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James Ellroy: Demon Dog of American Crime Fiction
“I want to leave all of you with a weird, strange, utterly pervasive sense of the bad juju ramifications extending beyond the last page of my books,” says Ellroy as...
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Film Review  July 24, 1998, by Marc Savlov


July Is Crime Month: Noir at the Bar
Hard liquor and hardboiled writers mix it up at Opal's South
DAILY Books  July 7, 2014, by Robert Faires
"...This series, originated in Philadelphia and since replicated in cities from 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 – have brought the concept to our fair city, and they're giving you the opportunity to sample the heady cocktail of hardboiled fiction and hard liquor tonight at Opal Divine's South..."

July Is Crime Month
As summer heats up, the 'Chronicle' runs afoul of the law, in fiction and nonfiction
Arts Story  July 3, 2014, by Robert Faires
"...Misdeeds know no season, but when a curiously large number of new mystery and true crime books slated for summer release was dumped off at the Chronicle offices like so many dead bodies, it seemed an optimum time to indulge our love for the unlawful. Thus, we give you July Is Crime Month, four weeks' worth of Chronicle writers and editors going down those "mean streets" and sharing what they've found there: reviews of recent crime fiction and nonfiction, interviews with authors and publishers in the field, plugs for upcoming crime-related readings and screenings, and appreciations of classic crime sagas – and their creators – in print and onscreen..."

July Is Crime Month: The Crime Blotter, Week 4
A curated guide to unlawful activities around town July 23-31
DAILY Arts  July 23, 2018, by Robert Faires
"...Megan Abbott: Give Me Your Hand & Ace Atkins: The Sinners Two best-selling authors of crime fiction, two new books bound to wind up as bestsellers themselves, one scintillating conversation about writing and murder and who knows what else. Edgar Award-winner Abbott ventures into the lab for her latest, a tale of two old friends in cutthroat competition over a research position..."

Crime Month: Down Those Mean Streams
Nordic noir and other criminal pleasures worth streaming
DAILY Arts  July 20, 2018, by Jesse Sublett
"...Three-quarters of a century ago, as demagogues fueled hatred of immigrants, Americans sought distraction from pulp magazines. Today, racist agitators are having a field day, and streaming services are providing so much crime fiction, viewers have trouble keeping track of it all...."

Pulp Fiction
Tarantino's second feature film lights up the screen with the same blazing torch that it carries for the idea of the movies.
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Film Review  October 14, 1994, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Jackson, Uma Thurman, Harvey Keitel, Ving Rhames, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Maria De Medeiros, Eric Stoltz, Rosanna Arquette, Christopher Walken and Bruce Willis. Screw pulp fiction..."

Gary Phillips at Adventures in Crime & Space
Books Story  August 14, 1998
"...I dig crime fiction a lot. I especially dig L.A.-based crime fiction..."

These New Crime Thrillers Make Killer Presents
Following the deadly stalkers through the stacks of Mulholland
DAILY Arts  November 30, 2016, by Wayne Alan Brenner
"...There’s a paragraph in The Killing Kind, where the author is describing what his protagonist Mike Hendricks, the hitman, is fixing himself for breakfast. And it’s a succinct little description, to be sure – no suddenly Proustian ramble turning the narrative into a swamp of recollection or maximalist detail – but it’s evocative enough, vivid enough, that eventually I’m going to excerpt the thing for this collection of fictional-descriptions-of-food-prep-and-eating that I’ve been compiling...."

Sherry Thomas Is Our Lady of Crime Solving
The game's afoot in a very different way in the Lady Sherlock series by Austinite Sherry Thomas
Arts Story  July 12, 2018, by Rosalind Faires


True Crime and Punishment
True crime writer Suzy Spencer interviews fellow true crime writer Vanessa Leggett about how she snatched the record for the longest contempt of court imprisonment of a journalist in United States history.
Books Story  February 22, 2002, by Suzy Spencer
"...VL: I read just about everything. I read a lot of crime fiction..."

Here's a Brief Platter of Tasty Pop-Fiction Palaver
With a side of kaeng la-tey, farang
DAILY Books  May 17, 2011, by Wayne Alan Brenner
"... Again: It was as if the author had decided, Well, okay, I put enough work into the first novel, and never mind reveling in the depths of character, let's just streamline this one so it requires less effort for me to write and for the average reader to consume. Sad, y'know? [ Listen: If we wanted to read Teflon-coated Lite fiction, we'd already be doing that (we already do do that, occasionally) with the wide variety of options available and constantly renewed everywhere else..."

Austin’s Sisters in Crime Prefer Their Ink Mixed With a Little Blood
Murders, they write
Arts Story  July 5, 2018, by Wayne Alan Brenner
"..."There's so much you can do with mystery," says Cedeño, nodding in agreement, "mixing it with other genres – with science fiction or fantasy." Cedeño's The Walls Can Talk, for instance, features a sort of ghostbusting detective crew called Bad Vibes Removal Services. "I like to look at why people commit crime," she says..."

Writing Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror in Austin
How local authors who work beyond the world we know meet, connect, and launch themselves into the business
Arts Story  July 13, 2017, by Wayne Alan Brenner
"...Indeed there was, and had been for years. Brown's arrival coincided with the 20th anniversary of ArmadilloCon, the homegrown annual sci-fi convention that was not just a celebration of the more fantastic genres of literature and one hell of a fannish good time, but somewhere aspiring writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror could meet and polish their craft via workshops led by their fellow writers from the local scene..."

July Is Crime Month: Q&A with Meg Gardiner
Local writer on her new thriller and her secret to success
DAILY Books  July 9, 2014, by Jessi Cape
"...MG: I do like to read crime and thrillers: Tess Gerritsen, Sue Grafton, Lee Childs, Carl Hiaasen, James Lee Burke. I read a lot of science fiction as well and nonfiction..."

Adventures in Crime and Space Closes
Books Story  April 5, 2002, by Clay Smith
"...On Monday afternoon, Willie Siros, the owner of Adventures of Crime and Space Books, was waiting for the UPS man to pick up 30 boxes of books that needed to be returned to publishers. Everything was supposed to be out of the mystery and science fiction store by Sunday, March 31, but "it's been tough going for quite a while," Siros said, as he pointed out that the store still had about 6,000-8,000 books left after a liquidation sale rid him of nearly 35,000 titles..."

Dark Streets
A collection of blues originals by the likes of Aaron Neville, B.B. King, and Etta James lightens this otherwise dreary exercise in modern film noir.
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Film Review  December 12, 2008, by Josh Rosenblatt
"...Let no one ever say that Dark Streets doesn’t have the perfect title. It may not be much more than a stylized regurgitation of creaky film-noir clichés and crime-fiction conventions … but its streets are undeniably dark..."

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
Arts Story  October 1, 2015, by Robert Faires
"...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..."

Patricia Highsmith
The crime writer's dark world is stranger than (literary) fiction
Arts Story  July 24, 2014, by Amy Gentry
"...Highsmith's reputation doesn't seem to be in doubt. Nevertheless, critics tirelessly argue that the Texas-born writer should be rescued from the crime fiction shelf and placed alongside her more highbrow literary influences, which include Dostoevsky and Henry James...."

Whodunnit All Over the World?
The Melville House International Crime series is ship-shape.
DAILY Books  July 30, 2014, by Wayne Alan Brenner
"...2. I met the man at Bennu Coffee on East MLK and we had an excellent conversation about the love of books and the state of publishing in general, and about the origins of Melville House, and about the company's vigorous lines of vintage literary fiction and essays, paperback novellas, modern crime novels, and more...."

Original Sin
Although his name is somewhat less well-known than some of his more famous contemporaries, author Cornell Woolrich is regarded by many people as the father of noir crime fiction. Among...
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Film Review  August 3, 2001, by Marc Savlov
"...Starring: Gregory Itzin, James Haven, Pedro Armendariz Jr., Thomas Jane, Allison Mackie, Joan Pringle, Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas. Although his name is somewhat less well-known than some of his more famous contemporaries, author Cornell Woolrich is regarded by many people as the father of noir crime fiction..."

Women of Mystery
Investigating the latest "persons of interest" in Texas' literary crime scene
Arts Story  February 25, 2016, by Robert Faires
"...More than 100 series – that's series, not just single books – have been created around gumshoes and sleuths figuring out whodunit in what's supposed to be the Friendship State, and more are being added all the time. You might figure that in such a cutthroat bidness, good ol' boys would dominate, just as they do at the Lege, but when it comes to penning Lone Star crime fiction, the gals outgun the guys roughly 10 to 7..."

Minerva Koenig on South of Nowhere
Minerva Koenig wanted her mystery series to show how someone becomes a sleuth
Arts Story  February 25, 2016, by Rosalind Faires


Seen / Soon: Jan. 26
Photographer Nancy Mims explores unknown lands in her neighborhood, and writers Meg Gardiner and Mark Pryor kill it with crime fiction
Arts Column  January 25, 2018


Murder Ballads
This blues-infused crime thriller suggests a number of Dangerous Things to Do Outside Shreveport Until You’re Dead
Arts Review  November 21, 2017, by Wayne Alan Brenner


One of the Great Ones
Books Story  November 6, 1998, by Jesse Sublett
"...The tall pine bookcases take up the entire west wall of our living room. Roughly half the titles are crime fiction novels, the rest are split between Texana, military history, and miscellaneous subjects..."

It's a Mystery to Me
Books Story  April 22, 1999, by Jesse Sublett
"...illustration by Penny Van Horn Believe it or not, mystery musketeers, there are people in the world who maintain a certain snotty conceit that all genre fiction is somehow inferior to so-called "literary" fiction, that Hammett was a hack, that the MacDonalds (John D. & Ross) were mediocre..."

Alternate Histories
Books Story  February 18, 1999, by Jesse Sublett
"...Ellroy survived by getting cleaned up and eventually channeling his obsessions with sex, crime, and the scandal-breeding psycho-history of L.A. into writing crime fiction..."

American Animals
Truth, lies, and self-deception in this remarkable true-crime docudrama
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Film Review  June 15, 2018, by Matthew Monagle
"...Where is the line between fact and fiction in documentary cinema? For many moviegoers, documentaries are synonymous with truth, a re-creation of historical events using primary documents and firsthand accounts. Like any piece of storytelling, though, documentaries involve choices..."

Dead Women Owned His Soul
An Interview with James Ellroy
Books Story  February 14, 1997, by Jesse Sublett
"...All the way. That's where the answers are. He should have known because that's the way it is in noir fiction..."

Joe Lansdale
The Hardest Working Unknown Author?
Books Story  August 22, 1997, by Marc Savlov
"...Lansdale may be the most famous unknown writer working today. The 46-year-old Nacogdoches native has been consistently churning out a string of novels, short stories, screenplays, anthologies, and -- more recently -- comic books since he co-wrote, with his mother, a non-fiction piece for a regional farm journal way back in 1971..."

Have a Nice Day
Mid-Nineties-style crime stories refreshed by Chinese cartoons.
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Film Review  February 23, 2018, by Richard Whittaker
"...But his beats are so slow, and the backing story so slight, that the narrative diversions and long-winded, semi-philosophical anecdotes swamp any forward motion. It wants so hard to be Pulp Fiction, but it ends up 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag...."

The Mystery: What’s on Kleinfeld’s List?
10 classic solutions to which crimes are worth reading about
DAILY Arts  November 30, 2016, by Wayne Alan Brenner
"...Lenny Kleinfeld’s one of our favorite modern crime-fiction authors – and relatively unsung, although not without a certain acclaim beyond us repeating this hosanna as often as possible. He’s also a man we turn to for recommendations in the genre, because he’s got excellent taste; and, because we’re not so stingy after all, we’re sharing those recommendations with you, dear criminally curious reader:..."

Summer Sneaks
Apocalypse Whenever: Movies in the Season of Armageddon
Screens Story  May 22, 1998
"...A surprising number of thoughtful offerings are around to buck the restrictive mindlock of summer escapism: Warren Beatty's political satire Bulworth, Peter Weir and Jim Carrey's provocative meditation on media totalitarianism in The Truman Show, Robert Redford's intelligent reworking of romantic pulp fiction in The Horse Whisperer, and Steven Spielberg's non-Jurassic war drama starring Tom Hanks, Saving Private Ryan...."

No Prozac for the Wicked
The Cool Capers of Donald Westlake
Books Story  December 26, 1997, by Jesse Sublett
"...In the field of crime literature, Westlake has few peers, a legion of admirers, and innumerable imitators. Since the 1960 publication of his smash debut The Mercenaries, he's written more than 70 novels (40-something under his own name and dozens more under a gaggle of pseudonyms), including two of the best crime fiction series ever written, and dozens of one-shot genre-twisting classics..."

Into the Black Nowhere by Meg Gardiner
In the sequel to UNSUB, Gardiner pits Caitlin Hendrix against a killer based on Ted Bundy and shows again what a great storyteller she is
Arts Review  July 26, 2018, by Jessi Cape
"...Given the current state of the world, it's hard, especially as a female-identifying individual, to process the constant threat of violence, even in fiction. There are more crime-based narratives circling around than ever before, and maybe that has something to do with the IRL abundance, but maybe it's also because exposing perpetrators' cruelty to the light reduces their long-term success..."

The Imposter
This documentary about a bizarre case of identity theft is a puzzle of lies, duplicity, and suppositions.
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Film Review  August 17, 2012, by Marc Savlov
"...Truth is stranger than fiction, and sometimes vice versa. But when the elements of a mystery become so impossibly obscured by the sheer emotional drama of a crime – a crime that actually might not have occurred – well, to paraphrase Mission of Burma, that's when you reach for your revolver..."

Curdled
Essentially a one-joke movie, Curdled began life as a 30-minute student film by Reb Braddock and John Maass, and though I haven't seen the original short, I suspect that the...
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Film Review  October 11, 1996, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Essentially a one-joke movie, Curdled began life as a 30-minute student film by Reb Braddock and John Maass, and though I haven't seen the original short, I suspect that the feature-length version has very little over the earlier work. Quentin Tarantino came aboard as the feature's executive producer, and brought with him Curdled's lead actress Angela Jones, whose first film role was that of the cabdriver in Pulp Fiction..."

In the Name of My Daughter
The Affaire Le Roux, a famous missing-person case, is the subject of this French drama
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Film Review  May 22, 2015, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...The opening credits of this French import declare that In the Name of My Daughter is a “fiction based on real events,” a common narrative strategy in this era of amorphous truths. Based on the Affaire Le Roux, which rocked France in the late Seventies and continued through the next three decades, the film will not provide similar touchstones for North American viewers..."

The Killer Inside Me
Director Michael Winterbottom makes some fatal storytelling miscalculations in this screen adaptation of Jim Thompson's novel that stars Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba, and Kate Hudson.
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Film Review  July 30, 2010, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...The ridiculously prolific director Michael Winterbottom (A Mighty Heart, 24 Hour Party People) fouls out badly with this screen adaptation (penned by John Curran) of Jim Thompson’s 1952 crime novel, The Killer Inside Me. Nearly everything about the film is miscalculated, although the primary offenders are the casting of reedy-voiced Affleck in the title role and the misinterpretation of the term “pulp fiction” to mean something on the order of beating all women to bloody pulps..."

Kiss of Death
Kiss of Death is a solid piece of pulp drama that, nevertheless, feels as fleeting as its hackneyed title. Very loosely based on a 1947 film noir of the same...
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Film Review  April 21, 1995, by Marc Savlov
"...Instead, he finds himself on the short end of the stick once again as everyone from the cops to his old hoodlum pals plots against him. As Detective Calvin, Jimmy's police contact, Samuel Jackson is given a punchy, layered character who is the opposite of the one he played in last year's Pulp Fiction..."

You Can't Go Home Again
Chronicle writer Jesse Sublett on why James Crumley, whose mystery The Final Country has recently been published, is the best writer from Texas to disown the state.
Books Story  October 26, 2001, by Jesse Sublett
"...Ever since he knocked our socks off with The Wrong Case (1975), then rolled out two classics in a row -- The Last Good Kiss (1978) and Dancing Bear (1983) -- Crumley has been practically without peer. He's not the most prolific American crime writer, but crime fiction aficionados have learned that, like good scotch, Crumley's novels take a little more time than the ordinary stuff..."

Memoirs of Vidocq: Master of Crime
Almost 150 years after the death of François Eugène Vidocq, criminal investigators of all stripes still follow his basic methods of detection. Likewise, all manner of thieves and con artists follow in his footsteps, and that includes writers, too.
Books Review  October 10, 2003, by Jesse Sublett
"...The modern detective fiction tradition, using Vidocq as the prototypical master detective, was born during his lifetime. First was Edgar Allan Poe's Dupin, premiering in "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" in 1841, followed in 1865 by the not-so-subtly-named Lecoq, the protagonist of four stories by Emile Gaboriau in 1865, and Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, who debuted in 1887, 12 years after Vidocq's death..."

Masterminds
Heist comedy stars Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, and Kristin Wiig
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Film Review  October 7, 2016, by Steve Davis
"...It’s cracked from the get-go. Loosely based on the 1997 robbery of a Loomis Fargo vault by seemingly dim-witted employee David Ghantt (a then-record $17 million payday!), the stranger-than-fiction premise about a romantically besotted buffoon (Galifianakis) who recklessly risks imprisonment to win over the trailer-trash femme fatale (Wiig) enlisting him to commit the crime is pilfered by the film’s sense of scattershot humor..."

Texas Book Festival 2016: The Full List
TBF hosts Don DeLillo, Thomas Dolby, Emma Cline, 277 more
DAILY Arts  September 15, 2016, by Robert Faires
"...Heavyweights of fiction? Check. Besides the previously mentioned DeLillo, who will discuss his latest, Zero K, in a conversation with local screenwriter and novelist Noah Hawley (the FX series Fargo, the new book Before the Fall), the festival will include T..."

Book Reviews
Recent Titles Reviewed
Books Story  October 20, 2000, by Jesse Sublett
"...Charles Willeford published 18 novels, many of which were highly literary works that passed under the fence as pulp fiction, others under the guise of contemporary crime fiction. Another way of summarizing his unusual output (which also included poetry, screenplays, and plays) is that Willeford never met a genre that he couldn't subvert..."

Clean, Shaven
(This is a reprint of the Austin Chronicle review that ran in March when this film premiered in Austin at the SXSW Film Festival.) The low-frequency radio transmissions constantly disrupting...
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Film Review  August 4, 1995, by Steve Davis
"...As Peter Winter, the schizophrenic wanderer searching for the young daughter he lost years ago, Greene is eerily compelling; if eyes are indeed the windows to a man's soul, then Greene's haunted blue eyes in Clean, Shaven reveal the soul of a man in perpetual torment. (It's hard to believe that this is the same actor who played the sadist in Pulp Fiction.) The pace and detail here are strictly minimal, while the tone is unquestionably paranoiac..."

Hotel Artemis
A bleak but stylish future, where only criminals can afford healthcare
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Film Review  June 8, 2018, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Despite its setting in 2028 and the inclusion of some medical advances, Hotel Artemis is not a science fiction film. It’s a crime thriller unconcerned with whodunit and why..."

A Double Shot of Wry
Author Neal Barrett, Jr.
Books Story  November 28, 1997, by Mike Shea
"...From this comfortably appointed South Austin home, Barrett has spent the last five years carving out a niche for himself as a leading purveyor of crime fiction with a trenchantly humorous twist. Although largely identified with his numerous science fiction-ish titles, the 1992 publication of Pink Vodka Blues represented another major genre-shift for a writer who had made it his custom to cross-pollinate the world of fiction..."

Quien es Mas Noir: James Crumley and James Ellroy are Coming to Town
Books Story  December 6, 1996
"...The stars in tough-guy heaven will shine on Austin, Texas on Friday, December 6. Not one but two of the toughest, most important writers of hardboiled crime fiction will be in Austin to meet their fans and sign their new books. Former Texan James Crumley (The Wrong Case, Mexican Tree Duck) will be in town to sign his latest, Bordersnakes, in which the protagonists from both of his landmark series (Milo from The Wrong Case and Sughrue from The Last Good Kiss and The Mexican Tree Duck) combine forces for at least twice the mayhem and dark humor..."

Chronicles
The Ninth Annual Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest
Features Story  September 29, 2000, by Clay Smith
"...Then Chronicle marketing director Tommi Ferguson and I look at the scores, read over every story between ourselves to make certain we haven't missed any budding Amy Blooms or George Michael Chabons, and then send on the best stories -- 10, this year -- to the final judges. Fiction lovers Julie Carpenter, Shawn Badgley, Scott Blackwood, Michael Chamy, Denise Hutto, Eli Kooris, Kim Mellen, Deborah Wilson, and Kevin Wood were our dedicated first readers..."

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