There is something comfortable or maybe not so comfortable reading dark tales about where you live. So I was excited to discover “Tampa Bay Noir.” I was equally disappointed by the book. Not because the stories are bad, they are not, but if you looking for noir, well, at best there are a few noir lite tales. With the title, and the long running series that it is part of, I was expecting darker tales. The stories give us a view of modern Tampa Bay filled with subdivisions, malls and homes by the water. Edited by Collette Bennett, book reviewer for the Tampa Bay Times, who contributes a story, the collection gets off with a good start with Michael Connelly who brings the iconic Harry Bosch to Tampa Bay to help an old friend. Lori Roy follows with another interesting tale, one of the darker ones. Other highlights include stories by Tim Dorsey, Lisa Unger, Ace Atkins, Gale Massey, Danny Lopez, and the previously mentioned Collette Bennett. There is not a bad story, but the dark noir streets are missing.
Published by Hard Case Crime, Are Snakes Necessary? is Brian DePalma’s first novel. It was co-written with journalist Susan Lehman. Like DePalma’s films, I think people are either going to love this book or hate it.
Okay, first things first. I am a big Brian DePalma fan. Ever since I first saw Sisters way back when. Accusations of Hitchcock imitating have haunted him throughout his career. Well, artists have always borrowed styles from other artists and in film, few are better to steal from than Alfred Hitchcock. Are Snakes Necessary? is a quick thrill ride: a political thriller wrapped in a noir like piece of pulp fiction that much like his films is stylized and at times disjointed. Not surprisingly, there is a cinematic flow and much of the book is dialogue driven. In the words of Elmore Leonard, they left out the boring stuff.
George Jensen made it to the top of the best seller’s list with his novel “The Final Ending.” He should be on top of the world, instead, his world is spiraling out of control. He needs to Make it Write.
The Movie Club meets every other week. Tonight is also Halloween night and it’s going to be frightful.
The Movie Club is one of eight short stories with a movie tinted flavor in my new collection, The Late Show and Other Tales of Celluloid Malice. Available at Amazon.
I have been working on editing a new collection of film essays for the Classic Movie Blog Association’s (CMBA) ninth eBook. Each book has its own theme, Banned and Blacklisted, Underseen and Underrated, and Hollywood on Hollywood to name a few. This book is no different. The subject is Anniversaries. Why Anniversaries, you ask? Well, in October of last year the CMBA celebrated its 10th anniversary, so it seemed fitting.
The CMBA began in 2009 as a dream of Rick Armstrong who blogs as the Classic Film and TV Cafe. He was the organization’s first President and its guiding light. Today, there are close to 90 members and going strong.
This book contains 10 essays from celebrating how Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and other films from 1969 bridged the Old And New Hollywood to how the Spanish Flu of 100 years ago affected the film Industry.
Anyone who has read Stephen King knows many of his characters are writers. I don’t know of any other author who has used a writer in so many of his stories. Many of these stories have been transferred to the movie screen, once again, possibly more than any other author. And there are more on the way. Here are five of my favorites.
Whether you’re a musician, actor, artist or writer you know having fans is an integral part of the experience. Fans are supportive, financially and artistically. Fans follow the artist on social media, fans share experiences and thoughts with each other, and fans are devoted. Sometimes like Annie Wilkes, a little too devoted. In Misery, King created one of his most devoted and deranged fans. One of my favorite King novels and films.
Every writer needs time alone when he’s working. Solitude to think, research and create. In The Shining, Stephen King’s Jack Torrance is no exception, and he finds his opportunity when he is hired as a caretaker at the Overlook Hotel, closed for the winter. The fact that the previous caretaker went mad does not deter Jack from taking the job and his family along. HERE’S JOHNNY!
I read the novel and saw the made for television movie back in the 1970s. All I can say is that Salem’s Lot remains one of my favorite King novels. A mini-series was made in 2004.
In Secret Window, a psychological thriller (based on the novella Secret Window, Secret Garden from Four Past Midnight), Johnny Depp portrays a successful writer going through a rough divorce. He is stalked by a wannabe writer (John Turturro) who accuses him of plagiarism. I like this film more than a lot of folks do. One of Depp’s finest performances.
Stephen King’s novella, Big Driver (a TNT film), originally part of King’s Full Night, Dark Stars collection is a tale of not so sweet revenge in line with the film I Spit on Your Grave. Tess Thorne, an author of cozy mysteries, is attacked, brutally raped repeatedly and left for dead, on an empty back road while she is on her way back home from a speaking and book signing engagement at a library. Afraid to tell anyone about her rape she seeks revenge on those responsible. With the help of her inner voice and a GPS named Tom, The author’s perpetrators get their bloody revenge.
Hard Case Crime recently brought back Donald Westlake’s 1977 book Enough under a new title called Double Feature. The original book was hard to find unless your local library had a copy. That’s where I originally discovered it some years back. Double Feature consists of two short novellas; A Travesty is the longest and best of the two stories. The second story, Ordo is decidedly less interesting. With the recent publication under its new title, I reread A Travesty and still found it a fun read. Attached is a link to a post called A Slight Case of Donald Westlake, I wrote a few years back that includes a review of Enough/Double Feature.
THE LATE SHOW AND OTHER TALES OF CELLULOID MALICE includes 8 short stories all with two things in common… Malice and Movies. Below are some of the movies that inspired me to write the stories. Pre-order at Amazon. Available March 3rd
Frankie Bosco’s running from the cops. He needs to hide. As he scurries along a busy street Frankie passes a movie theater showing two classic James Cagney gangster films. It’s perfect! He can hide in the theater until dark and things cool down. Undercover of the night would a better time to make his getaway. In the theater, Frankie’s safe for now or so he thinks!
I Ain’t So Tough is one of seven crime stories with a cinematic flavor included in my forthcoming collection, The Late Show and Other Tales of Celluloid Malice.
Here’s a shortlist of some of my favorite books I read during 2019. Some were published in 2019, others are older works I finally caught up with.
Favorite Short Story Fiction
The Sleep Tight Motel (Lisa Unger)
Rides a Stranger (David Bell)
Payoff (Steve Brewer)
Favorite Fiction Novels
The Bitterest Pill (Reed Farrel Coleman)
Prey for the Girl (Joseph Souza)
The James Deans (Reed Farrel Coleman)
The Outfit (Richard Stark)
Beyond the Truth (Bruce Robert Coffin)
Favorite Non-Fiction – Hollywood vs. the Author