Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Archer Mayor's Joe Gunther proves once again that Vermont is a deadly verdant land not to be taken lightly

Joe Gunther, one of the most honorable lawmen you’d ever hope to meet, is the designated mourner in Archer Mayor’s rugged regional mysteries. Over the course of some two dozen novels, the former Brattleboro cop, now a senior officer with the Vermont Bureau of Investigation, has borne witness to all the scourges of modern times — from the meth epidemic to freakish acts of nature like Hurricane Irene — that have laid havoc to his home state. But in the background, there have always been glimpses of another painful legacy — the human fallout from the Vietnam War — that now steps out from the shadows in PROOF POSITIVE (Minotaur, $25.99). No one in the village of Dummerston gave much thought to an eccentric hoarder named Benjamin Kendall until a hapless thief burgles his old farmhouse and finds Kendall buried under the towering mounds of detritus. A sad business, but not a case for a major crimes unit like the V.B.I., you’d think; until another body is pulled from the artfully arranged rubble. As it turns out, the reclusive hoarder was a photojournalist who had suffered a brain injury in Vietnam. Thanks to an enterprising art student who arranged for an exhibition of his war photos at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Kendall had finally come to the attention of the art world — and of an enemy who would kill to keep the past buried in the past.Gunther, himself an ex-combat soldier, understands that to someone like Kendall, Vietnam was “a war that had fed on his soul forever after.” That sentiment is shared by vets like Willy Kunkle, Gunther’s “downcast, pessimistic, sarcastic” deputy. Not to mention that other vet, the mysterious power broker bankrolling the two sociopathic hit men who murdered Kendall and are now after the art student in possession of his war images. The manhunt takes Gunther on a rather pointless trip south, through the treacherous terrain of New Jersey and into foreign lands like Philadelphia and Washington. Which is how it comes to pass that one of the killers has the last, most eloquent word on Vermont, “this far northern, thinly populated state, reputed for its independence, mountainous isolation and hardy, terse inhabitants,” where “nature was the ruling force — patient, benignly dominant and passively lethal to the unprepared.”

Monday, October 27, 2014

"With the dying of the light in November, we decided to go dark!"

Impossible Funky Logo

The Projection Booth podcast gets dark in November

Popular movie podcast celebrates film noir with a series of discussions of classic crime films.

Edgar G Ulmer's Detour
Edgar G Ulmer's Detour

PRLog - Oct. 26, 2014 - RIVERVIEW, Mich. -- The Projection Booth podcast (http://projection-booth.blogspot.com) will play host to a series of discussions regarding four classic Films Noir throughout the month of November.

"We decided to celebrate film noir thanks in part to the Noircon celebration in Philadelphia," said co-host Mike White.  "The convention happens every two years and we're fortunate to have guest co-hosts that have made the event successful in years past."

Noir November features discussions of Fritz Lang's The Big Heat (1953),  Edgar G. Ulmer's Detour (1945), Nicholas Ray's In A Lonely Place (1950), and Paul Wendkos's The Burglar (1957).

"Our guest co-hosts include a terrific mix of film historians and writers," adds White.  "For The Big Heat we're talking to Jay A Gertzman and we're featuring an interview with biographer Patrick McGilligan (Fritz Lang: The Nature of the Beast).  With Detour we're joined by Professor Richard Edwards and have an interview with Ulmer biographer Noah Isenberg.  For In a Lonely Place we'll be joined by Jared Case and spotlight an interview with the editors of Lonely Places, Dangerous Ground: Nicholas Ray in American Cinema.  Finally, we'll round up the month with a look at The Burglar with author Duane Swierczynski."

Based on a novel by David Goodis (who also adapted his work for the screenplay), The Burglar went unreleased on DVD until recently when it was snuck into the Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics III box set.  The film is an appropriate finish for a month kicked off with Noircon in Philadelphia as Goodis was a native to the City of Brotherly Love and  Wedkos's film was shot on location in Goodis's home town.

"With the dying of the light in November, we decided to go dark," quipped White.

The Projection Booth podcast is released every Wednesday via iTunes, Stitcher, and their website.  The podcast began in 2011 and is hosted by Robert St. Mary and Mike White.

For more details on Noircon visit WWW.NOIRCON.COM

Jawnts: Celebrating the noir side of life

Literature, film, art and poetry will be celebrated. Topics will include the Black Dahlia and Bruce Springsteen´s music.

Literature, film, art and poetry will be celebrated. Topics will include the Black Dahlia and Bruce Springsteen's music.
This week, noir fans are advised to flock down the mean streets of Philadelphia for the fourth iteration of the biennial NoirCon. From Wednesday through Sunday, writers and fans will have their pick of panels, movie screenings, and lectures on the arcane mysteries of that most stylish of genres.
The first attempt at this literary gathering occurred in 2007, when fans of local author David Goodis gathered to celebrate his neglected legacy. Most of Goodis' novels are uniformly grim tales of working-class heroes and shabby gangsters set in an unnamed industrial city (it's Philly). With Goodis' low profile, NoirCon was created to expand the convention's appeal. Previous guest stars have included Lawrence Block (2012), George Pelecanos (2010), and Ken Bruen (2008).
"We have a cast of characters coming from all over the world," says Lou Boxer, one of NoirCon's organizers. "There is a core group of people who keep coming and it grows year after year. It's a great way to meet authors."
This time the star turn is provided by Fuminori Nakamura, a young writer who won numerous awards in Japan before the release of his U.S. debut, The Thief, which was featured on a lot of year-end "Best Of" lists. On Saturday he will be interviewed by Tom Nolan, who reviews crime fiction for the Wall Street Journal.
NoirCon begins Wednesday night at Misconduct Tavern in Center City, where a pack of crime writers will read selections from their work at the boozy Locust Street locale. The next day at International House, there will be a presentation of The Prowler, a highly regarded (but since forgotten) 1950s thriller about a man's twisted efforts to win a woman's heart, and a shot at the American dream. "Czar of Noir" Eddie Muller will also be interviewed about the film's tumultuous history.
That night the Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art will host a number of panels, including "Veering Off the Highway: How Springsteen's Music Shapes Crime Fiction" and "Dr. Seuss' Noir."
On Friday the action moves to the Society Hill Playhouse, featuring author panels with the likes of ex-L.A. detective Steve Hodel and regional panels, ranging from Louisville to Boston. That night, there will be readings by Nakamura and other authors at Rembrandt's Bar & Grill, an appropriately ghoulish way to spend Halloween. The interview with Nakamura is Saturday at the Playhouse, where Eric Miles Williamson, a gritty Oakland, Calif.-centered author, will give the keynote speech.
For a complete schedule, visit www.noircon.com.


Wednesday: Noir at the Bar, 9 to 11 p.m. Misconduct Tavern, 1511 Locust St.
Thursday: "The Prowler," 1 to 4 p.m., International House, 3701 Chestnut St.; panels, 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Mausoleum of Contemporary Art, 531 N. 12th St.
Friday: Panels and interviews, and Halloween party, 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Society Hill Playhouse, 507 S. Eighth St.
Saturday: Keynote speaker, panels, interviews, and award dinner, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Society Hill Playhouse.
Sunday: Closing ceremony, Port Richmond Books, 3037 Richmond St.
Registration is $250 for five days. Prices vary for individual days.
For more information, visit www.noircon.com.

Have an event for Jawnts? jake.blumgart5@gmail.com @jblumgart
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20141026_Jawnts__Celebrating_the_noir_side_of_life.html#cszRPuI7Zx3SLPRT.99

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The best crime novels – review roundup THE GUARDIAN Friday 19 September 2014

 The Final Silence by Stuart Neville

Belfast, where the emollient narrative of the peace process often fails to soften the rough edges of the past, proves to be equally dangerous in The Final Silence (Harvill Secker, £12.99), the third of Stuart Neville's novels to feature PSNI detective inspector Jack Lennon. He's in a bad way: wounded in a shootout, he's addicted to prescription drugs, fighting for a medical discharge with a pension and at war with his late partner's family over his daughter's future. Rea Carlisle, an old flame, is clearing out the house of the recently deceased uncle she last met when she was six, when she finds a ledger containing firsthand accounts of murders committed in the 1990s. When her father, an ambitious politician fearful of scandal, counsels against calling the police, Rea contacts Lennon. Initially reluctant to become involved – the ledger she has promised to show him has disappeared and he's not sure that she's telling the truth – he is forced to enter the fray when Rea is murdered and he becomes a suspect. Told in spare yet subtle prose, The Final Silence is deftly plotted, fast paced and the denouement packs a real punch. THE GUARDIAN

Monday, October 13, 2014

Jean-Patrick Manchette's Resurrection

Noir – French for Noir

I was very excited to read in their Spring 2015 catalogue that Serpent’s Tail intended to publish two novels, Fatale andThe Gunman, by the late Jean-Patrick Manchette (1942-1995), sometimes referred to as ‘the king of French noir fiction’ and occasionally as ‘the antidote to Maigret’.
The Gunman, to be published next February, dates from 1981 and is reissued to coincide with a film version starring Sean Penn, Idris Elba and Javier Bardem. My excitement waned somewhat when I realised I had already read this book when Serpent’s Tail first published it in 2006 under the title The Prone Gunman, however it means I can recommend it with some authority.
I have not read Manchette’s Fatale but am looking forward to it, especially as it comes with an Introduction by David Peace, who knows a thing or two about noir fiction.

N@B at NOIRCON 2014

Sam Fuller, Hard Case Crime and the Nazi Death Camps

Movie Memories
I hate name-droppers, as I said to veteran film director Samuel Fuller when Quentin Tarantino introduced us. That was almost twenty years ago and Mr Fuller is no longer with us, but I am glad I met him so that I could thank him (as millions of others already had) for films such as Pick Up on South Street, The Big Red One and Merrill’s Marauders, one of the first – if not the first – films I saw in a cinema.
What I had not appreciated was that Sam Fuller also wrote noirish novels, but fortunately Charles Ardai of the Hard Case Crime imprint (of Titan Books) was well aware of the fact and jumped at the chance to publish Brainquake for the first time in English, having only appeared before now in Japanese and French. (Fuller lived in self-imposed exile in France for many years, only returning to the USA shortly before his death in 1997).
The posthumous publication of Brainquake has prompted me to track down the recently ‘reconstructed’ version of his classic (an autobiographical) 1980 war movie The Big Red One.
It is many years since I first saw it, but the scenes towards the end where the American soldiers of the First Infantry Division liberate a Nazi concentration camp have stayed with me. What must it have been like for Sam Fuller, who actually lived the experience and, because he owned a 16mm cine camera, was ordered to film the scene?