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What If



Columns

When I was 25, I got married and stayed married for eight weeks to a man with a name like a comb-over. Let’s call him Wallace. Wallace was six feet six inches tall. He had a buzz cut, wore shiny and mysteriously expensive suits, and…
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The Velvet Coffin: Michael Connelly’s The Scarecrow



Columns

(Little, Brown, 423 pages hardcover, $27.99) The Dutch painter Hieronymous Bosch used color on vast triptychs to articulate his fantastical visions of morality, in works such as The Garden of Earthly Delights.  For the past 17 years, crime writer Michael Connelly has been portrayed contemporary…
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Virtual Mother



Columns

My birth mother sends me messages on MySpace. She’s 68 years old, creeping around a website where friend is a verb and teenagers want someone to tell them they’re pretty. She lives alone. She drinks and thinks too much, and sometimes, usually after midnight, she…
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No Way Out: Jason Starr’s “Fake I.D.”



Columns

By now, fans of Hard Case Crime’s brand of pulp crime fiction already know Jason Starr.  Along with the delightfully cynical crime writer Ken Bruen of Ireland, Starr co-authored Bust, Slide, and The Max—a wicked trilogy reveling in dark humor, gratuitous sex & violence, and…
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Christa Faust’s Money Shot Cashes In



Columns

Hard Case Crime recently turned 50. The independent publishing house dedicated to all things pulp has published over 50 titles since it opened for business in 2005. And what a business for lovers of crime fiction: HCC not only reissues out of print classics by…
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Doing It Right: Interview with Gregg Hurwitz



Columns

Los Angeles. The city of (fallen) angels has lured many crime fiction writers over the years, its truths often stranger than fiction. From Hollywood to Echo Park, L.A. is a siren song of corruption, racial tension, drugs, and silicone implants. Perfect grist for a writer’s…
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Easyreeder



Columns

WEEK 1 UNRELIABLE NARRATOR Do you want a reliable narrator?  An unreliable narrator?  If there is any first-person element to your narration, there’s one answer: all people lie to themselves, all people are unreliable.  The question is of degree.  While extremely unreliable narrators are fascinating…
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[CRIME CORNER] Lawrence Block: Romance of the Ordinary Life



Columns

Lawrence Block, Hit and Run 304 pages, $24.95 Published by William Morrow Keller is back. This spring, Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Lawrence Block rolled out the latest exploits of Keller, full-time assassin and amateur philatelist.  Block’s newest novel in 3 years, Hit and…
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[CRIME CORNER] Busted: Ken Bruen & Jason Starr Kill The Lone Wolf Enterprise



Columns

by Brendan McCall Essayist Edward Hoagland once told me that writing was a ‘real lone-wolf enterprise.’  Obviously, crime fiction authors Ken Bruen and Jason Starr missed that memo.  In 2006, the duo wrote Bust (Barry Award nomination for “Best Paperback Novel of the Year").  This…
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[CRIME CORNER] The Secret Identities of Charles Ardai



Columns

by Brendan McCall Don’t let that charming grin fool you.  Charles Ardai’s business is crime. By day, he puts in long hours as the co-founder and editor of Hard Case Crime, an exciting independent publishing house he founded with author Max Phillips.  By night, he…
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[CRIME CORNER] Finishing The Job: Collins Completes Spillane Swan Song



Columns

by Brendan McCall Halloween is a time of tricks and mischief. This past Halloween marked the release date of a special treat for crime fiction fans: a new book by Mickey Spillane, the godfather of the pulps.  Dead Street (Hard Case Crime) bears a number…
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Novel Appearances: French Book Art at the New York Public Library



Columns

by Anne K. Yoder A thin forest green box lies adrift in a sea of papers: meticulous diagrams of conical and cylindrical machine parts, a small sliver with a few words, a vortex of ninety-three sheets sprawling outward from the center. Large letters composed of…
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The Lieutenant of Inishmore - Martin McDonagh’s Comically Violent Thriller



Columns

by Priya Jain At the beginning of The Lieutenant of Inishmore, two men are standing in a small, bleak living room; the beaten-up chairs and stained walls, and the sparse black-rock landscape beyond those walls, let you know immediately that this particular Irish tale isn’t…
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The Fear of Large and Small Nations



Columns

By Nancy Agabian {Excerpt} I was sitting between two men on the Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Yerevan, at 1 in the morning, September 10, 2005. The man to my left was large and mid 40’s, with brown hair and brown moustache, and his friend…
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When In Rome, Do As The Russians Did



Columns

by Victoria Gomelsky  Straining to revive long-forgotten memories, I stared at the balcony of my former apartment, a one-bedroom I shared with my parents and twin sister in the fall of 1978, when we joined thousands of Soviet Jewish émigrés living in the coastal town…
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COSMIC REPORTER: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ARTHUR KOESTLER



Columns

Michael Scammell [This excerpt describes Koestler’s first visit to France after the publication and huge success of his novel, Darkness at Noon, in French translation. It is taken from a chapter called “Adventures Among the Existentialists."] Cosmic Reporter is to be published by Random House…
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Iggy and Aurore



Columns

Diane Rostyak Aurore and I became friends after my mother invited her up to our apartment one summer afternoon.“Remember Aurore from Florence Avenue School?” my mother asks, always excited for new company. “She just moved down the block.” I remembered my former classmate as a…
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Arthur Phillips: Inside the Mind of an Eight-Time Jeopardy! Contestant



Columns

http://kgbbar.com/images/lit/arthur1.jpeg http://kgbbar.com/images/lit/arthur2.jpg Got a writer . . . got a writer . . .Sometimes I feel like a junkie looking for a quick fix when I look at the KGB calendar and see that I need to book six months of authors to read for…
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All Tied Up: Four Centuries of Graphic Sex in Japan & Eiichi Yamamoto’s The Belladonna of Sadness



Columns

By Robin Epstein I confess I’ve never gotten off on animation, but for the sake of art, I was willing to give it a try. Truth is, I was looking forward to the screening of Eiichi Yamamoto’s erotic comic masterwork, The Belladonna of Sadness, because…
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Buckminster Fuller and Isamu Noguchi



Columns

I recently went to the show at the Noguchi Museum called "Best of Friends," an exhibition chronicling the collaborations between Buckminster Fuller and Isamu Noguchi, and what struck me wasn't the work itself, but the sense of idealism that their work was based on, an idealism that permeated the culture of the time, and an idealism that now seems largely absent.


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Inside The Black Factory: William Pope.L on Art and Race



Columns

by Jonathan Lachance, photos by Erika Imberti If you walked through the tourists who throng the market stalls in Union Square’s South Plaza like unmoored dirigibles on July 22nd, your course would have been further complicated by a tent, an inflatable igloo, and a van…
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Here There and Nowhere: Cuba



Columns

It was about 500 degrees in the Cuban prison. I had been here only three hours, but I honestly thought I might die soon. I had diarrhea. I was dehydrated. I hadn't eaten in two days. There was one ancient, tiny fan in the room…
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The Father of All Things



Columns

[Excerpt] It would have been spring. The neighborhood yards still yellow and concrete-hard, the side panels of the cars you pass on the way home from work spattered with arcing crusts of road salt, the big oaks and elms that loom along Lake Shore Drive throwing…
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The Father of All Things



Columns

[Excerpt] It would have been spring. The neighborhood yards still yellow and concrete-hard, the side panels of the cars you pass on the way home from work spattered with arcing crusts of road salt, the big oaks and elms that loom along Lake Shore Drive…
read »

CRIME CORNER: Busted: Ken Bruen & Jason Starr Kill The Lone Wolf Enterprise



Columns

Essayist Edward Hoagland once told me that writing was a 'real lone-wolf enterprise.' Obviously, crime fiction authors Ken Bruen and Jason Starr missed that memo. In 2006, the duo wrote Bust (Barry Award nomination for "Best Paperback Novel of the Year"). This fall, its sequel…
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City Grid: A Column of Intersecting Cultural Experiences



Columns

I. The Empty Vessel ProjectI used to work odd, early hours in an empty office, at an open cubicle, overlooking a grille of unoccupied cubicles. To an increasingly disconcerting degree, I'd identify with the last bee in a withered system of wax cells-a perception sharpened…
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POETRY ROADTRIP: Detroit; “Obadike’s Armor and Flesh, and Madgett’s Lotus Press”



Columns

Naomi Long Madgett, Lotus Press, PublisherPoetry is a labor of love-no surprise there, but I hope what you find in this series of monthly articles will. As a poet myself, I often feel as if what I do has a small level of impact on…
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MY SECRET LIBRARY: Pre-Fab Mod



Columns

Visit the First, in which we become acquainted, explain our intentions, and introduce our inaugural selections. Dear Reader. I know you. You're a bookshelf spectator. When you pay a visit to a friend, when you attend a cocktail party in a stranger's home, when you…
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POETRY ROADTRIP DESTINATION #2: Connecticut, Claribel Alegria & Curbstone Press



Columns

Judith Ayer Doyle and Sandy Taylor next to the small press they used in the 1970s and early 1980s. Judith Ayer Doyle is a co-director of Curbstone Press.As an undergrad, I fell in love, like most young poets, with Neruda, his sweeping images, intense and…
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CRIME CORNER: The Secret Identities of Charles Ardai



Columns

Don't let that charming grin fool you. Charles Ardai's business is crime. By day, he puts in long hours as the co-founder and editor of Hard Case Crime, an exciting independent publishing house he founded with author Max Phillips. By night, he switches identities, writing…
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MY SECRET LIBRARY: Visit the Second, Where We Lazily Deconstruct the Novel



Columns

Late afternoon in The Secret Library, patrons mostly nestled in the window seats with leather-bound editions of Swann's Way, browsing the dusty curio shelf. Late afternoon, late in the season, and many patrons have fled for the seaside, or to the family bower, to places…
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Here There and Nowhere: Cuba, Part 2



Columns

I commenced begging. "Listen, I'll pay it, please, that's my flight. I have to go on it." "Forget it, you're antisocial, the flight's closed," she said. She gathered up some papers and started walking away. There was no one else left at the counter, no…
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Poetry Roadtrip #2: Connecticut, Claribel Alegria & Curbstone Press



Columns

As an undergrad, I fell in love, like most young poets, with Neruda, his sweeping images, intense and burning on the page. Neruda made me want to learn Spanish, but alas, I was studying Hebrew. Then I fell in love with Rilke and decided it…
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