Word on the Street
What's new in the P.I. world...
Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
May 2018 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Connolly, John, He (non-crime; biography)...Buy this book...Kindle it!
The author of the acclaimed Charlie Parker series takes a giant step sideways, serving up a piercing and at times heartbreaking bio of film comedian Stan Laurel and his lifelong friendship with his partner, Oliver Hardy. Just a stunning achievement.
January 2018 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
November 2017 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
October 2017 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Duncan, Paul, & Jürgen Müller, editors, Film Noir...Buy this book
Apparently a truncated but still gorgeous version of 2014's Film Noir: 100 All-Time Favorites, featuring "Taschen's Top 50 Picks of Film Noir, 1940-60."
- Lake, Dianne, & Deborah Herman, Member of the Family (true crime)...Buy this book...Buy the audio...Kindle it!
The Manson Family, that is, as told by one of its yougest members.
- Wenger, Murielle, & Stephen Trussel, Maigret's World: A Reader's Companion...Buy this book...Kindle it!
Of course Maigret wasn't a private eye, but in 75 brief novels and 30 short stories, Simenon's famous detective pursued criminals with a Gallic doggedness every bit as intense as that of Chandler or Hammett.
September 2017 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Forshaw, Barry, American Noir (reference)...Buy this book...Kindle it!
U.K. crime writer stretches the boundaries of the definition of "noir" to the breaking point in this "Pocket Essential Guide to U.S. Crime Fiction, Film & Television," but there's no denying his affection for contemporary American crime fiction in all its guises. Given his personal preferences, it may not be "essential" but given Forshaw's obvious passion and knowledge, it's sure a lot of fun.
- Pugmire, John, & Brian Skupin, editors, The Realm of the Impossible (anthology)...Buy this book.
It's a small world after all, and also one possibly without any visible way in or out, in this globe-spinning collection of short stories built around locked room mysteries and other impossible crimes, most never before collected, or even published in a English.
August 2017 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Ollerman, Rick, Hardboiled, Noir and Gold Medals (essays & criticism) ...Buy this book
Noir revisionists Stark House Press's go-to-guy and pulp-savant Rick Ollerman has been pumping out feisty, personal intros to their awesome collections of lost and rare pulp and noir novels and their creators for years and now it's his turn to shine, with this equally feisty and personal collection of those essays, plus a slew of new material written specifically for this volume. Hmmmm.... recycling old intros to make a new book? Who's this guy think he is? Lawrence Block? Highly recommended.
July 2017 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
June 2017 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
May 2017 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Scott, Cathy, editor, The Crime Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained...Buy this book. .Kindle it!
Crime may not be fun, but this book is. In typical, award-winning DK fashion, it's an absolutely beautiful volume that rips through some of the most notorious crimes in history, from bank robberies and kidnappings to political assassinations and mob hits. Stuffed with sidebars, timelines, charts and graphs and oodles of photos, this mighty must-have tome lifts the lid on the crimes, the villains, the victims, and the investigators, and gives us a good look at the works. Breathtaking in its scope, and endlessly engrossing.
April 2017 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Pronzini, Bill, Gun in Cheek: An Affectionate Guide to the "Worst" in Mystery Fiction...Buy this book. .Kindle it!
Reprint of classic reference work focussing, for once, not on the best but the worst of crime fiction. Writing so bad it could rot your brain. Hilariously essential.
- Sherman, Philip, Leo Marguiles: Giant of the Pulps (biography)...Buy this book
It's about time someone wrote about arguably the most influential (and certainly the most highly paid) editor of the pulp era. Leo Margulies served as editor-in-chief of the Thrilling Group, and was at one point buying over two million words a month. Over his long career, he edited more than 70 pulps (Thrilling Detective!) and digests (Mike Shyne's Mystery Magazine!), as well as countless anthologies. If you don't recognize the name, you don't know pulp.
March 2017 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Caldwell, Laura, & Leslie Klinger, Anatomy of Innocence: Testimonies of the Wrongfully Convicted
Buy this book. .Kindle it!
An absolutely vital book for this new, post-truth world, featuring heartbreaking tale after heartbreaking tale of ordinary citizens thrown in jail for crimes they DIDN'T commit. Truth doesn't matter? Facts don't matter? Read 'em and weep. Contributors include Lee Child, Gary Phillips, Sarah Weinman, Brad Parks, S.J. Rozan, Sara Paretsky, Michael Harvey and Arthur Miller.
- Flynn, Kevin, editor, The New York Times Book of Crime: More Than 166 Years of Covering the Beat...Buy this book.
A tantalizing buffet of the macabre, with tasty tidbits ranging from assassinations and mob hits to serial killers and prison riots, with excerpts and photographs from the original articles as they appeared at the time, edited by one of the Times' crimebeat vet, and with an intro by Richard Price. A bloody good time.
February 2017 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
December 2016 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Dickerson, Ian, Who is the Falcon?: The Detective In Print, Movies, Radio and TV...Buy this book
Everything you always wanted to know about the dashing rogue, detective and ladies' man alternately known as Gay Stanhope Falcon, Gay Lawrence, Tom Lawrence, Michael Watling, Malcolm J. Wingate, Mike Waring or simply "The Falcon" and his long complicated jopurney through print, film, radio and television.
October 2016 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Nelson, Paul, & Kevin Avery, It's All One Case: The Illustrated Ross Macdonald Archives) . Buy this book
Astoundingly personal and captivating, part serious bibliographical, part biographical memoir, and part fanboy scrapbook, this collection of rare photos, lost interviews and essays is essential reading for anyone who ever looked for solutions to their own mysteries in a crime novel.
- The Big Book of Jack the Ripper) . Buy this book.. Kindle it!
This year's big book from Penzler combines fiction and non-fiction, with short stories featuring, essays on and memorabilia from everyone's favourite serial killer. Contributors include Marie Belloc Lowndes, Robert Bloch, Ellery Queen, George Bernard Shaw, Ed Hoch, , Anne Perry, Jeffrey Deaver, Loren D. Estleman and others, as well as some of the world's foremost Ripperologists.
November 2016 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Lee, Susanna, Hard-Boiled Crime Fiction & the Decline of Moral Authority...Buy this book...Kindle it!
A Georgetown prof tears into the guts of the hard-boiled mythos, tracking its long history and evolution, positing the hard-boiled hero not as the defender of the status quo but as a figure of "individual autonomy and accountability in modern Western culture." Thoughtful and eye-opening, it'll really give your brain something to chew over.
September 2016 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- LeCarré, John, The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life (memoir)...Buy this book...Buy the audio...Kindle it!
The bestselling author reveals possibly his greatest creation: himself!
August 2016 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
May 2016 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Vieira, Mark A., Into the Dark: The Hidden World of Film Noir, 1941-1950...Buy this book...Kindle it!
A behind-the-scenes look at the world of noir, straight from the mouths of those responsible. And nestled among the numerous quotes, retorts, snippets and bon mots from the motley crew of directors, actors, cinematographers, writers and critics featured inare some truly breathtaking stills. Plus, an intro from the czar of noir himself, Mr. Eddie Muller.
April 2016 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
February 2016 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Braly, Malcolm, False Starts (autobiography) (r). Buy this book
Reprint of the classic con autobio. A memoir of "San Quentin and Other Prisons"
Romanko, Karen A., Television's Female Spies and Crimefighters...Buy this book...Kindle it!
The subtitle boasts of "600 Characters and Shows, 1950s to the Present" and that seems about right. It's essentially an encyclopedia, featuring capsule summaries sorted by both character and the show they appeared on, and an index further sorts them out by actress. A lot of fun, and they even include a few publicity stills and the like. But man, there have been a lot of goofy shows.
December 2015 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Block, Lawrence, Writing the Novel from Plot to Print to Pixel ...Buy this book...Kindle it!
Long awaited update of 1978 classic, one of the best writing books ever, dragged kicking and screaming into the digital age. But Block, still one of publishing's shrewdest tacticians for decades, holds true to his original thesis, that every novel is different, and so is every novelist; his aim is to give you the tools to enable you to find your own way. Absolutely essential.
November 2015 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Aldous, Steve, The World of Shaft.. Buy this book
Pretty much all you'd ever want to know about Shaft, the private eye who digs like a private sex machine with all the chicks. Billed as "A Complete Guide to the Novels, Comic Strip, Films and Television Series," the book focusses quite a bit on the trials and tribulations of Shaft's creator, Ernest Tidyman, drawing from his own personal papers, and then revisits the whole Shaft world: the novels (by Tidyman and others), the films, the long-lost newspaper comic strip and the series' upcoming return to the printed page, and, supposedly, to the big screen. Can you dig it?
- Deitche, Scott, Cocktail Noir...Buy this book...Kindle it!
An ambitious look at the connections between booze, the mob, film, and writers, covering everything from "From Gangsters and Gin Joints to Gumshoes and Gimlets," how Prohibition (the first war on drugs) gave us criminal empires and the scoop on Al Capone's tastes in rye to some of the favorite watering holes (and tipples) of hard-boiled and noir authors (Chandler, Cain, Hammett, etc.) and how to make a gimlet -- you know, just in case Marlowe's ghost drops by. Generous shots of research, garnished with enough woozy asides, wisecracks and quotes to quench any thirst. Next round's on you.
- Fleming, Fergus, The Man with the Golden Typewriter...Buy this book..Buy the audio...Kindle it!
"Ian Fleming's James Bond Letters," compiled by his son. 'Nuff said.
October 2015 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Leovy, Jill, Ghettoside (r). Buy this book..Kindle it!
Black lives may matter (to some of us anyway), but the ongoing epidemic of black-on-black homicide doesn't seem to even come up on the radar of a surprisingly large number of Americans. Which is what makes this non-fiction book such a Taser to our collective apathy. Crime reporter Leovy follows one LAPD detective who does give a damn, and uses him as a springboard to crack open the whole ugly mess of racism, politics, cultural and societal malfunction and downright ignorance that have lead us here. An angry piece of literary journalism that goes far beyond just true crime, and tears right into the guts of cheap, talking-point cynicism.
September 2015 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Evans, Chad A., Vinnie Calvino's World: A Noir Guide to Southeast Asia. Buy this book..Kindle it!
A long overdue appreciation of Christopher G. Moore's Shamus-winning P.I. series featuring our man in Thailand, Vincent Calvino, an ex-pat New York City cop turned Bangkok private peeper. Go Global!
- Harkup, Kathryn, A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie. Buy this book..Buy the audio..Kindle it!
Christie was not only the Grande Dame of Crime Fiction -- she was also the Queen of Poison. More than any other mystery writer, Christie knew her stuff -- never just slipping a fatal random mickey into someone's cuppa, but using knowledge gleaned from her war-time work in pharmacies to bump off off murder victims with a wide variety of toxic substances. Harkup, a chemist herself, devote each chapter to a specific book and the (often surprising) poison used, providing its historical and scientific background, and the often ingenious ways Christie utilized it. Morbid? Maybe. But utterly fascinating, and a wake up call to those who dismiss Christie out of hand as a mere "cozy" writer. Best served with a nice cup of tea -- but best make it yourself.
- Ward, Nathan, The Lost Detective: Becoming Dashiell Hammett (bio). Buy this book..Buy the audio..Kindle it!
Of course we're still reading Hammett's work 90 years later because he was a great writer -- not because he worked for a few much ballyhooed years as a REAL! LIVE! DETECTIVE! The author deserves huge kudos for going beyond the usual "print the legend" stuff, and actually calling Hammett (or his ghost) on some of the stories from his days as a Pinkerton op. Not that it changes one bit my love for Hammett's writing, but it's about time Hammett's career as a detective wasn't just glossed over. Definitely a refreshing wake up call, fascinating and essential for anyone who gives a damn about detective fiction and good writing.
August 2015 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Beran, Michael Knox, Murder By Candlelight. Buy this book...Kindle it!
True crime porn, or whatever you want to call it, isn't new. Back in the early nineteenth century, a series of gruesome crimes shocked, fascinated and revolted the population. Here the author details both the the era's most notorious murders and the impact they had on society, and raises probing questions about our own current day obsession with the macabre.
- Gifford, Justin, Street Poison: The Biography of Iceberg Slim. Buy this book...Buy the audio...Kindle it!
You say that Slim was a mean mutha? One of the most influential crime writers of the last century, finally gets a decent biography. Can ya dig it?
April 2015 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
- Hubin, Allen J., Crime Fiction IV: A Comprehensive Bibliography 1749-2010 (revised)...Buy the CD-ROM
The latest (and possibly last) installment in the landmark reference series, listing almost every English-language mystery ever written. His original edition instantly became a touchstone for mystery geeks everywhere, and this revised edition, updated to 2010, is purportedly the last CD edition. There are links by author, book, story, pseudonym, by co-author, contents, chronology, and even by movies based on the author's books, and works about the author. The CD-ROM lists for a mere $49.95, while the original print edition clocked in somewhere around $400 or so back at the dawn of time. Do the math. For additional information, head to Locus Online.
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