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Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Friday, February 22, 2008
Plots With Guns has returned from the dead! There's only two possible outcomes here: A) "The savior of noir has returned!", or B) "BRRRAAAAAAIIIIIIIIINNNNSSSSSSSS..."

posted by Graham Powell at 6:53 PM

Carnival of Crime

Sunday, February 10, 2008
Welcome to the Carnival of the Criminal Minds for February, 2008. This month we've got the all-singin', all-dancin', all audio-visual carnival, focusing on mystery podcasts and promotional videos.

You can find January's carnival at Detectives Beyond Borders. March's carnival will be at In Reference To Murder. And a special no-prize prize to the first reader who can identify which writer's "best of" collection had the same title as this post. No Googling!


First up is the granddaddy of mystery podcasts, Behind the Black Mask, run by Shannon Clute and Richard Edwards. They've been on the air for almost two years now, and have interviewed authors such as Max Allan Collins, Jason Starr, Megan Abbott, and moste recently interviewed the "Czar of Noir", Eddie Muller.

Almost as venerable, In For Questioning has been on the air since late 2006. Another interview 'cast, recent victims include Christa Faust and Ken "Pope of Galway Bay" Bruen.

Forward-looking publisher Bleak House Books has developed its own podcast, entitled The Future Is Bleak. Sure, the focus is on Bleak House books and authors, but this is more than just an infomercial. Recent guests include Craig McDonald and Crimedog Neil Smith.

Another type of podcast is dedicated to characters, not authors, and if the name I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere doesn't tip off the character in question, I don't know what to tell you. The most recent episode features Otto Penzler talking about his love of Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous creation, and about his collection of Sherlockiana.

Last, we'd be remiss if we didn't include podcast fiction, and Wormwood is just that, a weekly serial featuring the adventures of Dr. Xander Crowe as he investigates the strange goings on in the small town of Wormwood. The story isn't just narrated, either, but like old-time radio, Wormwood features a full cast of characters.

Well, that's enough aural entertainment, let's move on to a treat for the eyes...


The "vidlet", or promotional book video, started a couple of years ago, but got a real boost with the emergence of YouTube as widely used delivery system.

One of the more ambitious entries is the video for Christa Faust's new novel Money Shot. Directed by Faust herself, this short clip certainly has an impact.

The guys at Out of the Gutter Magazine were intent on getting the word out about their "War" themed issue, so the put together a pretty intense little ad (Warning: images may be disturbing).

These videos work best if you can find the right music, of course, and the anthology Chicago Blues was a natural. Some of the contributors put in appearances, including editor Libby Fischer Hellmann.

Going back a ways, here's a video for Victor Gischler's Suicide Squeeze, which gives a taste of how much fun the book is.

Former editor Jason Pinter put together a teaser for his first novel The Mark, as did Duane Swierczynski for his major-lable debut The Wheelman (featuring a certain Scot as getaway driver Lennon).

If anyone out there knows of any podcasts and/or vidlits that I've missed, send 'em in and I'll run a follow-up.

I hope you have enjoyed this edition of the Carnival of the Criminal Minds. Be sure to hit next month's installment over at In Reference To Murder. Have a great February, everyone!

posted by Graham Powell at 10:15 AM

Black Mystery Month

Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Actually February is Black History Month, so here's a few links to tide you over until I have the Carnival of the Criminal Minds up this weekend.

* Room To Swing is generally considered to be the first novel to feature a realistic black detective, Toussaint Moore. Ed Lynskey profiles author "Ed Lacy" (actually Leonard Zinberg) at

* Brian Lindemuth provides an interesting overview of black crime and mystery fiction over at FantasyBookSpot.

* Let's not forget Kevin Burton Smith's "Beyond Shaft: Black Private Eyes In Fiction" from 2001.

* Last but certainly not least: earlier this week, published an appreciation of one of my favorite mystery movies, In The Heat Of The Night. Sidney Poitier was the star, but Rod Steiger had the better role, as bigoted police chief Bill Gillespie.

This movie reminds me of an interview I once heard with Donald Barksdale, the first black NBA All-Star back in the segregated 1950s. When asked about his teammates' reaction to playing with a black man, he responded, "They're athletes. If you can play, they respect you."

The same is true in every profession, and as Gillespie realizes that Poitier's Virgil Tibbs is a good policeman - better, in fact, than he is himself - he is able to overcome his prejudices and eventually offer his hand in friendship.

As the Slate piece notes, the film doesn't sacrifice story for social policy. Over forty (!) years later this remains a taunt thriller as well as a document of why the Good Old Days weren't all that rosy.

posted by Graham Powell at 6:41 PM