Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ostara Publishing; Sam Peckinpah; Health update

OSTARA PUBLISHING Website www.ostarapublishing TOP NOTCH THRILLERS New Titles: February 2010 Three months after the imprint's launch, Ostara Publishing has issued four more titles in their print-on-demand Top Notch Thrillers series which "aims to revive Great British thrillers which do not deserve to be forgotten".

The new titles, originally published in Britain between 1962 and 1970, were selected by crime writer and critic Mike Ripley, who acts as Series Editor for TNT The Tale of the Lazy Dog by Alan Williams is a brilliant heist thriller set in the Laos-Cambodia-Vietnam triangle in 1969 as a mis-matched gang of rogues and pirates attempt to steal $1.5 billion in used US Treasury notes.

Time Is An Ambush is a delicate, atmospheric study of suspicion and guilt set in Franco's Spain, by Francis Clifford, one of the most-admired stylists of the post-war generation of British thriller-writers.

A Flock Of Ships, Brian Callison's bestselling wartime thriller of a small Allied convoy lured to its doom in the South Atlantic, was famous for its breathless, machine-gun prose and was described by Alistair Maclean as: "The best war story I have ever read".

The Ninth Directive was the second assignment for super-spy Quiller (whose fans included Kingsley Amis and John Dickson Carr), created by Adam Hall (Elleston Trevor) and is a taught, tense thriller of political assassination which pre-dated Day of the Jackal by five years.

Announcing the latest batch of reissues, Mike Ripley said: 'Our new titles are absolutely in line with the Top Notch ethos of showing the range and variety of thrillers from what was something of a Golden Age for British thriller writing. They range in approach from slow-burning suspense to relentless wartime action and feature obsessive, super tough, super cool spies and some tremendous villains. Above all, they are characterised by the quality of their writing, albeit in very different styles. 'When first published, these titles were all best-sellers and their authors are among the most respected names in thriller fiction. Many readers will welcome these novels back almost as old friends and hopefully a new generation of readers will discover them for the first time.'

Top Notch Thrillers are published as trade paperbacks with a RRP of £10.99 MIKE RIPLEY Heathside Farm, Fordham Heath, Essex C03 9TJ. 01206 241100

----------------------------------------Sam Peckinpah One of the reasons I enjoy David Thomson's film criticism so much is that he peppers it with background material I've never heard before. In reviewing The Cincinnati Kid ("a silly" movie he enjoys because of Edward G. Robinson's performance) he casually mentions that Sam Peckinpah was the film's first director. He was fired when he he filmed the scene with Rip Torn and Torn's mistress in bed together. Torn's mistress was black. While I obviously don't agree with Thomson all the time, we share two strongly held opinions--one, no matter how bad the movie, when Edward G. Robinson appears, the film grows in stature and significance. He was that good. Two, that Warren Beatty is a feckless poseur. When I saw "Reds" I was told by several people in the audience to shut up and stop laughing. I couldn't help myself. It was like an SNL parody. Even the much-lauded Jack Nicholson turn as Trotsky was such acting school bullshit I couldn't stop howling. Thomson maintains that Beatty's only good peformance was as the hairdresser in "Shampoo." There his narcissism made sense for the one and only time.

----------------------------------------Health update #2

I got several off-blog e mails saying that I had confused people. So--They have found cancer. I will see my substitute oncologist tomorrow afternoon. My post last night was a happy one because after seven more tests they found no additional cancer, which had been my chief concern. Thanks again for your interest and support.


Steve Oerkfitz said...

Jack played Eugene O'neill not Trotsky.

Ed Gorman said...

Damn, Steve. You're right. Sorry. But he did get kudos for what I thought was a pretty bad performance. But then the entire movie--at least to me--was pretty bad.

Kenneth Mark Hoover said...

I have all the Quiller novels and love them. Great reading.

I wish you nothing but the best with your health, Ed. Hope all turns out well for you.

Todd Mason said...

Yes, if O'Neill had been as charmlessly dour as well as as fat as Nicholson played him, I'd have to wonder how he got Lucky as often as his pre-success days there suggested he would.

The interview segments helped save it, as much as it was saved.

I imagine you were pretty amused when he was briefly bruited as the Democratic Left's answer to Clinton and Bradley in 1996...

Todd Mason said...

Beatty, that is. Nicholson for Veep, no doubt.