Book to Film Review: COLD IN JULY by Joe Lansdale

cold in july
Book To Film Review: Cold In July by Joe R. Lansdale

Cold In July, one of Joe Lansdale’s first crime novels, has recently been turned into a film released in select cites and On Demand. When I saw the moody vampire movie Stakeland by the filmaking duo Nick Danci and Jim Mickle (Danci directs, Mickle acts, they both write the script), it looked like they could handle Joe’s dark East Texas world. The film proved they could.

The film starts out much like the book. Everyman, Richard Dane (Michael C. Hall), shoots an intruder in his house. The perp’s father, Russel, played like a snake always ready to strike by Sam Shepard, has just got out of prison and stalks Dane and his family Cape Fear-style. If that wasn’t enough, when Dane sees the photo of Russel’s son, it isn’t the man he shot, although the shady sheriff (Micklel) insists otherwise.

From there on out, we get twists, turns, and reversals aplenty. This is where Mickle and Danci had their work cut out for them in the adaptation. A few of those twists, including one very major one, are the kind that often work better on the page than on screen. Lansdale’s style and use of interior monologue have us buy what is hard to sell if it was just played out in front of us. Danci and Mickle make a few changes that make it both plausible and fitting in tone with the novel.

It’s after that major reversal when we get into full gear with some help from Don Johnson. He plays Jim Bob, a good ol’ boy private eye and pig farmer brought in to help out. He plays him with a laid back bravado and good natured swagger fitting the character. You’re always looking forward to him speaking. Johnson may have been born to play Sonny Crockett, but he was supposed to grow up to be a Joe Lansdale character.

Cold In July satisfies from all directions. It works as an involving dark, hard-boiled flick shot in a style that recalls thrillers from the Eighties, but never overwhelms it. It should please Lansdale fans, capturing his characters, tone, and go-wherever-the-hell-you-feel attitude. It’s been reported that Danci and Mickle are developing a a series with Joe’s Hap Leonard characters. Cold In July is proof the series couldn’t be in better hands.

MysteryPeople Review: ANY OTHER NAME by Craig Johnson

cg any other name
Any Other Name by Craig Johnson

In last year’s Serpent’s Tooth, Craig Johnson turned the world of Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire upside down. A supporting character was killed and Walt got some news that would change his life forever. In the latest book, Any Other Name, Walt is kept in that dark wilderness.

The beginning has echoes of the classic noir novel, Willaim P. McGivern’s The Big Heat, and the Fritz Lang film of the same name (for the record, Craig has said he was unfamiliar with either before finishing the novel). At the start of Any Other Name, Walt and Lucien, the Absoroka County sheriff before him, go to a nearby jurisdiction to look into the suicide of Lucien’s friend, Detective Gerald Holman. Lucien has doubts that he actually killed himself. When Walt starts looking into Holman’s case files, he realizes at the very least there is some unfinished business.

Walt’s investigation takes him through the seedier side of the state of Wyoming. Johnson picks one ugly industrial town after another as he interviews (or chases down) the denizens of bars and strip clubs. The rare time Walt gets to the outdoors, he’s attacked by the wildlife. Many of the people he encounters have lost themselves to the darker side of their lives. In many ways, the book is a study in non-absolutes. The mystery Walt unravels deals with the conundrum many lawmen face between doing what’s legal and what’s right. As he goes deeper “right” only becomes a more subjective term.

Any Other Name is a perfect title for this book, since the slipperiness of identity plays a major part. Many of the characters have aliases which Walt has to uncover. Many of those lost souls he deals with are trapped in the societal expectations of class, race, and gender. Even Walt has to deal with who he is after the fallout from Serpent’s Tooth. Don’t expect the laconic lawman to deal with these issues head on. What he’s dealing with seems almost too painful to share with the reader. In the early books, Walt Longmire was dealing with his relationship with his community. Now, he is figuring out who he is to those closest to him. Much Like Holman’s death, the answers aren’t easy and may be dangerous to discover.


Craig Johnson will read from & sign his new novel here at BookPeople on Wednesday, June 11th at 7PM. You can pre-order signed copies of Any Other Name now via bookpeople.com, or find a copy on our shelves in-store.


MysteryPeople had the chance to catch up with Craig a couple weeks back for an interview. Exclusive here on the MysteryPeople blog, the topics discussed range from Wyoming to a new Carhartt jacket.

International Crime Month: Europa Editions

europa editions

~post by Molly

Throughout International Crime Month, we will be profiling our four favorite publishers of international crime fiction: Akashic Books, Europa Editions, Grove Atlantic, and Melville House. It is thanks to these publishers that BookPeople can bring so many translated and foreign works to an Austin audience. I’ve decided to kick off June by profiling my favorite imprint since PM Press’ Switchblade Series  – Europa Editions World Noir imprint.

Europa Editions, primarily known for its translations of the latest in European literary fiction, has long been committed to bringing high quality international crime novels to English language publication. Although crime fiction has always been a part of their oeuvre, Europa launched a special imprint called World Noir early in 2013. This launch has meant an increase in circulating titles and some reissues of defining works. As a long-time fan of literature engagé, the postwar movement aimed at creating politically engaged fiction, I appreciate Europa’s emphasis on publishing socially responsible noir.

You may have noticed these stylish editions in our mystery section before, and their eye-catching appeal is no accident. Europa has worked with the designer Emanuele Ragnisco to create a distinct look for their titles, and they lavish the same care in their attention to quality translation. Each World Noir imprint reads smoothly, but with the lyrical cadences of its original language.

Sandro Ferri and Sandra Ozzola Ferri started Europa Editions in 2005 after finding success bringing authors from all over into the Italian publishing house Edizioni E/O. Europa’s Italian origins shine not only through their impeccable graphic design. Much of the World Noir imprint showcases a style called Mediterranean Noir, which distinguishes itself from traditional American Noir by embracing moments of sensuality and philosophical meditations in between the violence and criminality.

The Mediterranean Noir genre has roots in the early 80s and, some would argue, even before, but reached its maturity with the mid-90s publication of Jean-Claude Izzo’s Marseilles Trilogy, as much literature as it is crime fiction. With the launch of World Noir, Izzo is back in print and here in our store. This trilogy serves as an excellent introduction to the World Noir imprint. I would also recommend getting Caryl Férey’s ultraviolent police thriller Zulu before the movie hits the US.

Most of the World Noir releases are set in sweltering places full of simmering tensions and no clear path to resolution. Texas readers should feel right at home.

MysteryPeople Crime Fiction Fest!

MPCFF-logo

7 Crime Fiction Authors

Double Feature Film Series

International Crime Month

 

June is an incredible month for crime fiction here at MysteryPeople. There’s so much going on, we’ve decided to pull out all the stops and celebrating with a month-long
MysteryPeople Crime Fiction Fest!

Join us this month for one of our many free, fun events!

 

AUTHOR EVENTS

7 Authors Are Lined Up To Visit BookPeople this month!
Dates & Info Available Here.

BookPeople events are free & open to the public. 
Books signed at BookPeople events
must be purchased from BookPeople. 

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DOUBLE FEATURE FILM SERIES

Join us for a brand new summer film series!

We’ll screen movies based on some of our favorite crime fiction novels, up on the third floor of BookPeople.

The screenings are FREE & open to the public.
Escape that summer heat & join us!

 

June 25   6PM
Double Indemnity

Double-Indemnity

 

July 9  6PM – Purple Noon
(The Talented Mr. Ripley)

 

July 23  6PM
The Long Goodbye

Long-Goodbye

 

August 6  6PM
Devil in a Blue Dress

Devil-in-a-Blue-Dress

 

August 20  6PM
Winter’s Bone

Winters-Bone

 

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INTERNATIONAL CRIME MONTH

June is International Crime Month! We’re celebrating crime fiction writers around the world with a brand new series on the MysteryPeople blog that delves into the authors writing crime fiction around the globe and the publishers here in America who put those books on our shelves.

International Crime Month is a month-long initiative highlighting internationally acclaimed crime fiction authors, editors, critics, and publishers. Four of America’s most influential independent publishers—Grove Atlantic, Akashic Books, Melville House, and Europa Editions—have joined forces to promote one of the most vital and socially significant fiction genres of our time. We’re happy to join them!

Look for a special in-store display in MysteryPeople highlighting books from these publishers. Watch the MysteryPeople blog for regular posts throughout the month focusing on international crime fiction.