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Episode 28: Michael Connelly Revealed

THE BRASS VERDICT, the nineteenth novel from #1 New York Times Bestselling author Michael Connelly, gives definitive proof that Connelly is the most gifted crime writer since Raymond Chandler. Those with a debt to Chandler typically lack either the research skills, the knowledge of Los Angeles, or the soul for the job. Connelly has it all. Utilizing his skills as a former journalist, he not only nails the facts of legal and police business, he captures the complex psychology of his characters. Defense lawyer Mickey Haller and detective Harry Bosch are not pure heroes, they are men: they are not lovable, but they are competent and often admirable. To paraphrase Chandler, they have a range of awareness that startles you, but it belongs to them by right, because it belongs to the world they live in. It is above all in this melding of characters and setting that Connelly excels. Los Angeles is not a scenic backdrop, it is the master force that shapes all else, and we could not imagine Haller or Bosch being a part of any other world. But what is most remarkable about THE BRASS VERDICT is the way Connelly is able to recompose these sonorous echoes of Chandler into his own composition, settle them into his own score—with this world. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit "Behind the Black Mask: Mystery Writers Revealed" at http://btbm.libsyn.com.

Direct download: BTBM_2008_10_14_MC.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:11pm EDT
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Episode 27: Scott Phillips Revealed

It is hard to imagine a sequel that is any more tightly intertwined with, or distinct from, its predecessor than Scott Phillips's 2002 THE WALKAWAY. His 2000 debut novel THE ICE HARVEST was a tight tale of one day in the tragicomic life of small-time Wichita mobster Charlie Arglist. THE WALKAWAY is an ambitious prequel-sequel to that bestseller, a complex narrative that alternates between first and third person points of view, and three different time frames. It opens in the immediate aftermath of the fateful accident that ended the first book, then traces the life of Gunther Fahnstiel, from his morally ambiguous young adulthood the prepared him for that fateful accident, to his current advanced age as he tries to remember how he became the man he is—and how he might still profit by it. If the first novel was the portrait of a man in his boudoir, THE WALKAWAY is like one of those vast tapestries you see on castle walls: caught in the weft and warp of fragile memory are entire genealogies of morally deficiently but somehow noble middle-America hoodlums. It is the Comédie humaine of Kansas, and establishes Phillips as a writer of vast talent and ambition who refuses to write the same type of story twice. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit "Behind the Black Mask: Mystery Writers Revealed" at http://btbm.libsyn.com.

Direct download: BTBM_2008_09_15_SP.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:04am EDT
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Episode 26: George Pelecanos Revealed THE TURNAROUND, George Pelecanos's fifteenth novel, is the work of a mature writer at the top of his game. It is a thoughtful examination of one event that permanently alters the lives of six young men—three black, three white. The story is both as straightforward and as complex as the characters it involves, and pulls the reader in through their palpable suffering. By creating such intimacy with this ensemble cast, Pelecanos is able to explore some of the most pressing issues facing America today—race, class, and the foreign war that districts us from these domestic battles—with depth and nuance, and without any trace of artificiality or authorial tampering. A less experienced or less gifted writer would have been tempted, in handling such material, to deliver a message, and so would have ruined a story that is infinitely more rich because it stays focused on the people it involves. Pelecanos reveals how his youthful aspirations to be a filmmaker, his experience writing for HBO's THE WIRE, and his work on the Derek Strange and Terry Quinn books all prepared him to write this understated masterpiece that is THE TURNAROUND. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit Behind the Black Mask: Mystery Writers Revealed at http://btbm.libsyn.com.
Direct download: BTBM_2008_08_15_GP.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:16pm EDT
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Episode 25: Mark Coggins Revealed That Coggins is a disciple of Chandler and Hammett is abundantly clear in his most recent August Riordan novel, RUNOFF. Riordan is in many ways analogous to Chandler's iconic Philip Marlowe. He is a relatively poor man, or he would not be a detective at all. He is a common man, or he could not go among common people. He has a sense of character, or he would not know his job. Coggins turns his man loose in one of the most hard-boiled of towns—San Francisco. The setting is no mistake. It's Coggins's home, and thus a place he can write of with authority. It was also Hammett's city, and Sam Spade's. Most importantly, it's a place that lends itself perfectly to a plot that is at once classic-hardboiled and thoroughly modern, a tale of real estate moguls and political hopefuls in collusion to rig elections and reap the profits. In other words, Coggins has the literary savvy to revisit Chandler and Hammett in order to develop character, place, and plot in a timeless fashion, but also has the storytelling smarts to realize the limitations of a simple nostalgia piece. RUNOFF structures an elegant bridge between the war years and today, somehow soaring above the murky pitfalls such a blend of eras should create. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit "Behind the Black Mask: Mystery Writers Revealed" at http://btbm.libsyn.com.
Direct download: BTBM_2008_08_01_MC.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:14am EDT
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Episode 24: Jonathan Santlofer Revealed Jonathan Santlofer is an artist and author of exceptional talent, a master of virtually any visual or linguistic medium. His work has been displayed in fine galleries around the world,and his art-themed crime fiction has drawn comparisons to the work of Michael Connelly. He is the author of five novels, three starring NYPD detective turned art historian Kate McKinnon (THE KILLING ART, COLOR BLIND, THE DEATH ARTIST) and two featuring NYPD sketch artist Nate Rodriquez (ANATOMY OF FEAR and THE MURDER NOTEBOOK). He joins Clute and Edwards in June to discuss this last title, a June release from William Marrow. For more information on his fiction, or to experience his stunning artwork (some of which is incorporated into his novels), visit Jonathan's elegant, flash-driven website: www.jonathansantlofer.com
Direct download: BTBM_2008_06_15_JF.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:28am EDT
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Episode 23: Christa Faust Revealed Christa Faust's latest novel, MONEY SHOT, distills all the darkest and most addictive spirits of 1940's film noir and 1950's hard-boiled into a lethal elixir. Such a statement is necessarily contradictory, for Faust's unique blend of a noir atmosphere of inescapable doom with the campy, two-fisted action of Gold Medal-era pulp, gives us characters who die so that they might be reborn, and action that destroys in order to redeem. Protagonist Angel Dare, former porn star and savvy businesswoman, kind-hearted sucker and cold-hearted avenging angel, is the very embodiment of contradictions, yet makes so much sense she'll break your heart. She is the antidote to the uni-dimensionality of today's genre fiction, capable because of her flaws, vulnerable because of her toughness, and of a moral complexity few can touch and none can sully. Far from being anachronistic, MONEY SHOT is a thoroughly modern tale, the work of an author who brilliantly revisits the past in order to reinvigorate a literary tradition and create a new sort of femme fatale who can walk, or work, today's mean streets. No wonder Hard Case Crime chose it as the first title in the line by a female author. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit "Behind the Black Mask: Mystery Writers Revealed" at btbm.libsyn.com.
Direct download: BTBM_2008_06_01_CF.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:44pm EDT
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Episode 22: Seth Harwood Revealed Long before Seth Harwood's JACK WAKES UP went to print with Breakneck Books it came roaring into our homes as a series of expertly-produced podcasts, a serialized publication in the tradition of classic pulps, but with a throaty growl and lightening agility like that of Jack Palms's one true love—his 1966 Mustang Fastback K-Code GT. And in this car we find a fitting metaphor for Harwood's project: retro, but fit for today and the future; fast, really fast, but not so fast it ceases to be user-friendly. For when it does allow us to catch our breath, we also catch sight of the craft Harwood honed while earning an MFA from the prestigious Iowa Writers Workshop. His prose has an immediacy befitting the action, and a poignancy that allows us to glimpse, however fleetingly, the backstory wounds that formed the characters who go flying past at breakneck speed. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit Behind the Black Mask: Mystery Writers Revealed at http://btbm.libsyn.com.
Direct download: BTBM_2008_04_15_SH.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:41pm EDT
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Noircon 2008: The Official Podcast Day 3: Cybernoir Panel Shannon Clute, Seth Harwood, and Richard Edwards presented this Cybernoir panel on April 5th, 2008, as part of the Noircon Conference in Philadelphia. Clute and Edwards kick things off with a discussion of how noir style and pulp publishing models seem to provide the fundamental structuring logics of emerging digital media—from blogs to podcasts, mashups to video games. Seth Harwood then relates his own experience of podcasting his first novel, JACK WAKES UP—from producing the initial audio, to embracing various new media in order to cultivate an audience and tap their enthusiasm and skills to promote his work. Finally, all three panelists consider how pulp-logic productions in these various media are likely to change the ways books are published and marketed. This special edition podcast includes all Powerpoint slides from the panel, synchronized with the audio, for your viewing pleasure. Moreover, there are embedded links at the bottom of the images, which allow you to surf related links while listening. The podcast is optimized for iTunes, and will run on any machine that has iTunes installed. It is brought to you by Clute and Edwards of www.noircast.net, and Seth Harwood of www.sethharwood.com.
Direct download: Cybernoir.m4a
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:59pm EDT
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Noircon 2008: The Official Podcast Day 3: Wise Guys and Femmes Fatale Wise guys and femmes fatale form the central focus of these next panel discussions from Noircon 2008. In the first half of the podcast, Clute and Edwards talk with authors George Anastasia and Anthony Bruno. Anastasia and Bruno are two seasoned mob-watchers who uncover life on the mean streets-Philly style. Based on their Noircon panel, Wise Guy Noir, they give us an inside look into the Godfathers and Goodfellas of Philadelphia. In the second half, Clute and Edwards lead a lively roundtable discussion on the femme fatale with four authors who have strong female characters at the center of their novels: Megan Abbott, Christa Faust, Vicki Hendricks, and Jonathan Santlofer. The discussion touches on many different aspects of the femme fatale and the homme fatale (fatal man). For more information about Noircon, visit the official conference website at www.noircon.com. For more information about the hard-boiled podcasts of Clute and Edwards, visit www.noircast.net
Direct download: Noircon_2008_04_05_Day3_1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:10pm EDT
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Noircon 2008: The Official Podcast Day 2: Editors and Publishers Tackle Noir Clute and Edwards discuss the editing and publishing of noir fiction with three members of this Day 2 Noircon panel: Charles Ardai, Stacia Decker, and Michael Langnas. Charles Ardai is the editor and publisher of the Hard Case Crime series. Stacia Decker is an editor who has worked with such writers as Ray Banks, Declan Burke, Allan Guthrie and John McFetridge. Michael Langnas is the editor-in-chief of Murdaland Magazine, a crime-fiction journal put out by Baltimore-based publisher Cortwright McMeel. The three guests offer us a behind-the-scenes look into the world of noir publishing. The panelists address violence in noir fiction, the complex appeal of noir, and the challenges and pleasures of editing and publishing noir writing. For more information about Noircon, visit the official conference website at www.noircon.com. For more information about the hard-boiled podcasts of Clute and Edwards, visit www.noircast.net
Direct download: Noircon_2008_04_04_Day2_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:11pm EDT
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Noircon 2008: The Official Podcast Day 2: George Lippard and Philly Noir Philadelphia noir is the focus of two panels at Noircon 2008. The first panel presents the historical moment, cultural milieu and writings of the 19th century Philly writer George Lippard. Ed Petit and Robert Polito make a compelling case to consider Lippard an important proto-noir author, an author whose writings look back towards 1798's gothic novel WIELAND and forward towards 20th century hardboiled. The second panel addresses the issue of Philly noir through a discussion among noir and crime writers currently living and working in Philadelphia. Clute and Edwards talk more with Philly authors William Lashner and Jon McGoran (D.H. Dublin) about what is Philadelphia noir and how does Philadelphia figure as one of the great American noir cities. For more information about  Noircon, visit the official conference website at www.noircon.com. For more information about the hard-boiled podcasts of Clute and Edwards, visit www.noircast.net
Direct download: Noircon_2008_04_04_Day2_1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:59am EDT
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Noircon 2008: The Official Podcast Day One Day One: Opening Night. Noircon 2008 opens at the Society Hill Playhouse in Philadelphia, PA. Clute and Edwards kick off this special podcast mini-series coverage with short interviews from the opening night reception. They talk with film critic Irv Slifkin, authors Gary Phillips, Seth Harwood, Ken Bruen, “The Czar of Noir? Eddie Muller, publisher Dennis McMillan, conference organizer Lou Boxer, and author Duane Swierczynski. We finish with an interview of the first presenter of Noircon, Professor David Schmid, who gave a talk entitled “Noir and Its Heretics.?
Direct download: Noircon_2008_04_03_Day1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:44am EDT
Comments[2]

Episode 21: Ken Bruen Revealed Ken Bruen's PRIEST, the fifth entry in the award-winning Jack Taylor series, has been nominated for the 2008 Edgar for Best Novel, and that still may not be high enough praise. PRIEST is the story of Galway, Ireland, a city in transition from tradition to modernity, from impoverished but united community to cutthroat capitalistic individualism, from staunch Catholicism to a crisis of consciousness. When Jack Taylor is thrust back into his native city, he is in a similar state. He's a man in transition, a man who has lost his way and his faith, a man ravaged by alcohol and terrible secrets of a childhood cut short. The city and the man take the same evasive tact, trying to go numb, trying not to care. But when a priest is beheaded in the confessional, the public—hardened as it is by revelations of clerical abuse—is outraged. Reluctantly, former investigator Taylor agrees to look into the mystery he fears will take him "into the heart of the Irish soul." It does one better. It takes him into the heart of his own soul—the darkest and loneliest place a man can go. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit "Behind the Black Mask: Mystery Writers Revealed" at http://btbm.libsyn.com.
Direct download: BTBM_2008_03_15_KB.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:40pm EDT
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Episode 20: Laurie King Revealed Laurie King's TOUCHSTONE is set in England, 1926, in the tense atmosphere of impending labor strikes that threaten to tear the nation apart. It is the story of a remarkable WWI-scarred veteran whose injuries have stripped him of sensory filters, allowing him to feel the slightest emotional turmoil in those he encounters. He finds himself at the mercy of myriad political players who seek to harness his talents to impose their vision of socio-political order. While this might seem an anachronistic tale in today's marketplace, the weft of the historical canvas sketched with such deft touch by King warps into our own time. When we see that all outside-of-center labor and political leanings of the era were dubbed threats to "national security"; threats that permitted the government to evoke powers that displaced democratic rights, a vortex opens before our eyes—spinning us through space and time before landing us again where we've always been. The novel is, indeed, a touchstone. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit "Behind the Black Mask: Mystery Writers Revealed" at btbm.libsyn.com.
Direct download: BTBM_2008_02_15_LK.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:34pm EDT
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Eddie Muller Interview: Noir City 6, and More! The Czar of Noir joins Clute and Edwards to discuss the upcoming Noir City film festival, and the various fiction and film projects he has in the works.
Direct download: Eddie_Muller_Interview__Noir_City_6_and_More.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:00am EDT
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Episode 19: David Fulmer Revealed David Fulmer's January 2008 Harcourt release, THE BLUE DOOR, will restore your faith in storytelling. In a digital world of slick production, inanely catchy and endlessly repeated refrains, and single tune download logic, Fulmer gives us a literary LP. THE BLUE DOOR recaptures the lost arts of letting the story unfold over time, of building it on fully composed characters rather than cheap hooks, and of playing it all over the steady background hiss of the racial and economic tensions that are America. Pick up a copy, slide into the groove, and settle in for the lyric prose tale of Philadelphia, 1962—the story of a washed-up fighter, an R&B diva who seems to lose everything she fights to love, a music mogul who thinks he holds rights to the people making the tunes, and the secrets and societal forces that threaten to break them all down. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit "Behind the Black Mask: Mystery Writers Revealed" at btbm.libsyn.com.
Direct download: BTBM_2008_01_15_DF.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:42pm EDT
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