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I will attend the Left Coast Crime 2009 conference in Hawaii 7th to 12th March. On evening of 12th March, I will be in Honolulu staying with my friend John Murphy.

 

While in Honolulu I’d like to invite friends and fans to come along for a drink that evening and I’d be happy to sign books. And enjoy a free Singha beer.

 

Place:   Sala Thai Restaurant & Bar 
           1333 Nuuanu Ave 
           Honolulu, Hawaii 96817 
           (Chinatown, Honolulu, Oahu)  Ph: (808) 529-0308

 

Date: 12th March 2009

 

Time: 6.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. ...
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Posted: 1/20/2009 3:54:49 AM 

 

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Posted: 1/11/2009 11:23:53 PM 

 

Cameron Hughes has collected the thoughts of crime writers about the meaning of Donald Westlake’s death in the world of crime fiction. Kevin Burton Smith, Joseph Finder, Ken Bruen, Laura Lipppman, Colin Cotterill, Ali Karim, and Harlen Coben are some of the writers and critics who contributed. The Rap Sheet carries the tributes.

 

Also, I contributed my thoughts about Westlake writing as Richard Stark.

The character of professional criminal Parker was a shot fired by a precision marksman. It still echoes in the ear of many contemporary crime writers. Writing as Richard Stark, Westlake, novel by novel, showed us the rational, calculating, unsentimental Parker, the career criminal, the clear-eyed professional, anticipating the plays of other characters in the novels like a chess grand master. Parker planned his jobs like Special Forces operations, working with other freelance criminals to carry out an operation. In Parker, Westlake created a character who had survived because he understood the weakness of those around him and how ... [they] were held hostage by a combination of greed, arrogance, and fear. The emotional distance between Parker and others was as large as the vacuum of deep space. Even after plastic surgery, the world always hunted him, found him, and tried to destroy him.

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Posted: 1/11/2009 11:20:39 PM 

 

Last November I was in New York to attend the National Book Foundation Awards as a guest of legendary publisher Barney Rossett. I have posted on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/cgmooredotcom a couple of short videos.

One video was taken at the table headed by Barney on the night of the awards. It ends with a toast to Barney. The second video has Barney talking about his life as we sat in his loft off Union Square in lower Manhattan. The founder of Grove Press, Barney Rossett has had a distinguished and often controversial career. His love of the outsider’s voice and point of view allowed American readers to widen and deepen their knowledge of the outliers world. Without Barney Rossett and Grove Press, the world would be grayer, less interesting and textured.

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Posted: 1/9/2009 3:50:29 AM 

 

My publisher Grove/Atlantic has released (6th January 2009) the trade paperback edition of The Risk of Infidelity Index.

It is available through Amazon,  Barnes & Noble, and Borders.

The online websites still show the previous hardback edition cover. That should be changed to the actual cover soon.

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Posted: 1/7/2009 12:13:36 AM 

 

This year has brought many things, good and bad. I had books published in New York and London, and a film option deal for a crime fiction series, and foreign rights deals. In November I was in New York City to attend the National Book Foundation Awards where my friend Barney Rossett received a lifetime achievement award. It was a time to reflect, look back at the publishing world that Barney and others like him created in the 1950s and think about what is left of that world in 2008. The transformation has been beyond what anyone would have imagined.

 

I also had a chance to meet my publisher, editor, head of publicity and foreign rights at Grove/Atlantic while in New York. As one of the last independent publishers in New York, Grove/Atlantic continues Barney Rossett’s tradition of giving voice to the outsider, of publishing books that are literary, books that are about the larger world. Next Autumn Grove/Atlantic will bring out Paying Back Jack.

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Posted: 12/26/2008 3:34:26 AM 

 

As we soon depart from the world of 2008 and enter the new world of 2009, the question for writers around the world is: how much truth will the people and authorities tolerate? Are modern times less tolerant than before, or have we always lived side by side with the forces of intolerance circling thinkers and writers, banishing writs and decrees, threatening punishments, exile and disappearance from words that speak of things that are decreed to be unspeakable.

 

On Maud Newton’s literary blog, I came across the excerpts from Mark Twain’s “The Privilege of the Grave” which can be found in the New Yorker archives.

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Posted: 12/26/2008 3:31:01 AM 

 

In November when I was in New York, I was invited to dinner by Peter and Susan Straub. Peter Straub is one of the most literate, well-read, witty authors one ever have the pleasure of meeting. Over dinner on West 81st Street we dissected the meaning of our dinner. The discussion of our main course was captured on video and can now be seen on YouTube.

The ThroatMysteryKokoShadowlandsGhost Story

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Posted: 12/24/2008 2:25:17 AM 

 

The artist Chris Coles has an intriguing article on Absolutely Bangkok  titled Looking At Bangkok through a Noir Lens. Chris writes about his experience of Bangkok and the inspiration behind the art that he has created.

 

“Whether in a Raymond Chandler story set in 1930’s Los Angeles or a Christopher G. Moore Calvino novel set in Bangkok 2008, no matter how nihilistically Noir the setting and story, there is an immense and guilty pleasure to be found in the world of Noir, a world in which we are free to surrender our ideals, hopes and dreams and come to grips with the “true” nature of life and the world as a gigantic and colorful sewer, populated by charismatic bugs, rats, reptiles and serpents, who ceaselessly try to do each other in as they float along on the infinite river of fecal waste matter created by humanity.”...
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Posted: 12/17/2008 1:41:19 AM 

 

Many of you who follow this blog will have also followed the upheaval in Thai politics that started with the military coup in 19th September 2006. One side of the political equation has been referred to as including a segment of Thai businessmen (mostly Thai-Chinese ), joining the traditional old elites and a smattering of new “liberal” democrats. These groups are united in their nearly universal aversion to the former prime minister (and the individuals who succeeded him in rapid succession).

 

What has received less attention is the underlying dynamic of origin and nature of the economic and political interest and how they’ve remained fairly consistent in Thailand for many decades despite the fact that governments and constitutions have regularly changed. This partnership of convenience has an enduring quality.

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Posted: 12/11/2008 5:19:22 PM 

 

One of the best selling English novelists is Stephen Leather. His Spider Shepard series published by one of the top tier publisher in the UK: Hodder and Stoughton. The Spider Shepard series is a huge popular success worldwide.

 

Leather also lives for half the year in Bangkok. He speaks and reads Thai and is someone with a good knowledge of the language, culture and history.

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Posted: 12/11/2008 4:02:11 AM 

 

An Essay by John Banville on the life and times of Georges Simenon contains this passage:

 

“Most crime fiction, no matter how “hard-boiled” or bloodily forensic, is essentially sentimental, for most crime writers are disappointed romantics. William T. Vollmann, in an afterword to the NYRB edition of Simenon’s greatest masterpiece, Dirty Snow, contrasts him with Raymond Chandler, whose Philip Marlowe novels, despite their elegance, wit and polished metaphors, seem now distinctly soft-boiled. “Chandler’s novels,” Vollmann writes, “are noir shot through with wistful luminescence; Simenon has concentrated noir into a darkness as solid and heavy as the interior of a dwarf star.” Only Patricia Highsmith approaches Simenon’s ability — indeed, his compulsion — to show the world as it really is, in all its squalor, excitement and contingent cruelty, yet Highsmith’s characters are paper-thin compared to the French master’s vividly multidimensional men and women.”

 

Dirty Snow is one of my favourite Simeon novels. I wrote about the novel in Friday’s Forgotten novels. ...
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Posted: 12/11/2008 3:49:01 AM 

 

Newsweek has an article on the legendary Barney Rosset:

 

“The story of Rosset's life is essentially one of creative destruction. He found writers who wanted to break new paths, and then he picked up a sledgehammer to help them whale away at the existing order. ‘He opened the door to freedom of expression,’ said Ira Silverberg, a literary agent who began his career in publishing at Grove. ‘He published a generation of outsiders who probably said more about American culture than any voice in the dominant culture ever could.’ A Grove book, said Robert Gottlieb, who served as editor of Simon & Schuster and then Knopf during the years Rosset ran Grove, ‘made a statement. It was avant-garde. Whether European or American, it had very special qualities; it was definitely worth paying attention to.’ ”

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Posted: 12/9/2008 3:57:57 AM 

 

Pattaya Expat Club: Pattaya

 

On Sunday 7th December 2008 I was the featured speaker at the Pattaya Expat Club. I talked about the new Calvino novel Paying Back Jack before about 200 club members. They are always a good audience with questions after the talk. Richard Ravensdale, the club organizer, performed his magic in putting together the program. He had hitchhiked from Nepal (at the time of the airport occupation and closure) in order to get back to Thailand in time for the talk. That is what I call dedication. The club president Niels Colov interviewed me for People TV.

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Posted: 12/8/2008 10:37:01 PM 

 

I’ve previously mentioned on this blog that Bruce Comstock and Terry Fitzgerald bought copies of the special edition of A Killing Smile. The proceeds of both sales have been used to buy clothing and supplies for the children who live at Home Hak. In the photograph below you can see the fifty sweaters, other clothing, lotion, soap, skin cream, etc. which we bought with the money. The shipment will go out this week by overnight bus. Thanks once more to Bruce and Terry.

 

 

Here’s more information about the people who operate Home Hak. Suthasinee Noiin has been the driving force, working as an independent social worker for over 30 years. She's established her Home Hak (which means "Love Center" in Isan) over 20 years ago. It received support from Japanese Embassy (to build the building for the kids) 7 years ago (the support has long finished). The lady is known as Mae Tiew. She is not doing so well now. In fact, she’s dying of cancer....
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Posted: 12/8/2008 5:03:28 AM 

 


Peter Green launched out to find copies of Spirit House in London and Vancouver. He reported that he found a prominently displayed copy at Foyle’s. That was the good news. There was, however, only one copy. The clerk at Foyle’s was confused by his request to take his picture holding the UK edition of Spirit House....
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Posted: 12/2/2008 11:20:20 PM 

 

Yesterday, Terry Fitzgerald, a long-time fan who has become a good friend, ordered a Special edition of A Killing Smile. Terry’s contribution will make a difference to the lives of the 112 kids who shelter at Suthasinee Noi-in upcountry shelter at Baan Home Hak.

 

This week we will go out and buy sweaters and other clothes for the kids with the money that Terry Fitzgerald and Bruce Comstock’s order have brought in. The nearly Baht 18,000 from these two orders of A Killing Smile will buy a lot at the wholesale market in Bangkok. We will box them and ship them upcountry over the weekend.

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Posted: 12/2/2008 11:13:44 PM 

 

The morning started with a grenade attack at the international airport in Bangkok, leaving one person dead and dozens wounded. This afternoon the Constitutional Court has dissolved the main political party and banned their executives from public office for five years. Close to where I live, over the past week two bombs have been tossed from the flyover onto Rama IV below near Klong Toey market. I heard the explosion. Both times. Police are guarding the flyover this morning.

 

But this isn’t one of the reasons to read crime fiction.

 

It is easy in these circumstances to feel scared, helpless and hopeless about what has happened and may happen next. People are numb with fear. I was at the Emporium, an upscale shopping Mall, and the ground floor is decorated with Christmas trees and White Christmas is playing on the sound system. Some people walking around dazed, staring at the Christmas trees, trying to make sense of what is happening. Bangkok and its people occupy a zone of immense contradictions.

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Posted: 12/2/2008 2:32:18 AM 

 

Moving into the weekend, the capital is tense and the confrontation between the pro and anti-government shows no signs of lessening. Both sides are dug in. No independent third force has emerged which could come forward to end the crisis. The political situation is locked in a stalemate, a strange equilibrium, one that threats to tilt one way or the other by the hours, and once the balance shifts, no one at this writing can predict the consequences.

 

On Friday, there has been chatter about the intervention by the police, air force and navy (under government directive) to remove the demonstrators from the airport. On 7th October when tear gas was used to disperse demonstrator outside of Parliament, two people were killed and hundreds were injured. The deaths and injuries resulted in criticism of the government’s handling of the situation. Since then the authorities have been extremely cautious in the use of force.

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Posted: 11/28/2008 5:35:43 AM 

 

I arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport from New York on Monday. I missed the siege which started on Tuesday. It seems that there are a substantial number of foreigners who have been stranded at the airport. The motorway into the city was jammed with protestors on Tuesday and violence erupted on the street out to airport. Video footage showed a protestor firing a pistol at counter demonstrators.

 

Reuters reports: ”Protesters stormed Bangkok's main international airport and gunfire broke out on the streets of the Thai capital on Tuesday as a campaign to oust Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat turned violent.”

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Posted: 11/26/2008 2:59:22 AM 

 

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