27 December 2009 0 Comments

In your face Tom Jones: I’m a Welsh icon

Welsh Icons (“an Encyclopedia and Gazetteer of Wales and all Things Welsh – A Cymrupedia if you like.”…uh, “Cymru” being the Welsh word for Wales.) lists me among the “iconic” writers on its site. That puts me in the company of thriller king Ken Follett, sinister Willy Wonka-man Roald Dahl, and upright role model Dylan […]

3 September 2009 1 Comment

Acknowledge no one

Here’s my latest post on the International Crime Authors Reality Check blog: Authors are posturing, self-aggrandizing assholes. At least, that’s the conclusion I’ve reached after noting the trend for excessive “Acknowledgements” growing like mold over page on page of nonfiction books. These days they’re spreading their blight all over novels, too. Here’s how I think […]

25 August 2009 0 Comments

Ellroy Queen: Megan Abbott’s Writing Life

Megan Abbott is the female James Ellroy. When I read her Edgar-award-winning “Queenpin,” I immediately was put in mind of everyone’s favorite noirmeister. Dig it. Even more I loved “The Song is You,” in which Abbott took a real-life missing persons case from 1949 and plumbed her Hollywood characters for real debauchery and dirt like […]

9 August 2009 0 Comments

Omar Yussef "the best crime fiction can achieve"

The first rock concert I ever attended was a performance by Canada’s greatest rockers Rush. I’ve loved Canadians ever since. In the London (Ontario) Free Press recently, Joan Barfoot gave me another reason to adore them. She gives a terrific review to the second of my Palestinian crime novels A GRAVE IN GAZA (UK title […]

5 August 2009 0 Comments

Poetry from the ‘driest’ book of the Bible: Yakov Azriel’s Writing Life

A few years ago I was at a literary conference near Tel Aviv. I found an eclectic mix of writers on the panel with me. I’m a crime writer. You wouldn’t expect me to be paired with a writer of poetry who takes his inspiration from the stories of the Bible. But as Yakov Azriel […]

15 July 2009 0 Comments

Elmore Leonard’s 11th Rule of Writing

I’ve always enjoyed Elmore Leonard’s novels and seen him as one of the true stylists of popular fiction. In a review, I even described my pal Christopher G. Moore as the “Elmore Leonard of Bangkok” and I meant it as a compliment. But I have a bone to pick with the great Elmore. I just […]

12 July 2009 0 Comments

Ingenious book readings: Just don’t mention books!

In his terrific book “On Writing” Stephen King notes that he once asked Amy Tan what she’s NEVER asked about at public readings. “They never ask about the writing,” Tan tells him. Which spurs King to write a book about exactly that. Now controversial UK publishing guru Scott Pack goes one better. Public appearances by […]

28 June 2009 0 Comments

Culture and harshness in Central Europe: Adam Lebor’s Writing Life

Political writing at its best highlights the unexpected changes in parts of our world that are hidden to us. That’s true of writing about the corridors of power in our own capital cities, but it’s even more of a factor for a writer like Adam Lebor whose work – fiction and nonfiction – has captured […]

25 June 2009 0 Comments

The most obscure band in Jerusalem

I bet you didn’t know there was an underground scene in Jerusalem (at least not an underground music scene; you’ve probably heard of some other undergrounds that operate here). Here’s a little bit of Middle East insider poop for you: what’s the most obscure underground band in Jerusalem? Answer: Dolly Weinstein. A fivesome (formerly a […]

25 June 2009 0 Comments

Stranger than zinc bars and literary fiction

Foreign correspondents are always more enthusiastic about Beirut than about Amman. Just like critics prefer “literary” fiction to crime novels. It seems to me they’re both wrong, and for the same reasons. Visiting reporters always rave about Beirut. Mainly because there’s a very un-Middle Eastern nightlife there. Zinc bars. Beautiful girls in spaghetti-strap tops beside […]