Thursday, September 30, 2010


44 South Main Street
New Hope, PA 18938

Farley's Bookshop will be at NoirCon 2010.

The store has is an independent owned and operated by the Farley family for over 42 years in New Hope, Pa, about 30 minutes from Philly.  The store sits in the building that used to be New Hope's first general store, built in the late 18th century by Benjamin Parry right on the Delaware River.  At something like 90,000 titles we have something for everyone.  We're known for our knowledgeable and friendly staff who are always ready to give a good recommendation.  Their blog can be found at:  and their website is  

Rut By Scott Phillips - Free from Concord FREE Press

RUT By Scott Phillips And The Concord Free Press

Announcing Rut, by bestselling author Scott Phillips

Latest novel from the Concord Free Press is funny as hell
Rut, a wild and original novel from Scott Phillips, takes readers to the Rocky Mountains circa 2050, where the once thriving burg of Gower is about to become a 21st-century ghost town. Thanks to extreme weather and plenty of toxic waste, the skiers and celebrities are gone, along with the money and the veneer of civilization. What’s left? Old-time religion and brand-new pharmaceuticals, bad food and warm beer, mutated animals and small-town gossip. Can the town survive? We’ll see.
“Part of me would love to live in the near-future world Scott Phillips has imagined in Rut, but only a little part. The rest of me is happy just to read about this, um, direction in which we humans might be headed. Another great novel from one of our best.”
—Tom Franklin, author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter 
A dystopian novel with difference—Rut is hilarious and horrifying. Phillips creates a richly imagined world that serves as a funhouse mirror for our own times. It’s filled with an unforgettable cast of spot on original characters who struggle, steal, lie, fight, drink, cheat, and scheme their way to better days. Or China. Or anywhere but Gower. Sly and cool, absurd and archly perceptive, Rut resonates with the best work of Kurt Vonnegut and Thomas Pynchon, all in a wonderfully weird tale unlike any other.

Phillips is the author of three previous novels—The Ice HarvestThe Walkway, and Cottonwood. John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton starred in the 2005 feature film of The Ice Harvest, which was adapted by Richard Russo and directed by Harold Ramis. Phillips lives in St. Louis with his wife and family.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Jared Case and THE BURGLAR

Jayne Mansfield in THE BURGLAR

A Case of Murder

The Burglar (1957)

From AFI:
"In Philadelphia, soon after burglar Nat Harbin sees a newsreel about a priceless emerald necklace owned by a spiritualist named Sister Sara, he dispatches Gladden, a woman in his gang, to case Sara’s mansion. Pretending to be an admirer of the spiritualist, Gladden gains entrance to the estate and reports back to Nat that the necklace is locked in a safe in Sara’s upstairs bedroom. Gladden continues that Sara always watches newscaster John Facenda’s nightly broadcast. The next evening, as Sara settles into her easy chair in front of the television set, Nat scales the trellis to her bedroom and begins to drill open the safe. While cruising by in their patrol car, two policemen notice Nat’s auto parked outside the estate and stop to investigate, prompting gang members Dohmer and Baylock to signal Nat. Scurrying back down the trellis, Nat approaches the officers and lies that his car has broken down. After the police depart, Nat returns to the safe, removing the necklace just seconds before Sara climbs the stairs to her bedroom. Speeding away into the night, Dohmer, Baylock and Nat drive to their hideout in a run-down tenement. There, Baylock values the necklace at $85,000 and nervously presses Nat to sell it immediately."

A classic set-up for a noir heist film, where the criminals are at each other's throats, and the tension ratchets from the beginning. Dan Duryea is Nat, and Jayne Mansfield is Gladden. Although I don't see much in Mansfield's performance other than a Marilyn Monroe retread, I've really started to like Duryea, who's usually a heel's heel in films like THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW, SCARLET STREET and CRISS CROSS. In true noir fashion, we are given a reason that Duryea has decided to become a criminal, but in true David Goodis fashion (author of both the source novel and the screenplay) that reason is completely sympathetic and tied to family. The relationship between Duryea and Mansfield is intriguing and a nice change of pace from the norm. There was some location shooting in Philadelphia, Goodis' home, and I'm excited to see if I can spot any of those sites when I go there in November.  [Jared will see and feel the Ghost of Goodis at NoirCon 2010,  WILL YOU?]

Judgment: noir.

A superior, off-beat, semi-obscure film noirThe Burglar played at the Castro Theatre as part of their “Blonde Bombshells” series, for which The Burglar qualified because of the buxom young Miss Jayne Mansfield.  But I had wanted to see it because it’s an adaptation of my favorite crime novel by the brilliant David Goodis.  In fact, the screenplay was adapted by Goodis himself.  But what I wasn’t expecting was how strange, quirky, and fun a movie it would turn out to be.
Directed with great funky imagination by Paul Wendkos, the film is a potpourri of sights and sounds, character and invention.  The bleak and fatalistic novel is transformed, not adhering purely to Goodis’ dark poetry, but given an almost comic vibe at times.  Scenes of melodrama play almost as comedy, and the sense that its not utterly unintentional comedy comes from the playful direction.  Case in point, toward the film’s finale, which takes place on the Atlantic City boardwalk, having entered a fun house area, an animated mannikin figure intones severely, “We…the dead…welcome you…”  It falls between eerie and hilarious, but in a cool way.
The story is about a burglar, played by Dan Duryea, and his small gang who steal a very fancy necklace, but are hunted by the police and also by other criminals, while they try to hole up til the heat cools.  Mansfield plays Gooden, Duryea’s adopted “little sister” who he is saddled with since the passing of their adoptive father, a burglar who taught them the business, but also taught them kindness and humanity.  And then there is Della (Martha Vickers), the dark, alcoholic, adult woman for whom Duryea’s burglar falls.  The cast is really good, particularly Duryea and his two criminal buddies, all played with great “character” style. [Wendkos' wife is in the film as well!]
There are so many little things that make the movie constantly surprising and fun.  The finale at the boardwalk is probably the great highlight, but the film was shot in both Atlantic City and Philadelphia (also where the book was set) and there are keen charms of location shooting.  In the scene in which the burglary takes place, the camera is set “looking out” through the safe in the wall, now left wide open by the burglar.  The audience sees the unaware heiress pass by a few times before she looks into the camera/safe and screams.  Quite funny that.
Wendkos also uses sound throughout the whole of the film, either the rather loud and dramatic musical score, even during scenes of meaningful dialogue, but also all types of “natural” ambient sounds, waves at the beach, seagulls, ticking of clocks.  It’s almost like the soundtrack of the film has its own whole little story to tell.

NoirCon 2010 and Akashic Books give you the City of Brotherly Love

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ken Bruen auf dem Krimifestival in Marburg

Ken Bruen auf dem Krimifestival in Marburg

Tuesday, 14.09.2010 20:00 clock Ken Bruen tells of episodes from the life of Jack Taylor Location: Technology and conference center Marburg (Software Center 3, 35037 Marburg)

Ken Bruen reads passages from the first two Jack Taylor Murder
Jack Taylor knocked out: As a police officer lurking Jack Taylor - all with a thermos of coffee with a shot of brandy armed - on traffic offenders. As a black Mercedes thunder past him, he stops the car. The rear window slides down.On the bench sits a top government official of the Ministry of Finance. And Jack strikes. 
 then flies out Taylor. And continues as a private investigator. He moves into his new "office" in Grogan's, the only pub in Galway, where he has never had the premises. Actually a serious place for serious drinking. But soon Jack has his first case on the cheek.
Jack Taylor is wrong: After Jack Taylor got kicked out of the police and has served as a private investigator more damage than the criminals he was trying to make, he has crumbled to London. His "investigation" had led to at least three to four murders, several broken hearts and a big chunk of cash. But London does not keep what it has never promised. Instead of a posh apartment with park views Jack ends up in a heated cubicle in a condemned neighborhood 
 now returning Jack Taylor back with two achievements of Ireland: a new leather jacket and a full-blown coke addiction. As soon as he arrived in Galway, asks him to help a country driver: "You kill our people." A new case - joined to a few pints later, a second: The Claddagh Basin are butchered at night swans. Jack is back home. And gets to work.

Ken Bruen © Andrew DownesKen Bruen:
Ken Bruen was born in 1951, obtained his doctorate at Trinity College in Dublin on metaphysics. 
He worked 25 years as an English teacher in Africa, Japan, Southeast Asia and South America, until he began to write and has won numerous awards including the prestigious Shamus Award, which he was awarded two times. Jack Taylor flies out is published in Russia, the USA, Italy, Denmark and Japan.Ken Bruen lives in Galway.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lou Boxer Interview on NoirCon 2010 at Pulp Serenade By Cullen Gallagher

NoirCon is only six weeks away! From November 4th-7th, Philadelphia will be drawing Noir aficionados from around the globe. Writers, fans, publishers, and scholars will gather to share their knowledge and passion for all things Noir. Pulp Serenade will be attending and reporting on the numerous panels and events, including the screening of Larry Withers' documentary, David Goodis: To a Pulp.

Registration is still open! To help celebrate the event, NoirCon's Lou Boxer was kind enough to answer a few questions for Pulp Serenade.

Pulp Serenade: How and when did NoirCon first begin?

Lou Boxer: NoirCon evolved from GoodisCon. Goodiscon took place in January 2007 which coincided with the 40th Anniversary of Goodis’s death (January 7th, 1940). The seminal conference dedicated to David Goodis and his fiercely, existential writings ushered the birth of NoirCon 2008 and NoirCon 2010. NoirCon is dedicated to the spirit of David Goodis and honoring those who carry on his style of writing – saluting the anti-hero and the everyman down on their luck.

PS: About many people do you expect to attend this year?

LB: The conference continues to grow from year to year. We expect on the order of 100 to 150 Noir fans this year from all over the country and the world.

PS: George Pelecanos is receiving the David L. Goodis Award. Could you describe the honor and say a few words about how he carries on the Goodis tradition?

LB: The David L. Goodis Award is given to that writer in recognition for his or her contribution to Noir Literature in the spirit of Philadelphia’s native son, David Loeb Goodis. Like the archetypal writing of David Goodis, Pelecanos pulls back the stained sheets of that part of society we are to quick to dismiss. He catalogues the torments, the struggles and the tribulations of the common man in a way that leaves you saying, “Hey, that guy is me or that guy could be me.” Pelecanos is the real deal.

PS: Charles Benoit is this year's Master of Ceremony and Joan Schenkar is this year’s Keynote Speaker. For those unfamiliar with their work, do you have any favorite books of theirs that you could recommend?

LB: Charles Benoit appeared on the scene in 2004 with Relative Danger (Poison Pen Press, nominated for an Edgar). Relative Danger is a fresh, brash adventure of an unemployed Doug Pearce from Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Given the job of solving the mysterious death of his uncle, Pearse takes on an incredibly rich and vibrant tour of Southeast Asia. In 2006, Benoit takes us to India in Out of Order. Murder, mystery and a damn good adventure is to be had. 2010 has taken Benoit into Young Adult market with his book entitled You (Harper Teen). You will not be disappointed by any of his books.

Benoit’s unusual charismatic and vivacious personality is infectious. Prepare to be engaged, challenged, and dazzled. You will not soon forget this one man show.

Joan Schenkar's The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith (St. Martins Press) (finalist for Edgar Allan Poe Award, the Agatha Award, and the Publishing Triangle Award, and winner of the 2010 Lambda Award) will take you into to the mystery world of one of darkest female writers of the post-modern age. Not to be missed. The Talented Miss Highsmith must be savored slowly for Schenkar tells a tale like no other.

PS: Johnny Temple is the Recipient of the Jay and Deen Kogan Award for Excellence in Publishing. Could you say a few words about the award and some of Johnny's accomplishments with Akashic Books?

LB: The Jay and Deen Kogan Award for Excellence in Publishing is named after two individuals that epitomize the word Excellence. Jay and Deen Kogan brought theater to Philadelphia more than 50 years ago and with that an uncompromised commitment to provide only the finest and best theater in Philadelphia for its many patrons.

Johnny Temple and Akashic Books, like the Kogans, strives to provide the exceptional in Noir Literature by publishing some of the finest quality books today. Akashic is Sanskrit for “Hidden Knowledge” and Temple is the master for making that knowledge available for all to see and to read. Akashic Books' Noir Series encompasses Noir tales form all over the United States and the World. We are proud to havePhiladelphia Noir and some of its contributors will be on hand to launch the book at NoirCon 2010. 

PS: And now for a few questions about yourself. When did you first get interested in Noir?

LB: My interest in Noir began when I was in fifth grade. I was immediately drawn to a book entitled The Secret of the Crooked Cat (#13 in The Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators series). Once bitten, I could not stop myself from reading the masters. Hammett, Chandler, Poe, Woolrich, Thompson and the list goes on. I have been reading ever since and collecting books for the last 38 years.

PS: What book (or books) most perfectly embody Noir for you?

LB: Not an easy answer. My answer will be a shopping list that is far from complete and ever growing. Bruen, Out of the Gutter, Swierczynski, Faust, Starr, Guthrie, Tafoya, Stone, Busted Flush Books, Vachss, Kleinfeld, Laymon, Crime Factory, Connelly, Lehane, Abbott, Crumley, Barre, Rozan, Phillips (Gary), anything Dennis McMillan publishes, Phillips (Scott), Richard Sand, Hendricks, Jeff Cohen, Nisbet, Harrington,Hard Case Crime, Bourdain, Kent Anderson, Vonnegut, all of Goodis.

PS: David Goodis is central to NoirCon -- what is it about his work that makes it so everlasting?

LB: It is the purest, most unadulterated writing. It cuts right to the bone like a jagged knife. Goodis wrote for the sake of writing. He had a story to tell and he told it. He lived his life the way he wanted and answered to no one. Things were not always easy for him. His stories were extensions of his personal life. Goodis tells the day-to-day struggle of the guy down on his luck, trying to make it through one more day of hell, knowing the next day will be no better than the one before.

“After a while it gets so bad that you want to stop the whole business. You figure that there’s no use in trying to fight back. Things are set dead against you and the sooner you give up the better. It’s like a mile run. You’re back there in seventh place and there isn’t a chance in the world. The feet are burning, the lungs are bursting, and all you want to do is fall down and take a rest.” (Retreat from Oblivion by David Goodis at the tender age of 22!)

PS: What books are you reading right now?

LB: Windward Passage by Jim Nisbet; Boxer Beetle by Ned Beauman; You by Charles Benoit; Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel; Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese;Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder.

PS: Lastly, if someone hasn't made up their mind about attending NoirCon yet, any final words to help change their mind?

LB: Mid-term elections are shaping up to be a time of great confusion, darkness and unhappiness. Whether you are a member of the Tea Party or a free wheeling liberal democrat, NoirCon will be one conference that will be 100% bipartisan. Everyone is a winner at NoirCon 2010 no matter how the hanging chads are counted.

NoirCon is a symposium and it can be defined as:
1. A conference or meeting to discuss a particular subject (NOIR)
2. A collection of essays or papers on a particular subject by a number of contributors (NOIRCON Program)
3. A drinking party or convivial discussion, especially as held at the Society Hill Playhouse in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania over a weekend in November 2010, where all participants have the privilege to participate.
4. A chance to revel and reflect upon the memory of David Thompson, Noir Aficionado extraordinaire, the heart and soul of Murder By The Book, taken from this band of wayward souls way to soon. He was loved and he will not be forgotten.

“…years down the pike, the boast will be: ‘NoirCon 2010, I was there,” - Ken Bruen
The question is will you? Register today at

Following The Detectives! Not just in your mind anymore.

The book's core is twenty-one essays, each about a single fictional detective and the city, country or region where he or she works. One of my assignments was Arnaldur Indriðason's Iceland, for instance, but a full-page insert tells the reader about Arnaldur's fellow Icelandic crime writer Yrsa Sigurðardóttir as well. That sort of efficient conveyance of information is a good idea for a book whose other crime-fiction destinations include London, Paris, New York and Los Angeles. Pretty hard to squeeze all the fictional detectives who call any of those cities home into a single essay.

The extras include maps, graphics, information boxes, guides to television and movie adaptations, walking tours, useful Web sites and, as an accompaniment to my essay on Andrea Camilleri, remarks on the history of Sicilian cuisine with explanations of some of Salvo Montalbano's favorite dishes. Pappanozza. Just the sound of it makes me hungry.

See where Peter Rozovsky will take us next. 
Here's a list of contributors and their fictional destinations:

Boston: Michael Carlson
Brighton: Barry Forshaw
Chicago: Dick Adler and Maxim Jakubowski
Dublin: Declan Burke
Edinburgh: Barry Forshaw
Florida: Oline Cogdill
Iceland: Your humble blogkeeper
London: David Stuart Davies
Los Angeles: Maxim Jakubowski
New Orleans: Maxim Jakubowski
New York City: Sarah Weinman
Nottingham: John Harvey
Oxford: Martin Edwards
Paris: Barry Forshaw
San Francisco: J. Kingston Pierce
Shropshire: Martin Edwards
Sicily: Your humble blogkeeper
Southern California: Michael Carlson
Sweden: Barry Forshaw
Venice: Barry Forshaw
Washington, D.C.: Sarah Weinman

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

NoirCon 2010 and Fantomas! Howard Rodman and David White

When Fantômas Held All of Paris in His Criminal Thrall

FANTOMAS! The Lord of Terror and the Master of Crime! 100 years ago, Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre practically invented the modern era of pulp-fiction with their multi-volume saga of the undefeatable scourge of Paris. Between 1911 and 1913, all of France was gripped with Fantomas fever. Filmmaker LouiFeuillade used the character to create one of the first film series icinema history. The surrealist movement adopted Fantomas as oneof their symbolic heroes. With the exception of a dozen of hard-to-find translations published prior to 1930, however, the character never caught fire in America.

Hear Howard A. Rodman and David White talk about this fascinating character at NoirCon 2010.