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Bavarian Mystery Werks

Saturday, May 27, 2006
* A few years ago, BMW commissioned a number of film directors to create short films featuring BMW cars, with Clive Owen as the mysterious driver - some of which were actually pretty good. Now they've done the same thing with fiction, posting audio stories by the likes of Don Winslow, Karin Slaughter, Simon Kernick, and James Flint. I'm thinking that Duane needs to create a sequel to The Wheelman.

* Ali Karim sends along word that he managed to corner the elusive Robert Littell, and the resulting interview is now up at January Magazine.

posted by Graham Powell at 8:55 AM

Absolute Wrong

Thursday, May 25, 2006
* The web site Absolute Write was taken offline by their ISP earlier this week - with only an hour's notice - after agent Barbara Bauer called the owner. Full details here. Fortunately the site is back online at a new host.

Bauer, of course, is on Writer Beware's list of the 20 worst agents.

* It's pulp fiction week at Slate. Just about all the articles look to be pretty interesting, including a survey of various authors' vacation reading lists.

posted by Graham Powell at 8:18 AM

Ed Gorman, Crime Scene Scotland, and Neil's Kids

Monday, May 22, 2006
* Ed Gorman is no longer posting to his blog, but he's still putting up the occasionaly article over at Mystery*File. In the current installment, he talks about used books, Stark House reprints, and the only hit piece he ever published.

* Crime Scene Scotland has posted a quick-'n-dirty mini issue, with the short story "Mr. Saturday Night Special" by Bryon Quertermous and an interview with Ray Banks. With those two involved, it had to be both dirty, and quick.

* The first issue of the Bare Root Review is now online. It's a lit journal, not specifically crime-oriented, but it's by the students of the inimitable Anthony Neil Smith, so there's got to be a gun in there somewhere.

posted by Graham Powell at 2:34 PM

Good(is) News And Other Stories

Tuesday, May 16, 2006
So Duane Swierczynski and a few of his mates were sitting around shooting the bull and bitching about the lack of Philly-area mystery conventions. Someone mentioned that the 40th anniversary of Philadelphia native David Goodis' death is coming up in January, and voila! GoodisCon was born.

Goodis is probably best known to the general public as the author of Dark Passage, made into a pretty good Bogart-Bacall flick, but in the mystery community he's remembered as the man who wrote nihilistic paperback classics such as Down There, Cassidy's Girl, and The Moon In The Gutter. Apparently he was also a genuinely odd bird, who after an initial foray into Hollywood spent much of his life living with his parents. As Ed Gorman wrote, Goodis "didn't write novels; he wrote suicide notes."

It seems there's a Goodis revival looming, hopefully as large as the Jim Thompson revival of a few years ago, which saw all of Thompson's novels come back into print. So if you're interested in noir in the City of Brotherly Love, be sure to give GoodisCon a gander.

Other news: There's an article in Slate called "What Are Independent Bookstores Really Good For?" - their answer: not much. The author doesn't really shed much light on the issue, but does highlight the continuing threat to the indie's existence, as well as the snobbery that keeps them going.

Last, when I added Murderati to the Big Blog Index, I exchanged a couple of emails with road* scholar JT Ellison, which included my asking, "So, when's your book out?" Her reply: "Um, I haven't sold it yet."

But there's a fine line between idiocy and prophecy, and the fate I fortold has come to pass: JT has signed a "very nice" three book deal with Mira. No clue whether she buys the next round according to the Scalzi scale.

* See, JT went to college at Randolph Macon in western Virginia, not far from where I went at Washington & Lee. Randy Mac and other women's colleges in the area were referred to as "road schools" by some of my classmates (though never by me), and going there to meet girls was called "going down the road." Which makes her.. oh, never mind.

posted by Graham Powell at 10:15 AM

"You like me... you really like me!"

Thursday, May 11, 2006
big news below... just keep reading...

* Publisher Dave Zeltserman and guest editor Craig McDonald have released the "Borderland Noir" issue of Hardluck Stories. Because after all, Noir is all about borders. The border between light and dark. The border between good and evil. Between men and women. Between people... people helping people. Wait, where was I?

Anyway, it's a terrific issue. Short stories include:

"To Have and To Hold", by Ken Bruen
"Coyotes's Ballad", by Mike MacLean
"Broken Promised Land", by Craig McDonald
"Trailer de Fuego", by Garnett Elliot
"No Hablo Ingles", by Manuel Ramos
"Undocumented", by Teresa Kennedy
"Work of Wolves", by Bradley Mason Hamilton
"Corrida de Toros", by 'Rick Deckard'

Nonfiction articles include an interview with the legendary James Crumley, "Lessons in Noir" by Dave Z., and a review of Touch Of Evil. And if that last one isn't Borderland Noir, I don't know what the hell is.

* Ed Gorman plugged this site on his blog (now on hiatus) a while back, and now he's done it again, in his column for Mystery Scene magazine. Many thanks, Ed, and here's hoping that you're health is holding up. Send me an update when you get the chance and I'll post it.

* The Short Mystery Fiction Society has announced the winners of its Derringer awards:

Flash story: "Secondhand Shoe", by Patricia Harrington (A Flasher's Dozen)
Short-short story: "Zipped" by Stephen D. Rogers (Windchill, Level Best Books
Mid-length story: "One Step Closer", Iain Rowan (Hardluck Stories)
Longer story: "The Safest Place on Earth" by Mark Best (The Thrilling Detective)

Congrats to all the winners, especially CrimeSpottees Stephen and editors Dave Zeltserman (Hardluck Stories) and Kevin Burton Smith and Gerald So (The Thrilling Detective).

(via Gerald.)

* I was going to put up a post titled "Why CrimeSpot Sucks", detailing all the myriad technical issues we've been having, but then I heard that Mystery Ink had announced their Gumshoe awards - and they've honored humble CrimeSpot as "Best Website".

Needless to say, I'm shocked and awed. I've been very pleased with the response to the site so far, and this is just the cherry on top. On the down side, I will be pretty hard to take for a while. I'll be saying things like, "Did you hear? Laura Lippman won the Gumshoe. Yeah... I won one too, you know." Complete winners:

Best Mystery: To The Power Of Three, by Laura Lippman
Best Thriller: Company Man, by Joseph Finder
Best European Crime Novel: The Vanished Hands, Robert Wilson
Best First Novel: The Baby Game, Randall Hicks
Lifetime Achievement: Ed McBain
Best Crime Fiction Web Site:

Thanks again, guys.

posted by Graham Powell at 10:02 AM