Friday, December 22, 2006

Thank You For Crimespot

When Graham Powell came up with the idea for Crimespot, it was one of those ideas that you made you jump and say, "Yes, count me in!"

The plan was to "round up crime and mystery fiction blogs from all over the Internet and summarize them in an easy-to-read format."

He launched the service on Friday, January 20, 2006. Aside from a few computer related ups and downs, it's been a rock solid method for quickly sifting through everyone's favourite crime blogs, and a first port of call for many writers and readers alike.

The amazing thing is that Graham put together the service and kept it running for a whole year out of his own pocket and time.

On behalf of all crime bloggers and readers out there, I'd like to say thank you, Graham. Your efforts are very much appreciated.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Uncle Dan

Let me try that again: Uncle Dan.

That's what you can call me from now on. All because this little fella that goes by the last name of Ortado was born to my sister Laura and her husband Michael at 5.40pm on Monday 18 December, 2006.

I suppose this means I'll have to make sure I can get him good, clean drugs, weapons that are untraceable, and computers that are virus free.

That's what uncles do, right?


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Standouts Of The Year: 2006

Much like the effect of a good thick ale on the brain cells, the holiday season is winding down my writing. The novel is moving along at the rate of paragraphs a day and I haven't posted in a whole week.

My writing may have slowed down but my reading has picked up. Something I started doing early last year is keeping track of every book I read. Seeing all the titles in a list helps me to pick what type of book I feel like reading next.

Last year I read a total of 22 books, but this year I made a more concerted effort to raise that figure. Regular reading has probably improved my reading speed as well and the total of 38 books this year attests to that.

Plenty of those books were well written and worthy of praise, but some gelled with me more than the others. I can put myself back into their worlds with the simple reminder of a character's name or a scene or title.

And here they are.


Although I prefer Temple's Jack Irish novels, there's something about this one that resonates. I can picture myself in Port Munro as Detective Senior Sergeant Joe Cashin, living with two dogs and working on my property, trying to resurrect one of its buildings. Temple's spare prose perfectly captures the laconic rhythm of speech and mood from the smaller parts of Australia.


As an aspiring crime writer, it's dangerous for me to read Bruen's work, but I make sure to savour it at regular intervals. This Jack Taylor novel had a better mix of humour and hardness than THE GUARDS. The ending absolutely blew me away. Luckily I have quite a few Bruen novels to catch up with before I get to the stage where I have to wait to read more. I want to be Bruen when I grow up.


Willeford's writing style is something I haven't seen anywhere else. He gets into my head, feeding off my thoughts, presenting the story of four Miami boys getting into serious trouble in a way that makes me feel part of the action. And that title. Just try to tell me you've heard one better.


Tribe slapped me upside the head to make sure I got off my arse and rescued this from a teetering pile of books-in-waiting. Tribe was right, Kubrick was right ("Probably the most chilling and believable first-person story of a criminally warped mind I have ever encountered."), and Thompson was right on the money with this cold piece of work.


Hard Case Crime's cunningly disguised Charles Ardai wrote this spot-on example of how a PI novel can still work in our day and age. Holding the little paperback and smelling its pages while reading was a modern retro joy. And the story was so good I wrote a one sentence summary of each scene so I could see how the whole thing flowed.

Malcolm Gladwell: THE TIPPING POINT

Some great ideas in this, although I'd come across many of them in James Gleick's CHAOS. Here they're transplanted onto people and marketing in clear prose in a small book. Since I've read it, I can't help classifying people as Mavens or Collectors ... read the book and you'll understand.


While some of the internal monologue is repetitive, the whole idea and execution of Dexter, the good-guy serial killer is just plain fun. And now there's a TV series of the show that's even better.


This is the book that inspired me to include the supernatural in my next novel. As the story progresses it becomes more and more uncomfortable and eerie, with a noir sensibility throughout. With one book I've become a Sara Gran fan for life. I'll get crucified for this, but I think it's even better than her following novel, DOPE.


I've written my own review of this already, so I won't repeat any of that here. But I will say that it's the very real emotional impact of this book that has made it stick with me.

Charlie Huston: ALREADY DEAD

Finished this one only last week and it's one of the few books that had me moving through at least fifty pages without being aware of time or hunger. The combination of vampire and PI novel is something that completely tickles my fancy. But then, I am half Romanian. The sequel for this one is out very soon so my credit card is ramped up and ready to go.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Is Your Mobile Bugging You?

What better way to return to my normally NaNo-free scheduled blogging than to link to something someone else has written.

Gary Hughes has an article up over at his Gotcha blog filled with potential plot fodder for a techno-thriller, if that's your kind of bag. If it isn't, you're probably paranoid and want to know more about it anyway.

"Counter-surveillance consultant and former US government electronic intelligence officer James Atkinson told CNET that software, which would remotely activate a phone’s microphone and turn it into a bug, could be downloaded on to a mobile without the owner being aware. “They can be remotely accessed and made to transmit room audio all the time,” he said. “You can do that without having physical access to the phone."

Friday, December 01, 2006


Thank Goat it's over.

But I'm not stopping.