Bouchercon 2015: Southern Comfort in Raleigh

Scott Montgomery and Allen Eskens
Scott Montgomery and Allen Eskens

Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery gives us the low-down on this year’s Bouchercon, THE mystery convention. 

I met Dashiell Hammett’s granddaughter. That will be my takeaway from this year’s Bouchercon. It made sense to meet her at this conference, held in the scarily clean city of Raleigh North Carolina. Organizers seemed to be interested in crime fiction’s past, present, and future.

Ali Karim should get credit for some of the best panels ever put together at a B-con. Reed Farrel Coleman was moderator for The Private Sector, a discussion of the PI genre that became a discussion about reality versus fiction when it came to the audience Q&A. Michael Koryta, a former private investigator, said he knows a writer is doing their work when they get surveillance right. He also suggested to research the job as if you were going into it as a profession. As detailed as it got, J.L. Abramo, author of the Jake Diamond series, put it all in perspective when he said, “Herman Melville wasn’t a whaler.”

 

Read More »

Jenny Milchman’s Top Five Tales of Domestic Suspense

  • Guest post by Jenny Milchman

There’s a new genre in town, and it goes by the name of domestic suspense. Syndicated reviewer Oline Cogdill coined the term family thriller, which also suits it.

A family thriller focuses on a circumstance we can relate to. The kind of tale that could, given a slight twist of the knob, happen to us or someone we love. This novel takes ordinary people and places them in an extraordinary situation. What do they do then?

Read More »

Page to Screen On the Radio

(Hopeton Hay and Ace Atkins here at BookPeople)

~post by Scott M.

I’ll be doing Hopeton Hay’s Book Review on Austin’s KAZI 88.7 this Sunday, September 2 at 12:30P discussing books and their translation to film. Click here to listen to KAZI 88.7 live, and be sure to tune into Hopeton Hay’s show.  Hopeton will be focusing on Devil In A Blue Dress, I’ll be taking Double Indemnity. This made me wonder what some of my favorite authors considered their favorite book to film adaptations.

TIM BRYANT
Author of  Dutch Curridge
The Maltese Falcon, John Huston got the tenor of Hammett’s story note-perfect, and Bogart was Bogart, i.e. the quintessential Sam Spade.

PETER FARRIS
Author of Last Call For The Living
The Night of the Hunter, Adapting Davis Grubb’s novel, Charles Laughton directs an absolutely frightening Robert Mitchum in a masterwork of mood and style.

HARRY HUNSICKER
Author of Still River
–  Mystic River (Dennis Lehane)  and The Town (The Prince Thieves by Chuck Hogan) and emotional highs and low of both stories while being true to the plot and spirit of the novels.

BARRY GRAHAM
Author of When It All Comes Down To Dust
The Friends of Eddie Coyle. It’s my all-time favorite novel, so I avoided the film until last year – and it turns out it might be as good as the book. Beautifully faithful to what Higgins wrote, and definitely Mitchum’s greatest performance.

DON BRUNS
Author of Bahama Burnout
Get Shorty. Elmore Leonard has had some pretty good movie adaptions, but John Travolta nailed the role of Chilly Palmer!

LYN KOSTOFF
Author of Late Rain
– Willeford’s The Woman Chaser and/or Miami Blues; both films caught Willeford’s offbeat vision.

BILL DURHAM
Author of Amarillo
The Last Picture Show. How a New York boy like Peter Bogdanovich could perfectly recreate a small Texas town’s denizens is a tribute to both him and Larry McMurtry, who wrote the book.

MICHAEL KORYTA
Author of The Prophet
A Simple Plan. Stunning novel, Oscar-nominated script, and Scott Smith was a rookie at both forms. That’s rare air.

REED FARREL COLEMAN
Author of Gun Church
Winter’s Bone. A chilling novel with a veiled message of hope and determination. The movie is true to the book in spirit and in deed.

RUSSELL MCLEAN
Author of The Lost Sister
Point Blank (adapted from The Hunter)may be one of my favorite adaptations. More than anything, its about Lee Marvin’s performance. With barely a word, he makes you believe utterly in his ruthlessness and single-mindedness. And somehow, he colors the role so that, for me, Parker becomes Marvin no matter which book I’m reading; that walk, that glare, that tightly coiled menace that makes you glad you’re not the one standing between him and money.

 

MysteryPeople Review: TONIGHT I SAID GOODBYE

People who have read Michael Koyta’s debut, The Night I Said Goodbye, feel the need to recommend it to other private eye readers. I know this because it has been recommended to me often. It won him the St. Martin’s Minotaur/PWA First Private Eye Novel Contest at age twenty-one. When Michael came out to Noir At The Bar earlier this month, I finally got around to reading it. Now, I’m recommending it.

The book introduces us to Lincoln Perry. In his late twenties, Lincoln is younger than most world weary PIs, but he’s gone through a lot. Having to leave the Cleveland Police Department in disgrace, he bought a gym and disappeared from the world. Through some goading, he finally started an investigation firm with Joe Pritchard, a retired cop. Both Joe and Tracy, a reporter friend, back Lincoln up on cases, as well as keep him on track as he engages with life again.

The case Lincoln takes in Tonight I Said Goodbye is both classic and unique. A fellow investigator’s death has been ruled as a suicide, presumed to have been committed after he murdered his missing wife and daughter. The man’s father thinks different and hires Lincoln and Joe to find his daughter-in-law and granddaughter.  The trail involves an extortion plot with the Russian mob, more than a few moral dilemmas, and an interesting take on justice.

What makes the story work, as in all his work, is Koyta’s sense of character. He makes it the source for mood, style, even plot at times. He uses his experience as an actual private investigator to describe the attitude one has at working on a job more than the detail of procedure. The relationship Lincoln has with Joe feels lived in and believable and provides a great deadpan banter between them. It’s a humor that reflects their experience of being cops together.

Tonight I Said Goodbye was Michael Koryta’s first step in a voice that has never stopped growing. He wrote three more Lincoln Perry books, then moved on to acclaimed stand alone thrillers, many with a supernatural bent. He’s won well earned praise and comparisons to Lehane and Pelecanos with his latest, The Prophet. He has developed an amazing body of work in less than a decade. I hope he can come back with that maturity and revisit Lincoln and Joe.

Vengeful & Apocalyptic Private Eyes and Flesh Eating French Kissers: Another Noir at the Bar

On August 16th we had our second Noir At The Bar over at Opal Divine’s with special guest Michael Koryta. It was a great night, and great to see as many writers in the audience as we had on stage. Two of the three authors who make up the pseudonym Miles Arceneux showed up. Their book, Thin Slice Of Life, is a fun thriller set along the Gulf. They’ll be here at BookPeople October 1st. Lee Thomas and Ed Kurtz, part of Austin’s horror scene, also dropped in.

Scott M. & George Wier

Jesse Sublett kicked things off with tunes from his stand-up base, proving my claim that he’s the coolest guy in Austin. George Wier, known for his story “Duck Weed” in the collection Lone Star Noir, scarred us for life with his story “Death Kiss” about a serial killer’s disturbing use of flesh-eating bacteria. Michael Koryta read a passage from his current book, the acclaimed The Prophet, which sobered us up no matter what we were drinking. Jesse returned to close the night with an enthusiastic and funny performance from his work in progress, Grave Digger Blues, which follows a PI during the end of the world.

Michael Koryta reading from THE PROPHET
Jesse Sublett giving a rip-roaring reading from his latest work-in-progress.

A side note – legendary singer-songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard invited Michael Koryta and me to his show at Shady Grove later that night. Apparently these things happen when you’re standing next to Michael. Michael was excited since he played a lot of Ray’s music while working on his book The Ridge. We caught the tail end of the performance. Right after Ray played “Screw You We’re From Texas” he said to the crowd, “You all need to go over to BookPeople and get The Prophet.”

Michael turned to me and asked “Can I come back?”

Any time, Michael. For anybody who loves noir, there’s always a place at The Bar.

Noir at the Bar Continues

We kicked off Austin’s Noir At The Bar at Opal Divine’s last June with a strong start. Our mix of readings from hard boiled writers, music, and drink proved to be fun for both customers and fans. Tonight we continue the party.

Michael Koryta’s publisher told us he’d be a perfect fit for our Noir Bar. His award winning Lincoln Perry series was a mix of classic PI plotting with a realistic and moving central character. After moving to a series of acclaimed supernatural thrillers, like The Cypress House, he gives us his best book to date with The Prophet. The story focuses on two brothers, estranged because of their sister’s twenty year old murder, who have to face their demons and each other when another killing occurs. This book made my top 10 list of books for the year so far and I wont be surprised if it will be on my year-end list, as well.

I’m also happy to have my buddy, George Weir join us. He came to the attention to many with his short story, Duck Weed, that appears in Lone Star Noir. He will be reading a story titled Death Kiss. He told me it is “very noir and very Austin.”

Jesse Sublett returns providing both song and spoken mayhem. As well as playing a few tunes, he’ll be reading  from his work in progress, Grave Digger Blues, an apocalyptic private eye novel. His mix of words put to music brought down the last Noir At The Bar.

So join us tonight, Thursday, August 16th, 7pm, at Opal Divine’s on 6th and help us continue a tradition. There will be time to drink and mingle with the authors and I’ll be hanging around if anybody wants to talk crime fiction. Spend a good night with great writers.