My Bouchercon 2013 panels: Noir, hard-boiled, fantasy, and reality
In this corner, representing reality, Dana King's Grind Joint, with its utter lack of illusion about the supposed benefits of a casino for an economically ravaged Pennsylvania town. In that corner, Terrence McCauley's violent Prohibition-era novel Prohibition and Eric Beetner's post-apocalyptic cannibal/survivor tale Stripper Pole at the End of the World. Somewhere between these extremes, showing affinities at times with one, at times with the other, are Mike Dennis and Jonathan Woods, who join King, McCauley, and Beetner on the panel.
McCauley harks back to Dashiell Hammett and Paul Cain (and to writers and movie makers who harked back to Hammett and Cain). While his book's themes of loyalty, doubt, and betrayal are confined to no one era, the cover of the novel, at upper left, quite accurately reflects the early- and mid-twentieth-century gats 'n' gloves mythos to which McCauley makes a modern-day contribution. He and Beetner are acutely aware of periods in American popular culture that preceded their own.
King, on the other hand, writes about a world where beaten-down cities are desperate for the next big thing, where governments happily throw cash at companies to relocate to (or remain in) their state, and a lot more money seems to circulate among corporations and politicians than among the relocated workers. For all King's affinities with Elmore Leonard, George V. Higgins or King's amico Charlie Stella, it's a world you can find lurking behind today's headlines.
Fantasy? Reality? Pulp? Bad juju? You'll find it all at Bouchercon ... and here, at Detectives Beyond Borders.
How about you, lovers of noir and hard-boiled? Is your favorite reading reality? Fantasy? Or some mix of both?
© Peter Rozovsky 2013