Thursday, April 28, 2011

Noir: The 18 Levels of Chinese Hell

Maybe Dante's Inferno was not so bad after all!  Only 9 Circles:









Diyu, the Traditional Chinese Hell, based on Buddhism concept of Naraka, is an underground maze with various levels and chambers, to which souls are taken after death to atone for the sins they committed when they were alive.
Some Chinese legends speak of eighteen levels of Hell.
The East Hell
Chamber of Tongue Ripping
In the first layer, those who stir up troubles by gossiping will find their tongues being ripped out.

Chamber of Scissors
Second layer. Those who break the marriage of others will have their fingers cut off.

Chamber of Iron Cycads 
Those who cause discords among family members of others will be hung on Iron trees.

Chamber of Mirror
To those who managed to escape the punishment for their crimes during earthly life will be shown their true shape.

Chamber of Steamer
Hypocrites and troublemakers will find their punishment in a steamer.

Forest of Copper Column
Arsonists for retaliation will be bound to columns of glowing copper.

Mountain of Knifes
Those who kill sentient beings with knife without a reason or for pleasure will find themselves climbing a hill of knifes. Sinners are made to shed blood by climbing a mountain with sharp blades sticking out.

Hill of Ice
Schemers, deceivers of elders (including parents) and adulterers will be left naked in freezing cold.

Cauldron of Boiling Oil
Rapists, thieves, abusers, false accusers will be boiled in fried oil.

Chamber of Ox
Those who abuse animals will find themselves being bullied by animals.

Chamber of Rock
Those who abandon or kill babies will hold a heavy rock (and eventually crashed) and will be surrounded by putrid water.

Chamber of Pounding 
Those who voluntarily waste food  will be forced to be feed by demons with hell-fire.

Pool of Blood 
Those who do not respect others will find themselves soaked in blood.

Town of Suicide
People who commit suicide will find themselves wandering in the city . The wind of sorrow and the rain of pain lash day and night this desolate place. They are those who have voluntarily altered the karmic course of the Incarnation.

Chamber of Dismemberment
Tomb raiders will find their body being torn into pieces.

Mountain of Flames 
Thieves, robbers and corrupt will be thrown into the flames in a hellish volcano.

Yard of Stone Mill 
Those who subdue the weak, abuse their power and oppress the people will be crushed and pulverized in a stone mill.

Chamber of Saw
Those who exploit the loopholes in the law and engage in unfair practices in business will be sawn into half by demons.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

NoirCon: Edgar Allen Poe Awards on April 28th, 2011

Mystery Writers of America is proud to announce on the 202nd
 anniversary of the birth of Edgar 

Allan Poe, its Nominees for the 2011 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction,
non-fiction and television published or produced in 2010. The Edgar® Awards will be presented to the
winners at our 65th

Gala Banquet, April 28, 2011 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.

Caught by Harlan Coben (Penguin Group USA - Dutton) 
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin (HarperCollins – William Morrow) 
Faithful Place by Tana French (Penguin Group USA - Viking) 
The Queen of Patpong by Timothy Hallinan (HarperCollins – William Morrow) 
The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton (Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books) 
I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman (HarperCollins – William Morrow)

Rogue Island by Bruce DeSilva (Tom Doherty Associates – Forge Books) 
The Poacher’s Son by Paul Doiron (Minotaur Books) 
The Serialist: A Novel by David Gordon (Simon & Schuster) 
Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto (Simon & Schuster - Scribner) 
Snow Angels by James Thompson (Penguin Group USA – G.P. Putnam’s Sons) 

Long Time Coming by Robert Goddard (Random House - Bantam) 
The News Where You Are by Catherine O’Flynn (Henry Holt) 
Expiration Date by Duane Swierczynski (Minotaur Books) 
Vienna Secrets by Frank Tallis (Random House Trade Paperbacks) 
Ten Little Herrings by L.C. Tyler (Felony & Mayhem Press)

Scoreboard, Baby: A Story of College Football, Crime and Complicity  
by Ken Armstrong and Nick Perry (University of Nebraska Press – Bison Original) 
The Eyes of Willie McGee: A Tragedy of Race, Sex, and Secrets in Jim Crow South  
by Alex Heard (HarperCollins) 
Finding Chandra: A True Washington Murder Mystery 
by Sari Horwitz and Scott Higham (Simon & Schuster - Scribner) 
Hellhound on his Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr and the International Hunt for his 
Assassin by Hampton Sides (Random House - Doubleday) 
The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science 
by Douglas Starr (Alfred A. Knopf)

The Wire: Truth Be Told by Rafael Alvarez (Grove Atlantic – Grove Press) 
Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks: Fifty Years of Mysteries in the Making  
by John Curran (HarperCollins) 
Sherlock Holmes for Dummies by Steven Doyle and David A. Crowder (Wiley) 
Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and his Rendevouz with American 
History by Yunte Huang (W.W. Norton) 
Thrillers: 100 Must Reads edited by David Morrell and Hank Wagner (Oceanview Publishing) 

"The Scent of Lilacs" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Doug Allyn (Dell Magazines) 
"The Plot" – First Thrills by Jeffery Deaver (Tom Doherty – Forge Books) 
"A Good Safe Place” – Thin Ice by Judith Green (Level Best Books) 
"Monsieur Alice is Absent" – Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine  
by Stephen Ross (Dell Magazines) 
"The Creative Writing Murders" – Dark End of the Street by Edmund White (Bloomsbury)

The Psychic by Sam Bobrick (Falcon Theatre – Burbank, CA) 
The Tangled Skirt by Steve Braunstein (New Jersey Repertory Company)
The Fall of the House by Robert Ford (Alabama Shakespeare Festival) 

“Episode 1” - Luther, Teleplay by Neil Cross (BBC America) 
“Episode 4” – Luther, Teleplay by Neil Cross (BBC America) 
“Full Measure” – Breaking Bad, Teleplay by Vince Gilligan (AMC/Sony) 
 “No Mas” – Breaking Bad, Teleplay by Vince Gilligan (AMC/Sony) 
“The Next One’s Gonna Go In Your Throat” – Damages, Teleplay by Todd A. Kessler,  
Glenn Kessler & Daniel Zelman (FX Networks) 

"Skyler Hobbs and the Rabbit Man" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine  
by Evan Lewis (Dell Magazines) 

Sara Paretsky 

Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore, Forest Park, Illinois 
Once Upon A Crime Bookstore, Minneapolis, Minnesota

(Presented at MWA’s Agents & Editors Party on Wednesday, April 27, 2010) 
Wild Penance by Sandi Ault (Penguin Group – Berkley Prime Crime) 
Blood Harvest by S.J. Bolton (Minotaur Books) 
Down River by Karen Harper (MIRA Books) 
The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) 
Live to Tell by Wendy Corsi Staub (HarperCollins - Avon) 

 # # # #
The EDGAR (and logo) are Registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by the Mystery Writers of America, Inc. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Noir Injustice - Poetic Justice

Gerald So has done it again with another great collection of Noir Poetry in THE LINE UP #4.

Reed Farrel Coleman drives home the question of why do we have poems on crime.  "The answer is just beneath the surface.  I've heard it said many times by veterans of war, by cops, by firemen, surgeons, that they never felt more alive than when death was close at hand.  Humans are never more human or less human than when mortality is on the line."

Poetry puts the reader right on the line.  It is a balancing act where the slightest misstep drops the poet into the abyss.  The poet is at greatest risk here.  There is no safety net to break the fall of the poet.  It is extremely personal, visceral and alive.  

Each of the following poems (found in THE LINE UP #4) reaches deep into each of us and rattles our core.  Each of these wordsmiths is a master at telling about the pain, the suffering, and the loss of being human.  As much as we wish that we could avoid the human condition, we cannot.  These wonderful poets allow us to be voyeurs to a crime, some petty, some horrific, but all incredibly human.  Brutality, inhumanity and vengeance boil over in these poems.  Read them and be human.  Feel. 

I suppose one of the greatest poetic injustices that struck all of us in 2010 is the loss of David Thompson.   He is remembered on the last page of THE LINE UP: Poems on Crime. 

Here several of the poets read their work HERE.

Reed Farrel Coleman
Slider, Part 7
He remembered.
First in the woods outside Kiev,
the bodies-in-waiting,
kneeling at the edge of the trench.
Some cried.
Some begged.
None prayed that he could hear.
Mostly they were silent.
Then the
pop pop pop pop pop
of the Lugers and Walthers
and with each bullet
the metal metamorphosis of human beings
into falling lumps of meat.
Then the quicklime
the dirt
more bullets
more bodies
more quicklime.
Layers and layers
like a trifle.

David Corbett
Since we met, fewer insects die.
Today (for example) you were gone
but a fat green fly hammered
blind against the window —
so I cracked it open and off he went:
tumbling wind, sunblue sky.

And last night you were out with the girls, but here
a brown moth scurried hot inside the lampshade —
I cupped my hand, nursed it
all the way downstairs, through the den,
cracked the door open: a tiny dark
flutter whirling toward the porch light.

Before only wasps survived —
menacing hang, throbbing wings,
hard and sleek and all that shiny black.

Her name? Ask the law. Ask her mother
or read the papers from that day
about the man in the shiny black Jag
and his eight-year-old daughter.
He'll be alone, they told me.
One more lie in a hive of lies,
buzzing inside me for years now
like the things I tell myself to
bargain off the ghost that hovers
just a little behind in the mirror.
The face I can’t forget because
she wasn’t meant to be there at all.

Nine years back, that was.
Turned a leaf, walked away, started fresh.
(Cut loose, actually — no longer much good at the thing.)
Then you came along. You.

So good, so wise, so blind.
Even unknowing, you taught me
the proper weight of things:
fate against fat chance,
in-the-palm-of-my-hand against through-my-fingers,
the smallest life against my own.
Worse, yours.

There’s the machinery, I think too much —
can hear the blood hissing through
my brain as I reframe every angle —
sucker’s pride, schemer’s luck,
the rancid taint in a loving wish,
the entomology of ghosts and
the constant scuttering nearness of:
She has not come home.
She might never.

Laura LeHew
The Organized Offender
Little known outside his home country, Ted Bundy has an
absolutely personal and unique vision. This exhibition features
nearly all 30 of his works spanning the career of one the most
touted serial killers of the 20th century including pop-up images of
the 1978 abduction and murder of Kimberly Diane Leach,
showcasing never before seen photos of his electric chair Florida
execution. Ted was frequently described as charming, charismatic,
intelligent and articulate; though he is perhaps best known for
ligature strangulations while raping his subject. Worthy women,
pre-selected, and lured by a fake injury. He also created a masterful
murderous co-ed rampage. It is frequently said that Ted’s spiritual
oneness and virtuosity came from his feeling the last breath leave
the victims’ bodies. The radical separation of form and content,
conceals and belies the seriousness and complexity of his

Charles Harper Webb
Prayer for the Man Who Mugged My Father, 72

May there be an afterlife.

May you meet him there, the same age as you.
May the meeting take place in a small, locked room.

May the bushes where you hid be there again, leaves tipped with
    razor-blades and acid.
May the rifle butt you bashed him with be in his hands.
May the glass in his car window, which you smashed as he sat
   stopped at a red light, spike the rifle butt, and the concrete on
   which you’ll fall.

May the needles the doctors used to close his eye, stab your pupils
  every time you hit the wall and then the floor, which will be often.
May my father let you cower for a while, whimpering, “Please don’t
  shoot me. Please.”
May he laugh, unload your gun, toss it away;
Then may he take you with bare hands.

May those hands, which taught his son to throw a curve and drive a
  nail and hold a frog, feel like cannonballs against your jaw.
May his arms, which powered handstands and made their muscles
  jump to please me, wrap your head and grind your face like
May his chest, thick and hairy as a bear’s, feel like a bear’s snapping
  your bones.
May his feet, which showed me the flutter kick and carried me miles
  through the woods, feel like axes crushing your one claim to manhood
  as he chops you down.

And when you are down, and he’s done with you, which will be soon,
  since, even one-eyed, with brain damage, he’s a merciful man,
May the door to the room open and let him stride away to the
  Valhalla he deserves.
May you — bleeding, broken — drag yourself upright.

May you think the worst is over;
You’ve survived, and may still win.

Then may the door open once more, and let me in.

Ken Bruen
Funeral: Of The Wino
Blame it on
an intuition
I hadn’t heard
and certainly
would nigh on
absolutely know,
a life upon the streets
at least for long
I’d not survive
the sabotage in hope.
For far too long
I’d lived
a lithium above despair
a hearse before
I watched the homeless
place their hand
above their heart and knew
if they had hats
would slow and very slow remove
the trembling notwithstanding
a silence in respect.
The cortege press
his hand the crowds across
this moment new
passed nigh beyond
the oldest explanation
a hand towards
not renewed
The coffin doesn’t pass
the rich hotels
that cater to
the very rich . . . exclusively
their hands
toward the exhortations
aren’t shaped
as if they ever were.