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. And scroll on down to see what’s new on this site.


  • Our First-Ever Noir at the Bar!
    On Saturday, May 23, former fiction editors Victoria Esposito and Gerald So joined me, via ZOOM, for an evening of readings from the Thrilling Detective Gang, past and present. Details here
  • An Equalizer Reboot?
    With the foul taste of Spenser Confidential still lingering in our mouths like an unwelcome guest, CBS has just announced that they’ve given a pilot green light to a re-imagining of the classic TV series, The Equalizer, with Queen Latifah stepping in as vigilante-for-hire Robert McCall. Will she be Roberta McCall? Hard to say–details are scant at this point, although those taking offense at this latest reboot should consider this: after already cannibalizing the original for Denzel, what’s left to save, anyway? Still, I really wish the film and television industries had more writers and producers who could actually imagine, not just re-imagine.
  • On Deck
    A new feature I’m trying out, where I list a half dozen or so of the upcoming releases I’m looking forward to in the next few months.It’s wholly subjective, and for all I know, they may all turn out to be dogs, but right now, these are all looking pretty promising. What are YOU looking forward to?
  • Is the world ready for more… Dummy Noir?
    Looks like Jonathan Geffner’s Van Trillo and Suede  is back in a big way, or at least big enough to do a quickie, Coronavirus-inspired one-off, as the 1940s private eye team must solve the gripping, suspenseful and timely mystery of “The Toilet Paper Caper,” available now on YouTube!
  • Danny and Harry: Private Detectives
    Danny’s a cat. Harry’s a seagul. Now get over it. The slowly unfolding saga has been unravelling at a snail’s pace, with a new episode every six months or so (part four of “The Case of the Missing Trunk” dropped last September), but the end of this delightfully anthropomorphic romp/parody is in sight, and to mark the occasion, comic pros Walter Brogan and Charles Santino are crowd sourcing to collect all six parts in digital graphic novel. Even better? As an enticement, they’re offering a black and white ten-page caper, “Set-Up for a Fall,” completely free, if you sign up for their newsletter.
  • Got Pulp?
    There’s some big news for pulp fans from Steeger Books–they’re about to release the first six volumes in their much awaited Black Mask Library, featuring series characters, short stories and stand-alone novels, showcasing some of the best of Black Mask from the thirties and forties, including collections featuring Robert Reeves’ Cellini Smith, D.L. Champion’s Rex Sackler, Merle Constiner’s Luther McGavock, Ed Lybeck’s Harrigan of The New York Leader, and Stewart Sterling’s undercover cop Johnny Hi Gear. Also available is the first reprint ever of legendary editor Joseph T. Shaw‘s hard-boiled crime novel, Blood on the Curb, originally published in 1936. Additional installments, we’re told, should be released in the near future. Sure.
  • Spenser Confidential
    Well, the show’s now streaming on Netflix, and the reviews are coming up. Mine’s up, as well, and it ain’t pretty.
  • What the Hell’s going On in Thailand?
    No, really. Two of my favourite private eye series (both coincidentally set in Bangkok), Timothy Hallinan’s Poke Rafferty series, and fellow Canadian Christopher Moore’s Vincent Calvino series, have announced that they’re unleashing their final books in those series this year. Hallinan’s Street Music is coming in May, while Moore’s  Dance Me to the End is out in January.
  • 8 Million Ways to Die (1986): An Autopsy of the Great L.A. Noir That Never Was
    Sam Wiebe, cinematic coroner, makes the big Y cut on the 1986 film adaptation of Lawrence Block’s classic novel, featuring private eye Matt Scudder. The conclusion? “A fucking mess.”
  • Netflix is Thinking of a Chinatown “Prequel”
    And they’ve already recruited Robert Towne (the original writer of both Chinatown and its sequel, The Two Jakes) and David Fincher to write a pilot. What do I think of this? As little as possible.
  • 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.
  • 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.


By no means comprehensive, but the following are some of the new or recently updated entries  and features on the site, as well as a few that just tickled my fancy. Hopefully, they’ll tickle yours, too.


Did Dashiell Hammett Change the Way America Drinks?
Respectfully compiled by Kevin Burton Smith. Hammett photo is © The Hammett Estate.


4 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.


  2. I’m new to this site and love to read a good detective book. I’ve been reading Robert Galbraith, CJ Sansom and Delores Redondo just to name a few and was wondering if you could recommend a good thriller. Sorry to be so blunt but there are so many authors out there but I would really like to know one from your personal choice. Many thanks, Anthony


    1. Jeez, put me on the spot, why doncha? 🙂

      But if you enjoyed Galbraith, you might get a kick out of the similar-in-tone ODDS AGAINST, by the late, great Dick Francis. Francis’ empathetic handling of damaged detective Sid Halley still rings true and clear all these years later. If you like that one, Francis wrote a lot of books.


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