Our February 16th Alibi: Noir at the Bar Round-up!

  • Post by Molly O.

We had one of our most enjoyable Noir at the Bar events to date this past February 16th, both in terms of great stories and good company. We started off the evening with a set of murder ballads from Austin legend Jesse Sublett, then moved from there to a reading from Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery, quickly followed by a toast in honor of Scott’s birthday.

Our next reading came from George Wier, who read a selection from his new vigilante noir, Errant KnightNext up, screenwriter and sportswriter John Schulian read from A Better Goodbyehis debut novel, a hard-boiled tale of down-and-out boxers in backstreets LA.

Schulian was followed by horror and mystery superstar Joe R. Lansdale, reading from his new Hap & Leonard novel, Honky Tonk Samurai, his East Texas accent matching the comical violence on the page perfectly.

Jesse Sublett finished out the night with a reading from his true crime history of the Overton Gang, 1960s Austin Gangsters: Organized Crime That Rocked the Capitol

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FROM LEFT: Authors John Schulian, Joe R. Lansdale, and George Wier, bookseller Molly Odintz, author and Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery, and author and musician Jesse Sublett

Thanks to everyone who was able to attend this wonderful event! Our next Noir at the Bar will take place May 12, and will feature authors Paul Charles, Les Edgerton, and Jesse Sublett, with one more to be added to the lineup.

More details to come closer to the date of the next Noir at the Bar event! 

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MysteryPeople Q&A with Jesse Sublett

  • Interview by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

The essential Jesse Sublett – writer, musician, and Austin institution – will be joining us again for tomorrow’s Noir At The Bar at Opal Devine’s, where he will read from his latest, 1960s Austin Gangsters, and perform some deliciously creepy murder ballads. Thanks to Jesse, John Schulian – sportswriter, screenwriter, and now, with his debut novel A Better Goodbyecrime writer – will be joining us as well. 

 Noir at the Bar starts at 7 PM at Opal Divine’s at Penn Field. This event is free and open to the public, and we will have copies of each author’s latest for sale at the event. Joe R. Lansdale, author of the Hap & Leonard series, and the best thing to come out of East Texas since Janis Joplin left Port Arthur, will be reading from his latest Hap & Leonard, Honky Tonk Samurai. Local author George Wier will also be joining us to read from and sign his latest novel, Errant Knight, set in downtown Austin.

We caught up with Jesse to see how things were going with his latest book, 1960s Austin Gangsters: Organized Crime That Rocked the Capitol, his music, and life in general.

“My favorite expression is “It sure beats working.” That’s how I feel about music, writing, and art, even though a lot of labor is involved—suffering and frustration, too—but the love of doing it removes the sense of it being work. I’ve always said that criminal characters and musicians (and other artists) are alike in that they just can’t see themselves going the day job route.”

MysteryPeople Scott: 1960s Austin Gangsters was released last year, and interest in the novel is still going strong. What has the book brought to you after its release?

Jesse Sublett: It’s astonished me that a book published 11 months ago still has momentum and still brings people to me, telling me how much it means to them, that they just bought a copy for their dad, or they bought ten copies for the family. People keep bringing me new stories about the Austin crime and vice scene of the 1960s. I’ve been meeting retired cops, children of notorious gangsters and thugs, who are proud that their family members have been authenticated by my book.

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MysteryPeople Pick of the Month: HONKY TONK SAMURAI by Joe R. Lansdale

 

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  • Review by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

When Joe Lansdale writes a Hap and Leonard novel, you know you’re in for a good time. The misadventures of the red neck liberal and his gay black Republican partner-in-crime supply a lot of laughs and action. With Honky Tonk Samurai, the boys are back and joined by all their rowdy friends.

By now in the series, Hap and Leonard are officially private eyes. Hap’s girlfriend, Brett, has bought the agency from their friend, Marvin Hanson, who is now chief of police. Their first case is for a salty old woman who wants to find her granddaughter. The clues quickly lead to a used car/prostitution/extortion ring. when the bad guys call on an inbred family of psycho-assassins to do their dirty work, the boys put out the call, rounding up their friends like good ol’ boy PI Jim Bob Luke, reporter Cason, the beautiful and highly skilled hitwoman Vanilla Ride, and Cason’s sociopath friend Booger, like the magnificent seven with fewer and weirder members.

For the fans of the series, it is like getting together with an old friend, especially the one that just got out of prison.

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2016 Preview: Back to Back Events!

  • Post by Molly Odintz

As we wait patiently for the wild mood swings of a Texas winter to die down, we’ve got plenty of events coming up to strike a mystery lover’s fancy – no matter the weather outside. Jeff Abbott ushered in our 2016 events this past Tuesday, speaking and signing his latest thriller, The First Order.

Coming up at the end of the month, Reed Farrel Coleman, a long-time favorite, comes to visit with two new books: Robert B. Parker’s The Devil Wins,  a Jesse Stone novel, and Where It Hurtsthe first in a new series and our Pick of the Month for January. He’ll be here to speak and sign his latest on Saturday, January 30th, at 5 PM.

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Crime Fiction Friday: “Play Date” by Mike McCrary

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We’re very happy to have Mike McCrary, author of Remo Went Rogue joining us Tuesday, October 6th, for our Noir At The Bar at Opal Divine’s. He’ll be reading alongside Jesse Sublett, Stuart Neville, and Gabino Iglesias. Mike has a cinematic eye and ear as well as one twisted sense of humor. Here’s a bit of nastiness that appeared on Shotgun Honey.

“Play Date” by Mike McCrary

“Charlie smirks, “It’s a game.”

Trish gulps, wincing in pain as if she swallowed a wasp, “I don’t want to play.”

“You liked playing with me a few months ago. Different game, but you wanted to play then.”

Read the rest of the story.

MysteryPeople Q&A with Andrew Hilbert

Andrew Hilbert is a gonzo god of Austin publishing. A publisher and editor as well as writer, he’s drawn to society’s less pretty side. His dark satire punctures holes in consumer culture and looks at the loser as a work of art (even if it is sometimes absurdist art). His novella, Death Thing, looks at booby trapped cars, vigilantism, and the politics of ordering at McDonald’s. We caught up with the man to talk about it.

MysteryPeople Scott: How did the idea of Death Thing come about?

Andrew Hilbert: Someone hit me from behind when I lived in San Antonio. I waved it off because it looked like no big deal but the next day, when I opened the trunk, it wouldn’t shut. I had to jerryrig it to lock knowing full well that if I opened it again, I’d have to spend half an hour shutting it again. Then it struck me. If someone really wanted to ruin my day, they’d stuff a dead body in there and when I finally had the means to fix the damn trunk, I’d be thrown in jail. So that’s where it all started; The paranoid delusions of a man in San Antonio.

MPS: How did segmenting the story into three different points of view help you tell it?

AH: It originally was supposed to be three different stories taking place in the same universe. I wrote the second chapter first, but halfway through Gilbert’s story I realized I could connect everything on a continuous story line. Breaking everything up from there was just an exciting way to get multiple perspectives on some of the horrendous events of Death Thing but it was also fun to know that characters are dropping into other people’s story-lines with no knowledge of each other.

MPS: The story takes place in LaPalma, California. What made that the right setting?

AH: I grew up there and I know it as well as my reflection. It’s the typical suburb. It’s one square mile, relatively peaceful, and the cops spent their surplus on totally unnecessary assault rifles. Death Thing is just an illogical extreme of when these kinds of small town politics get out of hand.

MPS: You’re also an editor and publisher. How does that affect your writing?

AH: I don’t know that it does too much. I can spot the goofy stuff writers do much more easily when someone else does it than when I do it. But I’m trying to train myself.

MPS: You quote Bukowski at the begining. What about his writing do you hope to incorporate in yours?

AH: There’s a realism and conversational tone that Bukowski is a master at capturing. I hope that I can be a tenth as true as his writing is. But that poem is about how all the little things add up to make a person crazy. It’s never a big thing. It’s always a shoelace. Tiny, seemingly insignificant truths make the story.

MPS: You’ll be attending our July 22nd Noir At The Bar. How much should an author drink before a reading?

AH: As many free drinks they’re allotted by the host. So how many is that, Scott?

Come by Noir at the Bar at Opal Divine’s on Wednesday, July 22nd at 7 PM for readings from CJ Howell, Brad Parks, Jesse Sublett, and Andrew Hilbert. Copies of each author’s latest will be on sale at Opal Divine’s for signing purposes after the speaking portion finishes up.

Noir At The Bar with Andrew Hilbert, Jesse Sublett, CJ Howell, and Brad Parks Happening This Wednesday

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This Wednesday’s Noir at the Bar should be a lot of laughs. Every guest author in attendance – Jesse Sublett, C.J. Howell, Brad Parks, and Andrew Hilbert – is known for the humor in their work. Their characters’ rough escapades provoke as much laughter as gunfire.


andrew hilbertAndrew Hilbert is the zen anarchist of Austin publishing. his own novella, Death Thing, starts with Gilbert, a white, middle-aged man fed up with his car being broken into, so he sets up a brutal booby-trap for the next thief to come along. Soon he’s on a bloody spiral involving a bizzarro cop, a vigilante organization, two slacker drug dealers, and fast food carnage. This book is wrong in all the right ways. Read a review from Dead End Follies. Death Thing will be available for sale at the event. You can also find copies on our shelves, or call to reserve a copy. 


cj howellCJ Howell’s novel, The Last Of The Smoking Bartenders, has been the book people have been telling their other avid reader friends about for the last year and a half. The story revolves around Tom, a man living off the grid, convinced he’s a government agent out to stop a terrorist attack on Hoover Dam. He treks across the modern West populated with disenfranchised Navajo and fringe dwellers, creating a path of havoc and arson in his wake. There is no other other novel to compare to it. The Last of the Smoking Bartenders will be available for sale at the event. You can also find copies on our shelves, or call to reserve a copy.


brad parksBrad Parks is a naturally funny man, so it is no surprise his series character Carter Ross often views the situations he is in from a humorous angle, even if they are dire. In his latest, The Fraud, Ross is juggling a series of carjackings tied to the country club set and the pregnancy of his girlfriend/managing editor. it is a great introduction to a fun series. The Fraud will be available for sale at the event. You can also find copies on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.


Jesse SublettWe will also have music and a reading from Jesse Sublett. His true crime book, 1960s Austin Gangsters, follows the Overton Gang, whose criminal deeds provided a lot of black humor. 1960s Austin Gangsters will be available for sale at the event. You can also find copies on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.


We’ll all be down at the Penn Field Opal Divine’s, 3601 Congress, at 7PM, Wednesday, July 22nd. All of the authors’ books will be available for sale at the event. Join us for a drink and more than a few laughs.