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.
NEW ON THE SITE
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.
- Ken Franklin Our old pal Jim Doherty returns, and gives us an entry on an obscure British P.I. show from the fifties, starring Art “Jeopardy” Fleming!
- New to the Authors & Creators Page Two fifties wordslingers, William Ard and Frank Kane.
- Robert Leslie Bellem Finally wrapped up an extensive update of Bellem’s Dan Turner stories.
- South of Sunset Glenn Frey of The Eagles starred as a P.I. But it wasn’t a long run.
- Tom Alder, a private eye from Frank Gruber, who appears in just one novel, although it was also a film with a screenplay by Gruber, starring David Jannsen.
- Frank Gruber’s“Fool-proof” 11 Point Formula for Mystery Short Stories Please–use it for good, not evil.
- Carney Wilde One of my favourite eyes from the fifties, and one who truly deserves to be revived.
- “The Phantom of the Follies” A new short story–in comic form–by our old pla Ron Miller,featuring stripper turned detective Velda Bellinghausen.
- “The Curse of Mwabwebe-Tutu” by Ron Miller. What could be better than a new Velda story? Two new Velda stories.
- The Big Man’s Daughter Gord McAlinie’s latest shape-shifting novel plays fast and loose with Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon. Fasten your seat belt.
- The Best Anthologies of Original P.I. Stories Another entry in our Murder in the Library section.
- Steve Bentley You ask me, there just aren’t enough hard-boiled chartered accountants.
AND DON’T FORGET
- Word on the Street A listing of new Hardcovers, Paperbacks, Audio, eBooks, Collections & Anthologies, Non-fiction, Reference & True Crime, Comics & Graphic Novels, DVDs & Blu-Rays and our latest, On Deck, wherein I list a handful of upcoming releases in the next few months that I’m personally looking forward to. Your mileage may vary…
- The P.I. Calendar The latest P.I. hapenings around the world… and maybe your hometown.