Word on the Street

Other Fun Stuff...

Gabe Soria's noirish graphic novel valentine to American roots music follows damned and doomed record company owner Nate Theodore as he tries to shake the hellhounds (and creditors) on his tail, only to stumble across Donny and Marvell Fontweathers, two talented young African-American brothers whose dark, violent country blues may just be his salvation -- or maybe not. To finance a new record by the two gifted sibling, the three of them decide to go on a crime spree. The stark, moody art by Paul Reinwand and Chris Hunt slides on by easy, but the accompanying blues music by bluesman Robert Finley and The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, all grit and hurt, brings it on home like a jackhammer. (July 2017)

Finally! The P.I./Funko barrier has been breached! After years of hoping the makers of those ever-so-collectable big-eyed vinyl figures would give us some shamus love, we're beginning to see some light with the release of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage figurines, both taken, not from the comics, but from the TV show versions streaming on Netflix. Hopefully, we'll soon start to see more TV-based P.I. figures soon. Rockford? Mannix? Peter Gunn? Veronica Mars?

Frustrated by the lack of tchotchkes devoted to detective fiction? Ever wonder where the hell the Rockford Files bobbleheads are? The Kinsey Millhone Barbie Dolls? The Jack Reacher action figures? Sure, Edgar Allen Poe and Sherlock Holmes are well represented, but there are plenty of other stars of this little genre of ours who could use a little love. Which is why Debbie Ritter's mystery author dolls are such a blast. Each of these little buggers is hand-crafted from wire, wood and clay and features a hand-painted face and an appropriate book clutched in one tiny hand. Raymond Chandler, for example, looking very much the geeky Anglophile, with his gray flannel trousers, black suit coat, and checkered tie, sporting wire spectacles, and a tiny version of The Long Goodbye in his hand. Other figures, currently ready to ship, include James M. Cain, Elmore Leonard, Ian Fleming, Dashiell Hammett and even Agatha Christie. Even better, though, is that Debs will actually design a doll for you if she's hasn't already created one of your favourite authors. Tell her Kevin sent ya...

Release your inner Beckett! Or Castle. Okay, okay. ABC's Castle is NOT a private eye show, but it's encouraging, after all these years, to finally see a kids' game based on any crime/detective TV show again. And yes, I know that Castle is not exactly a kids' show, but then neither was Peter Gunn or any of those other TV tie-in board games. Maybe this one'll be a big hit and we'll soon see Burn Notice: The Miami Mystery Game or, even better, something based on Republic of Doyle. Although the latter might be a drinking game...eddy Wilson Trio). Good stuff all around. Includes a program guide by Elizabeth McLeod. (June 2012)

What? You don't have a cozy for your shiv? The perfect book for those guys and molls who know the ecstasy of a hot glue gun on a cold Sunday afternoon, this only slightly tongue-in-cheek volume by Miss Demeanor offers thirty darkly themed "outlaw projects," plucked from the annals of crime. Pass the glue gun.

A boxed set of eight of the BBC's recent acclaimed, full-cast dramatisations of novels, featuring Toby Stephens as Philip Marlowe. Titles include The Big Sleep, The Lady In The Lake, Farewell My Lovely, Playback, The Long Goodbye, The High Window, The Little Sister and Poodle Springs. (November 2011)

To these old fart eyes, it just looks like a cartoon version of Ellroy's L.A. Confidential, but people are going apeshit over this thing. To "'honour" (ie: tie-in with) the release of Rockstar's hot new videogame, Mulholland Books is releasing L.A. Noire: The Collected Stories, a collection of eight original stories by some of the best writers in the biz, including Lawrence Block, Duane Swierczynski, Joe Lansdale, Joyce Carol Oates, Megan Abbott and Andrew Vachss. I dunno.

This soundtrack to the ambitious but flawed big-screen remake of the TV cult fave about an author feverishly rewriting his life even as he faces his own personal Big Sleep swaps the original's big band-era tunes for classic 1950s-era doo wop and rock'n'roll. The film's star, Robert Downey Jr., offers the only new recording, a soulful cover of In My Dreams. Goodies include Gene Vincent's original, Johnnie Ray's Just Walking In The Rain, The Chordettes' Mr. Sandman and the eerily appropriate It's Only Make Believe by Conway Twitty. A tasty selection, balancing the expected with some genuine sleepers that deserve to be rescued from obscurity. Dreamy.

No P.I. show worth its salt would be ever be caught dead without a cool theme, so the good folks at TV Land, the American nostalgia channel, and Rhino Records have collected 16 of the original themes from such classic detective shows as The Rockford Files, Mannix , Charlie's Angels, 77 Sunset Strip, Vega$, Peter Gunn, Cannon, Hart To Hart, Remington Steele, Honey West, Hawaiian Eye, Spenser: For Hire, Harry O, Checkmate, Tenspeed and Brownshoe and Magnum P.I. by artists such as Mike Post, Lalo Shifrin, Jack Elliot & Allyn Ferguson, Warren Barker, Dominic Frontiere, John Parker, Mark Snow, Henry Mancini & His Orchestra, Alfred Perry, Steve Dorff & Friends, The John Gregory Orchestra and Johnny Williams & His Orchestra. The liner notes, by Thane Tierney, are also great fun. Noticeable by their absence are the themes from Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer, by Pete Rugolo, and Staccato, by Elmer Bernstein, but who's complaining? A companion volume, entitled Crime Stoppers: TV's Greatest Cop Themes, is also available. A perfect little stocking stuffer.


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