This isn’t a real post. I thought I’d reprint a few items from one of my old blogs before I shut it down, since they tell you so much about who I am and what I write.
Shaken, Not Stirred.
(originally posted May 28, 2008)
And happy 100th birthday-that-would-have-been to Ian Fleming.
Lower Crime Rate Bad for Mystery Writers?
(originally posted May 27, 2008)
New York is enjoying a sharp decline in crime–the fewest homicides since the first reliable stats became available in 1963. So does this mean hardboiled crime writers can no longer describe the “mean streets” of New York with as much grit as they used to?
Mystery author S.J. Rozan seems to think so. Her 1994 novel CHINA TRADE opened with a scene in which a couple of private investigators mixed it up with three members of a Chinatown gang. Guns were drawn “in a chaotic scene that also featured undercover police officers dressed as winos, a surprise attack by another gang from a car speeding along the West Side Highway, and a double-cross scheme by a member of the first gang.”
However, Rozan says, “That kind of book couldn’t be written anymore, because that level of lawlessness has really disappeared. . . . Anyone who has recently come to New York would pick it up and think: ‘What is wrong with this woman? What is she making up?'”
Well, lower crime rate or not, crime still happens in New York and other places. And you can write hardboiled in ways that reflect gritty realities of life other than public gunfights with gang-bangers. So, I don’t think crime writers are in any great danger of lacking realistic material anytime soon.
The ‘Da Vinci Code’ of Physics? I’m Hooked.
(originally posted May 26, 2008)
Imagine a thriller based on the idea that Einstein actually figured out the Unified Field Theory he was after for so long and entrusted pieces of the theory to each of his students before he shuffled off to another dimension. And now, evil forces are trying to collect all the pieces and do whatever it is that evil forces would do with the Unified Field Theory (bad things, no doubt). And it’s up to “a lapsed physicist who now teaches the history of science at Columbia University” to stop them.
This so totally appeals to the science geek in me.
So Many Books, So Little Time.
(originally posted May 23, 2008)
Or, perhaps, die trying to read. And is the book itself counted in, thus making it a book-length recommendation for 1,000 other books? And why would I read a book about a long list of books I should be reading, instead of reading the books themselves?
And, as for the choices, any “must read” list that has INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE on it must be viewed with some suspicion.
The Man Who Created James Bond
(originally posted May 19, 2008)
Ian Fleming (the author who created Bond, James Bond–thank you very much) is the subject of an exhibition at the Imperial War Museum in London called “For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond.” The exhibition opened last month and will run through March 2009.
This article provides an interesting look at Fleming’s life, some information I hadn’t known (like that Fleming died in 1964, “before the Bond franchise went stratospheric”) and some fascinating trivia about where he came up with his characters.
Murder by the Bosphorus.
(originally posted May 17, 2008)
I wanted to post this article primarily because 1) it introduced me to two new mystery authors and 2) who knew that there were two mystery writers setting their stories in Istanbul?
Bond (James Bond) is Back in Another Book.
(originally posted May 10, 2008)
FishbowlNY reports that James Bond is making another appearance in the publishing world. DEVIL MAY CARE, the new Bond novel, will be the 23rd Bond book to be released since his original creator, Ian Fleming, died 44 years ago.
With an initial print run of 250,000 in the U.S. and 100,000 in the U.K., it seems the publisher has high hopes for the book, especially since the previous Bond novel, THE MAN WITH THE RED TATTOO, only sold 13,000 in the U.S.
The report has a link to the Wall Street Journal article about the book’s release, which I could have posted instead of Fishbowl’s summary. But then you wouldn’t get to see the video of the opening chase scene from Casino Royale. Kind of gives new meaning to the term “height of improbability,” but that’s Bond for you.
The Quintessential Hardboiled Detective.
(originally posted May 9, 2008)
NPR’s Morning Edition recently aired this examination of “Raymond Chandler’s quintessential private eye, Philip Marlowe.”
Presenting Charles Ardai.
(originally posted May 7, 2008)
NPR recently interviewed Charles Ardai, founder of Hard Case Crime, on its show Fresh Air. Ardai, who also writes under the name Richard Aleas, has indeed provided a bit of fresh air to the pulp fiction genre, using HCC to show the mystery writing talent of Stephen King, reprint old stories by established writers like Lawrence Block and showcase some extraordinary new talent on the hardboiled and noir writing scene.
NPR also obligingly provides an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Aleas’ latest book, SONGS OF INNOCENCE. A worthy read.
It’s a shame I must shut the old blog down, but that’s how it goes.
Now, here are a few more links of possible interest:
Check out the poetry of Bobbie Troy!