Ed Gorman's blog
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
New Books: Mickey Spillane on Screen
From Mcfarland Publishing
Ed here: I spent the long weekend reading this magnificent book and I'm still not finished with it. That's how packed it is with articles, interviews, overviews and information about every aspect of Mickey Spillane's impact on movies, TV, radio, comic books and the publishing industry. He alone created the market for paperback originals. He alone defined the blue collar rage of the men who cam back from the big war. He alone spawned the second wave of private eye fiction following the Hammett-Chandler era. Collins and Traylor pack this book with fascinating stories and incidents about the men and women in front of and behind the cameras and microphones and drawing boards. This is much more than a simple history of Spillane (though the biography here is filled with things about him I never knew). It is also a decade by decade history of the culture Spillane operated in. And it's all as readable as a novel--say a Mickey Spillane novel. :) This book is a flat out treasure.
Here'a quote from Max from Boing Boing:
"I grew up reading Mickey Spillane novels and, years later, was lucky enough to get to know the man behind Mike Hammer. Mickey and I did a number of projects together -- co-editing anthologies, creating the comic book Mike Danger, plus my documentary, "Mike Hammer's Mickey Spillane" (1999 -- available on the Criterion DVD/Blu-ray of the great film noir, Kiss Me Deadly).
"About a week before his passing, Mickey called to ask a favor. He was very ill and knew it. He was working on what would be the last Mike Hammer novel, chronologically -- The Goliath Bone, Mike taking on terrorists in post-9/11 Manhattan.
"Mickey had been working hard on Goliath Bonebut was afraid he wouldn't have time to finish it. If need be, would I step in? Then a few days later, he asked his wife Jane to turn over any unfinished material from his several offices to me, saying, "Max will know what to do.""
New Stephen King Novel Coming from Hard Case Crime
New Stephen King Novel Coming
from Hard Case Crime
JOYLAND to be published in June 2013
New York, NY; London, UK (May 30, 2012) – Hard Case Crime, the award-winning line of pulp-styled crime novels published by Titan Books, today announced it will publish JOYLAND, a new novel by Stephen King, in June 2013. Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, JOYLAND tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever. JOYLAND is a brand-new book and has never previously been published. One of the most beloved storytellers of all time, Stephen King is the world’s best-selling novelist, with more than 300 million books in print.
Called “the best new American publisher to appear in the last decade” by Neal Pollack in The Stranger, Hard Case Crime revives the storytelling and visual style of the pulp paperbacks of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. The line features an exciting mix of lost pulp masterpieces from some of the most acclaimed crime writers of all time and gripping new novels from the next generation of great hardboiled authors, all with new painted covers in the grand pulp style. Authors range from modern-day bestsellers such as Pete Hamill, Donald E. Westlake, Lawrence Block and Ed McBain to Golden Age stars like Mickey Spillane (creator of “Mike Hammer”), Erle Stanley Gardner (creator of “Perry Mason”), Wade Miller (author of Touch of Evil), and Cornell Woolrich (author of Rear Window).
Stephen King commented, “I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts. That combo made Hard Case Crime the perfect venue for this book, which is one of my favorites. I also loved the paperbacks I grew up with as a kid, and for that reason, we’re going to hold off on e-publishing this one for the time being. Joyland will be coming out in paperback, and folks who want to read it will have to buy the actual book.”
King’s previous Hard Case Crime novel, The Colorado Kid, became a national bestseller and inspired the television series “Haven,” now going into its third season on SyFy.
“Joyland is a breathtaking, beautiful, heartbreaking book,” said Charles Ardai, Edgar- and Shamus Award-winning editor of Hard Case Crime. “It’s a whodunit, it’s a carny novel, it’s a story about growing up and growing old, and about those who don’t get to do either because death comes for them before their time. Even the most hardboiled readers will find themselves moved. When I finished it, I sent a note saying, ‘Goddamn it, Steve, you made me cry.’ ”
Nick Landau, Titan Publisher, added: “Stephen King is one of the fiction greats, and I am tremendously proud and excited to be publishing a brand-new book of his under the Hard Case Crime imprint.”
JOYLAND will feature new painted cover art by the legendary Robert McGinnis, the artist behind the posters for the original Sean Connery James Bond movies and “Breakfast At Tiffany’s,” and by Glen Orbik, the painter of more than a dozen of Hard Case Crime’s most popular covers, including the cover for The Colorado Kid.
Since its debut in 2004, Hard Case Crime has been the subject of enthusiastic coverage by a wide range of publications including The New York Times, USA Today, Time, Playboy, U.S. News & World Report, BusinessWeek, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Houston Chronicle, New York magazine,the New York Post and Daily News, Salon, Reader’s Digest, Parade and USA Weekend, as well as numerous other magazines, newspapers, and online media outlets. The Chicago Sun-Times wrote, “Hard Case Crime is doing a wonderful job publishing both classic and contemporary ‘pulp’ novels in a crisp new format with beautiful, period-style covers. These modern ‘penny dreadfuls’ are worth every dime.” Playboy praised Hard Case Crime’s “lost masterpieces,” writing “They put to shame the work of modern mystery writers whose plots rely on cell phones and terrorists.” And the Philadelphia City Paper wrote, “Tired of overblown, doorstop-sized thrillers…? You’ve come to the right place. Hard Case novels are as spare and as honest as a sock in the jaw.”
Other upcoming Hard Case Crime titles include The Cocktail Waitress, a never-before-published novel by James M. Cain, author of The Postman Always Rings Twice, Mildred Pierce, and Double Indemnity, and an epic first novel called The Twenty-Year Death by Ariel S. Winter that has won advance raves from authors such as Peter Straub, James Frey, Alice Sebold, John Banville, David Morrell and Stephen King.
For information about these and other forthcoming titles, visit www.HardCaseCrime.com.
About Hard Case Crime
Founded in 2004 by award-winning novelists Charles Ardai and Max Phillips, Hard Case Crime has been nominated for or won numerous honors since its inception including the Edgar, the Shamus, the Anthony, the Barry, and the Spinetingler Award. The series’ books have been adapted for television and film, with two features currently in development at Universal Pictures and the TV series “Haven” going into its third season this fall on SyFy. Hard Case Crime is published through a collaboration between Winterfall LLC and Titan Publishing Group.
About Titan Publishing Group
Titan Publishing Group is an independently owned publishing company, established in 1981, comprising three divisions: Titan Books, Titan Magazines/Comics and Titan Merchandise. Titan Books, recently nominated as Independent Publisher of the Year 2011, has a rapidly growing fiction list encompassing original fiction and reissues, primarily in the areas of science fiction, fantasy, horror, steampunk and crime. Recent crime and thriller acquisitions include Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins’ all-new Mike Hammer novels, the Matt Helm series by Donald Hamilton and the entire backlist of the Queen of Spy Writers, Helen MacInnes. Titan Books also has an extensive line of media and pop culture-related non-fiction, graphic novels, art and music books. The company is based at offices in London, but operates worldwide, with sales and distribution in the US and Canada being handled by Random House. www.titanbooks.com
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
The Ed McBain/Evan Hunter Companion
. When did you start reading Ed McBain?
My sister gave me my first Ed McBain book, 1997’s Nocturne, for my birthday in 1999. She knew I loved cop shows like Law and Order and NYPD Blue and I was starting to read more fiction for fun.
2. What initially attracted you to the series?
I was getting sick of academia. I’d spent a few years reading a lot of literary theory and cultural theory and I actually enjoyed playing with it, but eventually I just got tired of it. I was writing a dissertation on cross-dressing in Victorian literature but my supervisor left and I felt like I needed to change topics in order to get my PhD done. I decided it would be more fun to write my dissertation on something I was really interested in, pop culture-wise. I started out with the idea of tracing the development of the homicide detective, or just the detective figure, from Poe and Doyle and Collins all the way up to American T.V. shows like my favourite at the time, Homicide: Life on the Street. Fortunately, I realized pretty quickly that it was an impossibly huge topic for a 250-300 page dissertation and by that point, I’d read a few more of the 87th Precinct novels and decided to focus solely on Ed McBain.
I’ve always been drawn to books and shows about cops, having grown up with a cop for a father. There’s something so satisfying about the idea of a real-life hero, even though the best procedurals in my opinion are usually the ones that don’t always have happy Hollywood endings. McBain’s series wasn’t just about sensational thrills and page-turning suspense, although those things are great, too—it was about society. At least that’s what I got out of it—I just immediately saw the series as one long, complex comment on North American society, issues of gender, race, and class. At that time in academia, pop culture was just starting to become an acceptable topic of study, and I was determined to prove that a writer like Ed McBain was addressing those issues just as often as, or even more than, the so-called literary greats.
3. Do you generally read mysteries?
I’ve been reading mysteries since I was a kid, taking Ellery Queen magazine out of the library, watching Murder, She Wrote with my mother, and reading Sherlock Holmes stories to her. I even wrote my own mystery stories and designed little books with illustrations to go along with them. My whole family was drawn to the mystery genre. That said, people are always asking me if I’ve read so-and-so and I usually have to say no, I’ve read nothing but Ed McBain and Ian Rankin for ten years. Oh, and a couple of Elizabeth George novels and M.C. Beatons for fun—I have a bit of a thing for Hamish Macbeth. Also the Stieg Larsson series—I think Evan Hunter would have liked Lisbeth Salander.
4 Do you prefer certain sub-genres?
When I was younger I didn’t really have any preferences—any mystery would do. In the last couple of decades, though, it’s become fairly clear to me that I tend to prefer police stories or other realistic crime stories to the old Golden Age, Agatha Christie types. I don’t think I like hard-boiled, private-eye mysteries any better than the cozies—I tend to like realistic, cynical, usually urban crime fiction that has strong characterizations and a sharp, liberal view on social problems. This includes people like Richard Price and Ian Rankin, among others.
4. How did the idea for this companion evolve?
Elizabeth Foxwell, the series editor of McFarland’s mystery companion series, tracked me down on the internet, found out I’d written a dissertation on McBain, and sent me a message inviting me to submit a book proposal. I had just started a full-time college teaching job in a new city and was pregnant with my first child, so I kind of looked at my husband and said, “I know it might be crazy to take this on now, but I don’t want to pass up the opportunity” and he agreed.
5. Were you ever daunted by all the reading and note taking you had to do?
Of course! It was a hugely daunting project, and with everything I had going on in my life over those years, I could only work on the book in bits and pieces and on holidays. I was working on the book when I was in labour with my second child and I went back to work on it just a few days after he was born. I had to get a few extensions on my contract, because even though I knew from the start that it was going to be huge, I don’t think I really understood what that meant. I hadalready read and written on the 87th Precinct books when I started the companion, because of my dissertation, but I had just started reading the non-87th McBains and the Hunter novels, and I was adamant about including them even though I was told I could just focus on the mysteries. Evan Hunter was such a talented writer, in so many genres, that I couldn’t see writing a book about him that didn’t include a serious look at the non-mysteries.
I ended up panicking at one point, I think a year or two after I started the book, thinking I would never be able to get it done. That’s when I tracked down Jane Gelfman, Hunter’s agent, and she put me in touch with Dragica, his widow, and they got me in touch with Akira Naoi and Ted Bergman. I sent them both an e-mail asking if they might have any interest in helping me with the book, since I knew they had exhaustive, encyclopedic knowledge of the 87th novels, and luckily for me, they were interested. It was an amazing experience, working with a man in Japan and one in Sweden, sending letters and e-mails back and forth. They helped me a lot with some plot summaries of some of the 87th books, character names, and things like that but probably the coolest things they sent me were letters they’d received from Evan Hunter, maps they’d drawn of the 87th Precinct, and anecdotes of conversations they’d had with Hunter. Ted also got me in touch with Peter Sommerstein, who donated a couple of his photos of Hunter to the book, and I asked a friend of mine at work to help out, as well. So without all of those people, the book would still have been completed, but it would have taken a year or two longer and just wouldn’t have been as good, I think.
6. Can you describe the process involved in putting such a massive book together?
My process for writing the book was, I have to admit, not terribly methodical or systematic or practical. Usually I just started reading a book and wrote notes with a pencil in the margins, then transcribed those notes into an alphabetized file on my computer and added to them later. I didn’t read the books in chronological order and I didn’t have meticulous files where I sorted everything by theme or anything like that—it was just one gigantic file that I kept adding to until it was over 800 pages long (double spaced). This was my first time writing a book of this length and scope, though, and I think I learned a few things along the way so that the next book will be more systematic.
7. Did you run into any particular problems in the course of writing and compiling it?
In addition to the time crunch and just the overwhelming size of the project, I also had the problem of locating all of Hunter’s books—most of them were out of print so I had to order them from eBay and other places like that. I managed to find almost all of them, but it was slow going. Of course I think they should all be back in print! Younger readers who’ve never heard of Ed McBain would be surprised to discover how timely and controversial they still are.
8. What do you think are the strengths of the 87th books in general?
Like I said before, I love the 87th books because they are the best combination of anything I could want, as a reader—they’re suspenseful, thrilling, entertaining, sexy, etc. etc. but they’re so much more than that because they attempt to address some really complex social issues, like racism in America, in a really intelligent way. I admire Evan Hunter so much for being able to put all that into his works without it coming off too didactic, like a lecture.
9. Do you see any consistent weaknesses or failings in the books?
I don’t think there are any failings in the books. I said in the companion that the older novels use some fairly one-dimensional, stereotypical characterizations to make certain points, but I don’t really see that as a failing. I mean, I’ve read novels that have more character development, or that are more realistic at times, or more experimental. But from within the genre of mystery fiction, I think they are an incredible accomplishment—who else could have kept a police series alive and bestselling for 50 years? And even outside of genre fiction, I believe that the books have contributed to the quality of American postwar fiction in general. Hunter had a way of cutting through the crap, stylistically and thematically, that I think a lot of authors emulated.
10. If you had to name the five most accomplished 87ths what would they be?
I can’t name only five, but a few of my favourite 87ths, for their level of complexity and their treatments of contemporary issues like race, gender, and media, are, in no particular order, Mischief, Kiss, The Big Bad City, Romance, The Last Dance, Merely Hate, The Frumious Bandersnatch, Fat Ollie’s Book, He Who Hesitates, Doll, Calypso, Ice, Lulllaby…
A couple of my favourite McBain mysteries belong to the Matthew Hope series: There Was a Little Girl and The Last Best Hope, and a couple are really old ones written under the Marsten name: Runaway Black and The Spiked Heel. Two non-87th McBain novels, Doors and Guns, are in some respects basically the same novel, but I like it. Every Little Crook and Nanny and A Horse’s Head are hilarious. Actually, maybe Downtown is my favourite McBain crime-comedy. Petals (a novella) and Scimitar (published under the name John Abbott) are two really great thrillers. In terms of non-mysteries, or what Hunter called his “straight” fiction, Streets of Gold and Far From the Sea are favourites.
I never think of any of his works as being totally devoid of anything good, but probably a few of my least favourite 87th novels, mostly for their lack of realism and for being slightly too contrived, would be And All Through the House, Shotgun, Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here, Hark!, and So Long as You Both Shall Live.
13. What do you think makes the series so popular around the world?
Hunter’s writing. After reading virtually nothing but his works for about ten years and then picking up another author, I could really see the difference. He was just such a good writer, so concise--never a wasted word. Others have said this before but it bears repeating: he was a master storyteller. I also think his works are universal because he had an ability to touch something very human--very fragile and selfish and generous and ambiguous—in his readers.
14. Will you continue to read the 87ths for pleasure after reading them so analytically?
Definitely. I wish he was alive to keep writing them! I’m actually sad that I probably won’t have time to reread them again for a couple of years, while I’m working on my next book, but I will return to them, this time without a pencil in hand.
Monday, May 28, 2012
Thanks to Jerry House we now have a list of some of the Black Bat titles I'd forgotten. And what novels and writers. Thanks Jerry.
- Charles Alverson - FIGHTING BACK
- Robert Barr - THE DARK ISLAND
- Jack M. Bickham - THE SILVER BULLET GANG
- J. S. Blazer - DEAL ME OUT
- Mirian Borgenicht - NO BAIL FOR DALTON and ROADBLOCK
- Karen Campbell - THUNDER ON SUNDAY
- "Brian Coffey" [Koontz] - BLOOD RISK and SURROUNDED
- Beth De Bilio - VENDETTA CON BRIO
- Robert C. Dennis - CONVERSATIONS WITH A CORPSE and THE SWEAT OF FEAR
- Carl Dekker - WOMAN IN MARBLE
- Ron Faust - TOMB OF BLUE ICE
- "Jack Foxx" [Pronzini] - THE JADE FIGURINE
- William M. Green - AVERY'S FORTUNE and THE SALISBURY MANUSCRIPT
- William H. Hallihan - THE ROSS FORGERY
- Reymoure Keith Isely - A STRANGECODE OF JUSTICE
- Beverly Keller - THE BAGHDAD DEFECTIONS
- TONY KENDRICK - A TOUGH ONE TO LOSE
- "John Miles" [Bickham] - THE BLACKMAILER and THE NIGHT HUNTER
Bobbs-Merrill Black Bat line
I should have noted the depth of the Black Bat line last night. I tried to find the name of the editor on line today but had no luck so I'm doing this from memory. (I've mentioned Jack Bickham and Gregory MacDonald).
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Gravetapping; Wilson Tucker
Ed Gorman: Welcome back to posting, Ben Boulden. Today he posted about both Jack Bickham and Bill Pronzini. Bill is of course one of the finest crime fiction writers in the world and is in fact an mwa grandmaster. Ben reviews one of bill's most compelling and darkest novels nightcrawlers.
jack was lesser known but extremely talented. ben discusses the night hunters, my favorite bickham novel.i liked it so much after reading it in pb i bought a hardcover and sent it to jack for an autograph. we started corresponding after that. he fought hard aganst the cancer that kept coming back, writing and teaching (he was one of the best) while battling it. A damned fine man and writer.
bill and jack both wrote for the bobbs-merlll line that ben discusses in the same post. good stuff. Amazing what came out of that line, including the firt Fketch novel. Zilch for a budget unfortunately.
MONDAY, MAY 27, 2012
-----------------------------------------------Wilson Tucker, Rog Ebert, Vic Ryan and me
Ed here: Somebody sent me this paragraph from a piece about the late Wilson Tucker who was both a prominent writer and fan in science fiction circles for many decades. The Long Loud Silence is still one of my all-time favorite sf novels and I enjoyed his mysteries almost as much as his science fiction. The bit here refers to the time Ebert, Ryan and I attended our first sf convention thanks to Tucker, who drove us to Cincinatti from his home in Bloomington, Illinois. He was pure gentleman.
"At Tucker's 88th birthday party held in Bloomington, Illinois, I heard a fan ask Bob why he had stopped writing. Without hesitation, Tucker said, "Because I'm no longer driven." But he was still very much a social person, still seeking human contact and holding out hope of finding one more mind to help in some way. I didn't ask him why he was still doing this...for the answer would have been, "Because there's nothing else for me to do." I attended because I knew it would be the last time I would see him. At one point, we were interrupted by someone wanting him to go elsewhere, Tucker smiled at them politely and said, "No, I want to talk to George." I reminded him of the time, in 1961 I think it was, when he attended the MidWestCon, bringing with him three young men...Ed Gorman, Vic Ryan, and Roger Ebert. Tucker had the most pleased look on his face when he introduced them and turned them loose...sort of like 'Let's see you draw to three of these.'