Word on the Street
What's new in the P.I. world...
Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- July 2013 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- White, Randy Wayne, & Carlene Fredericka Brennen, Randy Wayne White's Gulf Coast Cookbook: With Memories and Photos of Sanibel Island.. Buy this book
Includes more than 125 recipes with photos of the real Tarpon Bay and the most appetizing food-related passages from this acclaimed writer's essays and novels.
- January 2013 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Gifford, Justin, Pimping Fictions.. Buy this book.. Kindle it!
The sub-title is "African American Crime Literature and the Untold Story of Black Pulp Publishing," and it pretty much delivers. In spades. Eveything you ever wanted to knpw about black pulp fiction, from Cheser Himes, Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines to Holloway House and the commercial rebirth of the genre -- mostly by women -- is covered; a long overdue overview that serves as both a literary and cultural history.
- Konnikova, Maria, Mastermind: How to Think like Sherlock Holmes (non-fiction).. Buy this book.. Kindle it!
A psychologist tells you how the brain works -- or at least how it should -- using examples from the canon.
- Schaap, Rosie, Drinking With Men (non-fiction ode to bar life).. Buy this book.. Kindle it!
- Stashower, Daniel, The Hour of Peril (Allan Pinkerton).. Buy this book.. Kindle it!
Billed as "narrative non-fiction," this one by Edgar winner and historian Stashower purports to tell the story original private "eye" Pinkerton and his role in "The First Time They Tried to Kill Lincoln."
- November 2012 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Morris, Erroll, A Wilderness of Errors (true crime)
First they tell us Sybil was a crock; not it turns out that Joe McGuiness' acclaimed 1983 true crime classic A Fatal Vision may have been a little less than the whole story.
- October 2012 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Connolly, John, and Declan Burke, editors, Books to Die For (criticism). Buy this book
A treasure trove of goodies for crime fiction lovers, as over a hundred of the world's greatest mystery writers look at their favourite mystery novels and tell us why they matter..
- Kelly, Charles, Gunshots in Another Room (biography). Buy this book. Kindle it!
Amnesia, alcoholism, armed robbery, kinky sex, sociopaths and murder. It wasn't just the stuff of fiction for damned, doomed hard-boiled writer Dan J. Marlowe, creator of tough guy house dick Johnny Killain and ruthless professional criminal Earl Drake.
- Kelly, Charles, Gunshots in Another Room (bio of Dan J. Marlowe)
- Queenan, Joe, One for the Books.. Buy this book.. Kindle it!
noted columnist, humourist and all-around crank goes book crazy -- and dares you to follow him. For those who truly ove books, Queenan's Quixotic quest is like a hit off a bibliographic bong. Inhale deeply.
- May 2012 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Collins, Max Allan, and James Traylor, Mickey Spillane on Screen. Buy this book
Just like it says, this is a "Complete Study of the Television and Film Adaptations," lovingly put together by long-time Spillane champions Collins and Traylor, who first made their case for the Mick way back in 1984, with their pivotal One Lonely Knight: Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer. This time out, the boys are ambitiously tracking down and delivering all the dope on all the various big and small screen adaptations. But there's oh, so much more -- the asides, rarities and trivia flow copiously, like blood from a gut wound. Spillane fans will love it!
- MacDonald, Erin E., Ed McBain/Evan Hunter: A Literary Companion...Buy this book
An astounding labour of love (and scholarship), as MacDonald, not content with spending seven years on a dissertation on the 87th Precinct novels, wades into the vast ocean of work McBain left us, from short stories in the pulps and digests to his bestselling police procedurtals and crime novels. Detailed overviews and an impressive listing of character-by-character breakdowns, plus oodles of bibliographic info make this an essential reference work for both fans and collectors, both encyclopedic and engaging.
- April 2012 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Miss Demeanor, Criminal Crafts.. Buy this book.. Kindle it!
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 offers thirty darkly themed "outlaw projects," plucked from the annals of crime. Pass the glue gun.
- Hall, James W., Hit Lit.. Buy this book.. Kindle it!
Author Hall's long-promised, long-awaited survey of bestsellers, subtitled "Cracking the Code of the Twentieth Century's Biggest Bestsellers."
- Penzler, Otto, editor, In Pursuit of Spenser (non-fiction).... Buy this book!
Fellow mystery writers, incuding Gorman, Block, Gary Phillips, Coleman, Collins, Rozan, Healy, Lehane, etc. on Robert B. Parker and the "creation of an American hero." In his intro, Penzler doesn't just make case for Parker as the legitimate and worthy successor to the hallowed Hammett/Chandler/Macdonald trinity -- he just states it as a matter of fact.
- Polito, Robert, editor, American Noir:11 Classic Crime Novels of the 1930s, 40s, & 50s.... Buy this book!
The noir genre gets a big hunk of respect from the folks at the Library of America, with this classy two-volume hardcover collection that digs deep into the heart of darkness: The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain, (1934), They Shoot Horses, Don't They? by Horace McCoy, Thieves Like Us by Edward Anderson, The Big Clock by Kenneth Fearing,, Nightmare Alley by William Lindsay Gresham, I Married a Dead Man by Cornell Woolrich, The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson, The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith, Pick-Up by Charles Willeford, Down There by David Goodis and The Real Cool Killers by Chester Himes. That's over 1800 acid-free pages of despair, bleakness and bad luck. Pass the razor.
- February 2012 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Davis, Lindsey, Falco: The Official Companion (r). Buy this book...Kindle it!
Paperback edition of the official companion to the long-running series, including a slew of stuff about the author and her greatest fictional creation that will knock your socks off -- or at least twist your toga a little.
- November 2011 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Garner, James, & Jon Winokur, The Garner Files (autobiography). Buy this book.. Kindle it!
For a generation, James Garner's Jim Rockford has been THE private eye: tough, shrewd, principled and ready to stand up when it's the right thing to do. Much like Garner himself. An illuminating autobiography, and oh the stories he tells. Like Garner says, "Something funny happens as you get older -- you don't hold back so much."
- October 2011 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Athanasourelis, John Paul, Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe: The Hard-Boiled Detective Transformed
Buy this book. .Kindle it!
Bronx English prof holds Marlowe up to the light, and suggests that his "feeling for community and willingness to compromise radically changed the genre's vigilantism and violence," and compares Chandler's work to his contemporaries, and considers his impact on the genre as a whole.
- Block, Lawrence, Afterthoughts (Block on his career)...Buy this book. .Kindle it!
Anyone interested in writing, crime fiction or Lawrence Block would do well to check out this jigsaw puzzle memoir, consisting of assorted introductions and afterwords from the countless re-issues and collections over a long, distinguished and still thriving and throbbing career. Not a formal memoir, perhaps, but a cheeky, spunky look at the works.
- Collins, Colleen, How Do Private Eyes Do That? (non-fiction). . Kindle it!
A great collection of articles and columns from a working P.I. Perfect for aspiring Hammetts and Chandlers who want to get it right.
- The Monday Murder Club, A Miscellany of Murder: From History and Literature to True Crime and Television, a Killer Selection of Trivia...Buy this book
A Boston-area covey of mystery writers and trivia geeks, including our pals Stephen D. Rogers and Andrew S. McAleer, round up more trivia about murder and mayhem than you can wave a roscoe at. Sure, the compilers divivy up the book into seven chapters, each devoted to one of the deadly sins, but the real attraction here is murder in all it's bloody glory. True crime! Literature! TV! Movies! Wanna know Agatha Christie's career body count? The worst villain of all time? Sherlock Holmes' most botched solution? Why blondes may not have more fun bafter all? It's all here.
- Pinker, Steven, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined..Buy this book.. Kindle it!
A provocative and wide-ranging brick of a book, perfect for tossing through the plate glass window of "common knowledge." Turns out we're not quite the barbarians teetering on the brink of global and societal anarchy that the fearmongering politicians and their 24/7 news cycle enablers tell us we, after all. The truth, unpleasant as some may find it, is that violence has been steadily decreasing, not for years or even decades but for centuries. Globally. Pinker, a well-respected Harvard professor of psychology offers pretty conclusive proof that we humans may not be perfect, but there's still some hope.
- August 2011 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Block, Lawrence, Afterthoughts.. Nook it
It feels slapped together, but this ebook is more than just a quickie collection of all the afterwords and introductions Block's written over the years for his countless reprints and re-issues. It serves not just as an informal book on writing, publishing and storytelling from the fifties until the present, but also as a sort of eratz memoir that traces Block's life from his early days as an alcoholic, a pulp writer and a Lesbian (long story) to his present-day status as one of the most highly regarded writers of the genre. Block keeps threatening to retire, but with the level of wit, humour and plain old writing chops that goes into even these tossed out bon mots, it's pretty clear that he's still got plenty of mojo -- not to mention chutpah -- working. Damn him.
- Stephenson-Payne, Phil, Stephen T. Miller, and William G. Contento,.editors,.The Crime, Mystery & Gangster Fiction Magazine Index..Buy this CD-ROM
This long-awaited bibliographical blockbuster, available both in CD-ROM format and as a series of luxury hardback volumes. It includes indexes by Author, Title, Issue, Series, Publisher, Artist, and Chronological by Author, and includes over 13,000 covers. It's a must-have if you're a biblio-geek like myself and absolutely have to know where some crime or detective story first appeared. Was it Black Mask or Charlie Chan? Argosy or Ellery Queen?
- June 2011 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Collins, Colleen, & Shaun Kaufman, How to Write a Dick: A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life Sleuths.. Nook it!
- May 2011 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Collins, Paul, The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized A City & Sparked The Tabloid Wars...Buy this book
- James, Bill, Popular Crime: Reflections on the Celebration of Violence.. Buy this book.. Kindle it!
Sure, it cites everything from the Lizzie Borden story to the O.J. case, with stops along the way for the Boston Strangler, the Lindbergh kidnapping and the Black Dahlia, among others, but this isn't like any true crime book you've read lately. James -- best known as the baseball geek who deconstructed the National Pastime and gave us the Baseball Abstracts -- turns his statistician's eye on tabloid murders past and present, why Americans are horrified by them and, more importantly, why we can't stop talking about them. With his easy-going, almost folky manner, it's disarming how easily the author can lull you into a false sense of security, stringing you along with what seem like obvious truths, juicy tidbits and even some cold case detective work, before sucker-punching you with the sort of cold hard facts that may just change how you think about crime, violence and ourselves.
- March 2011 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Block, Lawrence, The Liar's Bible: A Handbook for Fiction Writers (non-fiction)...Kindle it!
New collection of essays on writing, mostly pulled from Block's long-running column in Writer's Digest.
- Traylor, James L., editor, Dime Detective Companion.. Buy this book
- What a difference a little technology makes. This heavily revised and expanded edition of Dime Detective Index comprises all of that pivotal volume, plus several new articles on the pulp and its writers and a real treat: the fifth anniversary round-robin story from the November 1936 issue, "The Tongueless Men," co-written by Dime Detective stalwarts William E. Barrett, Carroll John Daly, Frederick C. Davis, T.T. Flynn and John Lawrence.
- January 2011 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Moore, Christopher G., The Cultural Detective (non-fiction)...Buy this book...Kindle it!
The creator of Bangkok detective Vincent Calvino muses on Thailand, crime fiction & politics. Fascinating.
- Nicol, Brian, Eugene McNulty & Patricia Pulham, Crime Culture....Buy this book
With a subtitle like "Figuring Criminality in Fiction and Film," its hefty price tag and the fact it's part of something called the Continuum Literary Studies, it's a pretty safe bet this won't be flying off the racks down at Costco. But for more scholarly fans of the genre and anyone else interested in how crime fiction helps us make sense of the broader concerns shaping modern culture and society, this wide-ranging collection of original essays is well worth a look. It covers not only the usual suspects (the classic English detective fiction, the American hard-boiled school, gangster flicks, etc.) but also such diverse topics as neglected films noir, the hitman mythology, true crime, reality TV, female African American writers, and contemporary "literary" fiction by J. G. Ballard, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Margaret Atwood.
- Schenkar, Joan, The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith (r)...Buy this book...Kindle it!
Dark, twisted biography of the dark, twisted Queen of Noir..
- Winthrop, Simon, How to Be a Mentalist: Master the Secrets Behind the TV Show...Buy this book...Kindle it!
A stage magician and working "mentalist" reveals all the tricks, from memory enhancement and lie detection to persuasion methods and cold readings. Not endorsed by the TV show.
- September 2010 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Markowitz, Susan, and Jenna Glatzer, My Stolen Son: The Nick Markowitz Story....Buy this book
A mother's ten-year personal ordeal attempting to cope with the death of her son, whose murder was depicted in the film Alpha Dog. Heartbreaking.
- October 2010 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Jakubowski, Maxim, editor, Following the Detectives...Buy this book
For those of you who get easily lost when reading any crime fiction set anywhere but your own home town, Maxim has the answer: this handy-dandy guidebook that dares to shed light on the stomping grounds of over 20 of crime fiction's greatest detectives. Includes gorgeous colour maps spotlighting real-life locations (buildings, streets, bars, restaurants, etc.), so readers can follow the action, whether it leads to Sam Spade's favourite restaurant or Inspector Maigret's Parisian café. P.I. fans will particularly enjoy the takes on on Chandler's Los Angeles, Hammett's San Raymond Chandler's LA), Sherlock Holmes' London, George Pelecanos' Wasahington, D.C., Sara Paretsky's Chicago, Ross Macdonald's Southern California and Declan Hughes' Dublin. Other contributors include Dick Adler, Declan Burke, Sarah Weinman, J. Kingston Pierce, John Harvey and Barry Forshaw.
- Saunders, David, H.J. Ward...Buy this book
The best reference book on the life work of legendary pulp artist H.J.Ward ever, meticulously researched and beautifully produced, with over 500 illustrations, including more than 75 original pulp cover paintings as well as a biography, family photos, and a comprehensive checklist.
- Waller, S., editor, Serial Killers: Being and Killing....Buy this book
Part of the popular "Philosophy for Everyone" series, this alternately fascinating and disturbing volume explores the existential, ethical and political questions that our culture's current obsession obviously raises, working its way through an examination of both real and fictional serial killers, including Ian Brady, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer , the Zodiac killer, Dexter and Hannibal Lecter , and serves up the often conflicting insights of philosophers, academics, crime writers and police officers. Best served with a nice bottle of Chianti.
July 2010 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Davis, Lindsey, Falco: The Official Companion. Buy this book...Kindle it!
Just like it says, the official companion to the long-running series, including a slew of stuff about the author and her greatest fictional creation that will knock your socks off -- or at least twist your toga a little.
- May 2010 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Silver, Alain, Elizabeth Ward, James Ursin and Robert Porfirio, Film Noir: The Encyclopedia ...Buy this book
This substantially revised and expanded fourth edition of the de facto standard reference work in the field -- nobody else even comes close -- has been a long time coming. This isn’t just some gussied up reprint with a few minor tweaks here and there it’s been souped up, filled out and blown up, shedding new light on the darkest of film genres. With exhaustive appendixes, over 300 photos, and plenty of savvy and enlightening criticism that pulls no punches and takes no prisoners, this is a straight up, no chaser blast for the noir junkie.
- March 2010 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Doyle, Steven, and David A. Crowder, Sherlock Holmes for Dummies. ...Buy this book....Kindle it!
Literature's most beloved and popular fictional character finally comes to the world's most ubitquious reference series, and the results are everything you'd expect: comprehensive, slightly tongue-in-cheek and surprisingly readable, clearly written by someone who knows their stuff. Except for the geekiest of the geeks, this is more Sherlockiana than most folks will ever need, featuring analyses, historical background, novel-by-novel and story-by-story breakdownsï of the entire canon, plus plenty of space devoted to Holmes' portrayals in television, film, theatrical presentations and pastiche, plus his most memorable quotes, his impact on literature, mystery writing, and detective work and plenty about Sherlockiana around the world.
- January 2010 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Beakley, Mike "Darkside", and Pam Phree, Betrayal, Murder, and Greed: The True Story of a Bounty Hunter and a Bail Bond Agent ....Buy this book
- December 2009 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- James, P.D., Talking About Detective Fiction....Buy this book
One of crime fiction's most popular and respected writers lifts the lid on "the human appetite for mystery and mayhem," and lets us get a good look at the works in this wide-ranging survey, dishing up the goods on (among others) Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett, Peter Lovesey and Sara Paretsky, her own writing process and what she sees as the recent renaissance of detective fiction.
- November 2009 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Brown, Stuart, Mma Ramotswe's Cookbook....Buy this book
Well, isn't this Precious? Fans of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency can skip the bottle of hooch in the desk drawer and settle in with a nice cup of red bush tea instead. With photographs by Mats Ogren and a foreword by Precious' creator, Alexander McCall Smith, this amply illustrated culinary tour offers an intriguing glimpse into Botswana's traditions and culture, with numerous detours for recipes for stews, fat cakes (doughnuts) jams and other trtaditional delicacies, with the proceeds from the book's sales being shared among several African charities.
- Penzler, Otto, The Line-Up...Buy this book
The head honcho of New York's Mysterious Bookstore dumps on his enemies (mostly big chain bookstores) in the intro, but the rest of the book is a fascinatiing look at how some of the best writers in the genre see their own characters. And so you have Robert Parker on Spenser, Lee Child on Jack Reacher, Robert Crais on Elvis Cole and Joe Pike and so on. Also weighing in on their heroes are folks like Michael Connely, John Connolly, Laura Lippman, Anne Perry and Alexandar McCall Smith. Engaging and often surprising, this one comes highly recommended.
- October 2009 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Roth, Randolph, American Homicide...Buy this book
A wonk-heavy, stat-heavy look into one thing the U.S. certainly leads the world in: murder. History professor Roth comes to a staggering and surprising conclusion about why Americans are number one in killery: it ain't personal, it's political. And then he trots out enough data and meticulous research to back it up. Disturbing, provocative and in your face, this is one academic can of worms that deserves to be opened.
- September 2009 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Gunn, Drewey Wayne, ed., The Golden Age of Gay Fiction....Buy this book
An ambitious stab at tracking the various strata of gay fiction, including some eye-opening chapters on gay pulp fiction. Of particular interest to fans of this site are Josh Lanyon's survey of Joseph Hansen's early works, and editor Gunn's essay on the development of gay crime fiction entitled "Down These Queer Streets."
- Redmond, Christopher, Sherlock Holmes Handbook....Buy this book
Long overdue second edition of the 1993 classic brings fans up to date on the latest films, books, TV shows and the effect of the internet on spreading the word.
- July 2009 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Hack, Richard, Duchess of Death: The Unauthorized Biography of Agatha Christie ....Buy this book
- Lovisi, Gary, The Dames, Dolls and Delinquents: A Collector's Guide to Sexy Pulp Fiction....Buy this book
World-renowned paperback junkie and expert Gary Lovis takes us on atour of pulp fiction babitude with an astounding array of close to 700 full-color covers. But it's also a valuable collectors' guide, featuring plenty of info to help with identification, including title, author, cover artist, publisher, date, not to mention values for three grades of condition. Bad girls never looked so good.
- June 2009 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Fredericksen, John C., Honey West., Buy this book
A heart-felt tribute to the ground-breaking cult favourite that at its best surprise, surprise -- actually improved upon the original character, as created by G.G. Fickling, transforming the affable bimbo sleuth into something far more subversive: a lady dick with looks AND brains.
- Rayner, Richard, A Bright and Guilty Place (true crime) ....Buy this book
Subtitled "Murder, Corruption, and L.A.'s Scandalous Coming of Age" this one covers an unsolved 1931 Los Angeles murder, and everything from Chaplin's socialst agenda to Aimee MacPherson and the St. Valentine Day's Massacre.
- Silke, Jim, and R.A. Maguire, Dames, Dolls, And Gun Molls...Buy this book
A long overdue tribute by art historian Jim Silke to legendary pulp artist Robert A. Maguire who created gorgeous cover images for more than a thousand books and worked for virtually every mainstream publisher in the U.S. and who never met a dame who didn't want to strip down and hold a gun.
- May 2009 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Folsom, Tom, The Mad Ones: Crazy Joe Gallo and the Revolution at the Edge of the Underworld ....Buy this book
Folsom makes the case that Gallo was "cool" -- the first counter-culture gangster. Hmmm....
- Wlaschin, Ken, Silent Mystery and Detective Films....Buy this book
A real eye opener from film expert Wlaschin, this well-illustrated volume presents a jaw-dropping litany from around the world of over 1500 early crime flicks, ranging from slap-stick one reelers probably best forgotten to Gawd-I’d-love-to-see-them early film appearances of such beloved mystery icons as Sherlock Holmes, Charlie Chan and Boston Blackie. A labour of love that your mystery fan will love too. impressive.
- April 2009 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Beaver, Jim, Life's That Way: A Memoir ....Buy this book
An actor (he played Ellsworth on Deadwood), a husband and a father offers a harrowing glimpse of his wife's death from cancer and his struggle to survive the loss, in the process proving himself to a man of uncommon courage and depth, a rara-avis indeed.
- March 2009 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Herron, Don, The Dashiell Hammett Tour: 30th Anniversary Guidebook....Buy this book
A special, 30th anniversary edition celebration of what is pretty much mecca for any true hard-boiled crime buff: a pilgrimage to San Francisco, and Don Herron's guided tour of all things Hammett.
- February 2009
- Olin, Deb, Cheri deFonteny and Lynn Walker, Hardcastle and McCormick ...Buy this book
This love letter to “the boys” is billed as "The Complete Viewers Guide to the Classic Eighties Action Series" and that ain’t no lie. It’s crammed with interviews, episode guides, technical data and more trivia than you could rev a motor at. Fun, fun, fun… or at least until the judge takes the customized race car away.
September 2008 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Blum, Howard, American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, the Birth of Hollywood, and the Crime of the Century .. Buy this book
True crime about the notorious 1911 LA Times bombing, featuring Clarence Darrow and real-life P.I. William J. Burns among the cast of thousands.
- Schechter, Harold, editor, True Crime: An American Anthology .. Buy this book
Crime is evidently as American as apple pie, and this anthology goes out of its way to prove it, with a boffo selection of red, white and blue mayhem from a star-studded list of contributors that includes everyone from Abraham Lincoln to Jim Thompson.
- May 2008 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Wenzl, Roy, et al, Bind, Torture, Kill: The Inside Story of BTK, the Serial Killer Next Door ..Buy this book
The BTK killer stalks Kansas. More serial killer porn, illustrated.
- January 2008 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Geary, Rick, J. Edgar Hoover: A Graphic Biography ..Buy this book
Now here's something you don't see everyday: a no holds-barred biography of the FBI head honcho (and headcase) done in comic book form. Geary, famed for his Treasury of Victorian Crime series and numerous grahic novel adaptations of literary classics, does his usual bang-up job of extensive research, finely rendered period detail and good ol' storytelling. It's all here, from the Bureau's early, Depression-era gangbusting days to the shadowy world of Watergate, with plenty of professional (and personal) malfeasance (and rumours of malfeasance) to ponder. Hoover might not have been all bad, but he sure was drawn that way.
- November 2007 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Freeman, Judith, The Long Embrace ..Buy this book
It's a shame about Ray, or at least that's what the author of this alternately trashy and insightful biograghy seems to want to imply. Freeman sniffs through the flotsam and jetsam of Chandler's personal life and particularly his marriage to Cissy, a beautiful but much older woman. Freeman pawed through Raymond Chandler's papers and letters, interviewed some of the people who actually knew them, and tracked down over thirty of the California homes and apartments the Chandlers lived in, all in an effort to figure out what made Chandler tick, but the result is still inconclusive, and alternately intriguing and more than a little creepy. Plus, it doesn't change one iota the work Chandler left behind. Or how I feel about it.
- Life: The Most Notorious Crimes in American History ..Buy this book
Culled from the pages of Life Magazine and other sources, this is one coffee table book that's hard to resist. Ambitious in its scope, even if it eventually settles for only "Fifty Fascinating Case from the Files," this is an utterly engaging romp through the history of American crime, covering everything from Lincoln's assassination to school shootings, with forays into Lizzie Borden, Patty Hearst, the Boston Strangler, the Lindbergh kidnapping and more. Well presented, generously illustrated and sporting concise but engaging overviews of each crime, it's almost impossible to put down once you start browsing through it. The only real disappointment is the aftermath, when you realize they've missed several interesting -- and equally notorious -- crimes. The assassination of Jesse James? Charles Whitman? Bonny and Clyde? I can hardly wait for Volume Two.
- October 2007 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Leonard, Elmore, Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing (non-fiction) ..Buy this book
A slim book that expands upon, as Leonard puts it, "'the rules I've picked up along the way to help me remain invisible when I'm writing a book, to help me show rather than tell what's taking place in the story."It's padded out with illustrations from Joe Ciardiello.
- Rosen, Fred, When Satan Wore A Cross (true crime; wacko priest kills nun!)....Buy this book
- August 2007 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Chapman, Duane, You Can Run But You Can't Hide .. Buy this book
TV's bounty hunting "Dog" barks up a storm.
- Green, Bill, Ben Peskoe, Will Russell & Scott Shuffitt, I'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski....Buy this book
Subtitled "Life, 'The Big Lebowski' and What-Have-You" this is the ultimate fan book for those who know. Featuring an intro by Jeff Bridges. The Dude abides.
- Richmond, Cliff, The Good Wife (true crime)....Buy this book
The author promises all the dirt on "The Shocking Betrayal and Brutal Murder of a Godly Woman in Texas" and he delivers, in this fascinating look at the 1996 killing of wealthy, conservative Texan lecturer Penny Scaggs and "a seemingly model Christian marriage gone horribly wrong."
- June 2007 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Grams, Martin, The Radio Adventures of Sam Spade....Buy this book
All you ever wanted to know about the immensely popular radio show starring Howard Duff: the good, the bad and the blacklist. The success of the show upped the ante on Hammett's already popular creation, and the book delves into the subsequent comics strips, magazine articles and radio cross-overs and imitations, including bios on the principal players, a complete episode guide, an unproduced radio scrip and t is reprinted, and a reprint of "Babe Lincoln," a female detective that never came to be. Grams is the author of numerous books on old-time radio and old-time television, , including he staggering Radio Drama A Comprehensive Chronicle of American Network Programs, 19321962.
- Pinkerton, Allan, Thirty Years a Detective....Buy this book
The founder of the detective agency that bears his name, Pinkerton was instrumental in bringing down the James gang, the Molly Maguires, and the Reno brothers and foiled an assassination plot against Abraham Lincoln, wrote countless books tooting his own horn but in this reprint, the most famous dick of his day tones down the BSP and simply tells readers how to protect themselves from criminals. The scams may change, but human nature doesn't.