THE HARD WORD BOOK CLUB MEETS THE ALLIGATOR

Bandit Love Cover ImageWith June being International Mystery Month, The Murder In The Afternoon book club decided to go to Italy with one of its most acclaimed writers. Massimo Carlotto lived the life of a crime novel—on the run for a murder he was eventually cleared of. We will be reading his novel Bandit Love featuring his series character Marco “The Alligator” Burrati.

Burrati is an ex-blues singer, ex-criminal, ex-con, part owner of a blues club and part time private detective. A shadowy drug ring kidnaps his best friend’s lover. For her return, The Alligator and his cohorts have to look into the heist of a research pharmacy. If they want the crooks, the drugs, or the mastermind behind it, they are not told. What ensues is many dark reveals, skulking Rome’s back alleys, and Burrati using his criminal skills as much as his investigative ones.

Bandit love provides a lot to discuss from it’s setting, politics, morality, and view of both women and love. We will be meeting at 1PM Monday June 17th at BookPeople’s coffee bar. The book is 10% off for those planning to attend.

HARD WORD DISCUSSES EARLY DANIEL WOODRELL

Give Us a Kiss Cover ImageFor our April Hard Word Book Club we will be reading from one of the masters of rural crime fiction. Daniel Woodrell is one of those authors other authors revere. Best known for Winter’s Bone, he chronicles the marginalized in his Ozark home area. We will be reading his first book to do this, Give Us A Kiss.

The book follows Doyle Redmond, a ne’er do well writer, leaving his California wife in her Volvo. As a favor to his folks, he goes down. He goes to his home town of West Table, Missouri, to convince his brother Smoke to turn himself in to Kansas City law enforcement. Instead, Doyle finds his own trouble, when a marijuana deal from Smoke’s “money garden”  goes wrong and Doyle reignites a blood feud with The Dollys, a family of hardcore criminals.

This is Woodrell at his most entertaining. The book is laid back and funny with sudden pops of violence that build suspense into the story the further it goes as it looks at family, history, and literature itself. This should be one of our more fun discussions. We will be meeting on BookPeople’s third floor, Wednesday, April 25th, at 7PM. The book is 10% off to those planning to attend.

In May we will be discussing a book by one of Daniel Woodrell’s mentors and friends, James Crumley’s The Final Country.

THE HARD WORD BOOK CLUB CELEBRATES SPILLANE WITH DISCUSSION AND MOVIE: THE GIRL HUNTERS

Our Hard Word Book Club will out our celebration of Mickey Spillane’s 100th year of birth to a climax. His two-fisted, forty-five wearing PI and angel of vengeance Mike Hammer paved the way for both Frank Miller’s Sin City and Lee Child’s Jack Reacher. We will be discussing the seventh Hammer novel, The Girl Hunters as well as view the film version that has an interesting leading man.

Spillane wrote The Girl Hunters after a nine year hiatus from the character. We find Hammer in the gutter, drunk and without work. When he learns his former secretary and true love Velda is missing and the quarry for a mysterious assassin known as The Dragon, he has to get his gun, license and attitude back to save her.

The film version we will be viewing presents something rare in an adaptation. It is one of the rare moments to where the author played their lead in the film version.Due to the planed actor falling out at the last minute, this is what happened with Spillane playing Hammer in The Girl Hunters, opposite future Bond lady Shirley Eaton. We will be showing the film as part of the discussion. We’ll be meeting on BookPeople’s third floor at 7PM, Wednesday March 28th. The book is 10% off for those planning to attend.

Hard Word Book Club goes to Yuma Prison with Elmore Leonard

For November, The Hard Word Book Club discusses a book by one of the
greats at a transitional moment in his career. Elmore Leonard’s Forty
Lashes Less One was the last western he did before starting crime
fiction. Containing many elements in those future books and taking
place in less than wide open spaces, this can be viewed as him taking
steps forward.

The two protagonists are Chiricahua Apache Raymond San Carlos and
Harold Jackson, a black former soldier, sentenced to life in Yuma
Prison. To put Jackson in his place, the king of the cons, Frank
Shelby, tricks him into a fight with with San Carlos. Raymond and
Harold bond when tossed into the hole and become the pet
rehabilitation project for a the new warden, who is also a minister.
When the inmates need to be moved to a new prison, Shelby plans a
breakout and Raymond and Harold plot revenge.

Forty Lashes Less One is funny, tough, and very unique. It provides
much to talk about with how the characters view race and religion. It
is also provides great examples to talk about crossing genres and
Elmore Leonard. We will be having our discussion on Wednesday, November
29th, 7PM on BookPeople’s third floor. The books are 10% off to those
planning to attend.

Hard Word Book Club Reads Zoe Sharpe’s RIOT ACT

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery 

9781631940750Admittedly The Hard Word Book Club can also be a bit of a boy’s club, due to the genres we read being considered “male oriented”. I’m happy this month to put the spotlight on one of the best action/adventure writers out there  her kick-ass heroine with our upcoming discussion of Riot Act by Zoe Sharpe. It is the second book in the Charlie Fox series. Fox is often referred to as a female Jack Reacher, but like her author, she has a voice all her own (a voice we appreciated at last September’s hell-raising Noir at the Bar).

Riot Act has Charlie apartment and dog sitting for a friend. The first paragraph literally kicks things off with her fighting a bunch of hoodlums in front of the complex. In response gang threats, a security force is hired who turn out to be a pack of thugs no better than the hoodlums. Charlie finds herself caught between both, as well as the police. Of course Charlie’s training in The Queen’s army gives her a special set of skills.

Riot Act is an entertaining book providing strong characters and action, a finale that lives up to its title, and much to discuss. Be ready to talk about gender and class in crime fiction and well as the British take on genre writing.

We’ll meet Wednesday, August 27th, at 7PM on BookPeople’s third floor. Books are 10% off to those who attend. Our November book will be The Killing Kind, the third book in John Connolly’s Charlie Parker series.

You can find copies of Riot Act on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. The Hard Word Book Club meets the last Wednesday of each month at 7 PM. 

The Hard Word Book Club Pulls Another Score With Parker

The Hard Word Book Club meets the last Wednesday of each month to discuss the best of hard-boiled and noir crime fiction. On Wednesday, August 30, at 7 PM, the Hard Word Book  Club will meet on BookPeople’s third floor to discuss Comeback by Richard Stark. 

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

9780226770581The August 30th discussion of The Hard Word Book Club will look at the return of of one of the hardest of hard boiled anti-heroes. In the aptly titled Comeback, Richard Stark (the pen name of Donald Westlake) brought back his heist man Parker after a twenty-three-year hiatus. As the book proves, the bad man hasn’t slowed down.

Stark hits the ground running with the robbery in progress. The mark is a big time evangelist at a stadium revival. Things go wrong, gunfire erupts, and Parker is separated from the money by one of the gang members, Liss. To track down the double crosser and the loot, he takes the guise of an insurance investigator to team up up with the church’s head of security chasing the gang down. Full of reversals, terse dialogue, and visceral violence, this is Parker returning in full form.

Comeback gives us much to talk about. Some of the topics will be how Parker and the books have changed over the twenty years, the series in general, and heist novels. We will be meeting on Wednesday, August 30th, at 7PM on BookPeople’s third floor. The books are 10% off for those planning to attend.

You can find copies of Comeback on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

The Hard Word Book Club Spends the Summer with Parker

 

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

One of our three mystery book clubs here at the store, and the only one dedicated to hardboiled and noir fiction, gets rougher than ever this summer. The Hard Word Book Club has decided to bookend the the summer with the toughest heistman in history. Donald Westlake planned to end the literary life of his ice-cold robber Parker, written under the pseudonym, Richard Stark, in 1974, then decided to bring him back in 1994. We’ll be doing the aptly titled Comeback in August. For this month, it’s the supposed swan song, Butcher’s Moon.

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Hard Word Book Club Discusses RED CAT with Author Peter Spiegelman

Peter Spiegelman Calling In to the Hard Word Book Club

  • Post by Scott Montgomery

For November, The Hard Word Book Club delves into the dark side of sex and art with Peter Spiegelman’s Red Cat. The book is the third installment in the series featuring John March, a private detective who has plenty of issues with his family and his past, ready to surface when his brother, David, asks him for help.

A woman David got together with through an online hook-up sight found his number and keeps calling him. he wants John to find her and warn her off. John goes searching, armed only with a fake name and description. That description matches that of a woman dragged out of the river, plunging the March bothers into a case involving, blackmail, videos that blur the line between pornography and art, and several dark secrets.

We are happy to have Peter Spiegelman calling in to discuss the book with us. We will be meeting at 7PM, Wednesday, November 30th. You can find copies of Red Cat on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. The book is 10% in-store to those planning to attend.

A Hard Word Halloween

The Hard Word Book Club takes on John Connolly’s Supernatural Thriller Every Dead Thing

9781501122620

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

For the month of October, the Hard Word Book Club has chosen a book with a touch of the supernatural, Every Dead Thing. It is the first in John Connolly’s Charlie Parker series. Here you get to see our hero take his first steps toward the abyss.

Parker, a former New York cop, found his wife and daughter murdered in a horrifying fashion. A colleague from New Orleans, tells Charlie about a voodoo woman who helps him on cases. She dreamt of a future victim with similar wounds to Charlie’s family. This puts Parker and his lethal friends, Louis and Angel, on the trail of a a killer referred to as The Travelling Man, leading them through the deep South, putting them up against the mob and more dangerous things.

If you don’t mind going to some dark places, join our discussion. We will be meeting Wednesday, October 26th, at 7PM on BookPeople’s third floor. The books are 10% off in store to those who attend.

You can find copies of Every Dead Thing on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. The Hard Word Book Club meets the last Wednesday of each month, and will meet next to discuss Every Dead Thing on Wednesday, October 26th, at 7 PM

If you can’t get enough supernatural thrillers, another of our mystery book clubs, the 7% Solution Book Club, will be discussing Mr. Mercedes, by Stephen King, on Monday, November 7th. 

Hard Word Hits the Trail with…Mickey Spillane

The Hard Book Club meets to discuss The Legend of Caleb York by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins on Wednesday, September 28th, at 7 PM on BookPeople’s 3rd floor.

Hard Word Book Club to discuss: The Legend of Caleb York by Max Allan Collins, based on the screenplay of the same name, by Mickey Spillane

9780786036141Our Hard Word Book Club always makes a point to discuss a western once or twice a year. This time, we are reading one from an author mainly known for writing about danger in the big city. In the mid fifties, Mickey Spillane was at the height of his his career, due to his tough guy private eye Mike Hammer. During this period, he was asked by none other than John Wayne to write a western screenplay. Unearthed after his death, it was adapted into the book The Legend Of Caleb York by Spillane’s friend and collaborator Max Allan Collins.

The story is a play on the classic stranger comes to town idea. A crooked sheriff works to push a crusty rancher and his pretty daughter off of their land. The rancher sends word for a gunman who made a name for himself by killing the famed gunslinger Caleb York. Not long after, a man rides into town, dressed as a dude. He quickly dispatches some of the local ruffians. When he signs the hotel ledger, he gives the name of Caleb York. The mystery of this man slowly reveals itself as both factions make their play.

The Legend Of Caleb York is a fun read that should inspire a great discussion about genre, Spillane, and script versus book. We will also be watching the hour long documentary Mike Hammer’s Mickey Spillane, directed by Max Allan Collins and featuring many crime fiction greats talking about the hard boiled author. We will be meeting on BookPeople’s third floor, Wednesday, September 28th, at 7PM. The book is 10% off to those who attend.

The Hard Book Club meets to discuss The Legend of Caleb York by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins on Wednesday, September 28th, at 7 PM on BookPeople’s 3rd floor. You can find copies of The Legend of Caleb York on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. Book Club selections are 10% off in-store.