Monday, May 6, 2013

Agon & Ecstasy

D. O'Shea, L. Benedict & J.H. Jacobs
We threw a party and you, the hell, missed it. You just didn't fucking show up, did you? But you still want to hear all about it, don't you? Figures. Here's a quick rundown of how the May 4 N@B event went down.

Old hand and old fart Dan O'Shea opened the evening with a selection from his novel Penance, and demonstrated, once again why he's reading his own book's damned audio version. My favorite passage from his selection:

"Stosh'd fuck a toasted cheese sandwich - especially if the sandwich was just working out which way its bread was buttered. Especially if the sandwich wasn't really sure it wanted to get fucked yet. Stosh liked em hurt and confused, liked fucking them, liked fucking them up even better."

J. Christopher Dupuy followed with a piece called Sometimes You Stay Away Longer which went down smooth and funny right up until that very last line which... turned everything a little icky.

The ick stuck around as Tawny Leech brought the blood and bits from her post-apocalyptic The Quiet - imagine the father from Cormac McCarthy's The Road wasn't such a hot shit parent after all... plus all the usual infanticide, zombies, axes and tongue-necklaces (not necklaces you'd wear on your tongue).

Zombies ruled the evening as John Hornor Jacobs closed the night out with his zombie dog fighting tale from Surreal South '11 Old - Dog, New Tricks. 'Twer a good note to end the evening on, 'cause everybody needed a drink after.

Also in attendance were N@B stars Laura Benedict, Pinckney Benedict, Matthew McBride and Mark W. Tiedemann. Much later the consumption of distilled spirits and fizzy oats moved down the street and, believe it or not, tongues were greatly loosened. Among the myriad of topics covered I can legitimately recall having a very enthusiastic exchange with Shea about two mutual admirations Stephen Hunter and Graham Greene. Wonder what a collaboration would've looked like?

May 4 was also the Fish Bites Cop book release party in Louisville. Too bad I couldn't be two places at once, 'cause it means I had to get David James Keaton to drag his cop bitin butt all the way over here for N@B May 17 where he and Mr. Muscles himself, Fred Venturini will up the oddity quotient, no doubt, at what may be our strangest crime night yet with Matt Kindt marking the release of his latest graphic novel, Red Handed. Keaton and Kindt's two new releases really, truly, for surely are a couple of the most wonderfully strange books I've read this year, and Venturini? Forget it. There will be many an attendee wondering what the bartender laced their beers with on that night, it ought to be fantastic in a couple senses of the word.

And while I can't make it, if you live in the St. Louis area, you should definitely check out the St. Louis County Library's Suspense Night, May 10 with Megan Abbott, Ace Atkins, Reed Farrel Coleman, Michael Koryta and Hank Phillippi Ryan.

May looks to be the noiriest, barriest month for me yet. After the two St. Louis events I'll be headed to Denver for N@B on the 23 in honor of Cort McMeel. Jon Bassoff and Benjamin Whitmer are going forward with the event that was already planned before Cort's death. And what a lineup: Norb Vonnegut, Michael Lion and Christa Faust. I also hope to see in attendance the likes of Court Merrigan,  Nick Arvin, Mario Acevedo and fingers crossed, Tom Piccirilli (how great is it that that's even on the table? Fuck cancer, Tom).

But it doesn't end there. Over Memorial Day weekend, I'll be in New York with Glenn Gray, Todd Robinson, and the N@B-NY crew to do an event Sunday night (May 26). The line-up for this beast is really stellar: Scott AdlerbergJ.I. Baker, Josh Bazell, Reed Farrel Coleman, Keith Gilman, Rob Hart, Dana Kabel, Justin Porter, Todd Robinson, Kieran Shea and Dennis Tafoya - making me the obvious turd in the punchbowl. But those shows always goes with more talent in the seats. I'm hoping like hell to see guys like Thomas Pluck and Richie Narvaez at the bar.

And if you can't be at the apple's core that night, the 26th is N@B coast to coast with Eric Beetner, Stephen Blackmoore and Aldo Calcagno's N@B-LA (recently Twitterized @NoirBarLA) bringing you more Dan O'Shea than you can possibly handle, plus Seth Harwood, Joe Clifford and Tom Pitts. Holy shit, them there all have new books too. O'Shea's Penance, Harwood's In Broad Daylight, Clifford's Junkie Love and I just read Pitts' Piggyback.

If you're not sick of me already, go over to Out of the Gutter online and check out this Q&A conducted with me and Ryan Sayles. We talk sin, salvation, blood, sex and penis size. It's a brief conversation that screeched to a halt and after an awkward moment, we both walked away without making eye contact. And, damn, St. Louis Magazine has an interview with Jordan Harper wherein he has the audacity to include me in short list of midwest writers doing the grit-lit thing well. The others? Yeah, maybe you've heard of Donald Ray Pollock, Daniel Woodrell or Frank Bill. Damn, way to make me all self-concious and shit. Thanks though, Jordan. If you haven't read his book American Death Songs, you may not know how ridiculously flattering that comment was. And if you haven't checked out the short film based on his story Midnight Rider - well here's your chance.

Lastly, Clifford, Pitts, Merrigan, Beetner, Sayles and myself all have books published with the plenty scrappy Snubnose Press, and shit, so do a lot more great, grungy-end-of-the-plunger crime writers, and Mystery People in Austin, under the influence of the mighty Scott Montgomery have made May Snubnose Press month. If you live in or around Austin, check in and check out the Snubnose selection.


Keith Rawson said...

You are a busy, busy man. BTW, give Shea a slap on the ass for me when you see him

jedidiah ayres said...

ass slapping will occur

Kieran Shea said...

rawson. ever the frisky.