Joe R. Lansdale’s Hap & Leonard Now Have Their Own TV Show!
We were happy to have one of our best Noir At The Bar events to date a couple weeks back. Joe R. Lansdale read from his latest book, Honky Tonk Samurai, featuring his East Texas ne’er-do-well buddies, Hap & Leonard, and we celebrated the release of a new collection of Hap & Leonard stories, hot off the press. His first book in the series, Savage Season, will be part of a six episode run with an impressive line-up of talent, including Christina Hendricks, Michael Kenneth Williams and James Purfoy. The first episode airs this Wednesday, March 2nd, at 9PM Central on the Sundance Channel. Here’s the teaser trailer, below!
Congratulations to our friend, Joe, and if a new novel and a TV show aren’t enough to satisfy your need to read about the exploits of the boys, a collection of all the short stories and novellas, aptly titled Hap & Leonard, has just been released.
Recently, NPR’s Steve Inskeep interviewed two of our favorite figures in the mystery world: author and literary critic Megan Abbott, and editor and author Sarah Weinman. In the interview, they discuss the role of women in crime fiction as readers, writers, and characters, and work to solve the mystery of all those thrillers with “girl” in the title. It is a fascinating talk – you can read the highlights, or listen to the full discussion. You’ll also find a list of recommended recent reads from Abbott and Weinman.
Sarah Weinman is the editor of the two volume Library of America collection, Women Crime Writers Of The 40s and 50s, a must for crime fiction fans. Volumes are available together or individually. The collection comes with a brilliant set of essays on each classic work, which you can find online. Look for Megan Abbott’s latest novel, You Will Know Me, out this summer.
Introduced by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery
Spinetingler online magazine is a great source for crime fiction reviews, interviews, and fiction. In one of Spinetingler’s latest fiction posts, Debbie Mumford gives us a detective solving a homicide with a talking corpse.
“The crime scene investigation I worked today turned sour when the victim spoke to me.
My partner, Jack Barnes, and I had been called to a dimly lit alley in downtown Portland. The early morning mist had burned off, leaving the pavement damp. The multi-story brick and mortar buildings on either side huddled close as if protecting the small figure centered in their midst, though she was beyond anyone’s help.
The air at the mouth of the alley smelled of freshly baked bread and cinnamon, but the odor turned fetid as I neared the corpse.“
Review by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery
Published in 1965, David Ball’sIn The Heat Of The Nightis not only a well crafted police procedural, but also a sharp reflection of its time. The story of a black police detective forced to solve a murder in a Jim Crow town vibrates with social and political overtones. One could argue it is one of the first overt uses of the crime novel as political statement.
Even the inciting incident that pulls Virgil Tibbs into the story is political. Set in the fiction town of Wells, South Carolina, the night deputy, Sam Woods discovers the body of a visiting conductor who was heading up the local music festival. Ordered by the new sheriff, Gillespie, to check the train station, Sam finds Tibbs. He arrests the man mainly because he’s black and has over a hundred dollars on him. After the initial embarrassment of learning that Tibbs is a Homicide investigator from Pasadena, California, he is asked to look into the murder. This is mainly done, so if it goes unsolved, the sheriff can blame Tibbs for the murder.
Interview conducted via email by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery
We are happy to be hosting Trudy Nan Boyce along with Minerva Koenig for our New Hard-boiled Voices panel this Friday, February 26th, at 7 PM. Miss Boyce’s debut novel, Out Of The Blues, follows newly minted Atlanta homicide detective Sarah Alt (nicknamed Salt) as she stumbles into a cold case that unlocks secrets involving race and city politics. We asked Miss Boyce a few questions about the book and how her dual professions of police officer and psychologist shaped it.
MysteryPeople Scott: Atlanta plays like a fascinating character itself. What did you want to explore about the city?
Trudy Nan Boyce: Atlanta is my home. I’ve lived here for more than fifty years. I went to undergrad and grad school at the downtown university. I policed the city for more than thirty years. And I’ve lived in my downtown neighborhood for at least thirty years. And I continue to be delighted by Atlanta, its sweet and tragic mysteries seem endless. It is a city without geographic gifts; no bays or oceans, no mountains, no river flows through it. It is a city built at a crossroads, built around the intersections of railroads which were built primarily by black people, slaves and those conscripted though the “justice system.” The more I learn about Atlanta the more I realize that as a white person much of the history and culture of the city has remained segregated. Atlanta is soulful and exemplifies much about the racial divide in the United States. Most white people have no idea about the importance of the blues to our culture. Atlanta was and is a crossroads for the blues and our nation.
Review by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery
Celebrity crime and scandal provide an interesting yin and yang. Even for a life led in public, there are things we don’t see in the shadowy edges of the spotlight. The new television show The People Versus O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story layers a previously untold narrative over reported facts in a new version of one of the most over-reported trials. Alison Gaylin deftly explores this contrast between public face and private life, although with very different characters, in What Remains Of Me.
The book operates on two time lines. In 1985, troubled teen Kelly Lund is found guilty of shooting director John McFadden at a party in the Hollywood Hills. 25 years later, and three years after Lund’s release from prison, Kelly once again faces accusation of the murder of a celebrity when Sterling Marshall, Kelly’s famous actor father-in-law, is found floating in the pool, shot in the head. Upon discovery of the murder, eyes quickly turn to Kelly.
With her second Julia Kalas book,South Of Nowhere, the short, round, and tough heroine finds herself with a body in a barn she’s converting, her boyfriend stuck in Cuba, and a wild adventure south of the border. We caught up with her to ask her a few questions about the book.
MysteryPeople Scott: How do you think Julia has changed in your mind since Nine Days?
Minerva Koenig: If you mean how has she changed from my first book to the 2nd, I would say that she’s become more cautious. My intent was always to have my sleuth start out very ballsy and brash, and develop into someone softer as she matures throughout the series ~ she gets some hard edges knocked off in South of Nowhere, and I intend to continue that trend. Which is not to say that she’s going to turn into Miss Marple. I want to create a character who is tough in an unusual way ~ she can do the hard thing when necessary, but it costs her, and it makes her a wiser and more compassionate human being in the process.
MysteryPeople (in the corporeal form of Scott Montgomery, Crime Fiction Coordinator, and me, Molly, bookseller) will be joining Hopeton Hay for his radio show, KAZI Book Review, 88.7 FM, on the last Sunday of each month between 12:30-12:45 to talk about our favorite releases for the month. I had so much fun discussing my most anticipated picks for February, I’ve decided to put them up on our blog as well! Below, you’ll find three very different books, each and every one a gem of a crime novel.
There’s not much I can say about this one without giving one of Montes’ myriad twists away. I can say that, early in the novel, Montes references the director Michael Haneke and the film Misery, and both of those references become increasingly relevant through this twisted novel. In other words, Perfect Daysis the most disturbing novel that I also enjoyed reading since I was first terrified by Kathryn Dunn’s Geek Love.
Perfect Days follows a medical student as he develops an obsession with a young wannabe screenwriter named Clarice he briefly meets at a party. When his wheelchair-bound mother and “Gertrude,” the corpse he’s slowly been dissecting for school, fail to satisfy his need for female companionship, the student kidnaps Clarice, stashes her in a suitcase, and takes her across Brazil while attempting to brainwash her into falling in love with him.
Introduced by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery
Eric Arneson uses two crime fiction tropes for this fun, tight story with a great voice, the ordinary guy who takes a dangerous chance and that mysterious briefcase. Another great piece from Shotgun Honey.
Don’t worry, kid. This ain’t some cliche workplace violence violence story. I like it there. Made a lot of friends, did some stuff I’m proud of. I still miss the place, but it was the right time to retire…”
This month’s Hard Word Book Club selection, Infamousby Ace Atkins, is both historical and humorous. Infamous was the last of Ace Atkin’s quartet of books incorporating true crimes (Hopefully we’ll see more). It chronicles the exploits of robber and kidnapper George “Machine Gun” Kelly.
Mainly, Infamous tells the story of the woman behind the man. Far from a mastermind, Kelly was goaded into a life of crime by his wife Kathryn. When the kidnapping of an oilman gets complicated and a former Texas Ranger closes in, his skills and marriage are put to the test.
Ace Atkins will be calling in to the group to talk about the work and his research. We will be meeting on BookPeople’s third floor, Wednesday, February 24th, at 7PM.
The Hard Word Book Club meets the last Wednesday of each month and discusses noir and hard-boiled crime fiction. Selections for the book club are 10% off at the registers. You can find copies of Infamous on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.
Larry Sweazy’s A Thousand Falling Crows is a fantastic Depression-era crime novel. Sonny Burton, a Texas Ranger who recently lost an arm in pursuit of Bonnie and Clyde, goes on the search for a man’s missing daughter. His investigation leads him to another group of robbers and to a killer who dumps his victims’ bodies in the Texas fields. The book has both a moody and an authentic feel. We caught up with Mr. Sweazy to take a few questions from us.
Interview by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery
MysteryPeople Scott: Both the character of Sonny and the story are unique. Which came first?
Larry Sweazy: Sonny, no question. Characters always seem to come first to me. I knew a few things about Sonny from the beginning (his real name is Lester). I knew he was at the end of his career and that his father had been a Texas Ranger, too. Sonny had a perspective of history, could remember his father talking vividly about going after outlaws like King Fisher and John Wesley Hardin on horseback, while Sonny was rooted in the Twentieth Century, going after Bonnie and Clyde in a 1932 Ford. I also knew that Sonny was a World War I veteran and suffered from the Thousand Yard Stare (our version of PSTD). He was also a widower with a difficult relationship with his only son, who is also a Texas Ranger, but for seemingly different reasons. The story came out of research for another project I was working on and I stumbled across an article about Bonnie and Clyde coming out of the Ritz movie theater in Wellington, Texas. There was a chase, a shootout, and a flaming car crash where Bonnie was hurt, but they escape. The timing was right and l knew that I could insert my fictional character into that historical situation and go from there.
“I want the historical novels I write to be accessible, relatable, and an emotional journey as well as a physical one. That’s what I try for every time I sit down to write.”