Austin's Noir at the Bar Presents Stuart Neville
Irish author of Those We Left Behind trades shots with fellow crime writers Mike McCrary, Jesse Sublett, and Gabino Iglesias
Some books are fine for authors to read from inside a bookstore, where the mood is sedate and the atmosphere liter-airy. But when it comes to crime books, with their dark deeds on mean streets, their shadowy secrets and damaged heroes and shots to the gut – figurative and literal – well, those books cry out for a venue where the grim criminality and gritty prose getting read aloud can be washed down with a drink that has a kick to it. That's what makes Noir at the Bar such a smart concept. This series, originated in Philadelphia and since replicated in cities coast to coast, has authors who specialize in crime fiction read from their work where the kind of stuff their heroes swig down between beatings is served for the public's enjoyment. MysteryPeople – the crime fiction specialists from local indie BookPeople – brought the concept to our fair city several years back, and regularly offer readers the chance to sample the heady cocktail of hard-boiled fiction and hard liquor at Opal Divine's South.
One thing to love about MysteryPeople's version is how it gives a tip of the fedora to Austin's crime writers while at the same time importing the most acclaimed specialists in the genre from around the world. Case in point: The Oct. 6 edition, which includes locals Gabino Iglesias, reading from his deep-sea thriller Hungry Darkness, and rock & roll noir ace Jesse Sublett, contributing music as well as reading from his recent history of crime in the capital city circa the Sixties (see review, at left), alongside Irish crime writer Stuart Neville reading from his latest novel, Those We Left Behind. On the MysteryPeople blog, Molly Odintz – a BookPeople staffer who knows her international crime fic – included it on her list of the best to be published in 2015 so far, writing that Neville's exploration of a Northern Ireland post-Troubles "reads almost like a Henning Mankell novel in its use of the mystery genre to explore human psychology, troubled families, and the limits and strengths of the welfare state." Neville's previous novel, the Edgar Award nominee The Final Silence, also made Odintz's list of best international crime books of 2014, so you're assured of some primo noir on tap. And making an ideal chaser will be Mike McCrary, author of Remo Went Rogue, a grippingly nasty tale of an attorney whose double-cross of a pair of psycho clients does not go well.
The next Noir at the Bar will take place Tuesday, Oct. 6, 7pm, at Opal Divine's Bar & Restaurant, 3601 S. Congress. For more info, call 512/707-0237 or visit www.mysterypeople.wordpress.com.