I could be wrong—I know, it’s hard to believe—but lately it feels as though everything is falling. Falling down, falling apart, falling alike upon the just and the unjust, all in the course of this autumnal season. I’d say the good news is it gives me an excuse to use this template for the newsletter, but many of you will recall that I use it all the time. (I mean, it’s always autumn somewhere, right? Oh, it’s not? Oh. Never mind.)
It’s been donkey’s years since my last newsletter, and not for lack of news. So let me get right to it.
1. In Sunlight or in Shadow. Early next month, Pegasus will publish my anthology, with 17 stories inspired by paintings of Edward Hopper. It’s their lead book for the season, and I could quote the raves in Booklist and Kirkus and PW, but we’d be here all night. What particularly pleases me is that every reviewer singles out a few special favorites—and they’re always different stories. That confirms my own take on this collection—i.e., that all of the entries are outstanding.
Which figures. I mean, have a look at the lineup: Megan Abbott, Jill D. Block, Robert Olen Butler, Lee Child, Nicholas Christopher, Michael Connelly, Jeffery Deaver, Craig Ferguson, Stephen King, Joe R. Lansdale, Gail Levin, Warren Moore, Joyce Carol Oates, Kris Nelscott, Jonathan Santlofer, and Justin Scott. With writers like these…I’m sorry, is something wrong?
You said 17 stories. That’s only 16.
I was being uncharacteristically modest. I wrote a story of my own for the collection, inspired by Hopper’s “Automat.”
It’s probably not as good as the others.
Probably not. The book, as I was saying, is off to a good start, and we’ve scheduled three promotional events, all in the New York area and all in early December. We’ll have a handful of contributors at each, and I’ll be at all three. Here’s the schedule:
Friday, December 2, 7 to 9pm—The Edward Hopper House, 82 North Broadway, Nyack NY 10960. This was Hopper’s longtime residence in Rockland County, now preserved as a museum and art center. Always worth a visit, and you can go home with a book.
Monday, December 5, 7 to 8:30pm—The Whitney Museum of American Art, 99 Gansevoort St, New York NY 10014. The Whitney’s collection of Hopper’s work is unrivaled, and we’re thrilled to be launching the book in such a richly appropriate setting. Admission’s free, but you have to reserve a space.
Tuesday, December 6, 6:30 tp 8:30pm—The Mysterious Bookshop, 58 Warren Street, New York NY 10007. NYC’s premier mystery bookshop. If you can’t attend any of the events, but want a signed copy of the book, call Ian Kern at 800-352-2840.
If you can’t come to a signing and hate the telephone as much as I do, may I suggest you pre-order the book? A couple of mouse clicks and you’ve locked in a first edition at a very attractive pre-order price. Go ahead, do it now. I’ll wait until you’ve completed the transaction.
There, wasn’t that easy? In Sunlight or in Shadow is also available in ebook and audiobook editions, and I certainly don’t want to talk you out of either medium, but the high quality of the book production, and the gorgeous paintings illustrating each story (plus a bonus painting for the frontispiece) are not to be missed. Even if you’d rather do your actual reading on your Kindle, or close your eyes and listen to the stories, you’ll want to own a hardcover copy.
2. Sinner Man. Sometime this month, Hard Case Crime will bring out a book I wrote more than fifty years ago. It was my first crime novel, and for the longest time my agent couldn’t sell it; when he finally dumped it off on a low-rent paperback house, I lost track of it entirely. Never saw a copy, didn’t know the title, and spent years searching for it. That whole story’s told in detail in my Afterword. It makes an interesting story, and the critical consensus is that Sinner Man‘s a pretty good book in the bargain, the deeply noir story of a Connecticut suburbanite who kills his wife by accident and reinvents himself as a gangster in Buffalo. Maxim Jakubowski calls it “gripping, impeccable hardboiled prose with sharp as a razor dialogue, femmes fatales in perfect deshabille, villains galore, gang wars and a chilling lesson in how to disappear and evade justice.” It’s pulp, all right, and gets just the right hard cover and paperback treatment from Hard Case, and a spirited audio reading from Mike Dennis.
I’ll be signing Sinner Man at the December 6 ISIOS event at Mysterious Bookshop; again, Ian at 800-352-2840 can arrange a signed first edition for you.
3. Resume Speed. Close to forty years ago I heard a man tell of coming to after a blackout, terrified of what might have gone down the previous night. So he packed a bag, caught a bus, skipped town— and never looked back. Last fall I remembered the incident, and this time it sparked a story, and by year’s end I’d written a 20,000-word novella. It had a nice run as a Kindle bestseller, and before this year’s end it’ll be a handsome hardcover book from Subterranean Press, with this gorgeous Ken Laager cover. The limited edition sold out in a flash, and the $25 trade edition will almost certainly be sold out before the book is off press. You can still get one, but only if you act now.
Also coming from Subterranean, after a similar bestselling eDebut on Kindle, is Keller’s Fedora. Pub date’s in April, but you can pre-order now—and that’s a must if you want the $45 limited, and not a bad idea if you want the trade edition.
Both novellas are available right this minute as Kindle ebooks. And they’ve both been recorded as audiobooks, with Resume Speed expertly voiced by Theo Holland and Keller’s Fedora narrated by its humble author. Which reminds me…
4. New in Audio! You know, I’m not sure about that exclamation point. The enthusiasm’s real, and warranted, but I’m a shy lad and hate to shout.
Never mind. I’ve published two more titles in audio, and commend them to your attention. First is Shadows, Jill Emerson’s first book—and, come to think of it, my own first novel as well. It’s the thoughtful tale of a young woman’s discovery of her sexual identity, set in Greenwich Village in the late 1950s, and when I re-read it for ebook publication, I have to say I liked it. (Your mileage may vary, but I’ll tell you this much; even all those years ago, Ms. Emerson could turn a phrase. And P. J.Morgan has given Jill’s characters a whole new dimension.)
The eight Evan Tanner novels have appeared in audio, but all have long since gone out of print. The silver-throated Alan Sklar has voiced quite a few of my books over the years, including Tanner on Ice, and he’s now done well by Tanner #2, The Canceled Czech.
It’s a source of great satisfaction to me that almost all of my books are now available to listeners. The 13 titles I’ve self-published are sometimes harder to find, but these links will get you there: Voiced by Emily Beresford: Enough of Sorrow, Thirty, and Warm and Willing. Voiced by Mike Dennis: Borderline, Sinner Man, and Writing the Novel from Plot to Print to Pixel. By Theo Holland: Resume Speed and Four Lives at the Crossroads. By Don Sobczak: Defender of the Innocent and Wide Open—New Modes of Marriage. By Alan Sklar: The Canceled Czech. By P. J. Morgan: Shadows. And, yes, last and unquestionably least, my own rendition of Keller’s Fedora.
5. Matt Scudder’s agenda for world domination! Here the exclamation point seems inescapable. How else can you punctuate a phrase like that?
I refer, of course, to another self-publishing project. Like the audio, it’s a cooperative venture; earnings are divided between the humble author and his expert translators. And for all parties, it’s a slow way to get rich. But it’s hugely gratifying for me to see the work reach a wider audience, and I can but hope my translators get some joy out of the enterprise. After all, they’re the ones with sweat equity in it; all I do is sit here.
Here’s what’s happening:
German: Stefan Mommertz has been working his way through Matthew Scudder’s case file. The first two novels, Die Sünden der Väter (The Sins of the Fathers) and Drei am Haken (Time to Murder and Create) have been getting a good reception in ebook and paperback form, and Mitten im Tod (In the Midst of Death) should be ready soon.
Stefan’s been busy as well with the Scudder short stories, with Im frühen Licht des Tages (By the Dawn’s Early Light) the most recent addition to the lineup, joining Aus dem Fenster and Eine Kerze für die Stadtstreicherin. And he took a break from Scudder to give us Mit leichtem Gepäck (Resume Speed).
Italian: Luigi Garlaschelli is Our Man in Italy, and he led off with a forced march through the Scudder short stories. We’ve made nine of them individually available for Kindle, but your better advised to pick up La Notte e la Musica, which contains all eleven stories, along with end notes and Brian Koppelman’s evocative appreciation of Matthew Scudder. As a Kindle ebook or a handsome paperback, the book’s been getting a nice reception.
And Luigi, I’m delighted to report, is making good progress on a translation of The Burglar in the Library.
Spanish: Ana and Enriqueta Carrington started off with a non-series thriller, Such Men Are Dangerous, which they rendered as El hombre peligroso, before moving on to the Matthew Scudder short stories. As above, we’ve published nine stories individually, but you’re much better off picking up the complete collection, La noche y la música. It’s available now as an ebook, and in a week or so it should be on sale in paperback—while las hermanas Carrington are already busy with the third Matthew Scudder novel, In the Midst of Death.
Note that Ana and Enriqueta have had company. Early on I commissioned a translation of Killing Castro, and Eduardo Hojman’s Matando a Castro is available as an ebook and paperback. Some time ago Jordi García translated my erotic thriller, Getting Off, as Excitación; more recently he translated Burglars Can’t Be Choosers, Bernie Rhodenbarr’s debut, as Los ladrones no pueden ecoger. (Those are ebook links; Los ladrones is also available in paperback.)
I see a hand, and I bet I know what you’re wondering: “What about Keller?” That’s your question, right?
Well, no, but—
It’s my pleasure to announce that we should be ready to launch El sicario very shortly. That’s Hit Man, the first Keller book, as translated by Maria Carmen de Bernardo Martínez. It’s my hope that Ma-Carmen will translate the entire Keller series, and I’m sufficiently enthused at the prospect to give you an advance peek at the cover.
That’s what you wanted, right?
It’s very nice. But what I wondered was when you’d let readers in Asia get to know Matthew Scudder.
They’re already on pretty decent terms with him, without any self-publishing effort on my part. Top publishers in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Mainland China issue and promote my books every bit as well as their Western counterparts, and Matt and I are surprisingly popular over there. Perhaps the work gains something in translation…
Still, there are gaps. Which is why I’m pleased beyond words—English words, anyway—to let you know that the very first Scudder book, The Sins of the Fathers, has been translated into Hindi by a longtime Matthew Scudder aficionado in Mumbai. I’ve been writing professionally for almost sixty years, and I’ve been published in almost as many languages as Evan Tanner can speak, but this will be my first book in Hindi, and I’m over the moon about it. As you might imagine, text formatting and cover design pose a challenge to my Goddess of Design and Production, but she seems to have the matter well in hand, and soon I’ll be able to show you what the book looks like and tell you where to buy it. (Amazon.in, of course, and all other Amazon platforms.) And there’ll be a paperback edition as well, and if all goes well there’ll be seventeen more Scudder books to follow, one right after the other, and, and—
Easy there, LB. Take a breath. Good. Now take another.
Sorry. I get carried away. There’s so much going on, and I’d tell you more if time and space permitted. We’ve reissued all the Jill Emerson novels in ebook and paperback, for Nook and Kobo and Apple as well as Amazon. We’ve got more audio in the works, and Theo Holland’s halfway through voicing The Adulterers. We’re redesigning the covers in the Classic Crime Library in ebook and paperback, switching to a package with a little more pizazz—but again your mileage may vary, so if you prefer the more classic look, better grab copies now.
You know what? That’s enough from me. Probably more than enough, but it’s been ages since the last newsletter, and I really did have a lot to tell you. Relax, kick back, enjoy the autumn—and settle in with something to read.
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