As regular readers of this site will know, my second novel, Gunshine State, has recently been re-released.
To mark the occasion, the fine folks at my publisher, Down and Out Books, asked me to stop by their site and say a few works about the book.
Gunshine State has a number of literary influences. I am a big fan of the Crissa Stone books by Wallace Stroby and Australian writer Garry Disher’s Wyatt books. But my most obvious inspiration—and probably my desert island series—is the character of the master thief Parker, created by Richard Stark aka Donald Westlake.
For my post for the Down and Out Books site, I decided to talk about the very fine line between being influenced by your favourite crime writers and falling into a straight out pastiche or imitation. Doing the former without plunging into latter is something I was very conscious of, as I was writing Gunshine State – my attempt to do an Australian take on the heist gone wrong story – and the follow up, which I am currently in the midst of, Orphan Road.
The piece is available to read in full here.
And, if you are after a good weekend read, Gunshine State is available in all formats here.… Read more
Posted in Crime fiction, Garry Disher, Gunshine State, Heist films, Jim Brown, Lee Marvin, Parker
Tagged Criss Stone, Donald Westlake aka Richard Stark, Down and Out Books, Garry Disher, Gunshine State, Parker, Wallace Stroby, Wyatt
The death of Peter Temple at the age 71 has robbed Australia of what is undeniably one of its most influential crime writers. His Jack Irish novels were made into a popular television show by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The Broken Shore, which won the coveted British Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger award in 2007 – the first Australian author to do so – and Truth, awarded the Miles Franklin in 2010, were significant works of local crime fiction that, arguably, helped usher in the popularity of literary crime fiction in Australia.
David Honeybone, former editor of the influential hard copy magazine, Crime Factory [the precursor to the on-line magazine which I helped edit for a number of years until it recently ceased production], and a fan of Temple’s work, interviewed the author for issue 2 of the magazine in 2010. As a tribute, Honeybone generously shared his interview, in which Temple recalls his national service in the South African Defence Force, his literary influences, the challenges of translating his uniquely Australian dialogue into other languages, and what degree of realism a crime author should be aspiring to in their work.
Peter Temple is a South African by birth and an Australian by choice. A former journalist, he is one of Australia’s most successful crime writers, having five times won the Crime Writers’ Association of Australia’s Ned Kelly Award.… Read more
Posted in Australian crime fiction, Australian crime film, Australian noir, Australian popular culture, Australian television history, Crime Factory, Crime fiction, George V Higgins
Tagged Charles McCarry, Crime Factory, David Honeybone, Elmore Leonard, Jack irish, John O’Hara, Peter Temple, The Broken Shore
To celebrate the re-release of my heist thriller, Gunshine State, by Down and Out books, it is time for another of my top 10 heist posts.
This is my fourth post along the theme of ‘the heist always goes wrong’. Previous posts have been: ‘The heist always goes wrong, part 1: ten of the best heist movies ever made’, ‘The heist always goes wrong, part 2: reader picks and other favourite heist movies’, ‘The heist always goes wrong, part 3: 10 of the best heist films you’ve probably never seen’.
This instalment continues where I left of in part 3, with 10 more unknown or under appreciated heist films that you might want to check out.
So have a read, and, if you haven’t already maybe pick up a copy of Gunshine State in e-book of paperback format here.
Machine Gun McCain (1969)
Even when he was slumming it, John Cassavetes was still incredible and Machine Gun McCain is proof. This hard boiled 1969 Italian film tells the story of a paroled armed robber (Cassavetes) whose plan to heist a Las Vegan casino falls foul of a battle for territory between the east and west cost Mafia. Cassavetes’s co-starts include Peter Faulk, Britt Elland, and such Italian genre film stars as Luigi Pistilli and Grabiele Ferzetti.… Read more
Posted in 1990s American crime films, 60s American crime films, 70s American crime films, Australian crime film, Australian noir, British crime cinema, Bryan Brown, Film Noir, Gunshine State, Heist films, Lee Marvin
Tagged Adolfo Celi, Allen Hughes, Bryan Brown, Dan Duryea, David Goodis, Dead Presidents (1995), Dirty Heroes (1969), Edward Woodward, Ennio Morricone, Ernest Borgine, Grabiele Ferzetti, Gunshine State, Heath Ledger, Ian McShane, Janet MacLachlan, Jayne Mansfield, Jill St John, John Cassavetes, Jules Dassin, Julien Mayfield, Kurt Jurgens, Larenz Tate, Lee Marvin, Luigi Pistilli, Machine Gun McCain (1969), Max Julien, McVicar (1980), Oliver Reed, Peter Faulk, Raymond St. Jacques, Robbery (1985), Roger Daltry, Roscoe Lee Browne, Rose Byrne, Sitting Target (1972), This film by Albert, Two Hands (1999), Uptight (1968), Victor Mature, Violent Saturday (1955)
Welcome to my first Pulp Friday offering for 2018. Today’s book, The Man With the Brown Paper Face, published by Panther in 1969, showcases one of my favourite forms of paperback cover design, photographic cover art from the late 1960s/early 1970s.
I know the purists among you dig the painted pulp covers from the 1940s and 1950s, and I love them, too. But there is something wonderfully sensational and lurid about photographic cover design from the period I mentioned earlier and, in my opinion, the Brits were the masters of it.
Photographs began to replace artwork on paperback books from the mid-1960s on. Partly this was part of an effort by publishers to be seen to be moving with the times and look more modern. Partly it was a cost cutting measure, as photographic covers were cheaper than painted ones. But despite their cheapness, arguably because of it, many of these covers manage to evoke a dynamic, visceral, fly on the wall atmosphere that could often be quite stunning.
The Man With the Brown Paper Face is a good example. The cover utilises a man with a stocking over his head, posing on top of a scrapyard car, brandishing a star picket, which the photographer probably found nearby. Its nasty and direct and – I don’t know about you – but it instantly made me want to pick up the book.… Read more
Posted in Book cover design, British pulp fiction, Crime fiction, Pulp fiction, Pulp fiction in the 70s and 80s, Pulp Friday, Pulp paperback cover art
Tagged 1970s photographic cover art, British crime fiction, Ian Hamilton, John Loder, Panther Books, The Man with the Brown Paper Face
It was a joy and a thrill to join film scholar Kevin Heffernan and Mike White, host of the terrific Projection Booth podcast, for an episode of his show on what is probably my favourite film noir, Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly (1955).
Kiss Me Deadly is one of those films I watch every year or so and always find something new to appreciate about it. Talking with my two co-podcasters, I discovered even more to like about it. Issues canvassed during this podcast include:
Mike Hammer (and Mickey Spillane) as the personification of the crisis in post WWII masculinity, and the women in the film as examples of females who are fighting against the confines of their role in American society in the 1950s.
The film’s popularity in France, particularly within surrealist circles for its depiction of the incoherence of everyday life and mass commercial culture.
The Cold War nuclear state, paranoia and surveillance.
THAT answering machine.
Ernest Laszlo’s sensational cinematography.
Los Angeles’ former Bunker Hill area as the 1940s/50s B-movie/noir outdoor film shooting location of choice.
The psychiatrist as an archetypal villain in 1940s/1950s American film.
Other fictional noir detective equivalents to Mike Hammer, including Harry Moseby in Arthur Penn’s 1975 film, Night Moves (okay that last part might of been just me).… Read more
Posted in 60s American crime films, 70s American crime films, Film Noir, Gene Hackman, Ian Fleming, Neo Noir, Pulp fiction
Tagged A. I. Bezzerides, Albert Dekker, Arthur Penn, Bunker Hill, Cloris Leachman, Ernest Laszlo, Film noir, French Surrealism, Gaby Rogers, Jack Elam, Jack Lambert, Kiss Me Deadly (1955), Marion Carr, Maxine Cooper, Mickey Spillane, Night Moves (1975), Ralph Meeker, Robert Aldrich, Strother Martin, The Projection Booth podcast