MysteryPeople Q&A with Tim Bryant

  • Interview by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

 

One of the most under-rated novels of 2016 was Tim Bryant’s Old Mother Curridge, the fourth book in the story of Alvin “Dutch” Curridge, a private eye, operating in postwar Fort Worth. This time he has two mysteries to solve – the death of an Elvis fan at one of his first concerts,  and another case opened up by the death of his father that unlocks several family secrets for him. We got in touch with Tim to talk about the book, his protagonist, and influences.

MysteryPeople Scott: In Old Mother Curridge, Dutch seemed a little harder than in the first book. Do you think he has changed some?

Tim Bryant: Sure. I think, by now, we’ve seen Dutch get a little more disillusioned with his life, and even with Fort Worth. There’s a sense of being let down by the things he’s depended on, and maybe the people too. That’s probably why he’s questioning things, questioning himself even. He’s looking beyond the city limits, and beyond his personal limits too, for something he can believe, something he can hang onto.

This time, much of the mystery is personal, and Dutch doesn’t do personal very well.

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MysteryPeople Q&A with Ed Lin

  •  Interview by Director of Suspense Molly Odintz

I first encountered Ed Lin’s delicious Taipei night market mysteries when I was given the opportunity to interview him at the Texas Book Festival in 2014. His second in the series, Incensedcame out last October, and is just as delicious and aware as Lin’s first in the series, Ghost Month. Incensed follows Lin’s Joy-Division-loving hero, Jing-nan, as he attempts to shepherd Mei-ling, his gangster uncle’s wayward teenage daughter, safely through the city. Ed was kind enough to answer a few questions I had about the book, the series, and Taiwanese politics. 

Molly Odintz: Your latest novel tackles some hot topics in Taiwanese politics. Could an author living in Taiwan have written about GLBT rights in Taipei with the same honesty and support you bring to the LGBTQ characters in the novel? And how about that Trump call?

Ed Lin: Taiwan doesn’t really have censorship issues–anymore! Back in the days of martial law (1947-1987) news and other media were heavily censored. A popular story is that the film “The Sound of Music” was edited down to one hour to prevent theatergoers from deriving inspiration in escaping a repressive regime! I think an author in Taiwan could have written this book, surely better than me! As it is, Taiwan is the most LGBTQ-friendly country in East Asia. Most of the public supports same-sex marriage, but there are these fringe “religious” groups that vehemently oppose it. I was reading about this one idiot at an anti-same-sex marriage rally who showed up dressed head-to-toe in a Nazi uniform. He claimed that the Nazis were against gay marriage, so he supported Nazis.

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MysteryPeople Review: SHOT IN DETROIT by Patricia Abbott

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

9781940610825Patricia Abbott’s Shot In Detroit is a book that challenges the reader. Abbott takes on several uncomfortable topics, more interested in their human truth than couching them in a gentle tone. Set in 2011 in a Detroit still reeling from the financial crisis, Shot In Detroit is half murder mystery, half extremely dark comedy. She even comes close to confronting the reader with the very book in their hand.

Even the protagonist can be initially hard to accept for some. Violet Hart struggles from a few bar mitvahs and weddings as a freelance photographer. At 39, she feels the doors closing on her opportunity to be considered an artist. When her lover, Bill Fontanel, a black mortician, asks her to snap some photos of one of his deceased, she becomes obsessed with a gallery idea, pictures of young dead black men. She gets a gallery interested, working Bill to supply the subjects. When she hasn’t filled the number of subjects she needs, a story that was dark to begin with goes pitch black.

Abbott is less interested in making Valentine relate-able than in nailing her complexity. She realizes you need to know her toughness and self involvement as well as the artistic desperation that she captures spot on, that moves her into her colder actions. She creates an interesting reader-heroine relationship, tightening the reader’s bond with Valentine as she spirals deeper and deeper into an abyss of her own creation.

The story covers many hard issues race, class, death and how we deal with it, and art all tangle upon one another, leading toward the issue of appropriation. Valentine’s photo collection mirrors that of many crime fiction writers, often white, who use the lives and deaths of the disenfranchised, often of color, for their work. Abbott looks deeply into this matter, yet turns any true judgment to the reader.

Fans of the fifth season of The Wire or the cult classic Man Bites Dog should enjoy this modern take on the classic quandary of shooting violence on camera. Abbott judges the reader and her protagonist equally for their shared obsession with observing death, and carefully explores the easily-crossed border between documenting suffering and causing it. Shot In Detroit is a book worthy to read and discussed. Patricia Abbott is honest in both subject and emotion. It may be heavy lifting for some, but it is well worth the weight.

You can find copies of Shot in Detroit on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

I Could Fit Five Bodies in the Trunk of My Sedan: MysteryPeople Q&A with Patrick Millikin

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

The Highway Kind is a collection of short crime fiction, dealing with cars, driving, and the road. It features crime and general fiction and even a singer/songwriter. Authors include the likes of Joe Lansdale, Ace Atkins, and Michael Connelly. We talked to to the editor Patrick Millikan about cars and crime.

MysteryPeople Scott: How did the idea of The Highway Kind come about?

Patrick Millikan: My original thought was that it would be cool to have an anthology of crime stories in which each author chose a particular car and wrote a story about it. The cars would be prominently featured. I was surprised that there hadn’t been (at least to my knowledge) a collection like it. Over time the idea morphed into something, at least in my opinion, much more interesting. As I mention in the preface, when I commissioned the stories I left the guidelines pretty open – the pieces would simply be about “cars, driving and the road.” As the stories started to come in I was surprised and intrigued by how personal, almost confessional, many of them were.

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Crime Fiction Friday: “Kay Chart” by V. P. Chandler

MysteryPeople_cityscape_72 Introduced by Scott Montgomery

We’re happy to have an original story from Austin crime writer V. P. Chandler to share with y’all this week.  The tale below might be in the Western category of fiction, but its’ content is plenty murderous enough to be featured on Crime Fiction Friday. Chandler’s short story “Rota Fortunae” is included in the Austin Mystery Writers’ short story collection Murder on Wheels, which you can find on our shelves or via bookpeople.com


“Kay Chart” by V. P. Chandler

“Hurry up with them biscuits and gravy, old woman!”

Cooter laughs and wipes brown spit from the corner of his mouth. Damn if we wasn’t having fun. Things have been going our way since we left San Antone last week even though folks warned us not to venture so far west. Said the Comanche were still riled up after skirmishes with the Rangers.

But I got plans. Plans for me and Becky. And I can’t wait any longer to get money. When I heard she was engaged to that son of a bitch Whitney, it took the wind right outta me. So Cooter and me have been working our way west, raiding homesteads as we go. Since the Comanches have been hitting the farms, we thought we’d do some raiding of our own.

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A new book about the infamous yogurt shop murders

Attention, true crime aficionados, long-time Austinites, and cold case questioners everywhere: Beverly Lowry comes to BookPeople to speak and sign her new history of Austin’s infamous 1991 Yogurt Shop Murders, WHO KILLED THESE GIRLS, tonight, at 7 PM.

BookPeople's Blog

2016 is not only the year that true crime enters the mainstream with several documentary series and podcasts devoted to the subject, it is also an anniversary year for more than one of Austin’s own community-shattering hometown murders. August 1st represented the 50th anniversary of the Charles Whitman UT sniper spree, and on August 28th we hosted Monte Akers, Nathan Akers, and Roger Friedman, authors of The Tower Sniper: The Terror of America’s First Active Shooter on Campus9780307594112.

December 6th represents the 25th anniversary of the Yogurt Shop murders and on Tuesday, October 18th, we will welcome Beverly Lowry to talk about her new book Who Killed These Girls? Cold Case: The Yogurt Shop Murders.

Examining this unsolved murder, Lowry goes into detail about what we know versus what we thought we knew. The book’s title and cover design reflect the famous billboards featuring black and white school…

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Crime Fiction Friday: “A Tricky Situation” by Lisa Gray

 

MysteryPeople_cityscape_72

  • Selected and Introduced by Scott Montgomery

Thank you Shotgun Honey for introducing us to another fantastic new author. Lisa Gray is a talented author from across the pond. We’ve decided to link to her story “A Tricky Situation” for this week’s Crime Fiction Friday – it has a well crafted opening sentence, keeps you hooked, and shows you Gray can deliver more than one twist in flash fiction. Here’s hoping we this will be far from the last time we read her.


“A Tricky Situation” by Lisa Gray

“Carol Turner did not know she was claustrophobic until the day she found herself bound at the wrists and ankles, and locked in a box.

Her prison was a cheap, wooden structure that fit snugly around her body. Stretching her bare foot as far as the restraints allowed, her big toe nudged plywood, and rough wood grazed her bare arms on either side…”

Read the rest of the story.