Art Taylor has written a terrific article about books dealing with civil rights which discusses THE COLOR OF HATE.
Would you happen to have a photo of Joe Hensley? If not, could you maybe post a query on your blog to see if anyone else has one we could use in Mystery Scene?
Hope all is well with you!
Kate Stine, Editor in chief
Mystery Scene Magazine
331 W. 57th Street, Suite 148
New York, NY 10019-3101
Ed here: I don't have a photo of Big Joe but maybe one of you out there could help out. He was one hell of a guy and one hell of a writer.
I get several review books a week. I open the package and read ten, fifteen pages and if it looks like something that might interest me, I put it on the To Read stack.
In the past two days I've received six crime novels (I also get science fiction and fantasy) and this morning I sat down to see which of them I might like to review.
Three of them surprised me. They started out more Elmore Leonard than even Elmore Leonard is. At one point in one of them I thought I was reading an old Leonard called Gold Coast. Honest.
I suppose Hammett and Chandler were as slavishly copied, too, in their time but my little experience this morning startled me. Wow. So many crime writers have adopted his style, his attitude even some of his scenes.
Just think--if you had to pay a writer for copying him Elmore Leonard would be richer than the Saudis.
----------The Chemo Room
Like most cancer patients I receive a couple of cancer magazines a month. One of them is scientific and I at least give that one a look. The other is inspirational. I have nothing against it but I'm pretty hard to inspire.
I have been diagnosed three times with cancer. The third time turned out to be a mis-diagnosis but it got my attention nonetheless.
I was diagnosed with my first cancer, of the thyroid, in Jan and had two operations for it. Complete success. Month and a half later I was dignosed with multiple myeloma. Incurable.
Around this time I started reading some of those inspirational articles that said that cancer would so consume my attention that I would begin to see all my other concerns as foolish and forgettable. No more pettiness, jealously, anger, spite. I would finally be the dude the nuns always said I could be.
Unfortunately, I was one of those faux hippies who, no matter how many drugs, how much wine, coud never reach Bliss. And I'm afraid my cancer self has failed the same kind of test. I'm still the same pricky guy I've always been.
I was reminded of this while I was getting chemo this afternoon. Usually my stay in the chemo room is pleasant. The nurses are great and the atmosphere is gentle and friendly.
I contribute to this beatific atmosphere by never running my mouth about politics. Hell, a good share of us in there are dying. Better to talk about the grandkids and old times and how those new meds are doing for you.
Today however I sat next to a guy about my own age who swaggered in with a McCain button and a ball cap that said PROUD HUNTER. There was one only seat left. Next to mine, of course.
I buried my head in the new Richard Stark novel (which is great by the way) sensing that it would be best if I just smiled at the guy and paid no attention to him.
This proved hard to do when he started yapping to the guy on the other side about how the Dems and the gays and the Muslims (Guess who? Just like in that New Yorker cover of him!) were a bunch of anti-American sissies who wanted to destroy all that right thinking `mericans hold dear.
Even a couple of the nurses, passing by, smiled at me and rolled their eyes. I of course wanted to play Homer Simpson to his Bart. You know, starngling him till his tongue stuck out a yard or so.
To be my credit I almost made it to the end. But when he started in on Michelle Obama I couldn't take it anymore. I started laughing out loud. Theatrically loud. His head swung around and he glared at me, not sure how to interpret my laughter. "What's funny?"
"Your Rush Limbaugh routine." And then I said, "You seem like way too bright a guy to believe any of this crap. You're just putting us on, right?"
"Hello, no, I'm not putting you on."
"Oh, God, I'm sorry."
But for the final fifteen minutes of my chemo, he spoke his idiocy in a much lower voice.