Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Biblioholic's Bookshelf: Drum Beat - Mariane Sixties Private Eye Fiction

I bought this at a store called the Pea Picker, though based on the rubber stamp inside the front cover, it passed through a shop called the Book-A-Teria as well.

It bears a 1968 copyright and stars globe-hopping private eye  Chester Drum in the last of his adventures by Stephen Marlowe, a pseudonym of Milton Lesser.

Drum appeared in a crossover with Richard Prather's Shell Scott once upon a time. It was called Double In Trouble.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Trailer Tuesday: Ryne Douglas Pearson's Confessions

I thought an occasional book trailer might be an interesting offering here. I know we did Joe Finder's new book last Monday, but Trailer Tuesday is alliterative. Here's the book trailer for Knowing screenwriter Ryne Douglas Pearson's "Confessions," a literary mystery thriller.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Booksprung Interview

I did a phone interview a while back with Chris Walters from Booksprung ebook news website. We talked about Midnight Eyes but also about adventures in e-book reading and much more.

He titled it How Sidney Williams escaped midlist oblivion.

Stop over and check it out if you get a chance. There are a few "you knows" since it was an actual, live, talking interview.

It was actually fun to do and to contemplate some of the queries about ebook reading and the new reading landscape.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Biblioholic's Bookshelf: MacMorgan No. 1 - Key West Connection '80s ActionI

I picked this one up off a drug store rack. Kind of reminded me of the Travis McGee series. The Dusky MacMorgan series seems to have run for about seven installments, each with a similarly colorful and arresting cover.

Turns out Randy Striker is an early pseudonym of Randy Wayne White, author of the Doc Ford thrillers.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Buried Secrets Goes on Sale

I'm not usually an on-the-spot news reporter, but when I pick up something helpful, I try to pass it along.

Joseph Finder's second Nate Heller adventure, Buried Secrets, went on sale today.

This time around Nate's involved in the search for the kidnapped daughter of a hedge fund manager.

She's, in fact, been buried alive, and Nick's thrown into an investigation that sounds ripped from the headlines.

It promises to be a suspenseful, nail-biting thriller. Check out the trailer below.

Read more and pick up extras here

Monday, June 20, 2011

International Thriller Writer's Roundtable - The Elements of Thriller Stories

I'm participating in the Thriller Roundtable at the International Thriller Writer's Big Thrill website this week. Other participants include Thomas Kaufman, Reece Hirsch and CE Lawrence.

The question posed is interesting, dealing with the purest elements of story.

The late John Gardner suggested that all stories boil down to either, someone went on a journey or a stranger comes to town. Do you agree? At their very core, how do you view your thrillers?

So far, Ms. Lawrence and I have weighed in with opening shots. Drop by and see how it goes if you have a second. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Biblioholic's Bookshelf: Search For A Dead Nympho - Sixties Noir

Paul W. Fairman was the founding editor of If magazine but left after only four issues, if Wikipedia is to be believed, anyway. This is a noir novel copyrighted 1967, about 10 years before his death. (I believe it's bound to be the same Paul W. Fairman, anyway.)

 It's published by Lancer Books, obviously, if you glance down a bit. That's an early imprint from the late Walter Zacharius, who went on to found Kensington Books. It was under Kensington's Pinnacle imprint that my novels originally appeared. Six degrees, I guess. I don't know that I knew that when I bought this years back. 

Further reading
Dead City, an earlier tale from Mr. Fairman and basis for the film Target Earth, now at Project Gutenberg 

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Death of Sweet Mister - Disturbing Noir

When I taught a creative writing class a while back, I showed a number of magazines as examples of good reading. One was a double issue of Tin House, which offered stories of hope in one half and stories of dread when flipped over.

"I bet I know which side you liked best," someone chimed in.

It may have had something to do with the tone of some of the assigned reading.

I do tend to lean a little toward darker fiction, falling back on the Kafka admonition that we should read novels that stab us.

I think I'm still bleeding from Daniel Woodrell's  The Death of Sweet Mister, a rural noir excursion that pre-dates Winter's Bone. It rivals Jim Thompson or James M. Cain for dark brilliance, overlaid with a bit of Faulkner.

The Sweet Mister of the title is Morris Akins, known as Shuggie. He's the only son of Glenda, a sultry dark-haired beauty, who's wed to a violent petty criminal named Red.

Shuggie is a perceptive and resourceful 13-year-old, wise beyond his years but trapped by Red's brutality and Glenda's dependence on him.

He and his mother live in a house in a cemetery where Glenda and Shuggie serve essentially as grounds keepers while Red and a slightly more compassionate friend, Basil, spend most of their time devising small time schemes to garner money or drugs including prescription pain pills.

Shuggie's roped into several criminal efforts and complies passively, while shouldering more than a 13-year-old's share of responsibilities with Glenda.

Shuggie's dark, shattering character arc is the core of the novel and Woodrell unfolds it with occasional hints and a progression of illustrative events including one humiliating birthday experience for Glenda that rounds out a depiction of Red's character as well.

The title and subject matter suggest tragedy, but Woodrell twists the story in unexpected directions as Glenda begins an affair with a suave chef a a local spot who has aspirations toward returning to better restaurants.

When the book reaches its ending, all of the pieces fit perfectly, and all of the motivations are clear, prepared for and compelling.

It's indeed a novel that drives its cold blade deep, and it would definitely skew in the direction of dread.

What writer's should look for:
Woodrell's careful preparation for the ending through a mixture of character and events. This is a compelling read that employs the very best elements of genre fiction and character-driven literary fiction.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Biblioholic's Bookshelf: New People TV-Tie-In Noveliazation

Long before Lost, ABC dropped another set of survivors onto an island. The series, from Aaron Spelling and Rod Serling, was called The New People. It would appear it ran 17 episodes in 1969 and had a hip and trendy style based on the tone of the back cover description.

I've read Damon Lindelof once said if he'd known about the show, he would have named Charlie Pace's band in "Lost" The New People instead of Driveshaft.

I learned about this series in one old TV book or another and picked up the novelization while browsing a used bookstore once upon a time. It's harder and harder to find lost gems like this just kicking around nowadays, though almost everything's available somewhere on the web, as evidenced by the TV promo below.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

BBC World Service Val McDermid Program Airs

The BBC World Service interview with thriller-writer Val McDermid on her novel, A Place of Execution, is now available for online listening or download, and it features my question.

Happily my little query was worthwhile enough to prompt some interesting discussion.

I asked about the development of theme. I believe Ms. McDermid's answer is of interest to writers and perhaps readers as well.

How the posing of my question came about via Twitter is discussed in this blog post.

You can listen to the entire interview on the BBC website.
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