Saturday, June 12, 2010

Where Else Would You Steal One?

Hat tip to Mark R. Harris.

Ultra-Boiled -- Gary Lovisi

Gary Lovisi's a man of many talents. He's the editor and publisher of both Paperback Parade and Hardboiled as well as a writer of fiction. He's done everything from Sherlock Holmes pastiches to the ultra-boiled stories in this new collection from Ramble House. What's "ultra-boiled" mean. This is from the introduction: "Ultra-boiled is hardboiled . . . on steroids." Lovisi says that these stories are "violent, maybe even brutal," but the back cover assures us that while the stories "are not for the faint of heart. . .they're definitely full of heart."

Ultra-Boiled collects 23 stories, of which five are original to the book and four have appeared only on-line in such well-regarded publications as Hardluck Stories and Plots with Guns. If you missed any of these the first time around, this is a good time to get them all in one place.

New Crimefatory Now Online


Issue 3 features fiction from some the best up and coming writers today including Dennis Tafoya, Greg Bardsley, Sandra Seamans, Daniel O'Shea, and we debut an excerpt from my good friend Jedidiah Ayres first novel, Peckerwood.

And the features, we've got some amazing stuff this issue:

Liam interviews filmmaker Nash Edgerton, director of the Square.
Crimefactory founder David Honeybone interviews crime fiction legend Peter Temple.
South African novelist Roger Smith offers up a fantastic Under the Influence piece.
Australian novelist Leigh Redhead Returns to the Scene of her debut novel, Peepshow, and everyone's favorite blessedly foul mouthed critic, the Nerd of Noir, returns with another installment of the Crime Sleeper Double Feature.

Today's Western Movie Poster

In Case You Were Wondering, . . .

William Thompson (confidence man) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "William Thompson was an American criminal whose deceptions caused the term 'confidence man' to be coined.

Operating in New York City in the late 1840s, a gently-dressed Thompson would approach an upper-class mark, pretending they knew each other, and begin a brief conversation. After initially gaining the mark's trust, Thompson would ask 'Have you confidence in me to trust me with your watch until tomorrow?' Upon taking the watch (or, occasionally, money), Thompson would depart, never to be seen again.[1]

Thompson was arrested and brought to trial in 1849, in a case that made newspaper headlines across the country. The New York Herald, recalling his explicit appeals to the victim's 'confidence,' dubbed him the 'confidence man."

I'll Bet Cap'n Bob Eats These

Albanese Gummy Army Guys - Candy Blog

Dark of the Sun

Friday, June 11, 2010

Get off Their Lawns!

Neighbourhood feud ends in bloody weed-whacker attack - The Local: "A 20-year feud between two neighbours in the German state of Hesse revved up this week, ending in bloodshed when one of the elderly men attacked the other with a weed whacker, police reported on Thursday.

The pair had been bickering over a small strip of lawn near their homes in the small community of Grasellenbach just south of Darmstadt, according to the authorities."

A Note from Fred Zackel

What's the use of having a blog if you can't promote another writer now and then. If you haven't read Cocaine and Blue Eyes, you've missed a treat. I'm sure the others are equally good, and now you can get 'em on Kindle. Here's Fred:

Some of my books are now available on the Kindle & the Ipad.

Some of these have never been available.

Both my 1978 novel Cocaine and Blue Eyes & my 1980 novel Cinderella After Midnight are now available as Kindle Editions, for instance.

(The webzine "Beat to a Pulp" aka BTAP did a lovely excerpt "Big and bright and colorful, like the California Dream" from CINDERELLA AFTER MIDNIGHT this past February.

if you're curious.

And three other books of mine are available for the first time ever ...

"Tough Town Cold City" (a novel)

An old friend is brutally murdered and San Francisco private eye Frank Pasnow is told the funeral home needs a down payment. He goes after the security deposit from the cute and cunning landlady.

"Murder in Waikiki" (a novel)

It's 1985. Murder arrives in sun-drenched Waikiki Beach with a van filled with tourists from the Mainland. (Agatha Christie meets Joseph Conrad.)

Most recently, "Crow on the Cradle" went up.

Murder, intrigue, revenge, betrayal, suspense, thriller, conspiracies, sex, swords, mythology, noir, classic, regicide, inheritance, birthright, throne ... and pagan.

Why I Don't Read Amazon Reader Reviews

Will Ferrell's Sexy Hot Tan Sunscreen

Will Ferrell's Sexy Hot Tan Sunscreen
"I've always dreamed of owning a lotion company," said Will Ferrell, "I'm proud to be associated with Cancer for College. Since 1993, CFC has helped students realize their college aspirations. Proceeds to CFC provides college scholarships to cancer survivors.

I'll Just Have a Dr Pepper, Please

‘Tarantula sunrise’ is a cocktail with bite | "The arachnophobe’s nightmare is made using rice wine, jack fruit and a tarantula – which many Cambodians believe can help your heart and work as an aphrodisiac."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Crispian St. Peters, R. I. P.

Crispian St. Peters, Singer of the Hit ‘Pied Piper,’ Dies at 71 - Obituary (Obit) - "Crispian St. Peters, a British pop singer of the ’60s best known for his buoyant hit “Pied Piper” and his soulful version of “You Were on My Mind,” died on Tuesday at his home in Swanley, Kent, England. He was 71."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

What Not to Wear on Safari

'Fiery fragrance' Obsession for Men attracts big cats: "Zookeepers and biologists have found that Calvin Klein’s Obsession for Men, one of the Top 10 best-selling men’s fragrances worldwide, effectively attracts big cats such as jaguars and cheetahs."

Hat tip to Fred Zackel.

Robert E. Howard Days!

Robert E. Howard Days this Weekend in Cross Plains: Full Schedule of Events: "Robert E. Howard, one of the best known action and adventure story authors, is being celebrated and fans are coming to “pay homage” to their favorite author in Cross Plains, TX this weekend June 11-12. They call it Howard Days and fans come from near and far to attend… putting Cross Plains in the spot light for a weekend."

Full schedule at the link.

Forgotten Books: EMBASSY -- Keith Laumer

Keith Laumer was a prolific SF writer who served in the U. S. Army and worked in the foreign service. His stories about Retief, a galactic diplomat, are pretty clearly a result of the latter employment. I find the early ones hilarious. (Others don't.) I also enjoy the novels in Laumer's Imperium series, especially the first, Worlds of the Imperium.Which brings us to today's Forgotten Book, because the foreign service diplomat who's kidnapped by the Imperium and take to an alternate America is Brion Bayard, who happens to be one of the characters Laumer's mainstream novelEmbassy.

Embassy is, as you can read on the cover, "A shocker to rival The Ugly American." It's Laumer's "straight" novel about the U. S. foreign service, which, if Laumer's to be believed, was staffed in the '60s by opportunists, lechers, poltroons, climbers, dumbasses, dullards, and layabouts. The setting is the mythical country of Samoy, which happens to be a lot like Burma (now Myanmar), where Laumer served. Bayard comes to the embassy ready to work, and he doesn't suffer fools gladly. He wants to do things right, and he doesn't like injustice. Naturally everyone is immediately out to get him out of Samoy and ruin his career.

Embassy is crammed with dozens of characters and plot lines, including an incipient communist revolution. It's not at all a humorous novel in the Retief vein, though there are moments of humor. Before it's over, there's plenty of action and violence. Torture, even. It's a serious take on the foreign service and what was wrong with it. Even if Laumer is exaggerating by a factor of ten, it's amazing that the U. S. has any standing left in the world.

I suspect that Laumer had high hopes for this book, and he must have been surprised when it wound up being published by a second-rank paperback house instead of some prestigious hardcover imprint. Even Pyramid didn't seem to have any faith in it, cramming its huge cast and story into a slim 200-page volume with tiny print and way too many lines on a page.

I enjoyed the book a lot, but I can see two problems, both of which could have been easily corrected. One is the narration. Bayard's sections of the book are in first-person. Why? I have no idea, since he's only one character among many and gets no more attention than a lot of the others. The other problem is the chronology. A good bit of time passes in the book, but it's hard to know when it happens. Some chapters pick up immediately after the preceding one, while between others a lot of time goes by.

Back in the early '60s I read The Ugly American and liked it. I wish I'd seen this book when it came out, but I'm glad I finally got around to reading it.

Lost Command

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Barry Awards Nominations

Click here for a complete list. Congrats to all the nominees.

Scott Cupp Joins the FFB Gang

Forgotten Book: Stress Pattern by Neal Barrett, Jr. | Missions Unknown

My search for the La-La land of Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep

Well, not mine, really, but check it out anyway.

Los Angeles: My search for the La-La land of Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep | Mail Online

Hat tip to David Cranmer.

Archaeology Update

The world's oldest shoe dating back 5,500 years has been discovered - Telegraph

Today's Western Movie Poster

A Chevy by any Other Name . . .

G.M. Proposes Leaving a Car’s Popular Nickname in the Dust - "Bye-bye, indeed, Miss American Pie. If General Motors has its way, you won’t be driving your Chevy to the levee ever again.

A 2006 advertising campaign used both Chevy and Chevrolet.
On Tuesday, G.M. sent a memo to Chevrolet employees at its Detroit headquarters, promoting the importance of “consistency” for the brand, which was the nation’s best-selling line of cars and trucks for more than half a century after World War II.

And one way to present a consistent brand message, the memo suggested, is to stop saying “Chevy,” though the word is one of the world’s best-known, longest-lived product nicknames."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

The Old "I Was Distracted by a Gator in my Headlights" Excuse

Drunk driver: I was distracted by the alligator in my headlights | officer, ditch, walmart - News - Northwest Florida Daily News: "A man who drove over a curb, down a long grassy strip and into a ditch told a Crestview Police Department officer that he 'became distracted by an alligator in his headlights.'

He also said he'd had 'six beers or so.'"

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Shoplifting Suspect Allegedly Twisted Guard's Testicles

The Blue Max

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Dead Janitors Club -- Jeff Klima

According to his bio in the back of the book, "Jeff Klima is a devilishly handsome jack-of-all-trades who makes love like a banshee. If that frightens you, perhaps you'd be happier reading something a little less awesome." It's a good thing I don't frighten easily.

After a series of dead-end jobs in retail (including a porn shop), Klima jumped at the chance to get in on a start-up business that involved cleaning crime scenes. He had no experience, no training, no real clue about what to do. He had to learn on the job. His memoir tells all about it. And more. It's not just about the job but about Klima's life, which seems always seems to be just about to get out of his control. While he works the crime scenes, he's a college grad who's still living in the frat house because he can't afford to leave. He lives from job to job, and when there aren't any jobs, he doesn't pay his bills or his taxes. But it's better than retail.

Klima has a knack for fast-moving narrative and dark humor, which is the kind you'd expect in a book like this. It's gory and gruesome, and Klima doesn't spare any details. He spent two years in the business, and in that time he saw the results of just about every kind of death you can imagine. Suicides, murders, accidents, deaths in prison, deaths in cars, you name it and he cleaned it. And that's not all. The business branched out to cleaning hoarder houses. Reading about some of these made me feel like Mr. Clean by comparison. It's all terrible but fascinating.

Klima eventually left the business and got another low-paying job, maybe because he could no longer stand to be "this racist, uncompassionate whelp who sees dead bodies as dollar signs and trauma as a means to a fancy dinner out. . . ." Not a nice guy, and even by the end he's not a lot nicer. He has a way with words, though, and if this book's any example, he's on his way to a new career as a writer. It's gotta be better than retail.

Okay, This Time Priscilla Has Gone Too Far

Mr. Potato Head doll gets Elvis makeover, as Hasbro, PPW Toys sign deal with Elvis Presley estate: "The Elvis Presley estate has signed a deal for Hasbro Inc. and PPW Toys to release an Elvis version of Mr. Potato Head.

Kevin Kern, a spokesman for Presley's Graceland estate, told The Commercial Appeal the new toy is one of 15,000 Elvis-licensed products and is one the company is excited about."

Hat tip to Scott Cupp.

Keep that Crow off Her Lawn!

CATFORD: Elderly dancer reveals crow attack horror (From News Shopper): "AN ELDERLY dancer is the latest person who has fallen victim to an horrific crow attack.

Last month, News Shopper revealed how blonde joggers in an Eltham Park were being terrorised by a crow.

Now 75-year-old great-grandmother Edna Lunt, of Nelgarde Road, Catford, has revealed how she was recently attacked by a bloodthirsty bird in her own garden."

Photos, including reenactment and pic of vicious bird, at the link.

And I Thought My Office Was Messy

Mass. teacher finds 1792 document in classroom - AP News Wire, Associated Press News - "A Massachusetts teacher cleaning up her classroom in preparation for a move has discovered a Colonial-era document buried in a pile of outdated textbooks and dusty scraps of papers."

What about the Gators?

Marriage proposal in sewer is a success | "It's not the most romantic spot for a marriage proposal but it’s one that worked for Steven Sparks - the 41-year-old got down on one knee in front of girlfriend Carolyn Payne during a trip to Victorian sewers."

Sleeping Beauty -- Ross Macdonald

Fred Zackel reminds me that if you want to read a fine crime novel about an oil spill, you should pick up Macdonald's Sleeping Beauty.

Happy Birthday, to the Dime Novel!

The Writer's Alamanc: "It was on this day in 1860, exactly 150 years ago, that the first 'dime novel' was published: Malaeska, the Indian Wife of the White Hunter, by Ann S. Stephens."

You Probably Know All of These

Well, except maybe the made-up one, and I'm sure you can guess what it means. Here's the link.


Berkeley Math Prof Edward Frenkel Branches Out Into Erotic Film: "University of California-Berkeley Professor Edward Frenkel is world-renowned for his work with automorphic representations and the geometric Langlands conjecture.

He's also a trailblazer in a different arena: erotic film.

Frankel, 41, invested €100,000 to produce and star in 'Rites of Love and Math,' a 'sprawling allegory' during which the mathematician has sex on screen."

Hat tip to Seepy Benton, who wishes he'd done this first.

The Desert Rats

Arthur Herzog III, R. I. P.

Arthur Herzog III, Author of ‘The Swarm,’ Dies at 83 - Obituary (Obit) - "Arthur Herzog III, a prolific author who wrote about nuclear disarmament and the fugitive financier Robert Vesco but who was probably best known for his science-fiction thriller “The Swarm,” about killer bees, died on May 26. He was 83 and had homes in Manhattan and Wainscott, on Long Island."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Fortunately I'll Never Have to Go to One of These Camps

Chinese internet addicts stage mutiny at boot camp - Times Online: "Fourteen young detainees overcame their guard and fled a boot camp regime of physical training and psychological treatment designed to cure their addiction — to the internet."

Macavity Award Nominees 2010

Mystery Fanfare: Macavity Award Nominees 2010

Congratulations to all. A complete list at the link.

The Fate of the Mid-list Writer

The characters who are going to an early grave | Sam Jordison | Books |

Georgia Leads the Way

Free tattoos boost Macon’s morale | Fresh Loaf: "How do you “uplift” a challenged Macon community while turning “a negative into a positive”?

Free tattoos."

Hat tip to Ivan Shreve, Jr.

Joseph Strick, R. I, P.

Joseph Strick, Screenwriter, Is Dead at 86 - Obituary (Obit) - "Joseph Strick, an Academy Award-winning director, screenwriter and producer known for filming the unfilmable — in particular weighty, bawdy literary works whose screen adaptations often ran afoul of censors worldwide — died on June 1 in Paris. He was 86 and had made his home in Paris since the 1970s."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Movie Update

Lost Hollywood films from 1920s discovered in New Zealand vault - Telegraph

The More Things Change . . . .

I ran across this article from June 6, 1957, the other day.

Today's Western Movie Poster

One Last Escape

Jack Harrison, the last survivor of The Great Escape dies at 97 | Mail Online: "In the end, it was only time from which he could not escape. Jack Harrison, the last of those involved in the 'Great Escape', has passed away, peacefully and quietly, at the age of 97.

It has been 66 years since the dark night when he waited with bated breath, preparing to crawl through ‘Harry’ and under the wire of Stalag Luft III.

Many years after the war the former RAF pilot, and his brave and resourceful comrades, would be immortalised by the iconic 1963 film - starring Richard Attenborough and Steve McQueen - which remains the staple fare of every Christmas Day celebration."

Bay Bridge at Night

My daughter and her husband have a nice view from their apartment.

Even Crocs Love that Cafeteria Food

AFP: School house croc: Alligator captured in kids cafeteria

Hat tip to David Cranmer.

Then/Now: The 'Cannonball Run' Cast

A little nostalgic, a little sad. - Then/Now: The 'Cannonball Run' Cast

From Here to Eternity

Gladiator Update

Scars from lion bite suggest headless Romans found in York were gladiators | Science | The Guardian: "Evidence from tests on 80 skeletons of young men found in Yorkshire gardens points to world's best-preserved gladiator graveyard, archaeologists say"

Monday, June 07, 2010

No Comment Department

New Port Richey man accused of choking wife says marriage is the problem - St. Petersburg Times: "A woman told officers her husband tried to strangle her Wednesday afternoon.

'Arrest me,' Christopher L. Bukowski, 39, told officers, according to a report. 'I did it.'

The New Port Richey Police Department did not say what caused the argument between the couple, who have been married five years.

While the officer gathered paperwork for the investigation, Bukowski said 'I choked her,' the report states.

'I asked him why he did it and he stated 'If you were married, you would understand,'' the officer wrote."

25 Beautiful Old Flower Books

25 Beautiful Old Flower Books

My Mind is Boggled

Elton John Sings at Rush Limbaugh's 4th Wedding - Weddings, Elton John, Rush Limbaugh : "Talk about an odd couple: conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh and outspoken gay civil-union advocate Elton John.

But, according to a News Corporation (which owns Fox News) wire report, the Rocket Man, 63, serenaded the 400 guests into the wee hours Saturday night to celebrate the marriage of Limbaugh, 59, to Kathryn Rogers, 33, in the Ponce de Leon ballroom of Florida's fabled Breakers hotel in Palm Beach. Sir Elton's fee: $1 million, the report notes."

Australia Leads the Way

Restaurant tells diners to eat up or else | Reuters: "An Australian restaurateur fed up with the waste left by diners has ordered her customers to eat everything on their plates for their sake of the earth or pay a penalty and not return."

Hat tip to Ivan Shreve, Jr., over at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear.

Croc Update (Secret Revealed! Edition)

Secret Revealed: How Crocodiles Cross Oceans - Yahoo! News: "How did the world's largest living reptile, the saltwater crocodile, reach so many South Pacific islands separated by huge stretches of water despite being a poor swimmer?

Apparently, like a surfer catching a wave, these goliaths can ride currents on the ocean surface to cross large areas of open sea, researchers now reveal."

Hat tip to Seepy Benton.

I Think I'll Cancel My Vacation in Mexico

Mexico: 6 Bodies in Cave, 3 With Hearts Cut Out - ABC News: "Police discovered six dead bodies in a cavern near the tourist resort of Cancun on Sunday, three of them cut open and their hearts removed.

Authorities are investigating the identities of the four men and two women found dead in the natural cave, said Francisco Alor, the Quintana Roo state attorney general.

'They were apparently tortured and their chests were opened to remove the hearts,' Alor's office said later in a statement."

Oooooooklahoma Leads the Way

Property owners outraged by Guthrie businessman's dealings | "A businessman is under fire for buying tiny parcels of land so he can sell or lease them for inflated prices to people who thought they owned them.

In one case, Guthrie businessman Ron Edwards is demanding four Edmond condominium owners pay him $80,000 for a shared driveway he bought for $1,584 at a county auction.

'I thought I made a decent offer,” Edwards said."

Aggies Lead the Way

Man arrested for swimming in Grand Isle waters - Florida AP - "The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office says a man has been arrested for swimming in waters shut down because of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

WAFB-TV reported Sunday that Grand Isle Police took 22-year-old Jesus Mares, of College Station, Texas, into custody around 7:30 a.m. after he was caught wading in the water just off the beach."

Why Can't Oscar Voters be this Perceptive?

Sandra Bullock, Tom Cruise stand out at MTV Movie Awards - "When it came to the awards 'The Twilight Saga' eclipsed the competition for the second year. 'New Moon' sucked up trophies for best movie, kiss, female performance for Kristen Stewart and male performance and global superstar for Robert Pattinson."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Amelia Earhart Update

Artifacts suggest Earhart’s final days a struggle - Science- "Tantalizing new clues are surfacing in the Amelia Earhart mystery, according to researchers scouring a remote South Pacific island believed to be the final resting place of the legendary aviatrix."

Croc Update (Viva Crock Vegas Edition)

Australian Crocodile Hunter: Viva Croc Vegas | "Las Vegas is set to get a massive shake up Aussie style, thanks to Australia's Team Terri Irwin. The wife of the late, great, Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, and her world class team have a vision of everyone doing the Crocodile Rock at an upcoming Croc themed show and expo on the famed Las Vegas Strip. Media Man and Gambling911 take the croc probe to the smiling crocodile situation..."

Judy and I Have Visited Here Several Times. . .

. . . but we haven't touched an alligator.

Brazos Bend State Park: Touch an alligator, see the heavens and go fish in Houston's shadow - 2010-Jun-06 - CultureMap Houston

Photos at the link, but no gators.

Breakheart Pass

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The Gator Drugs Connection Yet Again

Man gets jail for guns, drugs and alligators: "Prosecutors say during a raid on Leon's home in January, police found nearly two dozen guns, 13 marijuana plants, a pound of processed pot and three baby alligators."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Old Jack Is Definitely Back!

Buy it here.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

10 Great Candy Stores Across the USA: It's National Candy Month - ABC News

David Markson, R.I.P.

David Markson, R.I.P. - Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind

Nobody's Angel -- Jack Clark

When Jack Clark was driving a cab in Chicago, he wrote a book about a Chicago cabbie named Eddie Miles and published it himself, selling it to his fares. Now the book's been reprinted by Hard Case Crime with what I suspect is a much cooler cover.

Nobody's Angel is an interesting choice for a crime fiction line, since it's hardly a crime novel at all, at least to my way of thinking. Sure, there's a murder and a slashing, but they seem incidental to main thrust of the novel, which is more about the life of Eddie Miles and how it's spiraled down the drain, much like the city of Chicago seems to have done. There's a strong thread of nostalgia for the city's past and the way things used to be, and Miles' tours of the town are almost like a trip through Dante's Inferno. The plot, however, is thin.

Don't get me wrong, however. I liked the book a good bit. The writing's good, and Eddie's an interesting character. The descriptions of Chicago and of the people who wind up in Eddie's cab are really well done. If you're looking for something a little different from the usual crime fare, this might be just the thing for you.

Victor Gischler, Lisa Brackmann, and Duane Swierczynski

Panel introductions at Murder by the Book, June 5, 2010. A considerably longer video of this trio can be found here.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Gadding About

On the muni.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Or maybe BP leads the way. I live about 15 miles from this plant.

BP: 500,000 pounds of emissions released: "At BP’s Texas City refinery, more than 400 pounds a day of benzene — 40 times the state reportable levels — was released during a 40-day period while a subunit of the refinery’s ultracracker unit was offline, according to a company filing with the state’s environmental agency Friday.

In all, BP officials said more than 500,000 pounds of pollutants and nonpollutants were released while the company increased flaring as they tried to repair a compressor on the faulty unit."

Mr. Majestyk