Friday, September 06, 2013

Bouchercon 2013 panels: Why Eric Beetner is righteous (James Sallis, too)

I'm resurrecting another previously posted post today, and not just because I'm too deep in Bouchercon preparations to do much new posting. My remarks about Eric Beetner's novel The Devil Doesn't Want Me play directly into what makes his brand of wisecracking, self-aware noir what it is, and I hope they fuel the discussion when Beetner takes part in one of my Bouchercon panels.
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 Two gems from my recent crime fiction reading, the first from Eric Beetner's The Devil Doesn't Want Me, the second from Drive, by James Sallis:
"Used to be, in this town, to get anywhere you had to be with the family. You had guys like Sinatra kissing your ring. Now it takes a decent criminal a year to pull down as much cash as Steve Wynn takes in over one weekend of legitimate business."
*
"No way he remembered. He’d treated dozens of them in his day. Back in the day, as they said now—and found himself wondering again where that came from. Back in the day. Up in here. You’d never heard these phrases before, then suddenly everyone was using them."
I like Beetner's wry recognition that his Las Vegas is no longer the one of movie and crime-novel myth. Beetner has clearly thought about the nature of twenty-first-century crime even if he would not admit anything so serious.

As for Sallis, his remark makes him the first crime writer in the Detectives Beyond Borders Things That Drive Them Nuts Hall of Fame. I bet I'll never find "going forward," "reaching out," "scenario," "basically," "noise level" (instead of just "noise"), or "the fact that" in any novel by Sallis — unless he's making fun of them.
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Eric Beetner will be part of my "Goodnight, My Angel: Hard-Boiled, Noir, and the Reader's Love Affair With Both" panel at Bouchercon 2013 in Albany on Friday, Sept. 20, at 10:20 a.m.

© Peter Rozovsky 2013

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12 Comments:

Blogger Eric Beetner said...

Dang, Peter. Thank for putting me in such great company. You'll be glad to know that in the rewrites for the sequel to Devil, I took out a few jokes. Can't say I don't listen to the readers. So glad you have enjoyed my work. Thanks.

February 12, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks for the comment, but what makes you think I'm glad you took out jokes? A troll through DBB archives will reveal that I love jokes. I hope you'll save the discards for a future book.

The Steve Wynn line (He's up for a casino license here in Philadelphia, by the way, and apparently wowed the room at a public hearing today) is a serious joke, which is the best kind.

February 12, 2013  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

May readers make suggestions for your list of "things that drive me nuts"? That is, if they drive you nuts, too...

If so, I would like to submit "going forward" + "at the end of the day" + "my point being" + "...gives 110% every time" (or any inflated figure beyond 100%) + the current president's penchant for "make no mistake" (this has been pointed out to him, and he is trying to cut back on using it).

February 13, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That's a good list; I hadn;t noticed the president's tendency to use that phrase. If he's trying to use it less, good for him. I get the feeling not many public figures would give such a matter a moment's thought or have their speechwriters do so.

"At the end of the day" may be the worst of the lot because of its frequency and because of the depth the dull speakers think it lends the statement that follows. And I follow sports, so to me, "give 110 percent" has been around so long that it's become a joke.

My candidates for the list: "Defeat is not an option," which is bad on a number levels and might deserve a post of its own, and "passion" when used by corporations, advertisers, and other hucksters.

February 13, 2013  
Blogger seana graham said...

You're right--defeat is always an option.

February 13, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

No, defeat is always a possibility. It's never an option unless one is maladjusted in some way.

February 13, 2013  
Blogger seana graham said...

So then, 'defeat is not an option' is actually correct.

February 13, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Hmm, an interesting semantic question. Is the statement "defeat is not an option" semantically equivalent to "defeat does not fall into the category of actions or outcomes that can be considered options"?

Discuss.

February 13, 2013  
Blogger seana graham said...

It would make a good twisty short story title, I'd think.

February 13, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Perhaps one might choose the more concise "Defeat Is So an Option."

February 13, 2013  
Blogger seana graham said...

I was thinking of it as the title of a very noir story.

February 13, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

But with a touch of whimsy, a la Ken Bruen or Allan Guthrie.

February 13, 2013  

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