I’ve had numerous requests for the return of the ongoing column, and I’ve spoken with Chris Hocking, my Hard Boiled Monday pal, and we’ll be getting back to it in a little while. I’ve given up trying to read stories in the order of the original list, though, and it may not be EVERY Monday. I’ll get a schedule up in a little while.
For now, I wanted to tell anyone who wanted to read along that the first book we’ll be discussing is an exceptionally fine anthology titled The Mammoth Book of Private Eye Stories. It’s considered a landmark volume and now that I’m most of the way through it I definitely see why. Arr, there be great fiction in here, matey’s! Said the pirate…. Who apparently reads hard boiled detective novels. Who are you to stereotype?!
Anyway, not this coming Monday, but Monday May 8th I hope to start discussing the very best out of this greatest hits anthology. If you like (or at least are curious about) private eye stories, this is an excellent place to go. If you’re looking for a copy, try here for paperbacks, or go to the other usual places. For once, copies seem plentiful, though I have no idea why. I can’t imagine why someone would want to part with this volume, because I definitely plan on reading from it again. It’s a great introduction to the work authors I’ve already started exploring.
Man, there’s no one like Norbert Davis. Sly, with great elements of humor at the same time he’s delivering a strong mystery and great action.
The only thing I haven’t enjoyed about the collection was John Macdonald’s introduction, which didn’t much discuss the fiction and instead sideswiped the author a little.
You can find the book here.
I spent a good chunk of the weekend cleaning and organizing various things around the house. If you’re a home owner sometimes it feels like the weekend is so busy that the week itself is more relaxing.
I did manage to get in, finally, some playing of Field Commander: Alexander, and tried to launch an expedition into Persia. I won the first time but didn’t quite get the rules right, so I tried again and got trounced, alas. But it turns out I still missed out on some rules intricacies. I’m looking forward to a re-match against those wily Achaemenidians next Sunday morning.
I’m a big fan of Field Commander: Napoleon from the same company, DVG, and I’ve been curious about this earlier game for years. Read More
Here at Jones central things have been on the quiet side lately, which is nice. I’m working away on the revision of the second novel of my new series, although revision is a stretch for some portions when a lot of the middle is going to be drafted from scratch.
When not drafting, or still hacking away at the honey-do list, I’ve been reading a lot more, and returned to some of the noir volumes on my shelf. I just polished off Fredric Brown’s The Fabulous Clipjoint and ended up wishing I’d read it a lot sooner, and have been slowly working my way through some great stories in The Mammoth Book of Private Eye Stories, which I’m told by those in the know is a landmark collection. Certainly I’ve enjoyed everything in it, and a lot of it I’ve loved. Finding a lot of new (to me) writers in it I mean to explore.
I’ve also been reading my old friend Joe McCullough’s collection of swashbuckling fantasy fiction, Victory’s Knife, in preparation for writing a proper review. I hope to have something up about that in a few weeks, and Chris Hocking and I are talking about reviving our Hardboiled Monday series. I want to at least talk about the aforementioned anthology and Wade Miller and some other hardboiled detective writers who need more love.
But for now I need to get back to writing.
I don’t know how it is for people growing up today, but as a child of the ’70s I ended up growing up with the ’60s all around me. Sure, there were ’70s TV shows, but there were an awful lot of ’60s reruns on the television, and the music from the ’60s was still in the air. When I think of my childhood I remember the jangly guitar of the mid ’60s rather than the disco of the ’70s, and I remember the thrill of watching original Star Trek.
It should come as no surprise then that I’m excited when the lovingly crafted Star Trek Continues releases a new episode (one of a final few, alas). You can find it here.
And I was just as thrilled to discover that one of my favorite modern song writers — someone well acquainted with jangly guitar power-pop (Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne) — oversaw production on a new Monkees album. I couldn’t believe how well Micky Dolenz’ voice has aged. Released last year, I only learned about it yesterday morning. Here’s a track.
This was almost like discovering these things I love again for the first time, and both brought a smile to my face.
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