Murder Ballads, Snake Handling, Dog Bites – Noir at the Bar is a Big Success

Last week we launched the Austin version of Noir At The Bar. A night of crime readings, much like poetry in a coffee house, done at a local watering hole had proven to be a success in Philadelphia, St. Louis and L.A., so we decided to do our own spin on it. Opal Divine’s hosted our motley band of authors and we drew a great crowd that made us want to do it again. (Thanks to Peter Farris for the awesome pictures from the night.)

Since we  are in Austin, we started with some music. Alt country singer/songwriter Chris Hoyt got us in the mood with three songs. Then writer, singer, songwriter, and former Skunks member, Jesse Sublett, performed a murder ballad.

Chris Hoyt

Barry Graham was up first, reading from his latest, When It All Comes own To Dust. The book deals with a predator just released from prison and his now adult victim. Barry chose a passage of their first confrontation that also describes the Phoenix, Arizona setting that is practically another character in the book. He then went into a passage from What Do You Think Of Your Blue Eyed Boy that was funny and dark, with a bite like one from the dog featured in the story.

Barry Graham

Jonathan Woods was next with a sexy part of his debut novel, A Death In Mexico. If you are a fan of John Burdette, Derek Raymond, or George Simenon, pick up this book. Woods’ Inspector Hector Diaz is a great mix of vice and virtue. he closed his set with What The F*** Was That? a comic horror tale that will have you picking your nose.

Jonathan Woods

Next up was Peter Farris, who read from the MysteryPeople Pick Of The Month, Last Call For The Living. This punchy Southern hard boiled is a must-read. Peter’s reenactment of a sermon from a snake handling preacher that happens before an already infamous shoot out probably had the Opal Divine’s customers downstairs wondering what the heck was going on (we sure enjoyed it).

Peter Farris

Jesse Sublett finished off the evening with a chapter from soon to be post-apocalyptic PI tale, Grave Digger Blues that he read to prerecorded music. The chapter, titled The Last Detective At The End Of The World, had everything – tough talk, violence, wise cracks, and a giant Marilyn Monroe. A perfect note to end on.

Jesse Sublett

The attendees mingled and drank with the writers and had their books signed.  It was a fun gathering of individuals and of voices that were individual. Friends were made, readers were discovered, and plots hatched. Looking forward to doing it again.

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