Newsgroups and List Servs
Man, back in the day, you could easily spend all your time chatting away on various crime fiction lists. There was something for everyone, it seemed, and new lists and sites and blogs sprung up every day. They ranged from the ridiculous to the sublime, to the absolutely essential...
Founded by original moderator William Denton, this fantastic list covers all things hard-boiled, including, ahem, private eyes and other detective fiction. For real buffs, although not for everyone, as expressed by Peter Lance, who had this to say:
"I've never seen a list devoted to the ostensible study of hardboiled mysteries made up of softer people. You're all a bunch of bloated, self-important, would be-critics. There isn't a single one of you that I'd want to watch my back down some dark alley. Why don't you guys just go out and collectively get a life. Or write your own books instead of living like a school of cyber guardfish off the works of others."
Evidently, some folks on the list didn't like Peter's book (I wonder why he needs his back watched?). Anyway, if you like this site, you'll probably like this list. And spammers, BSPers and other web parasites beware: Rara-Avis is simply one of the best-moderated lists on the Net. Bullshit is not tolerated.
A kick-ass mailing list dedicated to the new wave of mystery writers (male or female, mid-1980s to present) carrying the P.I. tradition into the future, manned by our own Gerald So. Among those frequently discussed are Robert Crais, Harlan Coben, Dennis Lehane, Katy Munger, Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, George Pelecanos, Sparkle Hayter, and more. Don't fuck around like I did. Join this list NOW!
Gerald So's rockin' new forum to "explore the dramatic image of crime in television and feature films and its impact on crime fiction and the imagination....The words "dramatic" and "crime fiction" above set a serious but not exclusively hard-boiled tone for the list. Lighter shows such as Remington Steele, MacGyver, and Riptide, are fair game, but we focus on professional investigators and criminals. Moonlighting novelists and doctors don't make the cut. Among other topics, we'll discuss so-called "cinematic" writers, what works or doesn't work onscreen, and ways film/performance may improve upon print."
Another Yahoo! Group, this one's moderated by Maddy Van. Under the larger umbrella of the mystery genre, the group has a large membership and a lot of traffic, but also regular directed book discussions. The come-on reads: "Be clueless no more! Join your fellow bookaholics and discover new authors, great books, and the latest in mystery happenings. Every month we have a formal discussion of two books selected by the group, as well as daily discussions of what we are reading and what's happening in Mystery Land. Our mystery expertise ranges from very little to quite a lot, but it doesn't matter since everyone enjoys all things mysterious."
Once upon a time, before blogs and Twitter and all the rest, this was THE place for mystery freaks and geeks of all genres to hang out. Concocted by a group of women librarians at a July 1991 Washington, D.C. meeting of the Association of Research Libraries and named "in honor of one of the great women mystery writers of the century," it's certainly the longest-running mystery discussion forum in cyberspace,and had the reputation of being the hangout for serious (well, sometimes) mystery readers of all genders and genres, at least theoretically. Let's just say that the off-topics of food, pets, and personal health anecdotes, not to mention personal attacks and name-calling, often pop up, despite the fact this list is allegedly moderated (in fact, some of the choicest name-calling was provided BY one of the moderators during my tenure there, when she ended up calling several people on the list "word masturbators"). And of course it was infiltrated, like so many other discussion groups and the like, by a lot of desperate self-publishers who thought they could beat down people's resistance to buying books by force-feeding them a steady stream of BSP. Still, there was an awful lot of really good stuff in there: questions about writing, opinions and reviews of books, movies, television shows, and a whole lot more. It's a big, mailbox-choking list (or at least it was), so I'd advise subscribing to it in digest form. There was also once a wonderful resource for past digests, going all the way back to February, 1999, as well (it used to be 1995, but the archivist was ordered to severely redact it at some point to protect the guilty). I'm proud to say I was a regular contributor to this list until I was "banned for life" from it... TWICE! Tell them Kevin sends his love.
Something for people with too many initials after their names! An ambitious academic site that its creators, Lee and Katharine Horsley, hope will have something to offer anyone teaching or studying crime fiction, film and graphic art. Their aims are to:
- To explore different critical approaches to the study of crime literature/film, and to be as entertaining and wide-ranging as possible. In addition to fiction and film, we will cover, for example, TV crime series, true crime writing, vintage crime paperback art work, graphic novels and video games.
- To provide an opportunity for the best undergraduate and postgraduate students to publish things online, whether first-rate term-time essays or things written specially for the site: check out their Call for Papers section.
- To publicize the crime literature/film courses being offered at American, British, Canadian and Australian universities and to provide a discussion forum for those involved in teaching these courses.
- To establish links with the people who run the best crime-related web sites.
- To provide an extensive bibliography of books and articles.
- Hardboiled Heaven
One of the original sites I found on the web dealing with the genre, Brad Lang's site offered checklists of some of his all-time favourite hardboiled novels, as well as links to other sites, an exclusive interview with Chicago hardboiled detective author Michael Cormany, and some great old detective and crime paperback covers, etc. In fact, Brad's site is one of the sites I used as a blueprint for this one. Brad's also the author of the Crockett P.I. series, from back in the seventies, so he knows his stuff. Check it out!
Michael E. Grost's amazingly ambitious attempt to give an in-depth overview of the entire mystery genre, and it's still going strong! He zeroes in with keen intellectual ferocity on his targets, going as deep as I go wide. he may be even crazier than I am. An absolutely essential site.
Still very much a work in progress (and a labour of love) but this site, which bills itself as a "critical list with discussions" never fails to enthrall and captivate. Smart ideas about crime fiction in all its guises? They got it!
Billing itself as "The Place For Everything Mystery," this site is big and wide, if not particularly deep. It's got a little something for everyone, but I don't think it's been updated for years.
The official site for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, with links to both and many other delights worth exploring. Various columns, including reviews, and excerpts from stories are also posted online.
This site contains information about the magazine and selected columns and articles. Like the blurb says, "For almost two decades, Mystery Scene has championed writers and offered them information, encouragement, entertainment and a place to blow off steam. Every issue contains interviews of mystery authors and industry professionals, publishing and bookselling news, tips on the writer's craft, appreciations, diatribes, criticism, commentary, and book reviews. Plus the occasional joke, witticism or anecdote!"
Straight outta Drummondville, comes Denis Bernicky fledling crime fiction site, offering a variety of reviews, gift ideas and the like. Mrs. Ticehurst would approve. RVR rules.
An E-zine run by mystery lovers for mystery lovers. The online "issues" are becoming rarer and rarer, but there's also a Facebook group, which has proven to be slightly more active.
Recommended for those of you who don't know your gat from your gunsel. Compiled by "Wild Bill" Denton of Rara-Avis fame.
Magazines & E-Zines
The grandfather of us all. Jiro Kimura of Kanazawa, Japan has been running this site/blog/newsletter for just about forever. A truly daunting task, it's like a monthly review of short crime fiction, with an emphasis on series detectives. Recommended heartily. Jiro, by the way, is the creator of private eyes Joe Venice and Sachinosuke Terada.
A literary web zine, with a pretty damn good crime fiction section, edited by J. (Jeff) Kingston Pierce, with a good number of interviews with mystery novelists and a healthy stock of solid reviews of titles in the genre.
A free newsletter, dishing up the goods on the best in mystery and thrillers, "from forgotten masterpieces of detective fictioní's Golden Age to the latest heart-pounding tales and twisted suspense." You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter and join in the conversation.
Originally an E-mail zine and now a blog, The Rap Sheet is a pet project put out exclusively for January Magazine by its crime fiction editor J. Kingston Pierce, featuring short reviews. Authors and publishers are encouraged to e-mail Jeff with information about new and forthcoming books.
It's a web site! It's a print mag! It's both! Cherie Jung is the editor/publisher of this mag/site which publishes short stories, author profiles, interviews, reviews and other articles of general interest to mystery fans. The site and the quarterly magazine do not contain the same information. For info on the print mag, click here.
Sure, it's slightly trashy looking, but this magazine for real-life private investigators delivers the goods. Really.
Web site for the American revival of the classic British mag that introduced Sherlock holmes to the world. As Todd Mason points out, the print version itself features "decent Holmes pastiches, good nonfiction, and HRF Keating, Michael Bond, and other big names who skirt cozy and Edwardian, (and) is still the most PI-oriented of the non-hardboiled print 'zines, necessarily as a result of all the Sherlockiana." The web site has information on the magazine, of course, as well as short stories, articles, interview excerpts, and book reviews.
The On-line British Crime and Mystery Fiction Journal, featuring "The Best in Crime and Mystery Fiction." A bit confusing, with too many frames and winking, blinking animations and frames-within-frames, but the info's great! Includes a regular column by Val McDermid and reviews by other well known authors such as Andrew Taylor, John Baker and Pauline Bell. There's also the Crime Fiction awards, monthly digests of new releases, weekly TV/radio listings, an on-line bookshop and more. For those with hearty browsers and lots of patience...