Bibliodiscoteque Ep 54 Canary on the Drug Squad

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“It’s dangerous enough when an ordinary college girl turns confidential informant. Even more dangerous when she’s smarter than the kingpins, killers, and cops who control her.
Honors student Sarie Holland is busted by the local police while doing a favor for her boyfriend. Unwilling to betray him but desperate to avoid destroying her future, Sarie has no choice but to become a “CI”—a confidential informant.
Philly narcotics cop Ben Wildey is hungry for a career-making bust. The detective thinks he’s found the key in Sarie: her boyfriend scores from a mid-level dealer with alleged ties to the major drug gangs.
Sarie turns out to be the perfect CI: a quick study with a shockingly keen understanding of the criminal mind. But Wildey, desperate for results, pushes too hard and inadvertently sends the 19-year-old into a death trap, leaving Sarie hunted by crooked cops and killers alike with nothing to save her—except what she’s learned during her harrowing weeks as an informant.
Which is bad news for the police and the underworld. Because when it comes to payback, CI #1373 turns out to be a very quick study…” – from Book Website

Favorite Quotes:

“I can’t understand a word of Naked Lunch. Except for the drug talk. That, shockingly, I do get.”
“Play with rats and you end up with bubonic plague.”
“If you were to give Ringo a job killing DJ’s, man, he’d be happy the rest of his life.”

The Clash – The Magnificent Seven
The Cure – 10:15 Saturday Night
New Order – Age of Consent
Jesus and Mary Chain – Just Like Honey
The Pixies – Hey
Violent Femmes – Blister in the Sun
The Dead Milkmen – Dean’s Dream
Agent Orange – I Kill Spies
The Smiths – Sweet and Tender Hooligan
The Plugz – Hombre Secreto
Talking Heads – Psycho Killer
The Velvet Underground – Run Run Run
The Jam – Town Called Malice
The Psychedelic Furs – Danger
Siouxie and the Banshees – Spellbound
The Clash – Julie’s Been Working for the Drug Squad
Sonic Youth – Catholic Block
R.E.M. – Moral Kiosk
Adam & the Ants – Stand and Deliver

 

Review: Point & Shoot by Duane Swierczynski

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Point and Shoot by Duane Swierczynski
Mulholland Books
“Unkillable” Charlie Hardie is the most abused protagonist in the annuls of adrenaline pumping hyper-violent Mayhem Fiction (a genre I just coined for this review). In Fun & Games and its sequel Hell & Gone, Hardie, unknowingly evokes the ire of the Accident People, a group bent on the black-ops puppetry of murder and world domination and, in the space of 608 pages, he is shot repeatedly, stabbed, sprayed with death mace, body bagged, caged in a secret maximum security prison, and fired off into space. Yeah, things are pretty tough for Charlie Hardie who just wants save his family from the numerous barbs and arrows of the Accident People.

In this final installment, Point & Shoot, Swiercyznski demands that we suspend our disbelief long enough to bring Hardie home. By which I mean bring him back to earth. Literally. After all, the last we saw of Hardie, he was babysitting a satellite in low-earth orbit from inside it. I’d love to hint at how Hardie gets down, but that’d be telling. I do promise that if you can sit back and enjoy the implausible, you will see a master storyteller tie up dozens of loose ends like a stripper with a cherry stem.

What I appreciate about Mayhem Fiction is that it reads like a blood-soaked Looney-tunes episode; characters are demolished and torn asunder, but manage to survive because, hell, it’s fiction and they never really existed. What Swierczynski does in Point & Shoot, is expand the narrative a bit resolving arcs and sub-plots which most other authors would allow to flap wildly in the breeze. In most cases I’m content to go from A to D and skip rationale for an author’s best violence, but Duane isn’t prepared to let us leave Hardie that easily. Instead, we find out things that, if I told you now, men in masks would drag me from my slumber and beat me mercilessly. The one I will share is a particularly heartwarming scene where Hardie empathetically converses with a massive irradiated cockroach. It works and it is wonderful.

If you’ve read the previous books, this is the finale you couldn’t see coming: I’m quite convinced that most of the events were chosen via those paper fortune telling games elementary kids play. If you are just now checking out the trilogy, strap yourself in for 800 pages of raucous and improbable nonstop character abuse and thrills to make every other adrenaline pulp adventure seem like young adult fiction.

More Mayhem Fiction: 

Charlie Huston’s Caught Stealing Trilogy
Duane Swierczynski The Blonde and The Wheelman
Joe R Lansdale The Complete Drive-in
Victor Gischler Shotgun Opera
Seth Harwood Jack Wakes Up

GREED BAG #1

Fugazi once rattled my world with the refrain, “You are not what you own”, and that is too true. However, there is nothing I love more than reading through PREVIEWS each month and pretending I had the cash to order it all.

For those who don’t know, PREVIEWS is the trade magazine for the comic industry and essentially advertises everything that is going to be released through comic stores two months from now. Every month I patiently await its release and even go so far as to avoid many web sites to preserve the unadulterated adventure. I guess it reminds me of when I was a kid and my sister and I would pour over the Sears catalogue circling everything, wishing for something, and expecting nothing

Here is a list of the stuff I want. I call it Greed Bag. Enjoy.

Ghost # 2 – Phil Noto is doing the art on this series relaunch that works the line between smart detective stories, supernatural goodness, and cheesecake. I don’t know muh about Kelly Sue Deconnick as a writer other than her work on Avenging Spider-man, but that Phil Noto…he sure can draw.

MindMGMT #0 – One of the most creative and enjoyable books around.  This is the ‘perfect jumping on point for new readers’.

Conan: Queen of the Black Coast: HC – Becky Cloonan and Brian Wood and their ‘bold new take’ on the Barbarian. I may not always like Brian Wood, but I will always give him a chance.

Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities and The Orm of Loch Ness #2 – Eric Powell and Kyle Hotz present a piece of black humor and strong early EC images that creep and entertain. Hotz’s art is an acquired taste but fans of old horror comics will find it reminiscent and harrowing.

The Goon #44 – Eric Powell is back on his A-game and bringing Lagarto Hombre back with him. PS – The Goon will be the focus of October’s podcast. Get your fighting knuckles ready for a brawlin’ good time.

Judge Dredd #1 – Bibliodiscoteque-approved author Duane Swierczynski is bringing Mega-City’s most feared Judge to America with a new book from IDW. Duane is stomping our hearts and conscious with the monster slaying goodness of Godzilla and I can only imagine what he’ll be like when he’s allowed unchecked violence and mayhem in Mega-City. See also DC’s Birds of Prey and Valiant Entertainment’s Bloodshot for even more Swierczynski chaos!

Saga is back! 

Rachel Rising Vol. 2 – I’m not sure how hard I have to push this book on you. If you like horror, amazing dialogue, brilliant art, and one of the best stories in recent years please get to your local comic shop and buy this. It’s even in trade paperback now so you can read it anywhere. This is a book that demands your attention.

Transmetropolitan All Around the World Art Book – I’m a fool for this series. I’m a fool for Spider Jerusalem and his filthy assistants. I just not sure I can spend $50 on what may be one of the coolest art books ever. Seriously, the list of artists is incredible. I will certainly regret not ordering this. Damn.

Love and Rockets – Rockstar T-Shirt – Celebrating 30 years of the Los Bros Hernandez, Graffiti Clothing is celebrating with a shirt I will be living in until it falls off my body ( I borrowed this image for Episode 6: Jaime Hernandez ).

 

Something Nice – Birds of Prey ’77

From superheroofthemonth.com

Birds of Prey is a great book.

Swierzcynski is currently rocking it out and Simone just flat out owned every single panel during her extensive run. Considering that DC has done some dumb Elseworld stuff and tried to connect it into continuity like an Orangutan surgically stitching a wound I demand DC gives us this Elseworld. A Mod Batgirl? A Punk Black Canary? I don’t know anything about the artist ‘Rory’ and didn’t spend too much time fishing around the site, but hot damn! It has the tension already built in (unless you are a punk history revisionist and everyone always got along). It has two characters people care about. It is drawn so cool I demand that this book exist. If not, I demand that this Rory kid just take the designs and make his own Indie Comic – Perhaps Juliet and Juliet or two girls from different subcultures wronged by the same criminal bastard.

Seriously. Go pitch this to Steve Niles. Now. Go.

Speaking of Duane Swierczynski, Looks like the last book in the Charlie Hardie series is going to be delayed until 2013. But dry those eyes, folks! Not only is his Birds of Prey series rounding it’s dirty dozen, but he will be doing what sounds like a really unique take on the Godzilla mythos. Read an interview about all of its Kaiju greatness!

Something Nice – Weekly Read Reviews

Books I reviewed this past week

Death and the Penguin
Andrey Kurkov
Translated by George Bird

Bird’s translation of the Ukrainian wunderkind Kurkov is beautiful, simple, and magical. The plot is reminiscent of a Haruki Murakami novel, as anonymous obituary writer Viktor Zolotaryov and his penguin Misha, travel effortlessly from one experience to the next never being truly affected by the danger surrounding them as mobsters scour the city for them. It is a pleasantly meandering tale that left me a trifle confused by Viktor’s final comments but too in love with all of the characters to really be upset.

Special recognition must be bestowed upon Melville House for the most incredible series of covers since Hard Case Crime.

This Wicked World
Richard Lange

A do-gooder ex-con, ex-Marine, ex-Bodyguard named Jimmy Boone allows himself to be drawn into a dark world of dog-fighting, counterfeiting, and drug –dealing, in a story that is beautiful to read. Sadly, the action arrives and vanishes in spurts. Lange does an amazing job of getting us to invest in the characters but the spaces between the investigation slow the narrative causing it to read like several short tales delicately strung together.

This book spills over with promise and perfect prose, but any time away from the chapters and all concern or sense of intensity fades.

Level 26: Dark Origins and  Level 26: Dark Revelations

Duane Swierczynski and Anthony Zuiker

I’m not often unnerved by fiction. Certainly I like my comics to work at PG-13, but with fiction I’m more willing to go along for the ride and see where all this violence and darkness leads.

Level 26, the brainchild of Duane Swierczynski and CSI creator Anthony E Zuiker, scared the hell out of me.

I spent the entire book loving Swierczysnki’s dark humor and dialogue, but the remainder of the time was spent in almost constant panic fits. Level 26 makes that scene from Silence of the Lambs, the one where Clarice Starling is fumbling around in the dark, look like a Hallmark advertisement promoting stable relationships.

It is unnerving. It is horrifying. It is not for the feint of heart.

Something Nice – Retreat To Goodisville 2012

The grave of David Goodis

This past weekend, the lovely Mrs. Hannah C and I, went to sunny Philadelphia, Pa, for Retreat To Goodisville 2012.

At a mere 25$, the 6 hour tour consisted of landmarks from the life of the great Pulp author David Goodis and involved sinking houses, a couple of fine drinking establishments, black pudding, go-go dancers, and some of the greatest people you would want to spend a beautiful winter Sat. afternoon with.

The tour began with a reading at his graveside and continued from there as a celebration of his life and vice. Our tour guides consisted of NoirCon founder Lou Boxer, academic Ed Petitt, and author Duane Swierczynski; all of whom provided the most entertaining and interesting view of Goodis’ life. A special highlight was author (and all around super-nice guy) William Lashner reading a special piece from author Ken Bruen.

Group Photo of 2012's Goodis-heads: uncredited

If you don’t know much about Goodis, check out Boxer’s blog  and read all about him. In a few months the Library of America will be reissuing a collection of Goodis’ work (Dark Passage, Night Fall, The Burglar, The Moon and the Gutter, and Street of No Return). If men who fall too far to ever pull themselves up interests you, and I’m sure they do, check these books out.

Photo by Duane Swierczynski
Photo by Duane Swierczynski

Incidentaly, if you write hard boiled fiction or just want to hang out with a bunch of crime writers, I recommend clearing a weekend in November for Noircon – a conference for writers and fans of Noir. I am even throwing my fedora into the ring this year and entering the first annual Poetry contest. Think you got what it takes to compete with me? Enter a poem.

William Lashner reads a piece by Ken Bruen
William Lashner reads a piece by Ken Bruen

2011 – A Year in Pop Culture: Part I

Well, here we are, sitting in the fresh fields of an unblemished new future.

2011 was a great year for me: I got married and went to London, lost 30 pounds, spent another year free from cigarettes, and waded in a veritable ocean of pop culture excellence.

I thought I’d try to once again to attack this blog in a more frequent manner and what better way to start than with a Best of…thing. Here is a perfect jumping on point for new readers and old thyme fans alike.

To those of you who have been riding this ship since the start, feel free to question my intentions; “Aren’t you the guy who hates end of year/best of lists?”.

You can scream and finger wave at me but yes, I’m a slave to the internet peer pressure and I would like to remind you of some of the things we here at the House of Bibliodiscoteque have enjoyed.

Marvel Comics and the latent Sense of Humor:

With all of the serious-adult-minded relaunches over at DC, it seems Marvel’s reaction was to incorporate a smile and wink. That’s right, thanks to writers like Dan Slott, Zeb Wells, Mark Waid, and Jason Aaron, fun has reentered the vocabulary of comics. For too long, too many books have brooded and punched their way onto shelves and forgone levity for ‘intense deconstructions of what makes heroes tick’.

Can 2012 be the year we move beyond hero hatemongers who draw a paycheck from the industry they mock?

WinnersAmazing Spider-man, Daredevil (also supporting the BEST COVER of the YEAR), Avenging Spider-manWolverine and the X-men

Uncharacteristic Female Characters:

There was a great gnashing of teeth and rending of clothing over the new 52 DCUniverse and its *cough* relaunch. From the soft-core ending of Catwoman to Starfire’s newly discovered smuttiness to the pantless first issue of Wonder Woman, it seemed to be a tough year for the ladies of the pop culture world.

Alas, some creators have ventured to step beyond these oversexed stereotypes and provide women who are not only written like women, but also hold their own as action heroes.  Yes, I’m looking at you Christa Faust (Supernatural: Coyote’s Kiss and Choke Hold), Duane Swierczynski (Birds of Prey and Fun&Games), Garth Ennis (Jennifer Blood), and Jason Aaron (American Vampire). With 2012’s Fairest spin-off coming out in a few months, let’s see if it can hold up.

   Winners: Coyote’s Kiss by Christa Faust, Birds of Prey by Duane SwierczynskiRachel Rising by Terry Moore 

Noir is the new Black

I did a small victory dance with the relaunch of Hard Case this year. The promise of new books by Max Allan Collins and Lawrence Block was too much to stoically contain. However, the discovery of Victor Gischler, Image Comic’s Blue Estate, the latest installment of Ed Brubaker’s Criminal series, and the limited edition of Steve Niles Cal McDonald Criminal Tales simply pushed it all over the edge.

 WinnersBlue EstateThe Deputy by Victor GischlerHell&Gone by Duane SwierczynskiChoke Hold by Christa FaustQuarry’s Ex by Max Allan Collins

 

 

 

 

See you around for Part II…

Episode 21 – Duane Swierczynski

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Yuengling Lager, grievous eye injuries, and not being able to rely on any character surviving to the final page: These are the main ingredients to most books by Duane Swierczynski.

Swierczynski’s work is a literary barfight: Don’t start it unless you plan to finish it. Seriously, I’ve spent entire day-offs and cross-continent flights unable to tear myself away. In fact, I pity most readers who have to stop between chapters.

This winter (for my soon to be snowbound friends) pick-up one of Swierczynski’s novels and pray to be snowed in.

I suggest starting with either the story of the mute-Irish getaway driver in The Wheelman or Severance Package, the tale of company men (and women) who find that their company has decided to close shop and kill everyone employed. Once you’ve graduated through Swierczynski’s earlier works, you can then dive into his latest tale, and basis for this show, the Charlie Hardie Trilogy Fun & Games, Hell & Gone, and 2012’s finale Point & Shoot.

Here’s a free look at a prequel comic for Fun & Games

 

GO HERE FOR A FREE EXCERPT OF FUN & GAMES

Rage Well,

Episode 21 – Duane Swiercyznski

Action Woman – The Litter
Red Hands – The Builders and The Butchers
She’s Gotta Be Boss – A-Bones
Woman Of Mass Desruction – The Woolly Bandits
Skull and crossbones  – Sparkle Moore
Kinda Evil Gal – Screamin’ Rebel Angels
I’m Bad – Rocket to Memphis
Rip My Heart Out (Music Alley) – The Pistol Whipper Snappers
Right In The Eye – The Muffs
Nothings Gonna Bring Me Down – Ryan Cain and The Chaotics
Tough Lover – Nick Curran and the Lowlifes
They Know Everything About You – Sgt. Bilko’s Krazy Combo
Cage – Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside
Inside – Looking Out  – The Animals
Raw Deal – Wild Rooster
Left For Dead – Supercharged Suicide
Conditions of My Parole – Pusifier
Promise Not A Threat – Kings Of Nuthin’
I Wanna Destroy You – Uncle Tupelo     
Fuck The Cops – Guz

 

Something Nice – More on Duane Swierczynski

The cover for Duane Swierczynski's Hell & Gone from Mulholland Publishing
The cover from Duane Swiercznski's Point & Shoot from Mulholland Press

I reviewed Fun & Games awhile back basically saying that it was an action packed thrill ride super charged with twists turns surprises and violence so epic and grandiose that commas couldn’t even slow the action down so I just removed them all.

Well, the synopsis for the second and third books in the series are out and, honestly, I have no clue if they are legitimate or not. Swierczynski’s writing requires a great deal of suspension of disbelief, but the payoff is always worth it. Trust me. I burned through his bibliography this summer faster than a wildfire through a state park.

If these are the real plots I am impressed. I can honestly say that they will be like nothing else you have ever read and will push pulp action to the limits.

I guess there might be spoilers, so proceed with caution:

From Hell & Gone (Book 2)

Left for dead after an epic shootout that blew the lid off a billion-dollar conspiracy, ex-cop Charlie Hardie quickly realizes that when you’re dealing with The Accident People, things can get worse. Drugged, bound and transported by strange operatives of unknown origin, Hardie awakens to find himself captive in a secret prison that houses the most dangerous criminals on earth.

And then things get really bad. Because this isn’t just any prison. It’s a Kafkaesque nightmare that comes springloaded with a brutal catch-22: Hardie’s the warden. And any attempt to escape triggers a “death mechanism” that will kill everyone down here–including a group of innocent guards. Faced with an unworkable paradox, and knowing that his wife and son could be next on the Accident People’s hit list, Hardie has only one choice: fight his way to the heart of this hell hole and make a deal with the Devil himself.

From Point & Shoot (Book 3)

Charlie Hardie finds himself in a steel box, tubes and wires attached to his body, trapped inside a satellite parked in orbit 500 miles above the Earth. He’s got a year’s supply of food, air, water, and no communication back to Earth, and must complete his 12 months’ duty or his wife and son will have an “accident.”

Soon Hardie realize he’s sitting in veritable zero-G vault containing the most dangerous secrets in the world. And if his wife and son will ever be safe, Hardie’s going to have to use those secrets as leverage against his faceless captors and force a crash-landing in one of the grittiest of urban hellholes. After years of exile, Hardie’s arming up….and setting his sights on getting back home.