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.