Grab-bag post: The VWOP Gazette, Blackbird Books, Sam Holt, Dead Man #3

Here’s a round-up of some interesting stuff from the past few weeks.

The Violent World of Parker Gazette

You may have noticed a new feature, The Violent World of Parker Gazette, in the sidebar. A click will take you to the main page, which is a newspaper-like thing that features some of my favorite feeds from around the web. Each day it will offer whatever comes across the VWOP twitter feed, co-blogger Nick’s excellent Existential Ennui blog, and whatever’s posted at eight other sites that I like.

I can also add links to other pieces of interest, and will on occasion.

This link will take you to the front page, and this one will take you to a full list of the day’s articles.

Each month, I’ll rotate out one site (maybe two) and rotate in a new one (maybe two). Out-rotation will be random, so don’t be offended if yours gets pulled!

I may expand beyond the usual crime fiction here, but I hope it will always be stuff that you’re interested in. (After thirteen years of running the site, I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of what y’all like.) I could see myself adding a feed about film noir or men’s adventure or pulp fiction or espionage novels, if I found sites on those subjects that I liked. I may veer even farther afield. The primary focus will always be crime fiction, though.

Our current guests are:

  • Live at the Heartbreak Lounge–Novelist and friend of the site Wallace Stroby‘s blog. His new novel, Kings of Midnight, the followup to Cold Shot to the Heart, will be released April 10.
  • Ed Gorman’s cleverly titled Ed Gorman’s blog–Ed Gorman needs no introduction to many of you. He’s been publishing crime fiction and Westerns for closing in on three decades now, and is active at the Rara-Avis forum. I reviewed his excellent novel Wolf Moon here.
  • Peter Rozovsky’s Detectives Beyond Borders also needs no introduction to most of you, as it’s an essential site for crime fiction lovers. As the title indicates, it focuses on international crime fiction, but it gives plenty of love to us Americans, too. (Peter drops by the comments here every once in awhile.)
  • I don’t know if Cullen Gallagher’s Pulp Serenade needs an introduction, but it shouldn’t. Bookmark it.
  • You already know about Mystery File.
  • Criminal Element is Macmillan Books’ “publisher neutral” crime and thriller site. They crank out a lot of material on every facet of the crime and thriller genres. Some of it won’t be of interest to you (I don’t care for true crime), but much of it will.
  • The Rap Sheet. Crime fiction, crime television, film noir. Crime crime crime. You probably know about this one, too.
  • SFFaudio. Ostensibly devoted to science fiction and fantasy audiobooks, co-founder and longtime friend of the site Jesse Willis makes certain that plenty of crime, noir, and other good stuff is covered as well. In fact, he had a post on three new Donald Westlake audiobooks just two days ago. They also feature a regular podcast, to which I (very) occasionally contribute.

Now would be a good time for you to tell me about sites that you like, either in the comments or via e-mail, so that I’ll always have material. Feel free to shamelessly promote your own site. All I ask of suggested sites is that they be regularly updated.

New from Blackbird Books

Our friends at Blackbird Books are back with three new items of interest.

First is Seth Edgarde’s new novel, The Devil Speaks Hungarian, featuring a nifty horizontal cover.

In a land of unrelenting turmoil, in a city that’s been laid siege by Mongols, Huns, Turks, Tartars, Germans, and Russians, a cop from Brooklyn joins the chase for a notebook with a mathematical formula that could turn the world on its head.

Second, Donald “Edwin West” Westlake’s sleaze novel Young and Innocent, previously available from Blackbird as a regular old book, is now available for Kindle.

Finally, we have Orrie Hitt’s 1954 pulp novel, Shabby Street. I haven’t read any Orrie Hitt novels yet, but I own three now and I hope to start on them soon. Maybe an Orrie Hitt week is in the near future.

Johnny Reagan quickly learned the slum’s depraved rules for survival.

At six, he was a petty thief. At twelve, he was a procurer. At twenty-one, he was a respectable, lovable, 18-carat heel who never missed a trick–especially if she promised an evening’s cheap thrills.

Then rich Mr. Connors befriended Johnny, and Johnny knew there was big money to be made–if he pulled the right strings, told the right lies, and played around with the right women.

But Johnny played with Julie…Julie who had been brought up in the same slum that had spawned Johnny–and who knew all the cute gutter tricks Johnny thought were his exclusive property…plus a few female tricks all her own.

A tough and lusty novel that moves with the white-heat of a lightning bolt!

As always with Blackbird’s products, these are beautiful.

Felony & Mayhem’s Samuel Holt novels for cheap

This weekend, I did a little book shopping, and found that the Half Price Books in Austin currently has new copies of Felony & Mayhem Press’ reprints of Donald Westlake’s Sam Holt novels for $4.99. I don’t know if that’s happening nationwide or if it’s just here in Austin. Being Half Price Books, the selection is a bit random. I went to two stores, and one had 1, 3, and 4, and the other had 1, 2, and 4. Worth checking out if there’s an HPB in your town.

Dead Man #3: Hell in Heaven by Lee Goldberg & William Rabkin

I previously expressed fond thoughts about the first two novels in the new Dead Man series of men’s adventure/horror novels. I’m not going to review every book in the series because, as they’re released monthly, that would quickly turn my Parker/Donald Westlake/crime fiction site into a Dead Man site. But I may review certain titles if they stand out for one reason or another, and I may also drop short reviews of others into grab-bag posts like this one. I’ll do that now.

In Hell in Heaven, Matt Cahill ventures to a small town called Heaven, deep in the heart of nowhere. When he pulls in on his motorcycle, he sees a banner stretched across the town’s main street. It reads, “Welcome Home, Matt!”

After a solid if slightly flawed start with #s 1 and 2, the series really hits its stride with Heaven in Hell (sort of like one of its models, Murphy and Sapir’s Destroyer series, did). Clever, disturbing, sometimes icky, often gruesome, Hell in Heaven presents this fun series at its full potential. Highly recommended.

The Dead Man Theme by Matthew Branham

Buy Kings of Midnight by Wallace Stroby

Buy Cold Shot to the Heart by Wallace Stroby

Buy Wolf Moon by Ed Gorman

Buy The Devil Speaks Hungarian by Seth Edgarde

Buy Young and Innocent by Donald Westlake as Edwin West

Buy Shabby Street by Orrie Hitt

Buy The Dead Man Vol 1 (includes Face of Evil, Ring of Knives, Hell in Heaven) by Lee Goldberg, William Rabkin, and James Daniels

Buy Hell In Heaven (Dead Man #3) by Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin