October 2019 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Barker, Deborah E., & Theresa Starkey, editors, Detecting the South in Fiction, Film, and Television (non-fiction) | Buy this book Series of thoughtful essays on the growing presence of the American South in crime fiction and film noir, and what it means, as it explores the work and influence of James Lee Burke, John D. MacDonald, Donna Tartt, television’s True Detective and more, providing “an overdue examination of the historical, political, and aesthetic contexts out of which the southern detective narrative emerged and continues to evolve.” Includes contributions by Megan Abbott and Ace Atkins.
September 2019 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Glover, Allen, TV Noir: Dark Drama on the Small Screen (reference) | Buy this book|Buy the audio|Kindle it! The first in-depth exploration into television’s long and sometimes dubious relationship with noir, TV historian and Paley Center curator Glover plunges way back to the the late forties and fifties (when the Golden Age of Noir was still packing ’em in in theatres) and flollows the clues right up to… now? Is it still noir if there’s a cute dog and a wacky neighbour?
June 2019 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Collins, Max Allan, & A. Brad Scwartz, Scarface and the Untouchable (non-fiction) (r) | Buy this book|Buy the audio|Kindle it! This time it’s for real. Collins finally tears into Al Capone, Eliot Ness and the Battle for Chicago” with a huge slab of a book, now in paperback.
Kilgariff, Karen, & Georgia Hardstark, Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide (true crime & more) | Buy this book| Buy the audio| Kindle it! The stars of the hit podcast My Favorite Murder dish up the dirt of psycho killers, violent nutjobs,, toxic masculinity, meaningful cultural and societal issues and… themselves.
McGough, Matthew, The Lazurus Files (true crime) | Buy this book|Buy the audio|Kindle it! A notorious cold case that took took the LAPD decades to crack, only to find out the murderer was one of their own
Struzan, Dylan, A Bloody Business (true crime) | Buy this book | Kindle it! Hard Case goes true crime! The late, notorious OG Jimmy Blue Eyes spills the beans on the Mob’s rise to power during Prohibition. His one condition was that none of it be published until after he was dead. Guess what? The SOB is dead.
Brew, Simon, editor, The Den of Geek Guide for the Netflix Generation (reference) | Buy this book | Kindle it! A treasure trove of TV trivia for the millennial couch potato, offering behind-the-scenes dirt on cult-classic series from Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead to The X-Files and Friends, the awe-inspiring power of fandom and why the Veronica Mars movie was both a triumph and a disaster. A book worth bingeing.
February 2019Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Abrams, Jonathan, All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of The Wire | Buy this book|Buy the audio|Kindle it! Paperback reprint of the inside scoop on one of the greatest crime dramas to ever air, full of intelligent interviews with cast, crew, writers and creators; a book as ballsy and smart as its subject.
November 2018 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Server, Lee, Handsome Johnny (true crime) | Buy this book Server, perhaps best known to followers of this site as the author of such works as The Encyclopedia of Pulp Writers and Danger is My Business, a history of the pulps, serves up the deliciously tawdry life (and death) of Johnny Rosselli, a gentleman gangster, Hollywood producer, extortionist and CIA hitman, who seemed to be everywhere. Assorted babes and movie stars, Las Vegas bigshots, Al Capone and Fidel Castro all figure into the mix.
Thompson, Laura, A Tale of Two Murders: Guilt, Innocence, and the Execution of Edith Thompson (true crime) | Buy this book |Kindle it! Murder or divorce? Decisions, decisions…
October 2018 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Cicchini, Michael D., Anatomy of a False Confession (true crime) | Buy this book One of the Making a Murderer defense lawyers digs deep into the police interrogation, false confession and subsequent conviction of teenager Brendan Dassey. For anyone who watched the Netflix documentary, or anyone who cares about actual justice, this is a disturbing wake-up call.
Gertzman, Jay A., Pulp According to David Goodis (biography/literary study) | Buy this book | Kindle it! Gertzman tears into the guts of the bleak, tortured fiction of Goodis, the damned and doomed King of Noir, and what made it tick.
Klinger, Leslie S., editor, Classic American Crime Fiction of the 1920s (anthology) | Buy this book | Kindle it! The Edgar-winning Master of the Annotation serves up five pivotal, iconic novels ( House Without a Key by Earl Derr Biggers, The Benson Murder Case by S.S, Van Dine, The Roman Hat Mystery by Ellery Queen and of special interest for fans of this site, Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett and Little Caesar by W.R. Burnett),presented in its original form, with extensive historical and cultural annotations and illustrations to infinity and beyond, plus a detailed foreword t put things in perspective and an introduction by Otto Penzler.
Mottram, James, & David S. Cohen, Die Hard: The Ultimate Visual History| Buy this book
Lavish illustrated testament to licensing and marketing. Covers the whole phenom, from the original hit flick and its endless sequels to the countless spin-offs (Comics! Video games! Toys!)
September 2018 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Hulse, Ed, The Blood’n’Thunder Guide to Pulp Fiction (reference) | Buy this book Aimed squarely at fans and collectors of the old pulps, this is the new, improved, revised and expanded edition of the 2013 classic, illustrated with over 750 magazine covers and original paintings. It’s a complete and lively history, covering genres individually and identifying key titles, authors, and stories, as well as advice for collectors, and four throughly updated appendices, focussing on mass-market pulp-fiction anthologies, reference books, small-press publishers specializing in reprints and a collector’s guide. Hulse, by the way, is the author of 2017’s The Art of the Pulps.
Appelman, J. Reuben, The Kill Jar: Obsession, Descent, and a Hunt for Detroit’s Most Notorious Serial Killer (true crime) | Buy this book | Kindle it! The author looks into the so-far unsolved Oakland County Child Killings from the winter of 1975-76. It’s personal.
Collins, Max Allan, & A. Brad Scwartz, Scarface and the Untouchable (non-fiction) | Buy this book|Buy the audio|Kindle it! This time it’s for real. Collins finally tears into Al Capone, Eliot Ness and the Battle for Chicago” with a huge slab of a book.
Rice, Craig, 45 Murderers (true crime) (r) |Kindle it! Reprint of a 1952 collection of 45 classic “true” crime stories Craig Rice wrote wrote for Saturday Home Magazine.
Vronsky, Peter, Sons of Cain: A History of Serial Killers From the Stone Age to the Present (true crime) | Buy this book | Kindle it! An in-depth examination of sexual serial killers throughout human history, how they evolved, and why we are drawn to their horrifying crimes.
July 2018 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Andersen, Mark, & Ralph Heibutzki, We Are the Clash (non-crime) | Buy this book | Kindle it! Heartbreaking play-by-play account of the dissolution of the band, marred by an awkward, schizophrenic, drawn-out attempt to pin every dragging beat to the politics of Thatcher, Reagan, etc. that fails to convince; never mind hide the fact that Joe and Kosmo were, well, assholes. The band mattered; this book not so much.
Chandler, Raymond, et al, The Annotated Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe) | Buy this book | Kindle it! | TD Review Bit by bit they sift through the clues, serving up 100s of notes and photos alongside the full novel, capped with a sterling intro by Jonathan Lethem. Who knows? We may even find out who killed the chauffer.
Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide Volume 48 | Buy the book The annual bible for comic collectors, full of current prices, market reports, tips and fantastic illustrations, plus articles marking the 80th anniversary of Action Comics #1, the 50th anniversary of Marvel’s 1968 expansion and the 50th anniversary of film Planet of the Apes and the comics that followed in its wake.
Beattie, Bryce,editor, Pulp Era Writing TipsPaperback (reference) | Buy this book | Kindle it! Seventeen articles on writing, culled from Writer’s Digest and other writing magazines, written by successful (if not particularly well-known) pulp era authors, on plotting, making characters memorable, writing a fight scene, writing a love scene and more. There’s some darn good advice here, practical, pragmatic and perhaps most importantly, professional. The glaring omission is Lester Dent’s “Pulp Paper Master Fiction Plot” (possibly for copyright reasons) but you can find that anywhere, even here.
Connolly, John, He (non-crime; biography) | Buy this book |Kindle it! The author of the acclaimed Charlie Parker series takes a giant step sideways, serving up a piercing and at times heartbreaking bio of film comedian Stan Laurel and his lifelong friendship with his partner, Oliver Hardy. Just a stunning achievement.
Pronzini, Bill, Son of Gun in Cheek| Buy this book |Buy the audio |Kindle it! Reprint of Pronzini’s follow-up to Gun in Cheek. A hilarious salute to some of the very best of the very worst in crime fiction, or as Pronzini calls them, “alternative classics.” Read ’em and weep… and then laugh your ass off.
January 2018 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime