Cocktail noir

Cocktail Noir—Gangsters, Gin joints, Gumshoes and Gimlets

Greetings Crimeziners, it is time once again to uncork the office bottle and enjoy the enchanted thrall of the shimmering golden optics, as we throw back a five-fingered helping of Scott Deitche’s boozetastic quaffing companion Cocktail Noir.

Connoisseurs of crime will undoubtedly know Scott from his marvelously named column Libation Lounge, a regular feature in Cigar City Magazine and his books such as The Silent Don a study of Floridian crime capo Santo Trafficante Jr.

It was with great pleasure therefore that Crimezine cocktail wrangler Consuela served up Mr. Deitche’s delightful tome along with our customary glass of smooth sipping breakfast Cognac.

This is an ambitious book and fast with it. We are treated to a mixocological methodology of every noirish cocktail you can imagine. If Bogart drank it, it’s in. If Chandler drank it, it is in. In fact, this book contains the recipe of every bad-assed beverage you can shake an AA meeting at, and more besides.

Given that just about every noir fan you can mention is an inveterate boozehound, one wonders if this service is necessary. But Deitche ups the ante, by giving us a fascinating run down of gangster bars, big screen boozing and favorite crime author tipples.

We get the usual suspects of course Hammett, Chandler, and Jimmy Cain. It is no secret these cats were hardcore boozers, as Chandler wrote in The Lady in the Lake—“I smelled of gin. Not just casually, as if I had taken four or five drinks of a winter morning to get out of bed on, but as if the Pacific Ocean was pure gin and I had nosedived off the boat deck. The gin was in my hair and eyebrows, on my chin and under my chin. It was on my shirt. I smelled like dead toads.”

Dead toads indeed—on a Bouchercon morning perhaps?

By way of contrast, author Dennis Lehane of Gone Baby Gone fame confesses, rather anticlimactically, that he enjoys an occasional bottle of Becks beer. One wonders what achievements Chandler et al could have made if they had forgone their dedication to the sacred sauce in favor of literary achievement.

Fear not though Crimeziners, Cocktail Noir is entirely devoid of killjoy questioning. Instead we get a breathlessly fast paced super-session of boozy indulgence. Czar of noir Eddie Muller is quoted as saying “Nobody made getting loaded look more glamorous.” He is talking about Dashiell Hammett’s sleuths Nick and Nora Charles, who swill back cocktails like they are practicing for a three-day weekend with Ernest Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald—but he could equally be talking about this crimetastic little book.

Like any good boozy session, this book is over too fast. For those unfamiliar with the noir scene Cocktail Noir will provide many revelations and deliciously sizzling starting point for further investigations; while more experienced boozehounds will no doubt value this tome as a compendium of crimeish cocktails that will jumpstart the very blandest of mornings.

As a postscript it should be mentioned, that the term Noir was coined by French film critic Nino Frank, while talking about the work of legendary author Cornell Woolrich. Many of Woolrich’s books, and the multiple films that were based on them, had black in the title—most notably Black Angel (1946), The Bride Wore Black, and The Leopard Man (1943) based on the book Black Alibi. In keeping with the Noir tradition, Woolrich died of alcoholism in 1968.

Cocktail Noir Crimezine

Cocktail Noir by Scott M. Deitche

https://youtu.be/3vvlmh_xVRQ

 

Cocktail Noir is available November 2015 from Reservoir Square.
ISBN 978-1-94194-700-5

Originally posted on Crimezine:

Ross-Macdonald-biography Ross Macdonald a biography

Crimeziners who are interested in hardboiled noir from Southern California will no doubt have read the work of Ross Macdonald. Widely touted as a successor to Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and James M. Cain, Macdonald—or Ken Millar as he was known by everyone, apart from the reading public was a more complex and experimental writer than the other legends of noir.

Early Macdonald novels, such as The Moving Target (1949) and The Drowning Pool (1950) were closely fashioned on the Chandler oeuvre, so closely fashioned in fact that Chandler denounced Millar in a very public manner, an unpleasantness that was to stay with the sensitive Millar for much of his career.

But Millar and his hardboiled protagonist Lew Archer quickly evolved, moving into territory Chandler et al could only have dreamed of. Could you imagine Marlowe dealing with the subject of environmentalism for example?

Millar had…

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Mike Dowd Dirtiest Cop In NYC

Mike Dowd Dirtiest Cop In NYC

Back in the early eighties the crack and crime infested neighborhoods of South Brooklyn were devastated by poverty and urban decline. The 75th Precinct of the NYPD covers an area of Brooklyn south of Jamaica Boulevard and it is here that we meet Michael Dowd, perhaps the most corrupt cop America has ever known.

Heists, burglary, drug-dealing, kidnapping. There was literally nothing too dirty for Mikey D. and his crew of crooked cops. These guys ruled the neighborhood, shaking down drug dealers for protection money and committing hundreds of crimes in a reign of terror that lasted more than a decade.

The Seven Five is a fast moving documentary that spotlights the remorseless rise and inevitable fall of Dowd and his thuggish friends.

The real stars of this show are the bent cops themselves—interviewed for this movie documentary, they outline in every shameless detail, the depths to which they betrayed the NYPD and the residents of South Brooklyn. Dowd comes across as a Joe Pesci style wise guy from the get go. As one of the IA cops who finally took him down relates—“I first saw him in the car park out back of the station, he didn’t look like a cop, he didn’t have a cop look. He looked like a perp.”

Needless to say, Dowd, who spent a substantial amount of time in jail for his crimes, gushes forth about the bad old days and is still full of the wise guy bullshit, he weasels and lies and makes excuses—he looks misty eyed for the lost camaraderie of his crime-ish cohorts. But make no mistake, we are dealing with a bad man here, you will be appalled, maybe even sickened, but you will also be drawn into a story that is endlessly compelling.

The interviews with Dowd and his crew are linked by retro footage, shots of the horror and squalor of South Brooklyn, a neighborhood that looks reminiscent of modern day Syria in many instances. We also get courtroom admissions from the 1993 Police corruption investigation in which Dowd confesses all. Then there are the pièce de résistance opinions of drug kingpins Adam Diaz and Baron Perez. Diaz in particular comes across as being fiendishly unrepentant. “I’m not saying I killed him he just ain’t around no more,” he drawls at one point, a derisive smirk plastered across his face.

These are bad people all right; very bad people. If you love crime you will love the Seven Five Crimeziners. It is out now for a limited cinema release, also available on cable and DVD. Check it out

http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi222933273the seven five

 

American Crime Crimezine

American Crime—A laugh riot of comic japes and quick-firebanter.

Ah, there you are Crimeziners. Anyone fancy some American Crime? Not Serbo-Croation Crime, or Guatemalan crime, but full bloodied, freedom loving, American Crime? How iconic that sounds. You can almost imagine the marching band, and old glory fluttering patriotically in every scene, as a square-jawed set of shoulder-holster wearing patriots, with pomaded hair, swap dry, Dragnet style witticisms and unfiltered cigarettes, as they “stake out”, run down, then pummel ruthlessly “punks” of every description.

The world has changed substantially since America used to make those kind of shows. In a world where living human beings are burned alive, beheaded, and otherwise tortured in an endless rolling news horror-fest; the viewing public has become somewhat desensitized to the threat of “stoners”, “radicals” and jug-eared gangsters from central casting.

Gritty realism is the new vogue, and American Crime has plenty of that. In this show the darkness is unrelenting from the outset. Heroin addled beat-downs, junkie rip offs, and terror-filled streets seething with emaciated street-hoodlums with more tattoos than you can shake a magic marker at. There are the sweet middle class families too, torn apart by horror of it all. The horror! The horror! Even Joe Conrad wouldn’t be able to make it through this show in one piece.

Thirty minutes of this kind of “entertainment” and you will be reaching for the prescription meds in the vain hope that the world will become bright and shiny again. Of course it won’t. The world will never come good again, especially if you have been watching rolling news coverage for any length of time.

At the other end of the entertainment spectrum we have the CSI’s and the other acronym ridden crime-lite shows that top the ratings. But even these prime-time staples are becoming infected with the growing tendency to favor gratuitous cruelty and stomach churning nastiness over mystery, suspense and sophisticated plot development. Thanks al-Qaeda. Ten bucks for a water at the airport, now this.

On a lighter note, Timothy Hutton is marvelous as former gambler Rus Skokie. Hutton has been acting for literally fifty years man and boy and has starred in umpteen movies and TV Shows. Unfortunately, Crimezine was unable to shake away the memory of his performance as Nathan Ford in Leverage. This was perhaps the cruelest torture of all in American Crime, because every time Hutton graced our screen we expected him to offer up a pithy Leverage style witticism. Sadly none came, and we were forced to choke down a handful of Citalopram with a vodka-tonic chaser. This didn’t help. We then switched to rolling news, in the hope that the latest burnings and beheadings would cheer us up.

But as those with romance and optimism in their hearts will know, there is always something good that comes out of every great tragedy. In this case, that something good is the on-set love match between the superannuated Hutton 54 and his American Crime co-star, 26-year-old Caitlin Gerard. (The junkie chick in the show.)

Apparently the two lovebirds hooked up while shooting the show in Austin, TX. Crimezine understands from insiders that the two are so “into each other” that she moved into Hutton’s Austin love nest and she’s now “secretly” living with him and his 27-year-old son Noah. Aw, bless—the kid is older than she is. No doubt mom—Hutton’s first wife Debra Winger—will be delighted. Catch you later Crimeziners.

http://abc.go.com/shows/american-crime

RED NOTICE CRIMEZINEZdravstvuj Crimeziners! And a triple word score to you all! For it is from that free market paradise formally known as the USSR that we bring you today’s special edition of Crimezine the world’s favorite crime blog.

Our Russian friends, or more especially Russki Capo di tutti capi, Vlad-it-wasn’t-me-who murdered-those-dissidents-honest-Putin, are never far from the news these days. Whether it is poisoned sushi that is to blame, a “careless” fall from a balcony window, or a car door handle liberally covered in a lethal nuclear isotope, you can be sure the bare-chested, tiger-wrassling Vlad is never far from the news media podium, to offer one of his famous pokerfaced denials of malfeasance.

“Former” KGB goon Putin has upped his game substantially in recent years, using his trademarked totalitarian newspeak to explain away the shooting down of holiday airliner MH17, the invasion of the Ukraine, and the brutal murder of leading opposition figure Boris Nemetsov.

But it is perhaps one of Putin’s least understood achievements that concerns us today. Following the fall of the Soviet Union and the breathless rush to the free market transition that followed, the Russian government started selling major assets, such as oil companies and other state-owned industries, at yard sale prices. Many were bought by a handful of well-connected oligarchs who became the world’s new super rich.

Enter Stanford educated Bill Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, an Investment management maverick, who figured how to buy into the assets of the new Russia and make billions in the process. Red Notice is the book that details How Browder made the transition from a down on his heels corporate investor into an international financial superstar and fell victim to the world’s greatest criminal conspiracies as a result.

Browder’s capitalist dream became a nightmare when—Vlad-it’s-a-nice-day-in-the gulags-today-Putin’s meteoric rise to power put the breaks on foreign investment. Oligarchs fled in fear of their lives and the full police-state machinery of the new Russia was turned to the purpose of swindling foreign investors.

Forget about the Ocean’s Eleven robbing the Bellagio Casino, or Goldfinger cornering the market in world gold. This crime was bigger, way bigger. In the scramble to claw back control from foreigners the Russians “redistributed” assets from companies they had already sold, effectively stealing entire oil and gas fields from Western investors—assets worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

Bill Browder became persona non grata of course. Worse than that, the Putin police state now viewed him as an enemy and treated him accordingly. Red Notice is the story of the merciless treatment Browder recieved—A story where we meet an endless parade of corrupt cops, bent judges, secret agent assassins and vile politicians, as they scramble to ruin and discredit our hero.

At the time of writing Browder is still breathing. But the book makes it clear that he is a marked man. Hermitage lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was not so lucky. His attempt to represent Browder and expose corruption in the Putin Government caused him to be brutally murdered. Sergei Magnitsky’s story is outlined in detail in this book. This is a touching, dynamic, and widely acclaimed account of the Browder story that will thrill and surprise you, as it outlines the crime of the century. But more than that, this book will enlighten you to the true nature of Vladimir Putin and the new Russia.

tonybulmer:

Thoughts on James Ellroy’s masterwork Perfidia by Ellroy expert Steve Powell

Originally posted on The Venetian Vase:

PerfidiaIn Exquisite Corpse: Surrealism and the Black Dahlia Murder (2006) Mark Nelson and Sarah Hudson Bayliss created a highly impressive chart they titled ‘Los Angeles 1935-1950: A Web of Connections’ which ‘situates Black Dahlia murder suspect George Hodel within the culturally elite circles of Los Angeles at the time of the murder and illustrates the close geographical proximity of the central characters in our book.’

After completing my second reading of James Ellroy’s Perfidia, I’m beginning to see more clearly how Ellroy has devised his own web of connections within his body of work as a crime novelist. Nelson and Bayliss explored the potential connections of figures such as Man Ray and John Huston to the Black Dahlia case, building upon the work of former LAPD detective Steve Hodel. With Perfidia, Ellroy has embarked upon a second LA Quartet, preceding the first Quartet chronologically, which, in its myriad…

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Crimezine Treasure Coast with Tom Kakonis

Crimezine cruises the Treasure Coast with Tom Kakonis

Calabasas crime fiction kingpins Lee Goldberg and Joel Goldman, co-founders of boutique publishing venture Brash Books have been publishing a veritable of crimewave of cult-tastic classic-crime novels of late.

Edgar-nominated, Goldberg is no slouch in the crime fiction department himself. A prolific TV writer/producer and novelist, he has scripted more cult crime shows than you can shake a .38 special at, including Diagnosis Murder and the frankly nutso Monk. Most recently he teamed up with the pulchritudinous and multi-talented Janet Evanovich for the bestselling Fox & O’Hare novels, The Heist and The Chase. International best-selling crime author Joel Goldman meanwhile, is best known for his Alex Stone, Lou Mason and Jack Davis Thrillers.

Cult crime legend Tom Kakonis is widely lauded by many as the natural heir to the Elmore Leonard throne. His first book Michigan Roll was published in 1988 when the author was 57. Kakonis is now 83 and has certainly had an eventful life. He served in the Army in Korea, before swinging a sledge on a railroad section crew and perhaps most useful of all for fiction writing, teaching inmates at Stateville Prison in Joliet, Illinois. Then there were the decades he spent as a struggling college professor, before he finally managed to break into the world of crime fiction.

Kakonis’ work has been out of print for many years, so crime fans are understandably excited that Brash Books is republishing the Kakonis oeuvre in its entirety—Michigan Roll, Criss Cross, Flawless, Blind Spot and perhaps most exciting of all, Treasure Coast a work that has been sitting on the shelf for years.

Comparable to the aforementioned Leonard, and with an added exuberance/kookiness reminiscent of Carl Hiaasen, Treasure Coast pulses with the kind of beaten down low-lifes that have made Kakonis’s work so special.

When waster Jim Merriman makes a death bead promise to look after his sisters twenty-one year-old son Leon, you just know there is going to be trouble and pretty soon there is—lots of trouble—as the hapless duo rampage their way along Florida’s Treasure Coast—loan sharking, thuggery, kidnapping—a mail order tombstone con and then there is the whacko psychic who channels the dead and a monster hurricane spinning closer with every passing second. Treasure Coast by Tom Kakonis, you just got to read it to believe it Crimeziners.

www.mysterythrillerbooks.com/authors/

www.joelgoldman.com/

www.leegoldberg.com/