin Greenberg
Evan Lewis, THE SHADOW OF THE TOMAHAWK, Hugh Pendexter
Steve Lewis/Ellen Nehr, EXIT ACTORS, DYING, Margot Arnold 
Todd Mason, BEST SHORT STORIES OF 1978. 
J.F. Norris, THE DETECTIVE NOVELS OF CHARLES FORSYTE
Juri Nummelin (with Moore and Mazberg), THE GETAWAY CAR, Donald Westlake 
James Reasoner, BLONDES DIE YOUNG, Bill Peters
Richard Robinson, OUR JUBILEE IS DEATH, Leo Bruce
Gerard SaylorGALLOW'S VIEW, Peter Robinson
Ron Scheer, UNBRIDLED SPIRITS, ed. Judy Alter and T Row
Kevin Tipple, A PAINTED HOUSE, John Grisham
TracyK. THE SAINT V. SCOTLAND YARD, Leslie Charteris
Prashant Trikannad, THE WRECK OF THE GOLDEN MARY, Charles Dickins

Thursday, October 16, 2014

How About a Little Sax Music?

Kevin




Kevin at 7 3/4. After wondering if Kevin would ever become a reader, he now reads all the time. CALVIN AND HOBBES is his favorite and when I asked him if he got all the stuff in the strips, he said it didn't bother him when he didn't. He also enjoys reading all the chapter books for kids his age.  In school, he is reading WHITE FANG and studying Greek Myths.

He is big on board games and has all the ones from my childhood. He especially likes Monopoly, Clue and Life. Not that he doesn't also like games he can play on a computer. He
and his two best friends are writing a book-one does the pictures, one does the physical writing and Kevin comes up with the ideas.

He takes tennis lessons, plays hockey, takes swimming lesson and is in the chess club. But NINJA TURTLES is still a favorite with Batman running a close second. He is an awfully nice kid. How lucky we are.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How About a Little Sax Music?

Who Do You Find Funny?




Yesterday, I wrote on Yvette's blog that I have never found Abbott and Costello funny. Nor Laurel and Hardy nor the Marx Brothers. But I do find W.C. Fields funny.  I am not sure why. Maybe his reactions are what I find funny. On the whole though, slapstick has always eluded me.

I also find Pryor, the early Cosby, and Louis CK funny. And Sarah Silverman when she is in the R and not the X mode. I never found Robin Williams very funny--mainly because I could rarely follow his train of thought.

Who do you find funny?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How About a Little Sax Music

Forgotten Movies: A MEMBER OF THE WEDDING



Based on the novel by Carson McCullers, this film details the tumultuous and difficult coming of age of a twelve year old girl (Harris) when she learns her brother is getting married and struggles to come to grips with it. Ethel Waters plays the woman who cares for her; Brandon De Wilde, her cousin.

For anyone who doubts the hysteria, the pain, the loneliness of teenage girls, this film (and novel) proves a point. For a certain type of girl, life needs to be extraordinary. Frankie was one and you can only hope she can find a way out of her town and into a wider world. 

Harris was nearly thirty when she played this part. Some may say her performance is over the top, but if you read the book, as I am now, you will see she nailed it. Fred Zinneman directed this, a film produced Stanley Kramer failed to find any merit in. In fact, you can see from the poster above, how he tried to center a wedding rather than the real heart of the book.

This book and film is in the long tradition of Southern writers who feel melodrama is nothing to be ashamed of. You can see most or all of this film on you tube.

On another note, be sure to stop by B.V. Lawson's blog today and meet one of her characters. She has links to other writers undertaking the same challenge. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Little Sax Music

A Beautiful Sentence

I was listening to a book talk show on PBS and Anthony Doerr, author of ALL THE LIGHT YOU CANNOT SEE, said his favorite thing about writing was the production of a beautiful sentence. He names a few writers who he thought produced them.

Now he explained that such a sentence must be free of cliche, impart an idea and do it in a lucid, fresh, original way.

What beautiful sentence do you remember?

"Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum."
-- Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

HOW I CAME TO WRITE THIS STORY: Aislinn Batstone

How I Came to Write This Story: Aislinn Batstone




How I came to write ‘The Ring’

By Aislinn Batstone

‘The Ring,’ was a controlled experiment.
I started with a fantastic plot that I lifted in its entirety from a kids’ book by Jans Loof, ‘Who Stole the Apple’. This story follows a gentle soul tricked by a shopkeeper into buying a wax apple instead of a real one, but (as you may have guessed) this trickery comes back to bite the shopkeeper.
Like many favourite books, I was asked to read this out loud, over and over. For three or four weeks when he was about four years old, my son requested this story every single night. Eventually I could ‘read’ it without even looking at the pages. But I never tired of it, partly because of that fantastic plot. Reading aloud, I’d picture it as a single shining thread woven backwards and forwards into a perfect, complex circle, the overall geometry apparent even though it was nearly impossible to follow the strand as it twisted and turned.
I had to have that plot, had to see what kind of story I could make of it.
To separate my work from Loof’s I decided to make an adult story of it. And naturally, since the plot had deception at its heart, that story would involve a crime. I wanted to change every detail apart from the shining, twisting plot, and the story’s essential lightness of tone – the apple should not fall too far from the tree. (Ahem – sorry!)
Guy de Maupassant’s story ‘The Necklace’, somehow became another ingredient in the mix. A powerful, heartbreaking story about a woman who destroys herself because of her desire for, and naivety about, the trappings of wealth, ‘The Necklace’ couldn’t really be more different from Loof’s lighthearted romp.
I wanted a kind of cheerful riposte to that classic tale, to create someone who was a little like de Maupassant’s heroine Mathilde – na├»ve, and not from a wealthy family – but whose very naivety is his strength. Unlike Mathilde, Eliot doesn’t really care about wealth. He just wants to build a life with the woman he loves.
From the background of these two stories, and how I wanted to play around with their ideas, and this idea for a character, came the process of building the other characters and the incidents that would flesh out my tale. I enjoyed this process very much, and once this was all in place the writing itself went very smoothly. Even better, it was accepted on its first time out to market, by Darusha Wehm at Plan B Mystery Magazine.
[Plan B Mystery Magazine link: http://www.plan-b-magazine.com/]

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Music That Surprised Me


How I Came to Write This Story: Nick Andreychuk



Being a Buffalo Sabres fan, the traditional thing to do after the games is go out for hot wings, and some of the best places for wings are the darkest, dingiest places that only the locals know to frequent. Inside of which you’ll usually find the typical sports pub televisions or perhaps a live jazz act. These establishments are invariably noisy, with the patrons’ attentions focused on their wings, their booze, and the entertainment, along with their own raucous conversations. In other words, the perfect place for a clandestine meeting to go unnoticed and unheard, and for a private detective to blend into the woodwork…especially if he’s a regular. My Buffalo-based detective, Earl Stack, was born in a place just like that while I had a messy wing in one hand and a foamy beer in the other hand.

Earl’s first story, “Hazard Pay,” was featured in the first volume of Plan B Magazine. If you’ve already read it (and hopefully enjoyed it), you can find more of Earl’s cases in my short story collection, Crime Dealers. And coming soon, Earl is teaming up with J.A. Konrath’s Jack Daniels to solve a locked room mystery in “Writer’s Lock.” And not long after that, Earl Stack and Jack Daniels will be crossing paths again in a novel tentatively titled Singapore Sling.

But if you can’t wait for Earl’s team up with Jack Daniels, you can team up with him yourself! In a manner of speaking. Right now, at the Plan B Indiegogo campaign, you can nab a truly killer perk. I will kill a character based on you (your name and/or your likeness) in a brand new Earl Stack story. He can solve the mystery of your death or he can be the instrument of your death, your choice. And don’t worry if you’ve never been to Buffalo, Earl is more than happy to track you down where you sleep…


 

https://amazon.com/author/nickandreychuk

Friday, October 10, 2014

Music That Surprised Me




You can read my review of THE SKELETON TWINS on CRIMESPREE CINEMA.

Available for the first time in ebook format


My dear friend, Lynda Jeffrey Plott has honored the memory and the talent of her mother by making her books exploring the rich ghostly tradition of Bucks County, PA through these fun and exciting books. I do believe Phil and I were interviewed for one ghostly interlude. If you are stopping in PA for Noircon, there is still a ghost tour in New Hope to take.

Friday's Forgotten Books, October 10, 2014

 Be back after 1:00 PM today to add any additional entries. Thanks!

The Devil’s Own Rag Doll, Mitchell Bartoy


The Devil's Own Rag Doll by Mitchell Bartoy

Mitch Bartoy was in two or so of my writing classes in the early 2000s. It was clear that he had much more talent than anyone else in the class and he was already hard at work then on this novel, which took him ten years to write. The first time I read an excerpt I had chills. I was used to reading stories about undergraduates getting drunk or trips to outer space on the Starship Enterprise.

It is the summer of 1943. Industry in Detroit is at the center of the war effort. New people from the south especially are pouring into the city for the jobs. Detroit becomes a city of strangers.
A young woman is murdered. She’s the daughter of a prominent citizen and businessman as well. Detective Pete Caudill is assigned the investigation but also charged with covering up the crime rather than bringing the criminal or criminals to justice. Is this an Axis plot? Actually, it turns out that Pete Caudill’s own family is embarrassingly involved, a fact that doesn’t stop him from pursuing the murderer or murderers.
Pete is a great character. He's not too bright and has his own issues. But what shines even more is the period detail Mitch included. He went on to write a second book and then fell off the face of the earth--at least as far as I can tell.
This is one of the great books about Detroit for me.

Sergio Angelini, DETOUR, Helen Nielsen
Yvette Banek, THE VAULT, Peter Lovesey
Brian Busby, THE GREAT WAR, James A Ross
Bill Crider, PAPERBACK FORUM ISSUE TWO: 1985
Martin Edwards, KNIFE IN THE DARK, G.D.H. and Margaret Cole
Curt Evans, WOMAN SLEUTHS, ed. Martin H. Greenberg and Bill Pronzini
Ed Gorman, LAWLESS, Ed Brubaker, Sean Philips
Jerry House, THE STORY OF ULA AND OTHER TALES, Edwin Lester Arnold
Rick Horton, ACE DOUBLES: EMPIRE STAR, Samuel R. Delany; TREE OF IMETEN, Tom Purdon
Randy Johnson, DEATH OF A GUN FIGHTER, Lewis B. Patten
Nick Jones, CITY PRIMEVAL, Elmore Leonard
George Kelley, DIAGNOSIS IMPOSSIBLE, Edward D. Hoch
Margot Kinberg, ICE RUN, Steve Hamilton
Rob Kitchin, THE GREAT GATSBY, F. Scott Fitzgerald
B.V. Lawson, FIRST COME, FIRST KILL, Richard and  Frances Lockridge
Evan Lewis, TWISTED TALES, W.C. Tuttle
Steve Lewis, DOUBLE CROSS, Mike Moran
Todd Mason, Periodical Books and Fiction Magazines
J.F. Norris, NIGHTMARE COTTAGE. G.M Wilson
Neer, THE BURNING COURT and THE BLACK SPECTACLES, John Dickson Carr
James Reasoner, LAST STAND AT SABER RIVER, Elmore Leonard
Richard Robinson, WILLY AND JOE
Ron Scheer, SONG OF THE LARK, Willa Cather
Kevin Tipple, WALING THE PERFECT SQUARE, Reed Farrell Coleman
TracyK, LIE IN THE DARK, Dan Fesperman
Prashant Trikannad, VIENNA ASSIGNMENT, Olen Steinhauer

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Music That Surprised Me


What Childhood Book Had The Deepest Impact?


Okay, it's a girls' book but no story stayed with me more than LITTLE WOMAN. I actually identified with each of the four girls:  Jo, the rebel and writer. Meg, the future mother, Amy, the pretty party girl, Beth, the sad but good one. As an adult, visiting the Alcott House in Massachusetts, was thrilling. I read this book over and over as I am sure all girls did then--and maybe still do.

What about you? What childhood book stayed with you?

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Music That Surprised Me


Forgotten Movie: IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE




One of the best romantic movies and best soundtracks IMHO. The description is mostly from IMDB. The plot is simple but the presentation is not.

Set in Hong Kong, 1962, Chow Mo-Wan (Tony Chui Wai Leung) is a newspaper editor who moves into a new building with his wife. At the same time, Su Li-zhen, (Maggie Cheung) a beautiful secretary and her executive husband also move in. Chow and Li-zhen spend most of their time together as friends since both of their spouses travel. They have everything in common from love of  noodle shops to martial arts. T

hey are shocked to discover that their spouses are having an affair.

Hurt and angry, they find comfort in their growing friendship even as they resolve not to be like their unfaithful mates, Directed by Kar Wai Wong these two are so beautiful. the movie so soulfully perfect, the soundtrack such a miracle and the era so perfectly captured. If you have an ounce of romanticism in you, you will love this one.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Music That Surprised Me the First Time I Heard it.


Shows That Ended Too Soon




All of these seem to share a similar trait or two--they were quirky, character-driven, smart shows. Now THE DAYS AND NIGHTS OF MOLLY DODD was on for a longer run, but it was one of those shows that got shifted around.
The rest were on for only two years--too soon to pull a plug in my mind. It is possible LIFE ON MARS was never meant to run longer but boy, did I love that one.
There are many, many more I could list. But you list them instead. What ended too soon or didn't get a fair chance?






Saturday, October 04, 2014

How About Some Fiddling

Book Covers

One of the people I asked for help in picking a cover for my book was J. Kingston Pierce who runs a marvelous blog called Killer Covers. He confirmed that the one we eventually chose had the greatest impact visually and in terms of giving you some idea what the story was about. I liked them all.



I don't look at book jackets all that carefully. But there is one series I like. I think it is a great idea to link books in a series as much as possible and yet still keep each one distinct. Here is my favorite: Rennie Airth's. Same set-up but different color fonts and different pictures. Jeff discusses this more fully on Killer Covers.

What is your favorite book jacket and what series has done such a good job in linking its jackets?





Friday, October 03, 2014

How About Some Fiddling

Friday's Forgotten Books, October 3, 2014



Ed Gorman is the author of the Sam McCain and Dev Conrad series of crime novels.  You can find him here.

Forgotten Books: Charlotte Armstrong Night Call & Other Stories



New from Crippen & Landru

   I first read Charlotte Armstrong after seeing a 1952 movie called "Don't Bother To Knock." The stars were Richard Widmark and Marilyn Monroe. Monroe plays a seriously disturbed young woman asked to babysit the child of Widmark and his wife. Monroe is terrific--terrifying. Will she kill the kid?
   I'd seen the name Charlotte Armstrong on the metal paperback racks. She always seemed to have a new paperback out. And she was in Ellery Queen a lot. I tracked down Mischief which the Monroe movie was based on and became an Armstrong fan for life.
   If she was not as phantasmagoric as Dorothy B. Hughes sometimes was or as Elizabeth Sanxay Holding almost always was, Armstrong, as a critic recently noted, updated the gothic tropes of the previous generation and made of them tart and contemporary popular art.
  No critic of the time was a bigger promoter of Armstrong's work than Anthony Boucher. He noted that she was the creator of "suburan noir" and he was right.
  Though she used the tropes of what was dismissively called "women's fiction" she took them into a nether realm that was riveting and terrifying.
  Editors Rick Cypert and the late Kirby McCauley have collected here a collection of short and long stories that are a tribute to the Armstrong finesse and darkness.
  None of the pieces here have ever been collected before and there is also unpublished material.
  Everything in the book is packed with excellent storytelling but my favorite has to be the long novelette "Man in The Road") about a "career woman" (yes that was how they were divided from "real women" :) ) who returns home to a small bleak desert town only to find herself accused of a sinister mysterious hit-and-run. I'll pay this the highest compliment I can--this is the kind of twisty crime story Richard Matheson excelled at. It would have been perfect for the long form "Alfred Hitchcock Presents."
  My favorite of the shorter pieces is "The Cool Ones" which concerns the kidnapping of grandmother and makes as contemporary a statement  as the Flower Power era she wrote it in.
  This is not only a major collection of a major writer  (thanks to Sarah Weinman for bringing so many overlooked women writers back to our attention) but is also the most beautifully jacketed and produced book Crippen & Landru has ever published.   

Sergio Angelini, THE MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR OF STYLE, Gilbert Adair  

Joe Barone, SHADOWS ON A MAINE CHRISTMAS, Lea Wait  

Brian Busby, MEURTRE A WESTMOUNT, David Montrose  

Bill Crider, PLUGGED NICKEL, Robert Campbell  

Martin Edwards, MYSTERY IN WHITE, T. Jefferson Farjeon  

Curt Evans, TOPER's END, G.D.H. and Margaret Cole

Rick Horton, THE BLACK FLEMINGS, Kathleen Norris  

Jerry House. ADVENTURES IN HEAVEN, Charles Andoff  

Randy Johnson, HOLLYWOOD AND LEVINE, Andrew Bergman 

Nick Jones, DANGER IN THE DARK, Patricia Carlon  

George Kelley , THE MILLENNIUM EXPRESS, Robert Silverberg  

Margot Kinberg, MURDER AT HONEYCHURCH HALL, Hannah Dennison  

B.V. Lawson , DEATH OF A DUTCHMAN, Magdalen Nabb 

 Evan Lewis , THE TAG MURDERS, Carroll John Daly 

Steve Lewis/David Vineyard, THE WATCHERS, Jon Steele 

Todd Mason, BENCHMARKS CONT. Algis Budrys; THE DREAM OUR STUFF IS MADE OF, Thomas M Disch

 Neer , NEITHER FIVE NOR THREE, Helen MacInnes  

J.F. Norris , POISON IS A BITTER BREW, Anne Hocking

James Reasoner, TEXAS HOLD 'EM, Kinky Friedman  

Kelly Robinson, THE POTHUNTERS, P.G. Wodehouse

Richard Robinson, THE JEWEL THAT WAS OURS, Colin Dexter  

Gerard Saylor, A DEDICATED MAN, Peter Robinson

Ron Scheer, OVER THE BORDER, Herman Whitaker  

Kevin Tipple/Patrick Ohl, THE HOUSE OF SILK, Anthony Horowitz  

Prashant Trikanna, Popular Fiction by 20 Best-selling Authors

Zybahn, THE MAGIC BOONDOCKERS, Frank Scott York