Friday, August 13, 2010
The Shamus Award nominees have been announced and I was happy to see names like Dave Zeltserman, Gary Phillips, Russel Mclean and Michael Koryta getting some attention. Not sure what the criteria is for being eligible for consideration from organizations like the PWA or MWA who give out these types of awards, but I would love love love to see the hardworking folks at places like Crimefactory and Needle get some nominations under their collective belts, 'cause they're creating some great new places to find crime fiction. Needle's second issue dropped this week, featuring the likes of Ray Banks, Frank Bill, Stephen Blackmoore, Nolan Knight, Sarah Weinman, Nigel Bird, Julie Summerell, Mike Sheeter, Chris F. Holm, John Stickney and Allan Leverone. What's that? I missed one? Oh, yeah, Mr. Beat To a Pulp, his own self, David Cranmer is in there too. Cranmer deserves what I may start calling the Keith Rawson Junior Achiever Award for his service in creating extra mud for our shallow and murky waters we call a literary scene. He's bringing his own monster anthology out superfast BTAP Round One which he and Elaine Ash have edited and independently funded, (what was in his bank account actually paid the writers). So I'll be ordering that one plus the new Needle and throw-down copies of issue one (to take Lulu up on that free shipping on orders over $20) as soon as it's available.
One guy who could certainly explain all the eligibility rites would be (a BTAP Round One contributor) Robert J. Randisi, the founder and former president of the PWA, (as well as last year's recipient of The Eye, the PWA's lifetime achievement award). Randisi has just edited a two volume collection of Shamus winning short stories which I dip into at Ransom Notes.
In other publishing news this week, Dorchester Publishing has announced the end of their producing the mass market paperback form in favor of electronic, (though they will continue trade sized paperbacks). The most immediate effect this has on me is that Charles Ardai's Hard Case Crime line will be changing... publishing house and possibly format, (going to trade size - not going primarily to digital). I got no idea the business advantages of one format over the other, but if it does change to the larger size book, it'll be a bummer for me. Obviously, they're producing new literature, but the throw-back vibe of the packaging has always been key to their appeal, and I'm sure I'm not alone there. Regardless, I'm sure the quality level we've come to expect from Mr. Ardai, (a Shamus winner and BTAP Round One contributor - how's those for tie-ins?) and his line will stay up, we're just going to have to wait a little longer for the new Max Allan Collins and Christa Faust.
Finally, I re-watched The Border the other night and came away sorely disappointed. I'd seen it before and remembered it as a gritty morality drama with great turns from a cast you'd expect them from, (Jack Nicholson, Harvey Keitel and Warren Oates especially). Unfortunately, it was an ungraceful mess, full of unintentional laughs and awkward juxtapositions of drama, humor and action. Not a terrible movie, still had some really nice moments and the setting is fertile and the story solid, but not at all the classic I was anticipating. Not even close. Put me in the mood to revisit some better border movies though. I'd like to check out The Three Burials of Melquiada Estrada and Sin Nombre and oh hell, I've been jonsing to watch No Country For Old Men again, so maybe I'll do just that. I've got a bunch of early eighties Nicholson pics in the que - stuff I saw a long time ago or never at all and I'm hoping they deliver more than this one.