Sunday, July 14, 2013


Even as the good (and not so good) people of Los Angeles gather tonight in a communal pursuit of pleasure in words (specifically - salacious tales from Sara Gran, Tim Hallinan, Lisa Brackmann, Steph Cha & Anonymous 9) Plots With Guns has released a brand new issue that sports a banner proclaiming In Memory of Cort McMeel, and featuring a great piece from Gonzalo Baeza on the man who was, himself, one of the reasons that Noir at the Bar - that ever-expanding, ever-evolving community - came to be.
It sounds like Cort's publication, Murdaland magazine, had the same effect on Baeza as it did on me, and, I suspect, a great many voices just beginning to be, and not yet, heard in crime fiction. It was Murdaland, after all, that gave me the kick in the junk to write short fiction, and which helped me to connect with Scott Phillips, and led to the two of us picking up the still smoldering torch Peter Rozovsky lit in Philadelphia with the clever-ass rhymy name Noir at the Bar. And it was at N@B event in St. Louis where I finally met Cort and a hundred and three literary projects were conceived in a single weekend (though, I suspect that was the case wherever Cort went). After returning home from that weekend, Cort partnered with Jon Bassoff and Benjamin Whitmer to form a N@B-Denver chapter and he published his (last?) short story Kiev, Ukraine in the second N@B anthology - which featured his Baltimore boxer Nasty Jay, the titular character of his own story from the first issue of Murdaland.

There's a feedback loop of influence and thievery, gratitude and envy, admiration and mutilation that fucks up my senses when I try to disconnect the dots and make a straight line of the whole scene. Anybody whose been infected, touched, felt-up or otherwise molested by this subterranean crime community can trace the pathology of the current, mutated virus backward through several hosts without ever finding patient zero, but they won't have to through many strains before they run up against direct contact/contamination from Cort.

So, hey, welcome to the Twin Cities and Minnesotans in general as bastard's bastards and the latest carriers on July 25 when N@B alum Anthony Neil Smith, John Rector and Sean Doolittle (plus Jess Lourey) join host Paul von Stoetzel in bringing you the latest contamination - against which, there is no inoculation. May your infection spread, and your legend be printed.

(And big congrats to Sean & John on their Thriller Awards!)

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