Saturday, December 20, 2008
Longarm is sent to the titular (no pun intended) Valley of Skulls to help out with some trouble there. Easy Company is having some problems of its own with Indians in the area and with a wagon train of pilgrims headed for the valley. The two stories are told in alternating chapters until they mesh toward the end of the book. Before that happens, though, James has brought in another series western character, but I'll let you find out about that one for yourself. It gave me a grin or two, though. And the plot turns out to be tied to still another series that James had a hand in.
As usual in a book by James, you get full value. Hooded stage robbers, an Indian attack on a town, fistfights, gunplay, ambushes, and sex. And all that's just in the first 75 pages or so. You can't go wrong here. Check it out.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thanks to Jeff Segal for the link. Updates say this is not a sequel to the Zane picture.
Los Angeles Police Officer Julianne Sohn says the break-in occurred around 5 a.m. Friday at a home in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles. Sohn says detectives report that a man wearing a hooded sweat shirt broke into the home and ransacked Hilton's bedroom."
Hat tip to Walter Satterthwait.
Clip du jour: 'Twilight' the Puppet Saga | PopWatch Blog | EW.com: "Attention Twilight lovers and haters alike: here's something you can all get on board with -- Twilight the Puppet Saga. It's the entire movie in three minutes, as performed by puppets."
In Sci-Fi, the officers of the Yellowthread Street station are faced with a science fiction convention, something like a WorldCon, slightly exaggerated. Things, of course, go very, very wrong. And there are, as usual, other cases to be solved, all of them bizarre, like the guy who's incinerating people. Not that a problem like incinerated citizens is all that unusual in Marshall's novels. If you want bizarre cases, just pick up any book in the series. Marshall will knock your socks off.
The cast of characters in the books includes Inspectors Auden and Spencer, Harry Feiffer, and Christopher O'Yee, all of them fun to know. Their adventures are equally hilarious and suspenseful.
William Marshall is an Australian writer from whom I haven't seen anything lately. He did other series, but if you haven't read anything about the gang at Yellowthread Street, you've missed a real treat.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Barrett Roddenberry died of leukemia on Thursday at her home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Bel Air, her family said in a statement.
Her relationship with Gene Roddenberry, who died in 1991 after the two had been married for 22 years, earned Barrett Roddenberry the nickname 'The First Lady of Star Trek.'"
Hat tip to Mary Ann Melton.
Houston judge's daughter sues driver she hit while drunk | Front page | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle: "Convicted last year of intoxication manslaughter for the death of her boyfriend, the 21-year-old daughter of a state district judge is suing the truck driver she ran into during a drunken driving crash.
Elizabeth Shelton, the daughter of juvenile judge Pat Shelton, is accusing truck driver Lance Bennett of negligence in the Oct. 23, 2007, wreck that killed her boyfriend Matthew McNiece.
Shelton had a blood alcohol concentration more than three times the legal limit, two tests showed. She was sentenced to eight years' probation and had to serve four months in jail.
Shelton, her family and the family of the boyfriend who was killed are suing for $20,000 for the destruction of the Lexus SUV she was driving and an undetermined amount for mental anguish, pain and suffering.
[. . . .]
[Bennett's attorney] noted that Shelton named 16 defendants, including insurance companies and banks.
The mysterious sketches, which were found when the painting, Virgin and Child With Saint Anne, was taken down for experts to determine whether it could be restored, may be by the Renaissance artist himself, according to the museum in Paris.
Although the discovery is reminiscent of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, art experts said that the drawings would not have contained a hidden message from the painter."
cbs4.com - Giant Crocodile Which Ate 3 Dogs Relocated, Again: "CORAL GABLES (CBS4) ―
A huge American crocodile, suspected of eating three dogs in a Coral Gables neighborhood, has been caught and relocated for the second time.
Last year, Gables-by-the-Sea residents had wildlife trappers remove the 11-foot croc out of a neighborhood canal after it ate three neighborhood pets.
Despite being relocated, the giant crocodile came back. So did trappers who relocated the animal a second time on Wednesday. Believe it or not, some neighbors actually enjoyed having the 11-foot long croc in their canal but understand that safety comes first."
The ancient remains discovered in Morocco belong to a giant flying pterosaur and plant-eating sauropod. Initial examinations suggest that both specimens are unknown to science.
They were unearthed during a month-long quest during which the research team braved floods and storms to reach the dig site and then preserve the fossils. The scientists even feared that they would never get the bones out of the desert because they were so heavy that their Land Rover became stuck in sand."
The man approached a cashier at the McDonald's in the northwest part of the city and demanded money, only to be laughed at when the cashier didn't realize he was trying to rob the store, police said."
The sublime joy of Scrabble - This Britain, UK - The Independent: "Happy birthday, Scrabble! No, make that Joyous Birthday, because although 'happy' is one of those deceptively high scoring words, what with H and Y being worth 4, and P 3, making 15 in all, 'joyous' has that initial J, worth 8, which lifts it to 16, one point higher."
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
'It wasn't the same Sam we all knew,' his son told The Associated Press. 'He just finally wore out.'
Sammy Baugh was the last surviving member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's inaugural class."
Link via Thrilling Days of Yesteryear.
Mr Madoff must wear an electronic tag and will not be allowed out of his apartment between 7pm and 9am as part of the bail conditions."
Beaumont police on Tuesday arrested a suspect in an ATM theft in which a forklift apparently was used to put the electronic money dispenser into a truck.
Police before dawn responded to an alarm at a Wells Fargo branch. They discovered an exterior ATM was gone and the forklift nearby, with its motor running."
I urge you to read the whole post at the link.
Not a bad list.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Many residents can't agree on what the newly erected, three-foot-high pedestrian barriers look like."
Click the link and take a look.
Hat tip to Pulpetti.
Pulp Press - Home: "What do you do after a hard day? Turn on the goggle box and look at a half-wit squealing out a number in one of those talent shows, or maybe some idiots being baited against each other on a desert Island. Reality TV they call it. Yeah. Well, junior, Pulp Press is offering something a little different."
The Associated Press: Peru seizes 3 tons of cocaine mixed with guano: "LIMA, Peru (AP) — Drug agents in Peru say they have seized 3 tons of cocaine mixed into a shipment of guano bound for Spain."
First up is "The Whale Below" by Jayme Lynn Blaschke. I'd read about this one on Blaschke's blog, so I went for it first, and I'm glad I did. I got a big kick out of it. I don't know if it was Blaschke's intention, but I was reminded of some of the old high-adventure SF from the '50s digests like Imagination. This is a fast-action yarn with (of course) pirates, but it also has airships, whales, humor, and action galore.
I was hooked by the first paragraph of Rachel Swirsky's "The Adventures of Captain Black Heart Wentworth: a Nautical Tale" because I learned that the aforementioned Captain Wentworth is the "Rat Pirate of the Gully by the Oak." The tale is a condensed novel, and all the usual pirate tropes are there, but made charming by the cast of characters.
In "Avast, Abaft!" Howard Waldrop takes two or three well-known stories with pirates, shakes them around like dice in a cup, and rolls them out. A moderately amusing trifle.
I plan to read more stories in this volume, since a lot of the others look good to me. If you're a pirate fan, you should check it out.
Monday, December 15, 2008
A police statement says a store surveillance video showed the unidentified boy, thought to be age 2 or 3, tried one of the front doors to a Family Dollar store about 3 a.m. Monday, only to find it locked. But the second door was unlocked and the child went inside.
That triggered the silent alarm that brought police to the store."
WBBM 780 - Chicago's #1 source for local news, traffic and weather - Urban Chicken Movement Gains Momentum: "CHICAGO (WBBM) - We all have heard of eggs 'fresh from the farm'. How about fresh from the back yard?
It's legal to keep chickens in Chicago.
One East Garfield Park resident who keeps five hens in a coop outside her home tells the Chicago Tribune the birds are 'like pets with eggs.'"
But just as newspapers are dooming themselves by cutting the very thing they alone can provide--in-depth, on the spot reporting--so publishing houses are dooming themselves by trying to run in somebody's else's rat race and cutting the very thing we turn to them for: writing itself."
Fla. nuclear plant a refuge for crocodiles: "A crocodile colony at the Turkey Point nuclear power plant in Homestead, Fla., has grown to about 400 of the big reptiles.
The National Wildlife Federation calls the sanctuary, which emerged about three decades ago, a 'crocodile Eden,' The Miami Herald reported Sunday.
The crocodiles use a 6,800-acre system of canals used to cool the power plant -- which the crocodiles are only too happy to use."
Ken Bruen writes in the same style in Once were Cops, but for a far different effect.
"Serious, dramatic, like that."
An Irish cop, Michael O'Shea, who likes to strangle women with green rosary beads comes to the U. S. to work with New York's finest.
His partner's on the take.
Also has a sister in a mental hospital.
Bad things happen.
O'Shea becomes a hero.
It doesn't last.
I said the book was done in one-sentence paragraphs, but that's not entirely true, some of them have more than one sentence, and a few that don't have several clauses strung together, it's the way Bruen does it in this one, you see.
It's bleak, dark, depressing, as if you were expecting big laughs from a Bruen novel, as I know you weren't.
I liked it.
It's 294 pages long.
You can read it in an hour.
Robert B. Parker is probably eating his heart out.
Check it out.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
As the year winds to a close, we've got one last holiday treat for you: We've just added a new book to our Web site -- www.HardCaseCrime.com -- with our first ever horizontal cover. The book (which will come out next year) is LOSERS LIVE LONGER by Russell Atwood, a terrific new private eye story, and the cover is by the great Robert McGinnis. What does it mean to say that the cover is "horizontal"? Well, you'll understand when you see it. The book will be printed and bound the ordinary way, but in order for you to read the cover properly you'll need to hold the book sideways. (There are a few examples of sideways covers back in the pulp days, and we thought it would be fun to do one in our line.) To see the cover, just go to our Web site and click on the picture on the home page. You'll also find a description of the book and a sample chapter, which should whet your appetite for more.
Meanwhile, our big "50th anniversary" title, FIFTY-TO-ONE, is in stores now, and it'd make a perfect stocking stuffer for someone who enjoys old-fashioned crime stories. Reviewers have been very generous -- the Seattle Times called it "a doozy," Bookhound called it "simply the best kind of potboiler," and The Complete Review called it "[a] very enjoyable pulp ride -- almost a best-of collection in a single story." In addition to the story, the book contains a "best-of collection" in another sense, since it includes an 8-page full-color insert section featuring miniature reproductions of all 50 of our covers! Whether or not you pick up a copy or two for friends and family, I think you'll definitely want one for yourself. You should be able to find it at your favorite local bookstore -- but if you can't, for whatever reason, you can always get a copy directly by calling 1-800-481-9191.
Also in stores now you'll find David J. Schow's GUN WORK, Max Allan Collins' THE FIRST QUARRY, and Ken Bruen and Jason Starr's THE MAX, every one a brand new tale and every one a great read.
Coming in January: KILLING CASTRO by Lawrence Block. This is one I guarantee you've never read (it hasn't been published in almost 50 years and was never published under Block's real name) and the early copies we've sent around have been exciting reviewers as well. You can see what some of them have said on our Web site -- just click on "KILLING CASTRO" in the list on the front page.
And after CASTRO? We've got books by Roger Zelazny, Donald Westlake, E. Howard Hunt, Peter Blauner, Jason Starr, Robert B. Parker, Peter Rabe, and more...including a very special Christmas surprise.
But that's next Christmas. This one has to come and go first, and it will, all too soon. We wish you a merry and a happy, a great holiday season, and a terrific 2009. We have some wonderful dark yarns to spin next year and we hope you'll join us for them.
Editor, Hard Case Crime
Both men and women will vie for each twin's affections on the reality-competition series A Double Shot at Love, which premieres Dec. 9.
'When the men and women arrive, they are pleasantly surprised to find that the women they are fighting for are actually gorgeous twin sisters all living under one roof,' MTV said in the statement release to Usmagazine.com. 'The 12 straight men and 12 lesbians are narrowed down each week in a dramatic elimination ceremony.'"
Warning: includes spoilers.
Then, in 212 BC, the Syracusans neglected their defences during a festival to the goddess Artemis, and the Romans finally breached the city walls. Marcellus wanted Archimedes alive, but it wasn't to be. According to ancient historians, Archimedes was killed in the chaos; by one account a soldier ran him through with a sword as he was in the middle of a mathematical proof.
One of Archimedes's creations was saved, though. The general took back to Rome a mechanical bronze sphere that showed the motions of the sun, moon and planets as seen from Earth."
'I miss Robbie,' she said after some time. I nodded. Mrs Leslie had been widowed two years earlier and was totally alone. 'Yes, it must be very hard,' I said sympathetically. 'How long were you and Robbie married?'
Mrs Leslie looked at me, puzzled, then shook her head. 'Robbie's my Jack Russell,' she said. 'I was married to my husband for 40 years, but God, I don't miss him.'"