Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Novel by Stansberry! Cover photo by Rozovsky!

Domenic Stansberry's novel The Confession, winner of the Edgar Award for best paperback original in 2005, is out again from Molotov Editions, available for pre-order now from Kindle and soon in other reputable e-formats.  This e-edition includes a cover photo by me.

My previous book-cover shots:

© Peter Rozovsky 2017

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Listening to an audiobook in French

I'm listening to an audiobook in French for the first time, Fred Vargas' Debout les morts, the novel translated into English as The Three Evangelists. My French is far from perfect, yet, to my surprise, the partial attention with which one can listen to audiobooks meshes nicely with the partial understanding imposed by the deficiency of my French. I can let the story roll by, getting the gist, without stopping to agonize over words I don't know, the way I would if reading. Already context has taught me the meaning of a few words or expressions. So I recommend audiobooks for second-language students.
A Climate of Fear, Vargas' ninth novel featuring Commissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg, is high on my to-read list. And The Accordionist, an English translation of a 1997 novel about the characters known as the Three Evangelists, will appear this summer. In the meantime, here's a two-part interview I did with Fred Vargas in 2013: (http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/search/label/Fred%20Vargas%20interview)

© Peter Rozovsky 2017

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Police at the Station and They Don't Look Friendly: Why Adrian McKinty is better than that crime writer you're reading

Adrian McKinty's Sean Duffy series, now six novels into what was once called the Troubles Trilogy, keeps getting better and better.

The language is gorgeous, the characters are endearing, the atmosphere full both of humor and of off-hand, everyday life, menacing and otherwise. With this much good crime writing coming out of Northern Ireland, how can anyone mention the Nordic countries in the same breath? Hell, how about the rest of the world? With McKinty ably supported by a cast that includes Stuart Neville just as a start, why is Northern Ireland not routinely numbered among the world's great crime fiction locations?

McKinty's books portray their settings as vividly as do Arnaldur Indriðason's Erlendur novels, set in Iceland (and they're a lot funnier). His Sean Duffy is as endearingly flawed as Andrea Camilleri's Salvo Montalbano (Poetry and music are to Duffy what food is to Montalbano, and the two characters lead similarly complicated romantic lives, although— but you'll have to read Book Six, the recently released Police at the Station and They Don't Look Friendly, to complete that thought.)  McKinty's Belfast is every bit as vivid a crime fiction locale as Jean-Claude Izzo's Marseille.  And he turns as unsparing an eye on that locale as Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö did on Sweden in their Martin Beck novels

Not only that, but McKinty deftly takes on any number of traditional mystery and crime tropes, and the Duffy series and their protagonist are erudite without being condescending. McKinty has also long attacked the notion that a writer's style ought to be workmanlike and invisible. He champions David Peace and James Ellroy, for example, so you know you're bound to find a gorgeous passage or two, prose you can relish for its own sake, in every book.  And if you listen to books, you're in for a treat. Gerard Doyle, the reader of the Sean Duffy audiobooks, is a master of accents, and he gives each character a distinct voice without ever descending to bathos and exaggeration. The audio versions pair the best of crime novels with the best of audiobook readers.

(The five previous Sean Duffy novels are The Cold, Cold Ground; I Hear the Sirens in the Street; In the Morning I'll be Gone; Gun Street Girl; and Rain Dogs. I've been a McKinty fan for years. Read all my Detectives Beyond Borders posts about his work.)

© Peter Rozovsky 2017

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Because everyone else is doing it ...

Most Hated Movie: Dressed to Kill/Batman Begins
Movie I think is overrated: The Big Lebowski
Movie I love: Big Deal on Madonna Street
Favorite Horror: Freaks
Favorite Comedy: Annie Hall
Favorite Sci Fi Movie: Blade Runner
Favorite Super Hero Movie: Superman II
Favorite War Movie: Foreign Correspondent
Favorite Western: The Searchers
Favorite Japanese movie: Stray Dog
Favorite Italian movies: Amarcord/Big Deal on Madonna Street
Favorite French movie: Grand Illusion

Favorite Hindi musical heist-gone-wrong movie: Kaante
Favorite silent movie: The General
Childhood Favorite: The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (or one of those Sinbad movies, anyhow)
Favorite Franchise: I don’t like “franchises.”
Favorite Director: Alfred Hitchcock/Howard Hawks
Takashi Shimura
Favorite Actor: Takashi Shimura
Favorite Actress: Myrna Loy
Favorite genre/character actor: Elisha Cook Jr.
Most talented cinematic figures: Buster Keaton/Alfred Hitchcock
Favorite movie seen recently: Elevator to the Gallows
Favorite movie of all time: Trouble in Paradise
Special award: To Sight and Sound which, out of Citizen Kane fatigue, named Vertigo the best film of all time. Memory tells me that Vertigo, while a fine movie, is not even one of Hitchcock's three best.

© Peter Rozovsky 2017

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Bollywood goes to Hollywood: DBB watches Kaante

I watched Kaante (2002) at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles this week. A few well-chosen and well-executed Bollywood production numbers helped make the movie's 2 1/2 hours fly by. Perhaps more heist movies should incorporate such numbers.

The major characters were all good, as were some of the minor ones. The solution to the movie's central mystery is arbitrary, but that's a red herring; the question drives the movie. The answer is beside the point.

The movie is in Hindi, liberally interspersed with English. All but one of the lead characters speaks both languages, and the script turns the linguistic duality into plot points both serious and comic. The film was shot in Los Angeles and incorporates several picturesque Los Angeles locations, among which is not, as far as I can tell, the Bradbury Building.

The New Beverly is Quentin Tarantino's theater, and Tarantino has been been quoted as rating Kaante high among movies influenced by his own Reservoir Dogs. I suspect that the occasional waves of what sounded like knowing laughter at the New Beverly reflected the audience's recognition of particular nods to Tarantino's movie, but knowledge of Reservoir Dogs is no prerequisite to enjoying Kaante.
© Peter Rozovsky 2017

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