Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Life at the Theater, THE SECRET RAPTURE

Do you see how bland this playbill is? It perfectly mirrors the play. This was the first and only Broadway premiere we have seen. Oh, so excited to see Wallace Shawn, Rex Reed and various other celebrities in the audience. Play was by David Hare, a big success in London, and starring the woman he'd had in mind while writing it: Blair Brown.

It was 1989 and the review in the New York Times the next day revealed the complete disaster we had seen. Beginning with an inability to do a British accent by Ms. Brown, to a lousy set, to a murky agenda, to odd timing, nothing went right. The play closed very quickly. I wonder if we had seen the London version if we would have come away satisfied. Somehow I doubt it.

What Speaks to You?

Interesting article in the Huffington Post about what qualities in a novel pull you in. How different people are attracted to different voices/themes/characters.

I need an emotional content, something at risk, a person I find interesting even if unlikable. What about you?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wednesday Night Music: Doc Watson

How I Came to Write This Book: Helen FitzGerald

Born in Melbourne, Australia, and one of thirteen children, Helen FitzGerald moved to Glasgow in 1991. She was a criminal justice social worker in Glasgow’s notorious Barlinnie Prison before becoming a full-time writer.

Her adult thrillers include Dead Lovely, My Last Confession, Bloody Women, The Donor and The Devil’s Staircase, which is currently being made into a feature film. Her books have been translated into numerous languages.

Her first YA, Amelia O’Donohue is SO not a Virgin, was published in 2010. Her novella, The Duplicate, is out with Snubnose Press in April 2012. Her YA thriller, Deviant, is to be published in 2013 by Sohoteen. She is currently writing her new novel, Cry, for Faber and Faber, out 2013.

How I Came to Write THE DUPLICATE

Before I moved up to secondary school, there were a lot of rumours about fingering. This was one of them: A boy’ll lure you round the back of the school “to count bricks” and that’s you totally fingered.

For the first month of Form One, I was terrified.

A month after that, a teensy bit intrigued.

A month after that, really quite desperate.

All my mates had counted bricks. Apparently it didn’t hurt at all. So I was thrilled when my best friend gave me a note from her boyfriend’s best friend which read: “Wanna count bricks after school Friday?”

I said All right.

Turns out the boy, Mick*, was quite a gentleman and kept his fingers to himself. I stood with my back to the wall, he put his hands on the brick wall, and kissed me. It was an open-mouthed no-tongue kiss that made me panic. My pals had told me they were all going full tongue. But this hot cavern didn’t appear to have a tongue in it. I gold-fished for a while before heading in to find it.

That weekend, I couldn’t sleep for love of Mick. We would probably get married one day.

When I got to school on Monday, my best friend gave me a note from her boyfriend’s best friend which read: “You’re dropped.”

Does this have anything to do with The Duplicate?

Not really…

Except that Barbara’s need to fit in is so overpowering that she completely surrenders herself to her first love.

And as with me, it doesn’t end well.

*John’s name has been changed to Mick for legal reasons.

From the Desk of Charles Ardai

New Stephen King Novel Coming

from Hard Case Crime

JOYLAND to be published in June 2013

New York, NY; London, UK (May 30, 2012) – Hard Case Crime, the award-winning line of pulp-styled crime novels published by Titan Books, today announced it will publish JOYLAND, a new novel by Stephen King, in June 2013. Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, JOYLAND tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever. JOYLAND is a brand-new book and has never previously been published. One of the most beloved storytellers of all time, Stephen King is the world’s best-selling novelist, with more than 300 million books in print.

Called “the best new American publisher to appear in the last decade” by Neal Pollack in The Stranger, Hard Case Crime revives the storytelling and visual style of the pulp paperbacks of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. The line features an exciting mix of lost pulp masterpieces from some of the most acclaimed crime writers of all time and gripping new novels from the next generation of great hardboiled authors, all with new painted covers in the grand pulp style. Authors range from modern-day bestsellers such as Pete Hamill, Donald E. Westlake, Lawrence Block and Ed McBain to Golden Age stars like Mickey Spillane (creator of “Mike Hammer”), Erle Stanley Gardner (creator of “Perry Mason”), Wade Miller (author of Touch of Evil), and Cornell Woolrich (author of Rear Window).

Stephen King commented, “I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts. That combo made Hard Case Crime the perfect venue for this book, which is one of my favorites. I also loved the paperbacks I grew up with as a kid, and for that reason, we’re going to hold off on e-publishing this one for the time being. Joyland will be coming out in paperback, and folks who want to read it will have to buy the actual book.”

King’s previous Hard Case Crime novel, The Colorado Kid, became a national bestseller and inspired the television series “Haven,” now going into its third season on SyFy.

Joyland is a breathtaking, beautiful, heartbreaking book,” said Charles Ardai, Edgar- and Shamus Award-winning editor of Hard Case Crime. “It’s a whodunit, it’s a carny novel, it’s a story about growing up and growing old, and about those who don’t get to do either because death comes for them before their time. Even the most hardboiled readers will find themselves moved. When I finished it, I sent a note saying, ‘Goddamn it, Steve, you made me cry.’ ”

Nick Landau, Titan Publisher, added: “Stephen King is one of the fiction greats, and I am tremendously proud and excited to be publishing a brand-new book of his under the Hard Case Crime imprint.”

JOYLAND will feature new painted cover art by the legendary Robert McGinnis, the artist behind the posters for the original Sean Connery James Bond movies and “Breakfast At Tiffany’s,” and by Glen Orbik, the painter of more than a dozen of Hard Case Crime’s most popular covers, including the cover for The Colorado Kid.

Since its debut in 2004, Hard Case Crime has been the subject of enthusiastic coverage by a wide range of publications including The New York Times, USA Today, Time, Playboy, U.S. News & World Report, BusinessWeek, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Houston Chronicle, New York magazine, the New York Post and Daily News, Salon, Reader’s Digest, Parade and USA Weekend, as well as numerous other magazines, newspapers, and online media outlets. The Chicago Sun-Times wrote, “Hard Case Crime is doing a wonderful job publishing both classic and contemporary ‘pulp’ novels in a crisp new format with beautiful, period-style covers. These modern ‘penny dreadfuls’ are worth every dime.” Playboy praised Hard Case Crime’s “lost masterpieces,” writing “They put to shame the work of modern mystery writers whose plots rely on cell phones and terrorists.” And the Philadelphia City Paper wrote, “Tired of overblown, doorstop-sized thrillers…? You’ve come to the right place. Hard Case novels are as spare and as honest as a sock in the jaw.”

Other upcoming Hard Case Crime titles include The Cocktail Waitress, a never-before-published novel by James M. Cain, author of The Postman Always Rings Twice, Mildred Pierce, and Double Indemnity, and an epic first novel called The Twenty-Year Death by Ariel S. Winter that has won advance raves from authors such as Peter Straub, James Frey, Alice Sebold, John Banville, David Morrell and Stephen King.

For information about these and other forthcoming titles, visit

About Hard Case Crime

Founded in 2004 by award-winning novelists Charles Ardai and Max Phillips, Hard Case Crime has been nominated for or won numerous honors since its inception including the Edgar, the Shamus, the Anthony, the Barry, and the Spinetingler Award. The series’ books have been adapted for television and film, with two features currently in development at Universal Pictures and the TV series “Haven” going into its third season this fall on SyFy. Hard Case Crime is published through a collaboration between Winterfall LLC and Titan Publishing Group.

About Titan Publishing Group

Titan Publishing Group is an independently owned publishing company, established in 1981, comprising three divisions: Titan Books, Titan Magazines/Comics and Titan Merchandise. Titan Books, recently nominated as Independent Publisher of the Year 2011, has a rapidly growing fiction list encompassing original fiction and reissues, primarily in the areas of science fiction, fantasy, horror, steampunk and crime. Recent crime and thriller acquisitions include Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins’ all-new Mike Hammer novels, the Matt Helm series by Donald Hamilton and the entire backlist of the Queen of Spy Writers, Helen MacInnes. Titan Books also has an extensive line of media and pop culture-related non-fiction, graphic novels, art and music books. The company is based at offices in London, but operates worldwide, with sales and distribution in the US and Canada being handled by Random House.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday Night Music: Nancy Sinatra


Stanley Fish wrote a piece that spoke favorably of THE HUNGER GAMES but it also contained spoilers.

When this was brought to his attention, he defended it by saying only genre needs a surprise at the end to hold the reader's interest. This debate has been raging over at Mulholland Books this week and was picked up by THE GUARDIAN.

I think any book can be spoiled by giving too much away. Not just so-called genre books. If I read history, I expect (sometimes) to know how it turns out. But with fiction, there might be a certain inevitability inherent in the story but that should only go so far. The more I know about how a book ends, the less pleasurable it is. I want the author, not the reviewer, to tell the story. What do you think?

Forgotten Movies: Rachel, Rachel

Margaret Laurence is one of my favorite Canadian writers and this movie comes from her book, A Jest of God. This was the first movie Paul Newman directed and he chose his wife to play the lead. This was expert casting because Woodward excelled at playing characters like this one.

Rachel is a single woman in her thirties, an "old maid." Her siblings have grown and moved away from Manawaka, the small town in Canada where the book takes place. Rachel is the unwilling caretaker for her mother, who is frail and needy.

Rachel is needy, too. She would like to find love, a husband of her own, and children, but she does not know how to escape the ties that bind her to the small town and her unrewarding life. Margaret Laurence and Paul Newman in turn lets us feel her frustration and longing.

Unexpectedly, Rachel is faced with a challenge, and with it a chance for growth and fulfillment. It is interesting to find out how Rachel meets this challenge. The movie was made in 1968 and I remember it well.

If I were to make a list of forgotten actresses, Woodward would be near the top.

For more forgotten movies, please visit Todd Mason.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday Movie Music: Elmer Bernstein

My absolute favorite movie theme music.

Happy Memorial Day. And a great poem to remind you of why we will always have memorial days.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Night Poetry: John Keats

Cold Rifts, Sandra Seamans

Sandra Seamans' collection (Snubnose Press) is free on Amazon today. Hurry over and get a collection of the best and most versatile stories out there. Been waiting for this ebook for a long time. She is one of my favorite writers.

Sandra has been writing stories for online sites such as BEAT TO A PULP, THUGLIT, THRILLING DETECTIVE, FIRE ON THE PLAINS, A TWIST OF NOIR, THRILLERS, KILLERS AND CHILLERS, SHOTGUN HONEY and other sites. Her stories are memorable because of the risks she takes in introducing elements of science fiction, speculative fiction, western fiction and mash-ups.

Dropped Names

This was one of the dozen books I have read in the last week and probably the cheesiest despite its good reviews. If you have nothing more to offer about your stage and screen career than anecdotes, (few pithy or funny), about the famous people you have met, maybe you don't need to write a book. Not so much a kiss and tell, as a had luncheon and tell.

And seriously, the names of his films went by my eyes like a list of the most mediocre films in the last half century. I am sure he was more a stage actor but

I am also sure I would despise this man in real life (as well as reel life). Very few actors do themselves a favor by penning a memoir. Langella's major intention seems to be to paint himself a desirable bed or luncheon (not lunch) partner. The acting thing was just a ruse to get people into his bedroom (or into their dining room).

Who was it that said that no actor's IQ would ever require triple digits?

Ready for the question? What celebrity autobiography was worth reading?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Saturday Night Music: Lady Gaga

The Summing Up, Friday, May 25, 2012

Courtesy of Todd who took pity on me.

Patti Abbott, Montana, 1948, Larry Watson
Sergio Angelini, Blood on the Mink, Robert Silverberg
Joe Barone, Sins of the Father, Lawrence Block
Brian Busby, Thinking the Unthinkable: Armageddon, John Wesley White
Bill Crider, Best of Damon Runyon, ed. E.C. Bentley
Scott Cupp, Star Well, Alexei Panshin
Martin Edwards, The Grindle Nightmare, Quentin Patrick
Curt Evans, Todmanhawe Grange, J. S. Fletcher and Torquemada
Elisabeth Grace Foley, Skyrider, B.M. Bower
Ed Gorman, 1001 Midnights, edited by Bill Pronzini and Marcia Muller
Jerry House, The Woman Suffrage Cookbook (second edition), edited by Mrs. Hattie A. Burr
Randy Johnson, One Endless Hour, Dan J. Marlowe
Nick Jones, Undertow, Desmond Cory
George Kelley, The Devil Wears Wings, Harry Whittington
Margot Kinberg, Never Apologise, Never Explain, James Craig
Kate Laity. The Fall: Lyrics by Mark E. Smith; A Hard Road to Nowhere: The Blitzkrieg Bop Story, John Hodgson
B.V. Lawson, Murder in the Borough Library, John Austwick
Evan Lewis, Flash Casey, George Harmon Coxe
Steve Lewis/Allen J. Hubin, In the Lake of the Moon, David L. Lindsey
Todd Mason, Lucky Bruce, Bruce Jay Friedman
J.F. Norris, Mr. Diabolo, Anthony LeJeune
David Rachels, Hell Can Wait, Harry Whittington
James Reasoner, Riders of the Shadowlands, H.A. DeRosso
Karyn Reeves: The Poisoned Chocolates Case, Anthony Berkeley
Richard Robinson, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Agatha Christie
Gerard Saylor, Run, Boy, Run, Uri Orlev (translated by Hillel Halkin)
Ron Scheer, The Story of the Foss River Ranch, Ridgwell Cullum
Bill Selnes, The Constant Gardner, John Le Carre
Michael Slind, The Doorbell Rang, Rex Stout
Kerrie Smith, Kindergarten, Peter Rushforth
Kevin Tipple, Tonight, I Said Goodbye, Michael Koryta
"TomCat," Good Night, Sheriff, Harrison R. Steeves
Prashant Trikannad, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, "How Superman Would End the War" (Look magazine, 27 February 1940); We All Died at Breakaway Station, Richard C. Meredith

--Todd Mason

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday's Forgotten Books, May 25, 2012

Next Week: Margaret Millar Week

Ed Gorman is the author of the Dev Conrad series and the Sam McCain books. You can find him here.

For what to me are obvious reasons I've never been a particular fan of the famous Jacques Barzun mystery list. I find his writing pedantic and his selection of books sometimes questionable. I'm sorry--it's just the reaction I've always had to it. I'll take H.R.F. Keating's 100 Mystery novels any day.

So I've had to look elsewhere for lists to help rubes like me find treasures I'd never come across otherwise. My favorite book is 1001 Midnights edited by Bill Pronzini and Marcia Muller. I've read at least forty of the novels recommended in this massive compendium. And sometimes for pleasure I just pick it up to read it.

Every genre is covered here. So are writers great and small. And who are some of the reviewers recommending books? How about Max Collins, Crider, George Kelly, John Lutz, Barry Malzberg, Robert Randisi, Art Scott and Julie Smith? Among many, many others including the Mulzinis themselves. (I have two reviews in here myself.) You can share the pleasure they have in touting overlooked books. And in a few cases downgrading a book that was so fashionable a few decades back.

God I love this book and you will too.

Patti Abbott: Montana, 1948, Larry Watson

Montana 1948, Larry Watson. I’d be hard pressed to think of a short novel that captured so vividly a summer in the life of a twelve year old boy. David’s father is a small town sheriff who lives under the shadow of the father that once held his office and the brother who came home a war hero. When the housekeeper, a Sioux woman, becomes ill, that brother, now the town doctor is called on for help despite protestations from the ill woman. Is it native lore that makes her fearful? What happens next splinters both the family and the town. This is a gem: lucid and long-lasting.

SergioAngelini, Blood on the Mink, Robert Silverberg
Joe Barone, Sins of the Father, Lawrence Block
Brian Busby, Thinking the Unthinkable: Armageddon, John Wesley White
Bill Crider, Best of Damon Runyon, ed. E.C. Bentley
Scott Cupp, Star Well, Alexi Panshin
Martin Edwards, The Grindle Nightmare, Quentin Patrick
Curt Evans, Todmanhawe Grange, J. S. Fletcher and Torquemada
Elisabeth Grace Foley, Skyrider, B.M. Bower
Jerry House, The Woman Suffrage Cookbook (second edition), edited by Mrs. Hattie A. Burr
Randy Johnson, One Endless Hour, Dan J. Marlowe
Nick Jones, Undertow, Desmond Cory
George Kelley, THE DEVIL WEARS WINGS By Harry Whittington
Margot Kinberg, Never Apologise, Never Explain, James Craig
Kate Laity. The Fall: Lyrics by Mark E. Smith; John Hodgson's A Hard Road to Nowhere: The Blitzkrieg Bop Story
B.V. Lawson, Murder in the Borough Library, John Austwick
Evan Lewis, Flash Casey, George Harmon Coxe
Steve Lewis/Allen J. Hubin
Todd Mason
J.F. Norris
David Rachels
James Reasoner
Richard Robinson
Gerard Saylor
Ron Scheer
Bill Selnes
Michael Slind
Kerrie Smith
Kevin Tipple
Prashant Trikannad

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday Night Music: Minne Ripperton


This is surely one of the most delightful movies to come out during the war years-and it actually makes good use of it.

Jean Arthur, in an act of patriotism, decides to rent her extra bedroom out to help with the shortage of housing in D.C.

Charles Coburn (in a terrific performance) finagles his way into the room. He immediately decides she needs a husband and Joel McCrea comes down the street minutes later and is drafted (unknowingly) to perform this function.

Much of the funniest moments are Coburn's as he attempts to follow the rigid schedule Arthur has handed him. But the chemistry between McCrea and Arthur fuels it too.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday Night Poetry: W.H. Auden


published in PLOTS WITH GUNS has been nominated for STORYSOUTH Million Writers Award. Thanks for the bright spot in the horrific weekend.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Life at the Theater: The Price

THE PRICE debuted on Broadway in 1968 and played for more than a year. It has twice been revived on Broadway. I saw it at the Jewish Ensemble Theater in West Bloomfield Hills, MI in 1993. I always get a lot out of Miller's plays and have seen a lot of them.

This one concerns two brothers and a sister, squabbling after their father's death about a piece of furniture and the quality of their lives. Most of Miller's plays concern fathers and sons. Or at least family relations. I guess most plays in general do.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Megan Abbott Takes on THE PUNISHER


• Acclaimed crime novelist and Edgar Award winner MEGAN ABBOTT (Queenpin, The End of Everything) takes on the Punisher!

Your Background Music

If my life was a film, Carole King would supply the background music. Who would supply yours?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tuesday Night Music: Carolina Chocolate Drops

What I Saw in New York

All for free at the Frick, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Asian Society, Philippine Center, Museum of Art and Design, and the Guggenheim.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My Life at the Theater: Endgame

Charles Reynolds and David Schoen as Clov and Hamm.

I am not the most adventurous theater go-er so have shied away from Samuel Beckett until now. But when I read the rapturous reviews of this production and saw an old colleague of mine, John Jakary, was directing EndGame, I decided to give it a whirl.

The Abreacht Theater is one of those little theater groups that migrate from space to space, devoted to doing difficult works (Ionesco, Albee, Beckett) that will probably not draw a large audience. Endgame was a thrilling experience despite the absurdist qualities, which you can see from the clip below.

It is after an apocalypse of some sort and each of the four character are severely damaged. Perhaps they always were. Three can't move and are blind. The fourth cannot sit down. They wait out their end in a dilapidated building. Quite a bit of humor in this and great insights into how we doom ourselves.

If you live in Detroit, check out this group. You will get an experience unlike any other.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Tuesday Night Music: Alicia Keys

Forgotten Movies: A Letter to Three Wives

Joseph Mankiewicz directed this film in 1949. It was based on a novel by John Klempner and the script with writing help from Vera Caspary. It starred Linda Darnell, Jeanne Crain, Ann Sothern Kirk Douglas, Paul Douglas and Jeffrey Lynn. The novel was titled A Letter to Five Wives. They cut one and originally Anne Baxter played the fourth wife. But it ran too long, so she was cut too.

A letter is delivered to three women who are boarding a train for an excursion with children. The letter says that the writer, Addie Ross, is leaving town with one of their husbands. They will not know which husband until they return home from the trip.

Each woman has some issue that makes her think she losing her husband.

This film handles the flashbacks very well and the cast is a fine one. Sudsy but memorable.

Todd Mason has more links at his place.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Movie Themes Songs: To Kill a Mockingbird

The New Sherlock Holmes series

I am kind of ambivalent about this series. On the one hand, I love the repartee and some of the uses of technology. Love the actors and the great production values. And yet, boy the narrative gets a bit murky and lost amidst all the hoopla. What do you think? Are they too fond of wit and tech? Do they basically find the stories a bit of a bore and feel they need to submerge than in special fx?

Do we really need Irene Adler to be a dominatrix?

Or, here is the real question, do I need to watch this earlier in the evening when my brain cells are still on play?

Megan Abbott and Boris Dralyuk


I haven't read it yet but DRIVE, book and movie, were terrific. How often does that happen?

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Sunday Night Poetry: William Carlos Williams

The Villain-less Novel

Read a review today that claimed that the more potent the villain, the more interesting the book, the more elevated the hero.

Is this true? Are there great books with no villain? Something like a war can be a villain, of course, but in the usual scheme of things, what great or greatish book had no villain?

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Saturday Night Music: Jefferson Airplane

The Uses and Misuses of Dialect

Use of a dialect is something I am always struggling with when trying to write stories set in Detroit. Here is an article that has some good ideas about it.

How do you incorporate the kind of speech your characters use without becoming incomprehensible to your readers?

As readers, how much dialect do you want to read? Is it fair to use a little to indicate the speech patterns and then drop it?

I know it bothered me in Huck Finn, for instance.

Friday, May 04, 2012

The Summing Up, Friday, May 4, 2012

The Summing Up, Friday, May 4, 2012

My review of The Five-Year Engagement is on Crimespree Cinema,
Don't forget-a new story goes up on Fire on the Plains every Friday. Some nice work going on there.

Patti Abbott, The work of Adi-Kent Thomas Jeffrey
Sergio Angelini, Axe, Ed McBain
Joe Barone, Hard Frost, R.D. Wingfield
Brian Busby, Murder over Dowal, David Montrose
Bill Crider, The Video Vandal
Martin Edwards, Rex v. Rhodes, Bruce Hamilton
Curt Evans, How Strange a Thing, Dorothy Bennet
Ed Gorman, The Procaine Chronicle, Ross Thomas
Jerry House, More Great Tales of Horror, ed. Marjorie Bower
Randy Johnson, Never Live Twice, Dan J. Marlowe
Nick Jones, I Gave at the Office, Donald E. Westlake
George Kelley, Store of the Worlds, Rober Sheckley
Margot Kinberg, The Eagle Catcher, Margaret Coel
B.V. Lawson, A Moment at the Edge. Elizabeth Geroge
Evan Lewis, The Sea-Hawk, Rafael Sabatini
Steve Lewis, Alibi Innings, Barbara Worsley Gough
Todd Mason, THE SINCEREST FORM OF PARODY ed. John Benson (Fantagraphics 2012); THE BLACK MUSIC HISTORY OF LOS ANGELES: 1920-70s by Tom Reed (BALA Press 1992)J.F. Norris, Fatal Flourishes, S.S. Raferty
David Rachels, Big Man, Ed McBain
James Reasoner, Luscious, Teasing Body, Ennis Willie
Richard Robinson, Shoot the Works, Brett Halliday
Gerard Saylor, Hard Rain Falling, Don Carpenter
Ron Scheer, Aunt Huldah, Grace MacGowan Cooke and Alice MacGoawn
Bill Selnes, Secret Lovers, Charles McCarry
Kerrie Smith, A Sight for Sore Eyes, Ruth Rendell
Kevin Tipple/Barry Ergang, Watch Me Die, Lee Goldberg
Prashant Trikannad, The Payoff, Don Smith
TomCat, The Work of Isaac Asimov
Wuthering Willow, The Lodge. Marie Adelaide Belloc
Zybahn, Caedmon's Song, Peter Robinson

Friday's Forgotten Books, May 4, 2012

The next two week's forgotten books will be collected by Todd Mason. One is a fun week off, the other is a horrible oral surgery appointment.

Please contact him if you are not a regular reviewer and want to do one. Thanks!

Ed Gorman writes the Dev Conrad series, the Sam McCain series and edits anthologies in his spa
re time. You can find him here.

Ross Thomas, The Procane Chronicle

One of life’s true pleasures is reading a Ross Thomas novel. He never lets you down when you re-read him, either.

I’ve now read The Procane Chronicle for the third or fourth time, and even though I now know all the amazing surprises Thomas blesses his readers with, the prose alone is as much fun as the story. The only writer living today who can even come close to the grace and nimbleness of Thomas is Lawrence Block. Block knows from sentences.

In this one, Phillip St. Ives is dragooned by poverty as usual to act as a go-between when a blackmailer sets a price. St. Ives is hired to make sure that both sides keep their promise. The stake this time is a possible Mafia war.

As always, Thomas gives us a radiantly cynical take on Washington, D. C. and all who do business there. Though thirty years have past since original publication, Procane depicts a nation’s capitol no different from the one we know today. St. Ives is lied to and betrayed by everything on two legs, even – or especially – those fine looking female legs.

For me, Thomas was one of the two or three best crime writers of the last century. He brought to each book a witty and brutal intelligence that exposed all of us as less than we’d want to be.

You can get Ross Thomas books on the Mysterious Press e site as well as in many mystery bookstores.I can almost guarantee you'll be a fan for life.

Sergio Angelini
Joe Barone
Brian Busby
Bill Crider
Martin Edwards
Curt Evans
Jerry House
Randy Johnson
Nick Jones
George Kelley
Margot Kinberg
B.V. Lawson
Evan Lewis
Steve Lewis
Todd Mason
J.F. Norris
David Rachels
James Reasoner
Richard Robinson
Gerard Saylor
Ron Scheer
Bill Selnes
Kerrie Smith
Kevin Tipple
Prashant Trikannad
Wuthering Willow