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Tony Bulmer Author of Conspiracy of Fire

Tony Bulmer Live and direct from the cactus filled wilds of West Los Angeles

CZ: Last time we met, you in Las Vegas you had just released your excellent book The Fine Art of Murder. We were so excited by all the guns and gambling we didn’t think to talk about your very cool past.

T: Yeah, I have been lucky over the years and got to work for some very interesting folks. I spent five years at the legendary Fleetway Comics, publishers of Judge Dredd and 2000AD. I worked on dozens of titles there and developed amongst other things a young adult title called Mystery and Suspense. While it was cool to work there, it was also kind of sad as the British Comics industry was on its last legs.

CZ: How so?

T: Fleetway was bought out by a monster European Entertainment Corporation.

CZ: You also worked for Hard Rock Magazine Metal Hammer.

T: [Laughs] I will never live that one down. The amazing Felix Dennis sold the magazine pretty soon after I left. Felix was a publishing legend and an inspiration. Proof that you can still be a billionaire entrepreneur and a kick ass dissident. Sadly Felix died recently, but his poetry lives on. [Laughs]

CZ: When did you start writing?

T: I have been writing for as long as I can remember and reading too. I read a very wide range of writers from classics like Chandler, to just about every modern crime, mystery and thriller writer you can imagine. I also get a big kick out of literary classics and serious investigative journalism. Writers like Ahmed Rashid rock. I think the trouble with reading so many good writers is that one tends to set the bar very high in terms of personal literary achievement.

CZ: Hence your reputation for pushing barriers?

T: I worked for magazines and newspapers for years. Much of the work was quite dull. I swore that when I started writing for myself, I would write books that had character, backbone and a sense of humor too. Entertaining is a serious business and I treat it as such.

CZ: So you have another genre defying book out. Explain yourself.

T: Conspiracy of Fire is a high-concept thriller. I wanted push my creativity to the limits and offer a very commercial and highly entertaining book that readers would dig because it was so different. I have always been a massive fan of writers like Ian Fleming, who managed to balance a wry pulp sensibility with mass-market appeal.

CZ: This is your seventh book, Most of your other works have been strongly Crime/Mystery centered, how is this one different?

T: I think one of the major things about Crime and Mystery writing is that it shows readers just how bad things can get and then turns that around into a psychologically palatable form that reassures. I think that while a thriller such as Conspiracy of Fire deals with a different structure, the aims are fundamentally the same—murder and redemption, fear of the unknown and the ability of truth and justice to conquer all, despite the odds. I have been a massive fan of thrillers for years and it was always my ambition to write a really good one. I must say I have been disappointed in recent years how jingoistic and repetitive the genre has become. I wanted to kick that into touch and come up with something different.

CZ: How so?

T: I got sick of hearing about square-jawed special-forces loners who had got a political axe to grind. I wanted to develop a more complex and vulnerable character who had strength, integrity and a true moral compass despite the odds. Someone who had humor and decency but who still kicks ass. Someone who is a beacon for justice, freedom, integrity; Someone who supports and stands strong for democracy, but isn’t scared to break the rules when necessary. I think I managed to achieve that in my protagonist Karyn Kane.

CZ: A woman in a man’s world? Isn’t that the other end of the thriller cliché?

T: [Laughs] I think there are very many thriller fans of both sexes who are sick to death of hearing about some dude with his polo shirt tucked into his nomex under-crackers, waxing lyrical about firearms and “suspicious” foreigners with bad personal hygiene. There are exponents of the genre who have taken that stereotype to quite ludicrous extremes. Then, at the other end of the spectrum, there are others who paint their women protagonists as mad and drippy man wannabes, which isn’t very convincing either.

CZ: So tell us about Karyn Kane.

T: The character is in part based on my wife Jeanne, who is an internationally successful commercial Real Estate executive and entrepreneur. I also have a great deal of corporate experience and I wanted to reflect how the struggle against the corporate status quo can affect people of ambition. Karyn Kane, like my wife is a high achiever, like her, she has to deal with a mother who is dying of cancer. Kane is also obsessively dedicated to her work and has a young child who is living with her estranged husband and his feckless new wife. I think anyone who has had a bad divorce will identify very closely with that kind of personal crisis. Then of course there is her day job—Karyn Kane is a deep cover operative for the CIA. She works for the Deep–Five division, who specialize in operations that run outside of the limits of United States Law.

CZ: She sound like quite a gal. What is she up against?

T: Across the world, there is a great deal of anxiety about where the new political and social equilibrium will be. Also, where will the energy to power the future come from? I deal with this directly. Karyn Kane is pitted against a global corporation that has developed a limitless new form of energy production. But the worlds of money politics and power are closely intertwined, as she quickly discovers.

CZ; Politics? Barf. Good luck with that one.

T: [Laughs] We are living in a time where you have to stand up and be counted. Are you going to be part of the problem, or part of the solution? Writers I admire, like Dashiell Hammett and George Orwell understood that. That was in the 1930s and 40s. Well, desperate times are with us once again, and it is my sworn duty as a writer to offer a moral antidote to the horror of it all; something that will inspire and entertain and raise questions amongst anyone who is strong enough to care about anything other than the consume and obey rhetoric that tries to keep us powerless. In America right now there is a political malaise that prefers conspiracy over action. I wanted to draw out that puss-filled conspiracy into the open and offer uplifting and insightful alternatives that offer not only hope, but kick ass entertainment.

Conspiracy of Fire by Tony Bulmer is out now.

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Bond is back Crimeziners!

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Tony Bulmer The Sex net


Five points sauce pots in ludicrous headgear? It’s Copper, new from BBC America

In the late 19th and early 20th century the toughest neighborhood in America, if not the world was five points Manhattan. It is here that the notorious five points gang emerged. Paul Kelly, AKA Paulo Antoni Vaccarelli, recruited many Italian American youths for the gang including Johnny Torrio, Lucky Luciano and Al Capone.

It is against this background and the end of the American civil war that BBC America starts its retrotastic new Crime series on August 19th at 10/9C.

Kevin Corcoran (Tom Weston-Jones), stars as an Irish-American former boxer turned cop, who returns from the Civil War to find his wife missing and his daughter dead. As he patrols the streets of New York’s notorious Five Points neighborhood, he seeks the truth about what happened to his family with the help of two wartime friends: the wayward son of a wealthy industrialist, and a talented African-American doctor. The three men share a secret from their experience in battle that links their lives forever. Confederate gold, buried in a grave marked Arch Stanton? A penchant for a love, that dare not speak its name? Or perhaps our brave heroes have all experienced the same gonad debilitating battle injury? Only time will tell Crimeziners.

Anyhoo, in 1864, Kevin Corcoran returns from fighting in the Civil War and is rapidly appointed as a New York City police detective, where he finds a city awash with corruption, class conflict, racial tension and violence.

The series has been created by Tom, Homicide: Life on the Streets, St. Elsewhere Fontana; and Will Rokos who also handled Monsters Ball and Crimezine favorite Southland. Cast members include the multi talented Franka Potente, Kyle Schmid, Anastasia Griffith, Ato Essandoh, Kevin Ryan, Tanya Fischer and Dylan Taylor.

Tune in. Let Crimezine know what you think…

Wild One Tribute

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Al Feldstein

Crimezine Loves EC Comics & Al Feldstein


Craisie about Crais

Krista Morales might be an honor student, but she is a bit of a dumbo really. First she heads out into the desert night with her loser boyfriend, then she whips out her camera phone to take pictures of heavily armed human traffickers on a murder rampage. Presto, Krista and the loser get kidnapped and that means TROU-BLE!

Taken, is the latest read by Crimezine neighbor Robert Crais, The keep the noise down king of Mulholland Drive, is currently riding high of the Bestseller Charts and rightly so.

This is Bonzo Bob’s fifteenth Cole and Pike book—that is a lotta sequel’s Crimeziners—can you imagine Pirates of the Caribbean 15—would you want to? Quite. Crais is to be commended for bravely moving the franchise forward, in a variety of innovative ways. The recent Joe Pike books First Rule and The Watchmen are good examples of this steadfast refusal by Crais to stay safe and formulaic.

Kudos too for this well researched commentary on human trafficking on the US/Mexico border, a world that is so relentlessly vile and gruesome it is almost impossible to describe without inducing a protracted bout of nausea.

Crais has noticeably tightened up on his writing style with this book, using shorter snappier sentences, and other devices such as a non-sequential plotline and multi-character viewpoints. Such experimentation is to be commended. Trouble is readers are fickle and possessive—they get upset when a winning formula evolves and the Cole & Pike saga is starting to feel that burn.

Crimezine has commented before that Elvis Cole is losing much of the wisecracking charm that made him so appealing in the classic Cole & Pike novels, this morose trend continues with Taken, a frustration for many regular readers. But Crimezine suspects this is a serious effort by America’s Greatest Detective Writer [© Crimezine] to give  Elvis Cole more gravitas, which is to be commended, as other crime writers, have gone the opposite extreme, and mired their characters with mad-cappery, which can be both tiresome and distracting.

There are always risks with such a forward thinking attitude however. Many readers do not want their favorite characters to evolve—The Craisie faithful are fervently loyal and quickly riled. You better not mess with the Craises Bob—no-siree! Crimezine often has to venture outside our Mulholland Drive HQ with a big stick during Craisy season, a time when busloads of Bob’s adoring fans clog the street for months on end, with gratuitous acts of fandom and brassiere tossing lustiness. Crimezine suspects Craisies will eat this book up—but their appetite is voracious, will Bob be able to feed that hunger indefinitely?

Crimezine loves this book, and you will too. Robert Crais is an awesome writer. We would suggest however that the next Elvis Cole novel is a back to basics classic. Perhaps Bob could hammer out his creative frustrations on some new stand alone novels, like he did with Hostage and Demolition Angel. We would love, love, love that! No doubt Hollyweird would too.

Still, back to the haddock brained Krista Morales. Her mom Nita is thankfully smart enough to send Elvis on a rescue mission, but wouldn’t you know it, our favorite private eye ends up getting kidnapped too, Duh! Thankfully Joe Pike and Delta Force chum Jon Stone are on the case too, so we get a story that is a true fifty-fifty split between Cole and Pike, which leads to the kind of gruesome action we know and love. Get your mirrored shades on Crimeziners! Yayyyyy!

Tinker -Tailor-Soldier-Spy

Gary Oldman: moribund & geriatric little Tinker

There was a time back in the seventies and early eighties when it looked like the world might be destroyed by Cold War intrigue. This was the era when John le Carré, author of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was at the height of his powers. To many readers, le Carré was the man with the inside dope on how and when the apocalypse would come. And his books were consumed with according voracity.

Times change and to many the world of Cold War spying is as puzzling as the expression Cold War itself. Le Carré master of the deeply plotted mystery created several books featuring spymaster George Smiley. Of which Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is the most famous, due in part to the award winning seventies TV series starring Alec Obi-Wan-Kenobi Guinness.

The plot to this story is deeply baffling. The performances dour and intense, which makes a welcome change, in these days of throw away violence and faux Hollywood super thrillers. Le Carré’s spies are real, in the sense that intrigue, not car-chase histronics provide the major part of the story— a convoluted tale concerning the uncovering of a traitor at the very top of British Intelligence.

As a veteran of the le Carré oeuvre, Crimezine was tasked with the lengthy and complex duty of explaining the byzantine plot to neighbor Jennifer Aniston, whom we somewhat foolishly invited to this movie. This is no date-night fun flick you can trust us on that, in fact several members of the audience gave up in frustration, preferring instead to bunk into a showing of helium voiced funsters Alvin & the Chipmunks—Chip wrecked, at a neighboring screen.

Other members of the audience gasped, moaned, even laughed out loud, at the unfolding drama on screen: Witchcraft? Circus? What the hell are they going on about, hissed Ms Anniston in bewilderment. In the end Crimezine had to give her twenty bucks to spend at the Popcorn stand. When she returned the questions continued apace. One of the pulchritudinous Ms A’s chief concerns was the casting of rom-com heart-throb Colin Firth as a double-dealing whoopsie of international proportions. One hopes that Renée Zellweger and Hugh Grant appear in the sequel, or Crimezine will never hear the end of it.

Still, Gary Oldman is marvelous in the movie, that much has been universally acknowledged by critics—even if the moribund Mr Oldman wanders around geriatically for the first half an hour of the movie, uttering barely a word. Critics have interpreted this as the sign of a tortured genius at work, and have raved accordingly. To interpret otherwise might lead them to be considered intellectual lightweights with a penchant for popcorn, heaven forfend.