Now Win <i>This</i>!: Deadly Little Secrets Sweepstakes Now Win This!: Deadly Little Secrets Sweepstakes Crime HQ Do you think you can keep this secret? <i>Street Poison: The Biography of Iceberg Slim</i>: New Excerpt Street Poison: The Biography of Iceberg Slim: New Excerpt Justin Gifford Sometimes criminals make the best crime writers. <i>Laying Down the Paw</i>: New Excerpt Laying Down the Paw: New Excerpt Diane Kelly Every dog has its day, but they all can't be king of the pack. <i>Better Homes and Corpses</i>: New Excerpt Better Homes and Corpses: New Excerpt Kathleen Bridge Instead of seeing how the other half lives, Meg learns how they die.
From The Blog
August 4, 2015
What’s Whitey Bulger Done?: Trailer for Black Mass Starring Johnny Depp
Crime HQ
July 31, 2015
No Sweat, The M.O. Returns with a New Theme!
Crime HQ
July 31, 2015
Break Bad with these Bobbleheads, Bitch!
Crime HQ
July 30, 2015
Boomsticks Weekly!: Ash vs. Evil Dead
Clare Toohey
July 29, 2015
Man Fakes 911 Call to Get Air Conditioner Fixed
Teddy Pierson
Tue
Aug 4 2015 5:00pm

Now Win This!: Deadly Little Secrets Sweepstakes

You might think you want the truth, but these nine books prove you can’t handle it!

Click here to enter for a chance to win!

This is NOT a Comments Sweepstakes. You must click the link above to enter.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry. Promotion begins August 4, 2015, at 5:00 pm ET, and ends August 18, 2015, 4:59pm ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Click here for details and official rules.

[Shhhh...]

Tue
Aug 4 2015 1:30pm
Excerpt

Street Poison: The Biography of Iceberg Slim: New Excerpt

Justin Gifford

Street Poison: The Biography of Iceberg Slim by Justin Gifford delves deep into the life and crime of author Robert Beck, whose works have had profound influence black culture (available August 4, 2015).

The first and definitive biography of one of America's bestselling, notorious, and influential writers of the twentieth century: Iceberg Slim, ne Robert Beck, author of the multimillion-copy memoir Pimp and such equally popular novels as Trick Baby and Mama Black Widow. From a career as a, yes, ruthless pimp in the '40s and '50s, Iceberg Slim refashioned himself as the first and still the greatest of “street lit” masters, whose vivid books have made him an icon to such rappers as Ice-T, Jay-Z, and Snoop Dogg and a presiding spirit of “blaxploitation” culture. You can't understand contemporary black (and even American) culture without reckoning with Iceberg Slim and his many acolytes and imitators.

Drawing on a wealth of archival material including FBI files, prison records, and interviews with Beck, his wife, and his daughters Justin Gifford explores the sexual trauma and racial violence Beck endured that led to his reinvention as Iceberg Slim, one of America's most infamous pimps of the 1940s and '50s.

Published by arrangement with Doubleday, an imprint of The Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

[Start reading an exclusive excerpt of Chapter 3 of Street Poison now!]

Tue
Aug 4 2015 11:15am
Excerpt

Laying Down the Paw: New Excerpt

Diane Kelly

Laying Down the Paw by Diane Kelly is the 3rd cozy in the Paw Enforcement series starring Fort Worth Police Officer Megan Luz and her trusty K9 sidekick Brigit (available August 4, 2015).

When a raging tornado hits Forth Worth, Megan's squad car is flipped over-and her devoted police dog, Brigit, is not amused. But that's not all that's upside-down. The streets are littered with looters-and members of a violent street gang-and no local business is safe. It's time to get back on all fours and see that the job of protecting the public is done.

But Megan, outmanned and outgunned, has no choice but to let the gang members get away. Later, when she learns that one of them is a suspect in an unsolved murder case, Megan is determined to see that justice is served. But will she end up in the doghouse? Her investigation has her and Brigit barking up the wrong tree at every turn. Meanwhile, a killer's on the loose....who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

Chapter One
No Dogs Allowed

Fort Worth Police Officer Megan Luz

At nine thirty on Sunday morning, I sat at the card table in the kitchen in my tiny studio apartment with a pen in my hand, circling or drawing an X over each ad in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram rental real estate section. My partner/roommate/BFF, Brigit, lay at my feet, her pointy teeth making short work of the chew treat she held between her two front paws.

[Continue reading Laying Down the Paw!]

Tue
Aug 4 2015 8:45am

What’s Whitey Bulger Done?: Trailer for Black Mass Starring Johnny Depp

If there's anyone who typifies the if you can't beat 'em, join 'em mantra, it's Whitey Bulger, the infamous mafia boss who terrorized South Boston in the 1970s. Bulger became an FBI informant in order to help take down a rival mafia family who was trying to overtake his territory.

Black Mass is the story of Bulger, his rise to power, and the extant to which the FBI turned the other cheek in letting him to continue operations. Bulger will be played by Johnny Depp, who seems to be sporting an entire Sephora's worth of makeup on his face alone. Starring alongside Depp will be Benedict Cumberbatch, Corey Stoll, Dakota Johnson, Joel Edgerton, Jesse Plemons, Kevin Bacon, and Adam Scott.

What are your thoughts on the trailer? Could this be the next The Departed? Or do you think we're looking at another J. Edgar or Public Enemies?

Mon
Aug 3 2015 11:45pm

Hannibal 3.09: “And the Woman Clothed With the Sun...”

When Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) visits Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), we learn even the perennially-scruffy nature boy wears aftershave. The moonphased Tooth Fairy is on a killing deadline, and the Baltimore State Psychiatric Hospital's apex killer-in-residence must be consulted. For his part, Hannibal appreciates a break from the professional “second-raters” and “pencil-lickers.” Wicked. (I recall when Will was a top expert in his field, that is, until he succumbed and went native, so to speak.)

Hannibal can tell Will's domestic life has expanded, that fatherhood has changed him. He digs in as Will tries to maintain distance, saying that Will only need remind himself of who Hannibal is, who he is himself on that selfsame axis, and that the memory of that alone should be enough for Will to figure out how the Tooth Fairy's choosing his victims. Yes, well, after more verbal foreplay, at last, to the casefiles!

We flashback to Hannibal's “fatherhood” of Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl), the parenthood which he tries to place heavily as a shared burden on Will. She'll adapt now, mutate later, the lesson every loving father teached at softball practice and blood rituals. Hannibal takes a big bottle of blood, and then, as they discuss how he would've killed her, they rather calmly discuss the flesh he also needs. Not a finger, so she can learn to play the harpsichord he's always on about, but a bit of something she can do without. We know it'll be the shell of her ear. Together they empty the bottle, enacting the pattern which will be taken for her fresh arterial spray. Among twisted killers, it's as sweet as a dad and daughter pancake breakfast.

[More family, more problems...]

Mon
Aug 3 2015 1:30pm

Major Crimes: More to the Story...Online!

This season, Major Crimes introduced webisodes – bite-sized segments of story released on YouTube and the TNT website to augment the story that aired on TV. Released each Monday night right after the TV episode of Major Crimes finishes, these webisodes star the show’s youngest character, former runaway, Rusty Beck (Graham Patrick Martin).

Webisodes are online-exclusive mini-episodes that can reveal more background to a story or character or show what happened in-between episodes. Many shows have employed this tactic to draw in more viewers and to provide a deeper perspective on characters and situations that they don’t have time for in the usual TV format. You may have seen webisodes from shows like The Walking Dead, Parks and Recreation, Breaking Bad, Dr. Who, or Battlestar Gallactica.

Most webisodes are available on YouTube. With recent numbers released by Google showing that YouTube has more viewers in the 18-49 year old demographic than any single cable network, we may see more and more shows exploring the webisode.

[We've got you covered below!]

Mon
Aug 3 2015 11:00am

True Detective 2.07: “Black Maps and Motel Rooms”

“I’ve been waiting for that all my life.”

Too many hotel rooms, not enough maps. The story comes together like an L.A. cloverleaf interchanged designed by M.C. Escher in this penultimate episode.  Ray (Colin Farrell), Ani (Rachel McAdams), and Paul (Taylor Kitsch) are holed up in a motel with Vera (Miranda Rae Mayo), the escort whose sister said she went missing after joining the Panticapaeum institute, who they rescued from McCandless’s sex mansion.

Paul goes through the papers he stole from the mansion, and he and Ray put together enough of the Catalyst scam to get an idea of what’s going on, and Ray takes it to Frank (Vince Vaughn). But not before Ani, coming down off the molly, hits on Ray and tries to “f- the pain away,” like that other famous Ani sings. “This won’t help you,” he says. “It usually does,” is her reply. She wonders if they can trace the knifed bodyguard to her, and says, “I’ve been waiting for that all my life.”

[You finally got what you wanted...]

Sun
Aug 2 2015 12:00pm
Excerpt

Better Homes and Corpses: New Excerpt

Kathleen Bridge

Better Homes and Corpses by Kathleen Bridge is the debut cozy in the Hamptons Home & Garden Mystery Series set in the swanky east-end of Long Island, NY (available August 4, 2015).

In between scouring estate sales for her new interior design business, Cottages by the Sea, Meg visits the swanky East Hampton home of her old college roommate, Jillian Spenser. But instead of seeing how the other half lives—she learns how the other half dies. Jillian’s mother, known as the Queen Mother of the Hamptons, has been murdered. Someone has staged a coup.

When she helps a friend inventory the Spensers’ estate for the insurance company, Meg finds herself right in the thick of things. Cataloging valuable antiques and art loses its charm when Meg discovers that the Spenser family has been hiding dangerous secrets, which may have furnished a murderer with a motive. As Meg gets closer to the truth, the killer will do anything to paint her out of the picture…

[Start reading Better Homes and Corpses now!]

Sat
Aug 1 2015 12:00pm
Excerpt

Berried Secrets: New Excerpt

Peg Cochran

Berried Secrets by Peg Cochran is the debut cozy in the Cranberry Cove Mystery Series featuring Monica Albertson, who discovers a dead body floating in the farm's lake (available August 4, 2015).

When Monica Albertson comes to Cranberry Cove—a charming town on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan—to help her half-brother Jeff on his cranberry farm, the last thing she expects to harvest is a dead body.

It seems that Sam Culbert, who ran the farm while Jeff was deployed overseas, had some juicy secrets that soon prove fatal, and Jeff is ripe for the picking as a prime suspect. Forming an uneasy alliance with her high-maintenance stepmother, Monica has her hands full trying to save the farm while searching for a killer. Culbert made plenty of enemies in the quaint small town…but which one was desperate enough to kill?

Chapter 2

Monica thought about what the farm’s accounts had revealed while she cleaned lettuce and sliced tomatoes for a salad. Probably the best way to break the news to Jeff was to do it quickly—like pulling off a bandage in one swift motion. She grimaced at the thought.

[Continue reading Berried Secrets by Peg Cochran!]

Fri
Jul 31 2015 11:00am
Original Story

The Secrets of Lake Road: New Excerpt

Karen Katchur

The Secrets of Lake Road by Karen Katchur is a chilling debut about a seven-year-old girl who goes missing from a summer town (available August 4, 2015).

Jo has been hiding the truth about her role in her high school boyfriend's drowning for sixteen years. Every summer, she drops her children off with her mother at the lakeside community where she spent summers growing up, but cannot bear to stay herself; everything about the lake reminds her of the guilt she feels. For her daughter Caroline, however, the lake is a precious world apart; its familiarity and sameness comforts her every year despite the changes in her life outside its bounds. At twelve years old and caught between childhood and adolescence, she longs to win her mother's love and doesn't understand why Jo keeps running away.

Then seven-year-old Sara Starr goes missing from the community beach. Rescue workers fail to uncover any sign of her—but instead dredge up the bones Jo hoped would never be discovered, shattering the quiet lakeside community's tranquility. Caroline was one of the last people to see Sara alive on the beach, and feels responsible for her disappearance. She takes it upon herself to figure out what happened to the little girl. As Caroline searches for Sara, she uncovers the secrets her mother has been hiding, unraveling the very foundation of everything she knows about herself and her family.

[Start reading The Secrets of Lake Road now!]

Fri
Jul 31 2015 9:15am

No Sweat, The M.O. Returns with a New Theme!

Summer's flying by and The M.O. is sweating with panic over the theme “Lesson Learned.” Write us a crime story in your blue book of one-thousand to fifteen-hundred words.

The theme can be interpreted widely, in whatever style, tone, subgenre, targeted age range, and/or era the writer chooses. If you've ever read stuff like it here, we're interested in more!

On Friday, August 14th, 2015, a trap door will open over the oozing pit of submissions—or is that just the cafeteria?— at 12:01 a.m., Eastern U.S. time zone, releasing toxic fumes for two whole weeks. Here's where to check out all The M.O.'s submission guidelines and important dates!

Maybe your very-short story will eventually land you in the bad kids' class with S.W. Lauden's “Fix Me” or “The Coccoon” by Louis Rakovich. And just see the, uh, happiness on the faces of the 2015 Rogues' Gallery of scholars. Soon enough, all this happy summer fun and sun gives way to the School of Hard Knocks, and we can't wait!

Fri
Jul 31 2015 8:45am

Break Bad with these Bobbleheads, Bitch!

If you're looking for the perfect way to decorate your own personal domicile, look no further than these awesome Breaking Bad-inspired figurines courtesy of Mezco Toyz.

Between the Heisenberg pillows, the Saul Goodman and Gus Fring figurines, and the plush purple teady bear from the Wayfarer 515 airplane crash, fans yearning to return to New Mexico should be pleased. And us? While we might not be ready to fully break bad, we are definitely ready to look badass with our new Jesse Pinkman bobblehead.

Check out all of the Breaking Bad items!

Thu
Jul 30 2015 2:00pm
Excerpt

Best Laid Plans: New Excerpt

Allison Brennan

Best Laid Plans by Allison Brennan is the 9th thriller in the Lucy Kincaid series where the FBI agent is tasked with finding the killer of a congresswoman's husband, who was last seen with a teenage prostitute (available August 4, 2015).

Newly minted FBI Agent Lucy Kincaid is settling into her job in San Antonio, Texas, when the corpse of Harper Worthington, the husband of a sitting congresswoman, is found naked in a motel on the wrong side of town. It's up to Lucy to locate the last person to see him alive: a teenage prostitute who seems to have vanished into thin air.

When forensics determines that Harper was poisoned, Lucy and her new by-the-book partner dig deep into his life to find out who might want him dead. Why did Harper lie to his wife and his staff? Was he involved in an illicit affair? Embezzling money? Laundering money for a drug cartel? Or was he simply a pawn in someone else's dangerous game?

Lucy's boyfriend Sean Rogan is hired by Harper's company to run a security audit, causing friction between Lucy and the FBI. But when Sean finds a high-tech bug in Harper's office, an entirely new threat emerges—a far-reaching conspiracy run by a ruthless killer who will do anything to get what he wants, and kill anyone who gets in his way. And the person between him and victory is Lucy Kincaid.

[Start reading Best Laid Plans now!]

Thu
Jul 30 2015 12:00pm

A Brit’s 400-mile Road Trip Hunting American Crime

Road trip – had to be a winner, right? As a kid growing up in the narrow streets of northern England, I knew America as surely as I knew the grey concrete of my own back yard. For years, I had a recurring dream; I was driving along a winding coast road – steep rocky hills to the right, clear skies above – and dropping away to the left, grassy slopes and a sea so blue it would break your heart. It was California – no question in my mind. The hardboiled language and differences in culture portrayed in film adaptations of Raymond Chandler’s and Dashiell Hammett’s novels fascinated me: guns and cars and whisky-drinking women, the paradox of claustrophobic cities, and vast empty landscapes. They influenced my first attempts at writing, and because Humphrey Bogart played both Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe, he spoke the words in my head.

At that time, British crime fiction was written by a wealthy, privately-educated elite and aimed at an aspiring middle class. Murder was a polite affair, conducted off-stage and with the minimum of blood, to present a pleasing puzzle to readers. Poor, working-class folk featured only as servants, “actresses” of questionable virtue, and dodgy characters set to enliven a scene. In my teens I read some, enjoyed a few, but felt alienated by most of what I read. I was drawn to the mysteries and thrillers on my father’s bedside table – Hammett, Ross Macdonald and the hard, uncompromising world of Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct novels. The thrill of all that unencumbered dialogue! For me dialogue is like music – it has a rhythm and tone, a pace and lyricism which is unique to each place. Writers like Dennis Lehane and Elmore Leonard have superseded those early influences, fulfilling my appetite for the kind of dialogue, which, as John Fowles put it, “perform(s) other functions.” Thomas Harris appeals to my gothic sense of the dramatic, while Jeffery Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme series satisfies my inner geek (I am science-trained, and my novels feature a forensic scientist). Whichever way you look at it, American fiction remains key to my own work, so when my agent suggested setting a novel in the United States, I was eager to grasp the chance. I readily swapped Marlowe’s 1938 Plymouth for a Jeep Grand Cherokee, already dreaming of dusty roads and rodeos.

[A pilgrimage is in order!]

Thu
Jul 30 2015 8:45am

Boomsticks Weekly!: Ash vs. Evil Dead

Grab your boomsticks, Bruce Campbell and Evil Dead fans, because the new “horror sitcom” for Starz is Ash vs. Evil Dead, where he returns to battle the numberless, ravening hordes of the abyss!

If you haven't seen the original quadrilogy of cult films, beginning with The Evil Dead (1981) and products of the unholy team of Bruce Cambell, director Sam Raimi, and producer Rob Tapert, the return of this “hero” and his narcissstic, shallow awfulness may not (yet) fill your heart with warmth. But more bad things have happened to Ash than anyone else who's survived dancing with the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis. For each time he asks for “some sugar,” he suffers, and mightily. Think of him like the Homer Simpson of horror, with a chainsaw for an arm, and get ready to enjoy the delighful despair of having only an over-the-hill, capital-L-loser and blowhard to champion all of humanity.

Promising good things, the team's back together for this series, and Sam Raimi will direct the first episode as well as writing for it. Jill Marie Jones, who you may recognize from Sleepy Hollow, will play Michigan State Trooper Amanda Fisher. Ray Santiago, Dana Delorenzo also star, along with Lucy Lawless who plays a mysterious figure named Ruby who blames Ash for... well, every terrible thing that's happened. Really can't blame her for that. The series premiere is October 31, 2105—natch.

Are you as jazzed as I am for the return of The Chin?

Wed
Jul 29 2015 1:30pm

Murder Most Aussie: City Homicide

Why don’t we ever hear about Australian crime dramas? All nations have crime. They all experience murder. If their local film industries have advanced beyond talking heads and news, you can be sure they’ll make TV shows about crime and murder and the cops who have to deal with it. By now, we’re all aware of the massive corpus of British police and detective shows (if not, go check out Acorn TV); much less known in the U.S. are the various French, German, Italian, Scandinavian, Russian, Japanese and Korean crime series. We Yanks don’t like to read our televisions.

Down under, the characters speak English (of a sort) and the Australian criminal justice system isn’t any more exotic than the British one. Their police officers even carry guns. Get the accents sorted, and you can see that their cop shows are just as worthy as American ones…if you can find them.

Case in point: City Homicide, which aired on the Seven Network between 2007 and 2011 and is now available on the free side of Hulu.

[Before you watch, keep reading!]

Wed
Jul 29 2015 10:30am

In Memoriam: Ann Rule

Ann Rule, true-crime writing pioneer, died over the weekend at age 83. From the obituary in the Seattle Times:

Ms. Rule broke out with her first book, “The Stranger Beside Me,” published in 1980. In it she profiled [serial killer Ted] Bundy, whom she got to know while sharing the late shift at a Seattle suicide hotline. Bundy, who was executed in 1989 in Florida, confessed to 30 homicides in several states....

J.B. Dickey, owner of the Seattle Mystery Book Shop in downtown Seattle, said Ms. Rule did more than 15 book signings in the store throughout her career....

“She had a knack for getting under the skin of the killers and the victims to really make them well-rounded characters and people. They weren’t just flat figures on a page.”

Read the whole article for more on her background and bibliography.

While writing principally about stories with connections to the Pacific Northwest, Ann Rule sold over 20 million books and redefined the narrative approach to true-crime forever. Not bad for a woman who used to have to publish under a man's name for “believability.” May we offer our appreciation and sincere thanks for all the words.

Wed
Jul 29 2015 8:45am

Man Fakes 911 Call to Get Air Conditioner Fixed

A Pennsylvania man hoped paramedics would be willing to fix his broken air conditioner, but he's been charged with obstructing emergency services, because his medical emergency turned out to be bogus. According to the Smoking Gun:

Travis Turner called 911 complaining of chest pains, then told medics he was fine but needed help fixing his broken air conditioning unit. The police say Turner has made a whopping 60 bogus calls to 911 over the last few years. What makes this one call a bit different is that a real emergency call came in while medics were out dealing with him. This puts the call in the  “endangered the welfare of a true medical patient,” category. Not very cool (pun intended).

Turner is now slated for a preliminary hearing in August on two misdemeanor charges.

Tue
Jul 28 2015 2:00pm
Excerpt

Brush Back: New Excerpt

Sara Paretsky

Brush Back by Sara Paretsky is the 18th novel featuring Chicago private eye V.I. Warshawski, who'll reluctantly investigate the case of a hateful woman from the old neighborhood, convicted of killing her own daughter decades ago (available July 28, 2015).

No one would accuse V. I. Warshawski of backing down from a fight, but there are a few she’d be happy to avoid. High on that list is tangling with Chicago political bosses. Yet that’s precisely what she ends up doing when she responds to Frank Guzzo’s plea for help. For six stormy weeks back in high school, V.I. thought she was in love with Frank. She forgot about him until the day his mother was convicted of bludgeoning his kid sister, Annie, to death and did a full twenty-five years for her daughter’s murder.

Newly released from prison, Stella is looking for exoneration, so Frank asks V.I. for help. V.I. Stella hated the Warshawskis, in particular V.I.’s adored mother, Gabriella, but life has been hard on Frank and other childhood friends, still stuck on the hardscrabble streets around the dead steel mills. When V.I.'s grudging few questions lead her straight into the vipers’ nest of Illinois politics and a beating at a youth meeting in her old hood, her main question becomes whether she'll live long enough to find answers.

This special excerpt is offered by permission of G.P. Putnam's Sons. All rights reserved. No part may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

 

Chapter 1
Shortstop

I didn’t recognize him at first. He came into my office unannounced, a jowly man whose hairline had receded to a fringe of dark curls. Too much sun had baked his skin the color of brick, although maybe it had been too much beer, judging by those ill-named love handles poking over the sides of his jeans. The seams in the faded corduroy jacket strained when he moved his arms; he must not often dress for business.

“Hey, girl, you doing okay for yourself up here, aren’t you?”

I stared at him, astonished and annoyed by the familiarity.

“Tori Warshawski, don’t you know me? I guess Red U turned you into a snob after all.”

Tori. The only people who called me that had been my father and my cousin Boom-Boom, both of them dead a lot of years now. And Boom-Boom’s boyhood friends—who were also the only people who still thought the University of Chicago was a leftist hideout.

“It’s not Frank Guzzo, is it?” I finally said. When I’d known him thirty years and forty pounds ago, he’d had a full head of red-gold hair, but I could still see something of him around the eyes and mouth.

“All of him.” He patted his abdomen. “You look good, Tori, I’ll give you that. You didn’t turn into some yoga nut or a vegan or something?”

“Nope. I play a little basketball, but mostly I run the lakefront. You still playing baseball?”

“With this body? Slow-pitch sometimes with the geriatric league. But my boy, Frankie Junior, Tori, I got my fingers crossed, but I think he’s the real deal.”

“How old is he?” I asked, more out of politeness than interest: Frank always thought someone or something was going to be the real deal that made his fortune for him.

“He’s fifteen now, made varsity at Saint Eloy’s, even though he’s only a freshman. He’s got a real arm. Maybe he’ll be another Boom-Boom.”

Meaning, he could be the next person to make it out of the ’hood into some version of the American dream. There were so few of us who escaped South Chicago’s gravitational pull that the neighborhood could recite our names.
I’d managed, by dint of my mother’s wishes, and my scholarships to the University of Chicago. My cousin Boom-Boom had done it through sports. He’d had seven brilliant seasons with the Blackhawks until he injured his ankle too badly for the surgeons to glue him back in any shape to skate. And then he’d been murdered, shoved off a pier in the Port of Chicago, right under the screw of the Bertha Krupnik.

When Boom-Boom and Frank hung out together, Frank hoped he’d be a real deal, too, in baseball. We all did—he was the best shortstop in the city’s Catholic league. By the time I started law school, though, Frank was driving a truck for Bagby Haulage. I don’t know what happened; I’d lost touch with him by then.

Maybe he could have been a contender. He wasn’t the only kid in South Chicago with a spark of promise that flared up and died. They start to spread their wings and then they fall to earth. It’s hard to leave the world you know. Even if it’s a painful place at times, you grow up learning how to navigate it. The world north of Madison Street looks good on TV, but it has too many hidden traps, places where a homey can make a humiliating mistake.
Perhaps Frankie Junior would have the drive, the mentors and the talent to be another Boom-Boom. All I said was I hoped Frank was right, it would be great.

[Continue reading Brush Back by Sara Paretsky...]

Tue
Jul 28 2015 1:00pm

The Essential Jim Gordon Stories, Or, When Gordon Became Batman

In the current storyline in DC’s Batman and Detective Comics, Jim Gordon’s shaved his mustache, ditched the overcoat, and done some serious body sculpting for his new job—the pilot of a new robotic Batman suit that is protecting Gotham, because the real Batman is feared dead from a final confrontation with the Joker.

I thought Jim Gordon had reached the height of popularity when an entire show, Gotham, was built around him.

No. Not even close.

Because now he’s Batman.

It’s quite a pinnacle for a character introduced in 1939, who stayed in the background for decades, and then was shown as an ineffective bumbler in the Batman (1966) television show.

[Every bat has its day...]