Have You Heard the News?

Wherein I talk a little about what’s up in the P.I. world, for better or worse, and point toward a few recent links I thought may warrant further investigation. Feel free to comment below, or follow me on Twitter.

Did Dashiell Hammett Change the Way America Drinks?


  • Hardman Gets Ugly
    After successfully bringing the Jim Hardman and Hump Evans series back into print, Brash Books head honcho Lee Goldberg has discovered rough drafts of what was essentially an unpublished thirteenth Hardman novel, among the late author’s papers. After a little touching up, All Kinds of Ugly is due to be released in February 2020.
  • A Cultural History of Nancy Drew
    Maybe every generation gets the Nancy Drew it needs. Or deserves. A fascinating CrimeReads piece by Olivia Rutigliano (What? Her again?), on the shape-shifting Barbie of detective fiction, on the even of a yet another incarnation.
  • On Crafting A Pioneering Queer Crime Fiction Series
    Michael Nava, creator of Henry Rios, a gay San Francisco lawyer who acts like a P.I., examines the role of the P.I. as the eternal outsider, a handy stand-in for everyone of us who has ever been ostracized, bullied, dismissed or treated like shit by “society.”
  • And They’re All in Love…
    Brace yourself, all you he-man types! Some of my very favourite P.I. reads have always had some sort of romance baked right into the mix: most of Chandler of course (Marlowe was nothing  but a gun, a hat, some wisecracks and a heart of mush, really), Ross Macdonald’s The Blue Hammer (his silent prayer offered while his lover sleeps can still kick start my heart), Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon (the romance doesn’t always work out, although I truly believe Sam loved Brigid), Graham Swift’s The Light of Day (a sort-of sequel to the Falcon) and, let’s face it, most of the Spensers (you may not like Susan, but it’s undeniable that Spenser does). Like Mr. James Brown, noted social critic, scholar and hardest working man in show business once opined, “It don’t mean nothin’ without a woman or a girl…”
    And now Olivia Rutigliano, in a fascinating CrimeReads piece, is suggesting the best 1990s rom-coms are really detective stories in disguise. A fascinating theory that, and a very cool article.
  • 1970S Crime Fiction and The Incredible Rise Of ‘Regional’ Noir
    It’s not really about noir at all (or at least indirectly), but still an interesting CrimeRead’s piece by the Rap Sheet’s Jeff Pierce on how, in the 1970s and 80s, Boston, Seattle, Detroit, and other regional cities became the new capitals of crime fiction.
  • Jack Reacher comes to Amazon Prime?
    It’s just been announced that Amazon has scored the rights for a Jack Reacher series. The show, still very much in the development stages, will be a co-production of Amazon Studios, Skydance Television and Paramount Television. No word yet on casting, but Tom Cruise will definitely NOT be playiing 6’5,” 250-pound Reacher. He’ll be busy promoting the sequel to TOP GUN, although as we march off to war, what we really fucking need is a remake of BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY.
    But I digress…
  • Wherefore Art Thou, Waldo?
    Hollywood is taking a whack at adapting Howard Michael Gould’s 2018 P.I. novel, Last Looks, with Charlie Hunnam to star as Charlie Waldo, a burnt-out former LAPD detective living off the grid, who is reluctantly dragged back into his old life by an ex-lover who wants him to investigate the murder of an eccentric celebrity’s wife.  Tim Kirkby will direct, from  a screenplay by Gould (working from his own novel). Also starring Mel Gibson, Morena Baccarin, Dominic Monaghan, Eiza Gonzalez, Jacob Scipio, Clancy Brown and Paul Ben-Victor. Waldo is set to hit the big screen in 2020.
  • Perry Mason and The Lincoln Lawyer Coming to TV?
    All rise. Two (count ’em, TWO!) iconic Los Angeles defense attorneys are set to hit the boob tube soon.
    Matthew Rhys is set to star as Erle Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason in an HBO’s limited series, alongside Chris Chalk, Shea Whigham, Nate Corddry, Veronica Falcon, Jefferson May, Gayle Rankin and Lili Taylor. Even better is that the series will be set in 1930s Los Angeles.
    Which should offer a nice contrast to CBS’ production (slated for the 2019-20 TV season) of The Lincoln Lawyer, a legal drama based on Michael Connelly’s OTHER series of bestselling novels, which follows Mickey Haller (Harry Bosch’s half-brother), a flaky, corner-cutting idealist who runs his law practice out of the back of a Lincoln Town Car. Even better? The showrunner will be David E. Kelley, of Ally McBeal, Picket Fences and The Practice, a man who certainly knows his way around a quirky lawyer or two.
  • Accidental Adventures in Private Investigation
    A fascinating piece by Daniela Petrova, freelance consultant at the United Nations, and her adventures when a real-life private eye takes her up on her blurted-out offer at a party to act as his assistant, the difference between tailing a suspect and being as stalker, and how technology and social media have changed the shamus game. (CrimeReads, June 2019)


  • For more on what’s up, check out Word on the Street, for a listing of new Hardcovers, Paperbacks, Audiobooks, eBooks, Collections & Anthologies, DVDs, Blu-Rays and more.
  • Don’t forget to check out The P.I. Calendar for the latest P.I. hapenings around the world… and maybe your hometown.
Respectfully compiled by Kevin Burton Smith. Hammett photo is © The Hammett Estate.

2 thoughts on “Have You Heard the News?

  1. Hello, I just read your interview with Robert Crais re Demolition Angel and I was shocked. Pleasantly. Impressed. So how do I ‘follow you’–I am not very erudite in these matters. Eg, I follow Crais, ‘website’. I SEE your website but not sure how to ‘subscribe’, if thats the right word. Med school was easy, this isn’t. Thanks!
    Froggie (my writing handle)



      Oh, wait, sorry, I thought you were “Kyle.” To follow me, there should be a small widget in the bottom right of each page, when viewing the site on a computer. On phones and tablets, it’s at the very, very bottom.


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