Saturday, November 22, 2014

Detectives Beyond Borders goes back Off the Cuff, with pictures

I'm up once again at Dietrich Kalteis' Off the Cuff, one of my nourish photos illustrating Dietrich's discussion with Martin J. Frankson and their guest, author-filmmaker Glynis Whiting, of how writers do their thing.

Above and right is photo in question, and here (at left I think) is one of Dietrich that I took at Bouchercon 2014 in Long Beach. The rest are a few shots from Southern California, with signs of habitation by humans and earlier creatures. All photo by Peter Rozovsky, your humble blogkeeper.

© Peter Rozovsky 2014

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Book shopping in Southern California

Cat at Gatsby Books, Long Beach, Calif. Photos by Peter
Rozovsky, your humble blogkeeper.
Secondhand bookshops may not be the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of Southern California, but there are some good ones here. Gatsby Books in Long Beach, welcomes crime writers in to give readings, and I bought a handsome book on Long Beach architecture in its local-history section.

Booktown USA in Anaheim offers antiquarian books, a big mystery section, and shelves full of Western and men's adventure books, which one does not often see these days. I bought titles in the Executioner and Destroyer series, a Pocket Books edition of Donald Westlake's The Hot Rock, and a nice old hardback called Pictures of the Gold Rush, and I got change back from a twenty-dollar bill. You might well stop there on your way to Disneyland or the Mexican border. No cat there that I could find, though.

And, because one must keep up one's strength while buying books ...

(For more independent bookshops, go here. For more In-N-Out Burgers, go anywhere in Southern California. You can't miss them.")
Don't let me forget Dave's Olde Book Shop, in Redondo Beach, where I bought Line of Fire, by Donald Hamilton.

© Peter Rozovsky 2014

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bouchercon 2014: I never knew there was a police code for "dinner"

Relaxing in my local coffeehouse (my L.A. local, not my Philadelphia local), regaining my power of coherent thought after six days of hard drivin', low-sleepin' fun at Bouchercon 2014.  Here are some things that stuck with me from the convention's panels.

Lots of these in Long Beach. All photos by
Peter Rozovsky, your humble blogkeeper
1) Connie Dial, a Los Angeles cop turned crime novelist, said during Thursday's panel on crime in Hollywood  when she worked patrol in South Central L.A., "You'd ask for a Code 7, which was dinner, and they'd say, "Take twenty more calls."

2) Nathan Walpow recalled the lavish spread provided for the crew during filming at a police precinct house, a spread whose appeal extended well beyond the police station in question? "Cops came from everywhere to eat." Walpow also recounted the snacking habits of the movie's star, Paul Newman: "Newman wandered around the station ... He ate them out of jelly beans."

Kwei Quartey
3) Kwei Quartey's suggestion that writing crime fiction set in his native Ghana poses challenges that fiction set in large American cities does not. Why? Because Ghana is changing so rapidly, over the course of months rather than years.

John McFetridge
4) John McFetridge recalling a rewriting of the history behind his novel Black Rock, whose principal crime is a series of killings of young women based on real-life killing in Montreal in 1970. His research turned up suggestions that authorities had issued warning for young women to be wary, but McFetridge's sister, about the same age as the victims, said she recalled no such warnings. "I thought that was a bit of revisionist history," McFetridge said, "`We should have warned them, but we didn't. Now we're claiming we did.'"

Ragnar Jonasson
5) Ragnar Jonasson's debunking of the popular belief that weapons are scarce in his native Iceland. Guns are plentiful there, he said, and so, in a nation of hunters, are guns.
Chris Ewan

6) Chris Ewan, crime novelist and resident of the Isle of Man, on a difference between Manx Halloween customs and those in American and England: "It's not easy to carve a turnip."

7) I wish I could remember which author described the process of research and writing this: "You get out in the world. Then you go hermit. You don't wear pants for nine months."

8) DBB favorite Adrian McKinty won the Barry Award in the best paperback original category for I Hear the Sirens in the Street.

© Peter Rozovsky 2014

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Still too Bouchercon-bushed to post ...

... so here are a few more pictures from the invigorating, stimulating, immensely enjoyable Bouchercon 2014:

© Peter Rozovsky 2014 


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bouchercon, Days 1 and 2

A few highlights of Bouchercon's first two full days:

Sara Blaedel
John McFetridge

  • Both panels I moderated Friday went supremely well. Many thanks to panelists Gerard Brennan, Paul Charles, Stuart Neville, Max Allan Collins, Sara J. Henry, Charles Kelly, Gary Phillips, Saeah Weinman.

  • Two women at the bar mistook me for Jon "Crimespree/organizer of Bouchercons/center of the crime fiction universe" Jordan, though one conceded she was drunk at the time.
    Mark Billingham

    Kwei Quartey
    Ali Karim, Stav Sheewx
    Mike Stotter, Bob Truluck
    © Peter Rozovsky 2014  

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    Thursday, November 13, 2014

    Bouchercon 2014 Day -1: Guess Who came up!

    (All photos by Peter Rozovsky. The fellow below with his face distorted
    by the glass is Hector DeJean, ace publicist for Minotaur Books.)
    The day before Bouchercon 2014 begins, I saw people I hadn't seen in days and weeks, and tomorrow I expect to see at least one I haven't seen in years.  Everyone is excited to see their friends but too tired from travel to party too raucously this first night, so we generally conduct ourselves in a responsible manner.

    In case we're looking for something to do 
    after the convention, I suppose.
    Had a minor screw-up on a food of order at the hotel bar, but received a Hendrick's and tonic on the house as compensation. Bouchercon is always what separates the weekend bartenders from the pros. Here's to you, ladies and gents. I'll buy you a drink Sunday night.

    Music came up in a bar chat with homies John McFetridge and Kevin Burton "Thrilling Detective Web Site" Smith, in particular the Guess Who--appropriate for the Long Beach waterfront, which is full of colo(u)red lights.

    Long Beach Airport
    © Peter Rozovsky 2014  

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    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

    My Bouchercon 2014 surprise: Charlotte Armstrong

    I've been touting Northern Ireland crime fiction for years, so it's no surprise that I liked the books I'll discuss when I moderate Belfast Noir: Murder and Mayhem from Northern Ireland on Friday, 11:30 a.m., at Bouchercon 2014 in Long Beach.  The real revelations for me have come as I prepared for Beyond Hammett, Chandler, and Spillane: Lesser Known Writers of the Pulp and Paperback Eras, which I'll moderate at 3 p.m. Friday.

    The panel will consist of five authors or editors talking about one or more favorite crime writers from out of the past. You may not have heard of all those writers; I certainly had not before I put the panel together.

    You'll read more about those writers over the next few weeks, but suffice it to say that each of my five panelists will discuss at least one book that has turned out to be among the highlights of my year's reading.

    I won't pick a year's best yet, but I have read no more virtuoso authorial crime fiction performance this year, or maybe ever,  than Charlotte Armstrong's 1947 novel The Unsuspected. The book is a masterfully told tale of suspense in which everything, everyone, is in doubt and knocked out of balance from the first scene to the last, a sort of Agatha Christie meets Georges Simenon meets Cornell Woolrich, with a few sly jabs thrown in. I thank panelist Sara J. Henry for choosing to discuss Armstrong.

    See you in Long Beach.

    © Peter Rozovsky 2014

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    Monday, November 10, 2014

    Sheep's head revisited: A Bouchercon memory

    Photo by the late Leighton Gage.
     Appalling food item courtesy 
    of Yrsa Sigurðardóttir.
      My bags are packed, I'm ready to go, but the taxi won't be blowing its horn until Wednesday.

    As I eagerly await my flight to Bouchercon 2014 in Long Beach, bursting with jealousy of friends who are already there, here's a photo from Bouchercon 2009 in Indianapolis. I post it just so I can use the headline again.

    © Peter Rozovsky 2014

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    Saturday, November 08, 2014

    Northern Ireland comes to New York, and an alter kocker takes a header

    Child of a Belfast father. (Photo 
    by your humble blogkeeper)
    This Northern Ireland crime thing just won't stop. No sooner had I returned from New York University's Glucksman Ireland House and the U.S. launch of Belfast Noir than I found a copy of Gun Street Girl, fourth volume in Adrian McKinty's Sean Duffy trilogy, waiting for me. I suspect the book may come up next week during the Belfast Noir: Murder and Mayhem in Northern Ireland panel I'll moderate at Bouchercon 2014 in Long Beach.

    Lee Child spoke about his family connection to Belfast and his childhood bewilderment and then growing awareness of the sectarian strife known as the Troubles. He also may have earned the bitter jealousy of other authors present by his disclosure that he does no rewriting at all, made sharper by Stuart Neville's declaration that Child's story for Belfast Noir was "the cleanest piece of copy I have ever seen in my life, not a comma out of place."

    Mr. Child had trouble recalling our first meeting until I reminded him that it had occurred shortly after a bird crapped on his jacket one year at Crimefest (Bristol), in England. Though Mr. Child favors dark sport coats, I can state with some confidence that he has had his jacket cleaned or perhaps even acquired a new one since the shit hit the writers.

    The only crimp in the evening came from the disagreeable older gentleman who, in his haste to squeeze past me in the row of the seats we shared, did not bother to say, "Excuse me" or heed my suggestion that he allow me to stand up so he could pass. Naturally it was my fault when the old prick tripped, went flying, and landed on his belly, complaining out the side of his mouth as he fell that "this guy (me) wouldn't get out of the way."  My reply to him was phrased and addressed rather more directly.

    (I should make it clear that this was no frail oldster. He was in better shape than I. Nor did I swear at him, you dirty-minded rabble.)

    © Peter Rozovsky 2014

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    Thursday, November 06, 2014

    Six Bouchercons, plus what I'll do at a seventh

     Relaxation after the convention.
    Shamus Awards dinner, Albany,
    N.Y.,  2013. I left the gun. I took
    a picture of the 
    Cant't talk. Got to go. Busy preparing for Bouchercon.

    Wandering bridesmaids,
    Indianapolis, 2009.
    I arrive in Long Beach Wednesday evening, and I'll moderate two panels this year, both on Friday. At 11:30 a.m.. it's "Belfast Noir: Stories of Mayhem and Murder from Northern Ireland," and then, after I eat a modest but nutritious lunch and brush my teeth, I'll be back at 3 p.m. with "Beyond Hammett, Chandler, and Spillane: Lesser Known Writers of the Pulp and Paperback Eras."

    In the meantime, here's an idea of what Bouchercons are like. See you in Long Beach.
    Straggling to the annual festive
    post-Bouchercon dinner, St.
    Louis, 2011.

    Waitress guest of
    honor, Albany, 2013.

    Bouchercon 2009, where I
    so much fun hanging with
    smokers from many lands
    that I wanted to start
    smoking. Never too late,
    I figure.
    San Francisco, 2010.
    Looking up in Cleveland, 2012.
    Festive dinner after my first Bouchercon, Baltimore, 2008.

    My peeps: From left, Ali Karim, R.J. Ellory, your humble blog keeper, Albany, 2013.
    The view from my Albany hotel, 2013.
    © Peter Rozovsky 2014