The Incident Report covers the world of small press crime fiction for the week of May 19th through May 25th.
I’ve stopped being such a fascist by including all the links from the daily Small Crimes posts here in the Incident Report. There are over 50 links featuring news, book reviews, short stories, and podcasts in today’s edition.
I’m still keeping new releases as its own baby. You can read this week’s with over 30 entries at New Indie Crime Releases: Week of May 26.
If you didn’t get a chance to read Soraya Robert’s “The Erotic Thriller’s Little Death” (Longreads), you really should. Besides adding “What/If” to your Netflix queue, you’ll need to head over to Amazon Prime to watch beauties like “Deceptions” (1991) starring Nicolette Sheridan and Harry Hamlin or “Illicit Behavior” (1992) starring Joan Severance and Jack Scalia.
Besides wonderful lines like “Madonna proved that she can’t act when she’s naked either”, Robert’s essay is chock full of good stuff.
To understand how the erotic thriller, which could have been a genre that celebrates women owning their sexuality, became its opposite, you have to understand the time in which it arose. This was the 1980s, the decade in which liberated women were trying to mind their own business and start a career and men were interpreting the shift as a direct shot at mankind and the murder of the nuclear family. That’s how Fatal Attraction’s single career woman becomes “the most hated woman in America.” The studio refused to keep Michael Douglas’s cheating husband unsympathetic, going against Lansing to make Glenn Close’s Alex Forrest a crazy-faced psycho killer. To protect the family man, they sacrificed the independent blond who knows what she wants, turning her into a woman-shaped threat to fundamental American values that can only be taken down by the traditional housewife’s phallus — sorry, pistol.
Over at CrimeReads, they ran an excerpt from “Street Players: Black Pulp Fiction and the Making of a Literary Underground” by Kinohi Nishikawa (University of Chicago Press). Given that this is a university press book, this might be the closest I can get to it with paperbacks going for $22 and ebooks, $15.
It was in 1969, during a stint in Michigan’s Jackson State Prison, that Goines encountered something that would change his life: Iceberg Slim’s fiction. Goines could relate to Pimp and Trick Baby on a level that was alien to the typical Holloway House reader. He had lived those experiences and, indeed, was still very much a part of the underworld fraternity about which Slim had written so powerfully in his first two books. This point of identification was important for what would happen next. If black sleaze consisted of race-exploitative tales spun out of whole cloth by just about anyone, black pulp fiction would be the genuine article—stories by black people, for black people, specifically about the black urban experience. According to Allen, Goines recognized that “what Beck was doing … was a new kind of hustle. He’d been in the life, made it out of the joint. Now he was simply telling about it.” Goines wanted in on the game, so he submitted a book manuscript to Holloway House and was offered a contract shortly thereafter.
Since the line between crime and horror is quite thin, Repo Kempt’s “10 Things Every Horror Writer Should Read” (Lit Reactor) should be something of interest for any crime writer. Besides readings in the horror genre, there were a couple of books and ideas that may be worthwhile. I especially liked the idea of beta-reading as well as reading outside your genre.
The image for this week’s Incident Report is by Stanley Borack. A little about Borack from his biography at Pulp Artists.
In the 1950s he painted paperback book covers for Dell, Pocket Books, Perma Books, and the Lion Library.
He also painted digest covers for Luke Short’s Western Magazine and Zane Grey’s Western Magazine from 1952 to 1956.
He also painted covers for pulp magazines during the very last years of the industry. From 1956 to 1958 he sold freelance pulp magazine covers to Best Western, Complete Western Book, Western Novels & Short Stories, and Western Short Stories, all of which were produced by Stadium Publishing Corporation, which was owned by Martin Goodman.
“Raymond Chandler’s Grudge Against British Mysteries, Reconsidered” by Curtis Evans (CrimeReads)
Interview with Alison Gaylin (BOLO Books)
Interview with Leigh Russell, author of “Suspicion” (Bloodhound Books) (Mystery Thriller Week)
“Slaughterhouse-Five” turned 50 (The American Interest)
I’m not going to read this, but you can, their Summer Books Preview (The New York Times)
“Amazon Investors Reject Proposals on Climate Change and Facial Recognition” (The New York Times)
“5 Reasons Amazon is a Necessary Evil” by Gabino Iglesias (Lit Reactor)
“Henry Rollins on the road with John Waters’ memoir, “Mr. Know-It-All’” (Los Angeles Times)
Interview with Scott Montgomery of MysteryPeople (CrimeReads)
Interview with Owen Mullen, author of “Out of Silence” (Bloodhound Books) (Mystery Thriller Week)
I loved this: “50 Raymond Carver Covers from Around the World” by Emily Temple (Literary Hub)
Interview with Paul E. Hardisty, author of “Turbulent Wake” (Orenda Books) (Off-the-Shelf Books)
Interview with Heleyne Hammersley, author of the DI Kate Fletcher series (Bloodhound Books) (Mystery Thriller Week)
Scott Montgomery on five Texan crime fiction books (MysteryPeople)
Carlene O’Connor, author of “Murder In An Irish Pub” (Kensington), on Irish crime fiction (CrimeReads)
Steph Post, author of “Lightwood” (Polis Books) on the relationship between crime fiction and fairy tales (CrimeReads)
Interview with Bess Carnan, winner of the William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant for Unpublished Writers (Mysteristas)
Interview with Alice K. Boatwright, author of the Ellie Kent Mysteries (Cozy Cat Press) (Mystery Thriller Week)
The First Two Pages: “Better Days” by Art Taylor (Art Taylor, Writer)
Gabino Iglesias recommended several woman crime fiction authors (Mystery Tribune)
Book Excerpt: “Street Players: Black Pulp Fiction and the Making of a Literary Underground” by Kinohi Nishikawa (University of Chicago Press) (CrimeReads)
Interview with psychological thriller writer A.J. Waines, author of “Don’t You Dare” available on Bloodhound Books (Mystery Thriller Week)
“The Darker Side of the City of Light: An Interview with Cara Black”, Black is the author of the Aimée Leduc Investigation series (Soho Crime). (LA Review of Books)
Interview with Nick Quantrill, author of the Geraghty novels (Fahrenheit Press) (Love Books Group)
“Lost Evenings and Bright Moments” by Joe Clifford, author of “Rag and Bone”, the last of the Jay Porter series (Oceanview Publishing) (Joe Clifford)
Interview with M.R. Mackenzie, author of the Anna Scavolini series (Bloodhound Books) (Mystery Thriller Week)
“What’s With All the Supernatural Sherlocks?” by G.S. Denning, author of the Warlock Holmes series (Titan Books) (CrimeReads)
“Barbara Neely, The Activist-Turned-Crime Writer Who Inspired A Generation” by Kellye Garrett (CrimeReads)
“How to Create a Live Backup of Your Working Files Using Google Drive” (The Digital Reader)
Movie Review: “Dead Reckoning” (The Stiletto Gumshoe)
Movie Review: “Cabin in the Sky” (Do Some Damage)
James Ellroy interviewed (The Guardian)
Peter Derk read and watched S. Craig Zahler (Lit Reactor)
“Don’t Read Shitty Books” by Dana King (One Bite at a Time)
“Writing While Trans Part 2: Figuring Out My Brand” by Dharma Kelleher (Do Some Damage)
Interview with Kerena Swan, author of “Scared to Breathe” (Mystery Thriller Week 2019)
“A Uniquely Alaskan Crime Scene: A Crime Writer Reflects on His Days as a US Marshal in Alaska” by Marc Cameron (CrimeReads)
“The Border” by Don Winslow (Black Guys Do Read)
“Styx & Stone: An Ellie Stone Mystery” by James W. Ziskin (Seventh Street Books) (Kevin’s Corner)
Paul Brazill’s Recommended Reads never let you down. (Punk Noir Magazine)
“The Desire Card” by Lee Matthew Goldberg (Fahrenheit Press) (Col’s Criminal Library)
“The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth” by Josh Levin (NY Times)
“A Devil for O’Shaugnessy” / “The Three-Way Split” by Gil Brewer (Stark House Press) (Just A Guy Who Reads)
“Girl Most Likely To” by Max Allan Collins (Gravetapping)
“Across A Knife Edge” By Harris Coverley (Mystery Tribune)
“Funny Little Thing” by Graham Wynd (Punk Noir Magazine)
“To Be Opened Upon My Death” by Roy Dorman (Out of the Gutter)
“Finding his calling” by Matthew Borczon (Punk Noir Magazine)
“Shatterproof is Not a Challenge” by Tom Leins (Shotgun Honey)
Steve Weddle talked with Holly West, Jedidiah Ayres, and Chris F. Holm (Seven Minutes With)
Interview with Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of “Friday Black” (Mariner Books) (The Literary Life with Mitchell Kaplan)
Frank Zafiro interviewed Brian Thornton, editor of the upcoming anthology “Die Behind the Wheel: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Music of Steely Dan” (Down & Out Books) (Wrong Place, Write Crime)
Pam Stack interviewed Gavin Reese, author of the Saint Michael Thriller series (Authors on the Air)
Harper Lee’s Unwritten True Crime Book: Casey Cep discusses “Furious Hours,” and Eliza Griswold talks about “Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America.” (New York Times Book Review)