Friday, August 22, 2014

I Miss the Old Days

10 Already Obsolete Things Included in the 5000-Year Westinghouse Time Capsule 

Today's Vintage Ad


The Unexpectedly Delightful Origins of 15 Common Words

The Unexpectedly Delightful Origins of 15 Common Words

PaperBack



Harvey Kurtzman, Harvey Kurtzman's Second Help!-ing (Specially revised by the author), Gold Medal, 1962

They're going to sell it as soon as they can find a fence

Women caught on camera stealing a neighbor's entire front lawn   

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Could He Have Been Reading a Certain Classic Novel?

Rick Perry Says Terrorists Could Be Entering U.S. Along Mexico Border

Robby the Robot: The Camera Whore Who Took Hollywood

Robby the Robot: The Camera Whore Who Took Hollywood 

Map of what each state is worst at

Map of what each state is worst at 

Vintage Treasures: City Under the Sea by Kenneth Bulmer

Vintage Treasures: City Under the Sea by Kenneth Bulmer

A Forgotten Series?

Black Gate: Those Sweet Silver Blues: Garrett, PI

Vintage Treasures: Pavane by Keith Roberts

Vintage Treasures: Pavane by Keith Roberts

The Long-Awaited Return of Bulldog Drummond

The Long-Awaited Return of Bulldog Drummond

FFB: Wolf House -- Jack Lynch

This is a slight revision of an FFB post from June 27, 2008.  I'm rerunning it for two reasons.  One is that Brash Books is going to reprint Jack Lynch's novels, so they won't be forgotten anymore.  This is great news.  The other reason is that I'ven ow visited Jack London State Park, where some of the book is set.  I have a few photos that I'll put on the blog to give you some local color.

It wasn't so much that I forgot about Wolf House. I didn't even know it existed until I read the bad news about Jack Lynch's death on Jiro Kimura's Gumshoe Site. (I highly recommend that you read this obituary. Lynch was an interesting guy.) At any rate, as soon as I learned about Wolf House, I bought it. After all, and we're getting to Forgotten Books now, I'd read all seven of Lynch's previous books about p.i. Peter Bragg. They were published first by Gold Medal and then by Warner Books. One was nominated for an Edgar. Two were nominated for Shamus Awards. But Lynch is pretty much fogotten now. That's too bad, because his books are quite good.

That being said, Wolfe House isn't the best of them. It was published only a few years ago by some imprint of iUniverse. I suspect that it was written earlier and that Lynch finally decided to publish it himself if he couldn't interest a mainstream press in it. There are some attitudes in the book that seem to date it back to an earlier time, though not everything does.

Some people will be put off immediately because the book begins when Bragg gets a call from a psychic who believes that someone is killing people and dumping the bodies in Jack London National Park, the location of Wolf House, a home London had begun building but which was mostly destroyed by fire. Only the shell remains. The psychic turns out to be correct, and Bragg is drawn into the search for the serial killer. There are a few holes in the plot, but this is a smoothly written p.i. novel of the kind they don't write anymore. It's not gaudy or showy, but Bragg's a good narrator, and the characters and the local color ring true. If you don't want to read this one, why not try one of Lynch's earlier books? I recommend them all, and, as I mentioned, they're about to be returned to print (and become available as eBooks) from Brash Books.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I Want to Believe!

Microbial life found living on the exterior of the International Space Station, say reports

Machu Picchu named 'world's top landmark'

Machu Picchu named 'world's top landmark'  

Slideshow warning.

Factory Town -- Jon Bassoff

I think I can safely promise that you won't read another book like Factory Town this year.  Or maybe ever.  It's a strange, dark, hallucinatory trip.  There's a prologue.  Some people, so I've heard, skip prologues.  Don't skip this one.  It's the key to what's happening in the rest of the book.  Read the epilogue, too, as it ties in very well with the prologue and the book's events.  I'm trying not to give too much away here.

Russell Carver comes to Factory Town looking for a girl named Alana.  Factory Town is nightmarish, and so are the things that happen there.  In fact, as I read some of the vividly rendered scenes in the book, I thought that John Bassoff might have been spying on my own nightmares.  As in all nightmares, strange things happen.  The picture of Alana, a computer printout, changes.  Long journeys cover short distances.  The real and the unreal shift and change.  As Carver continues to look for the girl, we gradually come to realize that he's also looking for himself and searching through his own past.  

If Factory Town is sometimes confusing, it's only because it's meant to be that way.  Everything comes together by the ending, and you'll find that the journey through the decaying landscape is well worth the trip.  Check it out.

25 Great Pieces of Life Advice From Literature

Flavorwire: 25 Great Pieces of Life Advice From Literature

Song of the Day

THE SILHOUETTES - "GET A JOB" (1957) - YouTube:

California

I have no idea who the Grim Reaper was looking for, but there he was on the streets of San Francisco.  Okay, the sidewalk.  And he was protected by traffic cones.

Today's Vintage Ad


Can there Ever Be ‘Too Much Johnson’?

Watch Orson Welles’ Long-Lost, Pre-‘Citizen Kane’ Movie ‘Too Much Johnson’ 

10 Fascinating Knives From History

10 Fascinating Knives From History

PaperBack



Gordon Mitchell, Henry's Wife, Midwood, 1961

"The Call of Cthulhu"

Mental Floss: H.P. Lovecraft keeps getting name-checked in pop culture. Here's why he matters.

Okay, maybe not in the same way that Iliad is epic

These Writing Tips From George R.R. Martin & Robin Hobb Are Just Epic

Neanderthal Update

Our life with the Neanderthals was no brief affair: (Reuters) - Far from wiping out Neanderthals overnight, modern humans rubbed along with their shorter and stockier cousins for thousands of years, giving plenty of time for the two groups to share ideas - and have sex.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

Tampa Bay Times: A Tarpon Springs man found trouble recently when he attacked the diaper aisle at a local Walmart. 

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

The most spectacular libraries in the world

The most spectacular libraries in the world 

Hat tip to Art Scott.
Really long slideshow, but some great photos.

Nicolas Cage Update

Even By Nic Cage's Bizarre Standards, Outcast Looks Off-The-Wall Insane: Stop the Oscar race, 2015. Your Best Picture winner has been found.  

Hat tip to Randy Johnson.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

Man chokes cabbie with phone cord after trying to pay with fake $100 bill

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Coming in November from Stark House

A triple-decker with three of Peter Rabe's excellent Daniel Port novels.  You can't go wrong with this one, but then that's par for the course with Stark House books.  As you can see, the cover says this is "Daniel Port Omnibus 1," so that must mean there'll be another one.  Definitely something to look forward to.  You can order it at this link.

As a bonus, Rick Ollerman provides a fine introduction to the volume and also has some things to say about Rabe's spy novels with Manny DeWitt.  

A long time ago, I wrote about Rabe for Twentieth Century Crime & Mystery Writers, and I'm quoted on the back cover of this volume.  I haven't changed my opinion.  

A Peek into my Past

5 Forgotten Writers Whose Works Inspired Me When I Was Much Younger

So It's Come to This

'Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide' to Cease Publication:  In a blog post last night, Joe Leydon, critic for Variety and a contributor to Maltin's guide, announced that the 2015 edition, due for release September 2, will be the last. 

Hat tip to Steve Stilwell.

Once Again Texas Leads the Way

Father of 'affluenza' teen arrested for allegedly pretending to be a Texas policeman   

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Treasure Coast -- Tom Kakonis

Tom Kakonis is back, and Brash Books has him.  Kakonis published several excellent hardboiled novels (Michigan Roll and Criss- Cross come to mind) back in the late '80s, early '90s and then more or less disappeared.  Brash Books is bringing the early novels back and has published a brand-new one, Treasure Coast.

Jim Merriman is a down-on-his luck gamber who's in Florida to see his dying sister, to whom he makes the rash promise that he'll take care of her grown son, a loser who, unknown to Jim, is deeply in debt for his own gambling losses.  Even worse, two collectors are after him, and one of them is a seriously mean and slightly crazy guy.

Meanwhile, Bryce Bott and his accomplice, Waneta, are trying out the tombstone-selling game, not that any stones would ever be delivered.  While talking to potential clients,  Bott comes up with a new scheme.  He and Waneta will become intermediaries between the living and the dead, with Waneta bringing messages from the Other Side.

And even meaner-while, Big Lonnie and his not-so-loving wife are entertaining guests, with Big Lonnie being entertained by his wife after the guests are gone.  These disparate groups are all about to come together in a wild kidnapping plot that's rips along as fast as the hurricane that's bearing down on the Treasure Coast.  This is prime stuff, and when you read it, you'll wonder where Kakonis has been and be really glad that he's back.

“Musings on the Egg and the Detective” (by Mark Evan Walker)

“Musings on the Egg and the Detective” (by Mark Evan Walker) | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN: Mark Evan Walker has posted twice before on this blog, the first time about his work as an illustrator (he’s one of EQMM’s finest and most regular art contributors) and the second time in tribute to the fictional character Michael Shayne. His knowledge of crime fiction is extensive and detailed, as you’ll see in this post that examines the role eggs—including recipes for cooking them—have played in crime fiction.

This Is Exactly Why We Need 911

Man Calls 911 To Complain That Stripper Would Not Have Sex With Him

All My Readers Know this Stuff Already

33 "Facts" Everybody Knows That Are Actually Total Lies

Song of the Day

Depeche Mode - Just Can't Get Enough (Remastered Video) - YouTube:

Will Texas Lead The Way?

'Purge night' threats concern The Woodlands residents: Thieves and murderers running the streets for one night of violence with no one stopping them, that's the premise of the movie "The Purge." But now posts circulating on social media are calling to bring the big screen to life, threatening a "purge night" in Texas on August 29th.

California

I was sitting on the patio in Sonoma when these planes flew over.  I had only my phone, but I managed a quick snapshot.  You can't easily tell, but a couple of them are biplanes from the Vintage Aircraft Co.  If I ever go back to Sonoma, maybe I'll take a ride in one of them or in the Texan.

Today's Vintage Ad


10 Crimes Solved By A Tiny Piece Of Evidence

10 Crimes Solved By A Tiny Piece Of Evidence

PaperBack



Whit Harrison (Harry Whittington), Girl on Parole, Venus Books, 1953

Willie Nelson Does a Card Trick

Willie Nelson Does a Card Trick

Guilty as Charged

27 Signs You're A Bit Of A Hoarder

Here’s Why We Need to Protect Public Libraries

The Public Library: Here’s Why We Need to Protect Public Libraries

Debut Novels With Big Advances: Where Are They Now?

Debut Novels With Big Advances: Where Are They Now?