Sunday, December 27, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Kirkus' last gasp

As most of you know, the venerable Kirkus Reviews, part of Nielsen Business Media, is shutting down for good this month after 76 years in the business (also folding is its sister pub., Editor and Publisher, after 108 years). However, Kirkus did manage to sneak a review of GONE 'TIL NOVEMBER into its final issue.

Wallace Stroby
(Starred review)

As if it weren’t nerve-wracking enough to be a deputy and a mom, suddenly she’s a target.

Privacy’s a joke in tiny Hopedale, Fla. So when Deputy Sara Cross and Deputy Billy Flynn become lovers, everybody knows it almost before they do. Nor does it stay news long when two years later they break up. Sara’s coming to her senses, conventional wisdom maintains, since everybody also knows that for all his charm and good looks, Billy lacks substance, whereas all you have to do is watch Sara mothering her ailing six-year-old son to know that she’s a rock. But rock or no, Sara is one of those women who all too often lets her heart rule her head, and on the night of a fatal shooting, part of her senses that it’s a mistake to accept Billy’s version of how it all went down. Yes, the explanation is plausible; yes, there are weapons stashed away in the young black man’s car; and yes, when Billy fired it might well have been by the book. But soon enough strangers arrive in Hopedale—hard, big-city, dangerous men following stolen money, who are after Billy because they’re sure he knows where it is. And after Sara, certain she does, too.

A strong cast and energetic storytelling. But it’s Sara, so human and so beset, who makes this another standout for Stroby.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Spam, spam, spam, spam ....

... so I'm going to turn Comment Moderation on until this storm of Asian spam and escort service links blows over.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Quick updates, Pt. 2

+ My piece on the 1973 film THE OUTFIT, based on Donald E. Westlake's third "Richard Stark" novel, is up over at Steve-O's Noir of the Week blog (that's the film's Italian poster above). Some great stuff there, including a pair of excellent essays by Megan Abbott on CLASH BY NIGHT and PRIVATE HELL 36.

+ The tour is shaping up like this (some details tentative, more to come):

JAN. 29 - Book People, Austin, Texas, 7 pm.
JAN. 30 - Murder by the Book, Houston, Texas, 5 p.m., with James W. Hall and Bob Morris.
FEB. 5 - Mysterious Bookshop, N.Y.C., 6:30 p.m.
APRIL 13 - New York Public Library, Fifth Ave. and 40th, 6:30-8:30. Panel discussion on "Crime Scenes: From Cities to the Back of Beyond; Why and How Mystery Writers Choose Their Settings," with Lorenzo Carcaterra, Peggy Ehrhart, Henry Chang, Julia Pomeroy and Laura Joh Rowland.
OCT. 14-17 - BoucherCon, San Francisco, Calif.
NOV. 4-7 - NoirCon, Philadelphia, Pa.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Quick updates

A little stopgap news as we head toward the end of the year and into 2010:

- Tantor Media will release an unabridged audio version of GONE 'TIL NOVEMBER in January, read by actress Karen White.

- Thorndike Press will publish a Large Print edition of GTN in 2010 as well (might be needing that one soon myself).

- I'm now on Facebook!

- I'll have a poem, titled "Independence Day, 1976," in the next edition of THE LINEUP: POEMS ON CRIME, due out in April. That issue will also include works by James W. Hall, James Sallis, Reed Farrel Coleman and Patti Abbott, among others.

- On Dec. 14, I'll be guesting on Steve Eifert's great Noir of the Week blog, with a piece on 1973's THE OUTFIT, the Robert Duvall film based on the Donald E. Westlake/Richard Stark novel of the same name. All I have to do now is finish writing it.

- There's a little bit of a tour taking shape, bit by bit, more info soon.

- Speaking of noir, this week I finally caught up with Peter Yates' THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE (also released in 1973, a good year for noir and films in general - SERPICO, BADLANDS, CHARLEY VARRICK, DILLINGER, EMPEROR OF THE NORTH, THE LONG GOODBYE, MEAN STREETS and THE SEVEN-UPS all came out that year). I'd seen bits and pieces of it on television, but never the film in its entirety. Criterion just put out a DVD version a few months back, with a restored print and a commentary by Yates (he also directed BULLITT, the Brit noir ROBBERY and Westlake's THE HOT ROCK, and was developing the Stark novel DEADLY EDGE before the project fell through).

COYLE is the antidote to most gangster films - it's low-key and downbeat, as chilly as its late-November Boston locales. But it's quite brilliant too, and steadfastly faithful to the George V. Higgins novel. It does for the underworld what REQUIEM FOR A DREAM does for heroin addiction - it makes you very happy not to be part of it.