In the ‘Take All My Spare Money” Department, Hard Case Crime will be releasing eight Michael Crichton crime novels from the late ’60’s and early 70’s when he wrote under the name John Lange.
Both Zero Cool and Grave Descend have been published before, but you really should order them all for the integrity of the set.
Here’s the lowdown from the Titan Publishing press release:
ODDS ON (1966): The perfect heist, planned by computer, in a luxury hotel off the coast of Spain.
SCRATCH ONE (1967): On the French Riviera, a case of mistaken identity could cost an American lawyer his life when a group of international assassins confuse him for the secret agent sent to take them down.
EASY GO (1968): Can an Egyptologist and his band of thieves find a lost tomb buried for centuries in the desert – and get away with its treasure?
ZERO COOL (1969): An American doctor vacationing in Europe gets caught between rival criminal gangs who both demand his help to find a legendary gem.
THE VENOM BUSINESS (1970): An expert on venomous snakes and smuggler of rare artifacts accepts an assignment working as a bodyguard to a man everyone wants dead.
DRUG OF CHOICE (1970): Bioengineers at a secret island resort promise pleasures beyond imagination – but what’s the secret behind the strange drug they’ve created?
GRAVE DESCEND (1970): A diver in Jamaica, hired to search the wreck of a sunken yacht, uncovers secrets deeper and darker than the waters in which the ship rests.
BINARY (1972): A terrorist mastermind and a federal agent wage a battle of wits and of nerve when the villain plots to unleash poison gas on San Diego, killing one million people…including the President of the United States.
Sorry I have been away so much recently, but I’m busy putting the finishing touches on the Tiki PI short story and special edition of X.X.X which you can get by picking up a copy of the book.
Who is Tiki PI and why should I care?
Tiki PI is Hawaii’s only supernatural detective. He’s a cross between Steve McGarrett and Dolemite.
Together with his partner, Hunter the Owl, they rid the islands of evildoers, ride the waves of justice, and bed the secretaries of the police dept. Bizarre Men for Bizarre Times.
Well, any way here are some shots from the book and pin-ups. If you happen to be in New Jersey this weekend swing by the table and say ‘hi’.
“It was the last great science hero fight, but the energy blast ripped a hole in reality, and birthed theEmpireState– a young, twisted parallel prohibition-eraNew York.
When the rift starts to close, both worlds are threatened, and both must fight for the right to exist.” via
Everything about Adam Christopher’s debut novel Empire State smacks of the things I love: Superheroes, noir, cussing, robots, and science. I’m hard pressed to understand why, then, it took three attempts for me to get into the book. Why couldn’t I just breeze through it enjoying the fight between Science Pirate and Skyguard, or the tommy-gun car chase, or the parallel universe noir fantasy?
Perhaps I was put off by the great bootlegging anti-hero, Rex Braybury, who Christopher almost immediately dispenses with for the lackluster Rad Bradley (I imagine sequels playing on the Bradbury anagram). Maybe I found the anachronistic language, with its contemporary narration, too distracting for a stylized period piece. Mostly it was just too many good things – as if the story had been a personal challenge to make so many various genres fit into a single narrative. I give Empire State credit for being so bold in its effort and despite all of this, creating a unique tale.
The best part of this book is that Adam Christopher and Angry Robot have created a World Builder for those wishing to dabble in this “Alternative Prohibition”. Essentially, Christopher is opening his universe up and welcoming artists and authors to build on his foundation. This is brilliant. I’m hard pressed to think of any other authors who welcome people to play so openly with their creations. If people fall in love with a world, they want to be a part of it. Give them the tools and you only enhance the experience.
EmpireStateis a book that tries too hard to be too much for too many. As a single entity it is a quick read with notable flaws, however, as a spring board for others it is a universe of potential.
I might also add that, as a podcast mixing music and books, I’m impressed by Adam Christopher’s apendix listing and explaining his personal soundtrack for the book. Including tracks by The Pixies and Brian Jonestown Massacre.
For those looking for an interesting read, here are a few books I’ve finished this month:
The Mystic Art of Erasing All Signs of Death – Charlie Huston
This is easily one of the best novels I have ever read. I’m not saying it’s Steinbeck or DeLillio, but it holds its own amongst the top ten. Webster Fillmore Goodhue is an ex-teacher profession slacker who has decided the time has come for employment. Unfortunately, the only one willing to hire him is Clean Team – a family run trauma cleaning business. And a woman who needs a favor.
Huston creates compelling characters – believable in their characterization and motivation. You not only feel for each one despite their foibles, but you find yourself empathizing with them as well.
Caught Stealing – Charlie Huston
For years I have been hesitant about reading more Huston for the fear that nothing could compete with The Mystic Art….Well, Caught Stealing doesn’t quite make it there, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t completely intense and captivating in its own right. Caught Stealing is another ‘wrong place/wrong time’ scenario and for protagonist Hank winning out in the end comes at a such a loss, it almost is easier to accept just laying down and dying as a resolution.
Joe Golem and the Drowning City – Christopher Golden and Mike Mignola
This quick read started with a mystic, a half sunken New York, and a 14 year old street rat, it quickly found itself running out of steam. I love the work of Mignola and Golden, but the severe lack of subplots creates a literary mouse wheel effect, you feel like you’re getting somewhere but the incessant metal squeaking could drive you mad. Joe Golem looks to be a great core character (in the way that Baltimore did), and his continued quest will certainly fill the pages of Dark Horse spin-off books, but overall its feels like its missing the same sense of fun Hellboy or BPRD does.
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.
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.
Max Allan Collins not only has a new Hard Case Crime novel coming out this year, but his novel Bye Bye Baby will be released in August.
Like James Ellroy’s American Tabloid this novel dives into the strange depths of American history; A time when the waters of Camelot seemed clean and calm from a distance, but whose murky depths drowned wayward souls.
“It’s 1962, and Twentieth Century Fox is threatening to fire Marilyn Monroe. The blond goddess hires Nate Heller, private eye to the stars, to tap her phone so she will have a record of their calls in case they take her to court. When Heller starts listening, he uncovers far more than nasty conversations. The CIA, the FBI, the Mafia—even the Russians—are involved in actions focused on Marilyn. She’s the quintessential American cultural icon, idolized by women, desired by men, but her private life is… complicated…and her connection to the Kennedys makes her an object of interest to some parties with sinister intentions.
Not long after Heller signs on, Marilyn winds up dead of a convenient overdose. The detective feels he owes her, and the Kennedys, with whom he busted up corrupt unions in the 1950s. But now, as Heller investigates all possible people—famous, infamous, or deeply cloaked—who might be responsible for Marilyn’s death, he realizes that what has become his most challenging assignment may also be the end of him.
PI Nathan Heller returns in his first new novel in a decade, as Max Allan Collins brings to life a vivid star-studded cast, from JFK and RFK to Frank Sinatra and Peter Lawford, from Jimmy Hoffa and Joe DiMaggio to Hugh Hefner and Sam Giancana. Bye Bye, Baby is a Hollywood tale you never thought could happen…but probably did.”
This past week I came across Grabaciones de Impacto records. Since times and money are tight, I only grabbed two of their releases (and not the luxury collector jewels that the bands offer).
This was a poor judgement in consumerism . These bands are both powerful and brilliant enough to stand on its own, but for the same price I could be holding a limited edition article of future music history. Next time I wait out the shipping and support pure artistry.
I hope the best for Grabaciones de Impacto mainly because I admire their honesty and care for the total package. The label offers their releases on bandcamp and iTunes that certainly enables the listeners to pick it up and go. For those who want to relax and savor a tangible product Grabaciones de Impacto’s website promises each LP or EP will be ‘a reference for music collectors’ featuring limited editions, colored vinyl, and flyers from some amazing bands. So to those who complain about limited editions vanishing and never hearing the tracks on them the problem is resolved and the ban wins.
If you have not heard of Grabaciones de Impacto yet, you can hear most of the tracks on the individual bands’ bandcamp sites or visit their site which has a list of the most popular selling albums. If these two are #7 and #3, respectively then this label wields an impressive amount of talent and deserves your attention.
“First day of school / I was singled out / as a bad muthafucka / who couldn’t count.” Toot Toot Toots know me. No, I don’t mean the born in January, back of a Chevy, with an inability to do math. I mean gravel voice, horns, rough edges which add to the overall smoothness of the sound, and birds.
The Toot Toot Toots will draw immediate vocal resemblance to Tom Waits and Nick Cave, but where those guys are a voice with music behind them, The Toot Toot Toots are a band with a voice standing next to them. There is an American West vibrato to the guitars and drums with the horns and backup singers providing pushes and kicks at just the right moment to add tension and relief. This doesn’t sound like a group effort it is a group effort.
After several listens I’m hard pressed to find a favorite track. Each on not only builds upon the preceding one but stands strong as an individual. Typically I don’t have any patience for a nine-minute song, but “Oh! Maggie” one holds me and keeps me held with its variations and progressions. For those, like me, with three-minute attention-spans, the stand-outs are “Curses”, “Rooster Crow”, and “That’s My Boy.”
Not to be confused with the 60’s Garage Band, this band swings and swings hard.
If you’re the type to read crime fiction, think any non-amber drink is for wimps, and invest in venetian blinds as moody décor, you should stop reading now and buy this.
This band makes me want to make love to a dame, rip the filters off cigarettes, and walk around town holding a gut shot. Just not at the same time. Its raunchy and raw and screams for nighttime listening. There is no throwback to this retro sound. This is what would have occurred if the 60’s never happened.
This is music for the noir set. Just don’t leave your hat on the bed.
I am impressed by the symmetry and sleekness of this year’s start. In Binary, the number eventually (through some math unknown to me) equals 15. In numerology 15 represents matter and spirit, balance and happiness but can be reduced to 6 (again – fuzzy on the math) which is indicative of service to self and others.
This year holds a great deal of hope and prosperity in the numbers.
Both of the texts in this month’s podcasts revolve around the theme of selling one’s soul to the devil. In Ace Atkin’s Crossroad Blues, musicologist Nick Travers hunts down a colleague who had gone missing while hunting down several resurfaced Robert Johnson tracks. For those previously unfamiliar with Robert Johnson, he was a fantastic musician who purportedly made a Faustian deal with the Devil, and whose lyrics and violent strychnine induced death reinforced the rumor.
On January 22, keep your ears peeled for Bibliodiscoteque 10 featuring the Russian Classic – The Master and Margarita. In this tale, the Devil and cohorts descend upon Moscow and a young woman sells her soul to seek vengeance and ends up hosting the Devil’s Spring Ball.
Consider these cautionary tales for the new year.
If you enjoyed this podcast and want to know more:
Disclaimer – After having been a smoker for roughly 15 years and having been quit for the past two I do not in any way endorse participation in this activity. However, as I was searching for vintage radio commercials I couldn’t help use these. You will also notice the Schaeffer’s beer ad. Yes, that really is Louis Armstrong. Boris Karloff makes a guest appearance, too.