This has been a long case – many suspects – hours of questioning – and I’m no where near a conclusion. Some might even say I’m dancing in the dark – but then, I am Evil E – and they wouldn’t dare. At least not to my face. They all know my close rate is one of the best – I never leave a stone unturned. I’ll follow my suspects to the end. I’ll wring the truth out of them-no matter what it takes. But now that the end of the year is at hand, I thought it would be a good idea to recap some of my interviews-take a look at some of their answers-see if I can glean that little slip of the tongue that will connect all the dots. It’s not a job for the faint of heart – but it’s what I do. You can lay money on it. And then some.
SCENE OF THE CRIME: ON THE BUBBLE – 2006
THE CRIMES: Writing some of the best crime fiction out there.
PAUL GUYOT http://www.paulguyot.net
Paul has got to be one of the most successful and prolific TV writers who can combine a grueling television production schedule with writing fiction. His TV credits are numerous (think FELICTY!)-plus he was the writer and producer of JUDGING AMY/ He’s worked with David E. Kelly and Michael Connelly -Quelle Diable! And besides all this – new pilots in the works – Paul’s short stories can be found in Robert J. Randisi’s GREATEST HITS anthology-and more to come. And did you know that Paul is a hot culinary artists? Emeril? Better watch out – Paul Guyot is gearing up…
EE: Rumor around Mysteryville is that you joined International Thriller Writers just to hang out in the bar with Tess Gerritsen and Alex Kava at ThrillerFest. I’m really chuffed about that one. So what if I’m old enough to be your aunt? I’ve got a new night cream I’m working on. Besides, you still owe me four beers from Bcon in Chicago.
PG: Beers with you is on the calendar in pen, but if Tess or Alex even glances my way, you must understand that I will be on them like weird on Bjork.
I can change night creams.
EE: A good friend of yours (and it wasn’t DM or JWL-or maybe it was) told me being an acclaimed, award winning TV writer no longer holds the allure it once did, thus you have decided to blow the roof off the barn and become a real writer. Would you kindly address this serious allegation?
PG: If I were a real writer, do you think I’d actually be wasting my time talking with you? Rest assured I am still the filthy money-grubbing whore you know and love.
Isn’t it obvious why I love this guy? 🙂
EE: Rumor has it that you’re not answering emails from the thousands of readers going through withdrawal since you shut down your blog –‘INKSLINGER’ This is beyond cruel, Paul. You’ve left an incalculable void and wannabe script writers are assembling to march on your home.
PG: It will stand as an icon of its generation. That, or Typepad will delete it to save face.
Paul is being too humble here. INKSLINGER was one of the most widely read blogs on the net. Not only was it a daily does of laughs, it was filled with insider tips for seasoned scriptwriters as well as those ‘hoping to be’ – and many posters were some of the biggest names on TV, film and in Mysteryville.. Visits-or ‘hits’-frequently hit over 2,000 per day! The mourning period lingers still…
DAVID MONTGOMERY http://www.crimefictionblog.com
I like to tease Dave. I tell him the only reason he’s a reviewer is so he can get all those free books. But it ain’t true. Dave really, really loves mystery/crime/suspense/thrillers. And because he does – he is one of the best out there. Just look at his credits: Chicago Sun-Times, National Review, USA Today, Kansas City Star, January Magazine, Philadelphia City & Inquirer – oh, right – and then there’s the Boston Globe and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. His CRIME FICTION BLOG is one of the best on the web – and he another great site – OVERNIGHT SUCCESS? But let’s not forget MYSTERY INK – the home of the prestigious GUMSHOE AWARD – now in it’s fifth year. BSP aside – I’m proud to say my first book – DEALING IN MURDER – was short listed for the GUMSHOE. I, ah, didn’t win – but I don’t hold that against Dave. But he made it up to me – as you’ll see in one of his answers.
EE: Word is, David – Marilyn Stasio, the infamous New York Times book reviewer confers with you first before writing her column. I think it’s time we knew the truth.
DM: I wish she would! Stasio generally has excellent taste in books, and her writing is good, but I often find her reviews unsatisfying. There’s not enough analysis or opinion in them. It can be tough to do when writing in the column format, but I’d like to see more meat in there.
Yeah, me too. I’d also like to see my book there. Do you know where I can find a voodoo doll?
EE: Okay, here’s a hot one: I’ve been told (and I’ll just faint if it’s true) that you’ve been approached by Rupert Murdoch to pen a mystery related gossip column for The Enquirer.
DM: I’ve got tons of great gossip, so I’ve been looking for an outlet where I can use it. (My blind items are killers!) As it turns out, however, nobody knows who the mystery writers are, so the idea was greeted with a huge "WTHF?"
Huh? Nobody knows US?? Who the hell do they think keeps them up at night? We’ve got to remedy that, David! We’ll put our heads together at ThrillerFest, okay? Maybe we’ll let Guyot sit in on this. He’s kinda twisted too. Too bad JLW ain’t gonna be there.
EE: And what about the rumors that your annual Gumshoe Award, so prestigious it fairly kills writers who are never short-listed, is just a ruse to get nominees and winners to join the publishing house you’ve got going on the back burner?
DM: It’s funny that you say that, as I’d love to run a publishing house. Soon as I win the lottery, I’m starting one. As for the Gumshoe Awards…the staff at Mystery Ink tries hard each year to single out the best books, hopefully with an eye towards some more unconventional choices. It’s a helluva task, but the really hard part is singling out the winners. I’d rather just make the shortlist and leave it at that.
Just the shortlist? Hmmm. That idea has merit. That would mean I was a winner! Yeah, I like that, David.
JAMES LINCOLN WARREN http://www.swordquill.com
To say that James Lincoln Warren (aka JLW) is the quintessential short story writer is not an exaggeration. His contributions to Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine is prolific and his stories can always be counted on to be more than just well crafted, or fascinating – but unique. JLW is, by the way, an incredible wordsmith. He knows words (and their roots) I never knew existed! I could go on forever listing his accomplishments in the real world, but there isn’t enough space. I can listen to him for hours (and I have) -so just believe me when I say he’s one hell of a great guy and he will never, ever bore you. In fact – I’ve recently finished his WHOSE LUST IS MURDER – and it was, naturally, terrific!
EE: It’s well known, Jim – that you are a repository of arcane knowledge, but did you really find it amusing to inform Wikipedia of their many errors?
JLW: Not half as much as I enjoyed showing off at Trivial Pursuit back in the 80’s, because then I had an admiring audience, that is, when they weren’t throwing things at me for being an overbearing snot. In particular, there was one question, "How many Queens of England have there been named Elizabeth?" The answer on the card was three: Elizabeth I, Elizabeth II, and Elizabeth the Queen Mum. This is wrong. The correct answer is five: Elizabeth Woodville, Queen under Edward IV; Elizabeth of York, Edward IV’s daughter and wife of Henry VII: and another three.
Okay, folks – see what I mean? What doesn’t this man know for God’s sakes?
EE: As one of the few renaissance men in the mystery world, what historical figure to you most identify with?
JLW: The medieval explorer Sir John Mandeville, one of the most spectacular frauds in history, and chronicler of the reign of Prester John – did you know that Marco Polo went looking for Prester John because of Mandeville, but wound up discovering pasta instead? True. Or speaking of pasta, maybe Gioacchino Rossini, the very fat composer who gave up music so he could cook and eat all the time. There was a man with his priorities straight – not enough writers truly value the act of eating, even when they’re sober. And then there’s Archimedes, who jumped out of his bath and ran screaming naked through the streets of Syracuse just because he had a good idea. I think most of us scribblers can relate.
You mean we have an ENGLISHMAN to thank for pasta?? For God’s sakes! Don’t let Tony Soprano find out about this. He’s got enough problems right now.
EE: Which words or phrases do you most over use? Other than WTF, okay?
JLW: "I writhe at your feet in a frenzy of self-abasement." How can you go wrong with Noel Coward?
Ohhhhh, is that a hot flash I feel?
GAYLE LYNDS http://www.gaylelynds.com
How does one write an intro for this extraordinary lady? What can I say about this world wide best seller, the co-founder of International Thriller Writers, whose new book – THE LAST SPYMASTER – is already breaking sound barriers around bookstores – that hasn’t already been said – time and again – and more eloquently?
Here’s where it gets tough. I could be effusive as hell. I could offer up a ton of superlatives. And they’d all be true. Because I know them to be. Many of you who know what Gayle’s been through, will understand when I use one word to describe her. It’s a word that instantly comes to mind when I think of Gayle. Indomitable. And did I forget to mention how much I adore her?
EE: There are some frightening rumors going around that you and David Morrell co-founded International Thriller Writers as a ruse to recruit some of the best minds in crime fiction as covers N.S.A. agents. Say it isn’t so, Gayle. I mean, when would all these phenoms have time to write?
GL: Well, I must admit your intel is somewhat accurate. As the last spymaster says in the book that was named for him, use the BAR code. No! Not that kind of bar. The clandestine kind –Befriend, Assess, Recruit! Well, a little fine scotch never hurt either.
But…but…I LIKE that kind of bar. If you change your M.O., I’d be glad to play barmaid.
EE: Rumor around Mysteryville – er – Thrillerville – is that the names of the winners of the first "Thriller" Award being presented at Thrillerfest (June 29th-July 2nd in Scottsdale, Arizona-hows that for a plug?) are under close guard at Price Waterhouse. Were these extreme measures taken after Otto Penzler threatened to boycott the convention because no cozy writers were nominated?
GL: I know what you mean. Otto really adores cozies. Until recently, he was in bed a lot with cozy…books. And they just adore him back. But I do wish he’d quit going on and on about how much he loves them. You’d think he’d be a little more sensitive to the rest of us, especially the guy writers. Otto doesn’t mean to be sexist. He just can’t help preferring to knock back shots with female authors, praising more of their novels, point out that they generally write better than men, and saying sensitively that of course men shouldn’t take it personally because they can’t help it that they’re not as good. As in all things, genitals are destiny. Otto is not only passionate but logical. When I grow up, I want to be Otto!
Hells, bells! I laughed so damn hard while I typed that – I can’t think of anything to say!
EE: Your legion of fans have asked me to pose this very important question: and be truthful here, okay? You’re having a dinner party with your ideal guests – who would they be – and what will you serve?
GL: Oh, goodie. Just my cup of cyanide. I want Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, George W. Bush, Tony Blair…every head of state. And I’m gonna serve Truth Serum!
Ah, my kind of party! If you’re short on dishes, let me know. I’ve got tons and tons. I’ll even deliver them. And I can help serve too. Hell, I can drop food on people better than most.
STEPHEN BOOTH http://www.stephen-booth.com
STEPHEN BOOTH needs little introduction, but because I adore this man, I’d like to take a moment and laud (I love that word) him. A master storyteller of seven absolutely riveting books whose setting in the Peak District of England rivals that of Poe and any ‘dark and stormy night’ you can imagine! From BLACK DOG-#1 to his current SCARED TO LIVE. This is a series with few peers. And with much deftness, Steve has created a duo –Ben Cooper and Diane Fry – that you will loathe to leave the moment you reach the last page. By the way, not only is Steve a prince of a man, he is one of the finest gents in this wacky world of mystery. I had the very great privilege to sit next to Steve at my very first panel. I was nervous as hell to be next to this incredible writer. And you know what? His innate kindness made the ordeal feel like a picnic. I think I stuttered only once. Thank you again, dear heart.
EE: I know you to be the consummate gentleman, but what’s this I hear about you dancing on the table at a private party at Left Coast Crime in Bristol?
SB: Was that before, or after the strip tease? It’s all such a blur… Actually, since I’m teetotal, I never make a fool of myself at conventions, I just egg other people on to do it. And some of those authors don’t need much egging, I can tell you (photographs available for a small fee).
It was after the striptease. So – you’ve got photos, huh? Do you accept Pay Pal?
EEO: This is a hot topic around the U.K., Stephen – any truth to the rumors that Bob Haskins and Helen Moreen are besieging you to pen a new and darker series using them as the main characters, but you’d rather spend your free time working on the musical about the Kary brothers?
SB: Musicals are definitely my thing. Anyone who’s heard me sing will know that I am to music exactly what the Kary brothers were to rival gangsters. I can murder any song you name.
Then that haunting baritone voice I heard singing blues in the Night beneath my window a Left Coast Crime in Monterey wasn’t you?
EEO: I have it on good authority, Steve, that Dame Judi Tench is dying to get to know you better, yet you’ve not returned her many e-mails. What does your wife think of this?
SB: I’ve gone off Jude ever since she played a Klingon brother keeper in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Besides, my wife has never heard of e-mail.
Well, I can’t blame you there. Judi was a bit tarty. Best you wife doesn’t know.
DENISE HAMILTON http://www.denisehamilton.com
You all must surely know Denise Hamilton has been nominated for an Edgar, the Willa Cather and the UK’s prestigious Creasey Dagger, so why do I need to tell you all this anyway? Well, darlings, because I want to remind you what a terrific writer she is, and hush…don’t tell her I said this…but she’s one hell of a gal as well. What ever you do, don’t miss her latest – PRISONER OF MEMORY! This is the fifth in the Eve Diamond series – where Denise, once again, writes what she knows – and encompasses her own family Russian heritage this time to bring you an espionage thriller par excellence!
DH: My agent’s working on getting them up to twenty grand.