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Mug Shots #2; Psycho Noir

Wednesday, November 22, 2006
First, let me add a bit to my last post. After thinking about it, I realized that I might discourage people from upgrading to the new Blogger Beta. That was not what I had in mind at all. Go ahead and upgrade, although I would sure appreciate it if you could drop me a line first. If you don't, though, I'm sure I'll notice when the site stops updating.

Onwards and upwards...

Mug Shots #2. Way back in the distant past I thought I had discovered Duane Swierczynski's secret identity:

Later, I realized that this might present some practical problems, since Raymond Burr has been dead since 1993. But as so frequently happens, I opened my mind to a solution, and it appeared via Monday Night Football. There! On the sidelines! It's Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio!

...or is it? The really odd thing is that all three (?) of these guys are beefy linebacker types, and of course Del Rio was a linebacker. If you see Duane wearing a Reebok suit and tie, well, there's your proof.

Pyscho Noir. The new Psycho Noir issue of Hardluck Stories is now online. Before I get to the stories, I have to mention the artwork by Jean-Pierre Jacquet. In addition to the very creepy picture on the title page, he's also done an illustration for each story, and they add a lot to the atmosphere.

Complete contents:

"Church Social", by Pearce Hansen
"Boa Constrict Her", by Craig Corey
"The Prettiest Face In Hell", by Jon Bassoff
"Yellowhead", by Raymond Embrack
"51-50", by Paul Marks
"West Texas Waitin'", by Kay George
"Amigo", by William Tanner
"Hole In The Wall", by Patricia Abbott
"Mason's End", by Richard C. Rogers
"Poor Box", by William Boyle

Out of pocket. I'm going out of town for Thanksgiving, so if the site gets hosed up, too bad! Although I will offer a full refund to anyone who complains.

I hope everyone has a nice holiday weekend. See you back here next week.

posted by Graham Powell at 8:22 AM

Beta Noir

Thursday, November 16, 2006
You may have noticed, CrimeSpot has been updating only intermittently over the past couple of days. The main culprit: Blogger Beta. When a Blogger site indexed by CrimeSpot upgrades to Blogger Beta, it changes the format of the site feed (from Atom 0.3 to 1.0). This causes the collector program to gag, then barf, then roll over and play dead. To use a technical term, that's the root cause. The proximate cause is Davide Terrenoire, who upgraged night before last.

From this you could draw one of two conclusions:

A) David Terrenoire is an evil genius bent on Web domination.

B) CrimeSpot is so fragile that a pygmy hamster can crash it with one tiny paw.

They're not mutually exclusive! Unfortunately error handling in "classic" ASP / VB Script sucks, so it's difficult to trap and respond to every possible event.

Fortunately I have finally begun the process of rewriting it in that fancy new .Net language that my good friend Bill Gates keeps going on about. Soon, only the evildoers will pay for their sins.

(BTW, writing a program is different than writing a story - the beginning and end take all the time, and the middle just rolls right along. The beginning is rough because you have to dig into the problems until you understand them. The end takes forever because there's always another error (or three) to run down.)

posted by Graham Powell at 6:10 PM

Please Kill Me

Tuesday, November 14, 2006
I was about to go to bed at around ten last night when I saw Michael Connelly's face staring up at me from the bedside table. What with Echo Park unread and due back at the library today, I decided to give it a look and see if it would be worth the fine to keep it a few extra days.

At half past midnight, with 150 pages to go, I thought, "Screw it, I'm finishing this book."

But I'm not here to talk about Connelly's sustained excellence. I found something profoundly disturbing there in the pages of Echo Park - specifically, on page 211. Detective Harry Bosch was trying to convince a reporter friend to swap some information. If she didn't want the tip, he said, maybe "...Sarah Weinman or Duane Swierczynski would be interested."

So I thought to myself, well, something highly unprintable. Then I realized I had a new mission in life. If those losers can do it, so can I.

Here's where you come in. Please kill me in your next book, story, whatever. Make me the sidekick, the fall guy, the villain, whoever you want. Shoot me, stab me, tickle me to death, I don't care. Just make sure you spell my name right. Speaking of which, my full name is Edward Graham Powell, Jr. Be sure to use at least two of those elements. And let me know about it so I can gloat in this space.

Bob's Back. When I wrote about Nasty, Brutish, Short, I mentioned that Bob Tinsley's blog "The Short Of It" was a big inspiration. Turns out Bob's been keeping busy since then. He was an early proponent of what's now known as podcasting, and he's been writing audio scripts for an outfit called Darker Projects Productions. His first project in their Five Minute Fears series is available for download - just scroll down to "Five Minute Fears #5: Black Angels".

Ed's back, too. Itinerent blogger Ed Gorman has returned with his latest site, New Improved Gorman. I think I speak for everyone when I say Ed, we're glad to have you back.

Faust makes a deal. I'm a bit late to this party, but hardboiled crimewriter Christa Faust recently sold a book to Hard Case Crime, making her the first woman they've published. Now I've never read anything by Ms. Faust, but I have a stack of Hard Case paperbacks on the shelf, and I can say with conviction that she must be good.

Demolition. The new issue of Demolition is out, with stories by the likes of Dave "Dave White" White, Russell MacLean, and David Terrenoire, but to me the highlight is a new "Crip and Henrietta" story by Tim Wohlforth. I wish I knew why I like these stories so much. Wohlforth has written a lot of good stories but Crip and Henrietta just jump off the page.

Complete contents:

"Duck Hunt", by Dave White
"Plan C", by Jordan Harper
"The Crypt", by Tim Wohlforth
"The Old Ice Down The Back Stunt", by Patricia Abbott
"Things Could Be Worse", by David Terrenoire
"Good Time Charlie", by Chris Everheart
"The Thug And The Three-Handed Lady", by John Weagly
"Wee Eck", by Russell D. MacLean
"Ticket Out", by Colin C. Conway

(Doesn't "Ms. Faust" sound like a crime novel? I'm so using that title.)

posted by Graham Powell at 10:59 AM