Saturday, July 26, 2008

Scribe Awards

Winners in bold type. Link via Lee Goldberg.


CSI NY: DELUGE by Stuart M. Kaminsky
MURDER SHE WROTE: PANNING FOR MURDER by Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain


**AMERICAN GANGSTER by Max Allan Collins


LAST DAYS OF KRYPTON by Kevin J. Anderson


HITMAN: ENEMY WITHIN by William C. Dietz


52: THE NOVEL by Greg Cox
**30 DAYS OF NIGHT by Tim Lebbon


**NANCY DREW AND THE CLUE CREW #10: TICKET TROUBLE by Stacia Deutsch & Rhody Cohon


**THE 12 DOGS OF CHRISTMAS by Steven Paul Leiva

Parker Goes Graphic

It's all on the Dark Forces blog.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Houston lands $43 million in federal security grants | - Houston Chronicle: "WASHINGTON — The Houston area on Friday won more than $43 million in federal assistance to help deal with potential terrorist attacks and natural disasters such as hurricanes — a whopping 72 percent increase over the year before.

'I think (the Department of Homeland Security) recognizes that Houston could be a major target,' said Dennis Storemski, director of Mayor Bill White's Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security. 'You have chemical plants that could be used as a weapon of mass destruction.'"

New Songs on the Jukebox

In honor of today's trailer, I've added a couple of Jimmy Clanton songs to the jukebox.

Let's Make Joe Lansdale a Best-Selling Author

Yeah, yeah, I know. He already is. But let's do it again. Buy your copy of Leather Maiden from Amazon or B&N on August 5, and make him #1! Failing that, show up at Murder by the Book on August 20, where you can get a signed copy and hear Kasey Lansdale and her band. What a deal!

Go, Johnny, Go

Friday, July 25, 2008

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Freeport man busted for licking cop's face | TOP STORIES | | News for Houston, Texas: "FREEPORT, Texas -- A Freeport police officer took a licking this week -- literally.

A suspect was charged with felony assault of a public servant after allegedly licking Sgt. Jay Newton on the face early Wednesday."


Boston Dynamics: The Leader in Lifelike Human Simulation: "The Most Advanced Quadruped Robot on Earth
BigDog is the alpha male of the Boston Dynamics family of robots. It is a quadruped robot that walks, runs, and climbs on rough terrain and carries heavy loads. BigDog is powered by a gasoline engine that drives a hydraulic actuation system. BigDog's legs are articulated like an animal’s, and have compliant elements that absorb shock and recycle energy from one step to the next. BigDog is the size of a large dog or small mule, measuring 1 meter long, 0.7 meters tall and 75 kg weight."

I recommend the video at the link. Hat tip to jj solari.

I'll Bet The Aggies Are Laughing Already

Burnt popcorn prompts evacuation at UT dorm - KHOU Weird World Blog: "An entire campus dormitory was evacuated overnight Thursday after residents reported a strong odor wafting from the fourth floor.

They were unable to identify the smell, so emergency officials evacuated all 200 people inside as hazmat crews investigated, KVUE-TV reports.

That's when they discovered the devious -- but delicious -- culprit.

But it gets even better. About 45 people complained of respiratory problems as a result of the popcorn smell."

Great Opening Sentences From Science Fiction

Opening Sentences: Great Opening Sentences From Science Fiction: "You can tell a lot about a science fiction book from its first sentence."

Check 'em out. Thanks to Gerard Saylor for the link.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way (Hooters Edition)

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link.

Boy exits child care, goes to Hooters | Denton Record-Chronicle | News for Denton County, Texas | Local News: "A 5-year-old boy slipped out of the Imagination Station child care center unnoticed Tuesday afternoon, crossed two busy streets and wandered to a restaurant on the Interstate 35E service road in 100-degree heat.

Employees of Hooters found the child safe about 5:20 p.m. He left the child care center in the 2300 block of San Jacinto Boulevard, crossed the Interstate 35E northbound service road and Dallas Drive, bought a soft drink at a service station and walked to Hooters, where an employee found him in the parking lot and called police."

Gator Update (Molestation of a Gator Edition)

The Ledger: "Three South Florida men were arrested on July 12 for feeding gators in the Everglades.

The trio happened to be airboat captains feeding the gators to impress tourists they were showing around the Glades.
[. . . . ]
Two of the men - from Fort Lauderdale and Hialeah - were charged with feeding alligators, and the third man from Fort Lauderdale was charged with molesting a gator."

Forgotten Books: ASSAULT ON MING -- Alan Caillou

Alan Caillou had quite a career, not just as a writer but as a soldier, spy, actor, and writer. My favorite among his works was the Assault series, six books published by Avon in the late 1960s. Their protagonist is Cabot Cain, a genius who knows all about everything (he teaches at Stanford, among other places); stands 6 feet, seven inches tall; speaks just about any language you can think of; is quite the world traveler; and is (of course) irresistible to women.

All the books have exotic settings, and Caillou was expert in conveying the local color. The descriptions are so vivid and so crammed with specific details that it's hard for me to imagine that he wasn't sitting in Macao when he wrote Assault on Ming (which was nominated for an Edgar for best paperback).

Also, all the books are propelled by Cain's energetic first-person narration. In Ming, he's hired to find the missing daughter of a wealthy man. So far, nothing new. In fact, there's really nothing new in the book, but it's the execution that's fun. Cain doesn't just know everything. At times he's compelled to share. Working his way though a tunnel, he encounters an iron grille:

The heavy bars were welded at the cross-joints and cemented at the right-angled corners into the granite in which the vents had been cut. . . . It looked as though the cement were Portland, and the fresh waters on the coast here are heavily alkalai -- a bad combination; they should have used Portland-Pozzolana, which would have given better adhesion.

But it's the next paragraph I like best. I won't quote it, but in it Cain describes how he's going to pry the bars loose with an anchor. He gives the angle at the fulcrum, the cooefficient of shrinkage in the cement (0.0765), the pressure required at the end of the lever both with and without taking into account the curve of the bill, and more. There's stuff like this in all the books, and I found it great fun.

Caillou died only a couple of years ago, but I suspect very few fans of adventure fiction remember him at all. That's a shame, because he did several other entertaining series. Check 'em out.

Untamed Youth

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Scientists recover complete dinosaur skeleton: "TOKYO (AP) - Japanese and Mongolian scientists have successfully recovered the complete skeleton of a 70-million-year-old young dinosaur, a nature museum announced Thursday.

The scientists uncovered a Tarbosaurus—related to the giant carnivorous Tyrannosaurus—from a chunk of sandstone they dug up in August, 2006 in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, said Takuji Yokoyama, a spokesman for the Hayashibara Museum of Natural Sciences, a co-organizer of the joint research project.

'We were so lucky to have found remains that turned out to be a complete set of all the important parts,' he said."

The Balcony Is Closed

Roger Ebert remembers.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Sticky Obama issue with McKains brings Sugar Land cops | - Houston Chronicle: "SUGAR LAND — In case their Plantation Bend neighbors had any questions about how Doug and Wendy McKain feel about Barack Obama, the bumper sticker on their pickup could be a clue.

But when Chynethia Gragg spotted the sticker — depicting someone urinating on the name 'Obama' — Sugar Land police say, she stopped to express her disapproval, and that's when things got ugly."


MTV readies 'Rocky Horror' redux - Entertainment News, Film News, Media - Variety: "MTV is doing the time warp on a remake of 1975 cult classic 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show.'

Lou Adler, exec producer of the original film, is partnering with BermanBraun and Fox Television Studios on the new rendition.

Two-hour remake will use the original screenplay by Jim Sharman and Richard O'Brien but may also include music not featured in the original."

UFO Update

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link.

Moon-walker claims alien contact cover-up | "FORMER NASA astronaut and moon-walker Dr Edgar Mitchell - a veteran of the Apollo 14 mission - has stunningly claimed aliens exist.
And he says extra-terrestrials have visited Earth on several occasions - but the alien contact has been repeatedly covered up by governments for six decades.

Dr Mitchell, 77, said during a radio interview that sources at the space agency who had had contact with aliens described the beings as 'little people who look strange to us.'"

TV Alert

2:00 PM (Eastern) Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
Detective Mike Hammer fights to solve the murder of a beautiful hitchhiker with a mysterious connection to the Mob. Cast: Ralph Meeker, Cloris Leachman, Albert Dekker. Dir: Robert Aldrich. BW-106 mins, TV-PG, Letterbox Format

That's TCM, Turner Classic Movies.

Thanks to Doc Quatermass for the tip.

Internet Radio, the '60s: The Boss is Back

Radio Bop 60s - The Boss Is Back!: "Radio Bop 60s celebrates the great music of the most important decade of the modern musical era...the decade that gave us the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones...we're talking (of course) the SIXTIES!

Radio Bop 60s also pays homage to the great Rock ‘n Roll radio stations of the particular, Boss Radio 93/KHJ Los Angeles when it launched in 1965 and moved up to #1 in 'Boss Angeles' in a matter of weeks."

You can listen at the link. Hat tip to Mike McGruff.

Or, if you want some '50s mixed in with the '60s, click here. Some great stuff.

And the Froggie, Never Flitting, Still is Sitting. . .

. . . still is sitting . . . . Faithful readers may recall this photo, posted back on June 18. I thought the frog would be either gone or dead within hours. But he's still there, as you can see in this snapshot.

The Ultimate Amateur Private Eye Guide: 50 Free Services to Dig Up Info on Anyone

Internet Service Deals � The Ultimate Amateur Private Eye Guide: 50 Free Services to Dig Up Info on Anyone: "Whether you’re an employer trying to research a sketchy job candidate, someone suspicious of the show-off date they found online, or trying to research sex offenders in your area, there are a number of free Web tools to turn you into an amateur private eye. Check out our list of 50 totally free services that will let you dig up the dirt on anyone."

Mike Ripley's Latest Column Posted at Shots Magazine

The column is here, and the magazine's front page is here. Some fine stuff, as always.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

When Prisoners Diet: Update

Waller jail works to prevent another skinny-inmate escape | - Houston Chronicle: "A murder suspect whose dramatic weight loss helped him escape from the Waller County Jail over the weekend has been arrested after Houston police found him swimming in a hotel pool.

Police tracked Darryl Layne Norris on Tuesday evening to a northwest Houston hotel, where he was arrested after taking a dip."

Are you Roman Tonight?

Are you Roman tonight? Statue of 'Elvis' chiselled 1800 years before his birth goes under the hammer | Mail Online: "With his dashing chiselled features, swept back hair and perky bouffant the resemblance is unmistakable.

But incredibly this carving of Elvis Presley was created around 1800 years before the King of Rock and Roll first warbled his first note.

The Roman Elvis is in fact a genuine marble acroterion - a kind of architectural ornament often found for decoration on the corners of a sarcophagus, a stone tomb or burial chamber."

It's Raymond Chandler's Birthday

It's not a national holiday, but it deserves a celebration. And what better way than with some quotations from the novels? The Rap Sheet's got 'em.

The 30 Dumbest People in Hollywood

A notable list. Why? Paris Hilton isn't on it!

Hat tip to Mike McGruff.


Being an Old Guy, I like newspapers, and headlines like this depress me. I learned to read from the comics section of the Mexia Daily News, to which my parents subscribed, along with the Dallas Morning News. I don't know how long their subscription to the Mexia paper ran, but my father was still a subscriber when he died. So well over sixty years. He and my mother had given up the Dallas paper years earlier, as had I, but for different reasons.

When I left home for The University of Texas at Austin, one of the first things I discovered was that I could have the DMN delivered to the door of my dorm room, so I subscribed. It was the paper I knew, and I didn't bother subbing to the Austin paper at the time.

After I left college, I taught school in Corsicana, where I again subscribed the the DMN, and after Judy and I married and moved to Denton, I subbed again. When we moved to Austin for more graduate work, we subscribed to the DMN and to both the morning and afternoon Austin papers. In Brownwood after grad school, I took the Brownwood paper, and, of course, the DMN. It was only when we moved here to Alvin that I finally stopped subbing to the DMN. I could get it, but only by mail, several days late, so I reluctantly gave up reading it after more than thirty years.

I didn't give up newspapers, though. We subscribed to both the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Post. The Post is gone now, but we still take the Chronicle.

I can't imagine a world without newspapers, but I suppose that's where we're headed. I don't know that we'll be any the worse for it. There's plenty of news on the Internet, more than I can handle. Still, I'll miss settling down in the armchair and unfolding the newspaper. I've been doing it nearly every day for a long, long time. I think I'll go do it now.

Top 10 Misspelled Tattoos

You can see them here. My favorite isn't there, though. I saw it on an inmate when I was teaching prison classes. "Born Too Loose."

Hat tip to Neatorama.

We're from the Government, and We're Here to Protect You - Fliers Complain About X-Rated Security Screenings: "TSA Agents Forced Woman To Remove Nipple Rings, Pulled Pants Off Disabled Man
When travelers go to the airport, they know what kind of security to expect: luggage searches, metal detectors and shoe inspections.

It's all part of our post 9-11 reality enforced by the Transportation Security Adminstration. But as CBS 2 Investigator Pam Zekman reports, thousands of travelers have complained that some of these screenings can become abusive and even x-rated."

Carnival Rock

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

EQMM, Sept/Oct 2008

Got the new issue in the mail yesterday. The Ed Hoch story is another reprint (first U. S. publication, though), and next month will see the last story that Ed worked on for the magazine, completed by Jon Breen. Talk about the end of an era! Loren Estleman has a very funny Nero Wolfe pastiche, and Tom Piccirilli has a fine hardboiled story. I've made some brief comments on both at Nasty, Brutish, and Short. Lots of other good stories, too, as always.

Free Fiction

Victor Gischler's offering a free .pdf copy of his short story "Duffers of the Apocalypse" from Damned Near Dead. Surely you already have a copy of that fine anthology, which also includes the Edgar-nominated "Cranked," by a fine writer who's too modest to mention his name here. But if you don't have the anthology and if you're too cheap to buy it, you can click here for details of how to get Victor's story. Or you can click here to read "Cranked." You'll have to scroll down for the link to the story.

Forgotten Books

Patti Abbott has put up a list of all the books discussed so far in the "Forgotten Books" blog project. You can see it here.

In Bruges

I found In Bruges very dark and very funny, often both at the same time. Ken (Brendan Gleeson) and Ray (Colin Farrell) are a couple of hitmen sent to Bruges by their boss, Harry (Ralph Fiennes). They're to hide out there after Ray screws up his first hit by killing both his target and a boy who happens to be on the scene.

Ken tries to make the best of things, doing the tourist bit and admiring the medieval buildings and canals and such. Ray hates the place and doesn't mind saying so. He's very depressed until he discovers a that a film's being made there. The sight of the film set cheers him up, and the woman he sees on the set cheers him up even more. Or as much as he can be cheered, as he's in serious depression over having killed the boy.

The movie ambles along, and for a while it had me wondering where it was headed. I pretty much clued in, though, and that's all I have to say about it the plot. The movie's
not about killing, really, or the plot. It's about friendship and about having principles. It's not the kind of movie Hollywood would have made from the same elements, and I enjoyed its quirky charm.

Peru Update

When we were in Peru, guinea pig was served on several occasions. I passed. There's a photo at the link, thoughtfully provided by Jeff Meyerson.

Jeff now sends a further update with video. Click here.

Guinea pigs are dressed up for dinner | "Two Guinea pigs, wearing Peruvian local dresses, are displayed during the Guinea pig food (sic).

Guinea pigs are native to the high Andes, and have been an important source of protein for millennia.

Nowadays, in Peru, the animal is served with a generous portion of Andean tubers."

Lost, Lonely, and Vicious

Monday, July 21, 2008

Must-See TV

Especially that last one.

"SCI FI Channel announced a slate of 36 new original action movies--up from 2008's total of 24--slated for its SCI FI Saturday timeslot and a new Sunday-evening movie slot, beginning next year.

A list of some of the 2009 films follows.

--Malibu Shark Attack. Peta Wilson (La Femme Nikita) stars in a thriller about prehistoric sharks that attack Malibu Beach.

--Hellhounds. Hades and his hellhounds thwart a hero's journey to the underworld to bring a princess back to life. Directed by Rick Schroeder (NYPD Blue).

--Lost Treasure of the Grand Canyon. A journey for a lost treasure leads to the discovery of an Aztec culture. Stars Shannen Doherty and former Stargate SG-1 regular Michael Shanks.

--Lake Placid 3. The sequel to SCI FI's highest-rated original movie of 2007, Lake Placid 2."

Happy Birthday, Kay Starr!

Kay Starr - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "She was born Katherine Laverne Starks on a reservation in Dougherty, Oklahoma. Her father, Harry, was a full-blooded Iroquois Indian; her mother, Annie, was of mixed Irish and American Indian heritage. When her father got a job installing water sprinkler systems for the Automatical Sprinkler Company, the family moved to Dallas, Texas. There, her mother raised chickens, whom Kay used to serenade in the coop. Kay's aunt Nora was impressed by her 7-year-old niece's singing and arranged for her to sing on a Dallas radio station, WRR. First she took a talent competition by storm, finishing 3rd one week and placing first every week thereafter. Eventually she had her own 15-minute show. She sang pop and 'hillbilly' songs with a piano accompaniment. By age 10 she was making $3 a night, which was quite a salary in the Depression days."


Court tosses FCC 'wardrobe malfunction' fine: "PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A federal appeals court on Monday threw out a $550,000 indecency fine against CBS Corp. for the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show that ended with Janet Jackson's breast-baring 'wardrobe malfunction.'

The three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Federal Communications Commission 'acted arbitrarily and capriciously' in issuing the fine for the fleeting image of nudity."

Tigerheart -- Peter David

Peter David is one versatile guy. He's had an enviable career and written all kinds of books, from Star Trek novels to a werewolf tale (Howling Mad). He's been on the NYTBR bestseller list and scripted many comic books (he had along run with The Incredible Hulk). Now he's taking his turn at the story of Peter Pan, or what I suppose Hollywood would call a "reimagining" of the story.

A boy named Paul Dear has a vivid imagination. He talks to pixies and loves his father's stories of mermaids and such. When his infant sister dies, the family is torn apart, and Paul goes to the Anyplace to find another baby for his mother. The Anyplace and its inhabitants, though they don't have the names Barrie gave them, are clearly analogues of Neverland, Peter Pan, and his various pals and enemies. Sort of like Neverland in an alternate universe.

There's plenty action, what with pirates, storms, Indians, giant tigers, and such. There's also humor and pathos, along with a lot of things about growing up. It's all held together by the voice of the omniscient narrator, who doesn't at all mind intruding and making amusing comments along the way. David is having his fun here, and while the book is supposedly aimed at a young audience, there's plenty for adults, too. It's hard for me to believe that David doesn't have certain contemporary adult concerns in mind when he writes that ". . . The Boy never sways from his course, secure that he never misspeaks; never makes mistakes; and never does anything that isn't justified, no matter how unjustified. Thus are the dangers of living in an insular world surrounded by those who tell you only what you want to hear rather than what you need to." Or maybe I'm reading too much into it.

It's not necessary to be familiar with Barrie's novel to read this one, but if you do know Peter Pan, you'll find plenty of inside jokes to cheer you along. I enjoyed the book, but it's certainly different from, say, a Gold Medal novel. You've been warned.

Once Again, New York Leads the Way

NUDE DINING BECOMING MORE POPULAR IN NEW YORK - New York Post: "Welcome to Nude York City.

Some folks are stripping down to escape the scorching summer temperatures - but others aren't waiting 'til they hit the area's clothing-optional beaches.

The au naturel look is catching on at city restaurants, a Midtown yoga club and even a stand-up comedy joint."

This Guy's Had More Fun than I Have

Robert Altman on 'blowing dope' with the Rolling Stones - Times Online: "In this life I have been hung on by Janis Joplin; smoked dope with the Stones; smorgasborded with Mel Torme; crashed a $1,000-a-head party with Tony Bennett; was the actress Jane Russell’s dinner escort; been photographed by Jerry Garcia; danced with the MGM star Marge Champion as well as slow-danced with Lana Turner’s infamous daughter Cheryl Crane; shared intimate thoughts about girlfriends with Carlos Santana; and recently listened to Eddie Fisher tell me that Liz Taylor had just called him after decades of silence."

Vampire Update

Vampires The Celtic Connection (from Sunday Herald): "A 4000-YEAR-OLD 'vampire' grave, believed to be the world's first burial place for one of the presumed 'undead', has been discovered in eastern Europe. It bares spookily similar hallmarks to Celtic tombs in the British Isles designed to prevent bloodsucking 'revenants'.

These were recently buried people who were believed to rise from the grave, walk the earth and prey on the living.

The discovery of the grave during a routine archaeological dig of an early Bronze Age burial site in Mikulovice, eastern Bohemia, in the Czech Republic means that Dracula and the rest of his vampiric brood can now trace their bloodline back at least 4000 years."

Cry Baby Killer

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Once Again, New York Leads the Way

LAP-DANCE 'BORDELLO' - New York Post: "Sex with a porn star? $5,000.

Cocaine? Negotiable with the 'house dealer.'

Booze and Viagra? Bring your own.

The cold-cuts buffet? Gratis."

A Gallery of Jokers

A brief history of the Joker - Los Angeles Times: "Where did the Joker come from?"

Not Me, However

Hi-tech is turning us all into time-wasters | Science | The Observer: "Time-wasting is not just an irritating habit. It is an affliction that ruins millions of lives and often requires therapy and other treatment for sufferers, psychologists have warned.

According to new research, one person in five now suffers from the problem so badly that their careers, relationships and health are threatened. Many researchers blame computers and mobile phones for providing too many distractions for people."

Croc Update (Don't Mess with Leopards Edition)

Leopard savaging a crocodile caught on camera - Telegraph: "The astonishing spectacle of a leopard savaging a crocodile has been captured for the first time on camera."

Great photos at the link, for which a tip of the Crider chapeau to Gerard Saylor.

From Charles Ardai at Hard Case Crime


If you visit the Hard Case Crime web site -- -- and click on the book cover you see there, you'll be taken to a page that shows our forthcoming titles for the next several months. At the very top you'll see a book we just added to the site: HOUSE DICK by E. Howard Hunt. Hunt is a rather interesting figure, both popular (for the more than 70 novels he wrote over the course of his career as a crime writer) and notorious (for his role in the Watergate burglary that brought down President Richard Nixon in the 1970s -- Hunt served almost 3 years in prison as a result). Hunt is not the only author ever to mix real and fictional crime (I think of, among others, Al Nussbaum, who was on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list for bank robbery before beginning a career as a writer of terrific mystery stories), but Hunt is perhaps the highest profile of the lot. HOUSE DICK is my personal favorite of Hunt's novels, a very satisfying hardboiled detective story about skullduggery in (of all settings) a Washington D.C. hotel. It'll be 2009 before that one hits stores -- but you can already enjoy the first chapter on our web site today.

Also coming in 2009: an entirely new series that I'll be editing and the folks at Dorchester will be publishing, called THE ADVENTURES OF GABRIEL HUNT. This series is intended to be to pulp adventure fiction what Hard Case Crime is to crime fiction. It will tell the continuing story of a modern-day adventurer traveling the globe in pursuit of priceless artifacts and lost civilizations. Anyone who grew up reading H. Rider Haggard and Edgar Rice Burroughs, or Alexandre Dumas and Sax Rohmer, or Doc Savage and the Avenger...or who grew up watching adventure movies starring Buster Crabbe or Harrison Ford...will find a lot to enjoy in the Hunt novels. You can get a glimpse of the cover art for the first book at -- and if you're interested in hearing more about the series as it gets closer to launching, you'll find instructions for signing up for a dedicated Gabriel Hunt mailing list.

What else is on tap? After years of real-world detective work, we have finally succeeded in tracking down the children of a writer named Robert B. Parker and securing the right to reprint his best book, PASSPORT TO PERIL. This is not the same Robert B. Parker who writes the Spenser mysteries today -- this Robert B. Parker died in 1955, after an impressive career as a war reporter in WWII and working for the United Nations afterward. His work is irresistible (how can you resist a book that opens with a desperate couple jumping off the Orient Express into a snowbank to escape the clutches of a former Nazi?), and we're excited to have the chance to bring it back into print.

But all this is next year's fare. What if you're hungry for a great read today? Go to your local bookstore and ask for a copy of Steve Fisher's NO HOUSE LIMIT -- a gripping and memorable tale of crime in 1950s Las Vegas that has been winning raves from readers and reviewers alike -- or for our August title (which should hit stores any day now), BABY MOLL by best-selling thriller writer John Farris.

After that, we begin a run of four brand new novels, starting with Ken Bruen and Jason Starr's THE MAX (sequel to BUST and SLIDE), then Max Allan Collins' THE FIRST QUARRY (prequel to THE LAST QUARRY), and then David J. Schow's GUN WORK and our big "50th anniversary" book, my own FIFTY-TO-ONE.

Books -- Larry McMurtry

Books is a sort of booking memoir in which Larry McMurtry tells stories of his adventures in the booking trade, as bookseller, book scout, and collector. In more than 100 short (often very short) chapters, he tells stories that everyone who collects of accumulates books will find familiar. You might even be a bit envious, as I am, of his wonderful paperback collection (who knew?). Or you might be surprised that while he claims not to read fiction anymore, he quotes Robert B. Parker's Potshot. You might also be surprised at some of the blood-thirsty kinds of things he's collected over the years. You'll surely enjoy his tales of the big ones he's caught and the big ones that got away.

However, if you're looking for a plot or some kind or organizing principle, you've come to the wrong place. I don't believe McMurtry even did much research. I think he just wrote his tales down as they came to him, hence the numerous appearances of "I believe" that imply that the story might not be exactly as he's told it. That didn't bother me at all. I read the whole thing in one big gulp and had a fine time doing it.

When Prisoners Diet

Inmate loses weight, escapes through jail vent - Yahoo! News: "HEMPSTEAD, Texas - A man charged with murder escaped from jail early Saturday by climbing through an air conditioner vent, authorities said.

The vent was less than a foot wide, and authorities said Darryl Layne Norris had been losing weight since arriving at the Waller County Jail in April.

'We just found out he's been slimming down a lot recently,' Waller County Sheriff Randy Smith said."

The Land Unknown