Wednesday, November 02, 2016

The Dark Decade revisited

Thanks to everyone who showed up  for "The Dark Decade" panel last week at NOIRCON 2016 in Philadelphia, celebrating some of the unsung American crime films of the 1970s. Special thanks to panel members Jennifer DeanScott Adlerberg, Cullen Gallagher and Dennis Tafoya. I'd prepared a selection of  hi-res trailers of some of the films we were likely to touch on to show before the panel, but time and technology conspired against us. Here are five of them, complete with their very '70s voiceovers ("Mitchum, the last of the tough guys, meets Rampling, the hottest of the new broads!")

  (Click the icon at bottom right on each to watch full-screen):






Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Wishing everyone a happy and safe holiday (all that and nosferatu):

Friday, September 23, 2016

When in Kuwait ...

… visit the Heartbreak Lounge coffee shop.

This is an actual ad/photo from a new coffee shop in Kuwait City, Kuwait. No connection to my novel of the same name, as far as I know. But maybe I have a fan base in the Middle East I wasn't aware of.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Where I'll be at Bouchercon 2016

Bouchercon 2016 kicks off in New Orleans on Wed. Sept. 14, and I'll be out and about a bit there. On Thursday (9/13) at 9 a.m., I'll be part of a panel titled "Another Tricky Day: Problems All Authors Face," with moderator Scott Adlerberg,and fellow panelists J.T. Ellison, Sharan Newman, John Billheimer and Peter Swanson. Signing to follow.

On Friday afternoon, I'll take part in a group signing for the new Mulholland Books anthology THE HIGHWAY KIND: Tales of Fast Cars, Desperate Drivers and Dark Roads, which features my short story "Night Run," as well as contributions from Michael Connelly, Diana Gabaldon, George Pelecanos, C.J. Box, Ace Atkins, James Sallis, Joe Lansdale, Gary Phillips and many more (check out a cool Spotify playlist editor Patrick Millikin put together for the book).
Box, Atkins, Lansdale, Philips, Sallis and Millikin will also be on hand for the signing, which will be held at Mystery Mike's table in the book room, from 3:30 to 4:15.

And on Thursday at 5:15, I'll be contributing – along with many other Minotaur authors – to a one-sentence-at-a-time collaborative short story effort.

Hope to see some folks at all three.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Rudy Van Gelder: 1924-2016

You may not know the name, but you know the music. Rudy Van Gelder, who died Aug. 25 at age 91, recorded some of the greatest names in jazz at his Hackensack and Englewood Cliffs, N.J., studios, including Miles Davis, John Coltrane ("A Love Supreme" was recorded in Englewood), Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Wayne Shorter and many, many others. If you have a classic Blue Note LP, he probably recorded it.

Here's the njonline version of the obituary.

Van Gelder is famous for working with Coltrane, but he also recorded maybe my favorite jazz saxophonist, Newark's own Ike Quebec.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

COLD SHOT TO THE HEART unabridged audio on sale thru 7/4/16

The unabridged Blackstone Audio edition of COLD SHOT TO THE HEART, the first Crissa Stone novel, is on sale at through July 4 ($4.99, as opposed to the regular price of $19.95.) It's read by the Audie Award-winning Coleen Marlo, who's voiced Crissa in the Blackstone editions of all four books in the series. You can find the link to the download here.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

A conversation with Donald E. Westlake July 1986 – Part Three: The outtakes

Posting the interview last week I did with Donald E. Westlake for The Asbury Park Press back in July 1986 (you can read Part One HERE, and Part Two HERE) brought to mind some other highlights of the conversation that didn't make it into the final version for space or contextual reasons. Here are a few:

– In the mid-1970s, pre-production began on a film adaptation of the 13th Parker novel, 1971's DEADLY EDGE, to be directed by Peter Yates (BULLITT, ROBBERY, THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE). Yates had previously directed the film version of Westlake's first Dortmunder novel THE HOT ROCK. Westlake told me he and Yates spent a day driving around northwestern New Jersey scouting locations for the lake house where Parker and Claire live in the novel. The project was eventually abandoned.

– Bill Cosby optioned Westlake's Edgar-winning 1967 novel GOD SAVE THE MARK with the intention of producing and starring. He later dropped the project after deciding he would only "make films for posterity." Westlake wouldn't name Cosby when he told me the story, but there were clues aplenty. When I asked if the unnamed actor currently had a hit show on NBC, he laughed and said, "How'd you get there from that?" He later named Cosby in other interviews.

– His 1962 novel 361 (reprinted by Hard Case Crime in 2011) was directly influenced by the work of Dashiell Hammett."I was interested in the way he conveyed emotions strictly through action," Westlake told me. "Instead of explaining how someone was feeling, he'd just say,'He gripped the chair'."

– When I asked him who was the current mystery/suspense novelist more people should be reading, he enthusiastically sang the praises of Lawrence Block, and said he had recently introduced Stephen King to Block's work.

– I mentioned that it always seemed to me his 1968 Parker novel THE BLACK ICE SCORE and his 1970 Dortmunder novel THE HOT ROCK were two sides of the same coin, both involving diamonds being stolen from a New York museum for an African diplomat. "Huh" he said, perhaps a touch disingenuously. "Never thought of that."

– The tough-talking and larcenous businesswoman Josephine Carol "J.C." Taylor, introduced in the 1986 Dortmunder novel GOOD BEHAVIOR, was originally conceived as a foil for Parker in a "Richard Stark" novel that was never completed.

– The working title of his 1975 novel BROTHERS KEEPERS was THE FELONIOUS MONKS.